October 11-27, 2010
Sunday In Transit
Depart the USA on our trans-Pacific flight for the delights of Japan. Cross the international dateline enroute and lose a day (not to worry – we’ll regain it when we return!).
Deluxe Kosher Tours and its dedicated Japanese ground staff will meet us at the airport upon our arrival this evening and transfer us to the Hyatt Regency in Tokyo.
For the most adventurous and energetic travelers, Deluxe Kosher Tours offers a chance to leave the hotel in the very early hours of the morning for the chance to visit Japan’s most famous and biggest fish market: the Tsukji Fish Market. Marvel at the tuna auctions, and the great variety if seafood on display, from the well-known to the exotic. After our time at the market, visit one of Japan’s loveliest gardens: the Hama Rikyu Garden.
After this, Deluxe Kosher Tours will take us on a tour of Tokyo that includes the city’s most famous sights: the Imperial Palace Plaza, the Asajusa Kannon Temple – Tokyo’s largest Buddhist temple – and Tokyo Tower. In the afternoon, spend time at the famous Taskai Pearl and take a tour of the Akihabara and Ginza neighborhoods. Spend our evening enjoying an optional Kabuki performance.
Board Japan’s famously fast bullet train as Deluxe Kosher Tours escorts us to Kyoto (luggage will travel via separate truck), where — weather permitting — we may get a glimpse of the majestic Mount Fuji. In contrast to modern, vibrant, Tokyo, Kyoto — over a millennium old — embodies the serenity and enchantment of ancient Japan, where traditional industries such as embroidery, ceramics, and doll-making make up much of the Kyoto economy.
Kyoto also serves as the religious capital of Japan, and our visit there will bring us to some of the most beautiful temples of Japan, including the Kinkakuji Shrine, an opulent gilded building in a magnificent garden along with a tea house. We then visit the Heian shrine and the Sanjusandendo Temple.
In the evening, visit Gion, the geisha district of Kyoto. Despite Western misconceptions, geishas are not in fact prostitutes, but rather part of a distinct and traditional Japanese culture. Learn more about Japanese entertainment before heading to our hotel, the Righa Royal Hotel or something similar.
Kyoto, considered the “Jerusalem of Japan,” is home to over 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, some of the most important in Japan, as well as the traditional site of the coronation of Japan’s emperors. Due to its sanctity, the city was not bombed by the allies during World War II. We‘ll visit Ryoanji Temple – a Zen Buddhist temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famous for its simplistic and stark dry-landscape garden. Our next stop will be at Kyoto’s famous Nishiki Market. After a visit to other famous sites of Kyoto, such as Nijo Castle and the famous rock garden of Ryoanji Temple, we return to our hotel.
We journey early today towards Kobe. Our first stop this morning upon departing Kobe will be Himeji Castle, one of Japan’s three most beautiful castles and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle was built in 1333 as an army stronghold, and in the 17th century was rebuilt to serve the shuguns; the city of Himeji was built around it. It is five stories high and is surrounded by many structures and gardens of Sakura trees.
We’ll spend a moving, enjoyable and relaxing Shabbat with the Jewish community in Kobe, the only fully functional Orthodox community in Japan. After Shacharit and a Kiddush/Lunch, we’ll take a stroll through the neighborhood near our hotel.
We depart Kobe this morning for Hiroshima where we will remember the city that was bombed at the end of World War II. Hiroshima, which in 1945 was the sixth largest city in Japan, was of strategic military importance. The headquarters of the Second Army, charged with protecting southern Japan, was located here. The city was built mainly of wood and was very vulnerable to fire. We will visit the A-Bomb Dome, Peace Park, Museum and Memorial.
We’ll make our way across the water by ferry to Miyajima Island, a sacred island that houses what is arguably Japan’s most beautiful shrine – Itsukushima. The whole island is an historical site and is considered one of the three most beautiful sites in Japan. The birth of the city is dated back to 593 AC when Empress Seiko was crowned and a shrine was built in honor of this event.
We return to Kobe for the final night in Japan. NOTE: Today’s tour will be done via train between Kobe and Hiroshima with a local bus in Hiroshima taking us around. Food will be taken from Kobe (boxed lunches) and we will have a hot dinner on our return to Kobe.
We are transferred to the Osaka airport for our brief 2 ½ -hour flight to Seoul. Upon arrival in Seoul at Incheon International Airport, we will be met and transferred by our Deluxe Kosher Tours Korean ground staff to the Hyatt Regency Hotel . After check-in we will have dinner and get a good night’s rest.
Tuesday Seoul / Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon/Korean Folk Village / Seoul
This morning travel to the walled city of Suwon, which was planned to be the capital city of the Joseon Dynasty in the 18th century with the intention of moving the national capital from Seoul to Suwon, and the Hwaseong fortress wall was constructed. Enjoy tour of Hwaseong Fortress; the fortress wall is considered the masterpiece of Korean fortress construction. The fortress wall was designated a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1997. Afterwards visit the Korean Folk Village outside of Seoul to see a superb and truly authentic display of Korean history including folk traditions, legends, and the lifestyles of the nobility in the 14th-20th centuries. Return to Seoul.
Wednesday Seoul – City Tour
A full day tour of the metropolitan city of Seoul, where old meets new in modern Korea. Established by the founder of the Joseon Dynasty in 1392, the capital of the Republic of Korea has a population of more than 12,000,000 people. Seoul is a city of incredible contrasts which, despite its immense size, makes it one of the most fascinating cities in the world. It is the heart of Korea’s culture and education as well as politics and economics.
The tour includes Gyeongbokgung Palace (Palace of Shining Happiness) – the main palace during the Joseon Dynasty – passing by Blue House (Presidential Residence) National Folk Museum of Korea – the collections display complete items from every region of Korea, illustrating all aspects of traditional life; Namdaemun (South Gate) Market – one of the oldest and largest markets in Korea with colorful and bustling spots for bargain shoppers; Changdeokgung Palace (Palace of illustrious Virtue) constructed in 1405 and now the best preserved of Seoul’s five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty.
Also included are Biwon (Secret Garden) behind Changdeok Palace (Illustrious Virtue), tranquil gardens of unequaled beauty and woodland originally constructed for the recreational area for the royal family and palace women; Insadong Antique District – called “Mary’s Alley” by foreigners – Korea’s art and antique district reminds many visitors of a street museum. One hundred-odd antique shops, old bookstores, and art galleries are concentrated in this area;
Jogyesa Temple is the headquarters of the Jogye sect of Korean Buddhism and the regional office of the World Fellowship of Buddhism.
Cheonggyecheon Stream, used to exist merely as an overpass and neglected in 1970 until it was restored in 2005, becoming a haven of natural beauty amidst the bustle of city life. Narae Bridge, expressing a butterfly in flight, and Gwanggyo Bridge, symbolizing the harmony of the past and future, are just two of the more than 20 beautiful bridges featured along the path of the stream. The ‘Rhythmic Wall Stream,’ lined with fine marble, various sculptures, and Korea’s eighth stone building, Palseokdam, adorn the Cheonggyecheon Stream. Cheonggyecheon Stream offers many beautiful sights to see and enjoy. This evening there will be a Korean folklore performance at Chongdong Theater.
Thursday Seoul / DMZ & 3rd Tunnel / Seoul
Today’s tour includes North Korea’s 3rd Infiltration Tunnel. This is located within the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) area and was established in October 1978. Dora Observation Platform is located at the western front line and from here you can get a view of the North Korean territory including Propaganda Village, People’s School and Gaeseong city, which was a capital of Goryeo Dynasty, and Dorasan Railroad Station, which was recently opened in the DMZ by South Korea according to the agreement between South and North Korea to connect the broken railroad.
Afterwards, proceed to Imjingak. This spot located northwest of Seoul was dedicated to the 5 million people who lost their homes in North Korea. The major facilities at Imjingak include North Hall, where you can get a view of the lifestyle of North Korea, and Exhibition Hall, which has old tanks and planes used for the Korean War.
Return to Seoul. In the afternoon, visit North Seoul Tower on Mount Namsan for a bird’s-eye view of the metropolitan city of Seoul. Later, you will have shopping at Itaewon Shopping District, which is very well known to foreign visitors and tourists as a shopping paradise for bargain hunting, and Namdaemun Market, the oldest and largest market in Korea with wholesale markets — colorful and bustling spots for bargain shoppers.
This evening visit Nanta Theater, which is the permanent home of the first Korean non-verbal performance called “Nanta.” “Nanta” is a hybrid artwork, the combination of a traditional Korean folk performance called “Samulnori” and Western forms of performance.
On the stage is a giant kitchen where four cooks appear and start cooking dishes for a wedding reception. In the process, they perform “Samulnori” using the various cooking utensils, such as pots, pans, and plates, etc. It was a big hit from the moment it opened due to the power and speed of the performance.
Friday Seoul / Icheon Ceramics Village / Seoul
This morning drive to Icheon Ceramics Village, where traditional Korean ceramics of high quality are produced. The village became the center of traditional pottery during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) for about 500 years due to the easily obtainable materials in the areas. Icheon Ceramics Village was also the center of Joseon Baekja ceramics.
Presently, about 80 pottery factories are congregated at the village, and about 300 pottery kilns are in use. Visitors can observe the pottery production process and purchase pottery directly. Return to Seoul and prepare for Shabbat.
Shabbat dinner enjoyed with the local Chabad community (we will take the bus there before Shabbat). It’s approximately a 30-minute walk back (for those who desire closer accommodations, these can be made for an additional fee at a 4-star hotel – 5 minute walk from the Chabad House).
Shabbat Shabbat in Seoul
Shabbat in Seoul is enjoyed with the local Chabad community.
Transfer to Incheon International Airport for our return flight to the U.S., arriving back the same day.
COST PER PERSON
$6,995 based on double occupancy (two to a room)
Includes air fare from: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas or San Francisco
LAND ONLY (no air fare included) – $5,595
• Visa fees for non US citizens (if applicable)
• Snacks or items of a personal nature
• Kabuki performance in Tokyo
• Single Supplement – $1595
• Shabbat in Seoul (closer hotel accommodations) – $200 per person (in double occupancy)
Tokyo Hyatt Regency or Hilton
Kobe Crowne Plaza
Seoul Hyatt Regency
ITINERARY SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
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