AJT 9D/12D Charms of Northern Japan
For travelers wishing to go beyond the typical Japan itinerary
Sapporo - Otaru - Shiraoi - Noboribetsu - Lake Toya - Hakodate - Seikan Tunnel - Aomori - Towada - Morioka - Hiraizumi - Matsushima – Nikko
- Travel to the must-see sites of Hokkaido and Tohoku, including Nikko and Matsushima.
- Designed for travelers who want to explore beyond the typical Japan sites and see more nature.
- Enjoy two nights at Japanese-style accommodations, where you can experience bathing in hot springs (onsen).
- Take an undersea train tunnel to cross the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu.
- Witness Kegon Waterfall, one of the three most beautiful falls in Japan.
- Explore Nijo Market, where Hokkaido's famous fresh seafood can be found.
- Chances to see cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, wisteria, baby blue eye flowers, or Tohoku’s 3 Great Summer Festivals.
- Departure dates in spring, summer, and fall with reverse versions available.
- 6 nights Western style and 2 nights Japanese style accommodation
- Meet and greet upon arrival at Sapporo New Chitose Airport
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- Private coach transfers between destinations in Japan
- Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide
- Meals: Daily breakfast, 4 lunches and 4 dinners
- Admission fees and activities: All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary
Cherry Blossoms & Wisteria: 26 Apr’20 | 25 Apr’21 | 24 Apr’22
Cherry Blossom & Baby Blue Eyes Flowers: 3 May 2020 – 2022
Autumn Leaves: 2020, 13 Oct & 7 Nov | 2021, 13 Oct & 6 Nov | 2022, 13 Oct & 5 Nov
Tohoku 3 Great Summer Festivals: 29 Jul 2021 – 2022
Itinerary In Brief
Day 1: Arrive in Sapporo
Day 2: Otaru - Sapporo
Day 3: Sapporo - Shiraoi - Noboribetsu
Day 4: Lake Toya - Hakodate
Day 5: Seikan Undersea Tunnel - Aomori - Towada
Day 6: Morioka - Hiraizumi
Day 7: Matsushima
Day 8: Nikko
Day 9: Tour ends
Day 1 - Sapporo New Chitose Airport
Welcome to Sapporo! You will be met at the arrival gate by an AJT representative holding an "All Japan Tours" sign.
Day 2 - Otaru (Otaru Canal / Sakaimachi Street - Kitaichi Garasukan - Otaru Music Box Museum), Sapporo (Clock Tower / Odori Park / Susukino)
In the morning we will travel to Otaru, renowned for its canals and glassblowing in Kitaichi Garasukan. During the first half of the 20th century, the Otaru Canal was a vital part of the city's busy harbor. The canal allowed large vessels to be unloaded onto smaller ones, then transported to local warehouses. Although the canal became obsolete when modern dock facilities allowed for the direct unloading of large vessels, the canal remains an integral part of the city's history and culture. As part of a citizen's movement in the 1980s, the canal was beautifully restored and former warehouses have been transformed into cafes, restaurants, museums, and shops. Next, we will visit glass workshops and Music Box Museum in Sakaimachi Street. In the afternoon, we will visit Sapporo city. The tour includes a visit to the Sapporo Clock Tower and Odori Park, where you can stroll along the promenade. The next stop is Susukino, Hokkaido's largest entertainment district. In the evening is for you to enjoy your free time.
Day 3 - Sapporo (Nijo Market / Historic Village), Biratori (Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum), Noboribetsu (Jigokudani)
In the morning our tour of Sapporo continues with a visit to the Nijo Market, where you will see a variety of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Next is a visit to the Historic Village, you can view architecture from the Meiji and Taisho periods when Japan experienced rapid expansion. Today we will have the opportunity to learn about the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan. At Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum, you will have a chance to learn about the mukkuri, a traditional, plucked Japanese ideophone that is indigenous to the Ainu. The mukkuri is made from bamboo and is 10 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. Similar to a jaw harp, sounds are made when the strings are pulled and when the reed vibrates in the musician's mouth. In the afternoon, we will stop at Hokkaido's most famous hot spring resort, Noboribetsu Onsen. The valley generates 10,000 tons of bubbling water everyday, and visitors can walk to the nearby Oyunuma Lake and watch the plumes of steam rise. Tonight we will stay in a traditional Japanese style hotel in Noboribetsu offering hot spring baths.
Day 4 - Lake Toya (Usuzan Ropeway), Onuma Park, Hakodate (Fort Goryokaku / Mt Hakodate Ropeway)
After breakfast, we will head to Lake Toya and take the Usuzan Ropeway to the observation deck and have a panoramic view of Lake Toya and neighboring Showa Shinzan. Along the way we stop at the Lake Onuma before arrive in Hakodate. Hakodate was one of the first Treaty Ports in Japan which opened up to world trade in 1854, so there are many preserved buildings around the area from that time. We will continue our tour to visit Goryokaku Pentagonal Fort, built in 1868 and the only structure of its kind in Japan. The surrounding moat and defensive grounds are now a city park and gardens. In the evening, we will take a ropeway ride up to Mt Hakodate from where we can look down upon the twinkling lights that surround Hakodate Bay. The view from the mountain are spectacular and it's listed as Japan's three best night view alongside with the view from Nagasaki's Mount Inasa and Kobe's Mount Rokko.
Day 5 - Undersea Train from Hakodate to Aomori (Nebuta Warasse), Towada (Lake Towada / Oirase Gorge)
Today we will travel across the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu by train via the undersea train tunnel, before arriving to Aomori. We will visit the Nebuta Warasse, a well done museum about the Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori. Then we will visit Japan's third deepest lake - Lake Towada, a volcanic crater lake 44 km in circumference. We will go for a nature walk along the creek through Oirase Gorge. Over a dozen waterfalls cascade down into the stream all along its length from the walls of the gorge.The stream flows along the floor of the Oirase Gorge, winding among trees which a lush green in spring and summer and turn brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange from late October through early November.
Day 6 - Morioka (Morioka Handi - Works Square), Hiraizumi (Chusonji Temple)
In the morning we head to Morioka for a visit to the Morioka Handi-Works Square, a facility where you can “see, touch, and create” various traditional craftworks and foods of Morioka. Then, visit to Hiraizumi for a cultural interlude and to stroll around the magnificent Japanese Cedar Trees and photogenic buildings at Chusonji Temple. Hiraizumi is now listed as a World Heritage site and is home to Konjiki-do (Golden Hall) within Chusonji Temple, which attempts to re-create an ideal Buddhism world. As such, it is host to an ensemble of exquisite "culture of gold" remnants from the brand of Buddhism that developed independently in the Tohoku region far away from the cultural center of Kyoto in the late Heian era of the 11th century. UNESCO has recognized this area as being a globally rare example of local culture to manifest on such a high level in the transitional period from the ancient era to the medieval period. Tonight we will stay in Matsushima where we will have dinner in the hotel.
Day 7 - Matsushima (Matsushima Cruise / Godaido / Zuiganji Temple)
Today you will be visiting Matsushima, a picturesque bay full of pine tree covered small islands, where we explore ancient caves once frequented by meditating monks. Matsushima is famous for being one of Japan's three most scenic views alongside Miyajima and Amanohashidate. The bay is dotted by over 200 small islands covered by pine trees. We will take the best way to view the islands by boarding one of the sightseeing boat. We will then visit Godaido and Zuiganji Temple, the most famous in the Tohoku region, thatwas built by Date Masamune and is designated as a national treasure. Tonight, we will stay in the Onsen Ryokan at Kinugawa Onsen, where you can soak in the therapeutic water of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
Day 8 - Nikko (Toshogu Shrine / Futarasan-Shrine / Rinnoji Temple / Kegon Waterfall / Lake Chuzenji)
After a Japanese breakfast at the ryokan, we will start a tour of Nikko. The shrines and temples of Nikko, together with their natural surroundings, have for centuries been closely associated with the history of the Tokugawa Shoguns. We will visit the lavishly decorated Toshogu Shrine set in a grove of magnificent ancient Japanese cedars. Then, visit Futarasan-Shrine and the Rinnoji complex of Buddhist temples founded in 766 BC by the Buddhist hermit Shoto. Next is a visit to the Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall. The almost 100 meter tall Kegon Waterfall is the most famous of Nikko's many beautiful waterfalls. In fact, it is even ranked as one of Japan's three most beautiful falls, along with Nachi Waterfall in Wakayama Prefecture and Fukuroda Waterfall in Ibaraki Prefecture. In the evening, we will proceed to Tokyo for a night stay before your return flight on the next day.
Day 9 - Tour Ends
After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am and Narita Airport can be reached by hotel shuttle bus.
Travel through the enchanting natural beauty of Northern Japan, enjoying hidden-gems and stunning scenery along the way.
Go beyond the typical Japan itinerary and expereince the stunning views and attractions of Tohoku and Hokkaido, all while traveling in comfort aboard private coach. Our Charms of Northern Japan Tours are great for those looking to escape the bustling cities and see a more quiet side of Japan. Enjoy the perks of an English-speaking guide at your side, as you visit highlights of the North, including Sapporo, Hakodate, and Nikko. Enjoy seasonal attractions during each itinerary, such as the cherry blossoms of spring, the festivals and fireworks during summer, or the colorful autumn leaves of fall.
In Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, you will visit Otaru, a small harbor city known for its food and crafts. You will have the chance to admire the beautifully crafted glassware and enjoy the soothing sounds of music boxes at the Music Box Museum. Your next stop will be the capital of Hokkaido, Sapporo. Visit an open air museum to learn more about the large cty and visit Nijo Market, a fresh food market where vendors sell some of the freshest seafood in Japan! In southwestern Hokkaido, you will have the opportunity to spend the night at Noboribetsu, a place renowned for its hot spring resorts. Enjoy a stay at a Japanese-style hotel, where you can relax in the therapeutic bath waters of the hotel's own onsen (hot spring).
On your way to Hakodate, stop at Lake Toya, where you will take the Usuzan Ropeway up to the observation deck. Here, you can see the beautiful Lake Toya and Mt. Usu, an active volcano that last erupted in the year 2000. Once in the city of Hakodate, visit Goryokaku Pentagonal Fort, Japan's first Western style fortress. During the month of May, cherry blossoms decorate the surrounding park, or you can see the colors of autumn leaves in November. Travel on train through Seikan Undersea Tunnel, the longest railroad tunnel in the world that goes under water. During our summer itinerary, visit Aomori's Nebuta Matsuri, a spectacular summer festival where you can enjoy the large floats and the festive atmosphere. You will also visit Matsushima, famous for being one of the 'Three Most Beautiful Natural Sights in Japan'. Take a cruise around the bay, admiring the gorgeous scenery. In Nikko, explore the wonderfully ornate temples and shrines, such as Toshogu Shrine, where the famous carving of the “See no Evil, Hear no Evil and Speak no Evil” monkeys lies. Proceed to Kegon Waterfall, one of Japan's three most beautiful waterfalls with breathtaking views during our autumn itineraries.
Depending on the time of your visit, our special seasonal itineraries offer several wonderful attrctions and expereinces. See beautiful lavender fields in summer, visit a cherry blossom festival at Tenshochi Park in spring, or enjoy stunning views in autumn. These tours also available in reverse versions (travel from Tokyo to Sapporo), for those wishing to arrive early and stay extra nights in Tokyo. Let All Japan Tours take care of your special trip to Northern Japan!
Terms and Conditions:
- Prices stated are per person on twin-sharing basis and are subject to change without prior notice
- Arrival and/or departure airport transfer does not apply to guests who extend their stay before or after the main tour. Other conditions apply.
- Promotion discounts stated are subject to change without prior notice
- All arrangements are subject to availability upon booking
- Standard itinerary displayed is subject to change and may differ depending on season, duration of tour and tour dates
- Please request for details such as duration of tour and itinerary based on tour date
- Other terms and conditions apply.