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February 4 - 16, 2016 (13 days and 11 nights)

** SOLD OUT/WAIT LIST **

Tours are operated by Aloha World, a tour division of Kobayashi Travel Service

$100 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT
(deposit must be made by 07/15/2015)

Narita, Chitose, Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, Sapporo (2 nights), Susukino Ice Festival, Ramen Yokocho, Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, Otaru, Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, Asahi Brewery, Asahikawa Winter Festival, Heiwa-dori, Otokoyama Sake Brewery, Sounkyo Gorge, Sounkyo Hyobaku Ice Festival,
Shiraoi Ainu Village, Noboribetsu,Jigokudani (Hell Valley), Hakodate, Fort Goryokaku, Goryokaku Tower, Hakodate Morning Market, Seikan Undersea Tunnel, Aomori
Nebuta No Ie Warasse, Hirosaki, Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival, Hakkoda Mountains Ice Monsters, Oirase River Gorge, Hachimantai, Tsunagi Onsen, Morioka Tezu-kuri Mura, Matsushima Bay, Bullet Train to Tokyo, Ameyokocho, Asakusa Kannon Temple, Tokyo Sky Tree, Narita

TWIN RATE:
$ 4,495 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
$ 425 per person
LAND ONLY:
$ 3,695 per person
 
(Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
 

Thursday, February 4 (Day 01)
HONOLULU to NARITA to CHITOSE
Our tour commences this morning when we assemble at the check-in lobby at the airport for check-in procedures for our flight to Narita International Airport. Lunch and a snack will be served on board the flight. After completing entry and customs formalities at Narita Airport, we will transfer to check-in for our domestic flight to Chitose in Hokkaido, the second largest and northernmost island of Japan.

Friday, February 5 (Day 02)
ARRIVE CHITOSE
We'll arrive Chitose Airport in the evening, then transfer to our hotel located in the airport terminal to check-in for the night.

Accommodations at CHITOSE AIR TERMINAL HOTEL or similar

Saturday, February 6 (Day 03)
Sapporo Snow FestivalCHITOSE - LAKE SHIKOTSU - SAPPORO (B)
This morning, we'll make brief stop to purchase snow shoes or cleats (optional) before embarking on a full day of sightseeing. We'll travel to picturesque Lake Shikotsu, Japan's northernmost ice-free caldera lake, featuring the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival. Enjoy strolling through this fantastic world of ice with various snow and ice sculptures lined along the shores of the lake. We'll continue on to spend two nights in Sapporo, capital city of Hokkaido, best-known for ramen, beer, and the annual snow festival. We'll travel to Susukino, a lively entertainment district of Sapporo - home to hundreds of bars, restaurants, and night clubs. Susukino also hosts its own spectacular winter event - the Susukino Ice Festival. Featured along the main street are hundreds of intricate hand carved ice sculptures created by various artisans and business establishments. Susukino is also noted for Ramen Yokocho, a narrow alley lined with many small shops serving a variety of delicious Sapporo ramen. This afternoon, we'll visit the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri (Snow Festival), the largest and most popular winter festival in Hokkaido. Centered on Odori Park, hundreds of spectacular snow sculptures and statues of all sizes are exhibited here, including a huge snow sculpture used primarily to host concerts and events. Created by various artisans, each block displays its own individual creation, turning Odori Park into a fabulous winter dreamland. In the evenings, the festival venue is beautifully illuminated with colored lights, providing a breathtaking sight. Dinner will be on your own this evening.

Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar

Sunday, February 7 (Day 04)
SAPPORO - OTARU - SAPPORO (B)
OtaruWe'll travel to historic Otaru, a charming and romantic port city located in western Hokkaido facing Ishikari Bay. A well-known symbol of the city is the historic Otaru Canal. Beautifully restored with old-fashioned gas lamps and preserved stone warehouses, this scene provides a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere. Enjoy strolling through Sakaimachi Dori, a preserved merchant street featuring many shops, museums and cafes. Featured at the southern end of the street is a Music Box Museum with a wide variety of elegant music boxes. Standing in front of the building is an old-fashioned steam clock, presented to Otaru by the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Otaru is also noted for its intricate glassware - featuring its most popular item - a drip-free soy sauce bottle. Created in all sizes, shapes and colors, you'll find them available at many of the glassware shops in Otaru. We'll continue on to visit the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, a ski jumping venue located on the eastern slope of Mt. Okura. The stadium has hosted a number of winter sports events, including the 1972 Winter Olympics and FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 2007. Currently, it is used primarily as a training facility for athletes at Nordic events. Hokkaido is noted as the birthplace of beer in Japan and this afternoon, we'll visit the Asahi Brewery - a leading brewery and soft drink company in Hokkaido. Enjoy an interesting guided tour to observe the process of beer production. At the conclusion of the tour, some of their delicious products will be available for you to sample in the tasting room. This evening, dinner will be on your own to try some local cuisine at one of the restaurants in the underground shopping mall located near the hotel.

Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar

Monday, February 8 (Day 05)
SAPPORO - ASAHIKAWA - SOUNKYO VALLEY (B)(D)
Asahikawa Winter FestivalWe'll continue on our journey, traveling northeast to Asahikawa, a city located in the heart of the Daisetsu mountain range. Discover a fantasyland of snow and ice sculptures displayed on a beautiful white snowfield at the spectacular Asahikawa Winter Festival, Hokkaido's second-largest winter festival. Located on the banks of the Ishikari River, the centerpiece of the festival is a magnificent giant snow sculpture, created with a different theme every year. This huge sculpture is primarily used as a stage for concerts, events, and for the opening and closing ceremonies of the festival. We'll visit an international ice sculpture competition held at Heiwa-dori (pedestrian street), where international teams from all over the world compete to create extraordinary ice carvings. Hokkaido has the ideal climate and water conditions necessary to produce superior sake. We'll visit the Otokoyama Sake Brewery to observe the step-by-step process of sake production with interesting displays, photos, and exhibits. At the conclusion of the tour, samples of some of their delicious products will be available for you to enjoy. Our travel continues on to spend the night in Sounkyo, a hot spring resort nestled in the center of Sounkyo Valley located in Daisetsuzan National Park, the largest of Japan's national parks. Enjoy dinner and relax in our onsen hotel located nearby the breathtaking Sounkyo Hyobaku (Ice Waterfall) Festival. In the evenings, the festival site is beautifully illuminated with colored lights.

Accommodations at SOUNKYO CHOYOTEI RESORT or similar

Tuesday, February 9 (Day 06)
SOUNKYO VALLEY - NOBORIBETSU (B)(D)
In the morning, we'll visit the Sounkyo Hyobaku Festival, a fantastic world of ice featuring spectacular man-made ice sculptures, fascinating ice caves, pillars, domes, and tunnels lined on the riverbed of the Ishikari River. We'll continue on to Sounkyo Gorge, a spectacular gorge extending along the Ishikari River and renowned for its impressive waterfalls. We'll make a photo stop to view two of the most picturesque falls - Ryusei-no-taki (Shooting Star Falls) and Ginga-no-taki (Milky Way Falls) - both selected as two of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan. We'll continue on our journey south to the town of Shiraoi, visiting Poroto-kotan (Shiraoi Ainu Museum), an outdoor reproduction of a small Ainu village. Interesting exhibits and artifacts are displayed in the museum relating to the history, culture, and lifestyle of the Ainu - the indigenous people of northern Japan. Traditionally dressed Ainu men and women will perform a traditional song and dance in a cises (thatched house). One of the villagers will demonstrate how to play the mukkuri (mouth harp), an Ainu musical instrument made of a piece of thin shaved bamboo with a thread attached to it. We'll continue on to spend the night in a beautiful onsen hotel in Noboribetsu, one of Hokkaido's most famous hot spring resorts. Before checking-in, we'll visit Jigokudani (Hell Valley), a spectacular ravine located just above the town of Noboribetsu. Enjoy the view of hot steam vents and other volcanic activity at this magnificent site, the main source of Noboribetsu's hot spring waters. This evening, enjoy a delicious dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs at the hotel.

Accommodations at NOBORIBETSU GRAND HOTEL or similar

Wednesday, February 10 (Day 07)
NOBORIBETSU - HAKODATE (B)(D)
GoryokakuWe'll travel along the scenic Uchiura Bay, passing by Toya-ko, a large and attractive caldera lake located in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. This region features one of Japan's youngest and still active volcanoes - Mt. Showa Shinzan. Located on the east flank of Mt. Usu, Showa Shinzan was created as a result of hundreds of explosive eruptions and mudslides. As we drive by, you may see hissing steam escaping through some of the fissures of this new mountain. We'll continue our drive around Uchiura Bay to spend the night in the seaport city of Hakodate, Hokkaido's third largest city located at the island's southern tip. Enroute, we'll make a stop at Kombu-kan, a kelp shop offering a wide variety of kombu and kombu-related products. On arrival in Hakodate, we'll visit Fort Goryokaku, a massive star-shaped Western-style citadel, built for the defense of the city. After the fort lost its military importance, it was eventually turned into a public park. Enjoy a birds-eye view of this star-shaped fortress and the city from the observation deck at Goryokaku Tower. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel. After dinner, we'll drive up to the Mt. Hakodate Observatory to enjoy a night view of the city and its surrounding areas (weather permitting).

Accommodations at HAKODATE KOKUSAI HOTEL or similar

Thursday, February 11 (Day 08)
HAKODATE - SEIKAN UNDERSEA TUNNEL - AOMORI - HIROSAKI (B)(D)
This morning, enjoy a shopping excursion at the exciting Hakodate (asaichi) Morning Market, a large marketplace where many indoor and outdoor vendors offer a huge selection of dried seafood products, such as scallops, dried squid, cuttlefish, and a nice variety of seaweed-related products. Have fun bargaining with the various vendors for the best discounted prices for your merchandise. We'll transfer to the Hakodate Railway Station to board a train for a relaxing ride through the Seikan Undersea Tunnel, traveling beneath the Tsugaru Strait. The tunnel connects the island of Hokkaido to the main island of Honshu. At present, Seikan is noted as the longest and deepest tunnel in the world. We'll arrive Aomori, the northernmost capital city of Aomori Prefecture on Honshu Island to enjoy a brief sightseeing tour of the city. We'll visit Nebuta No Ie Warasse, an interesting museum dedicated to the city's famous Nebuta Matsuri held annually during the summer. The museum is housed in a unique building along Aomori's waterfront district and features photos and images to provide you with a glimpse of the 300-year-old history of the Nebuta Matsuri. A few floats built for past festivals are displayed for you to admire the craftsmanship that went into their construction. We'll continue on to the culturally rich city of Hirosaki to overnight for two nights. In the evening, enjoy a visit to the Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival, a site offering beautiful winter scenes with over fifty snow lanterns and several hundred snow statues all lit up, providing a breathtaking sight.

Accommodations at NAKUA CITY HIROSAKI or similar

Friday, February 12 (Day 09)
HIROSAKI - HAKKODA MOUNTAINS - OIRASE GORGE - LAKE TOWADA - HIROSAKI (B)
The Hakkoda mountains are a volcanic mountain range located to the south of Aomori city. The mountains, along with Lake Towada and the Oirase Valley, make up the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. We'll board a cable car from the station up to the peak of Mt. Tamoyachi in the northern Hakkoda mountain range to view unique Ice Monsters. Clumps of snow caught in the branches of each tree form eerie misshapen figures, creating an awesome sight. Experience a mystifying walk through a world of these imaginary snow monsters on the mountain. Enjoy a relaxing and scenic drive along the picturesque Oirase Gorge, one of the most beautiful river valleys in Japan. The crystal-clear Oirase River runs through a beautiful forest of trees covered with snow and a number of interesting rock formations and cliffs. Icy rapids and plunging frozen waterfalls add to the beauty of the gorge, creating a breathtaking sight.

Accommodations at NAKUA CITY HIROSAKI or similar

Saturday, February 13 (Day 10)
HIROSAKI - HACHIMANTAI - TSUNAGI ONSEN (B)(D)
KiritanpoWe'll continue on to Hachimantai, a mountainous region in northern Akita and Iwate Prefectures. Kiritanpo, cooked rice that is kneaded, toasted, then cooked in a pan with seasonal vegetables and chicken, is a popular traditional cuisine of Akita. Have some fun with a hands-on-experience making kiritanpo to enjoy this unique dish. We'll have another hands-on-experience making your own butter. Enjoy it on the spot together with some Nambu senbei. We'll spend the night in Tsunagi Onsen, a hot spring resort located on the border of Morioka and Shizukuishi. Enjoy a delicious dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs of our hotel this evening.

Accommodations at HOTEL SHION or similar

Sunday, February 14 (Day 11)
TSUNAGI ONSEN - MATSUSHIMA - SENDAI (B)(D)
We'll travel to the city of Morioka to visit the Morioka Tezu-kuri Mura (Morioka Handi-Works Square). A village of shops offering hand-crafted traditional goods, it's one of the few places in Japan where you can view, purchase, or create traditional craft products. We'll continue on our journey to the quiet town of Matsushima, best known for beautiful Matsushima Bay and the site of Zuigan-ji, one of the most famous Zen temples in Tohoku. Enjoy a relaxing cruise on Matsushima Bay, designated as one of the three most scenic sights in Japan (Nihon Sankei). The bay is dotted with many pine-studded islets, each one with a name relating to a Japanese legend. We'll continue on to spend the night in Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture and third largest city in the Tohoku region.

Accommodations at HOTEL METROPOLITAN SENDAI or similar

Monday, February 15 (Day 12)
SENDAI - BULLET TRAIN TO TOKYO (B)(D)
Bullet TrainThis morning, we'll transfer to Sendai Station and board the bullet train to Ueno Station in Tokyo. On arrival, we'll board our motorcoach to enjoy a half-day tour of the city of Tokyo. We'll visit Ameyokocho, a busy market street between Okachimachi and Ueno Station with many indoor and outdoor vendors offering a variety of food products and various merchandise at discounted prices. We'll travel to Asakusa, famous for Senso-ji (Asakusa Kannon Temple), Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple dedicated to the goddess of Kannon. Enjoy strolling through Nakamise-dori, a lively pedestrian street lined with colorful shops offering typical Japanese souvenirs and local snacks located between the main hall of the temple and a huge red lantern known as Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). Subject to availability, we'll visit Tokyo Sky Tree, the tallest tower and second tallest structure in the world. The tower is the primary television and radio broadcast site for the Kanto region. The observatory on the top features a spiral glass-covered sky walk and offers panoramic views of the city and its surrounding areas. We'll spend our last night in Tokyo. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at HOTEL METROPOLITAN IKEBUKURO or similar

Tuesday, February 16 (Day 13)
TOKYO - NARITA TO HONOLULU (B)
The morning is free at your leisure for your own activities. In the afternoon, we'll transfer to the Narita International Airport for our evening flight home to Honolulu, arriving in the morning on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line.

Map of Tour Itinerary

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 5/1/15. Tour fare is subject to change according to any airfare 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 120 Yen = $1.00 U.S