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Discover Tohoku - Aoba Festival

Fully Escorted

Local Cuisine

Handpicked Hotels

Private Transportation

No Options Sold

Lights
per person
2024/2025/2026 JAPAN SPRING TOURS

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Tour Code: GTC6051003

Discover Tohoku - Aoba Festival

2 Reviews

14 days 13 nights

fromUSD $6998.00 (Limit to 24 guests)

currency

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Single Supplement: USD $1380.00


Discover the hidden delights of the Tohoku region, including the thrilling excitement of Sendai's Aoba Festival: an event with a grand procession, heart-pounding dances, and mouthwatering festival foods.

Explore a region rich in unspoiled natural splendor, historic treasures, local cultural curiosities, and delicious sake - Tohoku: one of Japan's less-traveled destinations. Destinations on this tour include Nikko, Aizu- Wakamatsu, Sakata, Mount Haguro, Sado Island, and Sendai, where you will arrive just in time for the annual Sendai Aoba Festival. This itinerary takes advantage of one of Tohoku's most beautiful seasons, when the last lingering cherry blossoms of April have given way to verdant green landscapes and gorgeous fields of springtime flowers.

The tour begins in Tokyo, but departs immediately for Nikko, stopping briefly to study the world of Japanese bonsai at the Omiya Bonsai Village, and to admire the Great Wisteria of Ashikaga Flower Park. In Nikko, one of Japan's most spiritually significant cities, we visit opulent Toshogu Shrine, which enshrines the spirit of the famed shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Here you will be able to experience an authentic Shinto ceremony officiated by a priest or miko (priestess). We roam around Lake Chuzenji and breathtaking Kegon Falls before traveling to the old castle town of Aizu-Wakamatsu. On the way, we visit the preserved historic village of Ouchi-juku, where an old- fashioned charm and thatched roof buildings send you back in time to the Edo period. Then, in Aizu- Wakamatsu, we visit a traditional Samurai Residence, behold Tsuruga Castle, and taste craft sake at the Suehiro Sake Brewery.

We depart Aizu-Wakamatsu for Niigata, taking a short hike around Mount Bandai before we travel by ferry to stay 3 days, 2 nights on Sado Island. Once an island of exile in ancient times, Sado Island preserves a history of gold mining, commercial shipbuilding, and spirited taiko drumming. It is also the preserved habitat of the Japanese crested ibis. While visiting Sado Island, you will be able to experience a ride in a large washtub on the coast, a Taiko drumming lesson, a visit to the Toki no Mura - the island's crested ibis preservation center, and a tour of the now- depleted Sado Kinzan gold mine.

We spend the next couple of days seeing the highlights of Yamagata Prefecture, including Mount Haguro - one of Three Sacred Mountains of Dewa. At Mount Haguro you will be able to experience the life of a Yamabushi "mountain monk", eat "shojin ryori" vegetarian cuisine, and see their famous Five-storied Pagoda. We take a cruise down the beautiful Mogami River while listening to the song of the boatmen, and climb up Yamadera to admire the view from Risshakuji Temple. At nearby Sakata City, we walk the heritage district next to the city's historic rice warehouses, look at Ken Domon's realist photos of post- WW2 Japan at the Ken Domon Museum of Photography, and enjoy a performance of Maiko (geisha apprentice) at Somaro Teahouse. Then we travel to Sendai, stopping in Matsushima to take a cruise around breathtaking Matsushima Bay, visit Zuiganji Temple, and look out over the bay from Godaido Hall.

At Sendai, the main event begins: the vibrantly colorful and energetic Aoba Festival. The first day is the Yoi Matsuri, where you will have the chance to learn the local "suzume-odori", or Sparrow Dance - an exciting dance involving fans, jumping, and timed movement. Then mingle around the festival and enjoy the delicious array of festival foods! The next day is the "Hon Matsuri" which begins with the procession of Yamaboko - enormous wooden floats connected with Sendai's history and that if its founder, the samurai hero Date Masamune. Interspersed between the Yamaboko floats you can see groups of men arrayed in samurai outfits. After this comes the Dance Event, where you can show off the moves you learned the day before! While in Sendai, we also shop at the Asaichi Morning Market and the Ichibancho Shopping Arcade, so there will be plenty of time to find that perfect memento of Sendai. On the way back, we visit Kairakuen Garden (considered one of Japan's Three Great Gardens), and admire fields of baby blue eyes flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park.

Discover the beauty and wonder of Tohoku on our Discover Tohoku tour, and experience the thrilling energy of the Sendai Aoba Festival. Transportation on the tour will be handled mostly by our comfortable private coaches, and you will be accompanied on the tour by one of our professional and friendly bilingual guides. For more information, please feel free to browse our itinerary below.

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Tour Information

Dates & Price

2025

Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Save Status
Wed. May 7, 2025 Tue. May 20, 2025 USD $6998.00

Small Group Limited to 24 passengers

Tokyo Tokyo Deluxe-Plus Guarantee / Book Now  

2026

Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Save Status
Wed. May 6, 2026 Tue. May 19, 2026 USD $6998.00

Small Group Limited to 24 passengers

Tokyo Tokyo Deluxe-Plus Guarantee / Book Now  

Please Note:

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.

Deposit

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.

What's included

  • • 8 nights Western style and 5 nights Japanese style accommodation
  • • Meet and greet upon arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport or Haneda Airport
  • • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • • Private coach transfers between destinations in Japan
  • • Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide

  •   Meals
  • • Breakfast everyday
  • • 8 lunches and 7 dinners

  • Admission fees and activities
  • • All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary

What's NOT included

  • • International Airfares
  • • Meals that are not included in the itinerary
  • • Travel Insurance
  • • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks
  • • Personal expenses such as telephone and laundry bills

Additional Information

Transport

Travel by private coach between destinations, hassle free baggage handling.


Arrival Departure Airports

This tour starts and finishes in Tokyo for arrivals and departures at Narita Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND).


Meal Requests

Vegetarian or special meals can be arranged.


Meet and Greet

Please note that the meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour. 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.


Itinerary In Brief

  • Day1   Arrive in Tokyo
  • Day2   Tokyo - Omiya - Ashikaga - Nikko
  • Day3   Nikko - Ouchijuku - Aizuwakamatsu
  • Day4   Aizuwakamatsu
  • Day5   Aizuwakamatsu - Goshikinuma - Niigata - Sado Island
  • Day6   Sado Island
  • Day7   Sado Island - Niigata - Murakami - Shonai
  • Day8   Shonai - Mt Haguro - Shonai
  • Day9   Shonai - Sakata - Shonai
  • Day10   Shonai - Mogami River Gorge - Yamadera - Sendai
  • Day11   Sendai - Matsushima - Sendai
  • Day12   Sendai
  • Day13   Sendai - Mito - Hitachinaka - Tokyo
  • Day14   Tour ends

Click here for detailed itinerary

Tour schedule and prices subject to change without notice

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Omiya / Ashikaga / Nikko / Ouchijuku / Aizuwakamatsu / Goshikinuma / Niigata / Sado Island / Niigata / Murakami / Shonai / Mt Haguro / Sakata / Mogami River Gorge / Yamadera / Sendai / Matsushima / Mito / Hitachinaka


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Best Itinerary

Planned by experts, based on seasonal favorites and must-see sites.

Budget-friendly

Choose your style and split cost with other passengers

Hand-picked Accommodations

Chosen by our experienced staff

Fully Guided

Guide is available to you 24/7 and sleeps in the same hotel

Unique experiences

Learn to create your own Sushi, meet a geisha or maiko, and more

Connect

Meet locals and visit rural areas of Japan you might miss on other tours