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2 days 1 night Tokyo/Hakone/Kyoto/Nara

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Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family. Tokyo is located in the Kantō region on the southeastern side of the main island Honshuand includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo Metropolis was formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo.

The economy of Hakone is strongly dominated by the tourist industry. Hakone is noted for its onsen hotspring resorts, which attract both Japanese and international visitors due to its proximity to the greater Tokyo metropolis and to Mount Fuji. Sights include the volcanically active Ōwakudani geysers and Hakone Shrine on the shore of the lake, as well as the Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands. In April, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and in autumn, the Japanese silver grass is lovely to behold.

Kyoto is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area. It is located in a valley in the eastern part of the mountainous region known as the Tamba highlands. The original city was arranged in accordance with traditional Chinese feng shui following the model of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang’an (present-day Xi’an). The Imperial Palace faced south, resulting in Ukyō (the right sector of the capital) being on the west while Sakyō (the left sector) is on the east.

Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. Eight temples, shrines and ruins in Nara, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara,” a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 794, lending its name to the Nara period. According to the ancient Japanese book Nihon Shoki, the name “Nara” derived from the Japanese word narashita meaning “made flat.” The temples of Nara remained powerful even beyond the move of the political capital to Heian-kyō in 794, thus giving Nara a synonym of Nanto (literally, ,the Southern Capital).

 

Tour Schedule
1 Ride on the Tomei Expressway – Fuji Sky Line – and arrive at 5th Station, where you can enjoy the scenery of rural Japan in a panoramic view 8,000 feet up. Lunch. (L) Ride on the Hakone Ropeway for a breath-taking view of the volcanic Hakone Mountains. Visit Ōwakudani Boiling Valley. Pirate Boat Cruise on Lake Ashi. Leave for Odawara Station and travel to Kyoto by Bullet Train. Arrive in Kyoto. Check-in at hotel in Kyoto.
2 Visit Nijō Castle or Ryōanji Temple, depending on which is available that day. Visit the Golden Pavilion and the Kyoto Imperial Palace. On Saturday, Sunday, or a national holiday, instead go to Nishi Honganji. Lunch at Kyoto Handicraft Center. (L) Nara excursion: visit Tōdaiji Temple, Kasuga Shrine and Nara Park. Leave for Tokyo by Bullet Train. Arrive in Tokyo Station. Free at leisure to explore the city; additional charge for drop-off at hotel upon arrival in Tokyo.

The price includes:
Hotel New Hankyu or similar in Kyoto, standard room for 1 night stay
All entrance fees to all sightseeing
Private English-speaking tour guide and driver
Lunches mentioned in the schedule
Bullet Train tickets

The price excludes:
Hotel accommodations in Tokyo
Drop-off service to your hotel in Tokyo
Gratuities for the guides and drivers
Inbound and outbound international air

Activities

Golden Pavilion

Description : The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, or Kinkakuji, is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. The garden complex is an excellent example of Muromachi period garden design. It is designated as a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape, and it is one of the most popular buildings in Japan, attracting a large number of visitors annually. Serenity surrounds the gold-leaf covered pavilion designed by a long- ago feudal lord as his personal retreat. Walk through its picturesquely laid out garden and set aside the tensions of modern life.
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Hakone Ropeway

Description : The Hakone Ropeway is the name of both an aerial lift and its operator. The funitel line links between Sōunzan and Tōgendai via Ōwakudani, all within Hakone, Kanagawa, Japan. The line became funitel in 2002, the second of its kind in the nation, after Hashikurasan Ropeway. It makes a part of the sightseeing route between Odawara and Lake Ashi. The company belongs to the Odakyū Group.
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Kasuga Shrine

Description : Kasuga Shrine is a Shinto shrine in the city of Nara, in Nara Prefecture, Japan. Established in 768 AD and rebuilt several times over the centuries, it is the shrine of the Fujiwara family. The interior is famous for the 2,000-odd stone lanterns and 1,000 bronze lanterns donated by worshippers leading the way up to the centuries-old, vermillion lacquered shrine.
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Kyoto Imperial Palace

Description : The Kyoto Imperial Palace is the latest of the imperial palaces built at or near its site in the north-eastern part of the old capital on Heiankyō after the abandonment of the larger original Heian Palace that was located to the west of the current palace during the Heian Period. The Palace lost much of its function at the time of the Meiji Restoration, when the capital functions were moved to Tokyo in 1869. However, the Taishō and Showa Emperors still had their coronation ceremonies at Kyoto Palace. *In order to enter the palace, you are required to fill out a form with your name, sex, age, nationality, etc.
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Lake Ashi

Description : Lake Ashi, also known as Hakone Lake or Ashinoko Lake, is a scenic lake in the Hakone area of Kanagawa Prefecture in Honshū, Japan. It is a crater lake that lies along the southwest wall of the caldera of Mount Hakone, a complex volcano. The lake is known for its views of Mt. Fuji and its numerous hot springs. Several of the boats that traverse the lake, providing scenic views for tourists and passengers are full-scale replicas of man-of-war pirate ships.
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Mt. Fuji

Description : Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft). An active stratovolcano that last erupted in 1707-08, Mount Fuji lies about 100 km (62 mi) south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji's exceptionally symmetrical cone is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers. It is one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains" along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku.
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Nara Park

Description : Nara Park is a public park located at the foot of Mount Wakakusa, and is home to over 1,200 wild sika deer who freely roam the park. According to local folklore, deer from this area were considered sacred due to a visit from one of the four gods of Kasuga Shrine, Takenomikazuchi-no-mikoto. He was said to have appeared on Mt. Mikasa-yama riding a white deer. From that point, the deer were considered divine and sacred by both Kasuga Shrine and Kōfukuji.
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Nijō Castle

Description : Nijō Castle is a flatland castle located in Kyoto, Japan. The castle consists of two concentric rings of fortifications, the Ninomaru Palace, the ruins of the Honmaru Palace, various support buildings and several gardens. The surface area of the castle is 275,000 square meters, of which 8000 square meters is occupied by buildings. Once a residence of the Tokugawa Shogun, the castle is famous for its architectural beauty and interior decoration.
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Nishi Honganji

Description : Nishi Honganji, or the “Western Temple of the Original Vow,” is one of two temple complexes of Jodo Shinshu in Kyoto, the other being Higashi Honganji (or "The Eastern Temple of the Original Vow"). Today it serves as the head temple of the Jodo Shinshu organization. Nishi Honganji was established in 1602 by the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu when he split the main Honganji in Kyoto in two (Higashi Honganji being the other) in order to diminish its power.
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Owakudani Valley

Description : In Ōwakudani Valley, you can smell sulfurous fumes and see clouds of steam rise from crevasses. Here, you can sample eggs hard-boiled in the sulfurous hot spring water. They are unique in that their shells have turned black from the boiling, and there is a local legend that eating one such an egg will add seven years to your life.
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Ryōanji Temple

Description : Ryōanji (literally, The Temple of the Dragon at Peace) is a Zen temple located in northwest Kyoto, Japan. Belonging to the Myoshin-ji school of the Rinzai branch of Zen Buddhism, the temple and karesansui garden is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One object of interest near the rear of the monk’s quarters is the carved stone receptacle into which water for ritual purification continuously flows. This is the Ryōanji tsukubai. The lower elevation of the basin requires the user to bend a little bit to reach the water, which suggests supplication and reverence.
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Tōdaiji Temple

Description : Tōdaiji is a Buddhist temple complex located in the city of Nara, Japan. Its Great Buddha Hall, which is also the largest wooden building in the world, houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese simply as Daibutsu. The temple also serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism. The temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.” Sika deer, regarded as messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, roam the grounds freely.
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