These tours are great for first time visitors to Japan looking for comfortable accommodation with all entrance fees and most meals included. Our Japan Deluxe Tours are accomodated with professional tour guides, fluent in both Japanese and English, to ensure an educational and valuable visit. Air-conditoned, private coaches are also included, so you can enjoy a comfortable and hassle-free time in Japan. Our tours range from 7 to 21 days, to various regions of Japan.
These tours combine enrichment, enjoyment, and education with time to truly absorb and appreciate your surroundings. Our Deluxe-Plus small group tours are created to cater to those who are interested in having a deeper understanding of Japan's culture. You will have the opportunity to participate in culturally rich activities and visit destinations only locals may know. Experience luxurious hotels and travel at a leisurely pace when you book a Deluxe-Plus small group tour.
Explore the must-see sights and enjoy the hassle-free trip to Japan at an affordable price. Our most cost-effective way to see the highlights of Japan while staying in budget-friendly accommodations. If you would like to have a quick stop to sample the must-see sights of Japan, or plan to explore Japan on your own but would like to take a short trip to learn about Japan before your self-guided journeys. These are the tours for you.
Explore Japan off the beaten path via Japanese public transportation, walking, hiking, cycling and more. Take more time to enjoy local experiences and picturesque landscape. Our Active Small Group Tours combine the best of cultural destinations with off-the-beaten-path via Japanese public transportation, Discover the country of Japan the way the locals do and see Japan from a different angle. A focus on getting away from the crowds and into the real Japan, see the diversity of Japan’s countryside unfold before your eyes.
The price is per person, based on twin or triple room occupancy
For single travelers, this tour has a single supplement. This guarantees a single room throughout the tour
Prices are excluding international flights
Single room types are rooms for
single room occupants.
One person will be occupying the hotel room throughout the tour.
Twin room types are rooms set for two people who will occupy one room, but will have two separate beds.
A double room is a room that has one bed for two people to share.
A triple room is one room where three people may share the same room. It has three separate beds.
Japanese Style Room
A Japanese-style room traditionally does not have a western-style bed, it is a tatami floor room with futon bedding. However, if you prefer a western-style bed, you may request one though we cannot guarantee it.
Please note: If you would like to request neighboring rooms next to your traveling companions, you and your traveling companions must have the same room types in order to be next to each other. For example, if you have requested a double room, but your traveling companions have requested a twin, or triple room, then neighboring rooms cannot be accommodated. However, if both you and your traveling companions match in room type, then neighboring rooms will likely be arranged for your convenience.
Hokkaido is one of the best places to enjoy the autumn season in Japan. The gorgeous natural landscape paired with a unique local culture makes for an unforgettable reason to visit Japan's northern island. Locations like Noboribetsu's "Hell Valley", Lake Toya, and Onuma Quasi- National Park enchant seasonal visitors with beautiful natural splendor, but what sets this itinerary apart is including Sapporo's Autumn Fest. The Autumn Fest is a food festival in Sapporo's Odori Park, and a cornucopi... View More
Hokkaido is one of the best places to enjoy the autumn
season in Japan. The gorgeous natural landscape paired
with a unique local culture makes for an unforgettable
reason to visit Japan's northern island. Locations like
Noboribetsu's "Hell Valley", Lake Toya, and Onuma Quasi-
National Park enchant seasonal visitors with beautiful
natural splendor, but what sets this itinerary apart is
including Sapporo's Autumn Fest. The Autumn Fest is a
food festival in Sapporo's Odori Park, and a cornucopia of
seasonal food and drink. The Autumn Fest is an absolute
must for foodies, especially those who love local Japanese
cuisine. If you love Japanese food and the thought of
tasting fresh Hokkaido dishes makes your mouth water,
the Sapporo Autumn Fest is an unmissable experience. In
addition to Sapporo, we sightsee must-see cities including
Hakodate, which features Fort Goryokaku, the Red Brick
Warehouses, and the view from Mount Hakodate. We also
visit the fishing port of Otaru, where we discover local
cultural delights including the Music Box Museum and
Otaru Sushi District.
This tour also showcases the northern island's incredible
natural beauty with stops at some of Hokkaido's most
scenic landscapes. Discover the captivating enchantment
of the northern island while walking through Jigokudani
"Hell Valley" in Noboribetsu, on the shores of enchanting
Lake Toya, at Onuma Quasi-National Park, and the
incredible Utasai Beech Forest - a picturesque grove of
beech trees that is a protected natural landmark. Guests
on our tour will experience enjoyable local experiences
like Seasonal Fruit Picking near breathtaking Lake Toya,
and Ice Cream Making Experience at Lake Hill Farm, an
easy Taiko Drum Lesson at Kuromatsunai, and a visit to
Nikka Whiskey Distillery at Yoichi.
The tour includes comfortable accommodations with transit around Hokkaido serviced by private coach. You will also be accompanied around Hokkaido by a knowledgeable and friendly bi-lingual guide. For an unforgettable autumn adventure featuring delicious local cuisine, immersive cultrual experiences, and breathtaking natural beauty, book a spot on our Sapporo Autumn Fest Tour.
Browse our detailed itinerary below for more information.
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All prices are per person, based on twin (double on request) or triple occupancy.
International flights are not included on our tours - this allows you the flexibility to choose your own departure and get the best value for your money!
We can arrange international flights for US customers if needed, please ask for details.
We require US$200 deposit per person to hold the space at time of booking and the final payment is due 2 month prior to departure.
Travel by private coach between destinations, hassle free baggage handling.
This tour starts and finishes in Sapporo for arrivals and departures at New Chitose Airport (CTS).
Vegetarian or special meals can be arranged.
Please note that the meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour after 11 AM. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, we will provide full instructions in advance for you to transfer to your hotel on your own.
Welcome to Sapporo! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
NOTE 1: The meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour after 11 AM. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, we will provide full instructions in advance for you to transfer to your hotel on your own.
Begin the day in the town of Shiraoi, where we will visit the Upopoy National Ainu Museum. The Ainu are the indigenous people of Hokkaido, and this museum celebrates their distinct culture and history. Next, at Noboribetsu, we tour the "Hell Valley" Jigokudani, a primordial landscape where sulphurous steam seeps out of vents in the ground. Around the area are hot streams and ponds that have been enriched by the volcanic soil. The Oyanumagawa Natural Foot Bath is one such stream, where travelers hiking the walking trails around Noboribetsu can rest their weary ankles. After, we proceed to Lake Toya, which puts on special displays of exploding color and light during their Long-Run Fireworks Nights. The sight of the breathtaking firework show over clear, gorgeous Lake Toya is an unforgettable experience.
Our morning at Lake Toya begins with a trip up the Mount Usu Ropeway to enjoy a magnificent view of the lake area below. Then we enjoy a Seasonal Fruit Picking activity where you walk the fields of the local area and gather some of the fall fruit harvest. Then, at Lake Hill Farm, enjoy an Ice Cream-Making Experience, using the rich cream from Hokkaido - a region famous for excellent dairy products. After, we take a trip to Nanae, stopping at Road Station Nanairo-Nanae, which sells sweets and other souvenirs from Southern Hokkaido. Finally, we continue on to Hakodate for a relaxing evening at the hotel.
Today, we will enjoy touring all the best sights of Hakodate, starting with the Morning Market. City residents gather each morning to find deals on the freshest seafood and produce in a daily routine that can offer visiting travelers a taste of the local culture. From there, we will go to the city's largest, most beautiful park - Fort Goryokaku. Once a Western-style fortress built in the waning years of the Edo era, Fort Goryokaku was slowly landscaped into a prominent public park with its moats now bordered by over a thousand cherry trees. Moving on to the port district, we will explore the old Red Brick Warehouses, built in the early 1900s to accommodate the sudden influx of international trade that occurred around that time. The old buildings were renovated into a commercial shopping complex with a broad variety of stores. Then, at Motomachi, we'll see a district popular among the foreign traders that first came to the city for international commerce, which includes many Western-style buildings. Finally, take the Mount Hakodate Ropeway up to the observation point, which offers stunning views of the city below.
In the morning, we begin by visiting Onuma Quasi National Park, a gorgeous landscape of picturesque lakes and mountains, including the volcano Komagatake. Then, at Shikabecho, savor a Local Cuisine Experience at Hama no Kazan, which makes rice and fish dishes using seasonal ingredients from the region. Next, we head to Kuromatsunai for a fun and easy Taiko lesson learning easy rhythms under the guidance of a friendly instructor. After, we visit one of Japan's loveliest natural monuments - the Utasai Beech Forest. This primeval forest of beech trees is an expecially lovely virgin beech forest, wild and untouched, and enjoying a relaxing stroll under its dense canopy creates a feeling of wondrous enchantment. After, transfer to the hotel for a relaxing evening.
Today we will drive to Yoichi to visit the Nikka Whisky Distillery. This distillery, opened by Masataka Taketsuru, produced and sold the first Japanese whisky. A tour of the facility provides visitors with insight into the whisky production process, as well as a tasting of the local Nikka label whisky. Next, we will travel to Otaru for a leisurely stroll through the port city's heritage district. As you walk up Sakaimachi Street, you can see Otaru's history in old Western-style fisheries, shops and houses. On the way, we'll explore Otaru's reputation for excellent glass craftsmanship at the Kitaichi Garasukan, where glassmakers transitioned from making simple glass fishing buoys to crafting fine glassware and artwork. At one end of Sakaimachi Street we'll discover the Music Box Museum, a cozy museum and shop selling a large collection of charming music boxes. After, we will take a walk along the Otaru Canal, which had once fallen into disrepair at the introduction of modern docking facilities, and has since been converted into a charming vintage promenade. Finally, we will make our way to the Otaru Sushi District, where you will be free to find your own sushi dinner from among the shops selling various kinds of sushi.
After breakfast, visit the Historic Village of Hokkaido. The point of the village is to provide a realistic understanding of the pioneer time period in Hokkaido. Everything thing in the village is an exhibit and consists of around 60 or so buildings. Next, we take a trip to the Shiroi Koibito Park, which is a chocolate themed amusement park. Visually, its a interesting mix of Hokkaido and British culture, with stores that sell a variety of chocolates and other sweets. For lunch, we savor a lunch of crab, Sapporo's signature dish which is freshly caught and cooked. Then we visit Hokkaido Shrine - the chief Shinto shrine of Sapporo. This simply elegant shrine holds 4 Shino deities, including the soul of Emperor Meiji. After, we take a tour the Asahi Beer Hokkaido Brewery. Asahi is one of the chief brewers of beer in Japan, and offers 20-minute tours of their facility, including fresh-brewed samples of their quality product. Finally, we visit the incredible Hill of the Buddha, a magnificent Buddhist shrine designed by famous Japanese architect Tadano Ando. Then we return to the hotel for a relaxing evening.
For your final day in Sapporo, experience the delightful Sapporo Autumn Fest, which is the biggest food festival in Hokkaido. Autumn Fest is still a fairly new festival, but it has quickly become one of Hokkaido's most popular seasonal festivals. Since autumn is Japan's harvest season, the Autumn Fest becomes an opportunity to try food and drink from all around Hokkaido. The festival is held throughout Odori Park, and from the moment you arrive, your eyes and nose will be delighted by the various foods made of seasonal ingredients in colorful stalls around the festival grounds. There is also a section devoted to Oktoberfest. Sapporo and Munich in Germany are sister cities, features craft beers from Germany and all over Hokkaido. After, return to your hotel for a last relaxing evening in Sapporo.
After breakfast, our tour officially ends.
Checkout time is 11 am.
Transfer to New Chitose Airport by Airport Limousine Bus.
NOTE 2: The departure airport transfer is ONLY available on the last day of the tour. If you plan to stay extra nights after the tour, we will provide full instructions in advance for you to transfer to the airport on your own.
NOTE 3: If you would like to stay longer in Japan, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
Shiraoi is a small town in Hokkaido Prefecture. Though officially established in the mid-1800s by the lords of Sendai during the feudal era, this coastal town’s history goes back even further as a former settlement of the native Ainu. In recognition of this dual heritage, the town has constructed the Ainu Museum, which celebrates the language, history, culture, and legacy of the Ainu, through various exhibits and demonstrations for nearly every aspect of daily Ainu life. The museum apparently has collected over five thousand various folk items related to the Ainu people. Shiraoi is also noted for its beautiful nature, especially Lake Kuttara, which, according to Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, is one of Japan’s clearest lakes. Shiraoi wagyu beef is a famous local product, with local farms of black Japanese cattle scattered around the nearby countryside.
A replacement facility for the old “Porotokan” Ainu Museum, this newer exhibit space works to further expand visitors’ understanding of the Ainu People.
Initially opened in 1990, the Porotokan Ainu Museum was dedicated to cataloging, preserving, and teaching the history and culture of the original native peoples of Hokkaido: the Ainu people. In 2018, however, the Porotokan closed down in order to clear the way for the new and expanded National Ainu Museum. This newer museum’s philosophy is based on the ideals of multicultural coexistence and presents various exhibits divided into six separate Ainu-centered themes: history, language, lifestyle, livelihood, worldview, and trade with other peoples. The museum is one building in a larger facility called Upopoy (“singing in a large group” in Ainu language). This facility includes, in addition to the museum, a National Park near Lake Poroto, and a Memorial Site for deceased Ainu.
Noboribetsu is located in southwestern Hokkaido along the southern coast of Hokkaido. Noboribestu is part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, which is located in southwestern Hokkaido. This place is known throughout Hokkaido and hosts Hokkaido’s best-known hot spring resort. Surrounding the area is a forest and if visitors wish to, they can travel to Shikotsu-Toya National Park. There are numerous outdoor activities within the park which include hiking, hot springs, camping, boat tours on the lakes, canoeing, and many other activities. Noboribetsu is also home to the famous Noboribestu Jigokudani. The Jigokudani (or known as “Hell Valley”) is just above the town, this valley is the number one destination for nature lovers making a visit to Noboribestu.
Hell valley - displaying volcanic activities.
There are many hot springs in Japan, one of which is located in Hokkaido with the name of Jigokudani, meaning “Hell Valley.” The very characteristics of the valley itself justify the name given to the location. Other physical features of the valley include its crater foundation that is more than a kilometer and half all around.
Just outside the Jigokudani “Hell Valley” of Noboribetsu, the river Oyunumagawa cools to just the right temperature for a pleasing foot bath.
Noboribetsu is known for its Jigokudani “Hell Valley” natural hot spring region. As a result, a number of local onsen resorts have sprung up around the local area, offering a hit mineral bath to weary travelers. But as the Oyunuma River winds around the valley, the temperature of the river cools to the perfect degree for a refreshing bath for to soothe your tired feet. The foot bath is free, and visitors may sit on a wooden deck and dangle their feet into the flowing river, or they may stand in the river’s flow. Those who choose to stand in the river, the natural silt and mineral deposits wash over and scour the feet clean.
Lake Toya is located southwest of Sapporo, at the center of the lake are four islands called Nakajima. On the island called O-shima, which is the largest of the four islands, is the Toyako Forest Museum. Kannon-jima used to enshrine a sculpture of Kannon, Goddess of Mercy, from the Edo Period, but now there is just the temple in its place. Benten-jima is connected to Kannon-jima by a sandbank called Toppmoshiri. Benzaiten, Goddess of everything that flows like music, time, water, speech, rivers and knowledge, is enshrined on the island. Manju-jima is off limits to casual visitors because it is known for having many vipers thus it is called “Snake Island.” Another thing you can do around Lake Toya is rent out bicycles and pass by sculptures surrounding the lake shore.
Experience the stunning Lake Toya Fireworks display between May and October over breathtaking Lake Toya - one of the most beautiful lakes in Japan.
Lake Toya is an exceptionally lake in Hokkaido, sitting near picturesque Mount Usu. The lake has a single island in the middle, known as Nakajima - rising like a shapely green pupil inside a clear blue eye. The lake one of the two northernmost lakes in Japan that never freezes, and so remains clear and beautiful all year- round. And although Japan hosts hundreds of fireworks festivals every year, it is the Lake Toya Fireworks display that is one of the most delightful. Fireworks like brilliant flowers burst in all colors of the rainbow, and can be seen reflecting off the surface of the water, in a nightly display running from May to October. This makes it one of the longest-running fireworks shows in Japan.
A volcano which has erupted four times in the past 100 years.
Mount Usu, Japan’s most active volcano. The unusual thing with Mount Usu is that it does not spew out tons of lava, but instead forms new landmarks. The rise of volatile magma creates the lava domes as well as the crypto domes. There are several walking trails that can be taken to see the destruction left behind. There are also wrecked houses, confection factory, telephone poles, cars and other buildings that remain there to educate individuals on the destructive power of volcanoes. The trail then leads to the craters where you can still see steam emitting from the fissures.
In Hokkaido, near peaceful Lake Toya, a collective of orchards offer a rare country life experience – seasonal fruit picking.
Lake Toya is a volcanic caldera lake in Hokkaido, and is surrounded by a number of charming parks. A few are planted with orchards that offer guests the fun local experience of seasonal fruit picking. Largely concentrated around the southern rim of the lake, a variety of orchards open their gardens to visiting travelers to enjoy picking and eating various fruits. The fruit available depends on the time of year, but among the fruits grown in the area, apples, blueberries, cherries, grapes, and peaches are among the most common. Over a hundred different varieties of fruit may be found there, which, in addition to the peaceful lakeside atmosphere, makes this an activity that draws people to return again and again. Lake Toya is also noted as the northernmost lake in Japan that never freezes over in winter, and has a series of small islands in the center, known collectively as Nakajima.
Enjoy an Ice Cream Making Experience at Lake Hill Farm - a charming little dairy farm near Lake Toya, where you can make delightfully creamy soft-serve ice cream in a simple and fun class.
Hokkaido is a region of Japan famed for its rich dairy products, producing high-quality cheese, cream, butter, and milk that are sold in stores across Japan and even Asian markets overseas. While visiting this island it would be unthinkable not to try some their famous dairy products, but why only try when you can learn how they make them? Visit Lake Hill Farm near Lake Toya in southern Hokkaido, which includes an ice cream cafe where you can not only enjoy some tasty locally produced dairy, but also enjoy a fun and easy class where you can make delicious ice cream. The class is easy to understand and taught by the friendly staff.
Nanae is a large town in the southern Oshima subprefecture of Hokkaido. Prominent features of this town include idyllic Lake Onuma – a part of Onuma Quasi- National Park, and nearby stratovolcano Mount Koma-ga- take, which looks especially picturesque from across the lake. Nanae has a large farming and agricultural community, with travelers visiting the various orchards around town to enjoy seasonal fruit-picking. Apples are especially abundant, and are considered a symbol of the town. One major point of interest in Nanae is the Hokkaido Kelp Museum, which details the history and techniques involved in kelp aquaculture through various exhibits and movies – they even sell kelp-flavored ice cream!
Road Station Nanairo-Nanae is the number one "road station" in Hokkaido, and sells a variety of locally-produced foods and souvenirs.
As more people in Japan began to drive around the country (as opposed to using the trains), Japan developed a series of "road stations" across the country, from Okinawa to Hokkaido. These stations offer visitors local produce, cuisine, and souvenirs from that region. Consistently ranked as the top road station in Hokkaido is Road Station Nanairo-Nanae, which is located at Nanae-cho in southern Hokkaido. This roadstation sells the various local delights of the region, including a special soft-serve ice cream made with guarana, and fluffy croquettes. Many of the local souvenirs they make feature locally grown apples, including apple ponzu, apple pound cake, apple curry, and of course, apple juice.
Hakodate is a port city and is the third largest city in Hokkaido. It was one of the first ports to be open to foreign trade and the influences of other countries can be shown in the Motomachi area of the city. The architecture still survives even after the 1934 Great Hakodate Fire, which destroyed over 11,000 buildings and World War II bombings. The night view from Mount Hakodate is one of the top tourist spots people go to and is the symbol of the city. Since Hakodate is a port town there is a place called the morning market where you can buy a plethora of fresh seafood and other delectable items. Hakodate is a city of cultural importance that not only reflects the past, but possibilities of the future. As the gateway to Hokkaido it would be a great place to stop and visit all the sites.
Enjoy fresh seafood for breakfast.
Hakodate’s Morning Market is a market specializing in seafood. It was created after World War II and extends some four city blocks. This morning market consists of approximately 160 shops, however tourists from all over can buy and have their meals prepared for them at that moment. Seafood like sea urchins, clams, king crab, salmon and more amongst the fruit and vegetables that they sell as well. This market offers sales every day from early in the morning until around noon time.
Japan's first Western style fortress.
The Goryokaku Fort was first built over a hundred years ago, this established structure held the magistrate’s office where Hokkaido was administered and was the first western-styled stronghold of its kind in Japan. The fort was not always affiliated to military, once it lost its importance for military self-defense, it was employed as a park in 1910. This area is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in early May because it has more than a thousand trees blooming there each year. An observation tower is also available for public use to view the grounds from above.
Atmospheric shopping complex in the bay area.
The Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse refers to the several buildings lined up facing the Hakodate Bay. The Kanemori Youbutsukan is a shopping center, which offers a variety of goods. It is set up daily like a flea market for people to enjoy. The Hakodate History Plaza is where the Hakodate Beer Hall is located. Here you can have a chance to enjoy Hakodate beer, and there is an exhibition hall at the center of the plaza showcasing the history of the area.
Former residential area of foreign traders.
Motomachi is located at the base of Mount Hakodate. Motomachi was one of the first areas to flourish with foreign influences, which can be seen from the remnants of the western styled streetscape and residency of various consulates. Aside from the western styled buildings that decorate Motomachi, there is a famous street called Hachimanzaka slope, where many movies, dramas and commercial used the area to film scenes.
One of the Japan's three best night views.
Known as “Lying Cow” for its shape, Mount Hakodate offers one of the best views from its summit some 334 meters high, overlooking both sea and land. The views that can be seen from Mount Hakodate include the peninsulas located south from the summit, the Tsugaru and Shimokita Peninsulas belonging to Aomori Prefecture. In addition to the peninsular views, the night time and daytime views in either direction are popular among the tourists, so tourists need only worry about the observation deck and ropeway operational times when visiting Mount Hakodate.
Lake Onuma, located in the southern part of Hokkaido, is part of Onuma Quasi National Park, together with the nearby Konuma and Junsainuma marshes. Lake Onuma is 24 kilometers in circumference and was formed by the eruption of Mt. Komagatake. It has 126 islands, large and small, and is famous for the spectacular views of these islands connected by 18 bridges. It takes approximately 60 minutes to walk around the lake through a series of arched bridges, including Kogetsubashi, Ukishimabashi, and Hinodebashi.
National park 20 kilometers north of Hakodate.
Onuma Park (known as Quasi National Park) is located north of Hakodate in Hokkaido. Lake Onuma is located within Onuma Park. Lake Onuma is known for the resorts that permit year-round for guests at their hotels some of which offer golfing, canoeing and camping among other activities as part of their outdoor attractions. Even during winter, Lake Onuma has a ski resort for tourists, so people can try snow- based activities in the colder seasons. During colder seasons and even in spring, Lake Onuma is usually frozen until May due to the high altitude in its already cold prefecture of Hokkaido.
Shikabe is a town that borders the north of Hakodate in southern Hokkaido. Shikabe is home to the Shikabe Kanketsusen Park, which is a park that has a geyser. There are only a few geysers located in Japan, so this place is a popular destination for visitors to experience. There is a natural hot spring foot bath nearby so people can relax while they wait for the geyser to erupt. Every August the Shikabe Sea and Hot Springs Festival is held in Shikabe. The festival celebrates summer and holds a beautiful fireworks show at night.
Experience making home cooked meals from freshly caught seafood.
The Shikabe Hot Springs Tourism Association has classes available for visitors wishing to learn more about Shikabe cuisine. Guests are able to go out on catch their own fish or shellfish in some of the offered classes. Guests are shown how to prepared the food and cook it in Shikabe style from the locals.
Kuromatsunai is a town located in southern Hokkaido prefecture, in Shiribeshi subprefecture. The town is an ideal tour location for travelers looking to experience some local, off-the-beaten-track Hokkaido culture and activities. While visiting Kuromatsunai, travelers can go fishing in a gorgeous mountain stream, dine on local versions of soba and ramen dishes, take a taiko drumming lesson under the eye of an expert, and enjoy a "farming experience" where you help local farmers harvest crops and learn about the land. But without doubt the most incredible activity to do while in Kuromatsunaie is a nature walk through the Utasai Beech Forest, a treasure of the city untouched by human hands.
Take a Taiko Lesson at Kuromatsunai, where you will soon be drumming simple, enjoyable rhythms under the guidance of a local taiko drum expert.
While in the town of Kuromatsunai, there are various local cultural amusements to enjoy, and one such activity is learning to play the taiko drums. The taiko is a large native drum, usually made of wood, and topped with a head of stretched cowhide. The cowhide is struck with a pair of wooden sticks to create a loud, vibrant sound. Used in many aspects of Japanese traditional culture from kabuki theater performances to samurai-era warfare, taiko drums produce a resonating sound and are made in various sizes from the tiny "shime-daiko" to the massive "o-daiko". Everything from the holding of the stick to the position of the body as you strike the drumhead is a part of the art, and any who are interested in learning to play this instrument can enjoy a simple, fun class learning to play the taiko drum with a taiko expert in Kuromatsunai.
Enjoy a refreshing walk through the Utasai Beech Forest, an idyllic grove of virgin beech trees, untouched by civilization.
Utasai Beech Forest is a protected forest of Japanese beech trees protected by the Japanese government as a national treasure. The rustic, untouched nature of this forest grants hikers through the region the feeling of entering an enchanting forest paradise that has been preserved in its natural state. This being a forest of deciduous beech trees, Utasai Forest presents a different scenic profile depending on the season you go. Spring is a lush panorama of deep and vibrant greens, summer enchants the forest view with shafts of golden sunlight, autumn drastically changes the canopy overhead to colorful bursts of reddish orange and gold, and winter provides the peaceful stillness that accompanies fresh- fallen snow. Walking Tours through this forest give visitors the opportunity to enjoy this refreshing nature scene while preserving the untouched quality of the forest.
Yoichi is a small town on the northern coast of Hokkaido. Once a fishing port similar to nearby Otaru, overfishing forced the town to redirect their economy. Now the Yoichi is famed for its fruit, especially apples and grapes, with local products including apple juice and wines. But the largest industry in Yoichi is undoubtedly the local distillery, which has produced Nikka brand whisky since its establishment in 1934 by Masataka Taketsuru, “the father of Japanese whisky”. Surfers and Swimmers flock to Yoichi from spring to autumn to take advantage of its gorgeous beaches, with campers arriving in summer to frolic in the surf. And nearby Fugoppe Cave has become an attraction almost overnight, since the discovery of prehistoric cave paintings inside.
Nikka Whisky is mainly produced at a distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido since the founding of the Nikka label by “the father of Japanese whisky”, Masataka Taketsuru.
In 1937, Japanese businessman and chemist Masataka Taketsuru returned to Japan from Glasgow, Scotland, having studied the whisky production process there. Eventually settling down with his Scottish wife in the small town of Yoichi, Hokkaido, he founded the Nikka Whisky Distillery, selling the first whisky ever sold in Japan. Nikka Whisky is now an award-winning brand that produces eight different labels for whisky, vodka, and gin. The Yoichi Distillery offers guided tours of the production facility, granting visitors a window into the whisky production process, some whisky tasting, and some history about the life of Taketsuru.
Otaru is a small harbor city in Hokkaido near Sapporo. There are various activities in Otaru, including food (especially seafood), sightseeing and shopping. There are many hills, including the very steep slope called Jigoku-Zaka, thus is a popular location for skiing and other sports. Otaru beer is also well known in Hokkaido, places like the Otaru Soko No. 1 Brewery is a popular place for beer lovers. The Otaru Canal is a very popular place for tourist to gather. The Otaru Canal is also one of the locations of the Snow Light Path Festival held every February, where the area is decorated in lights and small snow statues. Tourist can visit the various glass workshops and shop for famous Otaru glassware or even make their glassware. The Music Box Museum is one of the most popular destinations in Otaru, guests can explore the sea of music boxes in this Museum.
Otaru's famous blown glass factory.
The glass made in Otaru is refined and is made in many workshops that also offer hands-on experience for guests who take interest in making their own glassware for a fee. Otaru is located in the prefecture of Hokkaido, neighboring the city of Sapporo. Aside from glass workshops, there are also many cafés, restaurants, and other shops that also allow guests to admire and purchase their artistic glass.
A unique museum about Music Box.
Among the many shops found on Sakaimichi Street is the Otaru Music Box Museum. It not only displays various objects, but also sells a wide range of music boxes, some of which are more elaborate than others; some move and others light up along with their melody. Midst the various types of music boxes are some made from glass, wood, or even traditional Japanese fabric, some are fashioned after sushi or Western-themed concepts. These music boxes also carry different songs according to a collection that the establishment has at their disposable.
Beautiful canal lined by old warehouses.
The Otaru Canal was employed by businesses to transport their merchandise to warehouses with smaller ships since the bigger ships could not directly unload their goods to their destinations. However, eventually there was no use for the smaller vessels when the facilities were modernized, making the use of canals less necessary. Now the area is a tourist attraction, during the day people take leisurely walks about the scenic route where there are museums, restaurants, and shops. Furthermore, Otaru Canal is the main site of the Snow Light Path Festival which is celebrated annually during February as a winter festival.
Otaru is a port city known for fresh sushi, a natural complement to its thriving fishing industry. The Sushi District lines up some of the city’s top restaurants.
Otaru has been a thriving fishing town since the Edo period, when its network of canals allowed for easy unloading of fishing boats. Years later, though the canals are now a local promenade and tourist hotspot, the fishing industry survives, finding fresh appeal by supporting the city’s top sushi restaurants now lining the Otaru Sushi District. A couple of these restaurants have earned Michelin Stars, and some require a reservation in advance. Some of these restaurants are native to Otaru, but many are more widely established, with branch restaurants all over the world. Otaru has over a hundred sushi restaurants scattered throughout the city, offering a broad variety of sushi dishes to choose from. Select sushi, including the shrimp and sea urchin, are praised as Otaru’s finest offerings.
Located in Hokkaido Prefecture, Sapporo was once a dense forest with wildlife that included bears, deer, and wolves until its construction started in 1871. A man named Shima Yoshitake began the city’s development which eventually led to the current North American form it has as a grid-like system layout. Consequently, the northern and southern parts of the city are divided by the main boulevard called O-dori, which runs through the center of the city. Sapporo is known mostly for its beer, beer museum, dairy products, and its annual snow festival every February. One of the oldest standing structures established is the Sapporo Clock Tower, introduced by the North Americans, is now employed as a history museum. Dr. William Clark, a scholar from America, became one of the founders that established educational policies at the Sapporo Agricultural College. Later, this same college became the University of Hokkaido.
Open air museum about Hokkaido.
The Historic Village of Hokkaido is a restored area based of what remained from the Meiji era and Taisho era. It is now an open-air museum with shops, households, and horse-drawn trams that run through the village. It displays various buildings and shops that were once constructed during Hokkaido’s growing development, including 60 different buildings from all over this northern island. It is also a place where many who lost their positions in the Edo Shogunate went to start their lives anew, especially samurai. It is located in the suburbs of Sapporo. It consists residential, mountainous, fishing, and agricultural zones.
Chocolate factory, shop, and museum.
Located in Sapporo, Shiroi Koibito Park is a factory for confectionaries and a theme park. It is known for its white chocolate and its famous souvenir cookies in Hokkaido. There are various indoor and outdoor activities and places to visit. Guests can enter the factory and see how cookies and candy are made by the Shiroi Koibito employees. The factory tours also include a hands-on experience for guests to create and design their own cookies. The park is opened year-round, including its seasonal rose garden, which is said to be at its best during summer seasons.
Hokkaido Shrine is the most prominent shrine of Sapporo, established by Emperor Meiji in 1971. The shrine is attractive to visit in every season, and is Hokkaido’s guardian shrine.
Hokkaido Shrine, once known as Sapporo Shrine, is located in the city of Sapporo and is one of the most important Shinto shrines in the city. By order of Emperor Meiji, three Shinto kami (deities) were enshrined there– three spirits of protection to guard the island of Hokkaido. After the emperor’s passing, his soul was also enshrined there, adding a fourth protector to the shrine, and it was renamed Hokkaido Shrine. The shrine achieves especial importance and popularity during three important times of the year – spring, for its lovely cherry blossoms; summer, as the heart of the Sapporo Festival; and the New Year, when Japanese attend their yearly hatsumoude – the annual first shrine visit.
Asahi Breweries is one of Japan’s top beer labels, with breweries across Japan.
Asahi Breweries is one of Japan’s largest and most successful beer brands, known for their flagship product, “Asahi Super Dry”; a lager beer that is hugely popular in Japan. The Hokkaido Brewery opened as the largest beer production facility in Sapporo, as well as one of the most memorable, with large silvery beer canisters rising above the production building. The factory churns out over 50,000 kiloliters of beer per year, offering a guided factory tour which includes tasting its signature “Asahi Super Dry”. The restaurants at the brewery serve, in addition to Asahi beer, some of Hokkaido’s signature dishes, including “Genghis Khan” (pronounced Jingisukan), a type of Mongolian barbeque with vegetable and mutton.
The Hill of the Buddha, designed by architect Tadao Ando, is a great stone rotunda enclosing a statue of the Buddha and surrounded with thousands of lavender flowers.
The Hill of the Buddha is a Buddhist shrine and scenic monument in Sapporo. A massive stone statue of the seated Buddha is surrounded in a giant stone rotunda and preceded by a large reflecting pool. Designed in 2005 by modernist architect Tadao Ando, the Hill of the Buddha was constructed outside the Makomanai Takino Cemetery. The rotunda is covered in over a hundred thousand lavender flowers, one of the symbols of Hokkaido. Far from being the only monument at this unique cemetery, other picturesque points of interest include replica models of the Moai Heads of Easter Island, as well as the UK’s Stonehenge.
The Autumn Fest is the biggest food festival in Hokkaido starting from the middle of September until the beginning of October.
The Sapporo Autumn Fest is one of the newer festivals in Hokkaido, being held for the first time in 2008. It is the last of the big Sapporo festivals for the year. The 4 big festivals in Sapporo come with each season, the winter has the Snow Festival, spring has the Lilac Festival, summer brings the Sapporo Beer Garden , and the changing of the leaves sees the arrival of the Autumn Festival. Autumn is the harvest season, and this festival showcases the best food from around Hokkaido! The Sapporo Autumn Fest runs the length of Odori park and each block has its own unique theme. Discover each, and enjoy the sights and smells of delicious food and drink from all corners of Hokkaido!
Chitose (Day 1)
Western Style Accommodation
Located just a five minute walk from JR Chitoise station and a 10 minute drive from the airport, the hotel offers guests comfort and convenience. The in- house restaurant serves up traditional Japanese dishes. However, if you are in the mood for other cuisines, just step out of the hotel and you will find numerous restaurants and bars where you can indulge with your favorite cuisine or drink.
Toyako Onsen (Day 2)
Japanese Style Accommodation
Toya Sunpalace is located along the Lake Toya and all guests room are faced to the lake to be enjoyed the beautiful spectacles in season through the year. Please enjoy and relax at the big main bath and a open-air hot spring bath. There is also an amusement baths park including wave and slide pool. The summer fireworks at the lake are popular.
Hakodate (Day 3 & Day 4)
Western Style Accommodation
Facing beautiful Hakodate Port, this hotel is located in exotic and poetic surroundings including Motomachi Park, a historical church and the morning market.
Niseko Onsen (Day 5)
Western Style Accommodation
Hilton Niseko Village, Japan's premier mountain resort offering unparalleled year-round winter and summer outdoor activities in an unbeatable location. Set at the foot of Hokkaido's Niseko Annupuri Mountain, the Hilton Niseko Village is the perfect base from which to enjoy a huge variety of outdoor activities.
Sapporo (Day 6, Day 7 & Day 8)
Western Style Accommodation
This modern luxury hotel and resort, situated in the northernmost major city of Japan, is a landmark for opulence and leisure. Guests will enjoy a location that is just a short walk from the Sapporo Subway Station and an additional six minutes from the JR Sapporo Station. ANA Crowne Plaza Sapporo is an ideal choice for guests who want a central location close to public transport links and a vast selection of on- site facilities as well as first class professional service.
PLEASE NOTE: These are the hotels All Japan Tours generally uses on the touring styles and regions shown. There is no guarantee that you will stay in the lodgings listed on the website. We encourage you to check your travel documentation for confirmation of the exact accommodation you will be staying in.