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Japan's Cultural Treasures 2014

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Pre-trip: Tokyo

Capital of Japan only since the 19th century, Tokyo has blossomed into the world's largest metropolis, yet maintains an astonishing blend of the ultra-modern with centuries-old temples and shrines. Join us and explore bustling local markets, visit serene gardens, see  traditional homes of Tokyo's Yanaka district, and kick off your travel in Japan.

It's Included:
Accommodations for 3 nights in Tokyo
4 meals—3 breakfasts and 1 lunch
2 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)
  • Depart the U.S. today on your overnight flight to Tokyo, Japan.

  • Arrive at the Tokyo airport in the late afternoon or early evening today. An OAT representative will greet us at the airport and assist with the transfer to our hotel in Tokyo.

  • We have breakfast at our hotel followed by an orientation briefing. We then start our exploration of Tokyo, beginning with a train ride to the Ueno district, one of the last places in Tokyo where one can see what the city was like in the old days, including a wonderful section of museums and galleries said to be the best in Japan. There, we walk through Ueno Park, one of the city’s largest open spaces and renowned for its cherry blossoms in season. We then stop at the Tokyo National Museum, the largest museum in Japan, with some 87,000 items. The world’s largest collection of Japanese art, including some of the most important Buddhist artwork, is housed here along with many other treasures. Next, we walk to the Yanaka district, one of the only areas of Tokyo undamaged during World War II, and home to many traditional wooden houses.

    We have lunch at a local restaurant and return to our hotel by mid-afternoon. The rest of the day is free for to make your own discoveries. Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • We have breakfast at our hotel and then enjoy a full day at leisure to explore Tokyo. Among other things, Tokyo is famous for its shopping, and has several large department stores that contain just about everything produced in Japan, from food courts to departments selling such items as cameras, computers, and traditional Japanese crafts. If you are interested in designer fashions, be sure to stop by the Ginza district and browse many of the upscale stores there. The Oriental Bazaar in the Harajuku district of Tokyo is also a must stop for souvenir-hunters.

    Or join us for an optional full-day walking tour of Kamakura. After a train ride from Tokyo, we’ll start our tour of this ancient city, which is surrounded by mountains on three sides and the sea on the other. Kamakura was the seat of the first shogunate in Japan during the Kamakura Era (1192-1333), and is replete with numerous historical shrines and temples, including the Daibutsu, the bronze image of Buddha, and the Hase Kannon Temple, famous for its statue of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. After lunch in a local restaurant, we'll continue our tour with a visit to Komachi Street, which is lined with handcraft shops of all kinds. Finally, we’ll depart Kamakura by local train, arriving in Tokyo in the early evening. Please note: This optional tour must be reserved at least 30 days prior to departure, and requires a minimum of two participants in order to operate.

    • Meals included:

    If you're energetic and curious about one of the largest wholesale fish markets on Earth, join us after breakfast as we pay a visit to the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, commonly known as the Tsukiji Fish Market. Though government restrictions prohibit us from watching the tuna auctions, we'll explore the area around the auctions in the Jogai open-air market and wander among many stalls of very fresh vegetables and fruit, along with shops selling ceramics, knives, and other interesting local items. In the spirit of adventure, you can partake in a sampling of sushi here.

    You have the remainder of the day free to see the sights of Tokyo on your own. The rest of our traveling companions arrive today to begin our Japan’s Cultural Treasures adventure.