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Zen, Tea, Gardens of Japan & China

$ 4,500.00 $ 4,250.00

April 1, 2018 – April 14, 2018
14 Days • Kyoto • Nara • Osaka • Shanghai • Hangzhou • Wuzhen • Suzhou

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Product Description

Cherry blossom, Zen, Tea and Japanese and Chinese gourmets, recharge in blissful Kyoto and finding just as there is paradise in heaven, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth.

Click here to Download Zen, Tea, Gardens of Japan & China

This Connoisseurs journey has been designed for those in need of a colourful, fun and relaxing break after a period of stress or simply due to an all-too-hectic life schedule.

Begin in Kyoto with the cherry blossom time that provides magical vistas, fragrant air, seasonal delicacies and the opportunity to wander around and explore Gion’s main streets as most of the magic takes place on the smaller side streets.
We spend one week in Japan visiting the ancient temples and shrines during the day and night and dine at a sleekly modern restaurant. Glimpse at a geisha gliding down a cobblestone lane, bracketed by wooden machiya houses. You feel yourself catapulted to the 18th century until you see her duct into a very 21st-century taxi, with a passenger door that opens and shuts automatically.

Admire the beauty of Kyoto in simplicity and be cocooned, nurtured and inspired by this mystical city of layered textures, fascinating culture and enveloping history. There are so many exotic pleasures of this tour that will make your visit to Japan a fascinating experience.

From Japan, we fly to China and spend another week to explore Shanghai and nearby area and learn the secrets behind some of the world’s most delectable cuisines.

There is an old saying “Just as there is paradise in heaven, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth”. These cities hold the fascination of poets, painters and photographers and are renowned for their beauties that rival any in the world.
Shanghai, with its name alone, evokes so much modern glitzy excess and old school mystique (charm). Find the glamour of the past along the Bund’s Art Deco facades and through the colonial era boulevards in the former French Concession. Feel the modern Shanghai when you are atop of the could piercing Shanghai Tower and when you are wandering through the flashy malls of Nanjing Road. Shanghai is well on its way to once again being a multicultural metropolis that effortlessly blends modernity with tradition.

In picturesque and elegant Hangzhou, cruise the West Lake, pick tea leaves in a plantation for the freshest cup of tea ever tasted. Tea leaves at various stages of processing are shown including cut, sorted and dried before being packaged to be shipped as one of China’s finest gift to the world.

Sometimes the smallest space can contain the most wonderful architectural delights. Master of the Nets Garden is a prime example of this. It is the smallest of all Suzhou residential gardens, yet the most impressive because of its masterful use of space creating the illusion of a much greater area. Visit one of I.M. Pei’s last projects and a dedication to his home town, Suzhou Museum. The building draws on traditional Chinese architecture, with whitewashed plaster walls and clay-tile roofs incorporated into a new, undeniably modern design.


ITINERARY

April 1 2018 Arrival in Osaka/Kyoto, Welcome to Japan!
Upon arrival in Osaka (Kansai or Itami airport), you will be greeted by an English speaking assistant and attended to the appropriate Airport Shuttle transfer to you hotel.

Hotel Mystays Kyoto Shijo or Similar

April 2, 2018 Kyoto (B/L/D)
After breakfast, start our day with our guide for an early departure to the famous Kitano Tenmangu Temple Sunday Flea Market to rub shoulders with the locals and search for antique treasures and trinkets…. We Then visit nearby Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion), one of Japan’s most iconic temples and gets slammed with visitors. Continue to Ryoan-ji, a Zen Temple and UNESCO World Heritage site. Ryoan-ji’s garden is considered one of the most superb examples of a dry landscape garden (kare-sansui), a type of Japanese Zen garden with large rock formations atop small, smooth pebbles that have been raked into neat lines.

On the grounds of Ryoan-ji is a vegetarian restaurant Seigeiin, we shall lunch and you’ll find tofu and vegetables prepared a handful of ways.

After lunch, stroll 20 minutes to Ninna-ji, head temple of the Omuro school of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. Founded in AD 888, Ninna-ji was, just like Kinkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji, destroyed by fire during the Onin War. It wasn’t until nearly 150 years later that it was rebuilt, and most of what you see today dates from the 17th century. The gardens here are particularly lovely during cherry blossom season.

Tonight, enjoy a Kaiseki welcome dinner, Kyoto’s haute cuisine, an elaborate multicourse meal that originated about 500 years ago.

April 3, 2018 Kyoto (B)
After breakfast, we will tour the Higashiyama (Eastern Mountain) area. Start with a visit to one of Kyoto’s most popular temples – Kiyomizu Dera and adjacent cobblestoned lanes lined with local ceramics, crafts and foodstuffs. We’ll continue on to Maruyama Park and Yasaka Shrine through well preserved traditional streets, wend our way through the park past ponds, gardens and a gigantic weeping cherry, the views are spectacular.

Stop into the small but lovely Nishiki Tenmangu shrine for a moment of tranquillity before walk and talk you through the wonderful Nishiki-koji food market, known to the locals as Kyoto daidokoro or Kyoto’s kitchen.  Today, the covered arcade is lined with shops selling all manner of foods – think tsukemono (Japanese pickles), soy milk donuts, and skewered octopus – as well as candy, tea, souvenirs, and kitchen tools. Many shops give out free samples, making this a great place to sample Kyoto’s diverse delicacies. The best restaurants at Nishiki are hiding in plain sight: behind many of the seafood stalls are quiet shops specializing in kaiseki and featuring fresh sashimi where you can have lunch on own.

From Nishiki walk towards Gion, Kyoto’s most famous hanamachi (geisha district. If you’re passing through around dusk, you’re likely to see geiko and maiko en route to their evening appointments.From Nishiki walk towards Gion, Kyoto’s most famous hanamachi (geisha district. If you’re passing through around dusk, you’re likely to see geiko and maiko en route to their evening appointments.
When night comes, several temples/shrines host illumination events  and it is spectacular seeing street, temples, shrines and garden under colourful lights. Highly recommended to free to roam into the Kodaiji Temple, Chionin Temple, and Shorenin Temple.

April 4, 2018 Kyoto (B)
Enjoy a full day at leisure giving you the opportunity to pamper yourself in the Riraku Spa or discover more of Kyoto’s personality. Suggest to visit the stupendous Heian Shrine and its stroll garden, take a walk along the Kamo River, meander through a gallery or museum and visit Nijo Castle.

April 5, 2018 Kyoto – Miho Museum – Nara – Osaka (B)
Today, head out of Kyoto to visit Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, its vivid vermilion torii gates are icons of Kyoto, estimated that there are nearly 10,000 torii. Our hilights today is the Miho Museum, one of I.M. Pei’s  most memorable museum buildings. (Later we will visit his home town – Suzhou and Suzhou Museum, his another Best Museum Designs).

Enjoy a private guided tour with one of the museum’s curators, who will show you the Miho’s collection of Eastern and Western antiques. Continue to Nara to visit Japan’s first established capital, a city with fantastic examples of historic architecture, beautiful parks and freely roaming sika deer.

Hotel Mystays Midosuji-Hommachi or Similar

April 6, 2018 Osaka (B) 
Today is free at leisure, you can visit Osaka Castle on your own or just wandering around and do some shopping. If you would like to travel further afield to Hiroshima or Himeji, we can help you to book a coach tour.

April 7, 2018 Osaka – Shanghai (B) 
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Shanghai. Upon arrival in Shanghai, you are met and transferred to the hotel.
The exhilarating metropolis of Shanghai was the first China’s cities to be influenced by the West and leading China’s rapid modernization Later, take a drive through Pudong, almost everything on this futuristic skyline is less than 30 years old. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the 21st century Pudong juxtaposes the ancient city from the 119 floor of Shanghai Tower

Sunrise on the Bund Shanghai or similar

April 8, 2018   Shanghai (B/L)
A morning walking tour along the Bund, admire its outstanding architectural landmarks including the neoclassical Customs House and the China Merchants Bank building. Afterwards, take a tour of Shanghai’s Old Quarter, the beautiful Yu Gardens with its traditional red walls and tile roofs. Lunch is served in a local restaurant at Old Town

Visit Shanghai’s street markets and tour the famous Shanghai Museum, its selection of 120,000 historic artifacts may not be the most comprehensive, but it is easily the most tastefully displayed and well lit, with explanatory signs in both English and Chinese.

Explore historical French Concession features distinctive Europe architecture, and Xiantiandi, a vibrant, recently restored neighbourhood for dinner this evening or return to our hotel.

April 9, 2018 Shanghai – Hangzhou (B/L)
This morning, about an hour high speed train brings us to Hangzhou.
No city in China is more celebrated by poets, painters and emperors. Backward baby Shanghai was little more than a smelly fishing village when Hangzhou was “without doubt the finest and most splendid city in the world,” as Marco Polo put it. Capital of China from 1127 until the Mongol invasion of 1276, Hangzhou was once the largest city in the world, a “paradise on earth” for reputedly about 1 million residents, beloved by scholars, writers and calligraphers obsessed with the essence of a perfect brush strike, rain droplet or cup of tea.

Visit the Lingyin Temple and look out for the Laughing Buddha, known as the Maitreya or the Buddha of the Future: “his belly is big enough to contain all intolerable things in the world; his mouth is ever ready to laugh at all snobbish persons under heaven.”

Afternoon, visit the Longjing Tea Plantation, China’s best known green tea, Longjing (Dragon Well) is extensively cultivated on the terraced hills overlooking Hangzhou. To conclude the day, we visit the Hefang Street and Museum of traditional Chinese medicine .

Lake View Hotel Hangzhou or similar

April 10 2018 Hangzhou  (B/L)
This morning, enjoy a leisure cruise on the West Lake,. Lap, lap, lap. Lean back, let the paddle lick the water behind you. Let the boatsman take the strain as the zither reverberates through the mist, around the lake. Afternoon is free at leisure.

April 11 2018 Hangzhou – Wuzhen – Suzhou (B/L)
Leave by coach the picturesque Hangzhou as we come to Wuzhen, an ancient canal town and a hidden gem in fast changing China. Visit the traditional houses, a wine brewery and a bamboo weaving workshop. Lunch at a restaurant on the bank of the Grand Canal and watch sampans and barges jostle for space. Continue to a Taoist shrine and its opera stage, where we enjoy a shadow puppet show.  Stroll through the ancient town with its black tiled, amber colour painted wooden houses that contrast sharply with its white walls and gray flagging, brings to mind a Chinese ink and wash painting before continuing to Suzhou.Pan Pacific Suzhou or similar

April 12 2018 Suzhou (B/D)
Once upon a time, Suzhou had 200 private gardens, many of which survive today in the old town that anchors this burgeoning modern industrial city of 10 million people. Visit the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Master of Nets Garden both were recognized by UNESCO as symbols of the city’s magnificent architectural heritage. In the afternoon, tour the Suzhou Museum, designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei and has created a meaningful new language for architecture in China. Stop at the Silk Factory to see the process of the fabric from moth cocoons and enjoy leisure time and farewell dinner tonight.

April 13 2018 Suzhou – Shanghai (B/L) 
This morning, transfer back to Shanghai and the balance of the day enjoy a Cooking class to learn how to make Shanghai Dim Sum and some dishes. You will taste the dishes that you cooked on your own as lunch.

Sunrise on the Bund Shanghai or similar

April 14 2018 Shanghai (B)
This morning, transfer back to Shanghai airport for your onward flight.


Based on 10 or more Guest
$4500
Land only per person based on sharing

  • Double Occupancy USD $4500 | CAD $ 5600
  • Single Supplement USD $2150 | CAD $ 2680
  • Intertour Airfare USD $275 | CAD $ 350
  • Osaka – Shanghai


Based on 6-9 Guest
$5100
Land only per person based on sharing

  • Double Occupancy USD $5100 | CAD $ 6350
  • Single Supplement USD $2150 | CAD $ 2680
  • Intertour Airfare USD $275 | CAD $ 350
  • Osaka – Shanghai

Call 1-888-887-1688 or email air@tripconnoisseurs.com
to arrange the international flights for this journey from your home city.


Additional Information

OVERVIEW

Cherry blossom, Zen, Tea and Japanese and Chinese gourmets, recharge in blissful Kyoto and finding just as there is paradise in heaven, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth.

DEPARTURE

Apr 01, 2018; Guaranteed with minimum 6 guests.

HOTELS

Kyoto: Hotel Mystays Kyoto Shijo or Similar
Osaka: Hotel Mystays Midosuji-Hommachi or Similar
Shanghai: Sunrise on the Bund Shanghai or similar
Hangzhou: Lake View Hotel Hangzhou or similar
Suzhou: Pan Pacific Suzhou or similar

INCLUSIONS

Transfer and tours on private basis (except indicated)
English speaking local guides
Entrance fees to sites
Mentioned meals
Tips for luggage porters at airports and hotels

EXCLUSIONS

International & Domestic Airfare, Call 1-888-887-1688 to get a quote from your home city
Travel insurance. visa fees, gratuities, drinks, personal spending and optional activities.
Tips for guides & bus drivers
Expenses of personal nature

QUESTIONS

Should you have any further questions, please call 1888-887-1688 for assistance.

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