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 known 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 your love of Japanese art and pop culture while learning the history behind it!
While the world has been changing, we have been exploring.
Price starts at 900 - 1100 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.
While The World Has Been Changing, We Have Been Exploring.
Day 1: Welcome to Japan (Flight booked by clients)
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 will take you to your accommodation. Please note car can accommodate up to max 2 big suitcases, let us know in advance if you have more. (Hotel Options – Deluxe / First Class)
Day 2: Tokyo Guide: 8 hours
Full Day Tokyo Ghibli Museum & Ghibli Pilgrimage Tour 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 of all, the Studio Ghibli Museum is whimsically designed in the distinct style of the studio’s films, and many of their famous characters are there, 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 which shows short movies by Studio Ghibli that are exclusive to the museum and are rotated monthly.
In the afternoon, you will visit a few sights in Tokyo relevant to the world of Studio Ghibli. First, you and your guide will hop across town to Shimo-Kitazawa. Although it has not appeared in any Ghibli films to date, the backstreets of this area will 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. If you are lucky, you might just meet her.
Next, hop back on the train across to Meguro, another suburb in Tokyo. You will head to Hotel Gajoen, whose ostentatious interior served as the inspiration for the bathhouse decor in Spirited Away (and particularly Yubaba’s office). You and your guide will 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 cafe. Afterwards, your guide will take you back to your hotel. Note: We can only give final confirmation of this tour on the 10th of the month preceding the date of the tour when museum tickets go on sale. Availability: Every day except Tuesdays : Start Time: Depending on museum availability :Public Transport: Subway and local trains (note the train to Mitaka is a local commuter train and it does not have reserved seating). Pick up: Hotel / Drop off: Hotel : (Hotel Options – Deluxe / First Class) Meals: Totoro Cream Puff
Day 3: Tokyo Guide: 8 hours
Full Day Tokyo Anime Pilgrimage Tour by Public Transport
Anime (Japanese animation) and manga (comics) are loved throughout the world and are just as important a piece of Japanese culture as more traditional arts is. On this full day tour a local guide will take you around to discover some real-life places that have appeared in anime in the past. There will also be some time to do a little shopping.
The first stop is Shibuya Scramble Crossing which has been featured in several popular anime over the years including hits like Tokyo Ghoul, Blood C and The Boy and The Beast. There will be time for you to explore the crossing at various angles, giving you the opportunity to feel as if you yourself are in an anime!
A short taxi hop across town will take you to Yotsuya Suga Shrine which was 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 and your guide can take a picture of you on the iconic staircase if you wish! You will notice that all the “ema” votive tablets hung at this shrine have lots of fan-drawn pictures of the characters from Your Name.
Next, you will 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 many shops that suit your interests. Let your guide know what interests you have, and they will take you to the shop in question.
Finally, visit the bustling streets of Akihabara, often described as the “Mecca” of anime and manga. Your guide will point out the Radio Kaikan building which was destroyed by a crash-landing time machine in the anime Steins: Gate. Afterwards, you’ll wander through the streets, surrounded by all things anime on all sides. There will be time to do a little more shopping here, too, if you wish. Your guide will take you back to your hotel at the end of the day. Public Transport: Subway and local trains. Pick up: Hotel/ Drop off: Hotel: (Hotel Options – Deluxe / First Class)
Day 4: Hakone Guide: 9 – 10 hours
Full Day Hakone Excursion from Tokyo and Ends in Hakone by Private Car
Today leave Tokyo behind as you journey to Hakone, the gateway to Mt. Fuji and the surrounding national park. Your local guide for the day will accompany you on the journey there. Your tour will end at your Hakone Accommodation.
Your guide will assist you with forwarding your luggage to your destination after Hakone (included in today’s cost). Then you will travel together to Hakone and will have the chance to explore the Hakone “Loop”. The loop can be done in clockwise or anti-clockwise order and your guide will decide the best course depending on where you are staying tonight, the season and how busy Hakone is when you visit. The loop typically includes a journey up to the Gora area to ride the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani volcano crater, 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. On clear weather days you may be able to see Mt. Fuji peeping over the mountains.
Your guide will take you to your accommodation at the day’s end and will help you to check in before leaving you to enjoy the facilities on hand at your ryokan or hotel.
Throughout the day you will have a chance at catching a glimpse of Mt. Fuji but be advised that she is a notoriously shy mountain, and the weather needs to be perfectly clear. Visibility is best from November to March. Notes: Please be advised that the order in which you visit attractions may depend on your Hakone accommodation and other conditions on the day. Private Car: Hired car with driver. Max 7 pax. Pick up: Tokyo hotel / Drop off: Hakone hotel (Hotel Options: Deluxe / First Class)
Day 5: Kyoto Travel to Kyoto by Train
This is a must-see destination in Japan. Kyoto is the nation’s former capital and was 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 and has 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.
Today your driver will meet you at your hotel and escort you to the train station by private car. From here you will take the bullet train to Kyoto. Upon arrival in Kyoto, an English-speaking assistant will meet you at the arrival platform and escort you to your accommodation by private car. (Hotel Options: Deluxe / First Class)
Day 6: Kyoto Guide: 5 hours
Half Day Kyoto Anime Pilgrimage Tour by Public Transport
Anime (Japanese animation) and manga (comics) are loved throughout the world and are just as important a piece of Japanese culture as more traditional arts is. On this half day tour, you will discover some anime and manga-related venues around the historic city.
First, you will head to the International Manga Museum. The Kyoto International Manga Museum was opened in November of 2006. It consists of three floors and a basement, and most of its walls are 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 on various themes. The building, which now acts as the Manga Museum, was previously an elementary school. Some relics of the former school are on display for visitors.
Next, you will 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 will walk down to Yasaka Shrine in Gion, which has appeared in anime The Eccentric Family and Bakemonogatari. The striking red facade of the shrine has also inspired many Japanese buildings in fantasy anime and manga over the years.
Finally, you will head across town to the Teramachi shopping arcade. As well as appearing in many anime and manga set in Kyoto, it is home to a huge number of anime and manga-related goods shops so your tour will end here with some shopping. Availability: Every day except Wednesday Public Transport – Low Season: Subway and local busses. Pick up: hotel / Drop off: None, tour disbands in the Teramachi area. : Public Transport – High Season: Taxi (due to busses being very crowded in high season). Pick up: hotel / Drop off: None, tour disbands in the Teramachi area. : Private Car: Hired car with driver. Max 7 pax. Pick up: hotel / Drop off: hotel (Hotel Options: Deluxe / First Class)
Day 7: Kyoto Guide: 4 – 5 hours
Half Day Kyoto Highlights Tour by Public Transport
Visit 2 of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites and a local market on this half day tour. Start with a visit to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. After his death it became a Buddhist Temple at his request and is now one of Kyoto’s most famous temples. Next is Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle that was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence and is surrounded by stunning surrounding gardens. The main building was completed in 1603, and is famous for its architecture, decorated sliding doors and ‘chirping’ nightingale floors. Finish the day with a visit to Nishiki Market. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, Nishiki is a narrow shopping street lined more than 100 shops, selling fresh seafood and vegetables, pickles, Japanese sweets and sushi. Note: Nijo Castle is closed on Tuesdays in January, July, August and December, and from December 26 to January 04. When it is closed, Ryoanji temple will be visited. Public Transport – Low Season: Subway and local busses. Pick up: hotel / Drop off: none (tour disbands in Nishiki area):Public Transport – High Season: Taxi (due to busses being very crowded in high season). Pick up: hotel / Drop off: none (tour disbands in Nishiki area) (Hotel Options: Deluxe / First Class)
Day 8: Kyoto / Tokyo Guide: 4 Hours
Travel back Kyoto to Tokyo by Train – Half Day Tokyo Highlights Tour by Public Transport – PM
Today an English-speaking assistant will meet you at your hotel and escort you to the train station by private car. From Kyoto station you will take the bullet train to Tokyo. Upon arrival, an English-speaking assistant will meet you at the arrival platform and escort you to your accommodation by private car.
Take a half day tour of this fascinating city with a local guide. The day begins with a visit to the outside Imperial Palace, home of Japan’s Imperial Family. Next is Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can soak in the atmosphere of the Tokyo of old. Visit 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 Meiji Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji and a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. Public Transport: Subway and local trains. Pick up: hotel / Drop off: none (tour disbands in Meiji Shrine): (Hotel Options: Deluxe / First Class)
Day 9: Depart Japan
A private transfer will take you from your accommodation to the departure airport.
Please note car can accommodate up to max 2 big suitcases, let us know in advance if you have more.
Land only, double occupancy: between $ 900 – $ 1100 per person / per day depending on the category of hotels used