Kyoto, Japan

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Overview

Delve into Japanese history and culture on a 3-day tour from Kyoto to Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa, three must-visit historical cities of Japan. In each destination, experienced guides show you the sights, which include UNESCO-listed folk villages, traditional homes and legendary locales such as Kenroku-en Garden. Learn about the samurai and admire Edo-era architecture on this one-way tour that ends in Tokyo. Includes two nights of standard or deluxe accommodation in Takayama and Kanazawa, and transportation to all locations.
  • 3-day sightseeing tour of Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa, one-way from Kyoto to Tokyo
  • Admire traditional Japanese architecture from the Edo era and other periods
  • Visit Takayama's Kami Sannomachi, the Yatai Kaikan hall and Kusakabe Folk Museum
  • See traditional farmhouses at a UNESCO World Heritage-listed folk village in Shirakawago
  • Admire Kenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa, and visit a samurai home
  • Includes your choice of standard or deluxe hotel accommodation
Your 3-day tour puts the spotlight on the historical cities of Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa. Each city is famous in its own right: Takayama for its impeccably preserved Old Town, Shirakawago for its traditional farmhouses, and Kanazawa for its cultural heritage and samurai history.

Start your one-way tour in Kyoto and travel by train, local bus, taxi and coach between the destinations before ending in Tokyo. Travel independently by train, then be met by a professional guide at each stop. Receive assistance with transfers to your hotels, and take tours at each location with professional guides who show you the top attractions, then have time on your own in the evenings. Meals are not included, which allows you the flexibility to eat when, where and what you like. Your guide can provide recommendations for good restaurants. Your tour includes transportation, guides and your choice of standard or deluxe accommodation for two nights.

Itinerary

Day 1: Kyoto –TakayamaAfter pickup in Kyoto, a tour assistant takes you to the city train station to board your high-speed bullet train east. After roughly 50 minutes on board (the train ride is on your own, without a guide), arrive in Nagoya, where another assistant helps you transfer to an express train to Takayama, a small, ancient city known to many as ‘Little Kyoto.’ Your tour guide awaits you at the end of your train ride.

During the Edo period (1600s through to mid-1800s), thriving Takayama was known for its population of wealthy merchants and skilled carpenters. Numerous well-preserved wooden houses, inns, temples and shrines date back to those times, offering an impressive collection of sights for a city so small.
Exploring with your guide, admire the traditional houses of Kami Sannomachi, and visit the Yatai Kaikan hall to see its collection of vividly colored festival floats. Kusakabe Folk Museum is also included on the tour. Admire its array of folk art housed within a striking old merchant’s building. After your tour, your guide takes you to your Takayama hotel where you have the evening at your leisure.
Overnight: Hida Hotel Plaza in Takayama (standard and deluxe option)
Day 2: Takayama – Shirakawago – Kanazawa In the late morning, hop aboard a local bus and travel north to Shirakawago, tucked away in the Shogawa River Valley. Like Takayama, Shirakawago is famous for its architectural heritage, but its houses are somewhat different. As you travel, learn about Shirakawago’s gassho-zukuri homes—beautifully preserved wooden farmhouses with steeply arched thatched roofs, said to represent the hands of Buddhist monks in prayer.

Your first stop in town is its largest gassho-zukuri, the Wada family residence (or Wada-Ke House), where you can see how home life was for one of the area’s wealthiest families. Then, explore Shirakawago’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed folk village to see more modestly sized, but still intriguing, homes.

After touring Shirakawago, take a local bus to Kanazawa Station, then travel by taxi to your hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Kanazawa (standard option) or Hotel Nikko Kanazawa (deluxe option) in Kanazawa
Day 3: Kanazawa – Tokyo Kanazawa boasts an array of cultural attractions that your guide explains along the way. Start with a 30-minute tour of the Higashi Chaya District, known for its Edo-period teahouses, cafes and specialty shops, including one that sells gold leaf products. 
Continue on to Tentokuin Temple, a 17th-century temple dedicated to Tamahime, a daughter of the second Tokugawa Shogun. Pass through the gate and have a look inside, and learn about how Tamahime played here with her dolls as a girl.
Next, visit the restored samurai residence of Nomura-Ke in the city’s historic Nagamachi area. Offering a glimpse into the life of a rich samurai, the home-turned-museum is full of sights: authentic armor, Edo architecture and a small, beautiful garden. Then it’s on to Kenroku-en Garden, one of the so-called ‘great gardens of Japan.’ The landscaped grounds date back to the Edo period and surround the front of Kanazawa Castle. Keep your camera handy to capture the stately backdrop.
Afterward, you’ll head to Nagoya station to board the bullet train (Shinkansen) for the journey southeast to Tokyo. Your 3-day tour ends with drop-off at select Tokyo hotels in the evening.

Reviews

Viator Traveller's Reviews

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M
, Oct 2015

The tour was very good. Asa, our tour guide, was exceptional. I was not happy with the amount of luggage we were responsible to carry and that we were told at the last minute that we needed to send our large luggage to Tokyo and only have a carry on for the 3 days. This wasn't explained on the website when I booked my tour. Much of the reason I booked this tour in particular, was because I read that luggage would be taken care of. I know that you combined Brenda Buonora and I were added to a different tour and this is why the baggage issue arose. You have great staff. The logistical part was problematic.


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Product code: 2142KYO_SUN3GL300400

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