World Cafe Travel Adventure – Japan
Departing May 26 – June 6, 2024
Travelers will attend World Cafe recording sessions layered into the schedule. As past travelers are aware, the music sessions do not get booked until much closer to departure and long after booking is required. We anticipate recording 3-5 bands in Japan while we are there and the daily schedule and tours may shift accordingly.
Day 1: Sunday, May 26, 2024 Overnight Flight
Explore ancient and modern Japanese culture firsthand. Discover peaceful temples and technological marvels set against unimaginable natural beauty.
Day 2: Monday, May 27, 2024 Tokyo, Japan – Tour Begins
Welcome to Japan, the “Land of the Rising Sun.” Begin in the electrifying city of Tokyo, where pop culture is turned all the way up and traditions are rich and long-kept.
Day 3: Tuesday, May 28, 2024 Tokyo
Feel the excitement start to build as you pass by the grounds of the Imperial Palace and see the Niju Bridge, the well-known symbol of the Imperial Palace. Later, walk through Ginza, one of the most elegant and luxurious streets in the world, where modern landscape meets rich history. Enjoy shopping at some of the most renowned “department stores” in Japan. Later, amid a lush forest outside of Tokyo, visit the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. Tonight, join your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner. (B, D)
Day 4: Wednesday, May 29, 2024 Tokyo
Today enjoy a chance to explore Tokyo on your own (WXPN may arrange musical inclusions today). Later this evening, gather again for dinner as a group. (B, D)
Day 5: Thursday, May 30, 2024 Tokyo
Begin the day exploring Asakusa, Tokyo’s oldest Geisha district. Visit the famous Buddhist temple, Senso-ji, the colorful temple famous for the red chochin (lantern) hanging at the entrance gate. Experience the long standing tradition of the Japanese tea ceremony, dating back to the 15th century. During your free time, explore the Nakamise Shopping Arcade and feel the energy of the oldest shopping street in Japan (WXPN may arrange musical inclusions today). (B)
Day 6: Friday, May 31, 2024 Tokyo
This morning see the magnificent view of the city from above at Tokyo Tower, the iconic symbol of Tokyo. Then, enjoy a tranquil stroll through Zojoji Temple, the head temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism and selected by Shogun Iyeyasu Tokugawa as his family temple in the 1600s. This afternoon, relish some free time to continue your exploration of the city on your own (WXPN may arrange musical inclusions today). (B)
Day 7: Saturday, June 1, 2024 Tokyo – Hakone
Journey to the lakeside resort of Hakone, renowned for its hot springs. In the shadow of Mt. Fuji (UNESCO), this scenic town hugs the shorelines of Lake Ashi. Make a stop at Owakudani, located in an active volcanic zone. The Owakudani crater was created some 3,000 years ago, when Mt. Hakone erupted. Climb aboard the Hakone Ropeway, an aerial cable car descending from Owakudani for a breathtaking view* of Mt. Fuji. Next, take to the deep-blue waters of Lake Ashi on a cruise where you’ll see epic views of the local mountains before stopping in the charming town of Moto-Hakone. (B, D)
Day 8: Sunday, June 2, 2024 Hakone – Kyoto
Kyoto awaits! The former Imperial capital of Japan is now one of the nation’s top cosmopolitan cities. At the same time, Kyoto’s connection with its past is strong; you won’t need to look far to see one of its 2,000 temples and shrines. For lunch, participate in a sushi making class and master the art of sushi making. In the afternoon, learn about the history and process of sake making complete with a tasting. (B, L, D)
Day 9: Monday, June 3, 2024 Kyoto
This morning, explore Fushimi Inari Taisha for a tour of the most revered shrine of Inari. Follow the spectacular rows of orange torii (made famous in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha) that weave through the forest, leading you to the inner shrine. Move on to the home of the first Shogun, Nijo Castle (UNESCO), and see intricate woodcarvings, wall paintings, and the Ninomaru Garden, designed by Kobori Enshu, a landscape architect and tea master. Then, stroll through the Geisha district of Gion and see narrow lanes of “machiya” or teahouses where geishas entertain their guests (WXPN may arrange musical inclusions today). (B)
Day 10: Tuesday, June 4, 2024 Kyoto – Bullet Train – Hiroshima – Kyoto
All aboard the Shinkansen bullet train to Hiroshima. Upon arrival, board a ferry for the short trip to Miyajima Island, or “Shrine Island” (UNESCO). Afterwards, head into Hiroshima city to visit the Peace Memorial Park, and pause to see the ruined Atomic Dome (UNESCO). Reflect at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. As this long and moving day comes to a close, return to Kyoto by the Shinkansen bullet train. (B)
Day 11: Wednesday, June 5, 2024 Kyoto
Today, spend some time relaxing or set out to explore Kyoto on your own (WXPN may arrange musical inclusions today). Fully immerse yourself in Japanese culture tonight during a special kaiseki farewell dinner and maiko show. (B, D)
Day 12: Thursday, June 6, 2024 Kyoto – Tour Ends
Your tour comes to a close in this fascinating land. As you depart, reflect on its beauty and all you have learned about its rich history and culture. (B)
Experience It! Maiko Performance in Kyoto
Step back in time when you witness an important aspect of Japan’s culture during a Maiko Show in Kyoto. Literally meaning “dancing child,” the maiko is an apprentice geisha, typically under 20 years old. They live in Okiya, under the supervision of seasoned geiko (or “geisha”). They are considered the successors of beauty throughout all of Japan, entertaining guests with traditional Japanese dances, shamisen plays, short songs called “kouta” and in Kyoto they master its unique dialect as well. These young performers work hard to preserve Japan’s traditions and customs, creating a dream-like world that feels detached from the daily grind for visitors. This tradition is unique to Kyoto, though it showcases a fascinating history that is traced throughout all of Japan. Be a part of Japan’s rich traditions, history and hospitality during this truly unforgettable experience.
IMPORTANT RESERVATION INFORMATION
Passports are required for this tour at your expense. Certain countries require that your passport be valid at least 6 months beyond the dates of your travel. You are strongly urged to contact the appropriate consulate for details. Visit www.travel.state.gov for the U.S. State Department for the latest details about passports and visa requirements.
IMPORTANT: We recommend that travelers take a photocopy of their passport and applicable visas. It should be packed separately from your actual passport and visa. We also recommend leaving a copy at home with your emergency contact.
Whenever possible, we will add charges for air departure taxes to your invoice. Some international arrival and departure fees may not be included in your air ticket and must be paid by you during the tour in the local currency.
The days and order of sightseeing may change to best utilize your time on tour.
To complete your tour, we include roundtrip airport-to-hotel transfers when purchasing our airfare with your tour. If you have arranged for your own air, we are pleased to provide you the option of purchasing these transfers. Please note that all transfers will leave at pre-scheduled times.
Museum visits and shopping may be affected by the observance of religious or local holidays.
Single accommodations are limited and are available on a first come, first served basis.
Triple and child accommodations are not available.
Some venues, such as temples and shrines, require guests to remove their shoes in order to enter. We recommend wearing footwear that is easily removed for sightseeing on these days.
*The view of Mt. Fuji from the Hakone Ropeway is weather dependent.
The overall activity level of this tour is a level 3. This means you’re an on-the-go traveler. You don’t want to miss a thing, so walking and standing for longer periods of time (2-3 hours) isn’t a big deal. A moderately paced two-and-a-half-hour walking tour, covering several miles, hills, and uneven surfaces, is no problem for you. Walking four miles over the course of a day is very doable, as is climbing into and out of various modes of transportation (tuk-tuk, cable car, zodiac, etc.). You can climb three flights of stairs easily and handle altitudes between 6,000 and 9,000 feet. Expect some longer days with early mornings or late nights balanced with free time to recharge or set out on your own adventure. This level is not a fit for travelers who require mobility assistance devices.
Please be advised many airlines do not provide advance seat assignments until check-in at the airport. Advance seating will be subject to the airline’s terms and conditions.
Each traveler is responsible for proper documentation and inoculations that may be required and/or recommended to participate on this tour. Please contact your local travel clinic or personal physician for specific details on the destinations you are traveling to and from.
This tour provides authentic dining experiences. Vegan, vegetarian, and even gluten-free diets are uncommon in Japan and not widely catered to. If you have any dietary restrictions, please notify us at time of booking so we can accommodate you as best as possible.
Please be aware that if your flight schedule is via Dubai or if you are stopping over in Dubai and are carrying narcotic drugs, controlled or semi-controlled drugs, then you will be required to complete an electronic form prior to entering the country, to obtain approval to carry medication. Please use the link https://mohap.gov.ae/en/services/issue-of-permit-to-import-medicines-for-personal-use to view the guidelines. A user’s guide is available to explain the application and the supporting documents required.
For air-inclusive reservations, the name provided at time of booking must match your government-issued ID that will be used during travel. Name changes are subject to penalties.
Flights arrive into Tokyo and depart from Osaka.
Our air passengers will be departing from Kansai Airport or Itami Airport (depending upon your flight schedule). All transfers will depart from the Kyoto hotel for either Kansai Airport or Itami Airport.
Return flights should not be booked from Kansai Airport or Itami Airport prior to 9:00 a.m.
Economy air rate and schedule are applicable for groups of 10 or more traveling on the same flights and dates.
A deposit of $698 per person is due upon reservation. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. Reservations made after the deposit due date of October 20, 2023 are based upon availability. Final payment due by March 27, 2024. Deposits are refundable up until October 27, 2023.
CST#2006766-20 UBN#601220855 Nevada Sellers of Travel Registration No. 2003-0279