For a limited time, book your 2020, 2021 & 2022 group tour packages with no deposit required!!!
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.
Cherry Blossoms bloom in Northern Japan approximately one month later than in Central Japan, between the end of April to early May. We have designed this tour for people who wish to see both cherry blossoms and wisteria by starting the tour from Osaka, traveling all the way up to Ashikaga Flower Park to see its Great Wisteria, then see the cherry blossoms in Hokkaido on the first week of May. This tour features places that are rarely seen and the famous sights of Kyoto, Takayama and Tokyo. T... View More
Cherry Blossoms bloom in Northern Japan approximately
one month later than in Central Japan, between the end of
April to early May. We have designed this tour for people
who wish to see both cherry blossoms and wisteria by
starting the tour from Osaka, traveling all the way up to
Ashikaga Flower Park to see its Great Wisteria, then see
the cherry blossoms in Hokkaido on the first week of May.
This tour features places that are rarely seen and the
famous sights of Kyoto, Takayama and Tokyo. This tour
will focus on modern city attractions, historical towns,
romantic rural landscapes, and other famous sights in
Begin in Osaka before traveling to Nara to see the remarkable Todaiji Temple and the Nara Deer Park. Spend two days in the prominent city of Kyoto, where we have hand selected the best gardens and temples to enjoy Japan’s seasonal cherry blossoms. Visit Arashiyama, located on the outskirts of Kyoto, famous for its bamboo forest and traditional Zen landscape garden at Tenryuji Temple. You'll get the opportunity to observe a kimono fashion show and enjoy a green tea ceremony with an apprentice geisha (maiko).
Ride a high speed bullet train before visiting the beautiful Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa, one of Japan’s top three gardens. Head to the charming village of Shirakawa-go and the quaint town of Takayama, located in the Japanese Alps. These areas have maintained a traditional, yet unique atmosphere due to their secluded location. Our travel group will also visit the dramatic Black Crow Castle (Matsumoto Castle).
Gaze upon the iconic Mt. Fuji before taking a ropeway ride to see the natural scenery of Hakone and Owakudani. Next, enjoy a guided tour in Tokyo. Learn how to make sushi with a professional sushi chef, and visit Tokyo's cultural landmarks, fashionable neighborhoods, and diverse shopping districts. Tokyo attractions include the Shibuya Crossing, Asakusa, Tsukiji Outer Market, Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Tower.
At the Ashikaga Flower Park, bask under a stunning tunnel of wisteria flowers and see the 150 year old Great Wisteria Tree. Continue your journey to Nikko and visit its designated World Heritage sites. The Japanese have a saying: "Don’t say kekko (wonderful) without seeing Nikko." We will visit the main attraction of Nikko - Toshogu Shrine. Toshogu enshrines the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate and is lavishly decorated with a large amount of gold leaf and countless wooden carvings of various creatures.
Proceed to Matsushima, a picturesque bay full of small islands covered in pine trees where we'll explore ancient caves once frequented by meditating monks. Matsushima is famous for being one of the Three Most Beautiful Natural Sights in Japan. Then, we head up to Hiraizumi for a cultural interlude and stroll around the magnificent Japanese Cedar Trees and photogenic buildings at Chusonji Temple. Enjoy the Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival before proceeding to Hakodate by crossing the Tsugaru channel between the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu, via the undersea train tunnel.
Our trip continues in Hokkaido, the second largest, northernmost, and least developed land of Japan's four main islands. On the island of Hokkaido, we will visit Hakodate, Onuma Park, Lake Toya, Noboribetsu, Biratori, Otaru, and end 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.
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 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 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, travel to Nara, the oldest capital city of Japan, by private coach. Visit Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in Japan. The temple also houses the largest bronze Buddha statue that is 49 feet (15 m) high, and the surrounding park is filled with over 1,000 Sika Deer. In the afternoon, travel to Kyoto, a historical city that was spared from both air raids and the atomic bomb during World War II for its cultural and historical value. The tour will continue to the scenic and historic Fushimi district to see the stunning vermilion-colored Fushimi Inari Shrine. This architectural wonder boasts an approximately 2.5 mile (4 km) tunnel of torii gates, showcased during a critical scene of the hit film 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. This complex wraps around a bamboo wilderness that includes mountains, streams, and ponds - the perfect backdrop for a scenic hike. You will then enjoy a traditional green tea ceremony with a special host: an apprentice Geisha, or Maiko.
Today, we will continue our tour of Kyoto, which once served as Japan's capital and emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. First, we will visit Arashiyama to see the Tenryuji Temple, where you can have a glimpse of a traditional Zen landscape garden design. Then, proceed through a dense bamboo forest, pass several small shrines, tea shops, and private houses before arriving at the Togetsukyo Bridge over Hozu River. Continue on to the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) covered with 18- karat gold leaf. This three-story structure was originally built by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. At the Nishijin Textile Center, you can view displays of kimonos, watch an elegant kimono fashion show, and learn how they are made. Our group will tour the Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its large wooden stage that sits 13 meters (42.6 ft) above a hillside. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry trees below, experiencing a first hand view of real spring feelings, as well as the view Kyoto's city in the distance. Lastly, we will tour Gion, a famous geisha district in Kyoto lined with many restaurants and ochaya (teahouses).
After breakfast, experience a Shinkansen bullet train ride from Kyoto to Maibara, which can reach speeds of up to 320 km/hr (200mph). 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 private coach to the World Heritage-listed rural area of Shirakawa-go. Shirakawa-go is home of the UNESCO designated Gassho-styled ("praying hands") farmhouses. First is the Shiroyama Viewpoint, where great views of Ogimachi Village can be seen. Next is the Gassho-zukuri Minkaen open air museum where farmhouses and other structures were relocated to the area. Then, we will continue on to Takayama, a city located amongst the Japanese Alps and is known as "Little Kyoto" for its preserved historical structures and environment. Due to it's 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. Tonight, we will stay at the Ryokan, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
After enjoying breakfast at the ryokan, we will continue sightseeing in Takayama, including 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 on to Matsumoto. Visit Matsumoto Castle, also known as "Crow Castle" because of its black exterior. Inside, we can see the best examples of wooden construction of a traditional Japanese style castle. This is a classical "flatland" castle surrounded by a still intact defense moat.
After breakfast, we will travel to Mt. Fuji on our private coach. Along the way, enjoy the changing scenery, from thick vegetation to lowlands to rolling clouds. We will stop at Mt. Fuji's 5th station (depending on weather) to admire the world famous peak. From Mt. Fuji we will proceed to Hakone and take a 20-minute ropeway from Togendai to Owakudani. Much of the area here is considered an active volcanic zone since its creation from the eruption of Mount Hakone some 3,000 years ago. There, you can view hot springs and hot rivers, where sulfurous fumes still linger. Owakudani also has splendid views of Mt. Fuji in good weather. In the afternoon we will travel to Tokyo. Our last visit for this day is Shibuya. We will be able to see the famed Shibuya Crossing in action and cross the street with the crowd. We will then take photos with the Hachiko Statue at the crossing, which is a monument dedicated to a loyal dog and friend that waited, even long after his master passed away.
Today, you will be taken to the Asakusa Kannon Temple,
an active place of worship where you can see the largest
paper lantern in Japan. You will also be able to explore the
Nakamise Market, which is located right after the temple's
outer gates. It is a shopping street with a traditional-style
and centuries of history. Next, you will have the chance to
enjoy a sushi-making experience with a professional sushi
chef. Whatever you prepare, you will get to eat!
Afterwards, we will proceed to the Tsukiji Outer Market,
where various restaurants and shops line the streets.
Then, pay a visit to the Imperial Palace, the former site of
Edo Castle and current residence of Japan's Imperial
Family. In the afternoon, we will visit the world's tallest
self-supporting steel tower. At 333 meters (1092.5 feet)
high, Tokyo Tower is 9-meters taller than its model, the
Eiffel Tower. See the city from up to 150 meters (492 feet)
up at the main observatory deck to get a bird's eye view of
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 travel to Tochigi Prefecture to visit Ashikaga Flower Park, beloved for its many-colored wisteria flowers. The bright umbrella of hanging blue, white, and pink flowers hang over your strolling paths as you head to the centerpiece of the park. The main attraction of the park is undoubtedly the Great Wisteria Tree, which is over 150 years old and blooms every year a vast canopy of blue flowers. Additional flowers such as azaleas can be seen - a lovely complement to the wisteria hanging throughout Ashikaga Flower Park. Afterward, we'll travel overland to Nikko National Park, a lovely region set in the mountains north of Tokyo. As the Japanese say, "Don't say kekko (wonderful) without seeing Nikko." The shrines and temples of Nikko, together with their natural surroundings, have been connected to the Tokugawa family for centuries. We will visit the main attraction of Nikko - Toshogu Shrine. Toshogu enshrines the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate and is lavishly decorated with a large amount of gold leaf and countless wooden carvings of various creatures. Be sure not to miss the carving of the Three Wise Monkeys over the stable of the sacred horse, and look for the carving of Sleeping Cat. The shrine also contains a magnificent grove of ancient Japanese sugi cedars along a path of hundreds of stone steps leading to Tokugawa Ieyasu's grave. Toshogu Shrine is, without doubt, one of the grandest monuments of ancient Japan.
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be visiting Matsushima, a picturesque bay full of small islands covered in pine trees where we will 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 enjoy the best way to view the islands by boarding one of the sightseeing boats. We will then visit Godaido and Zuiganji Temples, the most famous in the Tohoku region, built by Date Masamune and designated as a national treasure. Tonight, we will stay in a Japanese style room in Matsushima, where you can soak in the soothing waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
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 UNESCO World Heritage site and is the site of Konjiki-do, or “Golden Hall”, within Chusonji Temple, which attempts to create the ideal world, as seen through the eyes of the particular brand of Buddhism that developed in this region. As such, many artifacts on display here exhibit a “culture of gold” which calls back to said brand of Buddhism which was able to develop in the Tohoku region independent from the influence of the cultural center that was, and still is, Kyoto. This makes Chusonji a rare example of a local culture being allowed to mature to such a degree without outside influence, and for such a long period of time – from the ancient to medieval period. In Kitakami, you will be able to enjoy the Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival where you can see over 300 carp streamers hung from one side of the river to the other or walk through the tunnel of cherry blossom trees. Before heading to your hotel, you will stop in Morioka for dinner. Here, you will have the chance to try one of the city’s most famous eating experiences: Wanko Soba. This is not so much a dish as it is an eating challenge. Many locals get competitive and strive to eat over 100 bowls of soba in one sitting! But don’t worry, there’s no shame in sitting back and enjoying the flavor.
In the morning, 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, 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 garden which are particularly well known for their beautiful cherry blossom trees. You will then visit the group of warehouses which face Hakodate bay. These warehouses can trace their roots to the Kanemori Haberdasher’s shop, which first opened in 1869. In the evening, take a tram and ropeway ride up to Mt Hakodate from where you 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.
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. We’ll then visit Onuma Quasi National Park. This picturesque park is filled with lakes dotted by islands with the majestic volcano, Mount Komagatake, overtaking the horizon. Next to Lake Toya, travel up the Usuzan Ropeway to get excellent views of the mountain and the lake below. At the volcano’s summit, you can also get views of the ocean.
In the morning, we will visit the Jigokudani. The valley generates 10,000 tons of bubbling water everyday, and visitors can walk to the nearby Oyunuma Lake and watch the plumes of steam rise. Today we will have the opportunity to learn about the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan. At the 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 proceed to Sapporo city. The 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. In the evening is for you to enjoy your 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 New Chitose Airport can be reached by hotel shuttle bus.
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.
One of the most famous and visited shrines in Kyoto.
The Fushimi Inari-Taisha Grand Shrine is located in southern Kyoto and is one of the most famous and visited shrines in Kyoto. This shrine is only five minutes away from Kyoto Station by train, and features over a thousand vermillion colored torii gates that brings many tourist to this shrine every year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Scenery from the Shiroyama Viewpoint overlooking the entire settlement.
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. One of the most popular attractions available for visitors is the Shiroyama Viewpoint. This place is only about a twenty minute walk from the village center and offers a beautiful view of Ogimachi.
Open air museum about the historic gassho (praying hands) farm houses.
An open air museum that exhibits farmhouses and other structures relocated to Ogimachi in order to save them from destruction
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.
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.
Matsumoto is located in the Nagano Prefecture and is known for one of Japan’s most popular and original castles. Many people travel to Matsumoto to view the popular Matsumoto castle, known as one of Japan’s most beautiful original castles and is one of Japan’s four National Treasure Castles. Another popular location is the Daio wasabi Farm, which is Japan’s largest wasabi farm. Matsumoto is also a popular location for people departing into Kamikochi, Norikura, or any of the popular Japanese Alps resorts locations.
One of Japan's premier historic castles, along with Himeji Castle and Kumamoto Castle.
Matsumoto is home to one of Japan’s four National Treasure Castles, the Matsumoto Castle. This castle is one of the most beautiful, and complete original castles in all of Japan compared to the other four National Treasure Castles. During the spring season, Matsumoto Castel is a very popular location to view the cherry blossoms.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The city of Ashikaga is located in the Tochigi Prefecture. The city is home to the famous Ashikaga Flower Park. The Ashikaga Flower Park is a popular tourist destination and is home to the oldest wisteria tree in Japan. Another interesting place to visit is the Ashikaga School Ruins, which is said to be the oldest school in Japan.
One of the best places to view Wisteria in Spring.
Ashikaga Flower Park is located in Ashikaga City, which is on the border of Tochigi and Gunma Prefecture. It is a place where there is a wide of flowers planted on the grounds that bloom when they are in season. Inside the flower park is a wisteria tree that is over 100 years old. It is so large that there many beams to support the branches as it covers a wide area creating this umbrella effect. It is said that the tree dates back to about 1870.
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.
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.
A long time ago Kitakami (北上) was part of the Mutsu
Province, but there has been evidence of settlement from
the Jomon period. In the late Heian period the Northern
Fujiwara clan ruled the area, but during the Sengoku
period the land was fought over by various samurai
clans. Kitakami was divided in the Edo period between
the Nanbu Clan of Morioka and the Date Clan of Sendai.
The main attraction to Kitakami is the 10,000 cherry
blossom trees and 100,000 azaleas planted along the
Kitakami River. Before these trees were planted,
Kitakami was going through a severe case of
deforestation in the early Taisho era.
The mayor of Kurosawajiri, which is now part of Kitakami, Kouji Sawafuji created the Waga Tenshochi Plan and hired two people to head the project. The plan was to create a cherry blossom spot that was not only a beautiful place in the region, but nationwide. Most other scenic spots have one species of cherry blossoms, but they decided to plant a variety of seeds along the bank of Kitakami River. This resulted in over 150 species of cherry blossoms blooming in 1921 when the Tenshochi Park officially opened to the public. It is said the view from the nearby small hill called Jingaoka inspired the name. In 1990, Tenshochi Park was listed as one of the top 100 famous cherry blossom spots in Japan.
Kitakami is the place for the famed Michinoku Geino Festival where 100s of people perform folk art traditions. Patrons will have the chance to see the Shishi Odori (deer dance), kagura (god entertainment), and Onikenbai (demon sword dance). The Shishi Odori has many stories pertaining to the origin of the dance like it was created to mimic the movements of a wild deer or a prayer to a deer that was killed. Kagura is a form of theatrical Shinto dancing that has existed for over 500 years. The two most famous styles in Iwate are Take and Otsugunai Kagura. Together the styles are known as Hayachine Kagura. In 2009, Kagura was listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Onikenbai translates to demon sword dance and is traditional folk art from Kitakami. The history of the dance dates back over 1,300 years ago and has been continually performed by the locals. In 1993 it was listed as a national important intangible folk cultural property. Even though the word Oni (demon) is used, the masks for the performance do not have horns thus resembles Buddha instead. The colors of the masks are red, black, green and white. The person who wears the white mask is the leader of the group and is referred to as ichikenbai (first sword dance). In addition to the dance, taiko drums and flutists accompany the group. The Onikenbai is meant to purify the land and appease the vengeful spirits by performing the henbai, which is a unique step in the dance. Kitakami keeps this tradition alive by teaching the dance in elementary and junior high schools.
Tohoku Region's three best cherry blossom spots alongside Hirosaki Castle and Kakunodate.
Tenshochi Park is famous for the more than 10,000 cherry
trees planted alongside the Kitakami River. The trees are
usually in bloom for one to two weeks around late April
and form a beautiful tunnel of cherry blossoms that earns
the park a spot among the Tohoku Region's three best
cherry blossom spots alongside Hirosaki Castle and
During the cherry blossom season, festival visitors stroll along the park's two kilometer long path which is lined by cherry trees on both sides and covered in a canopy of white blossoms. Food vendors and festival event venues are found at both ends of the path.
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.
Wanko-soba (buckwheat noodles) is the local cuisine of Iwate and is eaten in a very unique and entertaining manner.
Wanko-soba (buckwheat noodles) is the local cuisine of Iwate and is eaten in a very unique and entertaining manner. As soon as you finish the first bowlful, a server flings a fresh ball of noodles into the empty bowl with a wild cry and keeps on filling it until you have had enough! Only about a mouthful of noodles is served each time, so if you are an adult male you should be able to eat about 50-60 bowls. Some say that this tradition stems from when landowners hospitably served their guests until they were full. It is now known throughout Japan as a specialty of Morioka and Hanamaki. The trick to eating a lot is to slurp it down without chewing. National championships are held every year in Morioka and Hanamaki, so if you are confident of your appetite, why not take up the challenge?
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Morioka (Day 11)
Western Style Accommodation
3 minutes on foot from the station. This top class facility features a mixture of classic European style and elements of Morioka. The large banquet hall can host international conferences.
Hakodate (Day 12)
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.
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 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.
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 (Nara / Kyoto / Kanazawa / Shirakawa-go / Takayama / Matsumoto / Mt Fuji / Hakone / Tokyo / Ashikaga / Nikko), Tohoku (Matsushima / Hiraizumi / Kitakami / Morioka / Seikan Tunnel), Hokkaido (Hakodate / Lake Toya / Noboribetsu / Biratori / Otaru / Sapporo)
Other Japan Tours you may interested
Other Japan Tours you may interested