AJT 9D Charms of Hokkaido
Designed for people who wish to discover the beauty and nature of Japan
Furano - Biei - Sounkyo - Abashiri - Shiretoko - Kushiro - Shiraoi - Noboribetsu - Lake Toya - Otaru -Sapporo
- Journey to Japan’s northernmost island, famous for its incredible scenery and wildlife.
- See the Snow Festivals of Hokkaido, featuring towering snow buildings and intricate ice sculptures.
- Avoid the seasonal crowds by booking a tour to see Hokkaido's cherry blossoms - the last sakura of the season!
- Enjoy the enchanting flowers of the summer season - especially lavenders of Furano and Biei, and Hokuryu's sunflowers!
- Explore the history of the Ainu at the National Ainu Museum at Shiraoi, and watch the Shiraoi Salmon Run in Autumn!
- Explore the port city of Otaru, and see the famed Otaru Canals, Sakaimachi Street, and Otaru Sushi District!
- Discover Hokkaido's capital city of Sapporo with sightseeing to Otaru Park, Nijo Market, and Susukino.
- Two tours extend to the main island - one for Kawazu cherry trees and snow monkeys, the other for wisteria and shibazakura!
- 6 nights Western style and 2 nights Japanese style accommodation
- Meet and greet upon arrival at Sapporo New Chitose Airport
- Private coach transfers between destinations in Japan
- Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide
- Meals: Daily breakfast, 6 lunches and 5 dinners
- Admission fees and activities: All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary
Lavenders & Summer Flowers: 18 Jul 2021 | 17 Jul 2022
Sunflowers & Summer Flowers: 15 Aug 2021 | 14 Aug 2022
Cherry Blossom: 1 May 2021/2022
Autumn Leaves & Salmon Run: 3 Oct 2021 | 2 Oct 2022
Winter Festival: 7 Feb 2021 | 6 Feb 2022
Special 13D Tour:
Cherry Blossoms, Baby Blue Eyes, Wisteria & Fuji Shibazakura : 1 May 2021/2022
Winter Festivals, Kawazu Cherry Blossoms & Snow Monkeys: 7 Feb 2021 | 6 Feb 2022
Itinerary In Brief
Day 1: Arrive in Sapporo
Day 2: Furano - Biei
Day 3: Sounkyo - Abashiri
Day 4: Shirtoko - Lake Mashu - Kushiro
Day 5: Shiraoi - Noboribetsu
Day 6: Lake Toya
Day 7: Otaru - Sapporo
Day 8: Sapporo
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 - Furano (Cheese Factory / Furano Winery / Tomita Farm - Furano Flower Fields), Biei (Blue Pond / Panorama Road / Shikisai Hill / Takushinkan)
On a private coach, we will travel to Furano. The flower fields of Furano offer a wide variety of flowers from June to September. One of the best spots to see the beautiful flowers against the Tokachi Mountains is Farm Tomita. In addition to flowers, Furano is celebrated for its local wine. Located on a hill overlooking the city, the Furano Winery is open to the public and there are free wine tastings. You can see how local camembert cheese is made at the Furano Cheese Factory. Sample the black cheese, which gets its color from squid ink, and a number of other cheeses at the factory shop. Don't forget to visit the ice cream factory and pizzeria, or participate in one of the many hands-on workshops. In the afternoon, we will proceed to Biei, a small town surrounded by a picturesque landscape of gently rolling hills and vast fields. Visit Blue Pond, then enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Panorama Road from the window. From the Larch tree grove running alongside the hills, to the overlapping layers of hills, the majesty of this landscape unfolds before your eyes. Among the area's highlights is Shikisai Hill, a spacious flower park with various flower fields. Stop by Takushinkan, an exhibition hall with beautiful landscape photography by renowned photographer Maeda Shinzo and his eldest son Akira. The exhibition displays landscape photographs from across Japan with an emphasis on photos from the local Biei region. Tonight, we will stay at the onsen ryokan at Sounkyo Onsen, where you can soak in the therapeutic waters of a spa bath and feast on a traditional Japanese Kaiseki banquet dinner.
Day 3 - Sounkyo (Ginga & Ryusei Waterfalls), Abashiri (Abashiri Prison Museum / Okhotsuku Ryu-hyo Museum)
After breakfast, we will explore the Sounkyo Gorge area including Ginga and Ryusei Watefalls. Enjoy beautiful scenery as we drive to Abashiri and visit Abashiri Prison Museum. Abashiri Prison was constructed in the 1890s to hold more than one thousand dangerous criminals. The prison gained national fame through a popular yakuza movie series by director Ishii Teruo in the 1960s. Following a major modernization of the Abashiri Prison in 1984, the prison's old buildings were moved into the Abashiri Prison Museum, which opened its doors to the public in 1985 as an open air museum. Next, visit Abashiri Drift Ice Museum, where we meet the curator and discover how the sea freezes here in winter. Stay at Shiretoko tonight and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Day 4 - Shiretoko (Shiretoko Nature Cruise), Lake Mashu, Kushiro (Akan International Crane Center / Kushiro Marshlands)
After breakfast discover nature treasures within Japan's newest World Heritage listed site, Shiretoko Peninsula, a mountainous wilderness protruding into the Sea of Okhotsk. We will take a small boat and cruise close to Shiretoko's sheer rocky cliffs and observe colonies of sea birds and brown bears. Then, we transfer to Lake Mashu where you can look down into the volcanic crater lake. Continue our journey to visit the Akan International Crane Center, a museum and breeding center and sanctuary for Tancho "Red- crowned" Cranes. Lastly, visit Kushiro Marshlands, the largest wetland in Japan, protected by the Ramsar Convention in 1980 and incorporated in the Kushiro Shitsugen National Park in 1987. We will spend a night at the Tokachikawa Onsen, renowned for its excellent spa waters where you can enjoy a relaxing soak.
Day 5 - Biratori (Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum), Noboribetsu (Jigokudani)
Today we get the opportunity to learn about the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan. At the 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. Then, we will drive past fields and mountains to Lake Toya for dinner and overnight accommodations. Lake Toya is part of Shikotsu-Toya National park, known for its beauty of nature and good hot spring, and was chosen for 100 beautiful landscapes of Japan in 2008. This is the 3rd largest caldera lake in Japan, about 42 km around, with 4 pretty islands, and is the habitat of many kinds of birds and deer. Tonight we will stay in a traditional Japanese style hotel offering hot spring baths with beautiful views of the lake.
Day 6 - Lake Toya (Lake Toya Boat Ride / Usuzan Ropeway / Showa Shinzan)
After breakfast, we will take a 30 minute cruise to Nakanoshima Island, an island in the middle of the Lake Toya where you can stroll the island and get acquainted to the local creatures. Then, head to Mt. Usu and take the Usuzan Ropeway to the observation deck and take in the panoramic views of Lake Toya and neighboring Showa Shinzan.
Day 7 - Otaru (Otaru Cannal / Glass Workshops / Music Box Museum), Sapporo (Clock Tower / Odori Park / Susukino)
In the morning we will travel to Otaru, renowned for its canals and glassblowing. 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 the afternoon, we will visit Sapporo and spend two nights there. The tour includes a visit to the Sapporo Clock Tower and Odori Park, where you can stroll along the promenade and sniff the summer blooms. The next stop is Susukino, Hokkaido's largest entertainment district. This evening is for you to enjoy your free time.
Day 8 - Sapporo (Nijo Market / Okurayama Ski Jump / Sapporo Beer Museum / Historic Village / Shiroi Koibito Park)
This 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 Okurayami Ski Jump where the 90 meter ski jump portion of the 1972 Winter Olympics was held. From there we will visit the Sapporo Beer Museum, dedicated to all things beer. Sapporo is Japan's oldest brewery and exports its beer throughout the world. At the Historic Village, you can view architecture from the Meiji and Taisho periods when Japan experienced rapid expansion. Then visit Shiroi Koibito Park, a theme park founded by a local chocolate company. Its famous Shiroi Koibito cookies, buttery cookies with a white chocolate center, are a favorite with locals and tourists alike.
Day 9 - Tour Ends
After breakfast, our tour officially ends. Checkout time is 11 am. Transfer to New Chitose Airport by Airport Limousine Bus.
With so many seasonal attractions, natural marvels, and a unique local culture, any time can be the right time to experience the Charms of Hokkaido!
Hokkaido is one of Japan's most underrated tour destinations, next to the exciting Tokyo or historic Kyoto. But Japan's northern island offers travelers a unique appeal all its own through its magnificent wonders of nature, indigenous history and culture, fantastic local festivals, and fresh seafood. Hokkaido boasts different beauties in each season, whether its bright lavender flowers in summer or a winter snow festival; the earliest autumn leaves or the last cherry blossoms of springtime. We are confident you will find at least one itinerary among our selection with the charms of Hokkaido that appeal to you!
Hokkaido is probably most synonymous with winter fun, and some of our itineraries are geared toward helping you make the most out of a winter vacation. All our tours start in Sapporo, and the Sapporo Snow Festival is arguably Japan's most famous winter festival, although we take you to four incredible winter festivals. Hokkaido has many amusements that take full advantage of the season, including a cruise through drift ice off the coast of Abashiri, a tour of the Otokoyama Sake Brewery, or a walk through an Ice Pavilion at Kamikawa.
As the weather gets warmer, Hokkaido shows of a vibrant array of floral beauties, including fields of lavender flowers in Furano and Biei, tall sunflowers in Hokuryu Town, and of course, Japan's last cherry blossoms of spring, finally reaching Hokkaido in early May. Hokkaido has plenty of attractions to enjoy at this time of the year. Take a nature cruise in Shiretoko where bears roam free, or pick fresh seasonal fruit on a farm by Lake Toya, and much, much more. When autumn finally arrives, travelers can enjoy the changing autumn colors and the Salmon Run of Shiraoi.
We include experiences that allow our guests to explore the culture unique to Hokkaido. Learn about the indigenous Ainu people at the National Ainu Museum. Stroll the canals in Otaru, then explore the port city's glass-blowing industry. Explore the prison museum of Abashiri for a look into the life of prisoners during the Meiji era. Taste fresh live crab and sample the local brew on a tour of the Asahi Beer Brewery in Hokkaido's capital city - Sapporo.
We carefully plan our tours based on seasonal attractions with must see sites in every tour. Find out more on the tours featuring cherry blossoms, lavenders, sunflowers, autumn leaves and Sapporo Snow Festival.
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.