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May 7 - 17, 2015  (11 days and 9 nights)

** CANCELLED **

$100 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT
(deposit must be made by 10/31/2014)

Narita, Omiya Bonsai Village, Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Tatebayashi, Tsutsujigaoka Park, Ashikaga Flower Park, Takasaki, Gunma Flower Park, Snow Corridor at Shibu Pass, Kusatsu Onsen, Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, Nagano, Zenko-ji Temple, Matsumoto, Matsumoto Castle, Daio Wasabi Farm, Kofu, Mitake Shosenkyo Gorge, Lake Motosu, Fuji Shibazakura, Fuji International Flower Garden, Odawara, Kamakura, Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha), Tsurugaoka Hachinmangu Shrine, Yokohama, Sankeien, Minato Mirai 21, Kirin Beer Village, Landmark Tower, Cup Noodle Museum, Odaiba, Narita

TWIN RATE:
$ 4,495 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
$ 695 per person
LAND ONLY:
$ 3,495 per person
 
(Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
Thursday, May 7 (Day 01)
HONOLULU TO NARITA
Our tour commences this morning when we assemble at the departure lobby at the airport for baggage check-in procedures. We will depart Honolulu for Narita International Airport. A meal and a snack will be served on board the flight.

Friday, May 8 (Day 02)
ARRIVE NARITA
We'll arrive Narita Airport in the early afternoon. After completing entry and customs formalities, we'll transfer to spend the night in Tokyo.

Accommodations at HOTEL METROPOLITAN IKEBUKURO or similar

Tatebayashi AzaleaSaturday, May 9 (Day 03)
TOKYO - OMIYA - TATEBAYASHI - ASHIKAGA - TAKASAKI (B)(D)
We'll travel to Omiya, a ward of Saitama city in Saitama prefecture, renowned for high quality bonsai due to its clean water and favorable soil. Multiple bonsai nurseries and an interesting bonsai art museum are situated along the district's peaceful paths of the Omiya Bonsai Village. An excellent addition to the village is the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, which educates visitors to appreciate the art form and also exhibits the various styles of bonsai. We'll continue on to Tatebayashi, a small and quiet town in Gunma prefecture known for its Children's Day display of koi-no-bori (carp streamers) - a symbol of courage. Tatebayashi is also home to Tsutsujigaoka Park, featuring its beautiful and colorful azaleas. Weather permitting, enjoy the breathtaking view of thousands of azalea blossoms in bloom, representing several varieties on a walking path through the park. The people of Japan love flowers and fuji (wisteria) are among one of their favorites. One of the most popular places to view these elegant flowers is at the Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashikaga city. Weather permitting, enjoy a stroll through the park featuring a spectacular sight of colorful wisteria flowers, including a large tree with its branches spread out, creating a huge flower umbrella. We'll continue on to spend the night in the city of Takasaki in Gunma prefecture, a major producer of Daruma Dolls - a hollow, round, traditional Japanese doll made of paper. The doll is modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism and regarded as a symbol of perseverance and good luck. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at HOTEL METROPOLITAN TAKASAKI or similar

Kusatsu OnsenSunday, May 10 (Day 04)
TAKASAKI - MAEBASHI - KUSATSU ONSEN (B)(D)
On the foothills of Mt. Akagi in Maebashi lies the Gunma Flower Park, an enchanting landscape featuring a beautiful Flatopia (Flowerbed) covered with many varieties of flowers. Enjoy a stroll through the greenhouses in the park featuring its own variety of flowers and plants in bloom. Kusatsu Onsen is one of Japan's most famous hot spring resort. The sulfurous, highly acidic water has been considered among Japan's best for centuries as a treatment for health ailments that include arthritis and fatigue. A famous bath related attraction in Kusatsu is yumomi - a traditional method of cooling down hot spring water to bathing temperature by stirring the water with a large wooden paddle. This process is accompanied with the singing of a local folk song and special dance performance held daily at the Netsunoyu Bath House located next to yubatake, a hot water field - one of the resort's main sources of hot spring water. Enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs this evening at our onsen hotel.

Accommodations at HOTEL NAKAZAWA VILLAGE or similar

Monday, May 11 (Day 05)
KUSATSU ONSEN - YAMANOUCHI - NAGANO - MATSUMOTO (B)(D)
Weather permitting, enjoy a scenic drive through the snow corridor at Shibu Toge (Shibu Pass). We'll enter Shiga Kogen (Shiga Highlands), a ski resort region located in the Joshinetsu-Kogen National Park in the highlands of Yamanouchi, a municipality in northern Nagano prefecture. The resort was the site of several Nordic events in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Yamanouchi is best known for Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Monkey Park), inhabited by hundreds of wild Japanese Macaques - also known as Snow Monkeys. Enjoy a unique experience to observe these monkeys bathing and sitting together in the warm waters of a natural man-made hot spring in the forests of the Jigokudani valley. The monkeys live together in large social groups and can be quite entertaining to watch their interactions. Accustomed to humans, the monkeys can be observed up close as they almost completely ignore their human guests. We'll proceed to Nagano, capital of Nagano prefecture, to visit Zenko-ji - one of the most important and popular temples in Japan. Rebuilt in 1707, Zenko-ji's main hall is very nicely ornamented and contains various Buddhist statues. In the basement of the inner chamber is an underground passage where you can walk through in complete darkness in search of the 'key to paradise'. The key is attached to a wall along the corridor and is believed to grant salvation to anyone who touches it. We'll continue on to spend the night in Matsumoto, the second largest city in Nagano prefecture.

Accommodations at MATSUMOTO BUENA VISTA HOTEL or similar

Tuesday, May 12 (Day 06)
Matsumoto CastleMATSUMOTO - KOFU (B)(D)
Enjoy a visit of Matsumoto-jo, noted as one of Japan's most beautiful original castles. Listed as a National Treasure of Japan, the castle is known as a 'hirajiro' - a flat-land castle built on a plain rather than on a hill or mountain. Matsumoto-jo is also known as 'crow castle' due to its black exterior. Wasabi or Japanese horseradish can only be grown in pure clean water and the city of Azumino in Nagano prefecture is blessed with its sparkling clean spring water to grow wasabi. The Daio Wasabi Farm, Japan's largest wasabi farm, takes advantage of this natural bounty and grows some of the highest quality Japanese horseradish. A nice selection of wasabi-related products are offered in the shops on the farm, including fresh wasabi, wasabi croquettes, and wasabi-flavored ice cream. We'll continue on to spend the night in Kofu city, capital of Yamanashi prefecture. Surrounded by the Japan Southern Alps, the city of Kofu is home to Mitake Shosenkyo Gorge. Noted as one of Japan's most beautiful gorges, it is located along the Arakawa River in the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. Enjoy spectacular scenery with its forested valleys, beautiful waterfalls and interestingly shaped rocks and stones - many of which are named after animals or items they resemble. The highlight of the gorge is the giant rock Kakuenbo and the beautiful Sengataki Falls, whose water drops 30 meters into the gorge. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at KOFU FUJIYA HOTEL or similar

Wednesday, May 13 (Day 07)
KOFU - LAKE MOTOSU - ODAWARA (B)(D)
On a hillside next to Lake Motosu (one of the Fuji Five Lakes), enjoy a stroll through Fuji Shibazakura, featuring a breathtaking view of thousands of vivid variations of shibazakura (pink and white moss phlox flowers). The flowers are spread out over a vast area to create a gorgeous carpet of brilliant pink and white blossoms, including an awe-inspiring view of Mt. Fuji as a backdrop (weather permitting). The Fuji International Flower Garden is a large indoor greenhouse garden where you will enjoy a display of beautiful begonias, a variety of colorful fuchsias, and other flowers in bloom. Also featured are unique owls and birds collected from all over the world. A special show with several trained birds will be performed for your entertainment. We'll continue on to spend the evening at an elegant hot spring resort in Odawara in Kanagawa prefecture. Enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing waters of our hot springs this evening.

Accommodations at HILTON ODAWARA RESORT & SPA or similar

Kamakura - BuddhaThursday, May 14 (Day 08)
ODAWARA - KAMAKURA - YOKOHAMA (B)(D)
We'll travel to Kamakura, a coastal town in Kanagawa prefecture, occasionally called the "Kyoto of Eastern Japan". Kamakura is renowned for the huge monumental bronze statue of Amida Buddha, the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan, surpassed only by the statue at Nara's Todaiji Temple. Weighing close to 93 tons, the Great Buddha was originally housed in a temple, but today sits serenely in the lotus position in an open court on the grounds of Kotoku-in Temple. We'll visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Kamakura's most important shrine, dedicated to Hachiman, the patron god of the Minamoto family and of samurai in general. A long approach-way with multiple torii gates leads to the entrance of the shrine. Our journey continues on to Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan and capital of Kanagawa prefecture, to spend two nights. On arrival, we'll make a brief stop to visit Yokohama Chukagai, Japan's largest Chinatown, with many souvenir shops and food stands to browse through. Enjoy a leisure stroll through Sankeien - a traditional Japanese-style garden featuring a number of historic buildings transplanted from all over Japan including a large pond and small streams. One of the historic buildings featured in the background of the pond include the three-story pagoda of Kyoto's old Tomyo-ji Temple, declared an Important Cultural Property. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at YOKOHAMA BAY SHERATON HOTEL or similar

Friday, May 15 (Day 9)
Minato Murai 21 webYOKOHAMA (B)
The Kirin Brewery Company, one of Japan's four leading beer breweries, was founded in the city of Yokohama. Enjoy a guided tour of the Kirin Beer Village, part of their brewery in Yokohama that offers a glimpse into the brewing history and production of beer including beer tasting of some of their products. Built largely on reclaimed land, Minato Mirai 21 is a seaside urban area whose name means 'harbor of the future'. Located along the waterfront, Minato Mirai has a wealth of attractions, including a convention center, an amusement park, shopping centers, and hotels. The buildings form a distinctive skyline of Yokohama with the Landmark Tower as the most recognizable feature. Weather permitting, enjoy a breathtaking view of the city and its surrounding area from the observation deck of the tower. The Cup Noodle Museum is a fun and interactive museum that shows the history of instant ramen noodles with displays, exhibits and hands on workshops. The museum was opened by the Nissin Food Company whose founder invented instant ramen noodles. Subject to availability, enjoy creating your own original cup noodle by mixing a variety of soup flavors and toppings at the My Cupnoodles Factory workshop. Dinner will be on your own this evening.

Accommodations at YOKOHAMA BAY SHERATON HOTEL or similar

Saturday, May 16 (Day 10)
YOKOHAMA - ODAIBA (B)(D)
We'll continue on to spend our last night in Odaiba, a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man made island in Tokyo Bay. Situated across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo, the island was initially built for defensive purposes but has since developed into a popular tourist attraction with a wide selection of shopping, dining, and leisure options. On arrival, the day is at your leisure to explore some of the malls and attractions in Odaiba at your own pace. DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, Aqua City Odaiba, and Palette Town are some of the malls located within walking distance of our hotel. A free Bay Shuttle bus is available from our hotel to take you around select locations in Odaiba. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at GRAND PACIFIC LE DAIBA or similar

Sunday, May 17 (Day 11)
TOKYO - NARITA TO HONOLULU (B)
The day is free at your leisure for independent activities until our departure to the airport. We'll depart in the afternoon to Narita International Airport to check-in for our evening flight home to Honolulu, arriving in the morning on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line. A meal will be served on board the flight.

The tour price is based on double occupancy and a minimum group size of 20 passengers. Fare adjustment may apply for groups of 20 or under. The rate is based on tariffs and exchange rates effective 8/1/14. Tour fare is subject to change according to any airfare increase, fuel surcharge increase and fluctuation of the rate of exchange between U.S. and foreign currency. In the event of revaluation, the land portion of the tour price may be adjusted prior to your final statement.

Land portion based on 102 Yen = $1.00 U.S.