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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

Hokkaido, Tohoku & Central Japan (Reverse): Takayama Festival & Cherry Blossoms

Travel on a cherry blossom filled journey through Honshu and Hokkaido, and experience the Takayama Spring Festival.

Tour Code: GTO1017569

Tour Information

Land cost: from USD $6198.00

Single supplement: USD $1360.00

Tour duration: 16 days 15 nights

Destination:
Central Japan (Osaka / Nara / Kyoto / Kanazawa / Shirakawa-go / Takayama / Mt Fuji / Hakone / Tokyo / Nikko), Tohoku (Matsushima / Hiraizumi / Kitakami / Morioka / Seikan Tunnel), Hokkaido (Hakodate / Shikabecho / Lake Toya / Noboribetsu / Shiraoi / 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
• 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
2023
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Tue. Apr 11, 2023 Wed. Apr 26, 2023 USD $6198.00 Osaka Sapporo View Tour
2024
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Thu. Apr 11, 2024 Fri. Apr 26, 2024 USD $6198.00 Osaka Sapporo 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

Osaka Kansai Airport

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

Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport or similar class
Hotel Elsereine Osaka or similar class (NOTE 1 & 2)

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.

Day 2

Osaka (Osaka Castle), Nara (Todaiji Temple / Nara Deer Park), Kyoto (Green Tea Ceremony with Maiko Interaction)

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.

Breakfast / Lunch

Kyoto Tokyu Hotel or similar class

Day 3

Kyoto (Arashiyama - Tenryuji Temple Zen Garden - Sagano Bamboo Forest / Golden Pavilion / Nishijin Kimono Show / Kiyomizu Temple / Maruyama Park / Gion Geisha District)

Today, we will continue our tour of Kyoto, once the capital of Japan and still considered its cultural center. Our first stop is in Arashiyama, a popular spot to admire natural scenery during the spring and fall season. Visit the Zen garden of the Tenryuji Temple, the most important temple in the Arashiyama District. Then, enjoy a scenic stroll through the Sagano Bamboo Forest. From there, visit the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), known for its two top floors covered entirely with 18 carat gold leaf. Next, proceed to the Nishijin Textile Center, where you can learn how kimonos are made and experience an elegant kimono fashion show. Our next attraction is the Kiyomizu Temple, best known for its huge wooden stage that grants its visitors with excellent views of the cherry and maple trees planted on the hillside below. Our group will then go to Maruyama Park, a popular spot where many visitors enjoy cherry blossom viewing (hanami) parties. Lastly, we will tour Gion, Kyoto's most famous geisha quarters. It is lined with exclusive restaurants and traditional teahouses (ochaya), entertained by geisha and maiko.

Breakfast / Dinner

Kyoto Tokyu Hotel or similar class

Day 4

Shinkansen Bullet Train Ride from Kyoto to Maibara, Kanazawa (Kenrokuen Garden), Shirakawa-go, Takayama (Takayama Night Festival)

After breakfast, experience a Shinkansen bullet train ride from Kyoto to Maibara, which can reach speeds of up to 300 km/hr. Then, transfer to Kanazawa to visit Kenrokuen Garden, one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens of Japan. The name,"Kenrokuen", translates to a garden combining the 6 attributes of a perfect landscape: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, water features, and panoramas. Here, you can 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, a listed World Heritage site. In this photogenic village, we will walk past thatched roof farm houses, cultivated fields, and wooden buildings dating back to the Edo Period. Then, we will travel to Takayama to experience a festival that dates back to the 15th century. This city is located amongst the Japanese 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 has thus maintained a very unique and traditional atmosphere. Held on the 14th and 15th of April, the festival is meant to pray for a good harvest. Its highlight is displayed during the evening, where colorful dashi (floats) are led through the streets amid cheers and drums.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Okada Ryokan or similar class

Day 5

Takayama (Morning Market / Takayama Jinya / Old Town / Takayama Festival)

After breakfast, we will continue sightseeing in Takayama. Our group will first stop by the Morning Market, where you can browse through the market stalls for local crafts and fresh farm products. Then, we will head to the Takayama Jinya, a former government office that is now a public museum. Continue to Takayama's Old Town, which has been beautifully preserved and features entire streets of buildings dating from the Edo Period (1600-1868). On some streets, like Sannomachi Street, you can find many old homes, shops, and sake breweries; some of which have been in business for over a hundred years. In the afternoon, we will continue to enjoy the festive atmosphere of the Takayama Spring Festival, watching floats as they parade through Old Town. Tonight, we will stay at an onsen hotel, where you can unwind and soak in the rejuvenating waters of a spa bath, and later enjoy a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.

Breakfast / Dinner

Yatsugatake Royal Hotel or similar class

Day 6

Mt Fuji, Hakone (Hakone Ropeway / Owakudani), Tokyo (Shibuya - Shibuya Crossing - Hachiko Statue)

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.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro or similar class

Day 7

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

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 your prepare, you will get to eat! Then, we will proceed to the Imperial Palace, the current residence of Japan's Imperial 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.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro or similar class

Day 8

Tokyo (Free day)

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.

Breakfast

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro or similar class

Day 9

Omiya (The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum), Nikko (Kegon Waterfall / Toshogu Shrine)

Today we will first visit Omiya Bonsai Art Museum where you will learn about bonsai. There are over 100 bonsai masterpieces at the museum. Afterwards, we'll travel overland to Nikko National Park in the mountains north of Tokyo and discover this lovely region. The Japanese have a saying: "Don’t say kekko (wonderful) without seeing 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. Visit Kegon Waterfall; the almost 100 meter (328ft) tall 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. Next is a visit to the lavishly decorated Toshogu Shrine set in a grove of magnificent ancient Japanese cedars.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Hotel Floracion Nasu or similar class

Day 10

Matsushima (Matsushima Fish Market / Matsushima Cruise / Godaido / Zuiganji Temple)

In the morning, travel to Matsushima, a picturesque bay full of small islands covered in pine trees where we will explore ancient caves once frequented by meditating monks. We first will stop by the Matsushima Fish Market, with fresh seafood of the highest quality. Be sure to visit the restaurants to try the famous Miyagi Oysters, known for their creamy and slightly nutty flavor. Many of the restaurants even offer all-you-can-eat oysters! Matsushima is also 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 enjoy the best way to view the islands by boarding one of the sightseeing boats. We will then visit Godaido and Zuiganji Temples, the most famous in the Tohoku region, built by Date Masamune and designated as a national treasure. Tonight, we will stay in a Japanese-style room in Matsushima, where you can soak in the soothing waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.

Breakfast / Dinner

Hotel Matsushima Taikanso or similar class

Day 11

Hiraizumi (Chusonji Temple), Kitakami (Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival), Morioka (Wanko Soba)

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 UNESCO World Heritage site and is the site of Konjiki-do, or “Golden Hall”, within Chusonji Temple, which attempts to create the ideal world, as seen through the eyes of the particular brand of Buddhism that developed in this region. As such, many artifacts on display here exhibit a “culture of gold” which calls back to said brand of Buddhism which was able to develop in the Tohoku region independent from the influence of the cultural center that was, and still is, Kyoto. This makes Chusonji a rare example of a local culture being allowed to mature to such a degree without outside influence, and for such a long period of time – from the ancient to medieval period. In Kitakami, you will be able to enjoy the Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival where you can see over 300 carp streamers hung from one side of the river to the other or walk through the tunnel of cherry blossom trees. Before heading to your hotel, you will stop in Morioka for dinner. Here, you will have the chance to try one of the city’s most famous eating experiences: Wanko Soba. This is not so much a dish as it is an eating challenge. Many locals get competitive and strive to eat over 100 bowls of soba in one sitting! But don’t worry, there’s no shame in sitting back and enjoying the flavor.

Breakfast / Dinner

Hotel Metropolitan Morioka or similar class

Day 12

Bullet Train from Morioka to Hakodate through the Seikan Undersea Tunnel, Hakodate (Fort Goryokaku / Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse / Mt Hakodate Ropeway)

In the morning, 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, 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 garden which are particularly well known for their beautiful cherry blossom trees. You will then visit the group of warehouses which face Hakodate bay. These warehouses can trace their roots to the Kanemori Haberdasher’s shop, which first opened in 1869. In the evening, take a tram and ropeway ride up to Mt Hakodate from where you 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.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hakodate Kokusai Hotel or similar class

Day 13

Hakodate (Morning Market), Shikabecho (Local Cuisine Experience with Hama no Kasan), Onuma Park, Lake Toya (Usuzan Ropeway)

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. In Shikabecho, learn how to make traditional, local cuisine. We’ll then visit Onuma Quasi National Park. This picturesque park is filled with lakes dotted by islands with the majestic volcano, Mount Komagatake, overtaking the horizon. Next to Lake Toya, travel up the Usuzan Ropeway to get excellent views of the mountain and the lake below. At the volcano’s summit, you can also get views of the ocean.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Noboribetsu Manseikaku or similar class

Day 14

Noboribetsu (Jigokudani), Shiraoi (Upopoy National Ainu Museum), Sapporo (Clock Tower / Odori Park / Susukino)

In the morning, we will visit the Jigokudani. The valley generates 10,000 tons of bubbling water everyday, and visitors can walk to the nearby Oyunuma Lake and watch the plumes of steam rise. Today we will have the opportunity to learn about the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan. We will visit 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. In the afternoon, we proceed to Sapporo city. The 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. In the evening is for you to enjoy your free time.

Breakfast / Lunch

ANA Crowne Plaza Sapporo or similar class

Day 15

Sapporo (Historical Village of Hokkaido / Sapporo Beer Museum), Otaru (Otaru Canal / Sakaimachi Street - Kitaichi Garasukan - Otaru Music Box Museum)

In the morning our tour of Sapporo continues with a visit to the Historical Village of Hokkaido, 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.

Breakfast

ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Chitose or similar class

Day 16

Tour Ends

After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am and New Chitose Airport can be reached by hotel shuttle bus.

Breakfast