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All Japan Tours       337 N.Vineyard Ave Suite 215, Ontario, CA 91764
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Tohoku & Central Japan Autumn Tour: Rice Paddy Art 2022 - 9/11

Experience a tour through the rare cultural beauties of Tohoku, followed by the golden route through Japan’s top destinations!

Tour Code: GTM3307035

Tour Information

Land cost: from USD $5198.00

Single supplement: USD $1170.00

Tour duration: 14 days 13 nights

Destination:
Aomori / Inakadate / Hirosaki / Kakunodate / Sakata / Mt Haguro / Mogami River Gorge / Yamadera / Matsushima / Nikko / Tokyo / Mt Fuji / Hakone / Koka / Kyoto / Nara / Osaka

Tour cost includes:
• 10 nights Western style and 3 nights Japanese style accommodation
• Meet and greet upon arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport
• Airport transfers on arrival and departure
• Private coach transfers between destinations in Japan
• Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide
• Gratuities
Meals
• Breakfast everyday
• 8 lunches and 7 dinners
Admission fees and activities
All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary

Dates & Price
2021
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Sun. Sep 12, 2021 Sat. Sep 25, 2021 USD $5198.00 Tokyo Osaka View Tour
2022
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Sun. Sep 11, 2022 Sat. Sep 24, 2022 USD $5198.00 Tokyo Osaka View Tour
2023
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Sun. Sep 10, 2023 Sat. Sep 23, 2023 USD $5198.00 Tokyo Osaka View Tour

Please Note:
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.

Itinerary

Day 1

Tokyo Narita Airport

Welcome to Tokyo! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro or similar class

NOTE 1: The meet and greet is ONLY available for flights arriving at Narita Airport after 11:00 AM on the first day. If you will be flying into Haneda Airport (HND) instead of Narita Airport (NRT), we will provide with full instructions to get to the hotel in advance, or we can arrange shared shuttle service for you at US$60.00 per person per way.

NOTE 2: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.

Day 2

Shinkansen bullet train to Aomori, Aomori (Nebuta Warasse), Inakadate (Rice Paddy Art)

In the morning, we transfer to Tokyo Station to board the Shinkansen "bullet train", traveling at high speed to Shin- Aomori Station. The bullet train is not only speedy, but smooth, so relax and enjoy the ride! When we arrive in Aomori, we will visit the Nebuta Warasse, a museum where visitors can get immersed in the atmosphere of the Aomori Nebuta Festival, including seeing the enormous Nebuta floats, experiencing the Haneto dance, and watching footage from the parade. Then we go to Inakadate, to view the Rice Paddy Art. Rice has been grown in the area for over two thousand years, but in the early 2000s, the rice farmers of the town created different artistic patterns and pictures on their rice paddies. Using different colors and kinds of rice, these farmer/artists have created images of Mount Fuji, Geisha, Kannon Buddha, the Mona Lisa, Napoleon, Star Wars, Marilyn Monroe, and more. After, we will travel to Hirosaki and check into the hotel for a relaxing evening.

Breakfast / Lunch

Art Hotel Hirosaki City or similar class

Day 3

Hirosaki (Hirosaki Castle / Fujita Memorial Garden), Kakunodate (Samurai District)

After breakfast, we begin our morning with a tour of Hirosaki Castle, an Edo-era keep acclaimed as one of Japan's Seven Famous Castles by author Ryoutaro Shiba in his travel series "Kaido wo Yuku". The magnificent fortress is especially popular in spring, but the castle grounds are lovely in every season Then we will tour the Fujita Memorial Garden, one of the only traditional landscape gardens in the Tohoku region, featuring a Taisho-era Western house with tearoom which serves black English tea. Then, while in the Samurai District in Kakunodate, you can stroll past traditional houses once inhabited by wealthy and middle-class samurai. Some of the former houses are free to for visitors to explore. In the evening we will check into an onsen resort by Tazawako Lake to rest for the night.

Breakfast / Dinner

Tazawako Lake Resort & Onsen or similar class

Day 4

Sakata (Sakata Seafood Market / Somaro Tea House - Lunch and Enjoy a Performance of Sakata Maiko / Sankyo Warehouses)

Today, we go to the city of Sakata for the Sakata Seafood Market, a good place to experience the real atmosphere of this charming city, where locals go for fresh seafood and produce. Then we make our way to the Somaro Tea House for lunch and a performance by the Sakata Maiko. This high-class teahouse has been entertaining guests since the Edo period with traditional dances by local maiko (apprentice geisha) in colorful kimono. After, we will tour the Sankyo Rice Warehouses. At over a hundred years old, these warehouses made Sakata especially important during the Edo period, when the volume of rice was used to determine how valuable a plot of land was to its owner. Finally, we make our way to the hotel for a comfortable evening.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Shonai Hotel Suiden Terrasse or similar class

Day 5

Mt Haguro (Yamabushi Experience / The Five-storied Pagoda / Shojin Ryori Lunch at the Saikan / Haguro-san Shrine)

This morning, we take a drive to Mt. Haguro, one of the Three Mountains of Dewa, and sacred both to the ascetic Shugendo and the Japanese Shinto religions. Once there, the group will have the opportunity to have a Yamabushi experience - an ascetic mountain training undergone by the Yamabushi mountain monks, including learning the preparatory prayers, wearing the traditional monk attire, hiking up the mountain in a guided ascent. At the base, you will have time to marvel at the Five-storied pagoda - designated as one of Japan's national treasures. Then, at the base of the summit, we will stop at the Saikan (a temple building attached to the grounds) for a healthy vegetarian lunch of shojin ryori, or "monk's food". After, we press on to see the Haguro-san Shrine, which is the chief shrine of the Dewa Mountains, enshrining all three of the mountain's spirit deities.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Shonai Hotel Suiden Terrasse or similar class

Day 6

Mogami River Gorge (Mogami River Basho Line Boat Ride), Yamadera (Risshakuji Temple)

Today brings your group to the Mogami River, and a culture-infused cruise through the Mogami River Gorge on the Basho Line. This boat line takes its name from Edo- era haiku master Matsuo Basho, who wrote a memorable poem about the river. While on the cruise, the voices of the boatmen entertain their passengers by singing traditional river-boating songs. After the cruise, we continue to Yamadera to tour Risshakuji Temple. Once you ascend the tree-lined path of a thousand steps to this mountain temple, you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the valley below. When we finish enjoying our temple experience, we will drive to our hotel in Matsuhima for a relaxing evening.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Hotel Matsushima Taikanso or similar class

Day 7

Matsushima (Matsushima Cruise / Godaido / Zuiganji Temple)

After breakfast, we begin our sightseeing tour of breathtaking Matsushima, starting with a scenic cruise around the hundreds of little pine covered islets dotting Matsushima Bay. Next, we take a walk across a bright red bridge to visit Godaido, a symbol of the city of Matsushima, featuring images of the 12 animals of the zodiac around the temple exterior. Then, we visit Zuiganji Temple, originally built in the Heian Period, refurbished during the Edo period by samurai lord Date Masamune. Then we continue to Tochigi Prefecture toward Nikko, stopping in Nasu for a comfortable evening at the hotel.

Breakfast / Dinner

Hotel Floracion Nasu or similar class

Day 8

Nikko (Toshogu Shrine / Kegon Waterfall / Lake Chuzenji)

This morning, we make our way to Nikko, where we will see the city's most popular landmark: Toshogu Shrine. Toshogu enshrines the first Tokugawa shogun: Tokugawa Ieyasu, and is lavishly appointed with gold leaf decorations and carvings of various animals, including the Three Wise Monkeys. Next, we take a drive up to the observation point for Kegon Falls, a spectacular waterfall rushing out of Lake Chuzenji down a narrow gorge, perfectly framed by the surrounding trees. Then we take the group to explore around Lake Chuzenji, one of the most beautiful natural regions of Nikko, especially in fall. Finally, we take a drive back into Tokyo for your last night in Japan at your hotel.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro or similar class

Day 9

Tokyo (Asakusa Sensoji Temple / Sushi Making Experience / Tsukiji Outer Market / Imperial Palace / Tokyo Tower)

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 the world's tallest self supporting steel tower. At 333 meters high, Tokyo Tower is 13 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. You will be able to sightsee 150 meters up at the main observatory deck and get a bird's eye 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.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro or similar class

Day 10

Mt Fuji, Hakone (Hakone Ropeway / Owakudani), Shinkansen Bullet Train Ride

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 Owakundani. Most of the area around Owakundani 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. Owakundani also has splendid views of Mount Fuji in good weather. Next, take a Shinkansen bullet train ride for experience, which can reach speeds of up to 300 km/hr. We will stay at the Onsen Hotel at Hamanako Kanzaiji Onsen, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

The Hamanako or similar class

Day 11

Koka (Miho Museum), Kyoto (Kiyomizu Temple)

After breakfast at the hotel, our group will visit the Miho Museum, a stunning architecture that accentuates the surrounding nature while exhibiting a variety of items from different 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". We will then continue to Kyoto, a historical city that was spared from air raids and saved from the atomic bomb during World War II for its cultural and historical value. We will visit 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. We will stay two nights in Kyoto.

Breakfast

Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto or similar class

Note: If Miho Museum is close, we will visit Kyoto National Museum or Sagawa Art Museum instead.

Day 12

Kyoto (Nijo Castle / Nishijin Kimono Show / Golden Pavilion / Arashiyama - Tenryuji Temple Zen Garden - Bamboo Grove - Togetsukyo Bridge / Gion Geisha District)

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 Nijo Castle, built in the early 17th century. Ninomaru- goten, renovated in 1626, is a building renowned as a priceless example of the architectural style of that period. 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.

Breakfast / Dinner

Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto or similar class

Day 13

Kyoto (Green Tea Ceremony with Maiko Interaction / Fushimi Inari Shrine), Nara (Todaiji Temple / Deer Park), Osaka (Dotonbori - Shinsaibashi)

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 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) tall. 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.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport or similar class
Hotel Elsereine Osaka or similar class (NOTE 3 & 4)

NOTE 3: 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 4: 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.

Day 14

Tour Ends

After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am and Osaka Kansai Airport can be reached in a three minute walk.

Breakfast

NOTE 5: If you would like to stay longer in Japan, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.