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 $5798.00
Single supplement: USD $1360.00
Tour duration: 16 days 15 nights
Central Japan (Osaka / Nara / Kyoto / Kanazawa / Shirakawa-go / Takayama / Mt Fuji / Hakone / Tokyo / Nikko), Tohoku (Matsushima / Hiraizumi / Morioka / Towada / Aomori / Seikan Tunnel), Hokkaido (Hakodate / Lake Toya / Noboribetsu / Biratori / Otaru / Sapporo)
Tour cost includes:
• 11 nights Western style and 4 nights Japanese style accommodation
• Meet and greet upon arrival at Osaka Kansai 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
• 8 lunches and 7 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 Osaka! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
NOTE 1: If you wish to stay in the center of Osaka for the first night instead of Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport, we can arrange for you to stay at Hotel Elsereine Osaka (or similar class). In this case, airport transfer is not included, but we will provide you directions to get to your hotel in advance.
NOTE 2: If you will be flying into Itami Airport (ITM) instead of Kansai International Airport (KIX), we can arrange for you to stay in the center of Osaka (Hotel Elsereine Osaka or similar class) instead of Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport. In this case, airport transfer and meet- and-greet are not included, but we will provide with full instructions to get to the hotel in advance.
NOTE 3: The meet and greet is ONLY available for flights arriving in Terminal 1 after 11:00 AM. For guests arriving in Terminal 2, airport pickup is not included, but and we will provide you with directions to get to your hotel in advance.
NOTE 4: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
In the morning, we will travel to Osaka Castle by private coach. The construction of the castle began in 1583 on the ruins of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, and it was the largest castle of its time. From Osaka, our coach departs to Nara, the oldest capital city of Japan. We will visit Todaiji Temple, one of the world's largest wooden buildings. This temple also houses the one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha at 16.3 meters high. Outside of the temple is the Nara Deer Park, where over 1,000 Sika deer freely roam. Afterwards, we will make our way to Kyoto to experience a traditional Japanese green tea ceremony. Meanwhile, you will also have the chance to meet-and-greet with a maiko, who is an apprentice geisha. Photo taking opportunities will be available as well. We will stay two nights in Kyoto.
Today we will continue our tour of Kyoto, once the capital of Japan and still considered its cultural center. First is a visit to the famous Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees below that erupt in a sea of color in spring and fall, as well as of the city of Kyoto in the distance. At the Nishijin Textile Center, you can view displays of kimonos and even watch a kimono fashion show. Visit the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) covered with 18 carat gold leaf. This three story structure was originally built by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. Next is a visit to Arashiyama to see Tenryuji Temple where you can have a glimpse of traditional Zen landscape garden design. Then proceed through a dense bamboo grove, past several small shrines, tea shops and private houses before arriving at the Togetsukyo Bridge over Hozu River. Lastly, we will tour Gion, the old Geisha Quarter, and Pontocho, whose cobblestone alleys vibrate with night life.
After breakfast, take a Shinkansen bullet train ride for experience, which can reach speeds of up to 300 km/hr. Then transfer to Kanazawa to visit Kenrokuen Garden, one of three most beautiful strolling gardens of Japan. The name Kenrokuen literally means a garden combining the 6 attributes of a perfect landscape: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, water features, and panoramas. Here, you'll find the oldest fountain in Japan and Kotoji-toro, the two-legged stone lantern that is the icon of Kenrokuen and Kanazawa. From Kanazawa we cross the mountains by coach to the rural area of Shirakawa-go (listed as a World Heritage site). In this very photogenic village, we will walk past thatch roof farm houses, through cultivated fields and see unspoiled Edo period wooden buildings. Then, we continue on to Takayama, where a festival that dates back to the 15th century will be heating up. This city is located amongst the Japan Alps and is known as "Little Kyoto" for its preserved historical structures and environment. Due to its remote position in the mountains, it was cut off from the rest of Japan for most of its history and thus has maintained a very unique and traditional atmosphere. This festival is also known as the Hachiman Festival because it is centered on Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine. It is held on the 9th and 10th of October to give thanks for a good harvest. The highlight of the festival is in the evening when colorful dashi (floats) are led through the streets amid cheers and drums. These ornate floats are decorated with intricate wood carvings and beautiful metal work that look even more amazing against the backdrop of fiery reds and oranges of vibrant autumn leaves.
After breakfast we will continue sightseeing in Takayama, which includes the Morning Market, Takayama Jinya and Old Town. You can browse the market stalls for local crafts and fresh farm products. Takayama's Old Town has been beautifully preserved, with many buildings and whole streets of houses dating from the Edo Period (1600- 1868). On some streets, like Sannomachi Street, you can find many old homes, shops, coffee houses and sake breweries, some of which have been in business for centuries. In the afternoon, we will continue to enjoy the festive atmosphere of the Takayama Autumn Festival and watch floats as they parade through Old Town. Tonight, we will stay at the Yatsugatake Onsen Ryokan, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
After eating a Japanese breakfast at the hotel, we will travel to Mt. Fuji on our private luxury coach. Along the way, enjoy the changing scenery, from dense forests to open plains. Depending on weather conditions, we will go to the Mt. Fuji 5th Station to gaze upon the world famous peak. From there, we will visit Hakone and experience a scenic ropeway ride to Owakudani. Owakudani has been considered an active volcanic zone since its creation from the eruption of Mount Hakone some 3,000 years ago. There, you can view hot rivers, steam vents, and bubbling pools. During clear skies, Owakudani also has splendid views of Mount Fuji. Our tour will continue to Tokyo, where we will proceed to the bustling district of Shibuya. Complete with neon signs and giant video screens, you will get to walk the Shibuya Crossing, a popular photo and film spot. From there, continue to one of Tokyo's most famous meeting spots, the Hachiko Statue. The statue is dedicated to a loyal dog and his famous story, where he faithfully waited for his master at the Shibuya Station for years even after his owner had passed.
In the morning, you will be taken to the Asakusa Kannon
Temple, a colorful temple in Tokyo that holds the largest
paper lantern in Japan. You will also be able to explore
the Nakamise Market, which is located right after the
temple's "thunder gate" (Kaminarimon). It is a historical
shopping street filled with traditional snacks and
souvenirs. Next, make your way to the Tsukiji Outer
Market, lined with various food stalls and local goods.
Afterwards, our group will participate in a sushi making
experience with a professional sushi chef. Whatever
prepare, you will get to eat! Then, we will proceed to the
Imperial Palace, the current residence of Japan's
Family, which is surrounded by moats and stone
fortifications. Our next stop is the Meiji Shrine, which is
dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. In the
afternoon, we will visit the world's tallest self-supporting
steel tower. At 333 meters high, Tokyo Tower is 13
meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. Our group
will have the chance to go up 150 meters to the main
observatory deck for a panoramic view of the city.
Note: For Sushi Making Experience, if you are vegetarian, on gluten-free diets, have seafood allergy, or don't eat raw fish, please contact us for other ingredient options.
Today you will have a free day in Tokyo. Tokyo is Japan's most well known and populated city. From pop culture or historic temples to relaxation or shopping, there is no shortage of things to do here! You are free to plan your own route or we are happy to provide suggestions. Tokyo is well known for its culinary diversity so we recommend that you take this opportunity to explore and find yourself some great eats! Lunch and dinner are not included today so you will be free to choose from the wide range Tokyo has to offer.
Today we will take a 2 hours ride on a luxury coach to Nikko. The shrines and temples of Nikko, together with their natural surroundings, have for centuries been closely associated with the history of the Tokugawa Shoguns. We will visit the lavishly decorated Toshogu Shrine set in a grove of magnificent ancient Japanese cedars. Then, a visit to Futarasan-Shrine and the Rinnoji complex of Buddhist temples founded in 766 BC by the Buddhist hermit Shoto. Next is a visit to the Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall. The almost 100 meter tall Kegon Waterfall is the most famous of Nikko's many beautiful waterfalls. In fact, it is even ranked as one of Japan's three most beautiful falls, along with Nachi Waterfall in Wakayama Prefecture and Fukuroda Waterfall in Ibaraki Prefecture. Tonight, we will stay in the Onsen Ryokan at Kinugawa Onsen, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
After a Japanese breakfast at the ryokan, you will be visiting Matsushima, a picturesque bay full of pine tree covered small islands, where we explore ancient caves once frequented by meditating monks. Matsushima is famous for being one of Japan's three most scenic views alongside Miyajima and Amanohashidate. The bay is dotted by over 200 small islands covered by pine trees. We will take the best way to view the islands by boarding one of the sightseeing boat. We will then visit Godaido and Zuiganji Temple, the most famous in the Tohoku region, was built by Date Masamune and is designated as a national treasure.
This morning, we will head to Hiraizumi for a cultural interlude and to stroll around the magnificent Japanese Cedar Trees and photogenic buildings at Chusonji Temple. Hiraizumi is now listed as a World Heritage site and is home to Konjiki-do (Golden Hall) within Chusonji Temple, which attempts to recreate an ideal Buddhism world. As such, it is host to an ensemble of exquisite "culture of gold" remnants from the brand of Buddhism that developed independently in the Tohoku region far away from the cultural center of Kyoto in the late Heian era of the 11th century. UNESCO has recognized this area as being a globally rare example of local culture to manifest on such a high level in the transitional period from the ancient era to the medieval period. Then, we proceed to Morioka for a visit to the Morioka Castle Ruins, considered one of the most popular autumn leaves viewing spots in Tohoku area.
Today, we will visit Japan's third deepest lake - Lake Towada, a volcanic crater lake 44 km in circumference. We will have a nature walk along the creek through Oirase Gorge. Over a dozen waterfalls cascade down into the stream all along its length from the walls of the gorge. The stream flows along the floor of the Oirase Gorge, winding among trees which a lush green in spring and summer and turn brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange from late October through early November. Then visit the Nebuta Warasse, a well done museum about the Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori. In the afternoon, we will travel across the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu by train via the undersea train tunnel, before arriving to Hakodate. It is a small city that has some of the most authentic and best preserved historic buildings in Japan. Upon arrival in Hakodate, we will take a tram and ropeway ride up to Mt Hakodate from where we can look down upon the twinkling lights that surround Hakodate Bay. The views from the mountain are spectacular and included among Japan's three best night views alongside the views from Nagasaki's Mount Inasa and Kobe's Mount Rokko.
Today we will continue our tour in Hakodate. Hakodate was one of the first Treaty Ports in Japan which opened up to world trade in 1854, so there are many preserved buildings around the area from that time. First is a visit to the famous morning market, where you will see a variety of fresh seafoods, local fruits and vegetables. Then visit the Goryokaku Pentagonal Fort, built in 1868 and the only structure of its kind in Japan. The surrounding moat and defensive grounds are now a city park and gardens. From Hakodate, we head to Lake Toya, along the way we stop at the Lake Onuma. In Lake Toya, we will take the Usuzan Ropeway to the observation deck and have a panoramic views of Lake Toya and neighboring Showa Shinzan. Tonight we will stay in Noboribetsu where we will have dinner in the hotel.
In the morning, we will visit Jigokudani. This valley generates 10,000 tons of bubbling water everyday, and visitors can walk to the nearby Oyunuma Lake to see the plumes of steam rise. Today we will have the opportunity to learn about the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan. At Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum, you will have a chance to learn about the mukkuri, a traditional, plucked Japanese ideophone that is indigenous to the Ainu. The mukkuri is made from bamboo and is 10 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. Similar to a jaw harp, sounds are made when the strings are pulled and when the reed vibrates in the musician's mouth. In the afternoon, we will proceed to the city of Sapporo. Your tour includes a visit to the Sapporo Clock Tower and Odori Park, where you can stroll along the promenade. The next stop is Susukino, Hokkaido's largest entertainment district. Then, the evening is yours to enjoy some free time.
In the morning our tour of Sapporo continues with a visit to the Historic Village, you can view architecture from the Meiji and Taisho periods when Japan experienced rapid expansion. From there we will visit the Sapporo Beer Museum, dedicated to all things beer. Sapporo is Japan's oldest brewery and exports its beer throughout the world. Then, we will travel to Otaru, renowned for its canals and glassblowing. During the first half of the 20th century, the Otaru Canal was a vital part of the city's busy harbor. The canal allowed large vessels to be unloaded onto smaller ones, then transported to local warehouses. Although the canal became obsolete when modern dock facilities allowed for the direct unloading of large vessels, the canal remains an integral part of the city's history and culture. As part of a citizen's movement in the 1980s, the canal was beautifully restored and former warehouses have been transformed into cafes, restaurants, museums, and shops. Next, we will visit glass workshops and Music Box Museum in Sakaimachi Street.
After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am and New Chitose Airport can be reached by hotel shuttle bus.