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 $8798.00
Single supplement: USD $1800.00
Tour duration: 21 days 20 nights
Shiraoi / Noboribetsu / Lake Toya / Hakodate / Matsumae / Mori / Kuromatsunai / Niseko / Otaru / Asahikawa / Biei / Furano / Sapporo / Tokyo / Mt Fuji / Matsumoto / Yudanaka / Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route / Takayama / Shirakawa-go / Kanazawa / Kyoto / Nara / Osaka / Himeji / Kurashiki / Hiroshima / Shimanami Kaido / Obokekyo Gorge / Kotohira / Takamatsu / Kobe
Tour cost includes:
• 17 nights Western style and 3 nights Japanese style accommodation
• Meet and greet upon arrival at Sapporo New Chitose Airport
• Domestic flight from Sapporo to Tokyo
• 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 8 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 go to Shiraoi, and 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. The tour then continues to Noboribetsu, and stops to visit Jigokudani "Hell Valley". This rocky crater is constantly venting smoke and sulfur into the air from boiling pools, hot rivers, and jagged cracks in the landscape bordered by vegetation creeping up the crater's gentle slopes, lending the entire valley a mysterious, primordial beauty. Take the safe walking paths through this rocky crater, where water roils inside nearby bubbling pools and sulfurous steam rises from jagged cracks in the landscape. A hot river, flowing from out the area, eventually reaches the perfect temperature at the Oyunumagawa Natural Foot Bath. Here, we will take some time to relax and soak our feet in the refreshing hot stream. Then we travel to Lake Toya, listed as one of the top 100 beautiful landscapes of Japan in 2008. This is the 3rd largest caldera lake in Japan, about 42 km around. It has 4 pretty islands and is the habitat of many kinds of birds and deer. Tonight we will stay in a traditional Japanese style hotel offering hot spring baths with beautiful views of the lake. After dinner in the hotel, enjoy a fireworks that set off from boats. starting at around 8.45pm and lasts 20 minutes.
After breakfast, we will go to Lake Toya, a gorgeous caldera lake shaped in a near-perfect circle, and surrounded by gorgeous natural beauty including Mount Usu. We take the Mount Usu Ropeway up to a spectacular observation point to take in the surrounding springtime scene, accented with lovely cherry blossoms. Next, we head to Nanae, to visit Road Station Nanairo- Nanae, Japan's number 1 ranked road station, which sells souvenirs and produce from around Hokkaido. Finally, we arrive in Hakodate. First, we visit Fort Goryokaku, a magnificent Western-style military fort converted into a star-shaped park. This is, by far, the best place to view the cherry blossoms in Hakodate. On the other hand, for sweeping views of the city in the evening, we take the Hakodate Ropeway to take in an incredible cityscape panorama before turning in for the night.
In Matsumae we will be touring around Matsumae Castle and enjoying the Cherry Blossom Festival. Matsumae Castle once belonged to the powerful Matsumae Clan that ruled the region. It was a former castle town that thrived through trade, but after many years it was converted into a park. North of the castle there are over 10,000 cherry blossoms planted in rows across the area. You can see over 250 varieties of the flower throughout the park, which is why the blooming period in the area lasts for a month. During the festival there will be performances, food stalls, and special events for visitors to enjoy. At the western edge of Matsumae Park is a small historical theme park called Matsumaehan Yashiki. It recreates Matsumae Town during the Edo Period, which includes a guard station, merchant houses, magistrate’s office and shipping agent.
In the morning, we take a trip to the Hakodate Morning Market, where you can browse the fresh local produce try the fresh seafood. Then we travel to Mori, where you will enjoy the cherry blossom festival at Aobagaoka Park, where around a thousand cherry blossoms, around 17 varieties, have been planted. Enjoy the sight of the Morikomachi and Aoba Shidare varieties, which can only be seen in this park. Then we make our way to Kuromatsunai, where your group will join an engaging Taiko lesson. Have fun learning easy rhythms under the guidance of an expert taiko drummer. Then we take a pleasant walk through the Utasai Beech Forest. The beautiful forest of Japanese beech trees has a captivating, timeless feel as you walk its paths. The rare forest is designated as one of Japan's important cultural properties, and is breathtaking in the spring.
In the morning 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 the local warehouses. Although the canal became obsolete when modern dock facilities allowed for direct unloading from the large vessels, it still 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 were transformed into cafes, restaurants, museums, and shops. Then, we will make our way to the Otaru Sushi District, where you will be free to find your own sushi lunch from among the shops selling various kinds of sushi. Next, we will visit Kitaichi Garasukan and the Music Box Museum. In the afternoon, Then we travel to Asahikawa Ramen Village to try some of Hokkaido's best ramen. Eight famous ramen restaurants from Asahikawa have opened small branch stores besides one another in the complex alongside a gift shop and a small ramen shrine.
In the morning, we take a trip to Biei, a small town surrounded by a picturesque landscape of gently rolling hills and vast fields. We will pay a visit to the mystic man made Blue Pond. This pond is blue because of the aluminum hydroxide.The Blue Pond changes colors depending on the weather. For example, in spring it turns into spectacularly green color. The artificial pond was created as a part of erosion control system that was built to prevent Biei in case of an eruption of Mount Tokachidake. Then we head to Furano, a famous flower- viewing spot, known especially for its lavender fields. First, a delightful ice-cream experience awaits, using locally sourced Hokkaido milk to create the soft, sweet cream in various flavors including a lavender-flavored ice cream. Next, we take in the splendid sight of Tomita Farm, which is home to many of Furano's beautiful flower fields. Finally, we head to Sapporo, first to view the cherry blossoms at Odori Park - a large public park in the middle of the city. After, we browse the various brightly lit shops and restaurants in Susukino, which is one of Sapporo's chief entertainment districts.
In the morning, we go into the Historic Village of Hokkaido where horse-drawn carriages and trolleys are still seen and used. The village offers insight into its history as well as an open-air museum with buildings which exemplify Hokkaido's architectural evolution from the Meiji and Taisho eras into the modern age. Then visit Shiroi Koibito Park, a theme park founded by a local chocolate company. Its famous Shiroi Koibito cookies are buttery with a white chocolate center. They are a popular favorite with locals and tourists alike. After lunch, we travel to Hokkaido Shrine, an elegant shrine complex situated next to Maruyama Park under the protection of four Shinto kami (deities). Then we will tour the Asahi Beer Hokkaido Brewery, which produces one of Japan's most popular beers. Finally, we will pay a visit to the Hill of the Buddha, designed by the Japanese modernist architect Tadao Ando, this statue sits in a large stone rotunda surrounded by flowers and includes a pristine reflecting pool.
After breakfast, free for leisure until transfer to New Chitose Airport for your domestic flight to Tokyo. Upon arrival in Tokyo, you will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
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.
On this day, we will travel to the Fuji Five Lakes area to experience the Fuji Shibazakura Festival. This is one of the most popular locations to view the Shibazakura flowers – a very picturesque location with over 800,000 stalks of pink moss spanning the land with the majestic Mount Fuji in the background. Don't forget your camera! We will then travel to the near-by Lake Kawaguchiko for the Kubota Itchiku Art Museum. Here, we can see elaborate Kimono designs by Kubota Itchiku such as his unfinished "Symphony of Light", a collection of what should have been 80 kimonos, of which only 36 were completed. This series is meant to show the 4 seasons and, though incomplete, is truly an inspiring work of art with each kimono blending seamlessly into the next. We will continue our journey closer to Mt. Fuji, enjoying the changing scenery, from thick vegetation to lowlands and rolling clouds. We will stop at Mt. Fuji 5th station (depending on weather) to admire the distinguished peak. Finish the day with a relaxing stay at the Onsen Hotel where you can soak in the soothing waters of a hot spring bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
In the morning, we will travel to Matsumoto. Visit Matsumoto Castle, also known as "Black Crow Castle" because of its black exterior. Inside, we can see the best examples of wooden construction of a traditional Japanese style castle. This is one of the most complete castles surviving in Japan. At over 400 years old, it is a marvel that its mainly wooden structures are still mostly intact. We will then visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park, famous for the monkey's that enjoy warm baths. The main pool in which the monkeys gather is reserved specifically for the monkeys so they can feel safe there. After observing the monkeys, enjoy the near-by onsen yourself! Once again, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the hot spring waters. Take note of how the water differs from your previous experience; each onsen town in Japan has a unique mineral blend and can sometimes vary even within the same town.
By popular demand, you will delight in the breathtaking sight of the Alpine Route. Here, you can enjoy the scenic views of mountains and winter landcapes, wildlife, hot springs, and local cuisine. The best way to appreciate the full route involves many different types of transportation including our private tour bus, a cable car, trolley bus, ropeway, and of course, your own two feet. The main attraction here is the snow coridor where the walls reach heights of 20-meters (65.5ft). A section of this path is available for pedestrians to enjoy from mid-April to mid- June. Along the route, you can also enjoy the site of Mt. Tateyama, a part of the Japanese Alps, and Mikurigaike pond. The pond is frozen over most of the year but in July and October, it is smooth as glass and reflects the mountain in its surface. Along this route, you can also see Buddhist relics which visitors have been leaving behind for many years to commemorate their visit.
Takayama is famous for the artisans and craftsmen with traditions continuing to this day from the 9th century. The day starts off with a visit to the Morning Market, where snacks, farm products, and local crafts are sold. The Takayama Yatai (floats) Kaikan Museum features elaborately decorated floats, which are over 700 years old. The yatai demonstrate the legendary craftsmanship of Takayama. Afterwards is a visit to the Kusakabe Heritage House, which is one of the oldest merchant homes in Takayama open to the public. Lastly is the exploration of Sanmach Suji, one of the three Old Town streets that have survived in beautiful state with some businesses that have been around for centuries.
Shirakawa-go is home of the UNESCO designated Gassho-styled ("praying hands") farmhouses. First is the Shiroyama Viewpoint, where great views of Ogimachi Village can be seen. Next is the Gassho-zukuri Minkaen open air museum where farmhouses and other structures were relocated to the area. The Wada-ke House was owned by the one of the wealthiest families in Ogimachi, and is now a public museum. The Kenrokuen in Kanazawa is classified as one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan. This afternoon we board the Thunderbird train for a rail journey to Kyoto for two nights.
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.
Today we take a 2-hour ride by private coach to Himeji to visit the Himeji Castle. It is known as "White Egret Castle" and "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. Next is a visit to 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. In the afternoon, we will continue our journey to Hiroshima.
Today we will visit the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Museum. After lunch, we will take a short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima. At high tide, the famed vermilion torii gate of the Itsukushima Shrine looks like it's floating in the middle of the sea. The shrine complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Miyajima has been selected as one of Japan's three most scenic places (nihon sankei). In the afternoon, we will drive 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. We will stop by Kirosan Observatory where you can take in views of the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridges standing among hundreds of islands beautifully scattered over the Seto Inland Sea. The modern observation deck was cleverly designed and built halfway into the ground of the hillside so as not to spoil the natural surroundings.
After breakfast, we continue our journey to Oboke Gorge, one of three hidden mountain regions of Japan. Oboke is the valley located upstream of the Yoshino- gawa River. "Boke" means "dangerous to walk along," and Oboke (big "boke") was named for its jagged V- shaped rocks and narrow path which, no matter how carefully or slowly you walk, makes walking dangerous. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride and take in the panoramic view of the valley. Then, climb the 1,368 stone steps to the Kotohira-gu Shrine, a Shinto shrine. If you do not want to climb the stairs, there are many things to enjoy at the lower level: sweets stores, sake shops, places where you can learn to make ice cream or udon, and craft shops. In Takamatsu we will 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. From there, our private coach takes us across Awaji Island through a series of spectacular bridges. In the evening we continue to Kobe, where we will savor the world famous Wagyu beef.
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.