Cosmic Tours, Inc.
JAPAN GRAND TOUR 9 DAYS
Special Features: Itinerary Highlights
Two nights at a hot spring spa resort.
Hot spring spa resort hotel at Atami featuring Japanese-style rooms all facing
the ocean for a majestic view found nowhere else in Japan; catch the Pacific
sunrise while relaxing in an outdoor hot spring.
Kyoto Suburbs – Stay at a hot spring resort in Lake Biwako District and
experience the sophisticated elegance of Kyoto lifestyle.
Stay at hotel in Shinjuku district, where brand-name shops are within walking
At Kyoto, spend a leisure moment to enjoy pleasant scenery and charm of an
Special arrangement for exclusive tour of the former emperor’s residence –
the Imperial Palace of Kyoto.
To enhance your comfort and convenience, Signet Tours will pay no heed to
expenses and arrange for an exclusive Atami to Osaka tour. Ride on the
Shinkansen (bullet train) (ticket price at $120 USD, ride time of 2 hours and 20
minutes, covering a distance of an 8-hour bus ride)
Western-style buffet breakfast provided every morning at hotel. As for lunch
and dinner, our gastronomic experts will arrange for a variety of fine gourmet
dining (not your ordinary tourist group meals) designed to give you an authentic
taste of the culinary scene in Japan.
Will not promote or dwell on unimportant points of interest –- our aim is to
maximize your pure travel enjoyment.
To ensure quality of tour guide presentations, we provide tours conducted
exclusively in English.
Day 2: Arrive in Narita International Airport (Formerly New Tokyo International
Airport) in Japan Narita. Tour group will be greeted at the airport by a Tour
representative, who will transport tour group to hotel, where the group will dine.
After dinner, “o-ya-su-mi-na-sai” (Good night!) [Dinner Provided]
Day 3: Narita Imperial Palace (Imperial Garden) Asakusa Ginza Meiji
Shrine Shinjuku (Free time after hotel check-in, no activities or dinner
scheduled to give you an opportunity to enjoy the area as you like; we will
supply a self-tour guidebook of Shinjuku for you to explore and discover the
local scene on your own and experience a different kind of excitement to touring
Tokyo.) [Breakfast and Lunch Provided]
Day 4: Shinjuku Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office (Observation Deck)
Fuji-Hakone National Park [Tour of Owkudani Valley, ride on Hakone Ropeway,
cruise on Lake Ashi] Atami [don on a kimono after a hot spring relaxation and
step into the reception hall to enjoy the traditional Japanese banquet cuisine
and Karaoke]. [Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided]
Day 5: Atami Shinkansen (bullet train) Shin Osaka Osaka Castle
Nada [Tour of Sake Brewery Museum Kobe [Tour of city: Meriken Park, Moto
Machi, Nankin Machi] Dinner [Kobe Steak Dinner] Mosaic Kobe Harborland
[Enjoy one of the three best night scenes in Japan: Kobe night scene] Osaka
[Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided]
Day 6: Osaka Nara [tour of Nara Park, Todaiji, Nara Daibutsu] Kyoto [Tour
of Nijo Castle] Gion Hotel [Free time during evening hours allocated for you
to freely explore the Kyoto scene on your own; map will be provided] [Breakfast,
Lunch and Dinner Provided]
Day 7: Kyoto Kameoka [Ride on Sagano Romantic Train (Train not
operational from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28, during this time the train ride will be
substituted with a visit to Tenryuji Temple)] Arashiyama [Tour of Old Town of
Arashiyama, Togetsu-kyo bridge, Bamboo Walking Path] Kinkakuji Temple
Nishijin Textile Center Hot Spring Ryokan (hotel) [don on a kimono after a hot
spring relaxation and step into the reception hall to enjoy the Kyoto style
banquet cuisine] [Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Provided]
Day 8: Hot Spring Ryokan Kyoto [Tour of Kiyomizu Temple, Sannenzaka,
Ninenzaka] Kyoto Imperial Palace [Imperial Palace Park] Shinsaibashi
Bridge/ Dotonbory [Free time during evening hours allocated for activity of your
own choosing; to maximize personal freedom, dinner will not be included. Map
will be provided so that you can freely enjoy Osaka on your own and take
advantage of the variety of shopping, fun and fine cuisine Osaka has to offer]
Hotel [Breakfast and Lunch Provided, Dinner on your own]
Day 9: Kansai or Itami airport Next destination. “Sa-yo-na-ra” (Good bye!)
Imperial Palace: The Imperial Palace was originally Edo City, the site of the
Tokugawa Shogunate. During the Meiji restoration, the emperor moved to this
location from Kyoto. Subsequent emperors such as Tasho, Showa, and Heisei
resided in this palace during their reign. The courtyard in front of the imperial
residence is called the outer garden. Deep inside the outer garden are the
main entrance into the imperial residence and two bridges. The front bridge is
made from stone, named Meganebashi (eyeglass) bridge. The rear bridge,
made from steel, named Nijubashi (double) bridge. A photograph of the latter
with Edo Castle in the background has come to symbolize Tokyo.
Asakusa: Asakusa is the well-preserved and still vivacious old Edo district. The
main attraction of this relatively large area is the Sensoji Temple. At the main
gate to the temple is a giant paper lantern called Kaminarimon that stands at 4m
tall and weighs 670kg. The walk that leads from the Kaminarimon to the temple
is the famous Nakamise Dori. Shops that line both sides of the walk offers all
kinds of traditional specialty goods, snacks, toys, handmade crafts, etc.,
appealing to tourists, children, and worshippers alike.
Ginza: It was once an emblem of the modernization and westernization of
Japan. Today, it remains a stylish and graceful neighborhood, full of irresistible
charm and taste. Its many specialty boutique shops, vending a variety of fine
merchandise, will entice the hearts of shoppers.
Meiji Shrine: The Meiji Shrine was built in 1920 for the worship of the Meiji
Emperor and his wife, Empress Shoken. The wooden torii (object of
demarcation used to separate the sacred area from the unsacred area) erected
on the walkway to the main sanctum stands at 12m high and 91m wide and
made from the timber of juniper trees that are at least 1,500 years old.
Flourishing trees fill the surrounding gardens. With birds chirping in the
background, the atmosphere is peaceful but solemn.
Shinjuku: The district that most exemplifies modern Tokyo, Shinjuku boasts
countless movie theaters, department stores, fashion boutiques, shopping
plazas, neon signs, restaurants, etc., and a dizzying array of everything else.
After the city government recently commenced its use of two newly built
skyscrapers, the district has acquired an even greater measure of respectability
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office: This high-rise was designed by the
world-renown architect, Kenzo Tange, and serves as Tokyo’s City Hall. The two
observation decks on the 45th floor, one on the north side and the other on the
south, offers the best bird’s eye view of Tokyo, an honor previously held by the
Fuji-Hakone National Park: Mount Fuji, towering at 3776 meters, lays the
sacred mountain of Japan. Its balanced nature, beautiful curves, and colorful
landscape throughout the four seasons earned this area worldwide acclaim. The
Hakone National park, graced by layers of flourishing foliage, is located at the
foot of Mount Fuji and engulfed by the surrounding hills. With the emerald
green Lake Ashi located right in the park’s center and Mount Fuji rising in the
background, the breathtaking scenery is regarded as the best view Japan has to
Owakudani Valley: The mouth of an ancient volcano found on Mount Kami is
known as the great inferno. The fissure on the canyon floor emits hot and thick
lava steam. Some areas are even bursting with hot bubbles. This place
produces what is known as black jade (eggs darkened from boiling lava).
According to a local saying, eating one of these eggs will increase your lifespan
by seven years. The Hakone Ropeway starts there. As you are lifted up
through the ropeway, feel the emotional thrill of seeing Mount Fuji at your side in
the surrounding quietness.
The Hakone Ropeway: While on the ropeway, take in the beautiful sight of the
crystal blue Lake Ashi and the lava steam emitting from the Owakudani Valley. If
the weather is clear, you can also admire the majestic Mount Fuji in the
Lake Ashi: Among the ten great lakes of Japan, its bright green reflections
highlight the sea of mountains that surrounds it. It is the most precious jewel of
Hakone National Park. In fact, the best view of the magnificent Mount Fuji is
from Lake Ashi.
Atami: The Izu Peninsula juts out of the Pacific Ocean between Sagami Bay and
Suruga Bay. The peninsula gained its fame from the highly popular book “The
Dancing Girl of Izu” by the celebrated Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata. With
its countless beaches, coastlines and natural hot springs and its comfortable
weather conditions, Izu has become a year-round vacation hotspot. The Atami
Sea meets Izu at its northeastern shores and it is in this area of the peninsula
that one can find hot springs with a recorded history of more than a thousand
years. The area is recognized in Japan as a prominent hot spring center.
Osaka: The Osaka prefecture is situated in the outskirts of Japan’s Midwest and
is enclosed by mountainous terrain on three sides and by the crescent-shaped
Osaka Bay to its west. Because of its proximity to two ancient capitals, Kyoto
and Nara, by the ninth century, fueled by a network of transportation channels
by land and sea, the area had grown into the largest commercial center in
Osaka Castle: Osaka castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1583. The
current Osaka castle is the result of a privately-financed renovation completed
in 1931. The castle building is five stories on the outside and eight stories on
the inside. The first seven stories are devoted to museum display. The eighth
floor serves as the observation deck.. The Osaka Castle is not only the largest
castle in Japan, but also the trademark of Osaka tourism.
Kobe: Kobe was the hub of a thriving trade with China during the Southern
Sung Dynasty. In 1867, the Tokugawa Shogunate signed the An-zheng Treaty
with the United States fleet and Kobe was forced to open its trade with the
West. For over a hundred years thereafter, Western and Japanese civilization
clashed and blended in Kobe, and the result is a highly graceful and charming
culture fraught with diversity. Europeans and Americans alike could never have
imagined that those Kobe residents who used to imitate their ways of drinking
coffee, eating steak, and baking pastry would now be the ones doing the
imitating. The steaks, coffee, and pastry of Kobe have risen to worldwide
prominence. You simply must sample a taste.
Nada: The district of Nada in Kobe City boasts fine quality water (shrine water)
perfect for brewing sake and the production of high quality rice. Since the 18th
century, when the transport of cargo by sea became widely available, the area
has thrived on sake production. Nada sake is now highly reputed all over
Sake Brewery Museum: Before it was renovated into a museum, the building
was an operating brewery. At the museum, you will learn interesting details
about the brewing of sake and be introduced to the brewery equipments of the
past. Complimentary tasting is included.
Mosaic Kobe Harborland: The Harborland is an open-mall style seaside
shopping center. The open space design on each of its three levels makes
shopping fun. The unconventional walkways are connected to each other by
stairs and bridges. Every turn you take brings you to another surprise. The
center features close to 100 popular establishments, including all types of
restaurants, fashion boutiques, variety goods stores, and jewelry shops. Once
there, you won’t want to leave.
Nara: Nara is considered the spiritual home of the Japanese. Approximately
1,500 years ago, the four islands of Japan was divided among warring clans. It
was not until the birth of the Yamato dynasty, based in Nara that Japan first
gained the semblance of a nation and began its own recorded history. It was
during this era in Nara that Japan’s national identity was first forged and the
foundation of a unified civilization was first laid.
Nara Park: The park not only showcases many important historical monuments
of Nara (such as the Todaiji，the Kofukuji, the Nara Public Museum, and the
Kasuga Taisha Shrine), but also keeps a number of spotted deer for the
enjoyment of visitors. Crackers are sold in the park for you to feed to the deer.
Todaiji: The original Todaiji Temple was built in the year 751. It was destroyed
during a war in 1180. The current structure was the result of a 1709
restoration. Although it is only two-thirds the size of the original temple, it is the
world’s largest building constructed from timber and was inducted into UNESCO’
s World Heritage list of landmarks. The Nara Daibutsu sits inside it.
Nara Daibutsu: Standing 14.98 meters tall, weighing 380 tons, having a face
that stretches 5.33 meters and a hand that is 3.6 meters long. The Nara
Daibutsu is the biggest bronze statue of Buddha in the world. Rumor has it that
you will get astounding results from your fortune telling drawings in the presence
of this kind-faced Buddha. Try it and see.
Kyoto: Kyoto was the nation’s capitol for a period of 1075 years (from 794 to
1869 A.D.) and is now considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The city draws its beauty from its sophisticated and unique art culture and its
rich and glorious history. It is no surprise that Kyoto lays claim to 17 of the world’
s landmarks which have been inducted into UNESCO’s World Heritage list
(Kiyomizu Temple, Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle, Tenryuji Temple, etc.)
Nijo Castle: Built in 1603, the Nijo Castle in Kyoto was the personal residence
of the great Shogun Tokugawa. Apart from its splendid architecture, the castle
bears witness to two major historical events within the last 400 years. The first
was when Toyotomi Hideyori formally surrendered to Tokugawa Ieyasu inside
the castle, officially ending the civil war. The second was when Tokugawa
Yoshinobu announced inside this castle the return of sovereignty to the Meiji
Emperor, officially ending Shogunate governance in Japan.
Gion: Gion was a red light district during the Edo period. Today, apart from the
presence of many traditional shops, still hidden within the streets and alleys are
many of the classic up-scale tea houses and ryotei (traditional Japanese inns).
The art of Geishas entertaining guests with their dances still exists in this area.
If you are lucky, you may run into a genuine, fully-costumed Geisha of Kyoto
while roaming these streets.
Saganao Romantic Train: The entire length of the train ride is 7.3 kilometers.
It takes about 25 minutes to travel the entire distance one way. This romantic
train route winds along the pleasant Hozagawa river valley. Cherry blossoms
inundate this area during spring. Lush greenery covers the landscape during
summer. Crimson maple leaves, color the entire mountain during autumn. Let
this amazing natural scenery immerse you in joyful tranquility.
Saganao/Arashiyama: The Saganao is a retreat destination used by ancient
nobility for pleasure excursions. The scenery is sublime, especially when cherry
blossoms surface in the spring and when maple leaves turn bright red in the
fall. Thus, the area has been known since ages past as a prime location for
observing these two sceneries of nature. Meanwhile, old town Arashiyama has
kept intact many of its antiquated dwellings and temples. All of its residents
maintain cherry trees and maple trees in their yards so that this old town can all
the more express its irresistible charm during the spring and autumn seasons.
Tenryuji Temple: It is figuratively regarded as the first of five magnificent
“mountains” in Kyoto (the word “mountain” in Japanese also means Buddhist
sect). The garden in the temple, featuring a circular promenade around the
Sōgen Pond, was designed by Musō Soseki, blends to perfection the elegance
of nobility lifestyle and the profound tranquility of zen Buddhism. It is one of the
most famous gardens in Kyoto and is also registered as a Unisco’s World
The Bamboo Walking Path: A flourishing bamboo forest that lies near the
Arashiyama train station occupies bamboo trees of cloud-reaching heights which
sway with alluring beauty at the passing of a breeze. Take a stroll on a forest
trail to discover hidden poetry within the engulfing serenity.
Togetsukyo Bridge: Serving as the center of the Arashiyama scenic area, the
bridge stretches over the Oi-gawa River. Its frame rests on steel pillars while its
surface is constructed from timber. Its antiquated beauty is a complement to the
pristine natural surroundings of Arashiyama.
Kinkakuji Temple: Built in 1397, it was originally a country chateau for Shogun
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. It was later converted into a Buddhist temple and given
the name Rokuonji. Because it is covered with gold foil, the temple is also known
as Kinkakuji. Mishima Yukio, the japanese novelist and policital radical, used this
place as a setting for his widely celebrated novel, “Kinkakuji”, making this scenic
spot internationally known.
Nishijin Textile Center: Nishijin fabric is a fine quality textile produced by the
Nishijin district for use in making kimonos. The Nishijin Textile Center was
established by professionals within the textile industry to introduce the history of
the Nishijin textile and its development but to also serve as a showroom for
textile products. The center offers on-site weaving demonstrations and Kimono
Kiyomizu Temple: It is the oldest temple and the most renowned tourist spot in
Kyoto. The temple was built in the year 798, occupying a total of 130,000
square meters. The current temple is a 1633 restoration and is based mainly on
a pillar and beam framework. The main sanctum, built against the wall of a cliff,
is 19 meters in width and 16 meters in depth. Directly in front of the main
sanctum is an elevated “Kiyomizu Stage” that is propped up by 139 wooden
pillars. From there, you will have a beautiful view of Kyoto city.
Sannenzaka/Ninenzaka: Designated by Japan as an important historical
architectural preservation district. The area is filled with age as well as well-
preserved streets that emanate an air of the distant past. The shops that fill
these streets peddle the local specialty goods of Kyoto, such as Kiyomizu
(pottery ware), Yusen-Zome (colorful and artisan tapestry), hsichimiya (a type of
seasoning), otabe (a sweet snack made of dough), tsukemono (pickled
products), Kyogashi (assortment of sweets), traditional hand-held fans, incense,
green tea, etc.
Kyoto Imperial Palace: This palace is formerly the residence of emperors.
The key section of the palace is the main hall where important ceremonies were
performed. It was in this hall that the emperors Tasho, Showa, and Heisei each
held their coronation ceremonies. In the northern section of the palace lies the
Small Court Room (Kogosho) used by the emperor to receive dukes and earls.
The Seiryoden hall located at the western side of the palace was where the
emperor conducted his own personal affairs. The Ogakumonsho (Imperial
Study) on the east side was where the emperor composed his songs and
poetry. The Oike-niwa, is a large, cleverly-designed Japanese garden,
beautifully adorned with a bridge, flowing water, and fine sand.
Shinsaibashi: The biggest and most significant shopping district in Osaka. In
Shinsaibashi, you will find a confluence of giant shopping malls, quaint stores
with long traditions, and endless tiny shops owned and run by the locals. There
are also numerous eateries, among which you will not just find a variety of
Japanese food, but cuisines from all over the world.
Dotonbori: Assembled within this area of no more than 200 meters wide and
700 meters long serves the most fancy and happening restaurants of Osaka.
The area also has the highest concentration of eateries serving Japanese
delicacies. Osaka is reputed as “the kitchen of the world” and Dotonbori is no
less than its culinary center.