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March 11 - 21, 2019

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Land Package Includes:
•   Tour Escort
•   Hotel Accommodations
•   Ground Transportation as indicated in the itinerary
•   Daily breakfast, two lunches, and five dinners
•   Admission to all sites, attractions, and   tours as indicated in the itinerary

March 11 (Mon)
Day One
Honolulu to Tokyo

A morning flight takes us to Japan.

March 12 (Tue) Day Two
Tokyo to Tokushima

Upon arrival in Japan, we will pass through customs and immigration formalities before transferring to our next flight to Tokushima.  Once we arrive we will head to our hotel for the night.

March 13 (Wed) Day Three
Tokushima to Takamatsu

Shikoku is an island roughly twice the size of the island of Hawaii.  It is made up of four prefectures and Tokushima is the first prefecture that we visit.  Today we will visit the Awa Odori Museum.  In pre-modern times Tokushima was known as Awa.  For their obon festival, the folk of Tokushima created their own style of dance that is still performed for a three day festival in August.  At the museum, we will learn a bit about the dance style and get to see some of this lively form of dance performed. 

From there we will learn about the area’s famous indigo dye.  It was over a thousand years ago when the area first began to cultivate the plants needed to make indigo and over the centuries the area became very prosperous for its production of this dye.  Today we will have a chance to learn how it is made and then make our own little souvenir using the dye.  In times past, the area was the most productive area for the creation of this dye.

March 14 (Thu)
Day Four

We are now in our second prefecture of Shikoku, Kagawa Precture, and its capital Takamatsu.  Here we will visit the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum.  Isamu Noguchi was a Japanese American sculptor who created works around the world including several pieces at the Honolulu Museum of Art and at Honolulu Hale.  He lived in the area for about five years because of the fine quality of rock that was available and even after he moved away he would return regularly for over twenty years.  Here we can see some of the works he left behind at his former residence as he hoped that it would serve as inspiration for future generations.

We will then visit Ritsurin Garden, considered one of the top three most beautiful gardens in Japan.  This particular garden was started in 1625 by the local lord and took over a hundred years to reach its final form.  One of its special features is its borrowing of nearby Mt Shuin into its design.

March 15 (Fri) Day Five
Takamatsu to Oboke

We continue on our exploration of Shikoku as we head to the town of Oboke.  Along the way we will take a fan-making class.  We will be making the rounded style of fan known as uchiwa fans.  Ninety percent of these types of fans in Japan are produced here in Marugame.

For lunch we will take an udon making class. The prefecture is noted for making sanuki udon.  Kagawa’s previous name was Sanuki.  After lunch, we will have a chance to walk it off by climbing up to the famous Kotohira-gu Shrine or Kompira san.  It is a major shrine and one of the most popular in this country for hundreds of years.  This shrine is the head shrine for the Kotohira and Kompira shrines.  For those adventuresome enough the climb to the top it is just a scant 1368 steps to the inner shrine.

Tonight we will spend the evening in the mountain town of Oboke.

March 16 (Sat)
Day Six
Oboke to Kochi

Here in this mountainous region we will enjoy the serene valleys and rivers.  This is one of the most untouched regions of Japan.  We will visit Kazura Bridge, which is made out of rope and vines.  It was to this area that defeated Heike forces fled in the 12th century.  The bridge was built as a defensive measure in the event the Genji followed them.  From the bridge you can get a beautiful view of the river valley below, if you can take your eyes off the bridge.

From there we continue southeast for the prefecture of Kochi.  Formerly known as Tosa, it is the largest prefecture on Shikoku.  Today we will learn about Kochi's most famous son, Ryoma Sakamoto.  We will go to Katsurahama Beach, where a statue now commemorates Ryoma Sakamoto’s achievements.  From there we will visit the Sakamoto Ryoma Museum, where we will learn about the 19th century political activist that helped to shape modern day Japan.

March 17 (Sun)
Day Seven

On our first stop we will explore the Sunday Street Market, one of the largest street markets in Japan with 650 vendors and nearly 50,000 customers weekly.  The street market moves every day.  The Sunday morning market has been at the same location since 1948.  The market specializes in fresh vegetables, herbs, plants, dried food, and more.  We will also stop by the popular Hirome Market where you can grab a bite to eat.

After lunch we will visit the Kochi Castle Museum of History.  Here we can learn about this castle that was built from 1601 – 1611.  It was last rebuilt in 1748 and was the seat of power for the Yamanouchi clan, who ruled the Tosa domain from the castle’s construction to the Meiji era.  While most of the castle was rebuilt there is one structure that survives from the initial construction.  The castle is also noted for the amount of greenery that can be found on the castle grounds due to the warm climate and the fact that the castle was never under siege in its four hundred year history.  Unlike other castles, the lords actually lived inside.  Once we have finished learning about the castle, we will have a chance to visit Kochi Castle itself.
March 18 (Mon) Day Eight Kochi to Uwajima

We leave the city of Kochi and journey to the countryside of Shikoku.  You will be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the prefecture.  Our stop for the day is the Shimanto River for a ride on the longest river in Shikoku and the cleanest river in all of Japan.  We will take a boat tour of the river where we can see firsthand the natural beauty of the river.  Our boatman rows the yakatabune, a boat with a roof, up the river, which is also home to “Ayu”, a kind of river trout.

March 19 (Tue) Day Nine Uwajima to Matsuyama

Today we come to the last of Shikoku’s four prefectures, Ehime.  As we head to the capital of Matsuyama, we will stop in the town of Uchiko.  During the Edo and Meiji periods this town was famous for its paper and candle production.  Today we will visit the local candle museum that recalls its heyday.  We can enjoy the historical district.  These days the town is more involved in agriculture, including such things as tobacco, mushrooms, and fruits.

March 20 (Wed) Day Ten Matsuyama

Our day will be spent exploring Matsuyama city.  We will visit Matsuyama Castle, Ishiteji, Iyo Kasuri Kaikan, and Dogo Onsen. Our first stop, Matsuyama Castle, was built by Yoshiaki Kato, a samurai who was awarded for his service to Ieyasu Tokugawa with a 200,000 koku parcel.  The castle took 25 years to complete from 1602 – 1627 and is one of three multi-wing castles in Japan.  In its nearly four hundred year history it has been rebuilt just three times, the last being completed at 1854.  In the latter half of the twentieth century, the castle was fully restored thus making it one of Japan’s finest original castles.  It was around this castle that the city of Matsuyama grew.

From there we will visit Ishiteji, the 51st of the 88 temples of Shikoku.  The journey of the 88 temples is a tribute to Kobo Daishi (774-835), who founded the Shingon sect of Buddhism and built those temples in the 8th century.  Before the modern age, it took two months to walk the path.  Today, it takes two weeks by bus, although there are still those who walk the path in its entirety.  It is believed that if you complete the journey you will attain enlightenment and need not be reincarnated into the next life.  Approximately 100,000 pilgrims complete the journey annually.  Ishiteji is second only to Zentsuji in popularity.  It is noted for its fine architecture from the Kamakura Era (1185-1333) and is named for a Matsuyama lord who was born with a stone in his hand.

Our next stop is Iyo Kasuri Kaikan, a museum dedicated to the kasuri developed in this area in the 19th century by Kana Kagiya.  Iyo is the pre-Meiji name of Ehime prefecture.  Kasuri is a type of fabric created from threads dyed in particular colors and then woven into particular patterns on looms.  The dye and weaving process are all done by hand and is therefore very labor intensive.  However the craftsmanship of these fabrics shine through the simple geometric patterns.

Our last stop will be Dogo Onsen, the oldest onsen in Japan.  Shotoku Taishi, a sixth-century prince, is the first human known to have definitely dipped at Dogo, making it one of the most frequented springs in the country.  The building is currently undergoing renovation, but we can appreciate the exterior and the small shopping district leading up to it. 

March 21 (Thu)
Day Eleven
Matsuyama to Tokyo to Honolulu

A late morning flight will take us back to Tokyo where we will then catch our next flight back to Honolulu.

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