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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: info@alljapantours.com

Tohoku & Central Japan: Rice Paddy Art & Autumn Leaves

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 $5598.00

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
Meals
• Breakfast everyday
• 8 lunches and 7 dinners
Admission fees and activities
All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary

Dates & Price
2024
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Sun. Oct 6, 2024 Sat. Oct 19, 2024 USD $5598.00 Tokyo Osaka View Tour
2025
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Sun. Sep 28, 2025 Sat. Oct 11, 2025 USD $5598.00 Tokyo Osaka View Tour
2026
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Sun. Sep 27, 2026 Sat. Oct 10, 2026 USD $5598.00 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 (Tsukiji Outer Market / Drive by Imperial Palace / Sushi Making Experience / Asakusa Sensoji Temple / Tokyo Skytree)

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 (Tembo 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.

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 dinner in the comfort of your hotel.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Grand Mercure Lake Hamana Resort & Spa 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

Kyoto Tokyu Hotel 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 / Golden Pavilion / Arashiyama - Tenryuji Temple & Zen Garden - Sagano Bamboo Forest / Green Tea Ceremony with Maiko Interaction / Gion Geisha District)

In the morning, we explore Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site from Japan’s feudal era, and former residence of the Tokugawa shogun. While you walk around the stately Edo-period buildings, listen for the chirping of the “nightingale” floors. The tour continues 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. Next, we travel 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. 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. 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.

Breakfast / Dinner

Kyoto Tokyu Hotel or similar class

Day 13

Kyoto (Fushimi Inari Shrine), Nara (Todaiji Temple / Deer Park), Osaka (Dotonbori - Shinsaibashi)

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.

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.