This one of a kind adventure takes you to the heart of Japan, exploring many facets and inspirations of the anime and manga culture. Tour and explore many landmarks, manmade and natural alike, that are not only featured in many fan favorite films and comics, but also culturally rich in history. With breathtaking sites such as the Kamogawa River, the Kinkakuii Temple, or the Nijo Castle, its easy to see how artists were inspired to feature them in world renown anime and manga works. Not to mention, with trips to “Character Street” and Akihabra, you will be so surrounded by anime and manga that it will feel as if you were transported into a world of Japanese art. Delve into the world of Japanese art and pop culture while absorbing its history!
While the world has been changing, we have been exploring.
Price starts at 900 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.
While The World Has Been Changing, We Have Been Exploring.
Day 1: Tokyo, Japan
One of the world’s most cutting-edge capitals, Tokyo is a city of contrasts. Famous for its sprawling neon-lit landscape it is also home to expansive parkland, peaceful shrines and temples, and lovingly tended gardens. On the surface, Tokyo is a mix of digital trends and conspicuous consumption but dig deeper and you will find a city rooted deeply in the traditional culture. Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples stand close to skyscrapers as a reminder of a more contemplative time.
At the heart of the hyperactive center lies the serene Imperial Palace, the home of the ruling emperor that provides a tangible link to the city’s historical past. Behind the shopping, entertainment, and commercial emporia you will find quaint wooden houses, private gardens with meticulously clipped bonsai trees and the calm of the Hamarikyu Gardens. Upon arrival at the airport, an English-speaking assistant will meet you in the arrival lobby. A private transfer takes you to your accommodation. Conrad Hotel Tokyo
Day 2: Tokyo
Set out to discover the Ghibli Museum during a Ghibli pilgrimage by public transport. Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan’s most acclaimed animators and the whimsical creations of his animation studio, Studio Ghibli, have won the hearts of adults and children around the globe. Today, you will head out on an homage to the studio and will enjoy all things Ghibli. First stops is at the Studio Ghibli Museum, whimsically designed in the distinct style of the studio’s films with many of their famous characters are here, including a life-sized robot from Castle in the Sky on the rooftop garden. The first floor of the museum exhibits the history and techniques of animation and has a small theater that shows short movies by Studio Ghibli that are exclusive to the museum and are rotated monthly.
In the afternoon, you visit a few sights in Tokyo relevant to the world of Studio Ghibli. First, you and your guide hop across town to Shimo-Kitazawa. Although it has not appeared in any Ghibli films to date, the backstreets of this area certainly make you feel as if you have slipped into Miyazaki’s magical world. Nestled among the alleys is a shop selling cream-filled choux buns, a popular Japanese sweet. But this shop has a twist– the buns are shaped like Totoro and it is rumored that the owner may be a member of Hayao Miyazaki’s family.
Next, you get back on the train to travel across to Meguro, another suburb in Tokyo. You head to Hotel Gajoen, with its ostentatious interior that served as the inspiration for the bathhouse décor in Spirited Away, particularly Yubaba’s office. You and your guide take a stroll around the hotel’s main lobby to get a feel for the atmosphere before visiting a local art exhibition at the Hyakudan Kaidan building next door. The beautiful wall and ceiling paintings here are sure to make you feel like Chihiro as she scurries busily between tubs to scrub in the bathhouse! (Please note that the Hyakudan Kaidan does not always hold exhibitions and closure days depend on the exhibition running at the time). In the event that it is closed, your guide will treat you to a drink at Hotel Gajoen’s café. Afterwards, you return to your hotel. (Note: Final confirmation for this tour can only be done on the 10th of the month preceding the date of the tour when tickets go on sale.) Travel is by public transport on subways and local trains that may not have reserved seating. Conrad Hotel Tokyo (B)
Day 3: Tokyo
Today you head out to explore the world of anime via public transport. Anime (Japanese animation) and manga (comics) are loved throughout the world and are just as important in Japanese culture as more traditional arts. On this full day exploration, your local guide takes you around to discover some of the real-life places that have appeared in anime. There is also time to do a little shopping. Your first stop is Shibuya Scramble Crossing featured in several popular anime over the years, including hits such as Tokyo Ghoul, Blood C and The Boy and The Beast. There will be time to explore the crossing giving you the opportunity to feel as if you yourself are in an anime!
A short taxi hop across town takes you to Yotsuya Suga Shrine used in the final and most emotional scene of Makoto Shinkai’s hit anime movie Your Name. You will have some time to explore the shrine. You notice that all the “ema” votive tablets hung at this shrine have lots of fan-drawn pictures of the characters from the movie.
Next, visit Tokyo Station’s “Character Street”. Located in its basement, the store has a lot of shops dedicated to hundreds of recognizable anime characters. From Pokémon to Studio Ghibli, Sanrio to Shonen Jump, there is sure to be shops that suit your interests.
Finally, visit the bustling streets of Akihabara, often described as the “Mecca” of anime and manga. Your guide points out the Radio Kaikan building, which was destroyed by a crash-landing time machine in the anime Steins: Gate. Afterwards, you wander through the streets, surrounded by all things anime. There is time to do a little more shopping here if you wish. Your guide takes you back to your hotel using public transport including subway and local trains. Conrad Hotel Tokyo (B)
Day 4: Tokyo / Hakone
Today leave Tokyo behind as you journey to Hakone, the gateway to Mt. Fuji and the surrounding national park. Your guide assists you with forwarding your luggage to your destination before you set out together to Hakone. Explore the Hakone “Loop,” which can be done in clockwise or counter-clockwise. Your guide decides the best course depending on where you are staying, the season and how busy Hakone is at the time of your visit. The loop typically includes a journey to the Gora area to ride the Hakone Ropeway to the crater of the Owakudani Volcano, where you can try the tasty black eggs boiled in water bubbling up from within the volcano itself. Also included in the day’s arrangements is a cruise across Lake Ashi in a replica pirate ship. Throughout the day you have opportunities to catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji but be advised that the weather needs to be perfectly clear. Visibility is best from November to March. Your guide takes you to your accommodation at the day’s end and helps with check in before leaving you to enjoy the facilities at your ryokan or hotel. Indigo Hakone Gora (B)
Day 5: Kyoto
Today your driver meets you at your hotel and takes you to the train station by private car. From here, you take the bullet train to Kyoto, a must-see destination. This was Japan’s capital and the residence of the emperor from 794 until 1868. With 2,000 religious buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and associated architecture, it is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan. It boasts 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Kyoto represents the “Japan of old” and beyond the high-rise skyscrapers built as a monument to progress, the real monument to Japan’s historical and cultural past can be found in the city’s narrow alleyways where tea houses abound and kimono-clad geisha hurry from elegant function to function. Upon arrival in Kyoto, an English-speaking assistant welcomes you at the arrival platform and escorts you to your accommodation by private car. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Hyatt Regency Hotel Kyoto (B)
Day 6: Kyoto
Continue your investigation of anime and manga culture on this half-day tour as you visit some of the related venues around the historic city. First, head to the International Manga Museum, opened in 2006. It consists of three floors and a basement with its walls lined with shelves of manga. Browsing this massive collection of manga is one of the museum’s main attractions. A small section of the books is dedicated to foreign and translated manga, but the vast majority are in Japanese. The museum also focuses on both the adoption and development of manga internationally. In addition to its permanent collection, the Manga Museum also features temporary exhibitions during the year. The building, which now serves as the Manga Museum, was previously an elementary school with some relics of the former school on display.
Next, you head across town to the Kamogawa River. This iconic natural landmark and the surrounding buildings have appeared in numerous anime and manga over the years such as K-On! and Blue Exorcist. You walk down to Yasaka Shrine in Gion, which has appeared in anime The Eccentric Family and Bakemonogatari. The striking red façade of the shrine has also inspired many Japanese buildings in fantasy anime and manga over the years.
Finally, head across town to the Teramachi shopping arcade. As well as appearing in many anime and manga sets in Kyoto, it is home to a huge number of anime and manga-related shops. Enjoy looking through some of the shops before returning to your hotel. Hyatt Regency Hotel Kyoto (B)
Day 7: Kyoto
From dramatic power struggles that led to almost 200 years of civil war, to the oldest geisha district and its
beautifully preserved teahouses, northern Kyoto is rich in history and spectacular architecture. Although this
region is home to the most popular tourist site in Kyoto, The Golden Pavilion, many visitors overlook the
surrounding neighborhoods despite their remarkable charm and importance to the city. With your knowledgeable guide you’ll navigate cobblestone streets in neighborhoods that were established over a 1,000 years ago.
Kyoto is not only a city steeped in the past, but full of modern artisans, baristas, monks and college students working towards its future. Kinkakuji Temple is a favorite of millions of visitors each year, and you quickly see why this jewel set into the northern hills is one of the most visited sites in Japan. The temple formally served as the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and according to his will it became a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect after his death in 1408. A far cry from Buddhist austerity, its top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. It is photogenically vibrant at any time of year no matter the weather. Not just a “pretty face”, the story of the warlord who had this pavilion built will capture your imagination.
Kintano-tenmangu is a remarkable shrine to scholarship. It was built to appease the spirit of an angry
ghost. Buy a lucky pencil as local students do for their college entry exam. Marvel at the
surrounding entertainment district that was built literally on its austere bones after a fire in 1444. A large
section of the temple was rebuilt, and the remaining timber was used to construct seven tea houses that
became the first “flower town” or Geisha district in Kyoto. Kamishichiken is located in Kyoto’s Nishijin area, known for traditional hand-woven textiles. Hyatt Regency Hotel Kyoto (B)
Day 8: Kyoto / Tokyo
Today an English-speaking assistant meets you at your hotel and escorts you to the train station by
private car. From Kyoto station you take the bullet train to Tokyo. Upon arrival, an English-speaking assistant meets you at the arrival platform and takes you to your accommodation by private car.
Take a half-day tour of this fascinating city with a local guide. Visit to Asakusa, old town where you can soak in the atmosphere of the Tokyo of old. Take in Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple, and wander down Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries.
Travel across town to Omotesando and after exploring the ritzy flagship stores and spectacular architecture on the main boulevard, walk up to Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Conrad Hotel Tokyo (B)
Day 9: Tokyo / Depart
A private transfer takes you from your accommodation to the airport for your flight home. (B)
Land only, double occupancy: From USD 900.00 per person per day, double occupancy.