Day 1/2 Honolulu – Kansai Airport
We arrived at the Kansai Airport smoothly and the line at Immigration wasn’t long at all for a change. We met our English tour guide, Makoto Fukuda, at the arrival exit. He would be our guide till we get to Tokyo on Day 9. Since we arrived in Kyoto around 8pm, most of us were able to eat at restaurants near Kyoto Station or Aeon Mall. Great start!
Day 3 Kyoto – Arashiyama – Hotel – Dinner – Hotel
Our day started with “Sagano Sightseeing Tram” ride from Arashiyama to Kameoka. We saw many beautiful colored leaves from the windows! Then we strolled down the main street of Arashiyama and the famous bamboo forests. After lunch there, we visited Nishiki Market where there was plenty of Japanese food to try. Yummy! Then, we moved to Gion District where Japanese traditional entertainers, Maiko and Geiko, still live and work.
After a short break at our hotel, we departed for dinner at “Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen”. There were such beautiful autumn-themed appetizers! Also, the Japanese garden was breath taking! The last place and the highlight of the day was a visit to Kodaiji Temple. The reflection of lighted up autumn leaves on the pond left us all speechless.
Day 4 Kyoto – Nagoya – Gujo Hachiman – Takayama
We enjoyed 2 cities today. First, we left Kyoto to Nagoya by a bullet train and visited Nagoya Castle. Then we moved to Gujo Hachiman. Thanks to Makoto, we were able to stroll down small alleys, see an old water system by the river, local shops, temples, etc. Gujo Hachiman is a nostalgic small town that we all enjoyed visiting. Food sample making was fun to do. It looks easy but it is hard to make it nice. Ours turned out to be great, didn’t they? We arrived at Takayama in the early evening. Some stayed at our hotel and enjoyed their food and Onsen, while others went out to the town of Takayama to enjoy Hida Beef.
Day5 Takayama – Kanazawa
Takayama has a lot to offer. We enjoyed its famous Yatai Kaikan, Morning Market, Takayama Jinya and various Old Town shops. In the afternoon we visited the World Heritage site Shirakawa-go Village. How idyllic the village was! Just like a postcard. Not only was the architecture of the Wada House interesting, but so was the family that still up keeps it today. After seeing Shirakawago, the group headed to the popular town by Japan Sea, Kanazawa. We all visited the local small restaurants on the streets to eat. Did you enjoy your meal?
The fun in Kanazawa started with the Kenrokuen Garden. Astonishing!! We got to see the Nomura Family Residence and its neighborhood sweet shops, Nagamachi Bukeyashiki, Gold Leaf Shop, and Kaga Yuzen Dyeing. Some showed their artistic talents, and others…ahhhh…I must say we all enjoyed painting!
Day 7 Kanazawa – Kurobe – Matsumoto
Today is the big day of this trip. We are taking 6 different forms of public transportation starting from Tateyama Station, 475 m high, to go up to Tateyama, 2,450 m, and then down to Kurobe Dam, 1,455 m. We saw snow at Murodo around the lake. Yaah! Thank you for being patient waiting for each transportation while surrounded by a lot of tourists. It became rainy at the dam. Didn’t we all feel so relaxed to be back in our own bus after a long day.
Day 8 Matsumoto – Lake Kawaguchi
After enjoying our cute hotel, the Buena Vista Matsumoto, we checked out and headed to Matsumoto Castle. It’s smaller than Nagoya Castle, but surely possesses the original beauty. We all made the steep steps without shoes. Amazing! Pure water runs through Daio Wasabi Farm which was very peaceful and we enjoyed our lunch there. Beautiful autumn leaves greeted us at Sosenkyo Gorge. We arrived at Kaze no Terrace Kukuna which is by Lake Kawaguchi. What an amazing view of Mt. Fuji from our hotel!! Dinner party was fun. We discovered Makoto is a quite good singer and Kat….did her best!! Thank you for Norman and Susan teaching us Electric Slide, also Alice sharing her Okinawan Dance.
Day 9 Lake Kawaguchi – Tokyo
It was a perfect morning to stroll along the lake or taking a morning bath at the Onsen because of the gorgeous view of Mt. Fuji. Some of us were lucky enough to see the reflection of Mr. Fuji on the lake, Sakasa Fuji (upside down Fuji) early in the morning. All of us were astonished by the charm of the Kubota Ichiku Museum, which is small but artistic, and the one of a kind Kimono exhibition.
Katsunuma Winery and grape picking followed after eating Hoto noodles for lunch. From here, we went to Tokyo, our final destination.
Day 10 Tokyo – Narita Airport – Honolulu
It was a free day. Majority of us visited the Tsukiji Fish Market, walked to Ginza, and ended up at Tokyo Station. There is so much to see and buy. We kept buying Omiyage in town, later at Aeon shopping mall and at the Narita Airport. Hope you didn’t forget to cover anything and your shopping mission was successfully completed because we shopped pretty good on the last day!
Posted by Kat Spear
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