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Forget everything your mother taught you about table manners. In Japan, it’s considered rude not to slurp. Get ready to joyously drink in traditional hot sake, green tea, big brothy noodle bowls and the delicious views from neon-lit Tokyo to historic Kyoto. Peaks, palaces, pavilions, and pagodas provide picture-perfect backdrops for your photos, but don’t expect to stand still for very long on this enthralling tour of Japan. A hands-on calligraphy class, a special kimono fitting, an interactive cooking demonstration, and a gold-leaf design class-where you’ll make your own keepsake bento box-are all part of the fun. You’ll also browse the produce at a Takayama farmer’s market, stroll through Kanazawa’s famous Kenroku-en gardens, and experience the thrill of a ride on the famous bullet train. Prepare to be floored in more ways than one! End your exploration of Japan in Osaka with visits to Osaka Castle and Minami, the cities most famous entertainment district and where the locals go for fun.
This large, bustling port is the starting point for tours to the ancient cities of Kyoto and Nara, the cultural fountainheads of classical Japan. Kyoto's Old Imperial Palace and the shogunal Nijo Castle remain glorious symbols of the power the city held for over 1,000 years. Until 1868, Kyoto was the capital of Japan, filled with elegant timber buildings and, perhaps more than any other Japanese city, imbued with Kami, the divine spirit. You'll sense it everywhere, for there are hundreds of Shinto shrines and over a thousand Buddhist temples, as well as sacred treasure-houses of religious sculpture, painting and exquisite gardens. Nara, City of the Seven Great Temples, lies in an idyllic setting.
Huge department stores brim with shoppers, neon flashes from dusk to dawn, and the entire world pays heed to the slightest fluctuation on the Nikkei Index. From the Imperial Palace and Meiji Shrine to the fabled Ginza district, 20th-century Tokyo is an intriguing composite of East and West. Yuppies sporting Walkmen bow formally in greeting. Women in kimonos and Dior suits stroll side-by-side. Geishas play samisens while disc jockeys play the Top Forty. Japanese houses of wood and paper stand in the shadow of towering steel and mortar. Not far away, one of the world's most impressive sights soars 12,388 feet to its snow-clad peak: Mount Fuji, the majestic symbol of Japan.
Kyoto, as publicized in guidebooks and travel magazines, is a very special city in Japan. In Kyoto, the past still lives on in nearly 2,000 shrines and temples, six historical preservation districts and an abundance of beautiful natural scenery. Through close connections with other forms of culture such as the tea ceremony and performing arts and festivals, textile, dye, ceramics, 'sake'-brewing, fans, dolls, and lacquerware industries, which were supported by imperial, religious and political rulers throughout Kyoto's history, continue to thrive as they were passed down through generations. Kyoto's technological prowess continues to attract worldwide attention. Also, Kyoto is also known as a center of educational and research. It is therefore no surprise Kyoto became the first city in Japan to emerge as a major convention destination and continues to be unrivalled in its popularity. Kyoto has preserved and continues to develop those factors which make it the ideal convention destination: history, culture, tradition, academics, technological progress, accessibility and professional experience in conference management.
Kanazawa's importance grew in the 15th century, when the powerful and militant Ikko sect established its new headquarters there after being chased out of Kyoto by the monks of Mt.Hiei.
During the Edo Period, Kanazawa was the seat of the Maeda clan, the second most powerful clan after the Tokugawa in terms of rice production and fief size. Accordingly, Kanazawa grew to become a town of great cultural achievements, rivaling Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo).
In World War Two, Kanazawa was Japan's second largest city (after Kyoto) to escape destruction by air raids. Consequently, parts of the old castle town, such as samurai, temple and pleasure districts, have survived in pretty good condition.
Kanazawa is capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, a prefecture along the Sea of Japan.
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