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: email@example.com
Land cost: from USD $6698.00
Single supplement: USD $1360.00
Tour duration: 16 days 15 nights
Hokkaido (Sapporo / Otaru / Shiraoi / Noboribetsu / Lake Toya / Hakodate), Tohoku (Seikan Tunnel / Morioka / Hiraizumi / Matsushima), Central Japan (Nikko / Hitachi Seaside Park / Tokyo / Mt Fuji / Hakone / Hikone / Koka / Kyoto / Nara / Osaka)
Tour cost includes:
• 12 nights Western style and 3 nights Japanese style accommodation
• Meet and greet upon arrival at Sapporo New Chitose 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
• 7 lunches and 6 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 Sapporo! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
NOTE 1: The meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour after 11 AM. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, we will provide full instructions in advance for you to transfer to your hotel on your own.
In the morning we will travel to Otaru, renowned for its picturesque canal town and glassblowing shops. During the first half of the 20th century, the Otaru Canal was a vital part of the city's busy harbor. Today, it remains an integral part of the city's history and culture. The area was even restored during the 1980s, and former warehouses have been transformed into cafes, restaurants, museums, and shops. Just a short walk from the canal area is Sakaimachi Street, a pleasant merchant street that features some of the town's main highlights. This includes Kitachi Garasukan, where we will get the chance to admire the creative and elegant glasswork style of Otaru. Then, our group will go to the Otaru Music Box Museum, which consists of multiple buildings and a large music box shop. In the afternoon, we will travel to Sapporo to see the Sapporo Clock Tower, a landmark of the city. We will also visit Odori Park, a pleasant strolling spot that lies in the center of Sapporo. Today's final attraction is Susukino, a lively entertainment district packed with bars, cafes, shops, and ramen restaurants.
In the morning our tour of Sapporo continues with a visit to the Historical Village of Hokkaido, 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 visit the Upopoy National Ainu Museum, a newer museum facility that celebrates the cultural heritage of the native Ainu people, including exhibits on Ainu language, culture, history, crafts, music, and dance. In the afternoon, we will stop at Hokkaido's most famous hot spring resort, Noboribetsu Onsen. Our group will spend some time in Jigokudani, or "Hell's Valley", the main source of the town's hot spring water. Visitors can experience the area's hot steam vents, picturesque walking trails, and a sulfurous pond known as Oyunuma. Tonight, we will stay in a traditional Japanese style hotel in Noboribetsu, where you can unwind in a soothing hot spring (onsen) bath.
In the morning, 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Travel across the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu by train via the undersea train tunnel, before arriving in Aomori. Tonight, 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.
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. At Geibikei Gorge, enjoy a ride down the river where you will be surrounded by sheer cliffs and magnificent foliage. Partway through your ride, you will be able to disembark and try your hand at tossing a lucky stone at the cliff.
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. After your cruise, we will stop by the Matsushima Fish Market, with fresh seafood of the highest quality. Be sure to visit the restaurants to try the famous Miyagi Oysters, known for their creamy and slightly nutty flavor. Many of the restaurants even offer all-you-can-eat oysters! We will then visit Godaido which overlooks the bay and has become a symbol of Matsushima. Godaido was enshrined by the same priest who founded the nearby Zuiganji temple – one of Tohoku’s most famous Zen temples – Date Masamune. At Zuiganji, you will be able to see golden sliding doors known as fusuma featured inside the temple.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will begin our tour of Nikko. Our first stop is at the lavishly decorated Toshogu Shrine, set in a lush forest of ancient Japanese cedars. It is the masoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was one of the most powerful men in Japan and the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Then, find yourself gazing upon the nearly 100 meter (328ft) tall Kegon Waterfall, ranked as one of Japan's three most beautiful waterfalls. Afterwards, we will travel to Ibaraki to see the Baby Blue Eye flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park, where 4.5 million of them bloom into a stunning sea of flowers. In the evening, we will proceed to Narita for a night stay before your return flight the next day.
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, you will visit Tsukiji Outer Market – a bustling
outdoor street market known
for its fresh and delicious seafood, produce, and
kitchenware. From there, we drive
by the Imperial Palace, which offers splendid views of
the meticulously maintained
front lawn and garden areas, the moat, and the old
stone walls. Next, enjoy a fun
and simple Sushi-Making Experience, where you can
enjoy creating your own
sushi, and eating it afterwards! Then, we visit Tokyo’s
oldest temple complex –
Asakusa Sensoji Temple, featuring the Kaminarimon
Gate, in which hangs an
enormous red lantern. Leading up to the temple is
Nakamise Street, which is lined
with shops selling all manner of Japanese souvenirs. At
the end of the day, we
ascend Tokyo Skytree to the observation deck, which
offers a panoramic 360-
degree view of the Tokyo cityscape.
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.
We will depart from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji on our private coach. Along the way, enjoy the changing scenery, from thick vegetation to lowlands to rolling clouds. Stop at Mt. Fuji 5th station (depending on weather) to admire the world famous peak. Next, we will travel to Hakone, which is among Japan's most popular hot spring resorts, and view the forested slopes of Hakone National Park. We will take a 20-minute ropeway ride from Togendai to Owakudani. Most of the area around Owakudani is considered an active volcanic zone since its creation from the eruption of Mount Hakone some 3,000 years ago. Now, you can experience hot springs and hot rivers there, where sulfurous fumes still linger. Owakudani also has splendid views of Mount Fuji in good weather. Tonight, we will stay at an Onsen hotel in Atami Onsen, where you can soak in the soothing waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
After breakfast at the hotel, our group will experience a Shinkansen bullet train ride from Atami to Nagoya, which can reach speeds of up to 320 km/hr (200mph). Visit the Hikone Castle, an original castle, i.e. it survived the post feudal era without undergoing destruction and reconstruction, considered one of the four most beautiful castles in Japan with its three-layered chalk tower. Hikone Castle has a backdrop of Lake Biwa and Konki-zan Hill, and is regarded as one of four national heritage castles, along with Inuyama Castle in Aichi, Himeji Castle in Hyogo, and Matsumoto Castle in Nagano. Visit the Genkyuen Garden, a beautiful Japanese landscape garden located on the castle grounds. Visit Miho Museum, which exhibits stunning architecture that accentuates the surrounding natural scenery while exhibiting a variety of items from ancient civilizations. It was designed by the renowned architect, I. M. Pei, and is named after Koyama Mihoko, one of the richest women in Japan and the founder of the museum. Moreover, the museum has been listed as one of the "1000 Places to See Before You Die". Afterwards, we will proceed to Kyoto for three nights.
Note: If Miho Museum is close, we will visit Kyoto National Museum or Sagawa Art Museum instead.
This morning, you will visit the Aoi Festival by train. In addition to being one of the three largest festivals in Kyoto, Aoi Matsuri is the festival of the two Kamo shrines: Kamigamo Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine. Held on May 15th every year, this is one of the most solemn and graceful festivals in the country and has been well preserved since the eighth century when it first started. A very popular festival, the Aoi Matsuri includes a procession of about 500 people who are clad in the elegant and ornate dress of the ancient imperial court followed by gorgeous carriages pulled by oxen. The festival begins at Kyoto’s Imperial Palace where the procession proceeds to Shimogamo for the first ceremonies. The parade then continues to make its way to Kamigamo Shrine. This is the section that most people are referring too when they mention the Aoi festival. A stately procession of palanquin bearers, oxcarts, horses, and men bearing offerings proceed towards their destination: Shimogamo Shrine. Upon arrival at Shimogamo, most of the members of the parade will go inside to perform the ceremonies. However, many others will remain outside and perform a dance for the gods and for the watching crowd. After enjoying the festival, you will be free in the afternoon to explore Kyoto on your own.
After breakfast, we begin our tour of Kyoto – the center of Japan’s traditional culture. We first go to the Arashiyama district to see Tenryuji Temple. Tenryuji is most famous for its Zen Garden, which has been carefully maintained for centuries using the technique of “borrowed scenery” to create a breathtaking landscape. We continue from there to the Sagano Bamboo Forest, where towering stalks of bamboo packed close together create an otherworldly feeling of mystery and awe as you walk the path through the center. Next, we go to Kinkakuji Temple (also called the Golden Pavilion), which is one of Kyoto’s most coveted sights. Shimmering walls wrapped in gold leaf are reflected in the Mirror Pond below; look carefully to see the dainty phoenix sitting on the roof. Then experience a traditional Green Tea Ceremony – an elegant ritual of hospitality once accorded only to the social elite. The experience is made even more special as it is hosted by an elegant Maiko (an apprentice Geisha). After, tour Kiyomizu Temple, also known as the Temple of Pure Water, a celebrated landmark famed for its iconic three-story pagoda, large wooden stage offering a spectacular view, and trio of sacred springs pouring from the base of the main hall. We end our day in the Gion Geisha District, a heritage district where stone-paved streets are lined with exclusive ochaya (teahouses). While admiring the old- fashioned buildings, the fortunate visitor may spot Geisha or Maiko (Geisha apprentices) walking between these establishments.
Today, we travel to Fushimi Inari Shrine – the chief shrine of the thousands throughout the country dedicated to Inari, the Shinto deity of economic prosperity, rice, and foxes. What sets this shrine apart is the sight of thousands of bright vermillion “torii” gates that form long pathways through the forest covering sacred Mount Inari. Next, we will travel to the ancient city of Nara, where we will visit one of Japan’s most famous temples and an icon of the city: Todaiji Temple, which is home to the Great Buddha of Nara – a massive, seated image of Rushana-butsu, known as the “Cosmic Buddha”. Outside the temple, spend some time with the friendly wild deer of Nara Deer Park. These adorable creatures are largely accustomed to interacting with people, and some have even learned to bow when asking for the special deer crackers, which can be bought around the park. We go from there to Osaka to visit the colorful, neon-lit entertainment district of Dotonbori. This area is popularly known for being the heart of Osaka’s food culture. Osaka is known as the city of “Kuidaore” or “to eat until you drop”, and you will find Dotonbori to be filled with numerous eateries underneath large, eye-catching billboards, including the famed Glico “Running Man”. Lastly, make your way to Shinsaibashi, the largest shopping district in Osaka. Originally established during the Edo period, this historic district is now home to various modern retailers including jewelers, trendy boutiques, western clothing and footwear stores, even traditional kimono tailors.
NOTE 2: If you wish to stay in the center of Osaka for the last 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 full instructions for you to get to the airport in advance.
NOTE 3: If you will be flying out from Itami Airport (ITM) instead of Kansai International Airport (KIX), we can arrange for you to stay at Hotel Elsereine Osaka (or similar class) instead of Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport. In this case, airport transfer is not included but we will provide full instructions for you to get to the airport in advance.
After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am and Osaka Kansai Airport can be reached in a three minute walk.
NOTE 4: If you would like to stay longer in Japan, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.