Itsukushima Shrine


Exclusive, Unique Tour with Hatha Yoga

October 28 (Depart from your home country)- November 10, 2018 (Return date) 

Come experience Japan and enjoy the rich colors of autumn! Welcome to a land of ancient traditions, exciting modernity, exquisite arts, bustling cities and markets, quiet Zen monasteries, beautiful gardens and temples, samurai and castles, kimonos and bullet trains, sushi and culinary dishes that, for a moment, look too delicate and beautiful to consume!

Beginning in 1988, Fran lived in Japan for three years, where she worked as an English teacher. In 2016, she led her first tour in Japan after not having been to Japan in 28 years. She is excited to return to Japan for a second tour and is excited to share this journey with you. With IACE travel agent and consultant Yukiko Sakamoto, and thanks to the expertise and experience of many others, Fran has designed a unique and enticing itinerary for a trip of a lifetime!

This exclusive tour, with yoga on most days, promises a true cultural immersion into Japanese traditions, hospitality, and history. The size of our group will enable us to experience public transit, eat in smaller, intimate restaurants, and experience traditional Japanese inns (ryokan) on our journey.

Tour highlights:

Tokyo, Japan’s financial, commercial, and political capital:

  • Tokyo Imperial Palace
  • Asakusa, the heart of Old Tokyo (Edo)
  • Senso-Ji Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street

Kyoto, formerly Japan’s Imperial Capital and now the country’s cultural and artistic center, an historic city spared destruction during World War II:

  • Nishiki Market, “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” centuries-old bazaar selling great foods of all kinds
  • Kyoto Cycling Experience (West Course), the best way to see the temples!
  • Bamboo Forest
  • Zen Gardens
  • Performance of Koto, a traditional Japanese stringed instrument, the national instrument of Japan
  • Gion, the district where the geishas gather
  • Maiko Performance
  • Kimono Night in Gion: Women in our group will be dressed in kimono by geisha, hair done in traditional style, and men in our group will wear men’s Kimono
  • Traditional Tea Ceremony, historic, ritualized ceremony of form, grace, and spirituality
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Fushimi Inari Tisha Shrine, Kinkakuji Temple, Nijo Castle, and Toji Temple

Nara (half day trip from Kyoto)

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Todaiji Temple (Great Buddha Temple)
  • Nara Park (tame deer park)
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Kasuga Taisha Shrine (thousands of stone lanterns shrine)

Hiroshima, City of Peace, reborn from the atomic destruction of WWII, a modern and cosmopolitan urban center (on our way to Miyajima)

  • Peace Park and Peace Memorial


  • Itsukushima Shrine (shrine gate reflected in the water) UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Asebi Nature Path (Walking Meditation Experience)

Himeji (day trip)

  • Himeji Castle Tour, a feudal castle, also known as the Snowy Egret Castle

Mt. Koya (Koyasan)

  • A World Heritage Site, Japan’s Holiest Mountain is overlooked by many tourists as it’s off the beaten path and not easy to get to. Famous temples, morning prayer with the monks, Fire Ceremony with the monks, staying at a traditional Temple Inn, a two-hour moderate walk in the forest, where we will see Okuno-in, an ancient cemetery.
  • Kongoji Temple, a stone garden at Mt. Koya
  • Danjo-Garan


  • Free time for Shopping (hotel is centrally located and near many shops)
  • Farewell Dinner

Japan Tour with Daily Yoga Itinerary

View this video of our Japan trip highlights


Tour Cost Includes:

  • 24/7 English Speaking Guide
  • All Hotels and Traditional Inns (Ryokan) provide 4 and 5 star accommodations (please note that the traditional monks’ inn is quite simple and is not a 4 or 5 star accommodation).
  • Admission to all sites visited on the itinerary
  • All outings and activities on the itinerary
  • All breakfasts and most meals included (a few meals are not covered so that you can enjoy a little time to explore on your own)
  • Cost of transportation from Narita Airport (Tokyo) to our hotel in Tokyo, the Takanawa Grand Prince Hotel, is included. Tour participants will take the Narita Limousine Shuttle Bus for the 1.5-hour trip to the hotel. Before your adventure begins, you will receive prepaid vouchers for the ride from Narita Airport to your hotel in Tokyo. The Narita Limousine Shuttle Bus in fairly close to where one exits with luggage after going through customs.  You will receive detailed information on how to locate the Narita Limousine Shuttle Bus a few weeks before the start of the tour.
  • All transportation within Japan (see modes of transportation below) with the exception of departure day (please see notes below).
  • Baggage Delivery Service, for baggage delivery from Tokyo to Kyoto and again from Kyoto to Osaka. This service covers ONE SUITCASE per person.
  • One Daily Hatha Yoga Session led by Fran on most days
  • All tips for meals, drivers, taxis, and airport and hotel porters included (tip for the English Speaking Guide is not included—see below).
  • We are able to accommodate your special dietary needs at no extra cost.
  • Audio devices used while walking and tours (so that you can hear the guide perfectly).

Tour Does Not Include:

  • Airfare to and from Japan
  • Alcohol and other beverages
  • Cost of additional suitcases for the Baggage Delivery Service is $25 per additional bag (the service covers the delivery of ONE bag per person twice during the trip)
  • Tips for the English Speaking Guide: PLEASE NOTE: Tips for the guide is not included and is entirely optional. We will have ONE 24/7 guide with us at all times.  When or if tipping a guide, $10 per day (1000 yen) per day is recommended.
  • Cost of transportation from the Osaka Hotel to the Osaka Airport on the last day is not included. There is a direct train from Swiss Hotel Nankai (our hotel in Osaka) to the Osaka Airport. If you prefer, the staff at Swiss Hotel Nankai can help you reserve a private shuttle ride to the airport on departure day.


Hotels (4 and 5 star hotels and traditional inns) Please note, hotels subject to change:

  • Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo.  Ms. Sakamoto can help you arrange pre-tour accommodations (see her contact information below)
  • Kyoto Century Hotel
  • Traditional Japanese Inn (exact name TBA)
  • Swiss Hotel Nankai in Osaka
  • A Temple Inn at Mt. Koya (Koyasan), traditional Monks’ Inn known as a Shukubo in Japanese.   We will be staying at the Shukubo Jyochiin.

Dining Experiences (vegetarian options available for all meals and we are able to accommodate gluten free diets):

  • Izakaya, an informal Japanese gastropub, a casual place for after-work drinking and eating
  • Kaiseki dinner, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner
  • Kobe Beef, a splurge at the very famous Itoh Dining in Kyoto (vegetarian food options available)
  • Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen: Elegant traditional restaurant set in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by historic Japanese gardens
  • Okonomiyaki (lunch), Hiroshima’s cherished lunch dish
  • Shojin Ryori, Monk’s food, Mt. Koya (all vegetarian)
  • Sushi dinner
  • Tempura (lunch)

Your travel experts:

IACE Travel: Since 1970, IACE Travel has offered first class, custom-made travel programs designed for individuals or groups of any size. IACE Travel was established in New York as an International Association for Cultural Exchange:

Yukiko Sakamoto Lee, IACE Travel Agent and Consultant for IACE Travel (Seattle office), and Fran Gallo have been working together closely on this unique and exclusive trip. Yukiko is from Shiga, Japan.  She came to Seattle in 1998 as a student and became a travel agent in 2001 at IACE Travel. She describes herself as a “couch coach” for NFL in fall and winter, and a hiker in spring and summer.

Ms. Sakamoto will be handling all payments via IACE Travel.

Contact Information for Ms. Sakamoto:
Phone: T 206-464-1100
Fax: 206-464-1101

Fran Gallo: Yoga Instructor in Seattle since 1996, Fran celebrated 20 years of teaching yoga April 2016.  A former English instructor and current owner of Little Renaissance Sanctuary in Ocean Shores, Washington, Fran teaches Hatha Yoga classes and workshops and leads yoga retreats in the States and abroad. Fran is a blogger and world traveling yogini who loves to practice yoga, teach, cook, hike, and get out in nature.  Fran lived and taught English in Japan from January 1988-April 1991.


16 participants are required to register to make this trip happen. Important Note: Please wait for the trip to fill up before booking your flights.

Fee: $6980 per person, room shared with one other person. 

(Single room supplement is $1348.00)

To reserve your trip, a $1000 deposit is due by March 1, 2018. Deposit is non-refundable unless the trip is cancelled due to lack of participants.  We encourage you to pay your deposit as soon as possible so we, as a group, can reach our required number of 16 participants and proceed with booking flights!  TRIP LIMITED TO 16 PARTICIPANTS.  (Balance due August 1, 2018.  Balance is non refundable after August 31, 2018.)  Please do not purchase airfare until we have our confirmed required 16 participants.

Three payment options below:

1) Payment by Check:

A check in US Dollars may be made payable to IACE Travel and sent to:

IACE Travel
Attention: Yukiko Sakamoto Lee
1215 4th Ave, Suite 1325
Seattle, WA 98161

Please specify the name of our trip on your check: Japan Tour with Daily Yoga.

2) For those living outside the USA, an International Wire/Transfer may be sent to the bank below. In addition, please email Ms. Sakamoto to let her know the money has been wired for the Japan Tour with Daily Yoga:

Bank Name: Union Bank of California – Gardena Branch
Account #: 1030069516
Name of Account: World Joint Corp – D.B.A. IACE Travel
Bank Address: 15800 S. Western Avenue, Gardena, CA 90247
Routing #: 122000496
Swift Code: BOFCUS33MPK

3) Credit Card option for payment is also available. However, if paying by credit card, there is an additional 3% charge.

Booking your flight (Arrive Tokyo/Depart Osaka):

We are required to have 16 participants in order to proceed with the Japan Tour with Daily Yoga. Once we have 16 participants registered, Fran will notify you and you can then proceed to book your flight. IACE’s Seattle Travel Agent Ms. Yukiko Sakamoto is available to help you book your flight (optional). She can be contacted at:

Email: Yukiko Sakamoto
Phone: T 206-464-1100
Fax 206-464-1101

Departure from USA or Canada on or by 10/28.

Arrive Narita, Tokyo by 10/29. Our adventure begins at 6 pm with an Orientation followed by Dinner at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa. You will go through customs at the airport upon arrival, and the trip from the airport to the hotel can take up to 2 hours.

Depart Osaka on November 10. Hotel checkout in Osaka (Swiss Hotel Nankai) is 11 am. No activities planned this day.  It is very nice if you allow for a leisurely breakfast at the Swiss Hotel Nankai on the morning of November 10.  The breakfast (included in the tour) is superb and in a gorgeous top floor location with stunning views of the city.

Modes of Transportation:

  • Shinkansen (Bullet Train)
  • Subways
  • World Heritage Ferry
  • Bicycles (Cycling Tour of Temples in Kyoto)
  • Walking, lots of walking
  • JR (Japan Railway) Trains/Local Trains
  • Taxis
  • Private Charter Coach
  • Point to Point Trains (seats reserved; group sits together)

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