Ann in Japan 2020
NOTE: The itinerary you see here is subject to adjustments and changes at the discretion of the guides (if needed).
September 30, October 1, October 2: TOKIWA-SO Nice to see you
September 30 is the departure day you’ll use if flying from North America; we arrive in Japan on October 1 local time. After arriving, join us for a fun dinner out or just rest up and overcome jet lag.
To begin Day 2, we’ll visit the Tokiwaso Memorial to the apartment complex in Tokyo that housed many of Japan’s legendary manga-ka. Your guides will help you find lunch before an afternoon journey through Ikebukuro to the Pokemon Center - or if you aren’t feeling the shopping bug bite, join the guides for a side quest (of sorts) to Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens.
October 3: Ghibli to Akihabara
Things get a little more traditional today as we embark on a trip to the Ghibli Museum to check out exhibits dedicated to the masterworks of Miyazaki’s team. Then it’s off to Akihabara to shop for the latest in Anime goods and bask in the neon atmosphere of the area. Shop, or join the guides for a walk through the more historical areas of the neighborhood.
OCTOBER 4: Festive Academia
Get ready to crawl past food booths, see rock bands take over science classrooms, and more as we take a detour to a University festival! After hanging with the locals, we’ll regroup later for an optional trip to the bizarre Anata no Warehouse video arcade.
OCTOBER 5: Rivers and Robots
After checking out Asakusa in the morning, we’ll cruise down the Sumida River on a river boat designed by Galaxy Express mastermind Leiji Matsumoto on a trip to Odaiba. Here you’ll be able to see the island’s iconic giant Gundam statue and shop for limited edition Gunpla models! Then we de-camp for the attic of anime fandom known as Nakano Broadway, or you can check out the chic streets of Shibuya. In the evening, we’ll gather together for a group dinner at a local Izakaya.
OCTOBER 6: FREE DAY
Today is a free day! Take it easy, go back to see more of an area you visited before, or check out a completely different spot!
OCTOBER 7: KAKUNODATE
Today we leave the city behind and head into the countryside! Our first stop is Kakunodate, the place where Ghibli background designer Kazuo Oga grew up and inspired the look of much of his work (My Neighbor Totoro, Arietty, etc.). We’ll check out the old samurai homes in the center of town and take in a little local hospitality before we head to the Dakigaeri Gorge the following morning to see some of the best scenery rural Japan has to offer!
Tonight, you’ll also have the chance to stay overnight in a local hot spring resort!
OCTOBER 8: Dakigaeri to ISHINOMAKI
After our morning in Kakunodate, we’ll head out to the city of Ishinomaki on the coast. Our first stop will be the museum dedicated to Ishinomori Shotaro, the famed creator of Kamen Rider, Cyborg 009 and countless other legendary manga series! In the evening, we’ll head to a local food court set up by the locals to help bring the community together after the 2011 Tsunami. Snack on food, sip a drink, and take in some local sounds before we call it a day.
OCTOBER 9: MATSUSHIMA
The famous isles of Matsushima await! We’ll take in the views of thousands of small islands from both sea and land, while also taking time to cross over to Fukuura Island on its famous red bridge and visit the caves and historical sites of Zuiganji Temple.
OCTOBER 10: STUDIO-US
After a night out in Sendai, we’ll take a detour into the traditional arts for a lesson on how to make soba noodles. Then, we’ll head to the studios of Fukushima Gaina, a former Gainax studio set up in the wake of the 2011 disaster. That night, we gather in Sendai again for a group dinner in the city!
OCTOBER 11: OESHIKI FESTIVAL
Today we head back to Tokyo before the capping event of the trip: a night at the magnificent Oeshiki Festival! Join parades of majestic floats to Ikegami Honmonji Temple as we snack on festival food, socialize with the locals, and have a pretty fabulous time.
OCTOBER 12: Return home
Head home and show off all those photos you took!