The Japanese Legend Tour – Tradition & Modernity

11 days


In a volcanic Island chain, surrounded by an ocean, the Japanese built their cultural and national identity. The transition from being open to the world to being closed to it has shaped Japan‘s unique character. And even today, modern and technological Japan remains rigid and reserved, and it zealously preserves its unique tradition. A visit to Japan is an encounter with many contrasts almost everywhere; ancient temples alongside modern skyscrapers, fancy gardens and hi-tech gadgets, old samurai castles located in vibrant, modern cities. Japan is a western society that stands firmly in the east. Our tour includes Tokyo with its skyscrapers, wooden houses and traditional gardens, and the natural reserve Nikko with its abundance of temples – both Shinto and Buddhist. At Hakone, located on the edge of a volcanic lake, we can soak in a typical Japanese Onsen. Kyoto – Japan‘s imperial capital for over 1,000 years, and Takayama – ancient cultural center of the Japanese Alps. The Land of the Rising Sun brings us calm at dawn, hustle and bustle at midday, and placidity at night. Yokoso!

Best time to visit
March to May (Cherry Blossoms) & August to November


Day 1: Monday: Tokyo, Meiji Shrine, Harajuku Quarter, Asakusa Kannon, Akihabara Electronics District
Arrival to Tokyo airport (NRT) till 12:00PM. Transfer to hotel by own arrangement. We’ll meet the tour guide at the hotel.
2:00PM – We will start our city tour of Tokyo, capital of Japan since 1868. We’ll begin at the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji, who put an end to feudal rule in Japan. We will continue to the Harajuku quarter, the lively entertainment center of the Tokyo youth. We will visit the Buddhist temple of Asakusa Kannon – the most important in Tokyo. The entire complex as well as the lane leading to the temple is packed with stands selling a variety of typical Japanese items, and is a fascinating experience to be among Tokyo’s locals. We will end the day with a visit to Akihabra – Tokyo’s electronics district.

Day 2: Tuesday: Tokyo, Tsukiji Fish Market, Edo Museum, Ginza, Shibuya District
Today we’ll begin with a visit to Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market, where about 2000 tons of different species from the sea are sold every day. We will continue to visit the absorbing Tokyo-Edo Museum, which describes the history of the city and reconstructs the houses and lifestyle of Tokyo in the 18th century. We will continue to the bustling business district of Ginza. In the evening we will go to the Shibuya Center, which is elegantly built and in the spirit of the 21st century with video screens and sparkling lights.

Day 3: Wednesday: Nikko
After breakfast we will go to Nikko National Park, located in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture in Kanto, Japan. We will see the impressive Lake Tsuzenji, created in a crater formed after the explosion of Mount Nantai, followed by a visit to Kegon Falls, the tallest waterfall in Japan. We will visit the Nikko Temples which were declared by UNESCO in 1999 as a world heritage site worthy of preservation. We will be impressed by the unique Japanese construction style, the wood carvings in the walls of the temples as well as the Japanese wooden roofs. The site is built as a large complex containing several spectacular temples.

Day 4: Thursday: Tokyo, Kawasaki, Mt. Fuji, the Hakone Open Air Museum
After breakfast, we will travel to Kawasaki in Kanagawa prefecture, on the Kanto plain of Japan. Here we will visit the Nihon Minka, a remarkable open museum with an impressive collection of ancient Japanese houses. After the visit, we head for Hakone, near Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, and its undisputed symbol. The mountain was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2013. At the end of the visit, we will visit the Hakone Open Museum, with its expansive gardens displaying modern sculptures by leading sculptors from all over the world. We’ll view Lake Ashi in the waters of which we’ll see the large vermillion Hakone shrine. We’ll ascend by cable car to Uwakudani Valley (subject to approval by the authorities), where we will be able to experience volcanic thermal activity erupting from the ground.

Day 5: Friday: Tokyo – Yaotsu – Kobe
Today we will travel to Yaotsu to visit the heritage house of the Righteous Among the Nations, the Japanese consul Sempo Sugihara, who was responsible for the rescue of some 6,000 Jews during World War II. At the end of the visit we will travel to Kobe and check in to our hotel. Preparations for Shabbat and Shabbat dinner.

Day 6: Shabbat: Kobe
We’ll spend a wonderful, peaceful and relaxing Shabbat with the small Jewish community of Kobe. After Shacharit and Kiddush/Lunch, we’ll take a stroll through the neighborhood near our hotel.

Day 7: Sunday: Kobe – Himeji – Hiroshima
After breakfast we will visit Himeji Castle, the most famous and impressive Samurai Castle in Japan. At the end of the visit, we will continue to Hiroshima, which was famous at the end of World War II when it was destroyed by an American atomic bomb. Since then it has become a city with a single goal: promoting peace. The city itself is full of memorial sites and monuments.

Day 8: Monday: Hirshima – Miyajima – Kyoto
This morning we will drive southwest of Hiroshima to board a ferry and sail to the island of Miyajima (the Temple Island), or its full name, Itukushima. This is a historical site which is considered one of the three most beautiful sites in Japan. At the end of the visit, we will return to the mainland to visit one of the various car factories in the country (the visit is subject to the approval of the factory). We will end our day in Kyoto, the cultural center of Japan. The city that was the capital of the Japanese Empire for more than 1100 years. The city, equivalent to “Jerusalem of Japan,” is home to a large selection of temples and sites such as the Emperor’s Palace where the emperors of Japan are crowned. In the evening (conditional on the approval) we will go to a moving meeting at Beit Shalom. The main tenets of the members of the Japanese Christian Friends of Israel include prayer for the spiritual revival of Israel, the peace of Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah. This belief was crystallized by the experience of a divine revelation which its founder, Father Takeji Otsuki, experienced in 1938.

Day 9: Tuesday: Kyoto, Nara
After breakfast we will visit Nara which was the first capital of Japan. We will tour the park in which “sacred” deer walk freely. We will visit the Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world, with its gigantic (16 meters high) bronze statue of Buddha, and a compound and temple that belonged to the Fujiwara family, with an enormous garden filled with thousands of stone and bronze lamps. At the end of the visit we will return to Kyoto and visit the Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion, which is entirely covered in gold and reflected in the lake water adjacent to it. The day ends with a traditional tea ceremony and a visit to the Gion quarter – the city’s traditional entertainment district – where we can see the geisha that go out to work.

Day 10: Wednesday: Kyoto – Osaka
Today we will tour Kyoto. We will visit the ancient Kiyomizu Temple, and the lanes of Sinenzaka and Nanenzaka – streets that remain from old Kyoto. We’ll continue to the Ryoanji complex, which is part of the Kare Sansui sect, with its dry stone Japanese garden, built of gravel and strategically placed rocks. From there we will continue to visit the legendary Nijo Castle, an original Shogun castle built by Tokugawa Eiyasu, the founder of Japan’s longest ruling Shogun dynasty. Once we have completed our visits in Kyoto we will travel to Osaka, the second most important metropolis in Japan. We’ll climb to the roof of the Umeda Sky Garden building for a panoramic view of the city.

Day 11: Thursday: Osaka – Home gateway
Our trip to Japan has come to an end. Full of experiences and impressions we will travel to the airport in Osaka, the second most important metropolis in Japan, from which we will fly back home.

Dates & Prices
Tour Code Departure Return  
JAP18/3 10/29/2018 11/08/2018 Book this tour
JAP19/1 04/01/2019 04/11/2019 Book this tour
Tour Code Departure date Air + Land * Land only * Single Room**
JAP18/3 10/29/2018 5060 $ 850 $
JAP19/1 04/01/2019 5060 $ 850 $

Oct. Tour: Amazing fall season
March/April Tour: Cherry Blossom

* Price per person in USD double or twin room

** Supplement Price for single room

* Price of tour is subject to changedue to change in air fare.


Need to Know

Price Includes:

  • Air-conditioned tourist coach
  • Half Board throughout plus supplies to make sandwiches for lunch
  • English-speaking local guides and a professional experienced guide from the staff of Shai Bar Ilan
  • Entrance to all sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips for local service providers
  • Tourist class hotels or first class hotels throughout

Price Excludes:

  • International flights
  • Taxes and surcharges
  • Private expenses (drinks laundry & dry cleaning shopping etc.)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tip for Israeli guide (Recommended: $5 per person per day)

Important to Know:

  • There may be changes to the order of places visited. We will make every effort to visit every place mentioned in the itinerary.
  • The tour organizers have no control over airline services such as seating, special meal requests, changes in departure times or delays. These remain the sole responsibility of the airline company.

Kashrut on Tours

Only strictly kosher food is provided to our travelers on all our tours. On some of our tours we are able to provide glatt meals. Kashrut is of utmost importance to us and we take special measures to ensure that everything served is kosher.

The meals:
Breakfast is prepared using our utensils. We use local fresh fruits and vegetables, and we use milk products when they are permitted. We use kosher cereals, and bread. We usually serve hard boiled eggs and sometimes scrambled eggs or omelets. At breakfast, we prepare our lunches so that people have their choice as to what they eat for lunch. We bring food from Israel to supplement what is served in the hotel such as cheeses, peanut butter, tuna, etc.
For dinners, we serve either fish or meat (usually chicken) as our main course. In areas where meat is not available nor readily acquired, we will have fish. When possible, we acquire the meat locally from Chabad or other reliable kosher source, and in some cases we fly the meat in from Israel. We try to provide as many meat meals as possible. The main course at dinner is preceded by soup and salad and accompanied by freshly prepared vegetables. Dessert typically consists of fresh fruits.
We do not guarantee Pat Israel and Chalav Israel for all destinations.
In many destinations we have our own dishes and silverware. Where we don’t, we provide disposables at the meals. When we cook in hotel kitchens, we use our own knives, cutting boards, pots and pans, cooking implements and disposable metal trays. All food preparation is done on covered surfaces under the strict supervision of our trained staff/guides who function as our mashgichim.

We make great efforts to assure that our travelers will experience local foods first-hand, while maintaining stringent observance of Kashrut laws on all occasions.

On most of our tours, you will be accompanied by two of our staff members- one a guide for the tour who is knowledgeable about the places you are visiting and will accompany you throughout the day and the second, a person who will deal with the logistics of the tour and provide kashrut supervision in the kitchen.

It is our aim to provide the finest hotel possible in each area we visit. We require our hotels to allow us to work in the kitchen and to supervise the cooking and there are many hotels that are not willing to cooperate. They simply have no desire for us to be “meddling” in their cooking process nor are they happy about our bringing our equipment into their kitchens. We work very hard to find the best hotel in the area that will meet our requirements. Because we are not ready to compromise on kashrut, we may not always be able to use a five star hotel.

Deposit, Cancellation Fees & Policy:

A $500 USD Deposit per person must be received at the time of booking in order to confirm your reservation. Payment in full is due 90 days before departure. A minimum number of participants are required to operate tour dates. If a minimum number has not been reached prior to tour departure and the tour is cancelled you will receive a FULL refund.
• 60 days before departure bookings are refundable less a $100 administration fee
• 59-30 days prior to departure: 25% of total.
• 29-15 days prior to departure: 50% of total
• Less than 14 working days prior to departure: 100% of total – no refund

We strongly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance.


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