From Tokyo, the modern and the techno to Kamakura and Kyoto to see old Japan. Last days in Osaka and Spaworld for some r and r for the trip home.
See + Do
Saiho-ji (Moss Temple), Japan
Kyoto 615-8286, Japan
Tel: 81 75 391 3631
Converted into a Zen temple in 1339, Saiho-ji Temple, in the southwestern outskirts of Kyoto, is justly renowned for its large and lush moss garden, which blankets the varied terrain with multihued green and blue fuzz. The effect is beautiful and rather otherworldly. To visit this World Heritage Site, you must reserve ahead of time by snail mail; the process is slightly complicated (you need a Japanese return address), so ask your travel agent or contact the tourist office for help a few weeks before you leave home. Visitors must be over 18. When you do arrive—at the assigned date and time—you'll be required, along with everyone else, to sit and chant sutras or else copy them out with ink and brush before the monks will allow you into the garden. It's all part of the fun.
Park Hotel Tokyo, Japan
Tel: 81 3 6252 1111
Located on the 25th floor of a skyscraper tower, this hotel, open since 2003, is in Shiodome, a new high-rise district close to Shimbashi and Ginza. The rooms are simple, with modern decor and floor-to-ceiling windows. In the ten-story atrium, there's a lobby bar and a selection of stylish restaurants including Hanasanshou, where superior Japanese food is served, using ingredients from a Kyoto farm. It has far more full-service amenities than other budget hotels in Tokyo: In-room massage is on offer until 2 a.m., and 24-hour room service is available for light meals.