Japan Express & China Glance 13 Days
With us, travel to Japan and china in style, staying in the country's finest hotels and enjoying insider access opportunities rarely available to the ordinary traveller.
-Travel with us to the wonderland of deer – Nara
-Visit the world's largest wooden building in Todaiji Temple
-Visit UNESCO world heritage site - Kiyomizu Dera Temple
-Experience Japan’s famous speed train “Shinkansen” from Osaka to Tokyo
-Free days for your to explore on your own
D1 Home – Japan
Board your international flight bound for Japan. Your Japan Express and China Glance Trip begins.
D2 Arrive Osaka
Welcome to Japan! Upon Arrival, follow the instruction on your travel document and take the free shuttle bus to your hotel. Relax and rest for the day.
Or our pick-up service is available for $40/person.
OSAKA- NARA- KYOTO- OSAKA(B)
After breakfast, let the trip begins with Osaka Castle Park. The park was constructed on a site with a long history. It lies on the south of the Ōkawa (Kyū-Yodo River) and occupies a large area in the center of the city of Osaka. Then we take the coach to Nara park - home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, Nara's nearly 1200 deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure. Nara's deer are surprisingly tame, although they can be aggressive if they think you will feed them. Deer crackers are for sale around the park, and some deer have learned to bow to visitors to ask to be fed. After having fun with deer, we move to Todaiji Temple, which is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. Moving on to Kyoto and visit Kiyomizu Dera Temple. Halfway up Mt. Otowa, one of the peaks in Kyoto’s Higashiyama mountain range, stands Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which is abundantly blessed with nature. The mountains, which surround the temple buildings, reveal many different views from dawn till dusk and create a stunning landscape in harmony with the beautiful scenery of the ancient city. Before go back to the hotel, we will visit Kyoto's most famous geisha district – Gion. Gion attracts tourists with its high concentration of traditional wooden machiya merchant houses. The most popular area of Gion is Hanami-koji Street from Shijo Avenue to Kenninji Temple. A nice (and expensive) place to dine, the street and its side alleys are lined with preserved machiya houses many of which now function as restaurants, serving Kyoto style kaiseki ryori (Japanese haute cuisine) and other types of local and international meals.
Enjoy a Free day in Kansa, to explore Osaka on your own.
Or join our Kansa day tour:
【Kyoto Uji】 When we talk about the word "Uji," you must be reminded of Matcha. Uji could be synonymous with Japanese Matcha. Here you can experience the authentic Japanese tea culture, taste the authentic green tea, sencha, and other various types of tea-flavored foods. Of course, you can also buy tea-related products. Uji's Byodo-in and Ujigami Shrine are on the World Heritage List with the "Cultural Properties of the Ancient Capital Kyoto". The Phoenix Hall and the Amida Nyorai image are featured on the 10-yen coin and the 10,000-yen banknote. The last ten chapters of the Japanese classic novel The Tale of Genji take place in Uji, and so there is The Tale of Genji Museum. Those who like this novel must not miss the opportunity!
[Byodo-in] In 1052, Fujiwara Ryuto reconstructed the original villa into a Buddhist temple, and renamed as Byodo-in. Later it became the representative of the Pure Land Garden. The Phoenix Hall, which was built the following year, became a national treasure and was engraved on the back of a 10 yen coin. The Phoenix pattern (Amida Nyorai) on Phoenix Hall can also be found on the back of a ten thousand yen note. The wooden statue of Amitabha is the national treasure, and the 52 statues of Bodhisattva in the cloud are masterpieces of wooden art.
【Ujigami Shrine (World Heritage)】 Ujigami Shrine was built in the late Heian period, it is the oldest existing shrine building. It is dedicated to the 15th generation of Emperor Ōjin and his sons, the imperial princes Uji no Wakiiratsuko and Emperor Nintoku.
The last stop of the optional tour will be attending a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. It is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called Matcha, together with traditional Japanese sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea. Preparing tea in this ceremony means pouring all one's attention into the predefined movements. The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one's heart. ($159/person, minimum 10 pax required)
Today your tour guide will walk you to the station to take the Japanese bullet train, the famous “Shinkansen” with you to Tokyo. Enjoy the beautiful view and high speed on the train. You can also purchase the limited-edition lunch on Shinkansen. Once arrive in Tokyo, visit the Meiji Shrine, Meiji Shrine is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Move on to Sensoji (also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple) is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It is one of Tokyo's most colorful and popular temples. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. The last stop today is the Tokyo Imperial Palace. The current Imperial Palace is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo, a short walk from Tokyo Station. It is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family.
Freeday in Kantou for you to explore.
Or join our optional Full-day trip with lunchto Nikko National Park from Tokyo
Climb aboard a comfortable, air-conditioned coach after morning pickup from your Tokyo hotel and begin the scenic drive the Nikko, a serene city at the entrance of Nikko National Park.
Head straight to what is unanimously hailed as the park’s most spectacular site, the Toshogu Shrine, a UNESCO-listed mausoleum of a revered monarch whole ruled Japan in the 17th century. Marvel at lavish gold-leaf embellishments and opulent chambers during your 1.5-hour exploration of the monument. See iconic carvings depicting the ‘hear no evil’ proverb then revitalize with a delectable Japanese lunch. Next, venture to the natural landmark of Kegon Waterfall, a powerful force considered one of the park’s most beautiful waterfalls. Capture the perfect pictures of the falls from a variety of vantage points and feel the refreshing spray of water on your face as you gaze from an observation deck.
Conclude your tour with some retail therapy at either Ginza or Shinjuku stations, two of Tokyo’s most extravagant entertainment districts. Peruse shops for special souvenirs and refresh with a snack at one of the many eateries (own expense) before making our way back to the hotel. ($169/person, minimum of 10 pax required)
Join our full- day tour with lunch at Mt. Fuji area. After breakfast depart on a full day of sightseeing, beginning at the Five Lakes District dominated by majestic UNESCO listed Mt. Fuji.
Join an optional sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi (USD $35/person). The crater lake was born from a powerful volcanic eruption nearly 3,000 years ago and provides postcard views of Mt. Fuji from various angles. Catch sweeping views of Mt. Fuji, Izu Peninsula, Izu Islands, Hakone Shrine, and more while climbing up and down the mountain on an aerial Ropeway. After an enjoyable day of sightseeing drive to your hotel. Before the day ends, the Tour guide will give instructions on how to take the limousines bus to the airport for your next journey in China.
Shanghai - Suzhou(B)
Follow the instruction that been given the last day, get on the journey to Shanghai. Upon arrival in Shanghai, our tour guide will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to Suzhou.
D9 Suzhou - Wuxi (B, L)
Suzhou, the city in which is also known as a paradise, the Oriental Venice, for its exquisite water routes (canals), bridges, pagodas and gardens. Suzhou is also an UNESCO designated “World Heritage Site”. After breakfast, tour the Lingering Garden, a classic private garden housing more than 500-years of history. Next, visit a renowned traditional Silk Culture and Exhibition Centre, noted to be the largest silk producer in the country, where you will discover the mysterious processing of silk. After lunch, enjoy a relaxed and soothing canal ride inside the city, enjoy the picturesque feeling the ancient city offers on the Grand Canal Cruise (USD $30/person). Later afternoon, continue onwards to Wuxi to visit the LingShan Grand Buddha. Recognized as one of China's largest Buddha statues standing over at an amazing 80m tall. Explore the whole LingShan area attraction with musical fountains that play-out the story of the birth of Buddha. Also, visit the spiritual Brahma palace (梵宫), a very grand palace with the pillars that are entirely made of sandalwood; Known to host the 2009 Buddhist conference.
D10 Wuxi – Hangzhou（B, L）
This morning, tour the brilliance of Lihu Park, located at the famous Lake TaiHu. Followed by a visit to the fresh water pearl processing company, the “Yuanrun Ju” jewel corporate. Since its establishment in 1984, it has taken over, with high techniques, the farming, researching, processing and gallering of fresh water pearls for the district. Continue onwards to Hangzhou, the city described by Marco Polo as “City of Heaven” and “the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world”. This evening, you may enjoy a symbolic performance of Hangzhou, “The Romantic Show of SongCheng” (USD $65/person). Performed over 2,000 times per year. Since its creation, the show has been performed more than 20,000 times, and entertained over 60 million audiences. It is one of the theatrical performances that had performed for the most times and performed to largest recording audience number; along with the O Show in Las Vegas, and the Moulin Rouge in Paris, the three are regarded as the "Top 3 Famous Shows in the World".
D11 Hangzhou – Shanghai (B, L)
Hangzhou, also known as the “Paradise on Earth”, has been immortalized and celebrated by countless poets and artists. The West Lake Cultural Landscape has been recognized by UNESCO as a site of World Heritage. After breakfast, visit The West Lake, the most sensational and beautiful lake in the country. Then, you can choose to take an amazing boat ride on the serene West Lake (USD $35/person), the most renowned feature of Hangzhou, noted for its scenic beauty which blends naturally with many famous historical and cultural sites throughout the path. Then, visit the No.1 tea plantation site and get a chance to taste the well-known Dragon Well Tea. Many studies proofs that green tea is excellent for your health, and Dragon Well Tea is the best Green Tea in China offers. After lunch, transport to Shanghai. Upon arrival in Shanghai, walk along the famous Bund, lined by the colonial architecture of European designs, this area is the best place to capture China under the Western influences of the old days. It now is known as the “Wall Street of the East”. Later evening, have an optional participation on a western influenced Chinese Acrobatic Show - ERA: The Intersection of Time (USD $60/person).
D12 Shanghai（B, L）
After breakfast early morning, tour the famous Shanghai Museum. Where you get to see ancient Chinese art, furniture and jade. Shortly followed by a visit to an Emerald exhibition center. Then, visit the City God Temple Bazaar. Which composes of specialty stores, selling traditional Chinese arts and crafts, medicine and souvenirs. At night, you may enjoy a scenery ride on the Huangpu River Night Cruise (USD $50/person) and get a breath-taking glimpse of the dazzling and charming night view of Shanghai.
D13 Shanghai -Home/Extension
After breakfast, your local tour guide will transfer you to the airport. Depart home or extend your journey to other cities in China.
* Please click on your selected date/ price to book.
* All Price in USD
|Departure Dates||Price (double occupancy)USD P,P|
|N/A||N/A||Group (Min.10 Pax)|
Note on price
The above price are for Los angles, San Francisco and New York departures only.
*Prices are per person based on twin share accommodation.
*Add on airfare from other cities: available upon request
*No child discount
*Tour prices are subject to change without prior notice. Please check with your travel agent or our website for the latest information
*Rewards Travel China reserves the right to substitute hotels in similar standard if the hotels listed in the flyer/website are not available. Hotel rating base in local standard. Several shopping excursions are arranged during the tours. A minimum amount of time (60 mins) must be spent at each shopping site. However, there is no obligation to purchase anything. For those who are not very keen on shopping, visits to shopping sites should be treated as cultural learning experiences as well the products including jade, silk, tea, etc. are deeply ingrained in the Chinese culture and well worth learning.
International round trip ticket
English speaking tour guide
Deluxe hotel accommodation
Bullet train “Shinkansen” ticket from Osaka to Tokyo
Transportation indicated in the itinerary
Meals not indicated in the itinerary
City tax (if apply)
2 Chome-3 Hibino, Mihama Ward, Chiba, 261-0021
ShangHaiREGAL PLAZA HOTEL & RESIDENCE
Address: 77 Fu Te Xi Yi Road, Waigaoqiao FTZ, Shanghai, China
Fax: （86 21）50509501
Takoyaki literally means "grilled octopus". A flour and egg based batter is cooked with a filling of octopus slices, pickled ginger and green onion, using a special takoyaki pan which molds the ingredients into small balls. Takoyaki sauce and other toppings such as mayonnaise, green laver (aonori) and dried bonito (katsuobushi) are then added to complete this popular street snack.
Okonomiyaki is a pancake-like dish popular in various styles across Japan. In Osaka, shredded cabbage and a whole range of other ingredients such as squid, prawn, octopus or meat are mixed into a flour based batter and cooked before eaten with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, green laver (aonori) and dried bonito (katsuobushi). In some restaurants, okonomiyaki is prepared by the customers on a hot plate at their table.
Xiao Long Bao is a type of steamed bun from the south region of China, especially associated with Shanghai. It is traditionally prepared in xiaolong, small bamboo steaming baskets, which give them the name. Xiaolongbao are often considered as a kind of "soup dumpling" filled with a nugget of seasoned pork and a burst of warm soup. To eat, pick up the soup dumpling by its topknot using chopsticks, and transfer to a Chinese soup spoon. Then poke a hole in the side with your chopstick and sip out the soup, and then eat the dumpling.
The Romantic Show of Songcheng It is the symbolic performance of Hangzhou, being performed over 2,000 times per year. Since it was created, the show has been performed more than 20,000 times, and entertained over 60 million audience. It is the theatre performance that has been performed for most times and has the largest audience number; along with the O Show in Las Vegas, and the Moulin Rouge in Paris, the three are regarded as the "Top 3 Famous Shows in the World".
Chinese Acrobatics is one of the oldest performing arts. Its history can be traced back to the beginning of civilization. It is believed that acrobatics grew out of labour and self-defence skills, which people practice and demonstrated during their leisure time. The modern acrobatics have been evolved into a kind of performing art and became well known worldwide while performances are presented along the Silk Road. In Europe and North America, Chinese acrobatic performances always attract large audiences.
Cash, credit cards and IC cards
The Japanese currency is the yen (円, en). One yen corresponds to 100 sen. However, sen are usually not used in everyday life anymore, except in stock market prices. Bills come in 1,000 yen, 2,000 yen (very rare), 5,000 yen and 10,000 yen denominations. Coins come in 1 yen, 5 yen, 10 yen, 50 yen, 100 yen and 500 yen denominations. Counterfeit money is not an issue in Japan.
Foreign currencies are generally not an accepted outside of major international airports.
Payment methods in Japan
Japan has a reputation of being a cash-based society, but trends have gradually been changing, and there has been a significant increase in the acceptance of other payment methods. Below are the modes of payment that you might use when visiting Japan:
Cash is still the preferred payment method, especially when it involves small amounts. Big bills are readily used and accepted in Japan; you are unlikely to be frowned upon for using a 10,000 yen bill to pay even for low-cost items, although smaller denominations are appreciated for payments made in taxis, smaller shops, temples and shrines. The likelihood that credit cards are accepted decreases in small cities and towns, and thus it is advisable to keep cash at hand when visiting rural areas.
Cash is usually the only way to pay for small entrance fees at tourist sights, at smaller restaurants and small shops. The majority of lockers also require coins. Preparing coins in advance when using buses and trams is a good idea. Buses generally do not accept bills above 1000 yen, and the bus driver may not carry any larger bills. Vending machines typically accept 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen coins and 1,000 yen bills. Newer machines typically also accept 5,000 and 10,000 yen bills.
There is an increased acceptance of credit and debit cards, especially in big cities. Most hotels accept payment by credit cards nowadays, as do most department stores, mid to high end restaurants, outlet malls and large retail shops. In addition, many train stations, convenience stores, supermarkets, chain restaurants and boutiques also accept them.
IC cards, such Suica and Icoca, are stored-value cards which can be recharged. Primarily a tool for convenient payment of train and bus fares, IC cards now double as a means of payment at an increasing number of shops and restaurants, especially in and around train stations, at most convenience stores, many chain restaurants, numerous vending machines and some lockers in big cities.
How to get your Yen
Having seen the main payment methods in Japan, you should have a basic idea of how you should prepare money for your trip. Cash is handy because it is accepted under all situations, but credit cards can be a convenient alternative at appropriate locations. Theft and robberies are very rare in Japan, so with regards to keeping large amounts of cash with you, security is less of a concern than your propensity to lose money by accident. Here are ways to get your yen:
In Japan, currency exchange is usually handled by banks, post offices, some larger hotels and a handful of licensed money changers found especially at international airports.
Whether or not it is better to change for yen before coming into Japan depends on the currency that you hold. For example, the US dollar is a highly traded foreign currency in Japan, and partly for this reason you might get a favorable rate if you change US dollars into yen in Japan. On the other hand, in some Southeast Asian countries, the foreign exchange market is very competitive and money changers take a smaller cut, therefore it might be better to do the exchange there before coming into Japan.
ATM Withdrawal (more information)
Many ATMs in Japan do not accept cards that are issued outside of Japan. The big exception are the ATMs found at the over 20,000 post offices and over 10,000 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country. Exchange rates offered at ATMs tend to be competitive, but service fees vary widely depending on the card. Inquire with your card issuer in advance. Note that many ATMs in Japan are out of service during the night, and some are unavailable on weekends.
Traveler's Checks (T/C) tend to yield a more favorable exchange rate than the above two methods. The shortfall is the trouble of having to obtain them in your home country before you travel and then having to locate a place to change them in Japan. Whether you are getting more value for your money depends on your home currency and if your bank charges fees to issue the checks. Note that T/Cs are accepted in very limited currencies in Japan. International airports and leading banks are generally where you can change your T/C for yen.
The voltage in Japan is 100 Volt, which is different from North America (120V), Central Europe (230V) and most other regions of the world. Japanese electrical plugs and outlets resemble North American ones. Plugs come in various versions, but most commonly they are non-polarized and ungrounded with two pins. Grounded pins come either with three pins or with two pins and a ground wire.
Some North American equipment will work fine in Japan without an adapter and vice versa; however, certain equipment, especially equipment involving heating (e.g. hair dryers), may not work properly or even get damaged. If you intend to purchase electronic appliances in Japan for use outside of Japan, you are advised to look for equipment specifically made for oversea tourists.
The frequency of electric current is 50 Hertz in Eastern Japan (including Tokyo, Yokohama, Tohoku, Hokkaido) and 60 Hertz in Western Japan (including Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Shikoku, Kyushu); however, most equipment is not affected by this frequency difference. A possible exception are timing devices such as clocks.
Basic Guide to Accessible Travel
The state of accessibility in Japan has improved dramatically in recent decades with a push towards "barrier-free" facilities that can be navigated by wheelchairs, non-step buses, multipurpose toilets and wide elevators with lowered buttons. However, there also remain a lot of challenges.
On the Streets
Streets in modern city centers and recently redeveloped districts tend to have relatively spacious, dedicated sidewalks with cut curbs. Elsewhere, sidewalks tend to be narrow or separated from vehicular traffic simply by a white line.
Older buildings in Japan tend to have narrow interior layouts. Consequently, shopsand restaurants located in such buildings may be difficult to enter and navigate with wheelchairs due to the lack of space and presence of steps. Modern buildings and malls; however, tend to be highly accessible. Using a compact wheelchair will generally be an advantage to navigate Japanese cities.
Over the past decades, much effort has been put into equipping train and subway stations with escalators, elevators and stair lifts; but some stations - especially outside the city centers - remain difficult to use for travelers with mobility impairments. Also, at certain stations, only some of the entrances may be accessible, which may result in detours.
Most trains have at least one car with space for wheelchairs. When using trains, wheelchair users should approach the staff at the ticket gate. Station staff will guide passengers to the platform (some stations require the use of special, off-limit elevators), help boarding and disembarking using ramps, and call ahead so that there will be staff waiting at transfer points and the destination. When using long-distance and shinkansen trains, it is highly recommended to make a seat reservation for a wheelchair-friendly seat in advance.
A majority of city buses these days are non-step or kneeling buses whose drivers will pull up as close to the curb as possible and get out a ramp for wheelchair users. The priority seating area on city buses may have a combination of foldable seats and/or a section without seats for wheelchairs. However, in smaller cities and in the countryside, it is still possible to encounter some older type buses that are difficult to use with a wheelchair.
Long distance buses and airport buses, on the other hand, tend not to be as accommodating to wheelchair users, because boarding typically involves climbing multiple steps. It is usually possible to ride one, but it may require prior arrangement.
Taxis with wheelchair ramps or special seats that rotate outwards for easier boarding have been increasing considerably in recent years. However, many taxis are not yet equipped with ramps and may be difficult to board. While a folding wheelchair will fit easily into a regular taxi's trunk, non-folding ones will probably not.
Many car rental outlets offer wheelchair-accessible vehicles known in Japanese as fukushi sharyō (福祉車両). Their prices do not differ greatly from hiring a similar sized, regular vehicle. Note that most car rental companies list their wheelchair-accessible vehicles on their Japanese websites, but not on their English ones. Consequently, a phone call will be required.
With the push towards universal design, the layout of toilets has also changed. These days, it is common to see multipurpose toilets (多目的トイレ, tamokuteki toire) at tourist attractions, department stores, train stations and inside shinkansentrains.
These multipurpose toilets are typically found between the men's and women's toilets and are usually large, single rooms that are easily navigable by wheelchair users and sometimes also feature ostomate facilities. They are also intended for parents with young children and therefore also often feature diaper changing tables. Opening and closing the doors can be done by pushing large buttons by the side of the door both inside and outside the toilet.
Sightseeing & Accommodation
Accessibility of historic and cultural sites has been improving with the addition of ramps and lifts to existing structures; however, there remain some sites where upgrades are impossible. Newer tourist sites have to include universal design into their construction and tend to be highly accessible. While there is ample of sightseeing information for wheelchair users in Japanese, detailed information in English is less plentiful (see external links below for some good English websites).
Similarly, new hotels have to be accessible by law, while older hotels are undertaking renovations to include barrier-free designs. Some lodgings offer specific barrier-free rooms with bathrooms that cater to those with mobility issues, but these are typically limited in number. As with tourists sites, finding English information about the accessibility of lodgings can be challenging.