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.
Japan stretches from north to south and the autumn actually happens at a different time. October is historically the best month in which to see the most Autumn Colours in Tohoku and Southern Hokkaido, far northern Japan and in the high mountains of central Japan. You can experience this tradition plus many others such as the Takayama Hachiman Autumn Festival when you join this tour. We had designed this tour for tourists who wish to discover parts of Japan that are rarely seen and the fa... View More
Japan stretches from north to south and the autumn
actually happens at a different time. October is
historically the best month in which to see the most
Autumn Colours in Tohoku and Southern Hokkaido, far
northern Japan and in the high mountains of central
Japan. You can experience this tradition plus many
others such as the Takayama Hachiman Autumn
when you join this tour. We had designed this tour for
tourists who wish to discover parts of Japan that are
rarely seen and the famous sights of Tokyo and Kyoto.
This tour will focus on the modern city attractions,
festival, historical towns, romantic rural landscapes, and
other famous sights in Japan.
This tour starts from a visit to Osaka and Nara as well as the ancient city of Kyoto, where you will have exclusive access to the city's gardens, temples, shrine, castle and specialty shops. You will also have the opportunity to experience a green tea ceremony and meet a maiko (apprentice geisha), and watch a kimono fashion show. Visit Arashiyama, located on the outskirts of Kyoto, famous for its bamboo forest and traditional Zen landscape garden at Tenryuji Temple.
Stroll the beautiful Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa and see what six attributes make a perfect landscape. Next we will visit the charming village of Shirakawa-go and understand what gassho-zukuri architectural style is. In Takayama, you will experience the 15th Century of Japan as you watch thousands of people in costumes, traditional music performances, and wonderful ornate floats that parades the classic town. See how impressive mother nature is at Hakone and Mt. Fuji . Enjoy a guided tour in Tokyo. Visit Tokyo's cultural landmarks, fashionable neighborhoods and diverse shopping districts, and learn how to make your own sushi with a professional sushi chef and savor your delicious creations.
In Tohoku area, let's explore 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. After that we will visit Matsushima, a picturesque bay full of pine tree covered small islands, where we explore ancient caves once frequented by meditating monks. 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 from Aomori we 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.
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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 Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX), this tour starts in Osaka 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 Osaka! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
NOTE 1: If you wish to stay in the center of Osaka for the first night instead of Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport, we can arrange for you to stay at Hotel Elsereine Osaka (or similar class). In this case, airport transfer is not included, but we will provide you directions to get to your hotel in advance.
NOTE 2: If you will be flying into Itami Airport (ITM) instead of Kansai International Airport (KIX), we can arrange for you to stay in the center of Osaka (Hotel Elsereine Osaka or similar class) instead of Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport. In this case, airport transfer and meet- and-greet are not included, but we will provide with full instructions to get to the hotel in advance.
NOTE 3: The meet and greet is ONLY available for flights arriving in Terminal 1 after 11:00 AM. For guests arriving in Terminal 2, airport pickup is not included, but and we will provide you with directions to get to your hotel in advance.
NOTE 4: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
In the morning, we will travel to Osaka Castle by private coach. The construction of the castle began in 1583 on the ruins of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, and it was the largest castle of its time. From Osaka, our coach departs to Nara, the oldest capital city of Japan. We will visit Todaiji Temple, one of the world's largest wooden buildings. This temple also houses the one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha at 16.3 meters high. Outside of the temple is the Nara Deer Park, where over 1,000 Sika deer freely roam. Afterwards, we will make our way to Kyoto to experience a traditional Japanese green tea ceremony. Meanwhile, you will also have the chance to meet-and-greet with a maiko, who is an apprentice geisha. Photo taking opportunities will be available as well. We will stay two nights in Kyoto.
Today we will continue our tour of Kyoto, once the capital of Japan and still considered its cultural center. First is a visit to the famous Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees below that erupt in a sea of color in spring and fall, as well as of the city of Kyoto in the distance. At the Nishijin Textile Center, you can view displays of kimonos and even watch a kimono fashion show. Visit the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) covered with 18 carat gold leaf. This three story structure was originally built by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. Next is a visit to Arashiyama to see Tenryuji Temple where you can have a glimpse of traditional Zen landscape garden design. Then proceed through a dense bamboo grove, past several small shrines, tea shops and private houses before arriving at the Togetsukyo Bridge over Hozu River. Lastly, we will tour Gion, the old Geisha Quarter, and Pontocho, whose cobblestone alleys vibrate with night life.
After breakfast, take a Shinkansen bullet train ride for experience, which can reach speeds of up to 300 km/hr. Then transfer to Kanazawa to visit Kenrokuen Garden, one of three most beautiful strolling gardens of Japan. The name Kenrokuen literally means a garden combining the 6 attributes of a perfect landscape: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, water features, and panoramas. Here, you'll find the oldest fountain in Japan and Kotoji-toro, the two-legged stone lantern that is the icon of Kenrokuen and Kanazawa. From Kanazawa we cross the mountains by coach to the rural area of Shirakawa-go (listed as a World Heritage site). In this very photogenic village, we will walk past thatch roof farm houses, through cultivated fields and see unspoiled Edo period wooden buildings. Then, we continue on to Takayama, where a festival that dates back to the 15th century will be heating up. This city is located amongst the Japan Alps and is known as "Little Kyoto" for its preserved historical structures and environment. Due to its remote position in the mountains, it was cut off from the rest of Japan for most of its history and thus has maintained a very unique and traditional atmosphere. This festival is also known as the Hachiman Festival because it is centered on Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine. It is held on the 9th and 10th of October to give thanks for a good harvest. The highlight of the festival is in the evening when colorful dashi (floats) are led through the streets amid cheers and drums. These ornate floats are decorated with intricate wood carvings and beautiful metal work that look even more amazing against the backdrop of fiery reds and oranges of vibrant autumn leaves.
After breakfast we will continue sightseeing in Takayama, which includes the Morning Market, Takayama Jinya and Old Town. You can browse the market stalls for local crafts and fresh farm products. Takayama's Old Town has been beautifully preserved, with many buildings and whole streets of houses dating from the Edo Period (1600- 1868). On some streets, like Sannomachi Street, you can find many old homes, shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, some of which have been in business for centuries. In the afternoon, we will continue to enjoy the festive atmosphere of the Takayama Autumn Festival and watch floats as they parade through Old Town. Tonight, we will stay at the Yatsugatake Onsen Ryokan, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
After eating a Japanese breakfast at the hotel, we will travel to Mt. Fuji on our private luxury coach. Along the way, enjoy the changing scenery, from dense forests to open plains. Depending on weather conditions, we will go to the Mt. Fuji 5th Station to gaze upon the world famous peak. From there, we will visit Hakone and experience a scenic ropeway ride to Owakudani. Owakudani has been considered an active volcanic zone since its creation from the eruption of Mount Hakone some 3,000 years ago. There, you can view hot rivers, steam vents, and bubbling pools. During clear skies, Owakudani also has splendid views of Mount Fuji. Our tour will continue to Tokyo, where we will proceed to the bustling district of Shibuya. Complete with neon signs and giant video screens, you will get to walk the Shibuya Crossing, a popular photo and film spot. From there, continue to one of Tokyo's most famous meeting spots, the Hachiko Statue. The statue is dedicated to a loyal dog and his famous story, where he faithfully waited for his master at the Shibuya Station for years even after his owner had passed.
In the morning, you will be taken to the Asakusa Kannon
Temple, a colorful temple in Tokyo that holds the largest
paper lantern in Japan. You will also be able to explore
the Nakamise Market, which is located right after the
temple's "thunder gate" (Kaminarimon). It is a historical
shopping street filled with traditional snacks and
souvenirs. Next, make your way to the Tsukiji Outer
Market, lined with various food stalls and local goods.
Afterwards, our group will participate in a sushi making
experience with a professional sushi chef. Whatever
prepare, you will get to eat! Then, we will proceed to the
Imperial Palace, the current residence of Japan's
Family, which is surrounded by moats and stone
fortifications. Our next stop is the Meiji Shrine, which is
dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. In the
afternoon, we will visit the world's tallest self-supporting
steel tower. At 333 meters high, Tokyo Tower is 13
meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. Our group
will have the chance to go up 150 meters to the main
observatory deck for a panoramic view of the city.
Note: For Sushi Making Experience, if you are vegetarian, on gluten-free diets, have seafood allergy, or don't eat raw fish, please contact us for other ingredient options.
Today you will have a free day in Tokyo. Tokyo is Japan's most well known and populated city. From pop culture or historic temples to relaxation or shopping, there is no shortage of things to do here! You are free to plan your own route or we are happy to provide suggestions. Tokyo is well known for its culinary diversity so we recommend that you take this opportunity to explore and find yourself some great eats! Lunch and dinner are not included today so you will be free to choose from the wide range Tokyo has to offer.
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.
Osaka is the second largest city in Japan in terms of size located not too far from Kyoto. This city is one of the top three destinations for tourist visiting Japan after Tokyo and Kyoto. Osaka is the location of the popular Universal Studios Japan, Osaka castle, and Namba. There is plenty to experience in Osaka, from shopping to visiting temples and shrines, Osaka has plenty of destinations to experience Japan.
One of Japan's most famous landmarks
Located in the center of the city of Osaka lies Osaka Castle Park which holds the city’s most popular attraction, Osaka Castle. This castle was originally built in the 16th century, but has been destroyed and rebuilt many times before. Visitors will have to go through Osaka Castle Park to reach the castle, which including walking through impressive gates, and walking up on stone stairs. This area is also one of the most popular cherry blossom season location in the city.
The city of Nara was once known as the first capital established in Japan. Nara is located only less than an hour away from both Kyoto and Osaka. Nara is home to some of Japan’s oldest, largest, and historic temples. The landmark and symbol of Nara is the Todaiji Temple, which was built in the 7th century. One the most popular attractions is Nara Park where visitors come every day to see the wild deer that roam free throughout the park.
One of Japan’s most historic and famous temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Located north of Nara Park is one of Japan’s most historic and famous temple called the Todai-Ji Temple. This temple is listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple’s main hall named Daibutsuden, is the largest wooden building in the world. It is home to one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha siting at fifteen meters tall.
Over 1,000 Sika deer roam free
Located in central Nara is Nara Park, it is one of the most famous and popular parks in Japan. The park is famous and popular because it is home to over one thousand deer. The deer roam freely throughout the park and visitors are able to get up close and feed the deer as well. This park is conveniently located near most of Nara’s main tourist destinations, which include Todai-Ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Kofuku-Ji Temple, and the Nara National Museum.
Kyoto was once the old capital of Japan and is filled with historic temples, shrines, buildings, and other structures. Kyoto is filled with many temples and shrines such as the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine and the Golden Pavilion. It is also home of the Gion Festival, which is the most famous festival in Japan. Kyoto is the number two destination for tourist bound for Japan, and is the number one destination for tourist looking for a full Japanese cultural experience.
Experience a live interaction with a maiko. Drink tea, asking her questions, take a photo!
Take the chance of interacting with a maiko while drinking tea, ask her about her profession, training, and lifestyle. What is different between her life and other girls in Japan? Drink a cup of tea with her, and fulfill some of your curiosity, and even take a picture with her.
Temple famous for its large wooden terrace (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
The Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is located only 15 minutes away by bus from Kyoto Station to the eastern side of Kyoto. This temple is one of the most popular temples in Kyoto and is listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple features a large wooden terrace that offers a fantastic view of the cherry blossoms in the spring and autumn colors during the fall season with the city of Kyoto in the background.
Watch kimono fashion show
The Nishijin Textile Center is located northwest of Central Kyoto in the famous Nishijin district. Visitors can view various displays of glorious fabrics and kimonos. Guests can also witness weaving demonstrations and the popular kimono fashion show. The kimono fashion show is held almost every hour throughout the week. There is a shop available for guests to purchase a variety of goods such as kimonos, bags, postcards, dolls, and much more.
Temple building covered in gold (National Special Historic Site)
The famous Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Temple is located in northern Kyoto and is most known for the building covered in gold leaf. This famous building is the number one most popular destination for tourist visiting Kyoto. The Golden Pavilion sits overlooking a large pond and various small attractions and shops are available for visitors.
Pleasant district at the outskirts of Kyoto
Arashiyama is located on the western outskirts of Kyoto and is a well-known destination for both the cherry blossoms and fall colors seasons. North of the famous Togetsukyo Bridge is Sagano, and together they make this place a nice little getaway from temples and shrines to enjoy nature. Popular destinations include the Togetsukyo Bridge and the Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama.
The most iconic landmark of Arashiyama
The Togetsukyo Bridge is located in the Arashiyama district in Kyoto and is the most iconic landmark of Arashiyama. It is a very popular spot to view the cherry blossoms during the spring and to view the autumn colors during the fall season. The bridge connects Arashiyama to Sagano and many shops, restaurants, and attractions are found nearby as well.
Zen Temple in the Arashiyama district (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Located in the Arashiyama district in Kyoto, the Tenryu- Ji Temple is Arashiyama’s most popular temple. The temple is listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The original buildings of Tenryu-Ji Temple was lost many times throughout its history, except for Tenryu-Ji’s garden. The Tenryu-Ji Temple Zen Garden that visitors see today is the original garden and landscape.
One of the most popular and well-known spots for visitors in Arashiyama
One of the most popular and well-known spots for visitors is the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. A nice walking path takes visitors through the groves of bamboos. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is also one of the most famous and photographed places in all of Kyoto and brings many visitors every year during the autumn color season.
Kyoto's most famous geisha district
Located only 20 minutes away by bus from Kyoto Station, is the Gion Geisha District. The Gion Geisha District is one of the most famous and popular destinations for tourist visiting Kyoto. This area is filled with restaurants, teahouses, shops, and other attractions to entertain guests. The machiya merchant houses along with river and the occasional geisha walking around, brings visitors from everywhere to experience everything that this area has to offer.
Japan's main islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido are served by a network of high speed train lines that connect Tokyo with most of the country's major cities. Japan's high speed trains (bullet trains) are called shinkansen and are operated by Japan Railways (JR). The shinkansen network consists of multiple lines, among which the Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo - Nagoya - Kyoto - Osaka) is the oldest and most popular. All shinkansen lines (except the Akita and Yamagata Shinkansen) run on tracks that are exclusively built for and used by shinkansen trains. Most lines are served by multiple train categories, ranging from the fastest category that stops only at major stations to the slowest category that stops at every station along the way.
High-speed railway at speeds up to 300 km/hr
The shinkansen (or Japan’s bullet train) is a high speed train that travel between most of the major cities in Japan. Travelers can reserve seats on either ordinary or green car seats for an added cost. The shinkansen can run up to 320 kilometers per hour (close to 200 miles per hour), and are known to always be on time, comfortable and safe.
Kanazawa is the capital city of the Ishikawa Prefecture and has many attractions available for visitors to enjoy. Kanazawa was one of Japan’s cities to avoid any bombing runs from air raids during the Second World War, thus hosts a number of historic attractions. Guests can enjoy a number of museums, gardens, temples, shrines, and other interesting districts.
One of the three most famous gardens in Japan
Located in Kanazawa is the Kenrokuen Garden, which is one of Japan’s most famous and three most beautiful landscape gardens. The garden is especially beautiful during the plum blossom season and cherry blossom season with the different flowers that bloom as well. This garden is also a popular location to view the fall colors during autumn. Nearby are plenty of attractions including restaurants, shops, and the popular Kanazawa Castle.
Shirakawa-Go is located within the Shogawa River Valley and listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Hertiage Site. This popular rural area is famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses and some of the farmhouses are up to 250 years old. Many of the villages located here offer plenty of sightseeing and different experiences for guests. Many of the famous farmhouses offer minshuku, or a farmhouse stay where guests can experience an overnight homestay at a gassho-zukuri farmhouse.
Largest village in Shirakawa-go
Ogimachi Village is part of Shirakawa-Go, which is one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ogimachi is Shirakawa-Go’s largest village and the most popular destination for visitors. There are many attractions available for guests including museums and minshuku (overnight homestay visit). Visitors can get a breathtaking view of the village from Ogimachi- Jo Castle Ruins.
The city of Takayama is located within the Hida mountain region in the Gifu Prefecture. This city is one of the top destinations for tourist wishing to explore a touch of rural Japan. The old town of Takayama is one of Japan’s most beautifully preserved area of historic buildings and houses that date back to the Edo period.
One the most beautiful festivals of Japan
The Takayama Festival known as one of Japan’s three most popular festivals and is held twice a year in the spring and autumn. The festival in autumn is known as the Takayama Hachiman Autumn Festival and is held in the northern half of the old town because of the Hachiman Shrine. The festival features floats, performances, and parades as well.
Guests can enjoy shopping for goods such as small crafts, foods, snacks and flowers
Every morning in Takayama there are two morning markets set up for tourist to visit. Both markets are well within walking distance from Takayama station. In front of the Takayama Jinya is the Jinya-Mae Market and along the Miyagawa River in the old town section is the Miyagawa Market. Guests can enjoy shopping for goods such as small crafts, foods, snacks and flowers.
The former local government office
Located by only a ten minute walk away from Takayama Station is the Takayama Jinya. The Takayama Jinya was once the former local government office until the year 1969, but now has been turned into a museum. Guests can see the various items on display such as past official documents and other historical items in this museum.
Beautifully preserved old town
One of the most popular attractions for visitors in Takayama is the old town district. Many of the buildings and houses in this area have been preserved since the Edo Period. There are many shops, sake breweries, tea houses, and even some homes open for the public to enjoy.
The highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters above sea level, and is located more or less in the center of Japan, stretching over Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. Its elegant conical form has frequently been depicted in many paintings and literary works since ancient times. Many artists have been captivated by the diverse expressions shown by this mountain depending on the season, or depending on the time of the day, whether in the morning or early evening. It is widely believed that Mt. Fuji is unparalleled worldwide as a mountain that has so frequently been narrated, sung in verse, and drawn.
Great view of the Fuji Five Lakes area below
Mt. Fuji is a widely-known symbol of Japan. At 3,773 meters, Mount Fuji is Japan’s tallest mountain. “Station (gome)” is the unit representing one tenth of the length from the trail entrance to the top.The fifth station Mt. Fuji is the fifth point from the base at the height of 2,305 meter. Being the end of the Fuji Subaru Line toll road and the highest point that general cars can reach. From the observatory you can see below Komitake Shrine, an ancient place for prayer that has been visited by worshippers and disciplinant, and Yamanaka-ko, the largest lake among the five Fuji lakes.
Hakone is located in Kanagawa Prefecture and is only about two hours away from Tokyo. Hakone is park of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and is a popular destination for tourist. Hakone is famous in Japan for its hot springs and beautiful natural views. Visitors can go to the many hot spring resorts to relax and unwind or visit the many museums and shrines available. Guests that would appreciate nature more could go to the parks and trails to experience the natural beauty.
An aerial lift that provides nice views of Mount Fuji and Lake Hakone
One of the most popular ways to get around Hakone is by taking the Hakone Ropeway. The ropeway travels between Sounzan and Togendai. The Hakone Ropeway gives visitors a beautiful view of Hakone and on a clear day, it is possible to get a nice view of Mount Fuji as well.
Sulfurous vapors and warm rivers
Owakudani is located in Hakone and is an area around a crater where gaseous fumes, hot springs, and hot rivers exist. Just like most of Hakone, on a clear day, it is possible to see Mount Fuji as well. There are hiking trails available for guests, but these trails are difficult for inexperience hikers.
Tokyo is the number one destination for tourist bound for Japan. It is the number one most populated, the biggest city, and is the capital of Japan. From shopping to sightseeing, this city offers everything that tourist want to see. There are a number of places to see the entire city, tourist can visit the Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower to get a breathtaking view of the city. For shopping, visitors can head to the most popular areas such as Ginza, Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City, or Shinjuku. There are also many museums available such as the Edo Tokyo Museum or the Tokyo National Museum. This modern city still has many parks, temples, and shines for anyone interested in a cultural experience.
One of Tokyo's most colorful and busy districts, famous for its Hachiko Statue and Shibuya Crossing
Shibuya is a popular shopping and entertainment area near Shibuya Station. It is one of the most busiest and popular locations in Tokyo. There are plenty of options when choosing for a place to dine or shop and there are plenty of nightclubs as well. The most famous locations in Shibuya would be both the Shibuya Crossing and the Hachiko Statue.
Buddhist temple with souvenir shopping street, an atmosphere of old Tokyo
The Sensoji Temple located in Asakusa is one of the most popular Buddhist temples to visit. The temple was built and completed in the year 645 and is Tokyo’s oldest temple. The surrounding area offers shopping for souvenirs and food. The Sanja Festival is one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals and is held every May at Asakusa Temple.
Visit a famous Japanese market filled with fresh fish and agricultural products, plus delicious dishes
The outer Tsukiji Fish Market offers a variety of freshly prepared food products and ingredients. Travel in between the different stores and taste a few of their dishes, freshly prepared with some of the best ingredients.
Learn how to make and prepare fresh sushi for yourself in Japan
Take a lesson from an expert and prepare fresh sushi. Experience the difference in the taste of Japanese-grown ingredients. Then, enjoy eating your masterpiece for lunch after completing your sushi lesson.
Main residence of the Imperial Family
The Imperial Palace is located in the center of Tokyo, only a short walk away from Tokyo station. The palace is home to the current Imperial Family. The inner grounds of the palace is not open to the public, except on January 2nd and December 23rd where guests are able to enter and see the current members of the Imperial Family from a balcony. Visitors can view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. The stone bridge in front is called Meganebashi (Eyeglass Bridge) for its looks. The bridge in the back was formerly a wooden bridge with two levels, from which the name Nijubashi (Double Bridge) is derived.
A shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort
The Meiji Shrine is located next to Harajuku Station and next to Yoyogi Park. The shrine is located within a small forest with large trees and the entrance is designated by a large torii gate. This is also one of Tokyo’s most popular shrines, with more than a million visitors after New Year’s Day.
World's tallest self-supporting steel tower, great views of Tokyo City
Tokyo Tower is the world’s tallest self-supported steel tower and is the second tallest structure in Japan. There are two observatories in the tower sitting at 150 meters and 250 meters tall. The main 150 meter observatory offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding area and has small souvenir shops for visitors. The special 250 meter observatory offers a higher view of the surrounding area over some of the tall buildings and on a good day, visitors might be able to see Mount Fuji off in the distance.
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.
Kansai (Day 1)
Western Style Accommodation
Located within the Kansai Airport's Aeroplaza a short walk from both passenger terminal and train station, the Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport combines superb convenience with world-class facilities and the famed hospitality of Nikko Hotels International. With its seafront setting and harmonious design, this is a hotel with the ambience of a resort-yet with direct access to Osaka and the entire Kansai region. The local area also offers a number of attractions, including Rinku Park, Rinku Premium Outlets and Nakami Shrine.
Osaka (Day 1)
Western Style Accommodation
Located in the Umeda city centre, Hotel Elsereine Osaka features stylish accommodation and plenty fresh flowers. This completely non-smoking hotel offers 3 dining options, and comes with a concert hall with a grand piano and a meeting space. JR Osaka Train Station is a 10-minute walk, and the JR Kita-shinchi Train Station is a 5- minute walk away. Universal Studios Japan is a 25-minute train ride away, and Osaka Castle is a 30-minute train ride away from Osaka Hotel Elsereine. Umeda Station is a 10-minute walk away from the property.
Kyoto (Day 2 & Day 3)
Western Style Accommodation
This 4-star Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto offers comfort and convenience whether you're on business or holiday in Kyoto. Designed with flair by noted architect Togo Murano, the Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto features spacious guest rooms, elegant banquet halls, multiple restaurants and a Sukiya-style teahouse at the Japanese garden on the property.
Takayama (Day 4)
Japanese Style Accommodation
Okada Ryokan features Japanese- style accommodations with mountain views. You can relax in the indoor or outdoor hot- spring baths. Beautiful views of Northern Alps and wonderful starry sky is best enjoyed from the open-air bath. Rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding. The en suite bathroom comes with slippers for all guests.
Oizumi Kogen (Day 5)
Japanese Style Accommodation
The 4-star Yatsugatake Royal Hotel offers comfort and convenience whether you're on business or holiday in Yamanashi. This hotel has everything you need for a comfortable stay. Designed and decorated to make guests feel right at home, each room comes with separate dining area, air conditioning, seating area. Enjoy the hotel's recreational facilities, including hot spring bath, indoor pool, spa, outdoor pool, before retiring to your room for a well-deserved rest. At an altitude of 1000 meters, this hotel has great views of the South Alps and Mount Fuji and it has its own observatory for star gazing.
Tokyo (Day 6, Day 7 & Day 8)
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 9)
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 10)
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 11)
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 12)
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 13)
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 14)
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 15)
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.
Central Japan (Osaka / Nara / Kyoto / Kanazawa / Shirakawa-go / Takayama / Mt Fuji / Hakone / Tokyo / Nikko), Tohoku (Matsushima / Hiraizumi / Morioka / Towada / Aomori / Seikan Tunnel), Hokkaido (Hakodate / Lake Toya / Noboribetsu / Biratori / Otaru / Sapporo)
Other Japan Tours you may interested
Other Japan Tours you may interested