Itinerary Japan, Summer 2023

Japan 2023

June 13th – June 27th, 2023

Dates are subject to change and this schedule is tentative.  Costs for travel will include transportation, housing, and most food.  


After a significant change in travel to Bhutan, we will focus on travel to Japan for the summer of 2023.  We will travel to Japan, starting in Tokyo and stay in one location, Asakusa, and have day trips from that spot.  Then we will take the bullet train to Kyoto and spend our time in traditional houses, machiya, near the Gion.  Our Japan trip will include visits to temples and shrines, museums, parks, and numerous out of the way places.  Your travels will be led by Tom Gentry-Funk and will use public transportation, walking, biking, and finding our way in these cities. 

We will depart Albuquerque to Tokyo in June.  We arrive in Japan and spend about seven days in Tokyo before traveling on to Kyoto for about seven days.  We fly into Tokyo Narita airport and depart from Kansai airport in Osaka.

The Itinerary:

Day 1 and 2: Leave Albuquerque for LAX or SFO; fly to Tokyo, arrive late evening.

Day 3: A day in and around Asakusa; Nakamise Street Asakusa market, Senso-ji temple, Tokyo Skytree Tower, Ueno Park, Ueno Royal Art Museum, evening meal at my favorite restaurant, Maguro Bito!

Day 4: Day trip to Nikko.  We’ll take the train to Nikko and visit the grounds of the Tokugawa shrine.  The forests, temples, waterfalls are breathtaking and a wonderful place to enjoy learning about Japanese Shogun history and the natural setting.

Day 5: A Day in and around Tokyo.  We’ll take subways everywhere, from the Ramen road in Shinagawa, to the shopping district in Ginzu, and the Meji Shrine near Harajuku.  Since this will be a Sunday, we’ll have the chance to see cosplay in Harajuku.  Bring your best cosplay for THIS experience!

Day 6: Day trip to Kamakura.  The bronze Buddha in Kamakura is a remarkable spot and we’ll spend the morning walking the hills in the area.  We’ll learn about tsunamis their impact on Japan both historically and today.  That evening, we’ll sing some karaoke at Big Echo in Asakusa!

Day 7: Bullet train to Kyoto.  Our three-hour train ride to Kyoto is breathtaking and we’ll head to Kyoto Central station.  Once in Kyoto, we’ll take a bus to our houses and get settled.  In the evening, we’ll walk through Gion after dark, find a place to eat, and then enjoy the night!  We’ll stay in Aotake-an and Juichi-an, two traditional Japanese machiya.

Day 8: Kyoto: Northern Higashiyama Area.  We will take the long walk on the Tetsugaku-no-Michi (Path of Philosophy) along the hills of eastern Kyoto.  We will stop in many small temples and parks including Nanzen-ji, Nanzen-ji Oku-no-in, Tenju-an, Konchi-in, Eikan-do, Honen-in, and Ginkaku-ji (Silver pavilion)…we’ll retrace our steps and return to the city.

Day 9: Bullet Train to Hiroshima; Peace Museum and Park, visit Miyajima Island.

Day 10: Kyoto: Arashiyama and Sagano Area.  A long cycling tour of the area including the bamboo grove outside the Tenryu-ji temple.  We will walk to the Arashiyama Monkey Park (seriously) and finish our day back in Gion.

Day 11: Fushimi Inari hike; street food in Inari or maybe a visit to the Cat Café lunch spot! Once back in Kyoto, we’ll head up to the Kiyomizu-dera temple near our houses.  We’ll watch the sun drop behind the hills as we make our way back to the house where we’ll make some food!

Day 12: Contemplation Day. On this day, we’ll send out groups to explore the city.  After giving our groups plenty of support, they will navigate their ways to spots in Kyoto.  With some supervision, they’ll make their own decisions about what to see and where to go!

Day 13: A short-day trip to Nara.  The original capital of Japan was in Nara, and we’ll wander this village visiting the largest wooden Buddhist sculpture in the world while avoiding the many tame deer in the adjoining park.  We’ll see many temples and shrines including Kofukuji Temple, Isuien Garden, and Kasuga Grand Shrine.  After our time in the village, we’ll finish the day in Kyoto, eating at one of the MANY ramen places in the Kyoto Train Station.

Day 14: Train to Kansai airport and return to the US (ALL IN ONE DAY!)  Arrival in Albuquerque LATE that same day.

Check out: for more details and information.