All Japan Tours 337 N.Vineyard Ave Suite 215, Ontario, CA 91764
Toll Free: 1-855-325-2726 (US/CANADA) Tel: 1-909-988-8885
Fax: 1-909-349-1736 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Land cost: from USD $8198.00
Single supplement: USD $1900.00
Tour duration: 22 days 21 nights
Saga / Nagasaki / Takachiho / Beppu / Kitsuki / Hiroshima / Shimanami Kaido / Takamatsu / Kurashiki / Himeji / Kobe / Osaka / Nara / Kyoto / Kanazawa / Shirakawa- go / Takayama / Mt Fuji / Hakone / Tokyo / Omiya / Nikko / Matsushima / Hiraizumi / Kitakami / Morioka / Seikan Tunnel / Hakodate / Shikabecho / Lake Toya / Noboribetsu / Biratori / Otaru / Sapporo
Tour cost includes:
• 16 nights Western style and 5 nights Japanese style accommodation
• Meet and greet upon arrival at Fukuoka Airport
• Airport transfers on arrival and departure
• Private coach transfers between destinations in Japan
• Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide
• Breakfast everyday
• 11 lunches and 11 dinners
Admission fees and activities
• All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary
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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.
Welcome to Fukuoka! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
NOTE 1: The meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour after 11 AM. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, we will provide full instructions in advance for you to transfer to your hotel on your own.
NOTE 2: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
The day begins with a visit to Saga, where we will visit the Mifuneyama Rakuen. This 500,000 square meter park announces the arrival of spring with thousands of cherry blossom trees and azaleas all blooming against a backdrop of the rugged cliff of Mt. Mifune. From there, we proceed to Nagasaki to visit the Nagasaki Peace Park that holds the memorial for the victims of the second bomb that hit the land. A statue of a man pointing up and holding his other arm out is symbolic of the Nagasaki Peace Park. Our next site is Dejima, an area with over 400 years of history in Dutch trade. It features historical warehouses and residences, providing insight into the former Dutch Trade Post and how they lived during Japan's two centuries of isolation. Then, visit the Glover Gardens, an open air museum where we can see a fine collection of historic mansions of former Western residents of Nagasaki. Continue to the Oura Catholic Church, the oldest standing Christian church in Japan. It was also the first Western building in Japan to be designated as a national treasure.
Today, we will take a 30 minute ferry from Shimabara and cross the Ariake Sea to Kumamoto. From Kumamoto, we drive east to Takachiho, a town in northern Miyazaki Prefecture that is steeped in Japanese mythology. It is the supposed site of legend where Amaterasu, the Shinto Sun Goddess, was disturbed by her brother's cruel pranks and hid herself in a cave. This prompted the other gods and goddesses to try and lure her out. Another legend suggests that this is where Amaterasu's grandson, Ninigi- no- Mikoto, descended to earth to establish Japan's Imperial Family. Takachiho is also known as a "power spot", a place of profound religious importance and natural beauty, which radiates spiritual energy. We will visit Takachiho Gorge, a narrow chasm cut through the rock by the Gokase River. The nearly sheer cliffs lining the gorge are made of slow forming volcanic basalt columns, which resemble the scales of a dragon where the stone twisted and flowed as it was formed. Along the gorge is the 17 meter high Minainotaki waterfall, located against a backdrop of dense green foliage and surrounding grey cliffs. Then, visit the Amano Iwato Shrine and Amano Yasukawara. Amano Iwato Shrine was built near the cave where Amaterasu is said to have hid herself. A short walk down the road from Amano Iwato Shrine is a path that leads down to the river below. Eventually, the path leads to a simple shrine inside a cave known as Amano Yasukawara. This is said to be the cave where the gods and goddesses met to discuss their strategy of luring Amaterasu out of hiding. After a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner, we will have the chance to see a special Yokagura Dance Performance. This dance supposedly caused Amaterasu to leave the cave to see what all the fun was about, and in doing so she returned her light to the world.
After your Japanese breakfast at the hotel, we will tour to a bather's paradise - the famous hot spring resort of Beppu. Marvel at one of Beppu's most celebrated attractions, the Jigoku Meguri, or "Boiling Hells" hot springs. View two of the nine hot springs, or “hells” of Beppu. Ideal for viewing rather than bathing, the springs earned their name because it was said that these mysterious, steamy attractions resembled a scene from hell ("jigoku" means "hell"). Afterwards, enjoy a scenic drive to Mt. Takasaki Monkey Park, where we will take a monorail up to the observation area. Mt. Takasaki is a forested mountain just outside of Beppu and home to over 1,500 wild Japanese monkeys. Within this natural habitat, the monkeys have been fed regularly in order to keep them living on the mountain and prevent conflicts with local fruit farmers. The monkeys are quite accustomed to human visitors, and it is possible to get very close in order to take their pictures! From here, visit the Kitsuki Samurai Districts en route to Kokura before taking a ride on the top speed Shinkansen bullet train to Hiroshima.
Today, we will visit the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Museum, a solemn reminder of the importance of world peace. After lunch, we will take a short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima; one of the most scenic spots in Japan. At high tide, the island's famed vermilion torii gate of the Itsukushima Shrine appears to float in the middle of the sea. The shrine complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon, experience driving through the Shimanami Kaido to Shikoku Island. The Shimanami Kaido is a 60 kilometer long toll road that connects Japan's main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku, passing over six small islands in the Seto Inland Sea. It is also known as the Nishiseto Expressway.
This morning, we will continue our tour to Takamatsu to visit the Shikoku Mura Village. Shikoku Mura (Shikoku Village) is an open air museum situated at the base of Yashima. This pleasant hillside park preserves and exhibits traditional buildings and structures that have been relocated here from all over Shikoku Island. Then visit Ritsurin Park, a masterpiece of Japanese landscape 100 years in the making. This sprawling park features beautiful ponds and pavilions, with Mt. Shiun as the perfect backdrop. In the evening, we will drive through the Seto Ohashi Bridge back to Honshu Island. Seto Ohashi Bridge, or the Great Seto Bridge, is a collective term for the six bridges that connects Japan's main island of Shikoku to the island of Honshu, passing over six small islands in the Seto Inland Sea. Tonight, we will stay in a spa hotel in Kurashiki, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a buffet dinner.
Today, we will visit Kurashiki. In merchant days, this scenic town thrived as a port for rice shipments. Several old rice granaries and examples of historic architecture still remain, in addition to the stone lined canal. Then, we will proceed to Himeji to visit Himeji Castle. It is known as the "White Heron Castle" because of its brilliant white exterior, resembling a bird taking flight. Himeji Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Japan, and is one of the few remaining original castles in Japan. This splendid example of traditional architecture was declared one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. In the evening, we continue to Kobe, where we will savor the world famous Wagyu beef.
In the morning, we will travel to Osaka Castle by private coach. The construction of the castle began in 1583 on the ruins of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, and it was the largest castle of its time. From Osaka, our coach departs to Nara, the oldest capital city of Japan. We will visit Todaiji Temple, one of the world's largest wooden buildings. This temple also houses the one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha at 16.3 meters high. Outside of the temple is the Nara Deer Park, where over 1,000 Sika deer freely roam. Afterwards, we will make our way to Kyoto to experience a traditional Japanese green tea ceremony. Meanwhile, you will also have the chance to meet-and-greet with a maiko, who is an apprentice geisha. Photo taking opportunities will be available as well. We will stay two nights in Kyoto.
Today, we will continue our tour of Kyoto, once the capital of Japan and still considered its cultural center. Our first stop is in Arashiyama, a popular spot to admire natural scenery during the spring and fall season. Visit the Zen garden of the Tenryuji Temple, the most important temple in the Arashiyama District. Then, enjoy a scenic stroll through the Sagano Bamboo Forest. From there, visit the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), known for its two top floors covered entirely with 18 carat gold leaf. Next, proceed to the Nishijin Textile Center, where you can learn how kimonos are made and experience an elegant kimono fashion show. Our next attraction is the Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its huge wooden stage that grants its visitors with excellent views of the cherry and maple trees planted on the hillside below. Our group will then go to Maruyama Park, a popular spot where many visitors enjoy cherry blossom viewing (hanami) parties. Lastly, we will tour Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha quarters. It is lined with exclusive restaurants and traditional teahouses (ochaya), entertained by geisha and maiko.
After breakfast, experience a Shinkansen bullet train ride from Kyoto to Maibara, which can reach speeds of up to 300 km/hr. Then, transfer to Kanazawa to visit Kenrokuen Garden, one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens of Japan. The name,"Kenrokuen", translates to a garden combining the 6 attributes of a perfect landscape: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, water features, and panoramas. Here, you can find the oldest fountain in Japan and Kotoji-toro, the two-legged stone lantern that is the icon of Kenrokuen and Kanazawa. From Kanazawa, we cross the mountains by coach to the rural area of Shirakawa-go, a listed World Heritage site. In this photogenic village, we will walk past thatched roof farm houses, cultivated fields, and wooden buildings dating back to the Edo Period. Then, we will travel to Takayama to experience a festival that dates back to the 15th century. This city is located amongst the Japanese Alps and is known as "Little Kyoto" for its preserved historical structures and environment. Due to its remote position in the mountains, it was cut off from the rest of Japan for most of its history and has thus maintained a very unique and traditional atmosphere. Held on the 14th and 15th of April, the festival is meant to pray for a good harvest. Its highlight is displayed during the evening, where colorful dashi (floats) are led through the streets amid cheers and drums.
After breakfast, we will continue sightseeing in Takayama. Our group will first stop by the Morning Market, where you can browse through the market stalls for local crafts and fresh farm products. Then, we will head to the Takayama Jinya, a former government office that is now a public museum. Continue to Takayama's Old Town, which has been beautifully preserved and features entire streets of buildings dating from the Edo Period (1600-1868). On some streets, like Sannomachi Street, you can find many old homes, shops, and sake breweries; some of which have been in business for over a hundred years. In the afternoon, we will continue to enjoy the festive atmosphere of the Takayama Spring Festival, watching floats as they parade through Old Town. Tonight, we will stay at an onsen hotel, where you can unwind and soak in the rejuvenating waters of a spa bath, and later enjoy a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
After eating a Japanese breakfast at the hotel, we will travel to Mt. Fuji on our private luxury coach. Along the way, enjoy the changing scenery, from dense forests to open plains. Depending on weather conditions, we will go to the Mt. Fuji 5th Station to gaze upon the world famous peak. From there, we will visit Hakone and experience a scenic ropeway ride to Owakudani. Owakudani has been considered an active volcanic zone since its creation from the eruption of Mount Hakone some 3,000 years ago. There, you can view hot rivers, steam vents, and bubbling pools. During clear skies, Owakudani also has splendid views of Mount Fuji. Our tour will continue to Tokyo, where we will proceed to the bustling district of Shibuya. Complete with neon signs and giant video screens, you will get to walk the Shibuya Crossing, a popular photo and film spot. From there, continue to one of Tokyo's most famous meeting spots, the Hachiko Statue. The statue is dedicated to a loyal dog and his famous story, where he faithfully waited for his master at the Shibuya Station for years even after his owner had passed.
In the morning, you will be taken to the Asakusa Kannon
Temple, a colorful temple in Tokyo that holds the largest
paper lantern in Japan. You will also be able to explore
Nakamise Market, which is located right after the
temple's "thunder gate" (Kaminarimon). It is a historical
shopping street filled with traditional snacks and
souvenirs. Next, make your way to the Tsukiji Outer
Market, lined with various food stalls and local goods.
Afterwards, our group will participate in a sushi making
experience with a professional sushi chef. Whatever
prepare, you will get to eat! Then, we will proceed to the
Imperial Palace, the current residence of Japan's
Family, which is surrounded by moats and stone
fortifications. Our next stop is the Meiji Shrine, which is
dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. In the
afternoon, we will visit the world's tallest self-supporting
steel tower. At 333 meters high, Tokyo Tower is 13
meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. Our group
will have the chance to go up 150 meters to the main
observatory deck for a panoramic view of the city.
Note: For Sushi Making Experience, if you are vegetarian, on gluten-free diets, have seafood allergy, or don't eat raw fish, please contact us for other ingredient options.
Today you will have a free day in Tokyo. Tokyo is Japan's most well known and populated city. From pop culture or historic temples to relaxation or shopping, there is no shortage of things to do here! You are free to plan your own route or we are happy to provide suggestions. Tokyo is well known for its culinary diversity so we recommend that you take this opportunity to explore and find yourself some great eats! Lunch and dinner are not included today so you will be free to choose from the wide range Tokyo has to offer.
Today we will first visit Omiya Bonsai Art Museum where you will learn about bonsai. There are over 100 bonsai masterpieces at the museum. Afterwards, we'll travel overland to Nikko National Park in the mountains north of Tokyo and discover this lovely region. The Japanese have a saying: "Don’t say kekko (wonderful) without seeing Nikko." The shrines and temples of Nikko, together with their natural surroundings, have for centuries been closely associated with the history of the Tokugawa Shoguns. Visit Kegon Waterfall; the almost 100 meter (328ft) tall waterfall is the most famous of Nikko's many beautiful waterfalls. In fact, it is even ranked as one of Japan's three most beautiful falls, along with Nachi Waterfall in Wakayama Prefecture and Fukuroda Waterfall in Ibaraki Prefecture. Next is a visit to the lavishly decorated Toshogu Shrine set in a grove of magnificent ancient Japanese cedars.
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be visiting Matsushima, a picturesque bay full of pine tree-covered small islands, where we explore ancient caves once frequented by meditating monks. Matsushima is famous for being one of Japan's three most scenic views alongside Miyajima and Amanohashidate. The bay is dotted by over 200 small islands covered by pine trees. Experience 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. In Shikabecho, learn how to make traditional, local cuisine. 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.