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October 15  - 26, 2015  (12 days and 10 nights)


(deposit must be made by 01/30/2015)

Narita, Chitose, Otaru, Nikka Whiskey, Sapporo, Odori Park, Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, Sapporo Beer Garden, Lake Shikotsu, Poroto-kotan (Shiraoi Ainu Museum), Noboribetsu, Jigokudani (Hell Valley), Mt. Showa Shin-zan, Usu-zan Ropeway, Hakodate, Fort Goryokaku, Goryokaku Tower, Hakodate Morning Market, Seikan Undersea Tunnel, Aomori, Nebuta Warasse, Apple Picking, Oirase River Valley, Morioka, Morioka Tezukuri Mura, Hiraizumi, Geibi-kei Gorge, Matsushima Bay, Fukushima, Kiku-Matsuri (Crysanthemum Festival), Iimoriyama Hill, Aizu Buke Yashiki (Samurai Mansion), Inawashiro, Nikko, Tosho-gu Shrine, Tobu World Square, Odaiba, Narita

$ 4,395 per person
$ 395 per person
$ 3,395 per person
(Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
Thursday, October 15 (Day 01)
Our tour commences this morning when we assemble at the check-in 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, October 16 (Day 02)
On arrival at Narita Airport, we'll clear entry and customs formalities, then transfer to check-in for our domestic flight to Chitose International Airport in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost and second largest island. On arrival at Chitose Airport, we'll transfer to our hotel in the city to spend the night.

Accommodations at ANA CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL CHITOSE or similar

Saturday, October 17 (Day 03)
This morning, we'll travel to Otaru, a charming port city facing Ishikari Bay located in western Hokkaido. A well-known symbol of the city is Otaru Canal, adorned with Victorian-style street lampHokkaido Sapporo Beer Gardens and old warehouses, providing a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere. Many of the buildings along the canal have been restored into museums, restaurants, and shops. Enjoy strolling through Sakaimachihondori, a preserved merchant street in the center of the town to browse through the sweet shops, glassware shops and a unique music box shop. 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, this is one of the most popular items to bring home as a souvenir. We'll visit Nikka Whiskey, one of Japan's top whiskey makers, founded by Masataka Taketsuru. Known as the father of Japanese whiskey, he studied the techniques in Scotland before bringing the trade to Japan. View the traditional distillation process at its main distillery in Yoichi, the neighboring town of Otaru. Enjoy a spectacular view of Sapporo city at the top from the observation deck. We'll continue on to spend the night in Sapporo, the largest and capital city of Hokkaido. On arrival, we'll drive through the city to view Tokei-dai (Clock Tower), the symbolic landmark of Sapporo mounted on the Russian-style Memorial Hall and pass by Odori Park, a wide promenade separating the north and south of the city, featuring art objects, fountains, plants and flowerbeds. This evening, enjoy a delicious Genghis Khan dinner at the Sapporo Beer Garden.

Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar


Sunday, October 18 (Day 04)
This morning, experience an exciting ride on the chairlift at the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, a ski jumping venue located on the eastern slopes of Mt. Okura (weather permitting). Enjoy spectacular views over Sapporo city at the top on the observation deck. We'll travel south to scenic Lake Shikotsu, Japan's second largest caldera lake, part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Due to the small surface area to depth ratio, the water temperature of this lake remains constant throughout the year, making it the northernmost ice-free lake in Japan. We'll continue on 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 (a 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 hotel in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido's most famous hot spring resort. Before checking-in, we'll visit Jigokudani (Hell Valley), a spectacular ravine located just above the town of Noboribetsu. Hot steam vents, sulfurous streams, and other volcanic activity can be viewed at this magnificent site - the main source of Noboribetsu's hot spring waters. Enjoy dinner and relax in the fabulous onsen at the hotel this evening.

Accommodations at NOBORIBETSU GRAND HOTEL or similar

Monday, October 19 (Day 05)
We'll travel along the scenic Uchiura Bay to 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. Hissing steam still escapes through some of the fissures of this new mountain. Weather permitting, enjoy a ride on the Usu-zan Ropeway to the observation deck, offering a close-up view of the volcano's summit with panoramic views of Lake Toya and the neighboring Showa Shinzan. We'll continue our drive around Uchiura Bay to the seaport city of Hakodate, Hokkaido's third largest city located at the island's southern tip to spend the night. En route, we'll make a stop at Kombukan, 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 bird's 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.

Accommodations at HAKODATE KOKUSAI HOTEL or similar

Tuesday, October 20 (Day 06)
This morning, we'll enjoy an exciting shopping excursion at the Hakodate (asaichi) Morning Market, a large marketplace where many indoor and outdoor local vendors offer a huge selection of dried seafood products such as scallops, 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 check-in for the night. After checking-in, we'll visit Nebuta 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 exhibitions, photos, and images to provide you with a taste of the 300 year history of the Nebuta Matsuri. Several floats built for past festivals are also displayed for you to admire the craftsmanship that went into their construction. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at AOMORI SUNROUTE HOTEL or similar

Wednesday, October 21 (Day 07)
AOMORI - LAKE TOWADA - MORIOKA (B)Lake Towada ko Autumn
Aomori prefecture is also noted as Japan's largest producer of apples. We'll visit an apple orchard to enjoy an apple picking experience (subject to availability). We'll continue on to enjoy a scenic drive along the picturesque Oirase River Valley, one of Japan's major tourist attractions of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park during the autumn season. The Oirase stream flows along the scenic Oirase Gorge, winding among trees with brilliant red, yellow and orange colors along with dozens of waterfalls cascading down into the stream from the walls of the gorge. We'll drive by scenic Towada-ko, the largest crater lake on Honshu Island. Located on the border between Aomori and Akita prefectures, its bright blue color is due to its great depth and is noted as the third-deepest lake in Japan. We'll continue on to spend the night in Morioka, one of the most appealing old castle towns in Japan with a long history of ironware making. We'll visit Morioka Tezukuri Mura (Handy Works Center), a center featuring workshops where you can "see, touch, and create" various craftworks and foods of Morioka. Woodwork, pottery, metalwork, ironwork and tie-dye workshops are set-up where you can observe experienced craftsmen at work. Enjoy the experience of making your own nambu senbei at one of the workshops. Dinner will be on your own this evening to try some of the local cuisine offered at one of the restaurants located at the train station near the hotel. Specialties of Morioka are wanko-soba (soba noodles served in tiny bowls) and reimen (cold firm Chinese noodles).

Accommodations at HOTEL METROPOLITAN MORIOKA or similar

Thursday, October 22 (Day 08)
Our tour continues on to enjoy a scenic and relaxing ride on a flat-bottomed boat, gliding on the peaceful waters of Geibi-kei Gorge, located outside of the city of Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture. Enjoy the natural scenery with impressive tall cliffs and rock formations as we glide on the shallow river through the gorge, navigated with a serenading boatman on board. Weather permitting, the fall colors should be at their peak this time of the year. We'll continue on to Shiogama Pier to board a ferry and enjoy a scenic cruise on Matsushima Bay. The breathtaking view of the pine-studded islets floating in the bay is noted as one of the three most beautiful sights of Japan - Nihon Sankei. On arrival in the town of Matsushima, we'll proceed to our hotel and check-in for the night. The afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy strolling through the quaint little town or visit Godaido Hall, a small temple located on an islet adjacent to the pier near our hotel. The hall's exterior is decorated by small carvings of the twelve animals of the lunar calendar. As an option, you may want to visit Zuiganji, one of Tohoku's most famous and prominent Zen temples, well-known for its beautifully gilded and painted sliding doors. Upon entering the temple grounds, the approach to the main hall proceeds along a long, straight path flanked on both sides by cedar trees. An alternate path to the right of the entrance has caves that were used in the past for meditation and now contain some monuments and statues. Enjoy a fabulous dinner and relax in the hot springs at the hotel this evening.

Accommodations at MATSUSHIMA CENTURY HOTEL or similar

Friday, October 23 (Day 09)
Kokeshi dolls (Japanese dolls) are one of the most popular and famous folk craft in Japan with a long-renowned tradition in the Tohoku area. These dolls, handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged rounded head with no arms or legs and thin painted lines to define the face and body. Enjoy the hands-on experience of drawing your own features on a kokeshi doll to take home as a souvenir. Our journey continues on to Fukushima, the southernmost prefecture of Tohoku to the city of Nihonmatsu. The main attraction here in the autumn season is to visit the Kiku-Matsuri (Chrysanthemum Festival) held annually on the grounds of Kasumigajo Castle. Stroll through the grounds of the castle to view beautiful and unique displays of brightly-colored chrysanthemum flowers, some draped on mannequins depicting various historical or mythical figures from Japanese culture, kabuki actors, and characters from the NHK Taiga drama historical TV series. These flowers were introduced into Japan in the 8th century and the Emperor has adopted this flower as his official seal. We'll visit the famous Aizu Buke Yashiki (Samurai Mansion), a residence that served as the quarters of the region's most important and highest ranked samurai, including his family, employees, and servants. The original complex has been reconstructed and furnished to replicate its appearance in the Edo Period. We'll continue on to spend the night in the town of Inawashiro, located in the northern Aizu region of Fukushima prefecture. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs at our onsen hotel this evening.

Accommodations at HOTEL LISTEL INAWASHIRO or similar

Saturday, October 24 (Day 10)
This morning, we'll visit Iimoriyama, the final resting place of the Byakkotai (White Tiger Force), a unit of young teenage samurai warriors of the Aizu domain who fought in the Boshin War. They were outnumbered and forced to retreat to Iimoriyama. After believing that their castle - Tsuruga Castle - had fallen and their lord and families were gone, they committed seppuku (suicide) rather than die in the hands of the enemy. Their tombstones are located on this hill, near the location where they killed themselves. We'll proceed to visit Nikko, a small town located at the entrance to Nikko National Park, one of Japan's major tourist attractions due to its splendid shrines and beautiful autumn foliage. Nikko is famous for Toshogu Shrine - Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Consisting of many Shinto and Buddhist buildings set in a beautiful wooded forest, Toshogu Shrine is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate who ruled Japan for over 250 years. A huge stone torii (Shinto Shrine Gate) and a beautiful red and gold five-story pagoda marks the entrance to the shrine. This evening, enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs at our hotel.

Accommodations at KINUGAWA PARK HOTEL or similar

Sunday, October 25 (Day 11)Odaiba Tokyo
Enjoy a visit to Tobu World Square, a theme park located at Kinugawa Onsen, featuring exhibits of replicas of famous buildings from around the world. Models include ancient monuments, cultural treasures, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites reproduced with detailed cars, trains, gardens, and miniature people. Tobu World Square is divided into zones based on regions of the world: Japan Zone, Asia Zone, Europe Zone, Egypt Zone, and America Zone - featuring the White House and a section of downtown New York City. We'll continue on to Odaiba, a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay to spend the night. 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 & leisure options. After checking in, the day will be at your leisure to explore Odaiba at your own pace. Visit and shop at some of the malls located within walking distance of the hotel. A free Bay Shuttle is available from the hotel to take you to select locations in Odaiba. Dinner will be on your own this evening.

Accommodations at HOTEL GRAND PACIFIC LE DAIBA or similar

Monday, October 26 (Day 12)
The morning is at your leisure to enjoy more shopping or to explore more of Odaiba on your own. We will depart for Narita International Airport in the afternoon to check-in for our evening flight home, arriving Honolulu 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.

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 11/1/14. 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 115 Yen = $1.00 U.S.