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 $8198.00
Single supplement: USD $1800.00
Tour duration: 21 days 20 nights
Shiraoi / Noboribetsu / Lake Toya / Hakodate / Matsumae / Onuma Park / 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
• 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 10 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 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. 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, with 4 pretty islands, and is the habitat of many kinds of birds and deer. From there we will take the Usuzan Ropeway to the observation deck and take in the panoramic views of Lake Toya and neighboring Showa Shinzan. Tonight we will stay in a traditional Japanese style hotel offering hot spring baths with beautiful views of the lake.
As we travel to Hakodate we will be stopping by the Trappistine Convent. It is the first convent in Japan that established in the 19th century. The red-brick contemplative convent was built in a solemn combination of Gothic and Romanesque styles reminiscent of old European castles. Fort Goryokaku is a star shaped fortress that was built for defensive purposes against international aggressions. The final battle of the Boshin War happened at fort and today it has been converted into a park with 1600 cherry blossoms planted around the grounds. The Kanemori Red Brick Warehouses are comprised of several buildings that were used to store goods during the golden age of foreign trade in Hakodate Port. Since then it has been converted into a shopping center. Motomachi was an area favored by foreigners to set up residency when Japan’s self-imposed era of isolation ended. This means you can see many Westernized buildings. Then we will proceed up the Mount Hakodate ropeway. Mount Hakodate offers one of the best views from its summit at 334 meters high, overlooking both sea and land.
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 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. Then we will be traveling to Onuma Park. In Lake Onuma and Lake Konuma there are 126 islets and can be reached by boat. However, there are 18 bridges connecting to a select few islets allowing travelers the opportunity of reaching the small pieces of land by foot. Onuma Park was voted as one of the New Three Views of Japan. Afterwards we will head to Niseko to participate in a glass art workshop. You will have a chance to sand blast a design into a piece of glass and bring it home as a souvenir.
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. Next, we will visit Kitaichi Garasukan and the Music Box Museum. In the afternoon, we will proceed to Asahikawa to visit Otokoyama Sake Brewery. Otokoyama is Asahikawa's most famous sake, both within Japan and worldwide. The spacious complex offers plenty to occupy the senses including a front seat view of the sake making process. Aside from being a sake museum there is a beautiful Japanese garden. It is filled with flowers from May to September with a garden-side shaded rest area to unwind, as well as a delightful sake tasting room and gift shop.
On a private coach, we will travel 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 will proceed to Furano. Furano is celebrated for its local wine. Located on a hill overlooking the city, the Furano Winery is open to the public and there are free wine tastings. You can see how local camembert cheese is made at the Furano Cheese Factory. Sample the black cheese, which gets its color from squid ink, as well as a number of other cheeses at the factory shop. Don't forget to visit the ice cream factory and pizzeria, or participate in one of the many hands-on workshops. In the afternoon, we will visit Sapporo and spend two nights there. The tour includes a visit to the Sapporo Clock Tower and Odori Park, where you can stroll along the promenade and enjoy the scent of the summer blooms. The next stop is Susukino, Hokkaido's largest entertainment district. The evening will be open for you to enjoy your free time.
This morning our tour of Sapporo continues with a visit to the Nijo Market, where you will see a variety of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Next is a visit to the Okurayami Ski Jump where the 90 meter ski jump portion of the 1972 Winter Olympics was held, then we're off to tour the Asahi Beer Hokkaido Brewery, which produces Asahi "Super Dry" Beer, one of Japan's most popular beers, and is the largest brewery in Sapporo. From there, we go into the Historic Village of Hokkaido where horse-drawn carriages and trolleys are still seen and used. The village offers insight on its history and an open-air museum as well as through their buildings, which exemplify 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 cookies with a white chocolate center. They are a popular favorite with locals and tourists alike.
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 be taken to the Asakusa Kannon Temple,
an active place of worship where you can see the largest
paper lantern in Japan. You will also be able to explore the
Nakamise Market, which is located right after the temple's
outer gates. It is a traditional-style shopping street with
centuries of history. Next, you will have the chance to
enjoy a sushi-making experience with a professional sushi
chef. Whatever you prepare, you will get to eat!
Afterwards, we will proceed to the Tsukiji Outer Market,
where various restaurants and shops line the streets.
Then, pay a visit to the Imperial Palace, the former site of
Edo Castle and current residence of Japan's Imperial
Family. In the afternoon, we will visit the world's tallest self
supporting steel tower. At 333 meters (1092.5 feet) high,
Tokyo Tower is 9-meters taller than its model, the Eiffel
Tower. You will be able to get a bird's eye view of the city
from 150 meters (492 feet) up at the main observatory
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.
Today we will start our tour of Kyoto, once the capital of Japan and still considered its cultural center. First, we will visit Arashiyama to see the Tenryuji Temple, where you can have a glimpse of a traditional Zen landscape garden design. Then, proceed through the dense Sagano Bamboo Forest, pass several small shrines, tea shops, and private houses before arriving at the Togetsukyo Bridge over Hozu River. Continue on to the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) covered with 18-karat gold leaf. This three-story structure was originally built by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. At the Nishijin Textile Center, you can view displays of kimonos, watch an elegant kimono fashion show, and learn how they are made. Our group will tour the Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its large wooden stage that sits 13 meters (42.6 ft) above a hillside. Visitors are granted with a charming view of numerous cherry trees that come with spring, as well as a beautiful scene of Kyoto City in the distance. Lastly, we will tour Gion, a famous geisha district in Kyoto lined with many restaurants and teahouses called ochaya.
The day begins with a green tea ceremony and a meet- and-greet with a maiko – an apprentice geisha. You will have photo-taking opportunities and a chance to interact with the maiko. After that, make your way to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The shrine is famous for its thousands of stunning vermilion torii gates that are lined along a 4 km (2.5 mile) long tunnel, which was even featured in the film "Memoirs of a Geisha". This complex wraps around a bamboo wilderness that consists of mountains, streams, and ponds, making it the perfect backdrop for a scenic hike. We will then travel to Nara, where we will go to the Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in Japan. The temple also houses one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha at 15 meters (49 feet) high. Nearby, explore the surrounding Deer Park, filled with over 1,000 Sika Deer. Our final stop of the day will be in Osaka. We will spend some time in Dotonbori, a popular shopping, entertainment, and food district. It is known for the hundreds of neon and mechanized signs that line its streets. Our group will also stop by Shinasaibashi, one of Osaka's oldest shopping destinations.
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. 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.