2023 - China & Japan (Girls, families and adults welcome)
Departure Date late June - Summer, 2023
Day 1: Fly to China
* Board your overnight flight to Beijing!
Day 2: Beijing
* Arrive in Beijing
Touch down in Beijing. It was in this city that Chairman Mao
proclaimed the People's Republic of China in 1949. Meet your
bilingual Tour Director, who will remain with you throughout your stay
in Beijing, then transfer to your hotel.
Day 3: Beijing
* Guided sightseeing of Beijing
Tour the Chinese capital, a treasure chest of imperial monuments,
with an expert local guide. See Tiananmen Square, the largest public
square in the world, and visit the Forbidden City, once accessible only
to the Emperor. Get a close-up look at the golden-roofed Imperial
Palace. Then visit the Summer Palace, a magnificent example of
China's classical garden architecture that was once divided into three
sections: one for court activities, one for imperial residence, and one
for sightseeing. End your visit at the Summer Palace with a ride
across Kunming Lake aboard a dragon boat! (Please note: dragon
boat ride is weather permitting)
* Peking duck dinner
Tonight you will be treated to the sumptuous dish that northern China
is famous for: Peking duck! During this special feast, learn about the
ritual preparation and savory side dishes that accompany this regional
Day 4: Beijing
* Visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China
Travel northeast to Mutianyu to view one of the wonders of the world:
the Great Wall of China. Its construction began in the 5th century B.C.
as a defense against the Mongols: 300,000 people labored on it over
several centuries. Today the wall extends across mountains and
valleys for more than 3,000 miles, but many argue that it is currently
only one-tenth of its original length! In fact, if one were to take all of
the stone used in the Great Wall's construction, one could build
another wall - 8 feet high - around the entire globe.
* Visit a tea house
You'll better understand the importance of tea in Chinese culture
when you visit a tea house. Not only for refreshment, Chinese tea
holds a place in medicine, art, and even literature. Inhale the earthy
aromas and experience the culture and custom surrounding this
ancient pastime as you are served a traditional tea.
* Acrobatics show
Witness a thrilling display by talented performers during tonight's
acrobatics show. For more than 2,000 years, Chinese acrobats have
been perfecting this unique form of performance art. Acrobatic
troupes continue to dazzle audiences with unusual feats of balance
and flexibility complemented by vibrant costumes, elaborate sets and
Day 5: Beijing
* Visit the Temple of Heaven
Built between 1406 and 1420, the complex of Taoist buildings that
make up the Temple of Heaven cover 273 hectares and represent the
pinnacle of Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture. In early morning
when the air is filled with the fragrance of old cypresses, the temple
grounds are full of people practicing a dozen or more forms of
exercise, from qigong to martial arts, opera singing to disco.
* Morning tai chi exercise
Start your day as the locals do: with a gentle series of stretching
exercises in a local park led by an experienced practitioner.
* Explore the Hongqiao Market
Located opposite the Temple of Heaven, this market is somewhat of
an institution in Beijing. Come here to find antiques, jewelry, clothes,
food, souvenirs, gifts, toys, shoes and more.
* Visit the Yonghe Lamasery Temple
Featuring a combination of Han and Tibetan architectural styles, the
Yonghe Lama Temple originally served as an imperial palace
beginning in the Qing Dynasty. The temple and monastery of Tibetan
Buddhism is currently home to about 70 Mongolian lamas, a Tibetan
title for venerated spiritual masters and similar to the Sanskrit title
“guru”. The temple is considered the largest and most perfectly
preserved lamasery in China.
* Explore Old Beijing with your Tour Director
Follow the Hutong, which were built around the Forbidden City during
the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, as you see where both the
aristocrats and others lived during these ancient times. You will stop
at the Drum Tower, which was built in 1272 during the Yuan Dynasty
and Prince Gong's Mansion. Built in 1777-1787, it was home to one
of Emperor Qianlong's favorite ministers.
* Calligraphy lesson
The word calligraphy comes from the Greek for “written beauty,” but
the Chinese name for calligraphy translates to “the way of writing.” In
China, calligraphy is full of fluidity and dynamic life, and is an
important and appreciated aspect of Chinese cultural arts.
* Dinner with a local Chinese family
This evening students will be split into small groups to join local
families in the Hutong area for dinner and get a glimpse into the daily
life of these families.
Day 6: Beijing | Osaka
* Fly to Osaka
Depart Beijing and fly to Osaka. Osaka is the third-largest city in
Japan and was once the nation's capital. Meet your Japanese Tour
Director at the airport then transfer into the city.
* Walking tour of Dotonbori Canal Street
Take a short walking tour through the heart of Osaka. The famed
Dotonbori district is a great place to experience the neon madness of
Japanese pop culture. (Time permitting, dependent on flight arrival)
Day 7: Osaka
* Take a day trip to Hiroshima
Enjoy traveling on Japan's super-efficient, super-fast shinkansen
bullet trains to Hiroshima. Remembered as the world's first victim of
an atomic bomb attack, Hiroshima today is a thriving and prosperous
city, with just a few stark reminders of that terrible day; August 6,
* Guided sightseeing of Hiroshima
First visit the Peace Memorial Park, and the A-Bomb dome. The
dome is what remains of the Industrial Promotion Hall after receiving a
near direct hit by the atomic bomb. The shell of the building was left
as a reminder of the tragedy. Peace Park is host to quite a few
memorials, including the cenotaph which contains the names of all
the known bomb victims and the Children's Peace Memorial. After,
visit the Memorial Museum. Reflect back on what a momentous
impact this event had on both Hiroshima and the rest of the world as
you make your way through exhibits explaining the history of the city
before the bomb, the lives of its citizens during the war, the
development and decision behind the use of this particular nuclear
weapon, and see firsthand the damages of the bomb through
pictures, artifacts, and personal effects of victims.
* Okonomiyaki dinner
Tonight enjoy a traditional Japanese meal in Hiroshima. Okonomiyaki
is a mix between pizza and pancake. Various ingredients such as
seafood, vegetables and meat can be mixed and placed as a topping.
After dinner, return to Osaka by train.
Day 8: Osaka | Kyoto
* Travel to Kyoto
Travel to Kyoto, home to imperial power in Japan for over 1,000
years. The city boasts over 2,000 temples and shrines, 3 palaces, 17
UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 24 museums, and 37 universities and
colleges making Kyoto the cultural, educational and religious center of
* Visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of several thousands of
shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. Inari is the Shinto god of rice,
and foxes are thought to be his messengers. Therefore, many fox
statues can be found at Inari shrines. Fushimi Inari Shrine is also
famous for its many torii gates, offerings by worshippers, which cover
the hiking trails of Inari-san, the mountain behind the shrine's main
* Zen meditation experience
Take a deep breath and relax during a guided meditation!
* Indigo dyeing experience
Take part in a traditional dyeing method known as roketsu. Choose
your textile, sketch your design and trace it with wax before you
submerge your textile in beautiful indigo dye. Be sure to leave room in
your suitcase because you'll bring your creation home! (Note: Large
groups may be split into smaller groups for this activity.)
Day 9: Kyoto
* Guided sightseeing of Kyoto
Begin your guided sightseeing of Kyoto at Kiyomizu Temple. Located
on Mount Otowa, Higashiyama-ku's most famous temple was
founded in 798 and reconstructed in 1633. Most visitors come to
marvel at its height which has become so famous in Japan that
"jumping from the veranda of Kiyomizu Temple" means that a person
is taking on some great and courageous adventure. After, visit
Kinkaku-ji, the famous gold-gilded temple, which was constructed in
1397. It is perhaps the most photographed attraction in Japan with its
gilded walls reflecting in the pond that surrounds it.
* Walking tour of Arashiyama
This afternoon, spend some time exploring the Arashiyama district in
Kyoto. You can see the Togetsukyo bridge which is a famous symbol
of the area and opt to explore the bamboo groves near Tenryuji
Temple. There are also cafes, restaurants and shops to explore.
Day 10: Kyoto | Hakone
* Travel to Hakone
Board a bullet train to Hakone, an alpine city known for its crater
lakes, botanical gardens, open-air museum and awe-inspiring views
of Mt. Fuji.
* Visit Hakone National Park
Today your group will visit the spectacular Hakone National Park. This
experience begins before you even step foot inside the park, with a
cruise across Lake Ashi! Once inside the park, ride a cable car up
Mount Komagatake and take in the spectacular views of Mt. Fuji.
Day 11: Hakone | Tokyo
* Travel to Tokyo
Drive north to the metropolis of Tokyo. Truly a modern marvel, Tokyo
was almost completely destroyed by air raids in World War II, only to
rebuild itself into one of the world's most prominent economic
centers. With a population of over 9.2 million in the city center itself,
Tokyo can be a bit overwhelming to the first-time visitor.
* Visit the Suginami Animation Museum
Learn and enjoy the art and history of Japanese animation at this
museum which has a collection of preserved and displayed original
pictures, cells and other anime related objects. Special exhibits of the
latest animations and a permanent exhibit of the Japanese animation
industry is contained here. After exploring the museum try your own
hand and drawing your own anime designs during a workshop.
* Attend a robot show
Prepare for an exciting evening with a Japanese cabaret show at the
Robot Restaurant in Tokyo's Kabukicho red-light district! Each show
features fun - and sometimes outrageous - performances full of
flashing lights, taiko drums and techno music. (Please note: Dinner is
not included at the restaurant)
Day 12: Tokyo
* Guided sightseeing of Tokyo
The sights, sounds and smells of the largest city in Japan come at
you from all directions, but your licensed local guide will put it all in
perspective. Begin with a visit to the Meiji Shinto Shrine and its
elaborate wooded Inner Garden. Pass through Harajaku, the trendy
district popular among the younger Tokyoites. Then visit the Imperial
Palace, residence of the Imperial family, with its gigantic stone walls, a
spacious plaza and a large garden open to the public. Finish your tour
in Asakusa, Tokyo's amusement center. The 7th-century Asakusa
Kannon Temple, dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, is a five-story
pagoda surrounded by shops, restaurants, theaters and cinemas.
* Enjoy a Sumo-style hot pot dinner
Learn about sumo, a Japanese style of wrestling and the country's
national sport, as you dine on a traditional sumo-style hot pot dinner.
Day 13: Tokyo
* Visit Tokyo Skytree
Opened in 2012, this tower in Tokyo acts as not only a tourist
destination but also a broadcast tower for this technologically
advanced country. Take a trip up to the observation deck 350m
(1150 feet) in the sky and marvel at the city below.
* Participate in a noodle or suushi making class & lunch
Join an experienced chef at a local restaurant to learn the art of sushi
making. Sushi making in Japan dates back to around the 9th century,
and the dish is considered one of the country's best-known foods.
You'll try your hand at crafting this well-known staple during your
cooking class, where you'll learn to make both sushi rolls and nigiri, a
Japanese dish that consists of seafood placed on top of rice. Then,
sit down to enjoy the sushi lunch you have created.
* Karaoke evening
Sing along with friends during a popular cultural night out in Japan:
karaoke night! Unlike in the US, karaoke in Japan typically takes place
in a private room with a small group. While English songs are always
available, this is a great opportunity to show off your Japanese skills
Day 14: Tokyo
* Explore Tokyo on your own
The day is yours to explore the frenetic streets of Tokyo's most
popular districts. The heart of Japan's pop-culture can be found
along the streets of Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Harajuku. Just stops away
from each other on the Yamanote subway line, they are some of the
best spots in Tokyo for people-watching. Some may choose to
organize a trip to Tokyo Disney for themselves!
Day 15: Depart for home
* Transfer to the airport for your return flight
Your Tour Director assists with your transfer to the airport, where
you'll check-in for your return flight home.
Itinerary is subject to change