POST 1a: OUR HOLIDAY IN JAPAN …. 16 Days to Discover Japan ….. 05 – 19th April 2017

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Note:

I would like  to share with  you  through  these few words, photographs and hyperlinked websites, a 3 Dimensional  experience as though you were  actually there with  us. Click on any photograph and it should enlarge to  different size ….. at least half screen or full screen size. It will be clearer in detail than the photo on the post. It will be as if you were  really there looking at the actual  scene. You are an arm chair traveller with us.

If you would also like  to see the post in a larger or smaller size, I suggest you follow this procedure: If you right-handed, with your left hand, press  down continuously  on the Control Function Key  with your left hand and with your right hand, move  the   little  cursor wheel either forwards or backwards to make the text in the post larger or smaller.

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 We went with Webjet tours from Melbourne, Australia:.https://exclusives.webjet.com.au/deals/tour-deals/japan/16-day-discover-japan/

See the website: http://webjetexclusives.com.au

…. 16 days to discover Japan tour including flights departing Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth. Harriet (my wife) and I  went  to Japan  in a very unknowing  way from 05th – 19th April 2017. The Cherry Blossom season which had just started. Pink trees of Cherry Blossom  were out everywhere! It was beautiful. Pink petals plastered the ground everywhere or petals drifted down in the breeze.

See the post on our personal experiences website.

To give a framework of our tour, I  have copied out  Day sections of the e-mail I received from Webjet tours  before we went. From the e-mail:

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a taste of Japan’s largest cities or are wanting to set out on an in-depth tour across the country, Webjet Exclusives provides you with a great range of value-for-money Japan holiday packages.

Set just east of South Korea in the Sea of Japan, Japan is an island nation unlike any other. Home to its own tantalising cuisine, awe-inspiring architecture and a culture that draws on thousands of years of tradition, it’s easy to see why holidaymakers flock to its shores time and time again. With Webjet Exclusives, see the sights of vibrant Tokyo, immerse yourself in the country’s heritage in Hiroshima and Kyoto, or experience Japan’s natural beauty firsthand with a visit to Mount Fuji.

Wander through the grounds of historic castles and temples, such as the Kyoto Imperial Palace, Osaka Castle and Todaiji Temple, experience the beauty of the world famous Cherry Blossom Festival or simply soak up the sights and sounds of everyday Japanese life.

Booking your Japanese escape with Webjet Exclusives is a great way to stretch your holiday budget further without sacrificing quality. Most of Webjet Exclusives’ holiday packages include flights to Japan, accommodation, sightseeing, meals and more, meaning that the majority of your holiday has already been planned and organised for you. All that’s left for you to do is to choose a tour that interests you, your city of departure and travel dates that suit you.

Wanting to experience Japan firsthand? Book your own Japan tour package with Webjet Exclusives today!

 

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Day 1: Australia – – Tokyo = 4th  April 2017

Depart Australia today on your overnight flight to Tokyo.

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Day 2: Toyko = 5th  April 2017

Welcome to Japan! You will arrive at Tokyo Haneda airport. Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, a Webjet representative will meet you as you exit the arrivals hall.

 ….  Observatory  view at night  in Tokyo ….

….. Cherry trees ….

Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital, mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neonlit skyscrapers and anime shops to cherry trees and temples. The opulent Meiji Shinto Shrine is known for its towering gate and surrounding forests. The Imperial Palace sits amid sprawling public gardens. The city is famed for its vibrant food scene, and its Shibuya and Harajuku districts are the heart of its trendy teen fashion scene.

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 Day 3: Tokyo = 6th  April 2017

 ….  A Sumida River cruise ….

 …. Hama-Rikyu, a beautiful landscape garden in central Tokyo ….

Today after breakfast we make our way to the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Later, stroll through the Asakusa Kannon Temple one of Tokyo’s most colourful and popular temples before browsing for souvenirs at Nakamise Shopping Street. This afternoon, relax on a Sumida River cruise before arriving at Hama-Rikyu, a beautiful landscape garden in central Tokyo featuring seawater ponds which change level with the tides, and a teahouse on an island where visitors can rest and enjoy the scenery. Your last stop today is Shinjuku Municipal Observation Building for panoramic views of Tokyo before heading to your hotel. The rest of the evening is then free to get to know Tokyo at your own pace.

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 Day 4: Tokyo = 7th  April 2017

Today is a free day to explore the World’s most populous metropolis. Tokyo offers a seemingly unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture and dining to its  visitors. The city’s history can be appreciated in districts such as Asakusa, and in many excellent museums, historic temples and gardens. Contrary to common perception, Tokyo also offers a number of attractive green spaces in the city centre and within relatively short train rides at its outskirts.

Optional Tour—Tokyo Disneyland—Whether you have been to the original Disneyland or not, this is a day not to miss for young and old. Modelled after Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland is made up of seven themed lands and features seasonal decorations and parades. Full day tickets included.

Optional Tour— Oiran Show at Roppongi Kaguwa Theater—Enjoy the fusion of contemporary and traditional that includes Japanese traditional dance performance by Oiran, Samurai, and performers dressed as Geisha in kimonos. Includes dinner and drinks as you watch the spectacular.

e fusion of contemporary and traditional that includes Japanese traditional dance performance by Oiran, Samurai, and performers dressed as Geisha in kimonos. Includes dinner and drinks as you watch the spectacular.

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Day 5: Tokyo – Mt Fuji – Hakone – Tokyo = 8th  April 2017

…. Oshino Hakkai ….

Today, visit Oshino Hakkai. Known as the Springs of Mount Fuji, the eight ponds are fed by melting snow filtering down from the slopes of nearby Mount Fuji through porous layers of lava resulting in very clear spring water that is revered by the locals. Later, visit Gotemba Peace Park to capture a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji, before taking a cruise on Lake Ashi, and savour the numerous delights of nature in the Hakone region. Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. Famous for hot springs, natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji, Hakone is one of the most popular destinations among the Japanese looking for a break from Tokyo.

 

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Day 6: Toyko = 9th  April 2017

Today is a free day at leisure to enjoy the Japanese way of life in one of the World’s greatest cities.

Optional Tour—Traditional Tea Ceremony at Happoen Gardens— Immerse yourself in ancient Japanese culture with a Tea Ceremony. Fully enjoy your experience and the taste of green powdered tea made following traditional tea-making procedures, as well as Japanese tea culture, including the teahouse, tea utensils, and sweets served with tea.

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Day 7: Tokyo – – Nagano – Matsumoto = 10th  April 2017 

…. Bullet train to Nagano, travelling of speeds up  to 320km/hr! ….

Today we leave Tokyo behind us and travel inland to the cultural city of Matsumoto, famed for it’s castle. For our journey today we board the famous Skinkansen On arrival in Nagano we will transfer to the city of Matsumoto. You will have time to stroll through the former merchant district of Nakamachi, lined with well preserved old buildings where you can find lovely local crafts,  treasures and great restaurants. After we make a visit to Matsumoto Castle, considered in the top 3 feudal castles of Japan and arguably the city’s most famous site.

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Day 8: Matsumoto – Takayama = 11th  April 2017

This morning after breakfast we leave Matsumoto and make our way to Takayama. The narrow streets of Takayama’s Sanmachi Suji historic district are lined with wooden merchants’ houses dating to the Edo Period, along with many small museums. On arrival you will be free to explore the beautiful little town of Takayama. We recommend visiting the early morning Takayama markets where local fresh produce and souvenirs stalls are on display.

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 Day 9: Takayama = 12th  April 2017

…. Hida Folk Village one of 30 traditional houses from the region …..

Today we visit some of Takayama’s highlights. We begin our day with the Hida Folk Village, an open air museum exhibiting over 30 traditional houses from the region. After, we continue to the Matsuri-no-mori museum which showcases the key aspects of the Takayama Festival, which takes place for two days each spring and autumn. After learning about the Takayama Festival we head to San-machi Suji. Sanmachi Suji is a collection of three streets that make up Hida Takayama’s famous historic district. The area located in the centre of Hida Takayama served as a bustling merchant town in the past. Today it is easily recognized with its distinctive old wooden architecture and charm, a traditional Japanese village area and Takayama Jinya. A small 3 lane area is filled with old wooden buildings consisting of sake.

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Day 10: Takayama – Kanazawa = 13th  April 2017

… The Big Lake in Kenroku-en Garden …

After breakfast we make our way to Kanazawa. Kanazawa is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, on Japan’s central Honshu. It’s known for its well-preserved Edo Period districts, art museums and regional handicrafts. On arrival we enjoy a city tour of this colourful city. We begin with a visit to the Higashi Chayagai district famous for its teahouses built in traditional Japanese design. We then continue to the Kenroku-en Garden – from its scale and beauty, it is regarded as one of the most beautiful feudal lords’ gardens in Japan and has been maintained over generations. After the gardens we make our way to the Nagamachi Buke Yashiki district. Nagamachi was a samurai district located at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle, where samurai and their families used to reside. The area preserves a historic atmosphere with its remaining samurai residences, earthen walls, private entrance gates, narrow lanes and water canals. We finish our day with a visit to the Omicho Market, Kanazawa’s largest fresh food market since the Edo Period.

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Day 11: Kanazawa – Kyoto = 14th  April 2017

Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate

This morning we leave Kanazawa and make our way to the jewel of Japan, Kyoto. On arrival we visit Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate and is designated a UNESCO world heritage site. It is then on to Kinkakuji, commonly known as the Golden Pavilion. A Zen temple and World Heritage site with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold and detailed architecture incorporating three distinct styles of Shinden, Samurai and Zen. We finish with a visit to the Togetsu Bridge, the landmark of Western Kyoto’s Arashiyama District for over four hundred years.

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Day 12: Kyoto (B) = 15th  April 2017

Today is a free day to explore Kyoto at your own pace. Kyoto attracts millions of visitors every year and it’s no wonder. With over 1,600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines, palaces and gardens, who wouldn’t want to visit? You might be luck enough to spot a Geisha in the old district.

Optional Tour— Fushimi Inari and Sake Brewery— Discover two sides to Kyoto as you visit one of its most famous shrines, then learn about sake production and tasting, during this 3.5-hour excursion in Kyoto. Begin with a visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, an iconic religious site with striking red torii (gates). Then visit Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, to learn how the drink is made and try some samples.

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Day 13: Kyoto – Nara – Kyoto  = 16th  April 2017

Todaiji Temple

This morning we travel to Nara and visit Todaiji Temple, one of Japan’s most famous temples. The massive building houses one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu). The 15 meters tall, seated Buddha represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas. Along the approach to Todaiji stands the Nandaimon Gate, a large wooden gate watched over by two fierce looking statues. Representing the Nio Guardian Kings, the statues are designated national treasures together with the gate itself. After the Todaiji Temple we wander back through Nara Park, home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara’s nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city.

 

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Day 14: Kyoto – Osaka = 17th  April 2017

 

….  Osaka Castle … First View ….

This morning after breakfast we visit the Nishijin Textile Centre and enjoy a traditional kimono show. Kimono’s are still used for important festivals or formal moments in Japan until this day. After, we continue to the UNESCO World Heritage Kiyomizu-dera Temple and drink to your fortune from the streams of the Otowa Waterfall. The water is said to have a different benefit, namely to cause longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life. The Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan and has spectacular views over Kyoto. After, we continue our journey across Japan travelling to Osaka. On arrival we get to know this neon powerhouse starting with a visit to Osaka Castle. Built in 1583, the castle is an outstanding representation of Japan’s feudal period.

After Osaka Castle we continue on to the Floating Garden Observatory for 360 degree views of Osaka. We then make our way to the Shitenno-ji Temple. One of Japan’s oldest temples and the first ever to be built by the state. It was founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku, who supported the introduction of Buddhism into Japan. Finally we head to the Namba area which is the city’s most famous entertainment district and offers abundant dining and shopping choices.

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Day 15: Osaka – -Australia  = 18th  April 2017

……  Osaka  Airport …..

Spend the day at your own leisure before being transferring to the airport for your homeward flight this afternoon.

Optional Tour – Osaka Aquarium—This morning you can visit one of Japan’s most spectacular aquariums. Marine life is displayed in 15 tanks, each representing a specific region of the Pacific Rim. The central tank, representing the Pacific Ocean, is nine meters deep and home to a whale shark, the aquarium’s main attraction.

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Day 16: Australia = 19th  April 2017

Arrive home today.

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….. The two buses we went on around Japan over 16 Days  ….

 

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