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A journey to the Land of the Rising Sun

  • 09/05/2020 - 09/17/2020
  • 13 Days
  • Starting price $6,495


From the vibrant contemporary architecture in Tokyo, to renowned temples and the captivating culture of Kyoto, experience the Land of the Rising Sun in all its wonder. Visits include the majestic Mt. Fuji; a traditional ryokan in Hakone to experience minimalist Japanese design; a bullet train ride to historic Takayama; the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawa-Go with traditional thatched-roof homes; Kanazawa - one of the best preserved cities of the Edo period; and finally, Kyoto, Japan’s Imperial Capital for a millennium and now the country’s cultural and artistic capital.


Max. guests - 24

Architectural highlights

  • Discover some of Tokyo’s most unique contemporary architecture on two walking tours in the Omotesando/Aoyama and Ginza districts.
  • Marvel at the Higashi Chaya District in Kanazawa with its historical row of teahouses and beautiful lattice homes.
  • Take in Takayama, and see a 16th-century castle, a beautifully preserved Old Town, and historic buildings dating to the Edo period of 1600 to 1868.
  • Enjoy Shirakawa-Go Gassho-zukuri Village, a UNESCO World Heritage site comprising traditional thatched-roof homes.
  • See the famed Meiji Jingu Shrine in Tokyo.
  • Tour Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto, the extravagant residence of the shoguns.
  • Enjoy a private cocktail reception at the 120-year-old Moyashi House, one of Kyoto’s perfectly preserved machiya houses.
  • Experience Japanese serenity and minimalism by staying in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn.


More highlights

  • Ride the famed bullet train en route to Takayama.
  • Visit the Tokyo National Museum, housing an extensive collection of art and antiquities from Japan.
  • Take in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, home to one of the most photographed sights in Japan: Mt. Fuji.
  • Enjoy the gallery of one of Japan’s preeminent calligraphers, Koshun Masunaga, and learn about this ancient art and browse the collection while in Tokyo.
  • In Takayama, take part in a cooking demonstration preparing your own meal with a local chef.
  • This trip qualifies for 23 AIA learning units (12 of which are HSW learning units).



  • Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo - Located in Shimbashi, this hotel provides great access to the main areas of Tokyo. It is the flagship hotel of the Hankyu-Hanshin-Daiichi Hotel Group, and prides itself on its luxuriousness and dignity. Enjoy its high-grade service cultivated since 1938.
  • Hakone Setsugetsuka (ryokan) - Hakone Setsugetsuka overlooks Mount Hakone and is a short walk to the Hakone Open Air Museum.  Keeping with tradition, this hotel houses large public indoor and outdoor hot spring baths to help relax your muscles and absorb the beautiful scenery.
  • Hida Hotel Plaza - Located right in the center of Takayama, many attractions are within a 15-minute walk from the hotel. Enjoy the mineral-rich hot spring, which comes from the building’s own source inside the hotel. 
  • Hotel Nikko Kanazawa - Nikko Kanazawa is conveniently located right in front of JR Kanazawa Train Station and features panoramic views, 8 dining options, and shops. Rooms are located above the 17th floor, offering beautiful views. 
  • The Thousand Kyoto - The Thousand Kyoto Hotel recently opened in January 2019.  This hotel features a chapel and garden. The rooms are modern, comfortable and feature a traditional, minimalist design.



  • 11 nights' accommodations in Deluxe, First Class hotels and 1 Night in a ryokan
  • 19 Meals: 11 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 6 dinners
  • An experienced Tour Director, in addition to the Architectural Adventures Educational Expert
  • Entrance fees for all included visits
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout the trip
  • Rail transportation as described
  • Gratuities for local guides, bus drivers, porters, airport, hotel and restaurant staff
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person


What to expect

  • Appropriate for people in good health with overall good mobility
  • Travelers should be comfortable participating in a full day of sightseeing
  • Activities range from light to moderate intensity at an easy pace, but with lengthy walks, sometimes on uneven terrain, and climbing on stairs



  • Land only price: $6,495 per person, based on double occupancy
  • Air-inclusive price:  $7,484 per person, based on double occupancy from Los Angeles ($7,095 air & land inclusive plus $389 airline taxes and fees). Air-inclusive pricing from other US departure cities available upon request.
  • $1,395 single supplement
  • A deposit of $500 per person, payable by credit card or check is required to reserve a space
  • Deposits are applied to the payment of the total price and the final payment is due by June 2, 2020


Not included

Airfare and air departure taxes and fees if purchasing a land-only package; passport/visa fees not specified; meals not specified in the itinerary; food and beverages not part of the included meals; personal items and expenses; gratuities to tour director, gratuities other than specified; travel and trip cancellation insurance; airline baggage fees and excess baggage fees; pre or post-tour extension; optional sightseeing; communication charges; other items not specifically mentioned in the itinerary or as included. 

Prices, itinerary, accommodations, and experts subject to change.


Architectural Adventures tours are managed by professional tour operators retained as independent contractors by The American Institute of Architects. To read Architectural Adventures full Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer visit To read the tour-specific terms and conditions from our tour operator Odysseys Unlimited visit



Begin your journey

Depart from your preferred airport for Tokyo, Japan.

Arrive in Tokyo

After arriving in Tokyo, Japan, transfer to the hotel and meet with the tour director. Today is at leisure.

Accommodations: Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo


The day begins with a welcome briefing on the journey ahead, followed by a city tour. The first stop is the gallery of preeminent calligrapher Koshun Masunaga to learn about this ancient art of artistic writing. Drive by the New Tokyo National Stadium designed by Kengo Kuma. Explore the famed Meiji Jingu Shrine, a peaceful enclave of temples and gardens dedicated to late 19th-century Emperor Meiji and his wife. The shrine was built in traditional Shinto style with low wooden buildings surrounded by square courtyards. Afterwards, see some of Tokyo’s most unique contemporary architecture during a walking tour on the prestigious Omotesando tree-lined boulevard. Drive by the Yoyogi National Stadium. Tonight, gather for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

From Kokyo to Ginza

Visit the Imperial Palace, surrounded by moats and ramparts, and home of the Imperial Family. Called Kokyo, the huge complex dates to the 15th century, when territorial disputes required massive fortifications and complex societal norms demanded elaborate palaces to reflect the high positions of the feudal lords. When completed, the Imperial Palace was the largest district in the world. Discover the East Gardens, part of the innermost circle of defense of the historic Edo Castle that once stood here. Next, experience Ginza, Tokyo’s famed shopping, dining, and entertainment district and partake in a walking tour to see more fascinating contemporary buildings by renowned architects. After an independent lunch, visit the Tokyo National Museum, housing an extensive collection of art and antiquities from Japan and other Asian countries. The evening is free for dinner with dining options abound.

Accommodations: Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo
Meals: Breakfast

Mt. Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park/Atami

Travel by motorcoach to Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, home to one of the most photographed sights in Japan, if not the world: Mt. Fuji. For a different perspective, visit Mt. Fuji World Heritage Center, Shizouka. The building was designed by Shigeru Ban, and shaped like an inverted cone or upside-down mountain, it evokes a harmonious balance with Mt. Fuji’s symmetrical peak. Continue to the town of Atami and the traditional ryokan lodgings for the night.

Please note: In addition to your one piece of checked luggage, you also will need to bring along a smaller, overnight carry-on bag with wheels for your overnight stay at the ryokan. This bag should have wheels as you will embark and disembark the train with it and take it through the stations. You will meet your original luggage upon arrival at the hotel in Takayama.

Accommodations: Hakone Setsugetsuka (ryokan)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Old town Takayama

Travel via bullet train and Wide View Hida express to the Hida Mountain town of Takayama, considered one of Japan’s most attractive settings with its 16th-century castle, a beautifully preserved Old Town, and historic buildings dating to the Edo period of 1600 to 1868. Enjoy an optional bento box lunch for the train ride and upon arrival in Takayama, experience a tea ceremony and learn the 12th century style of preparing tea.

Accommodations: Hida Hotel Plaza
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Life in Takayama

Enjoy a full-day tour of Takayama. Visit Takayama’s centuries-old Miyagawa Morning Market, where stalls selling everything from fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers to pickles, crafts, and fish line the streets leading to the river. While here, gather fresh ingredients to take to the next activity – a hands-on cooking class. Visit the Takayama Jinya, a former government outpost, and discover its long list of past uses. Enjoy a sake (a local rice wine liquor) brewery and taste the variations of this warm national beverage and learn about the unique traditional brewing methods. Head to the Old Takayama District comprised of three narrow streets in the San-machi-suji district.

Accommodations: Hida Hotel Plaza
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Shirakawa-Go Gassho-zukuri Village

Depart for Shirakawa-Go Gassho-zukuri Village, a UNESCO World Heritage site comprised of traditional thatched-roof homes. In addition to its status as a World Heritage site, the village also is a vibrant community whose residents work together to preserve the Gassho-style architectural style unique to this region: wooden houses with steep thatched roofs made to withstand heavy snow. Tour one of the residences that also presents this style of architecture, and the Ogimachi District – a cluster of 59 houses preserved to show how its inhabitants lived long ago. Depart to Kanazawa, known as the country’s best-preserved Edo-period city (along with Takayama). In Kanazawa, explore the Nomura Family Residence, part of the Nagamachi Samurai District. The Nomura house has a coffered ceiling made completely of Japanese cypress and fusuma-e (paintings on sliding door panels). The garden inside the home has a Japanese bayberry more than 400 years old and a meandering stream surrounded by ancient rocks.

Accommodations: Hotel Nikko Kanazawa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Explore Kanazawa

Walk through the Hakukokan Gold Leaf Center, a museum that celebrates the art and craft of gold leaf technology and a collection dating to the late 16th century. Visit the renowned Kenrokuen Garden, a national landmark whose origins date to 1676. Tour the facility of the Kutani Pottery Kiln and learn about the handmade process from the potter’s lathe to the paintings drawn on the pottery. Finally, visit the Higashi Chaya District and view the historical row of teahouses, beautiful lattice homes and journey through the maze of continuous alleys.

Accommodations: Hotel Nikko Kanazawa
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Kyoto, the Imperial Capital

Board a train for a two-hour journey south to Kyoto, Japan’s Imperial Capital for a millennium and now the country’s cultural and artistic capital. A true gem with more than 1,600 temples, hundreds of shrines, three imperial palaces, artful gardens, and well-preserved wooden architecture. Upon arrival, visit the Kinkakuji Temple or (also known as The Golden Pavilion), a Zen Buddhist temple and one of the most famous buildings in Japan. The lakeside Temple of the Golden Pavilion was originally constructed in the 14th century as a retirement villa and later converted to a temple. Burned to the ground by a fanatic in 1950, the temple has been entirely reconstructed following the original design including the three distinct styles of architecture – the shiden, samurai and zen - and is covered in gold leaf from Kanazawa all the way up to the upper floors. Visit Ryoan-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple, and see the site’s famous rock garden.

Accommodations: The Thousand Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Nijo-jo Castle

Discover Nijo-jo Castle, the extravagant residence and fortifications of the shoguns who ruled Japan for more than 250 years. Featuring imposing stone walls and deep moats, the castle has many interior security measures as well, including hidden rooms for the shogun’s bodyguards and nightingale floors which purposely squeak when stepped on to alert occupants of intruders. Then tour Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, a national historic site and place of scenic beauty. Finally, visit the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts and learn about Kyoto’s historic culture through its many crafts. This evening enjoy a special cocktail reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the 120-year-old, and recently renovated Moyashi House. This is a traditional machiya townhouse that contains both a workspace and home for the owners. Enjoy a tour of the house with a member of the house’s design office.

Accommodations: The Thousand Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast

Discover Kyoto

Begin the day with a visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, an important Shinto Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Visit Sanjyusangendo Hall, an important Buddhist temple housing 1,000 statues of the Thousand Armed Kannon deity. Venture to Nishiki Market renowned as the place to obtain many goods and crafts of Kyoto. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure with many options to choose from in this exciting city. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: The Thousand Kyoto
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Return Home

Depart Kyoto to transfer to the Kansai Airport in Osaka for your flight home.

Meals: Breakfast
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