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2023 SPRING NIHON KAI

featuring Sado Island

April 4 - 17, 2023 (14 Days & 12 Nights)

Haneda, Tokyo, Shinkansen, Niigata, Northern Culture Museum, Furusato-Mura, Sado Island, Sado Kinzan Gold Mine, Toki-Forest Park, Sado Rekishi Densetsukan, Tsubame Sanjo, Takada Castle Ruin Park, Nagano, Daio Wasabi Farm, Takayama, Takayama Festival, Shirakawa-go, Kanazawa, Kenrokuen Garden, Noto Peninsula, Wajima Morning Market, Kiriko Kaikan, Chirihama Beach Driveway, Tojinbo, Mikata Go-ko, Amanohashidate, Miyazu, Tottori, Tottori Sand Dunes, Matsue, Izumo Taisha, Matsue Vogel Park, Oshima Island, Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii Yamadaya Manju Factory, Miyajima Island, Hiroshima, Haneda 

$100 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT

(deposit of $100 per person received by 9/1/2022 )

 

LAND TOUR COST: 
$ 3,670 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
$ 690 per person
 
(Group airfare to be advised when available) (Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
 
Tuesday, April 4 (Day 01) 

HONOLULU - HANEDA

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 Haneda International  Airport. A meal and a snack will be served on board the flight.  

 

Wednesday, April 5 (Day 02) 

ARRIVE HANEDA (D)

We’ll arrive Haneda 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 EDMONT or similar

 

Thursday, April 6 (Day 03) 

TOKYO - BULLET TRAIN TO NIIGATA (B)(D)

We’ll transfer to board a local train to Tokyo Station for our shinkansen (bullet train) ride to  Niigata, the largest city on the coast of the Japan Sea - noted as the gateway to Sado Island.  Niigata is also known throughout Japan for its high-quality rice and rice-related products, including fine-quality sake. On arrival, we’ll board our motor coach and embark on a brief sightseeing tour of the city. We’ll visit the former residence of the Ito Family, now preserved as the  Northern Culture Museum. The museum features an extensive art collection and within the peaceful garden, complex are several relocated farmhouses, traditional earthen warehouses,  and individual tea arbors. Enjoy shopping at Niigata Furusato Village Bazaar, a large complex offering a nice selection of local traditional food and craft products of Niigata. We will spend the night in the city of Niigata. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel. 

Accommodations at ANA CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL NIIGATA or similar

 

Friday, April 7 (Day 04) 

NIIGATA - SADO ISLAND (B)(D)

This morning, we’ll board a hydrofoil from Naoetsu Port in Niigata and cross the Japan Sea to  Ryotsu Port on historic Sado-Ga-Shima (Sado Island). On arrival, we’ll board our motorcoach and embark on a full-day sightseeing tour. The 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 Noh drama master ‘Zeami’. At the Sado Kinzan Gold Mine in the town of  Aikawa, we’ll descend into the old mining cave to observe life-size animatronic mannequins dramatizing the tough existence of the miners in the past. We’ll visit the Sado Rekishi Denset sukan (Sado Historical Folklore Museum) where the relics of Juntoku, Zeami, 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, and a view of some live birds in captivity. We’ll spend the night on Sado Island. Enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs this evening at our onsen hotel. For your evening entertainment, a dance performance of okesa will be performed in the lobby (subject to availability).  

Accommodations at SADO RESORT HOTEL AZUMA or similar

 

Saturday, April 8 (Day 05) 

SADO ISLAND - NIIGATA - TSUBAME SANJO - NAGANO (B)

We’ll transfer to Ryotsu Port and board a ferry to return to Naoetsu Port in Niigata. On arrival,  we’ll board our motorcoach and travel to Tsubame Sanjo, a region noted for its metalware production. We’ll visit the Tsubame Sanjo Regional Industries Promotion Center, a large facility offering a wide selection of various merchandise - including some unique kitchenware products, knives, scissors and gardening tools. Our journey continues on to enjoy ohanami  (cherry blossom viewing) on the grounds of Takada Castle. Although only the stone walls and fences of the castle remain today, the site was transformed into Takada Castle Ruin Park featuring thousands of cherry trees planted all around the park. Weather permitting, the cherry blossoms should be in bloom at this time of the year. We’ll continue on to overnight in the city of Nagano - best known as the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics. The area of Nagano prefecture offers a beautiful view of the northern, central and southern ranges of the breathtaking  Japan Alps. Dinner will be on your own this evening. 

Accommodations at HOTEL METROPOLITAN NAGANO or similar

 

Sunday, April 9 (Day 06) 

NAGANO - TAKAYAMA (B)(D)

This morning, we’ll visit Zenkoji Temple, one of the most important temples in Japan. The main hall is nicely ornamented and contains various Buddhist statues. We’ll continue on to Azumino and visit the Daio Wasabi (Japanese Horseradish) Farm, Japan’s largest wasabi farm to see the production of this root. A nice selection of wasabi-related products are available in the shops including fresh wasabi and wasabi-flavored ice cream. We’ll drive through numerous mountain tunnels and enjoy breathtaking scenery as we travel to the quaint and traditional town of Takayama - tucked away between the mountains of the Japan Alps. On arrival, we’ll visit the Matsuri Yatai Kaikan, a  hall featuring four elaborately decorated festival floats - some that are several hundred years old and beautiful examples of Takayama’s legendary craftsmanship. Enjoy a stroll through Kamisannomachi, the quaint old-town district preserved with many old homes, craft shops, and sake shops. Enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs of our onsen resort in Takayama this evening. 

Accommodations at TAKAYAMA GREEN HOTELTENRYOKAKU BUILDING or similar

 

Monday, April 10 (Day 07) 

TAKAYAMA - SHIRAKAWA GO - KANAZAWA (B)(D)

Our journey continues on to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go - famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri (hands in prayer) farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Many of them are now functioning as shops and small restaurants. Enjoy a stroll through Shirakawago Village, the main attraction of Shirakawa-go, with old farmhouses standing amid vegetable gardens and rice paddy fields. The farmland around the area continues to be worked on by the local farmers. We’ll continue on to the castle town of  Kanazawa to enjoy a leisure stroll through its main attraction - 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. The Kotojitoro  Lantern, uniquely built with two legs stands at the northern bank of Kasumigaike Pond and is an iconic symbol of the garden. Kanazawa is also noted for its gold-leaf production and we’ll visit the Hakukokan Gold Leaf Shop that produces and displays these intricate products.  We will spend two nights in the city of Kanazawa. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.  

Accommodations at ANA CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL KANAZAWA or similar

 

Tuesday, April 11 (Day 08) 

KANAZAWA - NOTO PENINSULA - KANAZAWA (B)

This morning, we’ll travel to Noto-Hanto’, a scenic peninsula with rugged seascapes surrounded on three sides by the Sea of Japan.  Enjoy a shopping excursion in the town of Wajima at the asa-ichi (morning market) - a large indoor and outdoor marketplace with vendors offering a variety of merchandise including dried seafood products: abalone, scallops, and cuttlefish. Wajima, located 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 - taking months to finish - then decorated with chinkin (gold & silver inlaying) and makie (gold or silver raised lacquer painting). We’ll visit a lacquer shop for a brief glimpse into the production of these elegant pieces and to browse through their beautiful merchandise and artwork on display and available for purchase. Kiriko is a form of lantern produced only in the Noto district and is used to lead portable shrines during festivals. We’ll visit the  Wajima Kiriko Art Museum featuring beautiful lacquered giant lanterns elegantly displayed in the showroom. On our return to Kanazawa,  we’ll travel along the west coast of the peninsula and enjoy a unique and exciting drive along the breakers of the water on the Chirihama  Beach Driveway, a beach resembling a sandy motorway. Dinner will be on your own this evening to try some local specialties of the area at some of the restaurants located in the train station nearby our hotel.  

Accommodations at ANA CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL KANAZAWA or similar

 

Wednesday, April 12 (Day 09) 

KANAZAWA - TOJINBO - FUKUI - TSURUGA - MIYAZU (B)(D)

We’ll continue our journey along the Sea of Japan to scenic Tojinbo - featuring an impressive view of magnificent pillar-shaped rocks and basaltic cliffs formed through the years by erosion from sea waves. Standing gallantly against the raging waves, this scenic site is well known for several legends and in the past, noted as a famous spot for suicides. We’ll make a stop at Yamatotakahashi Konbukan, a  shop offering a wide variety of konbu and other konbu-related product - subject to reopening confirmation. We’ll continue on to enjoy a  scenic drive on the Mikata-go-ko Rainbow Line, a sightseeing road leading up to the Mikata go-ko (Five Lakes of Mikata), located in  Wakasa Bay Quasi-National Park in Fukui Prefecture. A cable car or an individual chair lift will take us to the park and observatory on top of the mountain to enjoy this breathtaking view of the lakes and Wakasa Bay (weather permitting). Enjoy dinner and relax at our luxurious hot spring resort this evening in Miyazu

Accommodations at HOTEL & RESORTS KYOTO-MIYAZU or similar

 

Thursday, April 13 (Day 10) 

MIYAZU - TOTTORI (B)(D)

“Amanohashidate” (Bridge to Heaven), is a pine-tree-covered sand bar resembling the shape of a bridge spanning across Miyazu Bay and is ranked as one of Japan’s three most scenic sights (Nihon Sankei). We’ll proceed to Kasamatsu Park and board an individual chair lift or cable car to take us to the top of the hillside to enjoy this spectacular view. To view the sand bar as a ‘bridge to heaven’, turn your back towards the bay, bend over, and view the scenery from between your legs. We’ll travel along the scenic San-in coast of the Japan  Sea to spend the night in Tottori, one of the main cities in the San-in district. The Tottori Sakyu are the largest sand dunes in Japan,  created as sand from the nearby Sendaigawa River was washed out to sea and eventually re-deposited along the coast by the ocean’s currents. Climb to the top of one of the dunes to enjoy a beautiful view of the Sea of Japan. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel. 

Accommodations at HOTEL NEW OTANI TOTTORI or similar

 

Friday, April 14 (Day 11) 

TOTTORI - IZUMO - MATSUE (B)(D)

We’ll travel along the coast of the Sea of Japan to the town of Izumo, home to Japan’s oldest and largest Shinto Shrine - Izumo Tai sha - constructed in the taisha-zukuri-style of architecture. The wooded grounds are pleasant to wander through and the shrine itself enjoys the ‘borrowed scenery’ of Yakumo Hill in the background. Okuninushi, whom the shrine is dedicated to, is the kami (Shinto  Spirit God) of marriage. Hence, visitors to the shrine summon the deity by clapping their hands four times rather than the normal two - twice for themselves and twice for their partner. We’ll continue on to spend the night in the city of Matsue, capital of Shimane prefecture, located at the eastern shores of Lake Shinji. We’ll visit the Matsue Vogel Park, a paradise of flowers, plants, owls, and rare birds from all around the world. The park features a beautiful flower conservatory that is the largest in the world, displaying a variety of begonias, fuchsias and other flowers in bloom all year round. A waterfowl aviary is also featured that is home to various aquatic birds. A special performance of several trained owls will be featured for you at the park. Enjoy a delicious dinner and relax in the hot springs at our onsen hotel this evening. 

Accommodations at MATSUNOYU or similar

 

Saturday, April 15 (Day 12) 

MATSUE - MIYAJIMA ISLAND - HIROSHIMA (B)(D)

We’ll travel to Miyajima-guchi Pier to board a ferry to Miyajima Island, famed for scenic Itsukushima-jinja, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a large torii gate in 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 (Nihon Sankei). Enjoy strolling through Omotesando - the island’s main shopping street featuring many shops offering a nice selection of souvenirs, including the specialties of the island: momiji manju (a maple-leaf-shaped cake filled with a variety of fillings), shakushi (wooden rice paddles), and fresh oysters. We’ll leave the island by ferry and re-board our motorcoach to spend two nights in the city of Hiroshima. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.  

Accommodations at RIHGA ROYAL HOTEL HIROSHIMA or similar

 

Sunday, April 16 (Day 13) 

HIROSHIMA - OSHIMA ISLAND - HIROSHIMA (B)

We’ll journey through Yanai City in Yamaguchi prefecture to Oshima Island, one of the largest islands in the Seto Naikai Strait. 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 about Hawaii and its people, including many photos, exhibits and artifacts of the hardships 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 now. Momiji Manju continues as one of Hiroshima’s most popular sweets. We’ll travel to the town of Hatsukaichi to visit the Yamadaya Manju Factory & Shop where we’ll view a short video to see the production of momiji Manju. A large selection of these confectionaries with many different fillings are available in the shop for purchase. Dinner will be on your own this evening.  

Accommodations at RIHGA ROYAL HOTEL HIROSHIMA or similar

 

Monday, April 17 (Day 14) 

HIROSHIMA TO HANEDA TO HONOLULU (B)

The morning is at your leisure for your own activities. In the afternoon, we’ll transfer to the Hiroshima Airport to check-in for our domestic flight to Haneda Airport. On arrival, we’ll transfer by shuttle to the Haneda International Terminal to board our evening flight to  Honolulu, arriving on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line. A late meal will be served on board the flight.

 

Land portion based on 125 Yen = $1.00 U.S.

 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 7/1/2022. Tour fare is subject to change according to any airfare increase, additional fuel surcharges 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.

2023 Tour Registration Form

2023 General Conditions & Addendum (Japan/International)