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April 18 -April 29, 2015  (12 days and 10 nights)

**  SOLD OUT  **

(deposit must be made by 09/05/2014)

Narita, Mito, Kairakuen Garden, Hitachi Seaside Park, Fukuroda Falls, Iwaki, Spa Hawaiians Resort, Miharu Takizakura, Akiu, Matsushima Bay, Hanaizumi Flower World, Genbikei Gorge, Chusonji Temple, Kitakami Tenshochi Park, Hanamaki Onsen, Morioka, Morioka Tezu-kuri Mura, Towada-ko, Hakkoda-Towada Snow Corridor, Asamushi, Aomori, Hirosaki Park, Kakunodate, Kasumigajo Park, Matsugasaki Koen, Aizu Wakamatsu, Tsuruga-jo, Iimoriyama Hill, Koriyama, Nikko Edomura, Tobu World Square, Kinugawa Spa, Ashikaga, Tsutsujigaoka Park, Tokyo

$ 4,850 per person
$ 595 per person
$ 3,850 per person
(Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
Saturday, April 18 (Day 01)
Our tour commences this morning when we assemble at the curbside lobby at the airport for baggage check-in procedures. We will depart for Narita International Airport. Lunch and a snack will be served on board the flight.

Sunday, April 19 (Day 02)
We'll arrive Narita Airport and after completion of entry and customs formalities, we'll board our chartered motor coach to begin our Tohoku Ohanami (flower viewing) tour. We'll travel on the Joban Expressway, arriving in the city of Mito, the capital of Ibaraki prefecture to spend the night. Dinner will be provided for you this evening.

Accommodations at MITO PLAZA HOTEL or similar

Monday, April 20 (Day 03)
Enjoy a stroll through Kairakuen Garden, noted as one of Japan's three finest gardens. Built by the local lord Tokugawa Nariaki, the name kairakuen means "park to be enjoyed together". The garden features a bamboo grove, cedar woods, and the Kobuntei, a traditional Japanese style building. A nice view of the garden and nearby Senba Lake can be enjoyed from the building's top floor. We'll visit a beautiful flower paradise at Hitachi Seaside Park, featuring "Miharashi No Oka", a hill commanding a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. The park is best known for its delicate blue nemophilas - flowers with transparent blue petals blooming over the hillside, creating a breathtaking sight (weather permitting). These flowers are also known as baby-blue-eyes as they resemble baby's eyes. Daffodils, tulips, and many other variety of flowers are also in bloom spread out in various gardens throughout the park. We'll continue on to the town of Daigo to enjoy a view of the breathtaking Fukuroda Falls - ranked as one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. The falls drop down four cascades from a giant cliff, dashing against the rocks. Every season offers a different view of the falls, thus known as Yodo-no-Taki (Falls of Four Seasons). We'll continue on to spend the night at the Spa Hawaiians Resort - formerly known as the Joban Hawaiian Center in the city of Iwaki, a coal mining town. The film "Hula Girls" was based on the story of the founding of the resort. Dinner will be provided for you this evening.

Accommodations at SPA HAWAIIANS RESORT or similar

Matsushima BayTuesday, April 21 (Day 04)
We'll continue on to the town of Miharu - home of Miharu Takizakura (waterfall cherry tree), an ancient tree said to be over 1,000 years old. Weather permitting, we'll enjoy a view of this giant weeping cherry tree with its light pink flowers spread out in all directions from the branches, like a cascading waterfall. Designated a national treasure in 1922, it is classified as one of the five great cherry trees in Japan. Kokeshi dolls are one of the most popular and famous products in Japan. As a traditional folk craft, they are a long-renowned tradition in the Tohoku area. These dolls, handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with no arms or legs. We'll enjoy a hands-on experience of painting your own creation of one of them to take home as a souvenir. We'll continue on to the Shiogami Pier and board a ferry to enjoy a relaxing cruise on picturesque Matsushima Bay, designated as one of the three most scenic sights in Japan - nihon sankei. Enjoy the view of hundreds of pine-studded islets floating in the bay - each one with a name relating to a Japanese legend. We'll spend the night in a beautiful hotel overlooking the bay.

Accommodations at MATSUSHIMA CENTURY HOTEL or similar

Wednesday, April 22 (Day 05)
We'll travel to the city of Hanaizumi and visit Hanaizumi Flower World, one of the largest peony gardens in the Tohoku region. Hundreds of large colorful peonies and various other flowers should be in full bloom at this time of the year (weather permitting). We'll continue on to visit Genbikei Gorge, located just outside of Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture. The gorge was shaped by the rapid flowing water of Iwai River that carved the rocks, resulting in smooth and interwoven rock faces. One of the highlights at the gorge is to experience Kakko Dango (flying dumplings) that fly over the river on a wire. Hit a wooden board with a mattock, then a basket of dumplings comes from a teahouse, flying across the river on the wire for you to enjoy. We'll continue on to visit Chusonji Temple and its main attraction - Konjiki-do (Golden Hall) - designated as one of the National Treasures by the government in 1951. The hall was constructed to house the remains of three generations of the Fujiwara family and received its name from the unique golden walls covered in gold leaf and inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Weather permitting, we'll make a stop in Kitakami, a city famous for the gorgeous sakura that bloom in Kitakami Tenshochi Park, selected as one of the 100 best cherry blossom viewing sites by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association (Nihon Sakura-no-Kai). Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs at our onsen hotel.

Accommodations at HANAMAKI SENSHUKAKU HOTEL or similar

Thursday, April 23 (Day 06)Lake Towada Spring
We'll drive north through Morioka, the capital of Iwate-ken - famous for the production of nanbu tekki (cast ironware). As we drive by the grounds of the district courthouse in Morioka, we'll see a 400-year old Ishiwari-Zakura (stone-splitting cherry blossom tree) with a trunk so large that it actually split a boulder - an interesting sight to see. We'll visit the Morioka Tezu-kuri Mura (Morioka Handi-Works Square), a village of hand-crafted traditional goods - one of the few places in Japan where you can view, purchase, and create traditional products. Time permitting, enjoy a hands-on experience to make your own nambu senbei at one of the workshops. We'll continue our journey past scenic Towada-ko, the third deepest caldera lake in Japan, located in the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. Experience the beauty of the mountains and marvel at the snow-covered trees and snow corridor as we drive through a section of the scenic Hakkoda Towada Gold Line (Snow Corridor). Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs this evening at our elegant onsen hotel.

Accommodations at ASAMUSHI KAISENKAKU HOTEL or similar

Friday, April 24 (Day 07)
LoHirosaki Castle smallcated in Mutsu Bay in the far north of Japan is Aomori city, capital of Aomori prefecture. We'll visit the Wa Rasse Float Museum, a cultural and arts center dedicated to Aomori's famous Nebuta Festival. Displays of floats along with photographs and introductions to some of the famous Nebuta artists over the years are featured. Nearby is the Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center (ASPAM), a tall A-shaped tower housing shops offering traditional products of Aomori. We'll continue on to the castle town of Hirosaki, and visit the ruins of Hirosaki Castle, the city's most famous landmark. Weather permitting, enjoy a spectacular view of cherry blossoms in bloom on the castle grounds in the surrounding Hirosaki Park, one of Japan's most famous 'ohanami' sites with thousands of cherry trees planted around the park. Enjoy a visit of the Odaiko no Yakata (the Great Drum Museum), displaying an interesting collection of drums from all over the world, including the 'Big Drum of Tsuzureko', the world's largest drum. We'll continue on to spend the night in Akita, the capital city of Akita prefecture. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at our hotel.

Accommodations at AKITA VIEW HOTEL or similar

Saturday, April 25 (Day 08)
Our journey continues on to Kakunodate, a former castle town noted as one of Tohoku region's most popular ohanami sites where hundreds of shidarezakura (weeping cherry trees) line the central avenue of the town. Weather permitting, we may also be able to view delicate somei yoshino cherry trees lined along the Hinokinai River that runs through the city. Kakunodate is also famed for its well-preserved samurai houses and samurai tradition. Most of the bukeyashiki (samurai houses), are located behind wooden fences and gates lined along the central avenue. Among the most interesting mansion open to the public is the Aoyagi Samurai House - which exhibits arms, antiques, and other family treasures. A visit to this house offers a rare glimpse into the life of a samurai and the common townspeople. Kakunodate is also noted for their traditional kaba-zaiku, wooden craft-ware using the bark of wild cherry trees. Several of these intricate pieces are exhibited in the Kakunodate Museum of Traditional Crafts. We'll continue on to overnight in Tendo, a town noted for the manufacture of shogi (Japanese chess pieces). Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs at our fabulous onsen hotel this evening.

Accommodations at TAKINO-YU ONSEN or similar

Sunday, April 26 (Day 09)
This morning, our drive takes us through Yamagata prefecture to view beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom at Kasumigajo Park - noted as one of the 100 best cherry blossom viewing sites in Japan (weather permitting). Enjoy a leisure stroll to view more cherry blossoms in bloom on the grounds of Matsugasaki Koen, the former residence of the Date and Uesugi clan. We'll proceed to the castle town of Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima prefecture to visit the grounds of Tsuruga-jo, a traditional castle noted as an important Tokugawa stronghold in the Tohoku region. We'll climb to the top of Iimoriyama Hill where the tombs of 19 samurai youths are located. They were members of the Byakkotai (White Tiger Corps) who were ordered into battle against the Meiji government soldiers. After their defeat, they retreated to Iimoriyama Hill and committed seppuku or ritual suicide when they presumed that their castle, Tsuruga-jo, was on fire and all was lost. On the hilltop and along the pathway are several monuments, statues, and other buildings of interest devoted to the Byakkotai. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at our hotel in the city of Koriyama in Fukushima prefecture.

Accommodations at HOTEL HAMATSU KORIYAMA or similar

Monday, April 27 (Day 10)
We'll travel south to visit Nikko Edomura (Edo Wonderland), a theme park recreating Japanese town life during the Edo Period. The park is a small town built in Edo style architecture and has been used as the setting for some television dramas. Enjoy visiting the various shops, wax museums, and the popular Grand Ninja Theatre where sword battles, magic, and some martial arts performances are held daily. We'll continue on to visit Tobu World Square, a theme park located at Kinugawa Onsen that exhibits 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 (home to the White House and a section of downtown New York City). We'll spend the night at Kinugawa Spa. Enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs this evening.

Accommodations at KINUGAWA SPA or similar

Tatebayashi AzaleaTuesday, April 28 (Day 11)
We'll continue our ohanami tour visiting Hirata Village, site of a spectacular view of shibazakura (pink and white moss phlox flowers) blooming on a hillside like a pink carpet (weather permitting). The Japanese people love flowers and wisteria are among one of their favorites. One of the best places to view wisteria is at the Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashikaga city, best known for its breathtaking 100-year-old blue, white, and pink wisteria blooming on a trellis. We'll continue on to Tatebayashi, a small and quiet town in Gunma prefecture with an event that they can be proud of, Koi-no-bori (carp streamers). The city commemorates the celebration of Children's Day by displaying thousands of these carp streamers along the Tsuruda River to promote sightseeing in the city. In the city of Tatebayashi, we'll visit Tsutsujigaoka Park, the largest azalea park in Japan with thousands of azalea plants representing 50 varieties of flowers in bloom around Jonuma Pond (weather permitting). Our day ends in the exciting metropolitan city of Tokyo where we will spend our last night. Dinner will be provided for you this evening.

Accommodations at HOTEL METROPOLITAN IKEBUKURO or similar

Wednesday, April 29 (Day 12)
Enjoy your last breakfast in Japan before making preparations to return home. The morning will be free to do some last minute shopping and packing or just relaxing around the hotel. In the afternoon, we will transfer to Narita International Airport to check-in for our evening flight home to Honolulu, arriving 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 6/1/14. 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.