Our first ever small group tour of Japan was our Shades of Autumn Tour 2017. This tour was a 14 day tour which ran from November 21st to December 4th, 2017. Two lovely ladies from Sydney, Australia joined the tour, and we had a wonderful time traveling through Japan taking in beautiful autumn foliage at some of Japan's most famous Buddhist temples, Shinto Shrines, and nature spots.
We began the tour by exploring Tokyo, taking in some amazing autumn scenery at Meiji Jingu Gaien, the Shinjuku National Garden, Meiji Shrine, Mt. Takao, and in the ancient capital city of Kamakura. While at Meiji Jingu Gaien we stumbled across an autumn food festival where we tried a variety of delicious street stall foods including roasted chestnuts and takoyaki (octopus balls). While in Tokyo we also experienced all the hustle and bustle that this huge city has to offer, including the scramble crossing in Shibuya, flashy Ginza, Harajuku, and Shinjuku.
After spending our first three days in Tokyo, we then traveled south by shinkansen to the historic city of Kurashiki. On the shinkansen ride south we were lucky enough to catch some amazing views of Mt. Fuji as we passed by. On the way to Kurashiki we stopped by Himeji to visit the magnificent Himeji Castle. This castle is widely considered to be the best castle in Japan, and it certainly lived up to this reputation. Once in Kurashiki we visited the Kurashiki Historical Quarter both at night and during the day.
Next we traveled to Hiroshima, where we visited the emotional Peace Memorial Museum, the A-bomb Dome, and the hypocenter. While in Hiroshima we also took a day trip to beautiful Miyajima Island where we explored the amazing Ituskushima Shrine, as well as the back streets where we saw traditional old houses and stores.
On our way back to Tokyo we spent three nights in the ancient capital of Kyoto. Here we visited some of the most famous places this wonderful city has to offer, including the Golden Pavilion, Arashiyama (bamboo forest), Nijo-jo Castle, and Kiyomizu-dera Temple. While in Kyoto we also enjoyed some delicious sushi at a traditional restaurant where all of the staff dressed in exquisite kimonos.
Our tour ended back in Tokyo where we experienced all the excitement of one of Japan's largest and most famous festivals, the Chichibu Night Festival. Not only did we get to see the magnificent floats and an amazing winter fireworks display, but we were also lucky enough to be taken behind the scenes and enjoy some drinks with one of the festival teams! While back in Tokyo we also visited the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, and did some knife shopping in Kappabashi.
We were blessed with fine sunny weather for most of the tour, with only some light rain on one morning. The timing of this tour means you can enjoy Japan when the weather is stable and when the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.
Please check out our Gallery Page to see photos and videos from the Shades of Autumn Tour 2017!
We look forward to seeing you on one of our fully escorted private or small group tours of Japan sometime soon!
A&C Tours Japan