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.
Enjoy more than just sightseeing. These tours will allow you to eat in small local restaurants, visit hidden gems, stay at hotels with limited occupancy, take part in activities available only to small groups, and enjoy more interaction with your tour guides. Ultra-Deluxe small group tours are the ultimate way to visit Japan with hand-picked, top hotels and ryokans (traditional inns) to relax in. Select from a unique range of luxurious cultural experiences that are limited to smaller groups, which is why the maximum group size is 6 guests.
These tours allow you to enjoy Japanese culture firsthand in the intimacy of a small group. The maximum group size is 12 guests, which enables you to travel by public transportation, such as by train, subway, taxi, ferry or local bus. Walking the streets and taking the local trains will allow you to interact more with the locals and appreciate what everyday life in Japan is like. Each city will feature an expert local guide who will be able to share in-depth information on the featured attractions and sites, and provide assistance or recommendations if needed prior to your free time.
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.
During the peak of the autumn season in Japan, the leaves of the maple trees and ginkgo trees turn red and yellow in concert presenting you with beautiful scenery at every turn. Tohoku and Hokkaido, the northeast region of Japan is considered the most popular autumn leaves viewing destination for the locals. For those interested in seeing this country as its natives do, a fall foliage trip to Tohoku and Hokkaido is in order. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with visiting traditionally fa... View More
During the peak of the autumn season in Japan, the
leaves of the maple trees and ginkgo trees turn red
and yellow in concert presenting you with beautiful
scenery at every turn. Tohoku and Hokkaido, the
northeast region of Japan is considered the most
popular autumn leaves viewing destination for the
locals. For those interested in seeing this country
as its natives do, a fall foliage trip to Tohoku and
Hokkaido is in order. Of course, there’s nothing
wrong with visiting traditionally famous places to
enjoy the autumn leaves.
Upon reaching Tokyo you will transfer direct to hotel for a night stay. On the next day our tour will start and we will discover the wonderfully ornate temples and shrines which have been designated as World Heritage sites in Nikko. We then proceed to Kegon Waterfall situated in Lake Chuzenji, it is one of Japan's three most beautiful waterfalls.
Next let's proceed to Matsushima, a picturesque bay full of pine tree covered small islands, where we explore ancient caves once frequented by meditating monks. Matsushima is famous for being one of the Three Most Beautiful Natural Sights in Japan. Then we head up to Hiraizumi for a cultural interlude and stroll around the magnificent Japanese Cedar Trees and photogenic buildings at Chusonji Temple. Next we will go to Morioka for a visit to the Morioka Castle Ruins for its beautiful autumn leaves. In Towada, we visit Lake Towada, Japan's third deepest lake. A volcanic crater lake 44km in circumference and nature walk along the creek through Oirase Gorge. Then we visit the Nebuta Warasse in Aomori before proceed to Hakodate by crossing the Tsugaru channel between the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu, via the undersea train tunnel.
On the island of Hokkaido, we will visit Hakodate, Onuma Park, Lake Toya, Noboribetsu, Biratori, Otaru, and ends our tour in Sapporo. We had designed this tour for tourists who wish to discover parts of Japan that are rarely seen.
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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
All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary
Travel by private coach between destinations, hassle free baggage handling
For arrivals at Narita Airport (NRT), this tour starts in Tokyo and ends in Sapporo, with departures at 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, please arrange your own hotel transfer
Welcome to Tokyo! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
NOTE 1: The meet and greet is ONLY available for flights arriving after 11:00 AM.
NOTE 2: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
Today we will take a 2 hours ride on a luxury coach to Nikko. The shrines and temples of Nikko, together with their natural surroundings, have for centuries been closely associated with the history of the Tokugawa Shoguns. We will visit the lavishly decorated Toshogu Shrine set in a grove of magnificent ancient Japanese cedars. Then, a visit to Futarasan-Shrine and the Rinnoji complex of Buddhist temples founded in 766 BC by the Buddhist hermit Shoto. Next is a visit to the Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall. The almost 100 meter tall Kegon Waterfall is the most famous of Nikko's many beautiful waterfalls. In fact, it is even ranked as one of Japan's three most beautiful falls, along with Nachi Waterfall in Wakayama Prefecture and Fukuroda Waterfall in Ibaraki Prefecture. Tonight, we will stay in the Onsen Ryokan at Kinugawa Onsen, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
After a Japanese breakfast at the ryokan, you will be visiting Matsushima, a picturesque bay full of pine tree covered small islands, where we explore ancient caves once frequented by meditating monks. Matsushima is famous for being one of Japan's three most scenic views alongside Miyajima and Amanohashidate. The bay is dotted by over 200 small islands covered by pine trees. We will take the best way to view the islands by boarding one of the sightseeing boat. We will then visit Godaido and Zuiganji Temple, the most famous in the Tohoku region, was built by Date Masamune and is designated as a national treasure.
This morning, we will head to Hiraizumi for a cultural interlude and to stroll around the magnificent Japanese Cedar Trees and photogenic buildings at Chusonji Temple. Hiraizumi is now listed as a World Heritage site and is home to Konjiki-do (Golden Hall) within Chusonji Temple, which attempts to recreate an ideal Buddhism world. As such, it is host to an ensemble of exquisite "culture of gold" remnants from the brand of Buddhism that developed independently in the Tohoku region far away from the cultural center of Kyoto in the late Heian era of the 11th century. UNESCO has recognized this area as being a globally rare example of local culture to manifest on such a high level in the transitional period from the ancient era to the medieval period. Then, we proceed to Morioka for a visit to the Morioka Castle Ruins, considered one of the most popular autumn leaves viewing spots in Tohoku area.
Today, we will visit Japan's third deepest lake - Lake Towada, a volcanic crater lake 44 km in circumference. We will have a nature walk along the creek through Oirase Gorge. Over a dozen waterfalls cascade down into the stream all along its length from the walls of the gorge. The stream flows along the floor of the Oirase Gorge, winding among trees which a lush green in spring and summer and turn brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange from late October through early November. Then visit the Nebuta Warasse, a well done museum about the Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori. In the afternoon, we will travel across the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu by train via the undersea train tunnel, before arriving to Hakodate. It is a small city that has some of the most authentic and best preserved historic buildings in Japan. Upon arrival in Hakodate, we will take a tram and ropeway ride up to Mt Hakodate from where we can look down upon the twinkling lights that surround Hakodate Bay. The views from the mountain are spectacular and included among Japan's three best night views alongside the views from Nagasaki's Mount Inasa and Kobe's Mount Rokko.
Today we will continue our tour in Hakodate. Hakodate was one of the first Treaty Ports in Japan which opened up to world trade in 1854, so there are many preserved buildings around the area from that time. First is a visit to the famous morning market, where you will see a variety of fresh seafoods, local fruits and vegetables. Then visit the Goryokaku Pentagonal Fort, built in 1868 and the only structure of its kind in Japan. The surrounding moat and defensive grounds are now a city park and gardens. From Hakodate, we head to Lake Toya, along the way we stop at the Lake Onuma. In Lake Toya, we will take the Usuzan Ropeway to the observation deck and have a panoramic views of Lake Toya and neighboring Showa Shinzan. Tonight we will stay in Noboribetsu where we will have dinner in the hotel.
In the morning, we will visit Jigokudani. This valley generates 10,000 tons of bubbling water everyday, and visitors can walk to the nearby Oyunuma Lake to see the plumes of steam rise. Today we will have the opportunity to learn about the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan. At Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum, you will have a chance to learn about the mukkuri, a traditional, plucked Japanese ideophone that is indigenous to the Ainu. The mukkuri is made from bamboo and is 10 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. Similar to a jaw harp, sounds are made when the strings are pulled and when the reed vibrates in the musician's mouth. In the afternoon, we will proceed to the city of Sapporo. Your tour includes a visit to the Sapporo Clock Tower and Odori Park, where you can stroll along the promenade. The next stop is Susukino, Hokkaido's largest entertainment district. Then, the evening is yours to enjoy some free time.
In the morning our tour of Sapporo continues with a visit to the Historic Village, you can view architecture from the Meiji and Taisho periods when Japan experienced rapid expansion. From there we will visit the Sapporo Beer Museum, dedicated to all things beer. Sapporo is Japan's oldest brewery and exports its beer throughout the world. Then, we will travel to Otaru, renowned for its canals and glassblowing. During the first half of the 20th century, the Otaru Canal was a vital part of the city's busy harbor. The canal allowed large vessels to be unloaded onto smaller ones, then transported to local warehouses. Although the canal became obsolete when modern dock facilities allowed for the direct unloading of large vessels, the canal remains an integral part of the city's history and culture. As part of a citizen's movement in the 1980s, the canal was beautifully restored and former warehouses have been transformed into cafes, restaurants, museums, and shops. Next, we will visit glass workshops and Music Box Museum in Sakaimachi Street.
After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am and Chitose Airport can be reached by hotel shuttle bus.
Nikko is a city that developed around the temples that were established in the 8th century. The shrines and temples of Nikko were inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1999 for its breathtaking sceneries, magnificent craftsmanship and cultural impact. The 103 structures and nature surrounding area of Nikko is a World Heritage Site, however the most famous are the Toshogu Shrine, Futarasan Shrine and Rinnoji Temple. The Toshogu Shrine is home to the famous carving of the “See no Evil, Hear no Evil and Speak no Evil” monkeys. The Futarasan Shrine was the first Shinto shrine built and is comprised of smaller reliquaries that embody the fusion of man with nature much like the city Nikko itself. The Rinnoji Temple, which was built in 766, provided solitude for monks because of its location deep in the mountains.
Lavish mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Nikko is famous for the Toshogu Shrine, which holds the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the famous founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled for over 200 years (1603-1868). The original resting place for Tokugawa Ieyasu was much simpler in design that it is today. The construction was carried out in accordance to his father’s will by Ieyasu’s son, Hidetaba Tokugawa, in 1617. However, it was later expanded to its modern size by Ieyasu’s grandson, Tokugawa Iemitsu. The dozens of buildings were built with grandiose designs, unique with its brightly- colored carvings of animals and various types of images.
Dedicated to Nikko's sacred mountains (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Futarasan Shrine is situated next to Toshogu Shrine and is dedicated to the three deities of Nikko’s sacred mountains. The shrine is dedicated to the three deities of the sacred mountains in Nikko. This refers to Mount Nantai, Mount Nyoho and Mount Taro, which are known as the most sacred mountains in the area. When entering the Futarasan Shrine area there is a place to the left of the haiden (offering hall) which can only be accessed by paying a nominal fee. Inside the paid area is a small garden, spring, old sacred trees and a couple of more halls.
Nikko's most important temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Rinnoji Temple is the family temple of the Date Clan, who ruled Sendai for many generations until the Meiji Restoration. The outer appearance of the entrance is not too spectacular, which is odd since Date Masamune favored the Momoyama style. Appearances can be deceiving because once you pass the main hall you will be greeted by Japanese style garden and three story pagoda. Visitors can stroll around the garden taking in the quiet serenity and sit on a few of the benches to relax. The trees, flowers, and plants have been meticulously maintained and the koi adds to the picturesque scenery.
One of Japan's three most beautiful falls
Kegon Waterfall is listed as one of the three most beautiful falls in Japan along with Nachi Waterfall in Wakayama Prefecture and Fukuroda Waterfall in Ibaraki Prefecture. It is located in Nikko and is the most famous waterfall out of the many in the area. Kegon Waterfall is about 100 meters high and is the only exit for the waters of Lake Chuzenji to exit from. The best time to see the waterfall would be in the autumn season. The surrounding foliage of Kegon Waterfall painted in fall hues is a sight not to miss.
Lake at the foot of Mount Nantai
Lake Chuzenji is located in the mountains near Nikko at the foot of Mount Nantai and is beautiful around the autumn season. On the eastern side of the lake is a small hot spring town called Chuzenjiko Onsen. From mid to late October the nature around Lake Chuzenji is very attractive. It is around this time that the autumn colors of the trees reach their peak. Since Lake Chuzenji is a scenic body of water there is a hiking trail that goes around the entire area. It is also possible to enjoy the scenery by going on a sightseeing boat that departs from the onsen town.
Matsushima is famous for having one of the most scenic views in Japan and is located half an hour away from Sendai. Matsushima is located half an hour away from Sendai the largest city in Miyagi Prefecture. It is also a Prefectural National Park on top of being a city. Matsushima has 260 small and large islands located 10 kilometers away from the city, which are covered by pine trees. There are a couple of islands that can be reached by a bridge and is open to the public. Near the pier of Matsushima is the Godaido, a small temple hall, which has become the symbol of the town. Matsushima Bay is one of the top three most scenic places within all of Japan.
One of Japan's three most scenic views
Matsushima Bay has been known as one of the top most scenic places in all of Japan for many years. Without a doubt the most popular and best way to see the bay is by boat cruises. There are many cruises available for visitors to ride on to experience one of Japan’s best scenic views.
Small temple hall and symbol of Matsushima
Godaido serves as a symbol of Matsushima since it is a on an islet of the bay in Miyagi Prefecture, which is known for its cruises and natural scenery. Inside the temple itself are five statues that are presented to the public once every 33 years. The small island is connected a short, red bridge that gives the scenery a particularly attractive elegance to the temple’s surrounding environment. Admission to this temple is free, however it does close in the evenings.
One of Tohoku's most famous Zen temples
One of the most distinguished temples of the Tohoku region is the Zuiganji Temple. The temple is so notable that it has been received as a national treasure in Japan; particularly special places are the main hall with golden sliding doors, the Kuri of the main hall, the “Gate of Honor”, and the “Inner gates” are some examples. Visitors going to the temple can also visit the museum called Seiryuden, also called the Zuiganji Art Museum, where many artifacts and some temple treasures are displayed, in particular a wooden statue of an armored Date Masamune.
Hiraizumi was once the home of the powerful Northern Fujiwara Clan and rivaled Kyoto as a city during the Heian Period. In 2011 Hiraizumi was inscribed as one of Japan’s World Heritage sites. Because of their representation of the Buddhist teachings of Amida, Hiraizumi is a reflection of a world centered on peace and harmony. Hiraizumi is located within the Iwate Prefecture of the northeastern region of Tohoku. It was once part of the ancient Mutsu Province. It was also the place where the Northern Fujiwara Branch thrived for nearly 100 years. For those 100 years Hiraizumi was in a Golden age of economic and political grandeur. Also it served as the capital of Oshu. Visitors can expect to receive a great cultural experience from the many temples and learn some history from this historical site.
Hiraizumi's most famous temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Iwate Prefecture’s Chusonji Temple was built on the Kanzan Hill, which is why it is also commonly referred to as the Kanzan Chusonji Temple. The grounds originally had many buildings created like pagodas, temples, and halls, however, only two of the buildings remain standing. One of these structures is called Kyozo Hall, which holds Buddhist scripture. The second building is called Konjikido, which is covered in gold and is often compared to the famous golden pavilion located in Kyoto.
Morioka is the capital of Iwate Prefecture and is known for their various noodle dishes like Wanko Soba. In the background of the city is the active volcano Mount Iwate. One of the best places to see the mountain is from Kaiunbashi Bridge in Morioka. Mount Iwate is considered one of the 100 Most Beautiful Mountains in Japan. Morioka is also famous for the different types of noodles they have like the Wanko Soba, Reimen, and Jajamen.
One of the Tohoku's most popular autumn leaves viewing spots (National Historic Site)
In 1906, the Morioka Castle ruins were open to the public as Iwate Park. The Morioka Castle Site Park is now a popular spot for the cherry blossom and autumn seasons. At its centennial celebration the name of the site changed from Iwate Park to Morioka Castle Site Park to commemorate its history.
Towada is a city located in the Aomori Prefecture. The local attractions that many visitors come to experience include the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, the Oirase River, or the Towada Art Center. This area is known for its beautiful autumn scenery and colors. Tourist can visit the beautiful Oirase Stream which is ranked as one of the top 100 Soundscapes of Japan. The beautiful Lake Towada is a popular destination and the Matsumi Falls is ranked as one of the top 100 Waterfalls in Japan.
Barely developed caldera lake
Lake Towada is a large lake located in Towada in the Aomori Prefecture. During autumn, Lake Towada is a popular destination for tourist to experience the beautiful colors of autumn in Japan. Attractions include the Towada Shrine, a small museum of nature, and the sightseeing boats. The ferry cruises on Lake Towada gives visitors a up close view of the beautiful lake.
A picturesque mountain stream
The Oirase Mountain Stream is located in Towada in the Aomori Prefecture. Visitors can walk the trail that runs along the stream, the trail is about 9 kilometers long (about 5.5 miles) and takes about two to three hours to complete one way. This stream features over a dozen of beautiful waterfalls that can be viewed from the trail, and is a popular destination for nature lovers, especially during the autumn season.
Aomori is the capital city of the Aomori Prefecture. Before the Seikan Tunnel opened, the main method of traveling to Hokkaido was by ferry departing from Aomori. There is plenty to do in this city, from museums to aquariums, and to the famous Nebuta Festival held every August. The Nebuta Festival is a summer festival held every year at the beginning of August, this festival features large lantern floats, music, drums, and dancers. If the loud festival crowds do not appeal to visitors, then they can visit the many museums like the Aomori Museum of Art or the Aomori Asamushi Aquarium. There is plenty of places to scope out food like the Furukawa Fish Market or Auga Fish Market for the fresh seafood.
A well done museum about the Nebuta Matsuri
Nebuta Wa Rasse is a museum dedicated to the history of the Nebuta Matsuri and allows visitors to see the floats all year round. The museum will displays approximately 300 years of Nebuta festivities on display followed by pictures of floats and the participants of the celebrations. The museum building itself holds floats where visitors can view the details of the huge structures that were used in previous parades, though they change them out every year.
The longest railroad tunnel in the world that goes under water
The Seikan Undersea Tunnel is one of the world’s longest and deepest undersea tunnel in the world. Originally opened for operation in 1988, this long undersea tunnel connects Hokkaido to the rest of mainland Japan by train. Prior to the tunnel, ferries were the most used mode of transportation to travel to Hokkaido.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A young volcano standing next to Usuzan
Showa Shinzan Mountain is known as one of the youngest mountains in Japan. The young mountain rose from what once was a field of wheat in the years 1943 until 1945. Before it stopped growing in 1945, a nearby postmaster recorded the frequent earthquakes leading up to Showa Shinzan’s current form. Eventually, his records were turned in and are now placed on display for visitors to read at the Mimatsu Memorial Museum. Visitors planning on observing Showa Shinzan in a different angle can ride the Usuzan Ropeway and have a bird’s eye view of the young mountain.
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.
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.
Biratori is a town located in Hidaka Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. The name of the town means 'between the rocky cliffs' in the Ainu language. The Nibutani Dam was constructed in Nibutani district on the Saru River, even though there were strong objections as the site has sacred meanings for the indigenous Ainu people. Nibutani is the site of the Ainu Cultural center. Nibutani is also known for Shigeru Kayano, a 20th century advocate for the Ainu people, language, and culture. The culture along the Saru River results from Ainu traditions and modern settlements in Biratori. Consequently, this region has been designated as an important cultural landscape in Japan.
Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum opened in the Nibutani area of Biratori in 1992. This museum includes over 10,000 artifacts such as Ainu clothing, toys, hunting tools, literature, and audiovisual material. There is even a video area where you can watch kamui yukara (Ainu legends) and traditional Ainu dancing. At Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum, you will have a chance to learn about the mukkuri, a traditional, plucked Japanese ideophone that is indigenous to the Ainu. The mukkuri is made from bamboo and is 10 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. Similar to a jaw harp, sounds are made when the strings are pulled and when the reed vibrates in the musician's mouth.
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.
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'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.
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.
The symbol of Sapporo
The Sapporo Clock Tower is a museum and a symbol of Sapporo’s city. Once used as a drill house for physical education and military training for the students in the Agricultural College, it now holds small displays of the origins of Sapporo’s development and local history. The clock itself was bought in 1881 from Boston, Massachusetts. Its appearance now consists of red roofs and white walls that stand out to people passing by this historical monument. It was once the tallest building when it was constructed, but is now overshadowed by the taller business buildings around it.
Pleasant public park in the city center
Located in the center of Sapporo, running from east to west is Odori Park. It was supposed to be the main street separating Sapporo north from south as a fire break, but now represents the area holding the annual Snow Festival events. It has 92 types of trees and many flowerbeds, enough to attract tourists and locals for a relaxing time in its vicinity. For guests wishing for good views and photographs, there is the Sapporo TV Tower’s observation deck available to the public for a fee. The deck is especially popular during the Snow Festival’s events held every February.
Sapporo's entertainment district
Nightlife plans for guests in Sapporo might include activities like hitting the pachinko machines, nightclubs, bars, karaoke, and restaurants. If that is the case, it will probably lead them to Sapporo’s biggest entertainment neighborhood, Susukino, which is similar to Shinjuku’s Kabukicho red light district. As such, it should not come as a surprise that expenses might run a little higher here than in other parts of the city. Susukino is one of the sites that hosts the annual Snow Festival held every February in Sapporo. Genghis Khan nabe, or Susukino’s Ramen Yokocho are local foods recommended to all.
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.
Museum of the Sapporo Beer Breweries
Sapporo is considered the birthplace of beer in Japan since it started manufacturing beer in the Meiji Period. The building for the Sapporo Beer Museum was originally used as the Sapporo Sugar Company around 1890. Then, it was employed as a location for the cleaning process of barley leaves that were used to make beer in 1965. Finally, it was made into a brewery and, then, the museum that now has two neighboring beer gardens. There are tasting lounges and tours offered at the Sapporo Beer Museum for a fee, though there are few signs containing English for foreign guests.
Tokyo (Day 1)
Western Style Accommodation
Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro is located 3 minutes by foot from Ikebukuro Station, a massive terminal with eight different subway and JR lines. From the station, over 17 round trip buses depart to both Narita and Haneda International Airports each day, assuring convenience for guests arriving by or planning to make a transfer by air. When setting off from the hotel, guests can easily reach popular attractions such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre and Ikebukuro Café, a unique space where visitors can play with owls and other animals.
Nasu (Day 2)
Western Style Accommodation
Surrounded by a forest and an expansive pasture, this stylish, Northern Italian-style hotel is wrapped in the verdant, peaceful bosom of nature. The baths use water from the hotel's own constant and free-flowing hot spring.
Matsushima (Day 3)
Japanese Style Accommodation
Hotel Taikanso is located on the highland overlooking Matsushima bay in the three most famous scenic places in Japan. The largest resort hotel sprawls atop a plateau surrounded by pine- covered hills and offers the best views in town. Matsushima's splendid view are enjoyed from the observatory public bath, open-air bath, lobby and several other locations in the hotel.
Lake Towada (Day 4)
Western Style Accommodation
Towadako Lake View Hotel is a Western style resort hotel located by the side of Lake Towada and 5 minutes walk from Yasumitai. It is a very calm and gentle resort with views of the lake. The restaurant and the tea lounge also offer a great view of the lake in any season.
Hakodate (Day 5)
Western Style Accommodation
Four Points By Sheraton Hakodate (formerly Loisir Hotel Hakodate) combines top notch accommodation essentials with a fantastic location in Hakodate, Hokkaido. From the grand views offered by its restaurant and bar area, to the warm guestrooms, you won't be disappointed. Step beyond this Hakodate hotel's walls and you will find yourself right in the city centre.
Noboribetsu Onsen (Day 6)
Japanese Style Accommodation
Noboribetsu Manseikaku is standing at the entrance of Hokkaido's famous hot-springs Resort, Noboribetsu Onsen and promises the stay in comfort and relaxation. It is the modern style ryokan which offers genuine courtesy services.
Sapporo (Day 7)
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 Hotel 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.
Chitose (Day 8)
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.
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.