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.
If you are unable to visit Japan for its beautiful cherry blossoms in March and April, there is still a chance for you to see the cherry blossoms while joining this tour. Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan's four main islands. The further up northeast you go, the colder it usually gets and the later the cherry blossoms bloom. This tour is designed to visit the Central and Southern areas of Hokkaido when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom in this area in late April and early May. ... View More
If you are unable to visit Japan for its beautiful
cherry blossoms in March and April, there is still a
chance for you to see the cherry blossoms while
joining this tour. Hokkaido is the northernmost of
Japan's four main islands. The further up northeast
you go, the colder it usually gets and the later the
cherry blossoms bloom. This tour is designed to
visit the Central and Southern areas of Hokkaido
when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom in this
area in late April and early May.
Hokkaido has the image of farming and nature while being the home of the indigenous Ainu people and their culture for a long time. In southern Hokkaido, the Matsumae clan prospered through trade with the Ainu and was incorporated as a feudal domain under the Han system in the Edo Period. Matsumae Castle was once home to the Matsumae Clan. The castle structure has over 10,000 cherry blossoms planted north of its grounds with 250 varieties of the flower. Since a powerful once ruled the area there is an event during the Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival where there is a march of people clad in samurai armor.
Hakodate, which located in the southern part of Hokkaido, as one of five port towns opened to foreign trade in 1858. Goryokaku Fort, a star shaped fortress in Hakodate, is known for the cherry blossoms scattered around grounds. It is also the site of the final battle of the Boshin War (1868- 1869) and the place where Hijikata Toshizo, a former Shinsengumi Vice-Captain, fell in battle. If you walk around Goryokaku Fort you can find a monument dedicated to Hijikata Toshizo. Hokkaido underwent a huge transformation during the Meiji Era when Japan embarked on its path toward becoming a modern state following the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the 19th century.
Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido and was developed during the Meiji Restoration. The layout of Sapporo was based on the North American rectangular street system. Foreign specialists helped the Hokkaido Development Commission develop the area. It is also home of Japan’s first and oldest brewery known as Sapporo Beer. In the center of the city is Odori Park where many different plants and trees were planted. Strolling around the park is pleasant as you will have the opportunity see which flowers are in season.
Hokkaido was heavily influenced by Western nations when during the pioneering age. There is a mix of traditional Japanese architecture as well as foreign designs. For example Otaru has a music box museum with over 15,000 items in their collection. It also features antique dolls from around the world and some of them are available for purchase. You can also design your very own music box too inside their workshop for a fee. Hokkaido is not limited to its beautiful nature, but has historical and cultural roots that helped develop Japan.
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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.
In the morning we will go to Shiraoi, and the National Ainu Museum, a newer museum facility that celebrates the cultural heritage of the native Ainu people, including exhibits on Ainu language, culture, history, crafts, music, and dance. The tour then continues to Noboribetsu, and stops to visit Jigokudani "Hell Valley". This rocky crater is constantly venting smoke and sulfur into the air from boiling pools, hot rivers, and jagged cracks in the landscape bordered by vegetation creeping up the crater's gentle slopes, lending the entire valley a mysterious, primordial beauty. Then we travel to Lake Toya, listed as one of the top 100 beautiful landscapes of Japan in 2008. This is the 3rd largest caldera lake in Japan, about 42 km around, with 4 pretty islands, and is the habitat of many kinds of birds and deer. From there we will take the Usuzan Ropeway to the observation deck and take in the panoramic views of Lake Toya and neighboring Showa Shinzan. Tonight we will stay in a traditional Japanese style hotel offering hot spring baths with beautiful views of the lake.
As we travel to Hakodate we will be stopping by the Trappistine Convent. It is the first convent in Japan that established in the 19th century. The red-brick contemplative convent was built in a solemn combination of Gothic and Romanesque styles reminiscent of old European castles. Fort Goryokaku is a star shaped fortress that was built for defensive purposes against international aggressions. The final battle of the Boshin War happened at fort and today it has been converted into a park with 1600 cherry blossoms planted around the grounds. The Kanemori Red Brick Warehouses are comprised of several buildings that were used to store goods during the golden age of foreign trade in Hakodate Port. Since then it has been converted into a shopping center. Motomachi was an area favored by foreigners to set up residency when Japan’s self-imposed era of isolation ended. This means you can see many Westernized buildings. Then we will proceed up the Mount Hakodate ropeway. Mount Hakodate offers one of the best views from its summit at 334 meters high, overlooking both sea and land.
In Matsumae we will be touring around Matsumae Castle and enjoying the Cherry Blossom Festival. Matsumae Castle once belonged to the powerful Matsumae Clan that ruled the region. It was a former castle town that thrived through trade, but after many years it was converted into a park. North of the castle there are over 10,000 cherry blossoms planted in rows across the area. You can see over 250 varieties of the flower throughout the park, which is why the blooming period in the area lasts for a month. During the festival there will be performances, food stalls, and special events for visitors to enjoy. At the western edge of Matsumae Park is a small historical theme park called Matsumaehan Yashiki. It recreates Matsumae Town during the Edo Period, which includes a guard station, merchant houses, magistrate’s office and shipping agent.
In the morning we will be going to the Hakodate Morning Market. It has over 450 shops and was established after World War II. This morning market is the third largest in Hokkaido. Then we will be traveling to Onuma Park. In Lake Onuma and Lake Konuma there are 126 islets and can be reached by boat. However, there are 18 bridges connecting to a select few islets allowing travelers the opportunity of reaching the small pieces of land by foot. Onuma Park was voted as one of the New Three Views of Japan. Afterwards we will head to Niseko to participate in a glass art workshop. You will have a chance to sand blast a design into a piece of glass and bring it home as a souvenir.
In the morning 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 the local warehouses. Although the canal became obsolete when modern dock facilities allowed for direct unloading from the large vessels, it still 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 were transformed into cafes, restaurants, museums, and shops. Next, we will visit Kitaichi Garasukan and the Music Box Museum. In the afternoon, we will proceed to Asahikawa to visit Otokoyama Sake Brewery. Otokoyama is Asahikawa's most famous sake, both within Japan and worldwide. The spacious complex offers plenty to occupy the senses including a front seat view of the sake making process. Aside from being a sake museum there is a beautiful Japanese garden. It is filled with flowers from May to September with a garden-side shaded rest area to unwind, as well as a delightful sake tasting room and gift shop.
On a private coach, we will travel to Biei, a small town surrounded by a picturesque landscape of gently rolling hills and vast fields. We will pay a visit to the mystic man made Blue Pond. This pond is blue because of the aluminum hydroxide.The Blue Pond changes colors depending on the weather. For example, in spring it turns into spectacularly green color. The artificial pond was created as a part of erosion control system that was built to prevent Biei in case of an eruption of Mount Tokachidake. Then we will proceed to Furano. Furano is celebrated for its local wine. Located on a hill overlooking the city, the Furano Winery is open to the public and there are free wine tastings. You can see how local camembert cheese is made at the Furano Cheese Factory. Sample the black cheese, which gets its color from squid ink, as well as a number of other cheeses at the factory shop. Don't forget to visit the ice cream factory and pizzeria, or participate in one of the many hands-on workshops. In the afternoon, we will visit Sapporo and spend two nights there. The tour includes a visit to the Sapporo Clock Tower and Odori Park, where you can stroll along the promenade and enjoy the scent of the summer blooms. The next stop is Susukino, Hokkaido's largest entertainment district. The evening will be open for you to enjoy your free time.
This morning our tour of Sapporo continues with a visit to the Nijo Market, where you will see a variety of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Next is a visit to the Okurayami Ski Jump where the 90 meter ski jump portion of the 1972 Winter Olympics was held, then we're off to tour the Asahi Beer Hokkaido Brewery, which produces Asahi "Super Dry" Beer, one of Japan's most popular beers, and is the largest brewery in Sapporo. From there, we go into the Historic Village of Hokkaido where horse-drawn carriages and trolleys are still seen and used. The village offers insight on its history and an open-air museum as well as through their buildings, which exemplify architectural evolution from the Meiji and Taisho eras into the modern age. Then visit Shiroi Koibito Park, a theme park founded by a local chocolate company. Its famous Shiroi Koibito cookies are buttery cookies with a white chocolate center. They are a popular favorite with locals and tourists alike.
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.
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 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.
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.
Japan's first convent.
The Trappistine Convent is a Catholic convent located in Hakodate. This convent was the first Catholic convent established in Japan in the year 1898 and the church was reconstructed in 1927. Visitors can view the unique statues located in the small open garden or buy sweets made by the nuns that live there. Visitors are not allowed into the convent where the nuns reside, but are allowed into the garden or the shops located on site. Guests can buy cakes, ice cream, and books at the shops in which the convent sells to support the nuns that live on site.
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.
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.
Matsumae is a town that was once a castle town located at the southernmost part of Hokkaido. Matsumae hosts many unique attractions for visitors to experience, which include the popular Matsumae Park. This place is home to over ten thousand cherry trees, which in the spring all bloom together to form one of Japan’s best cherry blossom spots. This area also has over 250 different species of cherry trees. The large number of species results in this area having a long cherry blossom season. The trees bloom from late April to late May and a festival is held at the same time as well.
Also known as Fukushima Castle.
Matsumae Castle is located in the town of Matsumae and was the only Japanese style castle to have been established on Hokkaido. The original castle was destroyed many time throughout its history, but the current building standing there today was rebuilt in the 1960s. The current castle is home to the museum which showcase the local history of the Matsumae clan and also features some Ainu history.
Most popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Hokkaido with over ten thousand cherry trees.
Matsumae Park was once the former castle grounds north of Matsumae Castle. This area is the home of over 250 different species of cherry trees and features over 10,000 cherry trees. Because of the 250 different species of cherry trees, Matsumae Park has a unique and long cherry blossom season that lasts from late April to late May. The Matsumae Cherry Blossom Festival is held here for much of late April to late May as well.
A small historical theme park that recreates Matsumae Town of the Edo Period.
One of the many attractions available to visitors in the Matsumae Castel area is the Matsumaehan Yashiki. This place is a small, but interesting them park. This little theme park recreates the historical Matsumae Town from the Edo Period. This park features a guard station, merchant houses and even a magistrate office. There are many life sized mannequins representing the people from that age. Visitors can also rent costumes (the clothes people wore during the Edo Period) while they explore the park.
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.
The number one and most famous ski resort in all of Japan. Niseko is known for its light powder snow and beautiful scenery. This ski resort is a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding, and other fun winter activities. Niseko is a very foreigner friendly destination, many people from around the world travel here to experience all that Niseko has to offer. The local area is also foreigner friendly as well and has a great nightlife. All the resorts like Annupuri and Grand Hirafu has plenty of hotels, hostels and guest houses, but get full quickly in peak winter times.
Guests can shop for fine glassware or even make their own to keep and take home.
Besides skiiing and snowboarding in the winter, or golfing and rafting in the summer. Niseko has plenty of other activities besides the outdoors like glass art. There are plenty of glass art galleries and workshops for visitors. Guests can shop for fine glassware or even make their own to keep and take home.
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.
Asahikawa is located north of Sapporo and it is the second largest city in Hokkaido. Asahikawa is mainly used as a transition point for Wakkanai in the north, Biei and Furano to the south and Daisetsuzan National Park to the southeast. The sake from Asahikawa has won many prizes for using the superior Hokkaido rice in the brewing process. Although Asahikawa is not known for being a tourist place, there is still the Asahikawa Zoo, which is one of the best zoos in Japan to visit and is second to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo for visitor attendance. The innovative design of the facility allows visitors to see the animals from numerous angles at a close proximity. There are also places within the city where artisans use the lumber to create a variety of crafts.
Otokoyama, or “Man Mountain” Sake is made at a brewery in Asahikawa, touting the local natural environment as the foundation of its successful label.
The Otokoyama Sake Brewery and Museum provides a variety of information and displays for its guests. Mount Taisetsu produces the water used by Otokoyama to produce sake; it is said that the water from Mount Taisetsu will bring longevity to whomever drinks from its spring waters. Sake tastings are also offered as part of the experiences that this sake brewery can offer to guests. Otokoyama’s sake is not only known throughout all of Japan, but also internationally known; it won its first gold medal in 1977 at the International Wine and Spirits Competition, and has won several awards throughout the years.
Biei is a small town that is surrounded by landscapes of rolling hills and wide fields. The town is located in the Kamikawa (Ishikari) District of the Kamikawa Subprefecture near the center of Hokkaido. Since Mount Tokachidake’s eruption in December 1988, measures were taken to prevent damage to Biei. An erosion control was built to prevent disastrous outcomes, which created the Blue Pond near the Shirogane Onsen. There is also a famous photo gallery by Shinzo Maeda, who opened it in 1987, called Takushinkan. Shinzo Maeda was a well- respected landscape photographer whose photos put Biei on the map as one of the best sightseeing spots in Hokkaido back in the 1970s. Hill of Shikisai is a flower garden with over seven dozen varieties of flowers, which are lined up separately. Biei is a place where nature’s beauty is plentiful and barely tampered with.
A naturally blue colored pond outside of Biei.
The Blue Pond is located in the center of Hokkaido near Biei right outside the Shirogane Onsen. Many people that own Apple computer products will recognize this location from the Apple screen savers images. This pond gives off a deep rich blue color because of the natural minerals dissolved in the water. It was not until recently that this location started to become a popular tourist destination, so this location is still a little underdeveloped compared to popular locations. Besides the pond there is not much else to do, but to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Furano is known for its flowers, television dramas, and for its ski resort fun. The city is located in the middle of Hokkaido and has been given the nickname of “The Bellybutton of Hokkaido.” The most popular flower to see in the area, when in season, is the lavender. In the summertime there are fields full of the purple colored flower that it just takes your breath away. At the Furano Ski Resort, whether guests are going by themselves, with friends, or family, there is enough entertainment for everyone. The Furano and the Kita-no-me zones are two areas that are divided, but are part of the same Furano Ski Area. Also around the winter time is the Furano Kan Kan Mura Snow Night Fantasy at the New Furano Prince Hotel, where there are snow huts, snow cafe and other fun activities to do.
Furano is also known for its farm products.
The Furano Cheese Factory, is known for its various cheese and dairy products. The factory also has a pizza and an ice cream factory. The ice cream shop offers adventurous flavors like pumpkin, asparagus, and cheese. If guests look for a different experience other than tasting pumpkin ice or the several other special flavors that the factory offers, they can try a hands-on experience making cheese, ice cream, or bread. These workshops use the dairy products from local farmers just like the rest of their merchandise. The factory also invites visitors to see the cheese- making process through the windows.
Winery on a hill above Furano Town.
Thanks to the same type of climate that allows lavender to grow, Furano grapes are also able to be cultivated. Furano’s winery selection of wines includes red, white, and rose wine types. The winery is open to the public and offers free wine tasting. The grape juice factory also has a window view of the process of its juice production, which also gives grape juice sampling to its visitors. Restaurants nearby serve Western dishes with the wine, so guests can buy a bottle and have a meal with their favorite wine at the end of the day.
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.
Fresh food market in the city center.
The Nijo Fish Market has been selling its freshly caught and prepared merchandise for over a hundred years since its establishment in 1903. It is located in the center of Sapporo’s city, near Nijo Station. Among its fresh sea urchins, crabs, and other fish products, it also offers melons, corn, and other fruits and vegetables for reasonable prices. Shops or restaurants also prepare fresh seafood for their clients; donburi (rice bowl) dishes that include fish atop the rice serving is one type of prepared meal. The markets take about one city block of space up for their businesses.
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.
Former olympic ski jump stadium.
Home of the Sapporo 1972 Winter Olympics, the Okurayama Ski Jump is a 90 meter high skiing structure that is still used today. Since it is an all- weather structure, it’s still used not only during winter seasons, but summer as well. However, it is not open to the public when there are special events in progress. The public can enter the museum at the bottom of the Okurayama Ski Jump structure. There are also exhibits, documents, and general Olympic Winter Sports information displayed in the museum for guests to enjoy.
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.
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.
Asahikawa (Day 6)
Western Style Accommodation
Asahiakwa Grand Hotel is a European- Style city hotel with distinct look and located at the city center. The hotel's lobby and entrance are designed by Canadian designer John Edison, the great- grandson of the king of inventors, Thomas Alva Edison. The stately architecture and elegant space enable guests to have the supreme satisfaction during the stay.
Sapporo (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.