Day One, Oct. 15: Depart New York’s JFK Airport to Tokyo.
Day Two, Oct. 16: TOKYO
Afternoon arrival in Tokyo, one of Asia’s most fascinating and dynamic cities. Transfer by bus to hotel, welcoming banquet dinner at hotel. Leisurely evening to relax after dinner.
Hotel: ANA Crowne Plaza Narita.
Day Three, Oct. 17: TOKYO
Get ready for a full day of seeing some of the most intriguing and fascinating highlights of Tokyo! Visit the Imperial Palace and stroll through the beautiful East Garden; enjoy one of the most spectacular views of Tokyo as you cruise down the Sumida River on the Tokyo Mizube Line; explore the lively old Edo District with its offerings of a huge variety of Japanese delicacies; and visit the famous Senso-ji temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most festive temple. Lunch will include popular Japanese Eel Rice, and dinner is Teppan barbecue (always delicious alternatives available throughout the trip for vegetarians).
Hotel: Rihga Royal Tokyo or Tokyo Dome.
Day Four, Oct. 18: TOKYO/KYOTO
We’ll be boarding the modern-marvel high-speed Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto, but before doing so you’ll have the chance to shop for your own bento box in a Depachika (uniquely Japanese department store basement market) – use our tour guide’s suggestions or choose any exciting culinary delights which might catch your attention. Upon arrival in Kyoto we’ll visit and tour Kinkakuji Temple, the icon of Kyoto known as the “Golden Pavilion” as it’s covered in gold. Tonight’s hotel is in a district that is well-known throughout Japan for its natural hot springs –you can relax in the soothing hot springs at the hotel or at a local spa of your choice.
Hotel: Biwako Hotel Or Biwako Grand Hotel (or same class).
Day Five, Oct. 19: KYOTO
We’ll visit the legendary Kiyomizu Temple for an authentic Zazen experience. Zazen is the sitting meditation unique to Zen Buddhism, in which the aim is to reach enlightenment. The temple also offers a magnificent birds eye view of Kyoto. Then you’ll get to see Arashiyama, a district full of temples and shrines but most famous for its flourishing bamboo forest that you can stroll through as you discover the alluring beauty of the surroundings. From there you can participate in a walking tour in Kyoto: one of the most enjoyable ways to experience Kyoto’s elegance is on foot. Join our guide to explore the quaint alleyways of Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka and appreciate historical neighborhoods and sites. Lunch is Kyoto regional dish, dinner is must-try Shabu Shabu hot pot (all you can eat)!
Hotel: Kyoto Otsu Prince or Hotel Royal Oak Otsu or same class.
Day Six, Oct. 20: NARA/OSAKA
Not far from Kyoto are the famous cities of Nara and Osaka, must-see destinations for anyone staying in Kyoto. You’ll visit Todaiji Temple, where you’ll stand in awe in the presence of one of Japan’s largest bronze Buddha statues – Daibutsu—and interact with temple deer; Osaka Castle Park to explore the largest castle in Japan filled with historical and cultural significance; Shinsaibashi, where we’ve built in free time so you may freely roam through Osaka’s largest shopping district and get to know the city at your own pace. For dinner, “eat till you drop” in the Dotonbori restaurant district, known as the “Kitchen of Japan.” Be sure to try local specialties such as Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, Hakozushi, and Kitsune Udon. Suggestions and maps will be provided to help you navigate the bustling district. Dinner will be free at leisure in the Dotonbori.
Hotel: ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka.
Day Seven, Oct. 21: KYOTO/SHANGHAI
We’ll fly from Japan to China, and upon arriving in Shanghai – the largest and most vibrant and modern city in a country full of large, vibrant, modern cities – we’ll see one of the top Chinese acrobatics show. After the show and dinner we’ll check in to the hotel.
Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Shanghai Hongqiao or similar class.
Day Eight, Oct. 22: SHANGHAI/NANJING
We’ll take a high-speed train in the morning to Nanjing, the ancient and historic southern capital of China. But don’t worry, we’ll be returning to Shanghai at the end of our tour and you’ll have plenty of time to explore more of Shanghai. Upon arrival in Nanjing we’ll visit the Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum which honors the modern father of China; the Confucius Temple; the Imperial Examination Museum; and then you’ll have time at your leisure to browse the nearby street market – street markets are common throughout Asia for lively shops, restaurants and food stalls for you to enjoy.
Hotel: Hilton Nanjing Riverside or similar class.
Day Nine, Oct. 23: NANJING/SUZHOU
In the morning visit the Niushou Mountain Forestal Park, with an astounding one-of-a-kind campus and park of modern temples, pagodas and more. In the afternoon, you will head to Li Gong Di Causeway in Suzhou. Suzhou is often called “the Venice of China” due to its picturesque water gardens and canals. Dinner is arranged with a special Suzhou water feast!
Hotel: Grand Metropark Hotel Suzhou or similar class.
Day Ten, Oct. 24: SUZHOU/SHANGHAI
In the morning Visit the Lingering Gardens, perhaps the most famous classical Chinese garden. After that, we’ll return to Shanghai to visit Xintiandi and Nanjin Road with their myriad quaint restaurants, shops and more. Then continue to visit the Shanghai World Financial Center Observation Deck — while wandering on the floor made of transparent glass,you can see the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower just in front and feel as if you are walking in the air above the roof of the Jin Mao Tower. Vehicles, pedestrians and even the whole city seem to be far away, down below.
Hotel: Pullman Shanghai Jing An or similar class.
Day Eleven, Oct. 25: SHANGHAI
There is so much to do in Shanghai, and you will have the entire day to choose on your own what you like: Take a boat tour along the famous Bund for a magnificent view of the old and new sides of the city; visit some of the world’s best museums; enjoy walking or bike tours through this cutting-edge city, visit local street markets; shop in world-class stores; or simply enjoy some of the best restaurants in the world.
Hotel: Pullman Shanghai Jing An or similar class.
Day Twelve, Oct. 26: SHANGHAI/DEPARTURE AIRPORT
After breakfast, transfer to airport for flight home to arrive on Oct 27. We hope you’ve made a lifetime of memories from your time in Asia!
Day Thirteen, Oct. 27: Arrival JFK, New York.
TOUR FARE: $4799 double occupancy (optional $1,075 single-room supplement)
Please note that depending on the final count of how many people join this tour, the international flight can vary up or down by $100 which will affect the total fare by that amount. Good news: If at least 26 people join this tour, the tour fare will be reduced by $200 per person (we have had more than 26 on each of our three previous tours, but we can never guarantee that will be the case on this one.)
1. All international sectors and China domestic air and other transportation.
2. Hotel accommodations as specified above.
3. Meals as specified above.
4. English-speaking tour guides.
5. All sightseeing and admission tickets.
1. U.S. domestic flight to and from JFK, if needed.
2. China visa application if you do not already have a 10-year visa – $215.00
3. Optional Cancellation Travel Protection. You can secure your own cancellation/medical insurance, or the agency can provide it. Price varies depending on your age.
4. Tour guides gratuity ($8 per day, payable directly to guides).
A deposit of $1000 per person is required for Sonic Travel & Tours to reserve your spot.