Day 1/2  Honolulu – Kansai Airport – Kyoto

Our tour started smoothly.  Honolulu Airport TSA line wasn’t too long and both of our flights, JAL and Hawaiian departed on time.

At the Kansai Airport, long line at the Immigration counter. 1 hour!  On top of that JAL had arrived about 30 min. earlier than Hawaiian so it was the long wait for JAL using members. Thank you for your patience.


Day 3  Kyoto – Arashiyama – Nara – Kyoto

We met our wonderful guide, Ms. Mineko Dohata, and departed to our first sightseeing attraction, Sagano Sightseeing Tram ride.  The breath taking mountain and river view was seen from both sides of window.  We were entertained by a Japanese Oni, Goblin, on the board.





After the train ride, we strolled down the beautiful bamboo forests and the main street of Arashiyama.  In the afternoon we headed to Todaiji Temple in Nara to see Great Buddha and deer.

The Buddha statue was so huge that it was interesting to learn how it was built in the 8th century.  Some of us chose to feed deer in free time. They were cute but surely aggressive to eat crackers from our hands.   Hope you had fun, not a scary time!

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We came back to our hotel 30 min. earlier than expected.  Due to courtesy of Ms. Mineko and our fabulous bus driver, they dropped some of us at Gion to see Maiko, traditional entertainers in Kyoto.  They dress up in Kimono in the evening and come to Ochaya by taxi to entertain their prestigious guests. Ms. Mineko took us to narrow back streets to see if we can encounter some of them.  Our patience was rewarded and we saw several Maiko’s arrival! Here are some pictures Paparazzi Kat took.

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Day 4  Kyoto 

We had a full day to enjoy Kyoto with Ms. Mineko.  We departed our hotel a little earlier than 9:00am, thanks for being on time always, so arrived at Kodaiji shortly after 9:00am.  What a lucky group we were!  Tayu from Shimabara, the famous entertainment ward in Kyoto, just started walking on the red carpet. Two of them come to Kodaiji only once a year on October 6 to offer prayer to Nene, the founder of the temple, on her memorial day.


After enjoying beautiful Kodaiji, we headed north part of Gion to stroll down the old streets.  Then we moved to Nishiki Market to have lunch.

Our afternoon highlight was the visit to Golden Pavilion.  It was stunning to see how shinning it is!  It was crowded but truly a must to see temple.



Last visit was to Yatsuhashi making.  We all enjoyed to make this Kyoto sweets.

Our last dinner in Kyoto was Kaiseki style at Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen. Outstanding garden we enjoyed after lunch.

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Day 5  Kyoto – Hakone – Lake Kawaguchi

We took JR Super Express train, Shinkansen, to Odawara Station.  Its time schedule is so precisely on time so gives us only one minute for hopping on.  All aboard on time. Good job!

We met with our guide, Ms. Harumi Iwase at Odawara and  enjoyed walking along Lake Ashi and lunch.  It was a nice day so that we saw Mt. Fuji clearly from the bottom.  Mt. Fuji 5th station was nice too.  We saw Mt. Fuji closely and some autumn leaves.

Some of us enjoyed Onsen, hot spring at our hotel. I bet all of us enjoyed gorgeous Mt. Fuji view over Lake Kawaguchi.

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Day 6 Lake Kawaguchi – Tokyo 

We spent our morning at exciting FujiQ Highland Amusement Park.  Some of us enjoyed scary rides and some deviated to local super market to shop some more goodies.

Here we come, Tokyo.  We did more shopping at fashionable Harajuku and Omotesando.




Day 7  Tokyo

Free day in Tokyo.  Majority of us went together to Tsukiji Fish Market, Ginza and Ueno Ameyoko.  Sushi was soooo ONO at Tsukiji.  At the end of the day we felt comfortable to use SUICA card and hopping on and off the local train and subway.

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Day 8 Tokyo – Yokohama – Haneda International Airport – Honolulu

Our last day started late at 3:00pm after packing all of our souvenir into suitcases.  Sankeien Garden in Yokohama was huge as it used to be a private residence.  We were hit by rain storm in 5 min. at Chinatown but enjoyed its chaos with sound of drums and dancing dragons.  After having dinner and final shopping at Minato Mirai, we all headed to Haneda Airport to go home.

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Thank you for sharing such good time together.  See you again!

Posted by Kat Spear

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