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.
In Japan, the main sign that spring has arrived comes in the form of light-pink petals begining to appear on the trees across the city. This marks the beginning of the year and brings out special sentiments among the Japanese people. Cherry Blossoms bloom in Northern Japan approximately one month later than in Central Japan, from mid-April to early May. Northern Japan has a long winter compared to other parts of Japan. Thus, the symbol of the arrival of spring has even more significance to t... View More
In Japan, the main sign that spring has arrived comes in
the form of light-pink petals begining to appear on the
trees across the city. This marks the beginning of the year
and brings out special sentiments among the Japanese
people. Cherry Blossoms bloom in Northern Japan
approximately one month later than in Central Japan, from
mid-April to early May. Northern Japan has a long winter
compared to other parts of Japan. Thus, the symbol of the
arrival of spring has even more significance to the people
in Northern Japan.
We have designed this tour for people who wish to see both cherry blossoms and wisteria. At the Ashikaga Flower Park, you can bask under a variety of wisteria and see the Great Wisteria Tree that is over 150 years old. Moreover, the park has been selected as one of the 9 international dream destinations, as well as one of the 31 most beautiful places in Japan by CNN.
After exploring Ashikaga, will continue our journey to Nikko. 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. These sites have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites in Nikko.
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. We have designed this tour for those who wish to discover parts of Japan that are rarely seen.
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All prices are per person, based on twin (double on request) or triple occupancy.
International flights are not included on our tours - this allows you the flexibility to choose your own departure and get the best value for your money!
We can arrange international flights for US customers if needed, please ask for details.
We require US$200 deposit per person to hold the space at time of booking and the final payment is due 2 month prior to departure
Travel by private coach between destinations, hassle free baggage handling
For arrivals at Narita Airport (NRT), this tour starts in Tokyo and ends in Sapporo, with departures at Chitose Airport (CTS)
Vegetarian or special meals can be arranged
Please note that the meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour after 11 AM. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, please arrange your own hotel transfer
Welcome to Tokyo! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
NOTE 1: The meet and greet is ONLY available for flights arriving after 11:00 AM.
NOTE 2: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
Today we 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 Chitose Airport can be reached by hotel shuttle bus.
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?
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.
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.
Tokyo (Day 1)
Western Style Accommodation
Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro is located 3 minutes by foot from Ikebukuro Station, a massive terminal with eight different subway and JR lines. From the station, over 17 round trip buses depart to both Narita and Haneda International Airports each day, assuring convenience for guests arriving by or planning to make a transfer by air. When setting off from the hotel, guests can easily reach popular attractions such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre and Ikebukuro Café, a unique space where visitors can play with owls and other animals.
Nasu (Day 2)
Western Style Accommodation
Surrounded by a forest and an expansive pasture, this stylish, Northern Italian-style hotel is wrapped in the verdant, peaceful bosom of nature. The baths use water from the hotel's own constant and free-flowing hot spring.
Matsushima (Day 3)
Japanese Style Accommodation
Hotel Taikanso is located on the highland overlooking Matsushima bay in the three most famous scenic places in Japan. The largest resort hotel sprawls atop a plateau surrounded by pine- covered hills and offers the best views in town. Matsushima's splendid view are enjoyed from the observatory public bath, open-air bath, lobby and several other locations in the hotel.
Morioka (Day 4)
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 5)
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 6)
Japanese Style Accommodation
Noboribetsu Manseikaku is standing at the entrance of Hokkaido's famous hot-springs Resort, Noboribetsu Onsen and promises the stay in comfort and relaxation. It is the modern style ryokan which offers genuine courtesy services.
Sapporo (Day 7)
Western Style Accommodation
This modern luxury hotel and resort, situated in the northernmost major city of Japan, is a landmark for opulence and leisure. Guests will enjoy a location that is just a short walk from the Sapporo Subway Station and an additional six minutes from the JR Sapporo Station. ANA Hotel Sapporo is an ideal choice for guests who want a central location close to public transport links and a vast selection of on- site facilities as well as first class professional service.
Chitose (Day 8)
Western Style Accommodation
Located just a five minute walk from JR Chitoise station and a 10 minute drive from the airport, the hotel offers guests comfort and convenience. The in- house restaurant serves up traditional Japanese dishes. However, if you are in the mood for other cuisines, just step out of the hotel and you will find numerous restaurants and bars where you can indulge with your favorite cuisine or drink.
PLEASE NOTE: These are the hotels All Japan Tours generally uses on the touring styles and regions shown. There is no guarantee that you will stay in the lodgings listed on the website. We encourage you to check your travel documentation for confirmation of the exact accommodation you will be staying in.