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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

Japan Summer Highlights: Lavenders & Tohoku 3 Great Summer Festivals

This tour features Japan Summer Highlights including the summer flowers, festivals & fireworks.

Tour Code: GTX1739280

Tour Information

Land cost: from USD $8598.00

Single supplement: USD $1800.00

Tour duration: 21 days 20 nights

Destination:
Furano / Biei / Otaru / Sapporo / Shiraoi / Noboribetsu / Lake Toya / Shikabecho / Hakodate / Seikan Tunnel / Aomori / Akita / Kakunodate / Hiraizumi / Sendai / Matsushima / Urabandai / Aizu Wakamatsu / Nikko / Tokyo / Mt Fuji / Hakone / Koka / Kyoto / Nara / Osaka / Tokushima / Takamatsu / Oboke Gorge / Shimanami Kaido / Hiroshima / Kurashiki / Himeji / 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
• Gratuities
Meals
• Breakfast everyday
• 12 lunches and 6 dinners
Admission fees and activities
• All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary

Dates & Price
2022
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Fri. Jul 29, 2022 Thu. Aug 18, 2022 USD $8598.00 Sapporo Osaka View Tour
2023
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Sat. Jul 29, 2023 Fri. Aug 18, 2023 USD $8598.00 Sapporo Osaka View Tour
2024
Start Date End Date Twin/Triple Start City End City Style Status
Mon. Jul 29, 2024 Sun. Aug 18, 2024 USD $8598.00 Sapporo 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

Sapporo New Chitose Airport

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

ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Chitose or similar class

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.

Day 2

Furano (Cheese Factory / Furano Winery / Tomita Farm - Furano Flower Fields), Biei (Blue Pond / Panorama Road / Shikisai Hill / Takushinkan)

On a private coach, we will travel to Furano. July and August is traditionally the most popular time to visit Furano, when blooming lavender envelops the city in a purple haze. One of the best spots to see the beautiful flowers against the Tokachi Mountains is Farm Tomita. In addition to flowers, 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, and 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 proceed to Biei, a small town surrounded by a picturesque landscape of gently rolling hills and vast fields. Visit Blue Pond, then enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Panorama Road from the window. From the Larch tree grove running alongside the hills, to the overlapping layers of hills, the majesty of this landscape unfolds before your eyes. Among the area's highlights is Shikisai Hill, a spacious flower park with various flower fields. Stop by Takushinkan, an exhibition hall with beautiful landscape photography by renowned photographer Maeda Shinzo and his eldest son Akira. The exhibition displays landscape photographs from across Japan with an emphasis on photos from the local Biei region.

Breakfast / Lunch

ANA Crowne Plaza Sapporo or similar class

Day 3

Otaru (Otaru Canal / Sakaimachi Street - Kitaichi Garasukan - Otaru Music Box Museum), Sapporo (Clock Tower / Odori Park / Susukino)

In the morning we will travel to Otaru, renowned for its canals and glassblowing in Kitaichi Garasukan. 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. Afterwards, we will visit the reputable glass workshops and also the popular Otaru Music Box Museum in Sakaimachi Street. In the afternoon, we will then visit Sapporo city which 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. The evening is open for you to enjoy your free time.

Breakfast

ANA Crowne Plaza Sapporo or similar class

Day 4

Sapporo (Nijo Market / Historic Village of Hokkaido), Shiraoi (Upopoy National Ainu Museum), Noboribetsu (Jigokudani)

This morning, our tour of Sapporo continues with a visit to the Nijo Market, where you will see a variety of fresh produce and local food-related goods. Afterwards, visit the Historic Village of Hokkaido, an open-air museum that consists of architecture dating back to the Meiji and Taisho Periods (1868 - 1926). Then, 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 will stop at Hokkaido's most famous hot spring resort, Noboribetsu Onsen. Our group will spend some time in Jigokudani, or "Hell's Valley", the main source of the town's hot spring water. Visitors can experience the area's hot steam vents, picturesque walking trails, and a sulfurous pond known as Oyunuma. Tonight, we will stay in a traditional Japanese style hotel in Noboribetsu, where you can unwind in a soothing hot spring (onsen) bath.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Noboribetsu Manseikaku or similar class

Day 5

Lake Toya (Usuzan Ropeway), Shikabecho (Local Cuisine Experience with Hama no Kasan), Hakodate (Fort Goryokaku / Mt. Hakodate Ropeway)

After breakfast, we will head to Lake Toya and take the Usuzan Ropeway to the observation deck and have a panoramic view of Lake Toya and neighboring Showa Shinzan. From Lake Toya, we head to Hakodate, along the way we stop at Shikabe-cho and attend a fun and easy cooking experience with Hama no Kasan at a local Japanese home. Hakodate was one of the first Treaty Ports in Japan which opened up to world trade in 1854, so there are many preserved buildings around the area from that time. We will continue our tour to visit 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 gardens. In the evening, we will take a ropeway ride up to Mt Hakodate from where we can look down upon the twinkling lights that surround Hakodate Bay. The view from the mountain are spectacular and it's listed as Japan's three best night view alongside with the view from Nagasaki's Mount Inasa and Kobe's Mount Rokko.

Breakfast / Lunch

Four Points By Sheraton Hakodate or similar class

Day 6

Undersea Train from Hakodate to Aomori (Furukawa Fish Market / Nebuta Warasse / Nebuta Festival)

Today we will travel across the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu by train via the undersea train tunnel, before arriving to Aomori. We will visit the Furukawa Fish Market. What makes the Furukawa Fish Market special is a system that lets visitors create their own seafood donburi (called nokkedon) from the seasonal, local seafood sold right at the market. These types of seafood donburi are available under different names at other fish markets around the country, usually on a limited basis; however, at Furukawa Fish Market they are sold every day that the market is open. Then we will visit the Nebuta Warasse, a well done museum about the Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori. Tonight, we will enjoy the Nebuta Matsuri (Nebuta Festival). Recognized as one of Japan’s Three Big Fire Festivals, the Aomori Nebuta Festival is renowned internationally and is designated as a significant and intangible folk cultural asset of Japan. During the festival, more than twenty large nebutas (large lantern floats decorated with human figures) are wheeled along the parade route in the city of Aomori. Ahead of each float, Nebuta dancers called haneto dance wildly to the hayashi music of the Nebuta Festival, making the summer night festival lively and exciting. The fantastic view of lantern-lit floats and the dancers’ shouts of “rasse rasse” are overwhelming. It certainly is a genuine fire festival of Japan.

Breakfast

Aomori Kokusai Hotel or similar class

Day 7

Akita (Akita City Folk Traditions Hall / Kanto Festival)

Today we take a 3 hour ride on a private coach to Akita City for it's Kanto Festival. The Kanto Festival (pole lantern festival) is a Tanabata related celebration in Akita City. The highlight of the festival is an impressive display of skill in which performers balance kanto (long bamboo poles) with arrays of paper lanterns attached to the end. The Kanto Festival together with Aomori's Nebuta Festival and Sendai's Tanabata makes up the three great festivals of the Tohoku Region. We will first visit the Akita City Folk Traditions Hall, where you can learn about the history of Kanto Festival and try out balancing a kanto pole yourself. Then, we will enjoy the daytime events which include taiko drum, dance and music performances, as well as Kanto Demonstrations. The main event of the festival, the Night Parades, are held nightly along Chuo Dori street in the center of the city. The various performing groups, carrying nearly 250 kanto poles, line up on the street, and when a signal is given the poles are all raised up at once and the performers show off their skills. The event lasts about 90 minutes, and at the end of each night there is a 15 minute session during which the audience is invited to talk to the performers, take pictures and try their hand at hoisting up a kanto.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Metropolitan Akita or similar class

Day 8

Kakunodate (Kakunodate Samurai District - Aoyagi House), Hiraizumi (Chusonji Temple), Sendai (Tanabata Fireworks

In the morning we head to Kakunodate, a former castle town and samurai stronghold. We will visit the Kakunodate samurai district, which once housed about 80 families, and is one of the best examples of samurai architecture and housing in the country. The Aoyagi House is an impressive complex with multiple buildings containing museum collections. The displays provide interesting information on samurai traditions, lifestyle and Japan's historical context in relation to Kakunodate. Then, we'll visit 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 World Heritage site and is home to Konjiki-do (Golden Hall) within Chusonji Temple, which attempts to re-create an ideal Buddhism world. As such, it is host to an ensemble of exquisite "culture of gold" remnants from the brand of Buddhism that developed independently in the Tohoku region far away from the cultural center of Kyoto in the late Heian era of the 11th century. UNESCO has recognized this area as being a globally rare example of local culture to manifest on such a high level in the transitional period from the ancient era to the medieval period. During the afternoon we will proceed to Sendai to enjoy a fireworks display that will be held the night before the Tanabata Festival (August 5th) along the bank of the Hirosegawa River.

Breakfast / Lunch

Mitsui Garden Hotel Sendai or similar class

Day 9

Matsushima (Godaido / Zuiganji Temple / Matsushima Cruise - Matsushima to Shiogama), Sendai (Tanabata Festival)

Today you will be visiting Matsushima, a picturesque bay full of pine tree covered small islands, where we explore ancient caves once frequented by meditating monks. Matsushima is 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 visit Godaido and Zuiganji Temple, the most famous in the Tohoku region, that was built by Date Masamune and is designated as a national treasure. We will then take the best way to view the islands by boarding one of the sightseeing boats from Matsushima to Shiogama. We will then take the local train to Downtown Sendai for the Tanabata Festival. The Sendai Tanabata Matsuri, held every year on August 6- 8, is one of the largest and most famous tanabata celebrations in Japan. While festivities take place throughout Downtown Sendai, the festival's main feature are thousands of colorful streamers that decorate the city's shopping arcades, which come to resemble brightly colored forests. Each set of 3-5 meter long streamers is handcrafted by local shops, schools, and community groups by using washi paper and bamboo. They are then hung up from ten meter long bamboo poles along the arcades. In addition to the streamers, various other events including stage performances, live music and entertainment, traditional dance and food vendors are also held.

Breakfast

Mitsui Garden Hotel Sendai or similar class

Day 10

Urabandai (Bandai-Azuma Lake Line - Scenic Driving / Goshikinuma Walk), Aizu Wakamatsu (Tsuruga Castle / Ouchijuku)

After breakfast, we will head to Urabandai, also known as the Bandai Highlands, a pond dotted area on the highlands north of Mount Bandai. It is a popular outdoor destination, offering attractive scenery, various walking and hiking opportunities in summer. The best way to enjoy the scenery of the Urabandai area is to drive along the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line sightseeing roads. Bandai- Azuma Lake Line offers panoramic views over the highlands and passes the scenic Nakatsugawa Gorge. We will take a walk on the Goshikinuma Walk or "Five Colored Pond Walk". The flat, well maintained nature trail leads mostly through forest and passes numerous ponds along the way, many of which are colored in various hues of blue. The trail is about four kilometers long, takes about an hour to walk and starts and ends in different locations. We will continue our tour to Aizu Wakamatsu to visit Tsuruga Castle. Originally built about 600 years ago, it was destroyed after the Boshin Civil War but some of the moat and stone walls of the original castle still remain. There is a realistic replica of the castle used as a historical museum. Then we will visit Ouchijuku, a former post town along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route which connected Aizu with Nikko during the Edo Period. Restrictions set by the shogunate required travelers to make their long journeys on foot and as a result, post towns developed along the routes to provide travelers with food, accommodations and rest. Tonight, we will stay in the Onsen Ryokan at Kinugawa Onsen, where you can soak in the therapeutic water of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Kinugawa Onsen Hotel or similar class

Day 11

Nikko (Toshogu Shrine / Futarasan-Shrine / Rinnoji Temple / Kegon Waterfall / Lake Chuzenji)

After a Japanese breakfast at the ryokan, we will start a tour of 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. We will visit the lavishly decorated Toshogu Shrine set in a grove of magnificent ancient Japanese cedars. Then, visit Futarasan-Shrine and the Rinnoji complex of Buddhist temples founded in 766 BC by the Buddhist hermit Shoto. Next is a visit to the Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall. The nearly 100 meter tall Kegon 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. In the evening, we will proceed to Tokyo for a night stay before your return flight on the next day.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro or similar class

Day 12

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 13

Mt Fuji, Hakone (Hakone Ropeway / Owakudani), 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 14

Koka (Koka Ninja Mansion / Miho Museum), Kyoto (Fushimi Inari Shrine)

After breakfast at the hotel, our group will visit the Koka Ninja Mansion. This mansion used to be resided in by ninja, equipped with many ingenious traps and devices, designed to prevent intruders and to provide a means of escape in times of need. Then proceed to 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. The tour will continue to the scenic and historic Fushimi district to see the stunning vermilion-colored Fushimi Inari Shrine. This architectural wonder boasts an approximately 2.5-mile (4-km) tunnel of torii gates, showcased during a critical scene of the hit film 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. 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 15

Kyoto (Arashiyama - Tenryuji Temple & Garden - Sagano Bamboo Forest - Togetsukyo Bridge / Golden Pavilion / Green Tea Ceremony with a Maiko / Gion Geisha District)

Then we will tour the Arashiyama district. First is a visit to see Tenryuji Temple where you can catch a glimpse of the traditional rock 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. Visit Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, so known because it is covered with 18-karat gold leaf. This three-story structure was originally built by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. Next, you will enjoy a relaxing Green Tea Ceremony. This activity was once only available for the social elite. Today, it will be even more special as your host will be an apprentice Geisha, known as a Maiko. We will end our day in the Gion Geisha District, where its streets are lined with ochaya (teahouses), exclusive establishments where guests are entertained by Geisha and Maiko.

Breakfast / Dinner

Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto or similar class

Day 16

Kyoto (Kiyomizu Temple), Nara (Todaiji Temple / Deer Park), Osaka (Osaka Castle / Dotonbori - Shinsaibashi)

Today, 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. From there we continue to Nara, the oldest capital city of Japan. We will visit Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in Japan. The temple also houses the largest bronze statue of Buddha at 16.3 meters high, and the surrounding park is filled with over 1,000 Sika Deer. In the afternoon, we will travel to Osaka by private coach. We will visit Osaka Castle; whose construction began in 1583 on the ruins of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple. The castle was the largest of its time and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. Our last visit for the day is Dotonbori, which runs parallel to the Dotonbori canal. A popular shopping, entertainment, and food district, Dotonbori is known for the hundreds of neon and mechanized signs that line the street, including the famous Glico Running Man and Kani Doraku Crab signs.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Elsereine Osaka or similar class

Day 17

Kobe (Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum), Tokushima (Onaruto Bridge - Naruto Whirlpools / Awa Odori Kaikan Hall / Awa Odori Folk Dance Festival)

The day begins at a visit to the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum, you will learn the facinating history of sake brewing with its nostalgic buildings, tasting experience, and valuable collection of traditional brewing tools. Then together we'll cross the Awaji Island via a chain of spectacular bridges spanning the fabled Japan Inland Sea. The three major bridges that now join Honshu Island to Shikoku Island have caused the demise of virtually all the romantic ferry trips, that once attracted many holiday makers to leisurely cruise this vast waterway. We will then stop in at the Naruto Bridge Interpretive Centre to learn about the largest natural whirlpool in Japan and the engineering that went into the construction of these gigantic bridges. Visit the Awaodori Hall, a well done museum about the Awa Odori. Tonight, we will enjoy the Awa Odori Folk Dance Festival, the most famous of many dance festivals held across Japan. Awa is the former name for Tokushima Prefecture while Odori means dance. “Eraiyatcha, eraiyatcha, yoi yoi yoi yoi. Odoru aho ni miru aho. Onaji aho nara odoranya son, son!” (Eraiyatcha, eraiyatcha, yoi yoi yoi yoi. Dancing fools and watching fools. Both are the same fools, so why not dance?!) This is a traditional phrase chanted in Japan and it is what Awa Odori is all about. The dancers form teams called “Ren” for Awa Odori, originated in Tokushima Prefecture, and the teams compete for the dance performance with each other. Anyone can go crazy dancing to the rhythm of two beats accompanied by the samisen, the drums, the bells and the flutes. There are two dancing styles for Awa Odori: Otoko- odori (male dancing) which is dynamic and funny and Onna-odori (female dancing) which is sultry and elegant. You will bubble with the delight which comes from the bottom of your heart.

Breakfast / Lunch

Hotel Clement Tokushima or similar class

Day 18

Takamatsu (Shikoku Mura Village / Ritsurin Park), Oboke Gorge (Oboke Gorge Boat Ride)

This morning we will proceed to Takamatsu with a visit to the Shikoku Mura Village. Shikoku Mura (Shikoku Village) is an open air museum situated at the base of Yashima. This pleasant hillside park preserves and exhibits traditional buildings and structures that have been relocated here from all over Shikoku Island. Then 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. 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.

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Imabari Kokusai Hotel or similar class

Day 19

Shimanami Kaido (Scenic Driving / Kirosan Observatory), Hiroshima (Peace Memorial Park - A-Bomb Museum / Miyajima - Itsukushima Shrine)

In the morning, we will drive through the Shimanami Kaido to Honshu Island. The Shimanami Kaido is a 60 kilometer long toll road that connects Japan's main island of Shikoku to the island of Honshu, 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. In Hiroshima, we will visit the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Museum. Then take a short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima, considered sacred by many. 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).

Breakfast

Hiroshima Grand Prince Hotel or similar class

Day 20

Kurashiki (Canal Area), Himeji (Himeji Castle), Kobe (Wagyu Beef Dinner)

Today we will visit 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. Then we will proceed to Himeji to visit 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. In the evening we continue to Kobe, where we will savor the world famous Wagyu beef.

Breakfast / Dinner

Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport or similar class
Hotel Elsereine Osaka or similar class (NOTE 2 & 3)

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.

Day 21

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