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November 5 - 18, 2015  (14 days and 12 nights)

** Guaranteed Departure - limited seats - call for availability **

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

(deposit must be made by 03/31/2015)

Narita, Tokyo, Shinkansen, Niigata, Senbei Okoku, Furusato Mura, Sado Island, Sado Kinzan Gold Mine, Toki Forest Park, Sado Rekishi Densetsukan, Nagano, Kawanakajima, Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, Kurobe Dam, Tateyama, Kenroku-en Garden, Kanazawa, Tojinbo, Noto Peninsula, Wajima, Wajima Asa-Ichi (Morning Market), Kiriko Kaikan, Mikata Go-ko, Miyazu, Amanohashidate, Tottori, Tottori Sand Dunes, Izumo Taisha Shrine, Matsue, Matsue Vogel Park, Oshima Island, Hawaii Museum of Japanese Emigration, Mazda Motor Corporation, Hiroshima, Yamadaya Manju Factory, Miyajima Island, Haneda

$ 4,950 per person
$ 550 per person
$ 3,950 per person
(Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)

Thursday, November 5 (Day 01)
Our tour to Japan 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, November 6 (Day 02)
We'll arrive Narita Airport in the afternoon and after completing entry and customs formalities, we'll transfer to our hotel in Tokyo to spend the night. A dinner is planned for you this evening.

Accommodations at HOTEL METROPOLITAN IKEBUKURO or similar

Saturday, November 7 (Day 03)
This morning, we'll take a local train to Ueno Station to board the shinkansen (bullet train) to Niigata, the largest city on the coast of the Japan Sea - noted as the gateway to Sado Island. Niigata prefecture is known throughout Japan for its high-quality rice and rice-related products, such as sake, senbei, and arare. On arrival, we'll board our chartered motor coach and embark on a brief sightseeing tour of the city. We'll visit Senbei Okoku (kingdom of rice crackers), where we'll observe the process of manufacturing rice crackers in the factory. We'll also have an opportunity to try a hands-on experience to roast some rice crackers. We'll make a stop at Furusato-Mura, a unique shopping complex offering a nice selection of local traditional food, snacks, and craft products. We will spend the night in the city of Niigata. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at HOTEL OKURA NIIGATA or similar

Sado Okesa Dance webSunday, November 8 (Day 04)
This morning, we'll board a hydrofoil from the port of Niigata and cross the sea of Japan to Ryotsu Port located on historic Sado-Ga-Shima (Sado Island). On arrival, we'll embark on a full day of sightseeing tour of the island. Sado Island had an image of being remote and associated with political exiles and prisoners, yet has a distinguished history and culture all its own. Sado was the home in exile to some historical figures such as ex-Emperor 'Juntoku', Buddhist priest 'Nichiren', and drama master 'Zeami', who left a legacy of Noh theater on the island. At the Sado Kinzan Gold Mine located in Aikawa town, we'll descend into the old mining caves to see mechanical puppets dramatize the tough existence of the miners in the past. We'll visit the Sado Rekishi Densetsukan (Sado Historical Folklore Museum) where relics of ex-Emperor Juntoku and Nichiren Shonin are exhibited, including robots illustrating dioramas of Sado's history. In addition to 'Noh', the island is famed for okesa (folk dances), ondeko (demon drum dances), and the toki bird (Japanese crested ibis). The visitor center at the Toki Forest Park will provide us with interesting information and history about these protected birds. We'll spend the night on Sado Island. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs at our hotel this evening. Subject to availability, a performance of okesa will be performed in the lobby this evening for your enjoyment.

Accommodations at RYOTSU YAMAKI HOTEL or similar

Monday, November 9 (Day 05)
This morning, we'll proceed to the port of Ryotsu on Sado Island and board a hydrofoil, crossing the Japan Sea back to Niigata city. We'll board our chartered motor coach and travel to Tsubame Sanjo - a region known for its manufacture of kitchen cutlery and silverware. We'll visit a large shop that offers a wide selection of unique kitchen products, knives, scissors, and other merchandise. Our travels continue on to the city of Nagano to spend the night. Nagano is noted for its beautiful mountainous terrain consisting of the northern, central, and southern ranges of the breathtaking Japan Alps and is well-known as the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics. Before checking-in, we'll make a photo stop at Kawanakajima, the site of five fierce battles between two of Japan's greatest warlords, Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin. Dinner will be on your own this evening.

Accommodations at HOTEL METROPOLITAN NAGANO or similar

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route webTuesday, November 10 (Day 06)
We'll travel along the Shio-no-Michi (Salt Road) - a road used to transport salt from the ocean to the inland region of northern Honshu. We'll visit a Salt Museum located at the Shinano-Omachi Station. This station is the starting point of the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, a unique and spectacular route through the Northern Japan Alps, connecting Toyama city in Toyama Prefecture with Omachi town in Nagano Prefecture. Our journey continues on to Mount Tateyama, visiting the magnificent Kurobe Dam - the tallest arch dam on the Kurobe River - located deep within the Japan Alps National Park. We'll enjoy a scenic ride through the mountains via a tram and cable car to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Murodo and Midagahara Plateaus. Weather permitting, the fall colors should be at its peak during this time of the year. We will spend the night in Tateyama. Enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot spring waters of our onsen hotel this evening.

Accommodations at TATEYAMA KOKUSAI HOTEL or similar

Wednesday, November 11 (Day 07)
Our travel continues on to spend two nights in the castle town of Kanazawa, capital of Ishikawa prefecture. On arrival, we'll enjoy a leisure stroll through the main attraction of the city - Kenroku-en Garden - noted as one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens. The name Kenroku translates as 'combined six', referring to a renowned Chinese garden from the Sung Dynasty that required six attributes for perfection: seclusion, spaciousness, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water, and broad views. Located across the garden entrance is Kanazawa Castle featuring Ishikawa-mon Gate, the entrance gate designated as an Important National Cultural Asset by the government. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at KANAZAWA ANA HOTEL or similar

Kiriko Lantern Museum webThursday, November 12 (Day 08)
This morning, we'll travel north to 'Noto-Hanto', a scenic peninsula of rugged seascapes surrounded by the Japan Sea. The town of Wajima at the center of the Okunoto area is known not only for its fishing industry but also for its production of Wajima-nuri (lacquerware). A characteristic of Wajima lacquerware is found in the base coat being repeatedly applied to original wooden materials and decorated with chinkin (gold & silver inlaying) and makie (gold or silver raised lacquer painting). This whole process takes months to complete one finished product. We'll visit a shop to observe a portion of this delicate production of some of their elegant pieces. Enjoy shopping and bargaining with the vendors at the asa-ichi (morning market), a huge indoor and outdoor marketplace in Wajima offering a nice selection of merchandise and dried seafood products including dried abalone. Kiriko is a form of lantern produced only in the Noto district and is used to lead portable shrines during festivals. We'll visit Kiriko Kaikan (Lantern Festival Hall), where a giant lantern and several beautiful lacquered floats from the Edo period are elegantly displayed in the main room. On our return to Kanazawa, we'll travel along the west coast of the peninsula on the Chirihama Beach Driveway - a beach resembling a sandy motorway. Weather permitting, enjoy a unique and exciting drive as we roar on the sand near the breakers of the water. Dinner will be on your own this evening to try some of the local specialties of this prefecture at some of the restaurants located at the train station nearby the hotel.

Accommodations at KANAZAWA ANA HOTEL or similar

Friday, November 13 (Day 09)
We'll continue our journey along the Sea of Japan to scenic Tojinbo, a series of basaltic cliffs in Fukui prefecture, designated a Natural Monument in Japan. View magnificent pillar-shaped rocks and cliffs created by volcanic activities formed through the years by sea erosion. We'll make a stop at Konbu Kan, a shop offering a nice selection of konbu, nori, and other konbu related products available for purchase. Enjoy the beauty of Mikata Goko (Five Lakes of Mikata) located on the east shore of Wakasa Bay facing the Sea of Japan. A cable car or an individual chair lift will take us to the observatory on Mount Baijo to enjoy a breathtaking view of Wakasa Bay and the Five Lakes. The lakes are registered under the Ramsar Convention, designed to protect internationally-important wetlands. Each lake has a different water quality and depth, displaying five various colors that change with each season - therefore called the 'lakes of five colors'. We'll spend the night in Miyazu city located in Kyoto Prefecture. Relax and enjoy dinner at our luxurious hot spring resort this evening.

Accommodations at MIYAZU ROYAL HOTEL or similar

Amanohashidate webSaturday, November 14 (Day 10)
Amanohashidate (Bridge to Heaven), is a scenic sand bar covered with pine trees resembling the shape of a bridge spanning across Miyazu Bay. We'll proceed to Kasamatsu Park and ride a chair lift or cable car to the top of the hillside to enjoy this spectacular view - ranked as one of the three most scenic sights in Japan (Nihon Sankei). To view the sand bar as a 'bridge to heaven', turn your back towards the bay and bend over to see the view from between your legs. We'll continue our travel along the scenic coast of the Japan Sea to spend the night in Tottori, one of the main cities in the San-in district and famous for its spectacular sand dunes - the largest in Japan. The Tottori Sand Dunes were created as sand from the Sendaigawa River was washed out to sea and eventually re-deposited along the coast by the ocean's current. Climb to the top of the sand dunes to enjoy a beautiful view of the Sea of Japan. Subject to availability, we'll visit Suna no Bijuitsukan (The Sand Museum), a unique museum displaying large sand sculptures created by artists from around the world. Each exhibition represents a theme, typically a region or a country, and changes annually. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at NEW OTANI TOTTORI HOTEL or similar

Sunday, November 15 (Day 11)
We'll continue our drive along the coast of the Sea of Japan to visit Izumo Taisha Shrine, constructed in the Taisha-zukuri style and considered to be Japan's oldest form of shrine architecture. The wooded grounds are pleasant to wander through and the shrine itself enjoys the 'borrowed scenery' of Yakumo Hill in the background. Okuninushi - to whom the shrine is dedicated - is the kami (Shinto Spirit God) of marriage. Hence, visitors to the shrine summon the deity by clapping four times rather than the normal two - twice for themselves and twice for their partner or partner to be. We'll travel to spend the night in Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, a beautiful town surrounded by water. Enjoy a visit to the Matsue Vogel Park - a paradise of flowers, owls, and rare birds from around the world. The park features a waterfowl aviary that is home to various aquatic birds and a beautiful flower conservatory, the largest in the world. A beautiful variety of colorful flowers are in bloom all year round at this conservatory. Several trained owls will perform for you at a special owl show. Enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing onsen at the hotel this evening.

Accommodations at HOTEL ICHIBATA or similar

Monday, November 16 (Day 12)
We'll travel south through Shimane and Yamaguchi prefecture, passing through Yanai city to visit Oshima Island, one of the largest islands in the Seto Naikai Strait. On arrival, we'll visit the Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii, located in the town of Suo-Oshima, the sister city of Kauai. The museum features an interesting video and many photographs, exhibits, and artifacts representing the hardship faced by the emigrants in Hawaii, the contributions made with the fortune accumulated through their efforts, and the history of cultural exchanges between the hometown and Hawaii up to the present. We'll continue on to spend two nights in the city of Hiroshima. En route, we'll visit the Mazda Motor Corporation (Zoom Zoom) and enjoy a tour to see the fascinating process of automobile manufacturing as we observe workmen and robots assemble various components to new cars on a moving assembly line. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at RIHGA ROYAL HIROSHIMA HOTEL or similar

Itsukushima Shrine Autumn webTuesday, November 17 (Day 13)
Momiji Manju (a maple-leaf-shaped cake filled with a variety of fillings) is one of Hiroshima's most popular sweets. We'll travel to the town of Hatsukaichi to visit the Yamadaya Manju Factory and view a video to see the production of this delicious confectionary. Samples of some of their delicious products will be available for you to enjoy. We'll continue on to the Miyajimaguchi Pier and board a ferry to visit Miyajima Island, famed for its scenic Itsukushima-jinja, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a large torii gate extending into the sea, the shrine and the island's Mt. Misen-san as a backdrop, this scene is classified as one of Japan's three most scenic sights. Enjoy strolling through Omotesando - the island's main shopping street with many shops offering a large selection of souvenirs, including the specialties of the island: momiji manju, shakushi (wooden rice paddles), and fresh oysters. We'll leave the island by ferry and travel back to the city of Hiroshima where dinner will be on your own this evening. Try some delicious Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, the specialty of Hiroshima at one of the local restaurants located nearby the hotel or at the Okonomiyaki Village - a special building with several floors of small okonomiyaki shops.

Accommodations at RIHGA ROYAL HIROSHIMA HOTEL or similar

Wednesday, November 18 (Day 14)
The day is at leisure for your own activities until we depart for the airport in the late afternoon. We'll transfer to the Hiroshima Airport to check-in for our domestic flight to Haneda Airport. On arrival at Haneda, we'll transfer by shuttle bus to the Haneda International Terminal to board our late evening flight home. We'll arrive Honolulu in the morning on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line. A late 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 12/15/14. 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.