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October 5  - 16, 2015  (12 days and 10 nights)

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

Narita, Chitose, Shiraoi, Porotokotan (Shiraoi Ainu Museum), Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura, Jigokudani, Noboribetsu Onsen, Lake Toya, Mt. Showa Shinzan, Usu-zan Ropeway, Otaru, Sapporo, Furano, Farm Tomita, Biei, Asahikawa, Wakkanai, Wakkanai Koen, Cape Soya, Lake Kutcharo, Sounkyo Gorge, Abashiri, Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum, Abashiri Prison Museum, Oshin Koshin Waterfall, Shiretoko Peninsula, Shiretoko-Go-Ko, Lake Mashu, Lake Akan, Marimo Exhibition and Observation Center, Tokachigawa, Sapporo, Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, Kaitaku Kinenkan (Hokkaido Historical Museum), Asahi Beer Factory, Chitose, Haneda

$ 4,595 per person
$ 495 per person
$ 3,495 per person
(Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
Monday, October 5 (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 our flight to Narita International Airport. A meal and a snack will be served on board the flight.

Tuesday, October 6 (Day 02)
Upon arrival at Narita Airport, we'll clear entry and customs formalities, then transfer to the domestic lobby to check-in for our flight to Chitose International Airport in Hokkaido, the second largest and northernmost island of Japan. On arrival in Chitose, we'll transfer to spend the night at a hotel located within the airport terminal.

Accommodations at CHITOSE AIR TERMINAL HOTEL or similar

Wednesday, October 7 (Day 03)
We'll travel to the town of Shiraoi, visiting Porotokotan (Shiraoi Ainu Museum), an outdoor reproduction of a small Ainu village. Interesting exhibits and artifacts are displayed in the conventional museum relating to the history, culture, and lifestyle of the Ainu - the indigenous people of northern Japan. Enjoy a traditional Ainu song and dance performance in a chise (Ainu home) performed by some of the villagers, including a demonstration of how to play the mukkur, a kind of mouth harp made of a piece of thin-shaved bamboo with a thread attached to it. We'll continue on to Noboribetsu, one of Hokkaido's most famous hot spring resort, part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Enjoy a visit to Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura, a history theme park highlighting the Edo Period, one of the most attractive eras in Japanese history. Step back in time to enjoy the traditional games, activities, performances and more. The charm of ancient Japan is abundant as you mingle with the Ninja and Oiran courtesans, symbolic of the Edo Period. We'll spend the night in a beautiful onsen resort in Noboribetsu, surrounded by forested hills. Before checking-in, we'll visit Jigokudani (Hell Valley), a spectacular ravine located just above the town of Noboribetsu. Displays of 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 a delicious dinner and relax in the indoor and outdoor baths of our fabulous onsen hotel this evening.

Accommodations at NOBORIBETSU GRAND HOTEL or similar

Thursday, October 8 (Day 04)
Our travel continues on to view scenic Lake Toya, a large volcanic caldera lake in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. This picturesque lake was chosen as the location of the G8 summit which Japan hosted in the summer of 2008. In addition to the lake, this region features Mt. Showa Shinzan, one of Japan's youngest and still active volcanoes. Showa Shinzan originally emerged as a little bump, but after a series of earthquakes and mud slides, continued to surge upwards to reach its present height. It is an awesome sight to see as it sits there hissing steam. Mt. Usu-zan, the force behind the creation of Showa Shinzan can be seen in the distance. Weather permitting, enjoy a ride on the Usuzan Ropeway to the top on the observation deck offering a close-up view of the volcano's summit, panoramic views of Lake Toya and the neighboring Showa Shinzan. 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 lamps. Many of the buildings along the canal has been restored into museums, restaurants, and shops. Enjoy strolling through the main street to browse through the sweet shops, glassware shops, and a unique music box museum. 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 item to bring home as a souvenir. We'll continue on to spend the night in Sapporo, capital city of Hokkaido. Dinner will be on your own this evening.

Accommodations at CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar

Friday, October 9 (Day 05)
This morning, we'll drive through the city of Sapporo to view a few of the popular landmarks. We'll pass by Tokei-dai (Clock Tower), the symbolic landmark of Sapporo mounted on the Russian-style Memorial Hall and drive by Odori Park, a wide promenade separating the north and south of the city, featuring art objects, fountains, and flowerbeds. Odori Park is the site of the largest Winter Snow Festival held annually during the month of February. Our journey continues on to the city of Furano, noted for its breathtaking lavender flowers in bloom during the summer season. Enjoy a visit of Farm Tomita, one of Hokkaido's premier flower farms to view beautiful flowers neatly planted in rows creating a 'colorful rainbow field' of flowers. We'll drive north through the picturesque town of Biei, noted as the 'town of beautiful hills'. The scenic view of its vast fields, hills and trees has been used as a backdrop for many Japanese commercials and television programs. Weather permitting, the fall colors should be at its peak during this time of the season. We'll continue on to Asahikawa, Hokkaido's second largest city to spend the night. Hokkaido has the ideal climate and water conditions to produce superior sake. At the Otokoyama Sake Brewery, observe the step-by-step process of sake production with interesting displays, photos, and exhibits. At the conclusion of the tour, some of their delicious products will be offered for you to sample and enjoy. Dinner will be provided for you this evening.

Accommodations at ASAHIKAWA GRAND HOTEL or similar

Saturday, October 10 (Day 6)
Wakkanai City - HokkaidoASAHIKAWA - HORONOBE - WAKKANAI (B)(D)
We'll travel north through the towns of Horonobe and Toyotomi to Wakkanai, a city located at the northern fringe of Hokkaido. On arrival, we'll visit Wakkanai Koen, a large park offering commanding views of the surrounding area. Featured in the park are several historical monuments including the 'Monument to Nine Ladies' - a memorial commemorating the nine female operators working at a Sakhalin Island telegraph station who committed suicide at the post office after they learned about the fall of Karafuto (Sakhalin) to Russian troops. Also featured in the park is the 'Monument to Taro and Jiro', two Siberian huskies that an Antarctic expedition was forced to leave behind. When the trainer returned with another expedition the following year, much to his surprise, he was warmly greeted by the two dogs who had survived a whole Antarctic winter. Their story is detailed in the 1983 film Nankyoku Monogatari. Weather permitting, you may be able to see Rishiri Island and Rebun Island - two windswept islands off the northern tip. We will spend the night in Wakkanai. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at WAKKANAI ANA HOTEL or similar

Sunday, October 11 (Day 07)
This morning, we'll visit Soya-Misaki (Cape Soya), located at the northernmost point of the island of Hokkaido and Japan - a lonely but significant spot. To commemorate this fact stands a large 'Northernmost Point Monument' - a gray concrete triangle engraved with accomplishments. Next to this monument is the 'Statue of Mamiya Rinzo', a Japanese explorer from the Edo period famous for his explorations and mapping of Karafuto (Sakhalin) and discovering it was an island. In the hills behind the cape near the lighthouse are several additional monuments: The 'Tower of Prayer' - a memorial to those who lost their lives when the Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down in 1983. The tip of the monument points toward the direction where the plane went down. Also featured is the 'Bell for World Peace', a replica of a bell located in the garden opposite the United Nations Building in New York. We'll continue our journey south to enjoy a view of Lake Kutcharo, a world famous wetlands area that is home to thousands of swans that migrates from northern Siberia to the warm climate of Japan during the winter season. We'll continue on to spend the night in Sounkyo - a popular hot-spring resort located in the Daisetsu-zan National Park. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs of our onsen hotel this evening.

Accommodations at SOUNKYO KANKO HOTEL or similar

Monday, October 12 (Day 08)
The largest of Japan's national parks - Daisetsu-zan - contains the very essence of rugged Hokkaido with its vast plains, soaring mountain peaks, hidden gorges, cascading waterfalls, forests, and wilderness. The main route through the park is Sounkyo Gorge - a scenic ravine that extends into the park. For a 5-mile stretch, sheer cliffs rise on both sides of the canyon as the road winds through the mountain. This tame gorge is renowned for its picturesque waterfalls: Ryusei-no-taki (Shooting Star Falls) and Ginga-no-taki (Milky Way Falls). We'll make a photo stop to view the falls before continuing on to Abashiri, a city overlooked by Mount Tento-zan and the Sea of Okhotsk. On arrival in Abashiri, we'll visit the Okhotsk Ryuhyo (drift ice) Museum, an interesting museum featuring a video and exhibits that explain the history of the drift ice that flows into the Sea of Okhotsk from the Aurora River during the winter season. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs of our elegant resort this evening.

Accommodations at ABASHIRI KOSO or similar

Tuesday, October 13 (Day 9)
Abashiri Prison - HokkaidoABASHIRI - SHIRETOKO (B)(D)
The Abashiri Prison Museum consists of many buildings which were in use until the year 1984. Only the most heinous criminals were banished to this forbidden northern outpost known as the 'Alcatraz' of Japan. The cells, watch towers, and prison farm buildings show how stark and monotonous life was for inmates, relieved only by restricted bathhouse visits. Anguished-looking mannequins bring it all to life as we retrace the history of convict labor and the harsh life of a prisoner on a tour of this open-air site. We'll proceed east to Utoro, located on the west coast of Shiretoko and make a photo stop at the Oshin Koshin Waterfall - selected as "one of the 100 most beautiful waterfalls of Japan:" The peninsula, Shiretoko-hanto, remains as one of the most remote wilderness areas in Japan and is known for its healthy brown bear population. As we enter the Shiretoko National Park at Utoro - the main gateway to the park - we'll board the Shiretoko Tourist Ship 'Aurora' to enjoy a scenic cruise along the peninsula in the Sea of Okhotsk, skirting the shores with impressive views of rugged cliffs and mountains (weather permitting). Located within the peninsula are the Shiretoko Go-Ko (Five Lakes), a collection of five small lakes grouped together between the sea and the mountains. Weather permitting, enjoy a leisure stroll on the boardwalk through the marsh to catch a glimpse of one of the five lakes. This evening, enjoy a fabulous dinner and relax in the hot springs of our elegant hotel.

Accommodations at SHIRETOKO DAI-ICHI HOTEL or similar

Wednesday, October 14 (Day 10)
We'll travel southwest to enjoy a spectacular view of Lake Mashu from an observation point (weather permitting). The small isle (actually a lava hill rising from the lake bottom) in the center of the lake is known to the Ainu as the 'Isle of the Gods'. On a clear day, the clarity of the water and its intense blue color is quite startling - its transparency depth was once a world record. Smoking volcanoes 'Me-Akan' and O'kan' watch over Akan-ko (Lake Akan), but the lake is best known for its marimo, a rare spherical green algae designated as a Special Natural Monument. Marimo is formed when separate pieces of algae at the bottom of the lake roll around and eventually form into balls, gradually growing larger and larger. We'll enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Akan, providing us with a close-up view of the mountains, islands, and remote sections of the lake. A brief stop will be made at Churui Islet to view live marimo upclose in large tanks at the Marimo Exhibition and Observation Center. We'll continue on to spend the night in Tokachigawa, noted for its golden-brown onsen waters and breathtaking scenery of Tokachi. The Tokachi River creates rare botanical-based moor hot springs, known as "hot springs for beauty", recognized as one of Hokkaido's heritages. Enjoy a delicious dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs of our onsen hotel this evening.

Accommodations at TOKACHIGAWA DAI-ICHI HOTEL or similar

Thursday, October 15 (Day 11)
Hokkaido Sapporo Beer GardenTOKACHIGAWA - SAPPORO (B)
Our journey continues on to Sapporo to visit some of the attractions in the city and the surrounding area. Experience an exciting ride on the chairlift at the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, a ski jumping venue located on the eastern slope of Mt. Okura. Okurayama was the main ski jump used in the 1972 Winter Olympic Games and is now used as a prime training facility for athletes at Nordic events. Enjoy spectacular views over Sapporo city at the top on the observation deck. You'll enjoy the same view as the ski jumpers when sitting on the plank preparing to fly in the sky. We'll visit Kaitaku Kinenkan (The Historical Museum of Hokkaido), located in the Nopporo Forest Park. The museum features interesting exhibits that document the history of Hokkaido from 2 million years ago to modern times in eight separate areas. The first beer brewed in Japan was in Sapporo and Hokkaido has since had a reputation of brewing the best beer. Enjoy a guided tour of the Asahi Beer Brewery, a leading brewery and soft drink company in Hokkaido - noted as one of the "Big Four" breweries. At the conclusion of the tour, samples of some of their delicious products will be available for us to enjoy in the tasting room. Dinner will be on your own this evening.

Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar

Friday, October 16 (Day 12)
The day is at your leisure for your own activities or to do some last minute shopping in the underground mall located nearby our hotel. In the late afternoon, we'll proceed to the Chitose Airport to check-in for our domestic flight to Haneda Airport. On arrival, we'll transfer to the Haneda International Terminal to board 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 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.