JAPAN

Please visit JNTO adn view some videos "Japan Now" messages!

Have you checked www.gotokyo.org/ ?

Recent comments from our clients~~Thank you!

We want to thank you again for all your wonderful planning and organization for our trip to Japan.  You took such time to prepare every detail and we are most appreciative.  Whenever anyone asks for an excellent travel agent to organize a trip to Japan we will most definitely recommend your wonderful services. (E.O.  San Anselmo, CA  --- May 2014)

Your service was excellent ! Nobody can do the same. (P. J. St. Helena, CA --May 2014)

Just want to thank you so much.  Now I really feel like going to Japan ! (J. T. Los Angeles, CA--May 2014)

It was just amazing to see what you prepared for us!  Thank you so much! (J.J.  Mill Valley, CA--Mach 2014)

It was so nice to email you while we were in Tsukiji to let you know that you did wonderful job!
All of your information helped us so much ! (K. Y. Palo Alto, CA --Jan. 2014)

 

Japan Rail Pass : We can mail them to you!

Exchange rate: $1/116.63 JPY now~Nov.25 2014--It changes every Wednesday!

Ordinay
Today's Rate
Green
Today's Rate
7days
29,110 JPY
$250
38,880 JPY
$334
14days
46,390 JPY
$398
62,950 JPY
$540
21days
59,350 JPY
$509
81,870 JPY
$702

 

JUST RELEASED!

OCTOBER TOUR TO JAPAN

Japan’s Secret Path  of Mt. Koya, Kumano and Ise
Oct. 10 – 17, 2014 from USA
Oct. 11 – 17, 2014  join from Osaka

Here is your perfect chance  to visit, Mt. Koya, Kumano Road and Ise Shrine  named the Secret Path of Japan.  You stay at a real temple, hot springs and sleep in cozy lodges with ocean views.
Experience a serene morning chant, followed by a quiet mountain walk and then relax in a mountain hot springs.  Taste Japan’s famous temple vegan food and exquisite sea food from the coast of  Kii Peninsula. It will be the unforgettable trip that you have been waiting for.


Day 1 Oct. 10(Fri) leave US


Day 2 Oct. 11 (Sat) arrive

If you join the tour in Osaka, meet at 7:00pm at hotel
7:00pm Orientation-Stay overnight at hotel in Osaka.

Day 3 Oct. 12 (Sun) leave Osaka via Nankai train to Mt. Koya
Arrive at temple in Mt. Koya by noon.
An experienced English speaking guide will welcome you!
Visit Okunoin – world heritage site – the serene, quiet and yet divine setting surrounded by tall ancient cedar trees.
Enjoy especially prepared vegan dinner at the temple
Optional: Try a mediation shakyo writing classes
Stay overnight at Fudo-in Temple

Day 4 Oct. 13 (Mon) Mt. Koya – Kumano Kodo
Attend the early morning chant at the temple, then eat a specially prepared hot breakfast.
Visit the other side of Mt. Koya
After lunch, jump on a private charter mini- bus to Kumano Kodo
Travel through the breath-taking mountain road,  and arrive at Kawayu Onsen
Stay overnight at Fujiya Ryokan, Kawayu Onsen.

Day 5 Oct. 14 (Tue) Kumano Kodo walk
After breakfast, get on shuttle to Hosshinmon  Oji.
Walk on Kumano Kodo (3 hours)
Arrive at Kumano Hongu Taisha, visit Hongu Heritage Center, then stroll down Oyunohara  Path through the giant Torii Gateway.
Shuttle back to ryokan.
Stay over night at Fujiya Ryokan, Kawayu Onsen.

Day 6 Oct. 15(Wed) Kumano Kodo
After breakfast, drive to boat launch.
Traditional boat ride on Kumano River
This is a trip on a flat bottom wooden boat that sails down the river pilgrimage route to Kumano Hayatama Taisha
Visit Kumano Hayatama Taisha, then move on to Katsuura.
After lunch, visit Daimonzaka, walk to Kumano Kodo Daimonzaka.
Visit Kumano Nachi Taisha and Seiganto-ji Temple
View the Nachi Waterfall.
Take ferry to hotel.
Stay overnight at Hotel Nakanoshima

Day 7 Oct. 16 (Thu)  Kumano Kodo to Ise Shrine, then to Toba
After breakfast, take a ferry back to Pier.
Take train to Ise.
Upon arrival of Ise shi, visit  Ise Shrine, GEGU (Outer Shrine) first.
Lunch at local restaurant
Visit Niagu (Inner court Shrine)
Enjoy Okage Yokocho and browse unique shops right along Naigu.
Transfer to Toba.
Have dinner at Toba
Stay overnight at Toba Hotel

Day 8 Oct. 17 (Fri)  Toba to Kansai Airport or your next destination

After breakfast, the tour ends at Toba.
Transfer back to Toba, then head to Kansai Airport, or go on to Kyoto or Tokyo.

(We can arrange train, accommodation of airline from Toba to your next destination.)

Tour cost:
From Osaka to Toba  $2200 per person based on two people sharing one room
Single Extra: please inquire

LIMITED TO 10 people!!

Includes:
6 nights' accommodation :(Osaka- 1 night, Mt. Koya-1 night Kumano Kodo-,2 nights  Katsuura-1 night, Toba-1 night)
Meals: Daily breakfast, 3 lunches and 5 dinners
Private mini-bus charter and English speaking guide from Mt. Koya to Kumano Kodo
Traditional boat ride on Kumano River

 

 

 

Tsukiji's Tuna Auction 12/11/13

Tsukij iFish Market temporary closes to public observation area for Tsuna Auction during
December 2  - Jan. 18,2014.
Still, you can go to Fish Market Alley-Uogashi Yokocho and enjoy shopping and eating!
You can also go to Tsukiji Jogai-Shijo(Tsukiji Ourter Market), there are over 400 small shops and restaurants. But please aware that most of shops open early as 6:00am and close around 1:00pm

 

 

Tokyo Luxury Hotel   11/13/13

We just had a visit from Sales Representative from luxury hotel in Tokyo!

1)The Palace Hotelat Tokyo Station 
It is the re-born of historical Palace hotel right in front of Imperial Palace.
With the fabulous view of Imperial Palace, you may forget the busy schedule.
Some clients commented, " It is worth coming to Tokyo just to stay here"
While rack rate is from 49,000JPY, but we have a contracted rate of 33,000JPY

 

2)Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo(Formally under Four Seasons)
Within the 17 acre of private gardens, you can enjoy the luxury service at the reasonable cost.
You may forget that you are in city center of Tokyo.
While rack rate is from 47,300JPY , Class One Travel's contracted rate offers from 25,300JPY.

Tokyo Deluxe Hotel

3)Cerulean Tower Tokyuin Shibuya  
Right at the trendy Shibuya, the spacious room and lively city life
Promotion : 3 nights minimum stay: 23200JPY   or  14 days advance reservation of 26,100JPY

4) Hotel Okura
Well known and one of most traditional hotel in Tokyo offers spacious room for winter 2013.
Their amazing promotional rate is from 19,600JPY

JR RAIL PASS weekly rate
Today’s rate: $1/102.98 JP ---WOW!
Rate is good  between  12/4 ~12/10/2013

7ays Ordinary 28300JPY   ($275)    Green 37800JPY ($367)
14days Ordinary 45100JPY ($438)   Green 61200JPY ($594)
21days Ordinary 57700JPY ($560)    Green 79600JPY ($773)

Shibuya is so popular among HIP Hop FANS, fashion people among Young Generation!
Well, when I visited to Tokyo with 47 other travel agent from 10 other cities, we checked latest Shibuya~!
I thought SHIBUYA is too busy and too noisy, but I found it is very fun this time! Now we can introduce the beautiful Cerulean Tower hotel's promotional rate for this fall.
Now to September 13, they do have a promotional rate. It may extend!

Here is our just born “SHIBUYA PACKAGE”!
*4 nights at Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel’s City view room
*2 breakfasts (1 western style buffet, 1 traditional Japanese style)
*1 4-hours Tokyo city sightseeing with private English Speaking guide
*2 limousine bus tickets to Narita Airport or 1 taxi ride to HANEDA Airport

includes 2 hours private consultation before your visit!

 

 Will be $880 per person sharing one room with two!

NEW!

 

 

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Visiting KOYASAN ~We went to KOYASAN September 2011~Here is the report!

We sent many clients to KOYASAN (Mt. Koya), but I have never been there myself.
Recently, a music CD my friend gave me was called KOYASAN by Deuter; a nice painting at my cousin’s living room is also titled KOYASAN..so,  I thought ~maybe it is time to go! So, finally I went there this September.


Would I like to go back ?   Yes, yes, yes.
Here is what I think and I hope this information makes you feel like going too.

 

Do you remember when you go to Point Reyes; on the way, you go through a small grove of redwood trees?
There are Giant Cedar trees on both sides of the high way, clean air and a nice sweet breeze.  The Okunoin at Koyasan is just like that with old stone statues, over 1000 years old nestled deep inside a magic forest.
Koyasan is a major power spot in the temple town of Wakayama prefecture.  You can choose to stay among  117 temples that offer lodging.  There are no super markets, neon lights, nor entertainment centers like in Tokyo.
But there are places to rest your spirit in Koyasan.


Wake up early in the morning and join the temple’s morning sutra- sitting in the HONDO (temple’s main meditation area) and feel the vibration of the rhythmic priest’s chant.  It has a rhythm and certain tone that you will be able to  resonate with even if you don’t understand Japanese.  You remember fond memories and  your mind becomes quiet,  you are soon  filled with appreciation…. You also probably notice your legs have been asleep for a long time. (There are some chairs to use as well)
Your vegetarian breakfast was prepared with local vegetables and soy products.  Koya dofu~freeze dried tofu and Goma Dofu (Tofu made of Sesame seeds and Kuzu-roots a kind of potato) is famous from this area and is a staple temple food throughout  Japan.  After breakfast, you start your walk  or take a local bus to Daimon( The big gate). At the end of town, there is the huge red gate. This is the starting  point of Koyasan.   Off to the side, a path circles the town- NYONIN DO (Women’s road).  Historically, Koyasan  prohibited women from entering the village, but women could walk around  perimeter of the temple town through NYONINDO pass and they often did,  just to feel the energy emitting from the valley bellow. The Nyonindo was damaged by the typhoon and is hard to walk on now so we had to save this adventure for our next visit.   If you walk through the Daimon (Big Gate ) you soon arrive at Danjogaran.  The glowing red structure you see is a clear contrast  with  the natural wooden structure of Mieido Hall that shares the courtyard.
After walking  through Kongobuji Temple I  want to spend more time at  OKUNOIN. If you spend half of the day at Danjogaran and Kongobuji area you may want to have lunch before you head for Okunoin.


Okunoin is a 2Km long, a stone pavement pass with thousands of graves.  You will find the legendry famous shogun’s and swordsman’s grave such as ODA Nobunaga, TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi, DATE Masamune, AKECHI Mitsuhide, UESUGI Kenshin, TAKEDA Shingen, ISHIDA Mitsunari  and many more. Oh, Sugen-in (OGO) and Sen Hime’s  tomb, the largest of them all is also there.  The naturally preserved gravesites are surrounded with green moss and fern leaves, it was really beautiful.
You hear birds singing among the pass and the soft sunshine mixed with a fresh clear breeze helps your mind is getting quieter and quieter. Turning back the way you came you can hear bells ringing just like in the music KOYASAN by Deutur.
The book said that there are over  thousand souls sleeping in Okunoin, well I think those sprits have already reached  their universal destination. There is a serene sense of peace  among the quiet samurai.
If I can describe the color of the feeling, it is clear ~totally clear.
You can spend two to three hours easily wondering through the woods or even a whole day.   We took some side paths deeper into the wooded area and discovered more graves tucked away in cozy glens.  You are just drawn to these cleared out spaces, they bathe you in sunlight and warm your soul in a special way.  Walk back slowly to your temple lodging.  Enjoy an early bath and dinner, again a wonderful vegetarian feast.  The local sake was also a delight! We tried drinking the sake cold one night and hot the next night. There are some wild mushroom slices prepared like sashimi, tofu skin sushi, cooked turnips and  egg plants ~ those heartfelt meals were absolutely delicious.  


At night, you can take a class of SHAKYO where you sit and trace the Chinese characters of the  written chants on rice paper with a brush pen. The monk explained what this chant means and shows  you what to do. In the quiet room all you hear is your brush strokes on the thin rice paper.
What a peaceful moment!
You go to bed maybe by 10pm and wake up early again the next morning for the 6:00am sitting. During the night you hear nothing, just the moon shining bright on Koyasan.

 

How to get there:
From Tokyo, it will take about 5~6 hours including transfer and connecting time.
Tokyo ~ Shin Osaka by Bullet train (2hours 50min.)
Shin Osaka ~ Namba by subway (15min.)
Namba ~ Gokurakubashi by Nankai Rail road (2 hours)
Gokurakubashi ~ Koyasan by Cable car (5 min.)
Koyasan Station ~ temple by bus (5~10min.)

Useful information:
http://www.shukubo.jp/eng/
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/wakayama/koyasan.html

 

 

When you start planning to go to Japan, you should get excited!
What do you want to do?
Eat great Japanese food?
Visit amazing temples?
Or go to Akihabara Electronics Town or Animation Town?

What about Tokyo Shitamachi Bus?

If you want to go to Japan, let us arrange your trip~! It will be the one to remember forever!!

By the way, do you read CHRONICL SUNDAY PAPER?
Especially TRAVEL ISSUE?
There are THREE TOKYO SPECIALISTS whom the City of Tokyo REP. recommends.
WE are one of them!
It was on Nov.28th Sunday paper and will be again on Dec.5th Sunday paper, too!

Here is the Tokyo Stop Over package we recommand!

Looking for Business Class Discout fare to Japan? Please visit our airfare page.

 

Day 1

Arrive at Haneda or Narita Airport.
Private Airport transfer to your hotel.
The driver has your name and will be waiting for you at the arrival door with a sign.
Hotel Accommodations at: Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Your dinner location is depends on the time you arrive at the airport.

Day 2

Sightseeing Tour in Tokyo.
Take a taxi to Tsukiji Fish Market, the indoor commercial fish auction (5am ~ 6am) is limited by appointment. (taxi cost  from Mandarin  is about $20  )
(closed for visitors 12/1~1/10/2011)
Have your first breakfast at the Sushi Daiwa? You have to be ready to wait for 30~40min. to get in. If it is still early, taxi back to your hotel to fresh up.
Around 10am, leave your hotel for Tokyo Station where you can get on the Shitamachi Bus. This bus stops at a lot of very interesting places in downtown Tokyo. From Tokyo Station, the first stop you take is Akihabara (Electric Town). You can check out Japan’s latest electronics or cameras among over 100 shops.
After that, hop back on the Shitamachi Bus and get off at Kikuyabashi where you can walk through the Japanese kitchen-ware district where some of the best Japanese knives are sold.  You can walk through Kappa Bashi to Asakusa and visit Sensouji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo; have lunch nearby.  Get back on Shitamachi Bus to Kuramae and Oedo Tokyo Museum, or if it is a nice day, you could get on the FERRY boat and head to Hamarikyu Garden.
If you are tired out,  just go back to the hotel and enjoy a tasty Tapas Bar at the hotel

 

 

at the Shibuya Station

Day 3

Sightseeing tour in Tokyo
After breakfast hop on the train and get off at Harajuku Station. This place is famous for its young style & fashion. You can also visit MEIJI SHRINE. If you walk along the pebbled walkway all the way to the shrine, it is a very relaxing and meditative stroll.   Meiji Shrine is one of Japan’s most famous Shinto Shrines. It was built in 1915 originally.  After that if you are interested in seeing the Ukiyoe wood block Print collection go to the Ota Museum.  After spending one hour at the museum walk along Omete Sando Street., the most beautiful street in Tokyo. This street was influenced by the layout of Aix-en-Provence of France.  You can stroll around the designer shops or unique cafés and walk all the way up to Aoyama Street toward NEZU MUSEUM.  Even when you are right in the heart of the busy fashion district, you can find a quiet and serene spot to yourself at the NEZU MUSEUM and garden.  When you walk in the garden, you will see a pond with the boat and you feel like you are in the country side.   There are so many one of a kind and special restaurants around the Aoyama Area. You can take a break at YOKU MOKU for a nice cup of coffee or tea along with their famous sweets.
After the museum, you can hop on the Ginza Line subway to Shibuya.  Experience the busiest intersection in Tokyo and famous HACHIKO DOG Statute (from the movie HACHI) right at the station.  From Shibuya, you can take a taxi to Hiroo. (taxi cost $20) Have dinner at KIRAKU, Hiroo (03  3444-8971  need a reservation) where the master chef treats your taste buds to a traditional Japanese Kaiseki meal. The place has a modern interior and it’s reasonably priced.

For night life option-go to Azabujuban at the out skirts of Roppongi. Both places have good restaurants and bars and they are open till 2 or 3 am or some places opens till 6am. Try traditional Yakitori at ABE-CHAN or authentic Asian restaurants nearby. There are so many, you will not find any bad ones.  Also you can get a massage at a reasonable cost.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4

Sightseeing tour in Tokyo on your own
This day is free day for you

Book fans:  Go to Kanda furuhon machi(Second0had books Area). You may find very interesting books and prints there. Walk toward Ochanomizu and saunter through the musical instrument area.
Hot Springs:  Vast Ooedo Onsen Monogatari at Odaiba to relax at a hot spring theme park. Those of who do not have time to spend in the country side hot springs, just imagine you are there.  After the Onsen, you can drop by Palette Town for a variety of restaurants.
Ginza Window Shopping: Just walk along Ginza Street and see the store fronts, drop by Kyukyoudo for beautiful washi paper.  Between 1-chome/Ginza Street and Shimbashi, there are many signature shops and restaurants.   “Ginza” became the synonymous for the word for main street in many other cities in Japan.  You may visit IDEMITSU MUSEUM for the nice selection of Japanese arts.  Maybe stop by the Peninsula Hotel for an afternoon tea service with scones and sandwiches in traditional English style.

Student Town of Kichijoji:  If you want to see a more local spot, try visiting Kichijoji by JR line.  There are so many reasonable nice one and only shops and restaurants.  Take a short bus ride to Inokashira Koen-Park for nice walk.  You can try eating a local Soba shop right next to the park.  On the way back, drop by Shinjuku.

 

Tokyo Tower

 

 

Tokyo Stop Over Package Arrangement:

We do arrange everything for you including airport pick up and dinner reservations. Personal itinerary and private tours.

Our fee is only $75 per person for four days~day by day schedule.

 

 

Class One Travel's Luxury hotel categories are:

Super Luxury Hotel Category: Mandarin Oriental , Ritz Carlton

Luxury Category: Peninsula Hotel , Grand Hyatt,

Delux Category: Imperial Hotel, Hotel Okura

Superior Category: Tokyu Excell Hotels, Grand Pacific Le Daiba

 

Hotel Rate for May 23 ~ 29, 2011

Mandarin :42750JPY~,

Ritz Carlton: 45000JPY~

Peninsula 39000JPY

Grand Hyatt 37800JPY

Imperial 345000JPY

OKURA 24000JPY

Private guide? Day by day or entire trip itinerary? Please ask us.I

 

Japan and California Friendship Wine Tour ~November 2011

*Below is the Last Year's Tour sample. It was a small group and we had so much fun. We ate, walk, and laugh!.

We visited Kappabashi, Akihabara, Asakusa, Sumida River Boat Ride, Fuji TV, Kabuki, Ginza, Shibuya, Shirakawago, Takayama, Gero Hot Spring, Kyoto~~~We ate at fun Izakaya, Famous Kurosawa's shabushabu, Kyoto's traditional Kaiseki, Gekkeikan Sake Factroy, Nishiki Koji Food Market, ......so many wonderful places

Righ now, we are planning for 2011 tours, it will be even more fun.

 

I have been thinking that the two most beautiful times to visit to Japan is early April and the middle of November. In April, you may encounter the soft pink cherry blossoms everywhere and you see many people appreciating their intoxicating effect..

We put these special places together for you to enjoy in the big city like Tokyo and beautiful Kyoto.

On the top of it, we offer the Ise Jingu where is know as the Japan's Power spot . Many people visit and thank thier health. There is the street called "Okage-yokocho" , also visit Mt. Koya (TBA) that is known as one of UNESCO's World Heritage sites. We are looking farward to this temle stay.

We include a variety of accommodations from hotels, ryokan, temple and traditional Kyoto Town House.

This will be a great introduction for you to experience and enjyo old culture and new trends.

The number of tour members is limited to 10 people and we will lead this tour!

We hope you can join us on this fabuous tour!

 

Class One Travel's World Heritage tour to Japan

 

Day 1

 

Leave San Francisco for 11 hours flight.

Dinner will be served 2 hours after departure and

breakfast will be served two hours prior to landing.

Enjoy your own TV at your seat.

On Board

Day 2

 

 

Arrive at Haneda or Narita Airport around early evening

Take an airport shuttle bus to Tokyo (90min.)

Arrival time at the hotel will be around 7:00pm

How about dinner at Japanese style pub "Izakaya"

TOKYO

Day 3

 

Breakfast at your hotel

Explore City of Tokyo with a private guide

Japan's downtown Tokyo~Asakusa, Kappabashi~

Enjoy Sushi for lunch and walk around Shitamachi

That night: Dinner at Kurosawa, they serve the famous movie director, Kurosawa's favorite food.

TOKYO

Day 4

 

Breakfast at your hotel

~Planning special tour~to be announced later

Surprise!

TOKYO

Day 5

 

Breakfast at your hotel

Leave Tokyo to Ise via Nagoya

Ise Jingu: TBA

 

Ise Jingu

Day 6

 

Enjoy Japanese style breakfast at minshuku

After breakfast, we move to Mt. Koya~World Heritage of Japan

after checking at the temple, you walk around, or meditate or go around other temples.

Enjoy specially made Vegitarian Temple food.

Mt. Koya

Day 7

 

Enjoy Japanese style breakfast at temple

Leave Mt. Koya for Kyoto

You will enjoy the beautifu cherry blossom of the ancient City of Kyoto. Your accommodation's will be at a traditional town house ~Machiya.

KYOTO

Day 8

 

Explore Kyoto with a private guide

We charter mini bus to go around the golden pavilion, Ryoanji Stone garden, drop by Sagano, the to Kiyomizu Temple.

or Visit Kyoto's famous sake brewery in Fushimi Area.

Nice walk from Ginkakuji Temple to Kiyomizu Via Philosophers Road

KYOTO

Day 9

 

Free time in Kyoto

Visit Traditional Nishijin Obi district

*Optional tour: visit Miho Museume or Kurashiki*

KYOTO

Day 10

 

Leave Kyoto around 2pm via the super speed bullet train. Arrive at Tokyo around 5pm.

Enjoy the last night of trip in Tokyo

TOKYO

Day 9

 

Breakfast at your hotel

Leave Narita for 8 hours flight home.

morning: Arrive at San Francisco.

(For Haneda departure, you have a Full day in Tokyo.

Visit Oedo Onsen Hot Springs?)

Home sweet home

Land Tour Cost includes:$3089 per person , based on two people sharing one room

Group size: up to 10 people.

(airfare not included)

Transportation between Airports and nearby cities. Train tickets.

Special Walking tours in Tokyo and Kyoto. Special visit to sake brewers in Kyoto.

Hotel accommodations :Tokyo 4 nights/Ise Jingu 1 night/Mt.Koya Temple 1 night/Kyoto 3 nights.

Meals: 6 breakfasts and 2 dinners.

Travel Assistance from Class One Travel through the entire stay in Japan

**Suggested Roundtrip airline ticket: from West Coast to Japan on Japan Airlines. Premium Economy Class on out baound and regular economy class on return flight is about $1350.**

 

Call us now! (415) 788-6121 or email to us to info@classonetravel.com

 

 

Here are valuable tips when visiting Japan.

japan photo

I am sure this page will inspire you to plan your adventure in Japan.

MarkTokyo Condominium Stay

condominium photocondominium photocondominium photo

Day 1 From US to Japan
Day 2 Arrive at Narita, take an airport shuttle bus to these nice condominiums at Minami Aoyama, Roppongi, Azabu Juban.
Day3~7 Condominium Stay
Day 8 Leave Narita to return back to the US
Cost:
per person sharing one condo unit
$1,437 LOW SEASON
$2,060 HIGH SEASON
Includes:
roundtrip airfare from West Coast to Tokyo/Narita, 6 nights condominium stay

These modernly furnished condominiums are located 5 to 7 minutes from the nearest train station. Choose from a variety of layouts: some units come with spacious living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms. You can also cook up a great meal in your fully equipped kitchen. Of course, you can always enjoy all kinds of restaurants and bars nearby. You can really feel like you are living in Tokyo!

 

MarkTokyo Hotel Stay

 

MarkKyoto

It is the city of treasures and you never get tired of its magic.

Maiko photo

Day 1 From US to Japan
Day 2 Arrive at Kansai Airport. Take an airport shuttle or Train "Haruka" to Kyoto. Hotel Stay
Day 3 You can enjoy a sightseeing bus to Sanzenin Temple or Jakkouin Temple. Hotel Stay
Day 4 From Ginkakuji Temple to Kiyomizu Temple stroll among pottery shops. Hotel Stay
Day 5 Spend a relaxing day at Arashiyama, check-in to a Japanese inn before dinner Japanese Inn Stay
Day 6 Spend all day in Kyoto as you please. Japanese Inn Stay
Day 7 Leave Kansai Airport to return back to the US
Cost:
$1,750 LOW SEASON
$2,020 HIGHT SEASON
Includes:
roundtrip airfare from West Coast to Kansai/Osaka, 5 nights stay (Hotel: 3 nights/Japanese Inn 2 nights)

MarkNaoshima and beyond

Can you imagine staying in a museum? The island itself is a museum.
The museum is in Kagawa Prefecture, at Naoshima Island in Shikoku, 40 minutes from Takamatsu Port and 20 minutes from Uno, just a ferry ride to Naoshima Island.
A land filled with art. While you stay and enjoy all different kinds of art including the Art House Project.
The renowned Isamu Noguchi Museum (stone carving master) in Takamatsu.
If you wish, there are hidden secluded Hot Springs in Iya Gorge.
Why not experience a totally different visit to Japan for your next trip?

Day 1 US to Japan
Day 2 Arrive at Kansai Airport, shuttle bus to Takamatsu, Shikoku Takamatsu-Hotel Stay
Day 3 Visit Isamu Noguchi Museum, Ritsurin Park, Kotohira Takamatsu-Hotel Stay
Day 4 Takamatsu to Awa Ikeda, Hidden Hot Spring Iya Onsen Iya Onsen Hotel Stay (Japanese style room)
Day 5 Oboke, Kazura Bridge Iya Onsen Hotel Stay (Japanese style room)
Day 6 Awa Ikeda to Takamatsu, then take a ferry ride to Naoshima Naoshima Benesse House
Day 7 Enjoy the island of art Naoshima Benesse House
Day 8 Naoshima to Takamatsu, then to Kansai Airport, leave Japan to return back to the US
Cost:
$1,870 LOW SEASON
$2,100 HIGH SEASON
Includes:
roundtrip airfare from West Coast to Kansai/Osaka, 6 nights stay (Hotel: 4 nights/Japanese Inn 2 nights)

MarkTravel Essay

From 5 to 50 a reflective look into the past and present Japan.

Japan 45 years ago had much less presence here in the U.S. No, Toyota Hybrids, Lexus luxury cars, Makita drills, walkmans or sushi on the cafeteria menu. Back then Japan was different place, in a different era, a different world for a little five year old from El Cerrito CA. I have lived in Japan and traveled there over the years countless times and this is a story of three views of Japan to show you how Japan has changed in a thousand ways and what hasn’t changed for a thousand years.

At five, I lived near a creek in the El Cerrito hills. There were plenty of frogs and minnows in the fresh water and we would spend all day catching them and taking them home as pets. I was surprised that there were even more frogs in Japan when I first visited Tokyo. Frogs leaping all over the street and gardens right in the middle of Wakabayashi-Setagaya in Tokyo, my grandfather’s home that was within a few miles from the heart of the big city. It was hot and humid, a summer of incredibly loud and amazing chirping "semi" cicadas’. What else do I remember beautiful gardens, nice cool Calpis drinks and lots of neat toys made of metal in the shapes of sparkling space guns and airplanes. I wore shorts probably the whole time I was there. At five, it seemed Japan was a land of contrast. How could so many bugs and creatures live around so many people in the city. How could they surviving?, I thought.

Japan twenty years later was a completely changed world from a kid’s point of view. When I visited the house in which my grandfather lived I noticed the frogs were gone and so was my grandfather. It was summer again, hot and humid, but only the Semi’s cicadas loud chirping could be heard. They somehow seemed sad and alone without the harmony of the frogs, calling out only to themselves now. Well, who has time for frogs anyway, when you are twenty-five and running around Tokyo loose and fancy free and the yen in 1981 is trading at 221 yen to the dollar. One dollar went a long ways back then.

From the U.S. perspective, this is what was happening in 1981. Iran frees 52 American hostages, Pope John Paul II wounded by gunman, President Ronald Reagan wounded by gunman, Oakland beats Philadelphia in the Superbowl, Raiders of the Lost Ark is released and Christopher Cross is singing “Sailing” on the FM dial.

What’s happening in Japan? At twenty five, you start appreciating all of the ancient art, the temples, well swept streets, safe walks at night wherever you are, great food, and tasty beer. Oh yeah, and sushi to write home about. Remember 221 yen to the dollar! However, being on a tight budget I couldn’t completely paint the town, but there was still plenty of partying and bar hoping into the wee hours of the night.

Now at 50, I visited Japan once again and it still holds onto the mysteries of the past. Temples in and around Tokyo have been incredibly preserved, and yet a bit harder to find, but when you do they are even more shocking to see peeking out between modern concrete designs. The food is even better, or maybe now food over disco I prefer and seek out the gastronomic delights that both city and country side have to offer. There is still sushi to write home about, but also about every kind of Japanese and international food available, and this is just in the amazing department store basement food bazaars! Did I mention bar hoping in Roppongi? That’s still fun, but watch your budget the yen is down to 123 per dollar.

So what still amazes me in Japan now? Just about everything… It’s a mix of old and older and new and newer. You can see a tea ceremony sensei riding the train with punk rockers, ultra modern sky scrapers being kept clean with guys using simple bamboo brooms. The Japanese made electronic goods are also available on the market about six months ahead of whatever is available here in the states. In summary, Japan is a place that keeps changing and yet remains the same, except for the frogs…..Ribbit. Where have all the frogs gone? Back in the U.S. they have made a come back in the El Cerrito park the last time I visited. There are probably a few left in Tokyo if you know where to look. (By RKT)