Saturday, 17 January 2015

Asian Delight with Guided Tours of Japan

Japan has easily become synonymous with the “Land of Enchantment” and, while it’s a modern and technologically-savvy 
society, it isn’t without its culture, beauty and history.  That’s why guided tours of Japan are so popular for couples and 
families alike.
Almost all guided tours of Japan begin by flying into the Tokyo Narita Airport.  Many tours allow you a night’s rest before 
heading out to see the sights in Tokyo, a large city of more than eight million people.  You’ll visit the Meiji 
Shrine—a fantastic Shinto monument erected within a man-made forest.  After that, you’ll likely travel to the Imperial 
Palace Plaza where you’ll see the Imperial Palace of the Emperor of Japan.  Most of the palace is off limits but it has a 
lovely East Gardens for visitors to stroll in.
Many guided tours in Tokyo will take you to the Asakusa Kannon Temple and the nearby Nakamise Shopping Arcade, where visitors
can shop at their leisure for souvenirs or other items.  Later that night, walk the streets of Tokyo with your tour director 
to take in the dazzling lights of this lovely city.  The following day, you can take an excursion to Kamakura, which is the 
home of the Great Buddha—a shrine that is 750 years old. 
After seeing the Great Buddha, may guided tours of the area will take you on a scenic drive to Hakone so you can take a cable
car ride and get the very best views of Mount Fuji, if the weather cooperates.  Guests can opt for a thrilling ride on the 
bullet train back to Tokyo.
After you’ve seen much of Tokyo and surrounding area, most guided tours of Japan will take you up to Matsumoto, considered 
the gateway to the Japanese Alps. There you will visit the Matsumoto Castle—a fortress dating back to 1593.  Nearby is the 
Japan Folklore Museum and a nice way to see artifacts from Japan in their natural setting. 
Later, most guided tours of Japan will take you to Takayama where you can visit the local farmer’s market and travel to the 
San Machi Suji historic district, famous for distilleries that make Japanese sake.  Nearby are lovely lacquerware shops 
that make items perfect for souvenir shopping.  Also nearby is the Kusakabe Heritage House, a lovely place to see traditional
Japanese architecture from the late 19th Century.
The next stop on many guided tours of Japan is the Hida Minzoku-Mura folk village—a large collection of traditional Japanese
buildings, including farmhouses.  There, you can enjoy demonstrations of craft-making, such as lacquer making, silk dying, 
basket weaving and wood carving.  
Most guided tours of Japan will take you through the mountainous areas, including the Shokawa Valley and onto the village 
of Shirakawa.  This is a remote region of Japan that is home to many world heritage sites.  Enjoy traditional Japanese food 
with your tour mates. 
The next stop on most guided tours of Japan is Kyoto, a lovely city and home to the fascinating Nijo Castle, built as the 
official residence of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603.  Nearby is Kinkakuji, the temple of the Gold Pavilion and several 
shrines and gardens.  Kyoto is home to numerous temples, shrines and palaces and is a place you’ll want to spend a couple 
of days visiting. 
As you’ve traveled so far north, most guided tours will then take you to Osaka and to the Kansai Airport for your departure 
home.  Hopefully, you’ve taken in plenty of Japanese food and culture, and you’ve enjoyed their unique food.