This tour is set during the world-famous sakura - or cherry blossom - time! In Tokyo we visit shrines, temples, and shopping centers; learn a traditional craft; watch a fun puppet show; and hang out with a group of Japanese English teachers. In the spa town of Hakone, we travel by train, cable car, funicular, and ‘pirate’ ship; see glittering crystal trees at the Venetian glass museum; wear yukata (traditional cotton kimonos) while eating a delicious kaiseki dinner; walk among the whimsical sculptures of the Open-Air Museum; and soak in the milky waters of a natural hot spring. In Kyoto, we learn first-hand how to wear a kimono; visit Kiyumisu temple; and stroll through thousands of scarlet Torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine. In Hiroshima, we pay our respects at the Peace Park and Museum. We also visit nearby Miajima Island where we ride a cable car up Mt. Misen for the glorious views; meet the local deer, and take selfies with the famous Floating Tori Gate. In Osaka, we make new friends at an English Club, share a dinner with foreign women living in Japan, sample the Osaka night life in the exciting Namba district; and find out why this city is the Kitchen of Japan!
**Please note - due to crossing the International Date Line - your flight will leave Saturday, March 18. Your return flight will both leave - AND ARRIVE - April 2nd because you'll be crossing the dateline back.
If you are on the group flight, it will arrive at Haneda Airport in the late afternoon where you will be picked up and driven directly to our hotel in Tokyo. The English-speaking driver of the private van will be holding a ‘Sheila Stone Tours’ sign. After you check in and have a chance to freshen up, we have dinner at a nearby restaurant for dinner and make an early night of it. If you are not on the group flight, you will make your own way to the hotel (although I will be available to help).
Meal included: dinner.