Insider's Japan - Registration Closed
Experience Tokyo’s ancient Shinto Meiji Shrine and modern Ginza district. Visit Mt. Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and spend the night at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. Explore Takayama’s ancient streets and Kanazawa’s famed Kenrokuen Gardens. Attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and embark on a cycling tour through the grounds of Kyoto’s Imperial Palace. Optional Hiroshima post-tour extension.
Depart your home for Tokyo, Japan.
Upon arrival in Japan’s capital, we transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary, we have no scheduled activities or meals planned. Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo
After a briefing about the journey ahead, we set out to discover some of this amazing city that covers a staggering 840 miles. Our sightseeing features the Meiji Shrine, a peaceful enclave of Shinto temples and gardens. We also visit the gallery of preeminent calligrapher Koshun Masunaga, where we learn about this ancient art. Our tour ends in Ginza, Tokyo’s famed shopping, dining, and entertainment district, where we can explore as we wish with an afternoon at leisure. Either today or tomorrow we will enjoy a briefing at the U.S. Embassy before our welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo (B,D)
Our tour of Tokyo continues this morning at the Imperial Palace, surrounded by moats and ramparts and home of the Imperial Family. Here we visit the East Gardens, part of historic Edo Castle’s circle of defense. We continue on to the Buddhist Asakusa Kannon, Tokyo’s oldest temple (c. 645 ce), and the Nakamise shopping arcade, dating to the 17th century. Last, we visit the Tokyo National Museum, housing an extensive collection of art and antiquities. This afternoon is free for independent exploration; lunch and dinner are on our own with endless dining options. Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo (B)
Japan’s pastoral side is on tap as we leave Tokyo for Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Here sits imposing Mt. Fuji, a dormant volcano with a perfectly symmetrical cone that rises to 12,388 feet. The mountain’s majesty is breathtaking, as artists and writers have attested for centuries. Weather permitting, we’ll enjoy breathtaking panoramic views; then we descend for a relaxing cruise on scenic Ashi Lake. Then we travel to Hakone where we spend the night at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn where we take off our shoes upon entering, enjoy a Japanese-style Kaiseki dinner, and sleep on a futon.
Susukinohara Ichi-no-yu (ryokan) (B,D)
Today we travel first by bullet train then by Wide View Hida express train to lovely Takayama in the Japanese Alps, considered one of the country’s most attractive towns. Our explorations center on three narrow streets in the San-machi-suji district where merchants lived amidst the authentically preserved small inns, teahouses, and sake breweries. This afternoon we attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, an historic ritual of form, grace, and spirituality. Takayama Green Hotel (B,D)
We pay an early visit to the riverside Miyagawa Morning Market, a blaze of dazzling colors. Here we meet a local chef to gather ingredients for the lunch we will prepare together. After enjoying the fruits of our labors, we embark on a walking tour, visiting Takayama Jinya, an historic government house; the local sake brewery; and Takayama’s old town, whose well-preserved buildings and homes date to the Edo Period (1600–1868). Takayama Green Hotel (B,L)
We leave Takayama this morning for the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago Gassho-zukuri Village. Comprising buildings relocated from villages nearby that were razed for a dam, the village is also a vibrant community whose residents work together to preserve the unique traditional architecture known as Gassho style. Late this afternoon we reach the castle town of Kanazawa, an alluring coastal city that survived the ravages of World War II. Hotel Nikko Kanazawa (B,L)
Today’s tour of this culturally rich city features renowned Kenrokuen Garden, a national landmark dating to 1676. We also see Ishikawa Gate, the only remaining section of the town’s original castle; Hakukokan, a gold leaf museum; and the Higashi Chayagai teahouse and geisha area. Last, we visit the Kutani Kosen Kiln, where artists fashion the prized, highly decorated pottery. We dine tonight at a local Japanese restaurant. Hotel Nikko Kanazawa (B,D)
We depart this morning by train for Kyoto, formerly Japan’s Imperial Capital and now the country’s cultural and artistic center, with more than 1,600 temples, hundreds of shrines, artful gardens, and historic architecture. Upon arrival, we visit Kinkaku-ji, the beloved lakeside Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Next: Ryoanji, a Zen Buddhist temple whose acclaimed dry garden epitomizes the simplicity of Zen meditation.
The Thousand Kyoto (B,D)
More of Kyoto is on tap today, beginning with a visit to the otherworldly Arashiyama Bamboo Grove; the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts (Fureaikan), showcasing all of Kyoto’s 74 different métiers in one place; and Nijo-jo Castle (c. 1603), the extravagant residence and fortifications of the shoguns who ruled Japan for more than 250 years. Then the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration in this traditional yet modern city
The Thousand Kyoto (B)
We continue our encounter with Kyoto today, first at the important Fushimi Inari shrine, with its trails straddled by red torii gates; Sanjyu-sangendo Hall (c. 1266), an important Buddhist temple housing 1,000 statues of the Thousand-Armed-Kannon deity; and Nishiki Market, “Kyoto’s Kitchen” of restaurants, stores, and stalls selling everything food-related. Then this afternoon is at leisure; tonight, we toast our adventure at a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. The Thousand Kyoto (B,D)
This morning we travel by motorcoach to Osaka, where we board our return flight to the United States. (B)
Cost and Details
San Francisco, Seattle, Portland: $7,984
Los Angeles: $7,684
Chicago, Denver: $8,184
Please call if your city is not listed. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $689, which are subject to change until final payment is made. All tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.
Land Only: $6,495 (transfers not included)
Single Room Supplement: $1,695
Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Pacific flight:
Business Class - $4,695 per person from Los Angles and $5,495 from San Francisco (upgrades are subject to availability and pricing is subject to change). Upgrade prices are in addition to the costs above. Please inquire if your city isn't listed.
Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; 11 nights accommodations: 10 nights in Deluxe and First Class hotels; 1 night in traditional Japanese ryokan; 19 meals: 11 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 6 dinners; Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Educational lectures; Commonwealth Club representative at 15 guests; Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip; Rail transportation as described; Luggage handling for one bag per person; Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
Airfare when purchasing a Land Only package; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package; communication charges; optional sightseeing; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per traveler, per day); and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline(s) prior to departure.
Hiroshima: City of Peace
Cost: $1,095, per person, based on double occupancy
Single room supplement: $155
Rail transportation Kyoto/Hiroshima; Hiroshima/Osaka; 2 nights’ accommodations at Hotel Granvia Hiroshima (First Class); 3 meals: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch; Extensive included sightseeing: excursion to Miyajima Island and Itsukushima Shrine; Hiroshima touring by local “Hiroden” train; visit Peace Memorial Park and Museum; Atomic Bomb Dome; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Gratuities for dining room servers, hotel porters, and all drivers
This is a moderately active tour and participants must be able to keep up with an active group of travelers. For the safety and enjoyment of each participant and the group, participants must be able to:
• Walk on average 2-3 miles at a steady pace. On this tour, guests will be walking in cities and towns and should be able to walk at a steady pace during full days of site seeing.
• Be able to walk on cobblestone, gravel, and pavement. Some of the walking excursions require good balance as you walk stairs and uneven pavement.
• Stand for up to approximately 2 hours at a time each day.
• Walk up and down steep stairs without handrails, without the assistance of another person.
• Get off and on tour vehicles without assistance
Terms and Conditions
Cancellations, Refunds and Changes
If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges:
Cancel 95 days or more before departure: full refund
Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 50% of tour price
Cancel 64-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price
Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund.
If a guest makes any changes to their reservation within 94 and 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation, you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport as well as your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415) 597-6720.
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website
The liability of the Commonwealth Club, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchases transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The Commonwealth Club and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.
Health and Medical Issues
We request that you be in good health to participate in this tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches and all boats on your own. We regret that we cannot offer individual assistance; in such cases, you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. Please note that our itineraries cannot accommodate wheelchairs. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the Commonwealth Club assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.
Air Transportation – Important Information
Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities as shown and contracts with those airlines the company feels provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air schedule approximately 2½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignments on your international flight are usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, Land Only is available. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own flight arrangements not use those provided by the tour company, we recommend that you do not do so until making your final payment to the tour company confirming details of your trip’s scheduled departure. However, if you choose to make your own flight arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes in this tour.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols: The well-being of our guests and staff members on tour will continue to be our highest priority. To maintain a healthy environment for travel, we will be establishing and adhering to a detailed set of health and safety protocols for all facets of your tour. We are committed to following the guidelines of the State Department, CDC, WHO, and authorities of respective countries regarding travel to a particular destination. Detailed protocols for this tour, based on conditions at the time, will be provided approximately 115 days prior to departure.
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40
Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. CST #2077973-40