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Japan's Cultural Treasures 2014

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Trip Extensions

Post-trip: Hiroshima

Built on an island chain in the Ota River Delta, Hiroshima will always be remembered for the events of August 6, 1945. But in the years since, the city has rebuilt, grown, and created the Peace Memorial Park. Extend your Japanese adventure and get to know this lively international city.

It's Included:
Bullet train transfers from Kyoto to Hiroshima and Hiroshima to Osaka; limited express train to Kansai Airport
Accommodations for 3 nights in Hiroshima
4 meals—3 breakfasts and 1 dinner
3 small group activities
Services of our own resident OAT Trip Leader, who speaks English and the native language
NEW for 2015: Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and luggage porters
All transfers (by public transportation)
  • As our main journey ends, we board a bullet train for our ride from Kyoto to Hiroshima. Upon arrival, we take an orientation walk around the neighborhood.

    During the afternoon we tour historic Hiroshima, rebuilt after the devastation of August 6, 1945, and now a thriving, healthy city. As we tour Peace Memorial Park, near the very center of the area of the A-bomb blast, you will see memorials commemorating the victims of that fearful day and the ruins of a building that was less than 600 feet from the detonation. The famous A-Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome) was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The Peace Memorial Museum displays remnants of the bombing day and accounts of survivors, but in this park you will also see manifestations of the hope for world peace. At the Children’s Peace Memorial, people from all over the world have placed folded paper cranes as offerings for harmony on our planet.

    The rest of the afternoon and evening are at leisure and dinner is on your own.

  • After breakfast we journey first on a local train and then by ferry to Miyajima, an island that was once worshiped for its spirituality. Here Mount Misen—whose primeval forests are home to wild monkeys and deer—climbs to more than 1,700 feet and overlooks the beautiful Seto Inland Sea.

    We see firsthand the grandeur of the Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, which was founded in AD 593 and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is considered one of the finest examples in Japan of the unique Shinden architecture. The famed gate to the shrine, the otorii, rises from the seawater, its vermillion-colored pillars extending more than 40 feet above the seabed. The elegant inner shrine includes 37 buildings, while the outer shrine along the shoreline consists of 19 structures, all blending with the compelling natural beauty of the site.

    We have lunch on our own in Miyajima, then take the ferry and train back to Hiroshima. After returning to our hotel, the rest of the afternoon is yours to make your own discoveries, and dinner is on our own tonight.

  • After breakfast, explore Hiroshima on your own, visiting sites that have particular interest for you, or learning more about the city. You can walk through the Hiroshima Castle on the Ota River delta, spend time in the Hiroshima Museum of Art, or simply relax at the Hiroshima Botanical Garden or Shukkeien Garden.

    Or join us for an optional excursion to the Islands of the Inland Sea. The islands of the Inland Sea—the body of water separating the main Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu—are cherished by the Japanese because of their beauty and the traditions they have maintained. And we enjoy a closer look at these islands today, delighting in spectacular views from the bridges that have only recently (since the 1980s) linked them to the mainland as we drive to Omishima Island, where we'll visit Tatara Shimanami Park and enjoy a magnificent view of the Inland Sea. Then we'll continue on to the Oyamazumi Shinto Shrine, dedicated to Oyamazumi-no-kami, the god of warriors and of the sea. We will be welcomed by a 2,600-year-old camphor tree as we pass through the Torii gate. This spiritual atmosphere of this shrine is sure to leave a lasting impression.

    Then, we'll continue to Ikuchijima Island. Here we visit the Ikuo Hirayama Museum of Art, which displays many works by world-famous Japanese painter Ikuo Hirayama, who was born and spent his boyhood on this island. Having experienced the tragedy of the A-bomb at Hiroshima, Hirayama created many works on the theme of peace. We also see the dazzling architecture of the Kosanji Temple, which was built by the Buddhist priest Kozo Kosanji (1891-1970) to honor his mother, and took more than 30 years to build. On the hill above the temple area is Miraishin no Oka (The Heights of Eternal Hope for the Future). This white marble sculpture garden, created by world-renowned artist Kazuto Kuetani, caps the entire hill. After lunch on your own, we depart for Mihara by hydrofoil, and then take a return train to Hiroshima. We'll arrive back at our hotel in the early evening.

    Tonight we gather for a Farewell Dinner at our hotel.

    • Meals included:

    After breakfast at our hotel, we transfer by train to the airport in Osaka for our flight home this afternoon. We cross the International Date Line during flight, arriving back in the U.S. on the same day.