Sunday, April 28 (Day 01)
HONOLULU TO NARITA
Our tour commences this morning when we assemble at the departure lobby at the airport for baggage check-in procedures. We will depart Honolulu for Narita International Airport. A meal will be served on board the flight.
Monday, April 29 (Day 02)
ARRIVE NARITA - YOKOHAMA
We’ll arrive Narita International Airport in the early afternoon. After completing entry and customs formalities, we’ll proceed to spend two nights in Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city, capital of Kanagawa prefecture.
Accommodations at Yokohama Bay Sheraton Hotel & Towers or similar
Tuesday, April 30 (Day 03)
Enjoy a walk through the narrow streets of Yokohama Chukagai, Japan’s largest Chinatown, offering a wide array of delicious Chinese dishes for you to try in the various restaurants and food stands. Located in the center of Chinatown is a gaudily colored temple - Kanteibyo - dedicated to the Chinese god of good business and prosperity. Enjoy a stroll through Sankeien - a spacious Japanese-style garden featuring a pond, small streams, and a variety of flowers. A number of historic buildings transplanted from around Japan include the three-story pagoda of Kyoto’s old Tomyo-ji Temple, tea houses, and an elegant daimyo (feudal lord) residence. One of Japan’s four leading beer breweries is the Kirin Brewery Company that played a leading role in Japan’s adoption of beer from the west. We’ll visit the Kirin Beer Village on a brewery tour explaining the process of beer production, including beer tasting. Built largely on reclaimed land, Minato Mirai 21 is a seaside urban area whose name means “harbor of the future”. Located along the waterfront, the buildings form a distinctive skyline of Yokohama with the Landmark Tower as the most recognizable feature. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.
Accommodations at Yokohama Bay Sheraton Hotel & Towers or similar
Wednesday, May 1 (Day 04)
YOKOHAMA - KAMAKURA - HAKONE - LAKE KAWAGUCHI (B)(D)
We’ll travel to the city of Kamakura, renowned for the huge monumental bronze statue of Amida Buddha, the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan, surpassed by the statue at Nara’s Todaiji Temple. Weighing close to 93 tons, the Great Buddha was originally housed in a temple, but today sits serenely in the lotus position in the open court on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple. We’ll continue our travel to Hakone - part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park - best known for its volcanic hot springs and natural beauty. Enjoy a relaxing boat cruise on scenic Lake Ashino-ko, a beautiful crater lake formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone. The lake, with a view of Japan’s most famous mountain Mt. Fuji in the background, is the symbol of Hakone. We’ll continue on to the scenic Fuji Five Lake region in Yamanashi prefecture to spend the night at a beautiful hotel overlooking Lake Kawaguchi, one of the most popular of the Fuji Five Lakes. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs of our hotel this evening.
Accommodations at Fuji View Hotel or similar
Thursday, May 2 (Day 05)
LAKE KAWAGUCHI - KOFU (B)(D)
Located lakeside of Lake Motosu, thousands of vivid variations of shibazakura (moss pink phlox flowers), stretch out to create a gorgeous carpet of brilliant pink petals at Fuji Shibazakura with an awe-inspiring view of Mt. Fuji as a backdrop. At the Fuji International Flower Garden, enjoy a breathtaking display of begonias and a beautiful variety of flowers in bloom as you stroll through the garden. We’ll visit Shira-ito-no-taki (white thread falls), located on the lower slopes of Mt. Fuji just inside the Yamanashi border. Small streams of water trickle down from the rocks in a wide arch, creating a vast white cascade. The water comes from Mt. Fuji, flowing down via the Kaotou River. Neighboring Otodome Falls, a thundering torrent, is an amazing contrast to Shira-ito-no-taki. Mt. Minobu, one of Yamanashi’s 100 best mountains in the Minami Alps, offers a stunning view of the Yatsugatake mountains beyond the Southern Alps, with Mt. Fuji and Suruga Bay to the south-east. Weather permitting, Mt. Minobu is also famous for its weeping cherry blossoms in bloom at this time of the year. We’ll visit Takeda Jinja, a Shinto shrine located in Kofu city that houses the kami of Takeda Shingen Ko, the renowned general of the civil war period in the 16th century. We’ll spend the night at a hotel in Kofu city, capital of Yamanashi prefecture. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.
Accommodations at KOFU FUJIYA HOTEL or similar
Friday, May 3 (Day 06)
KOFU - MATSUMOTO - NAGANO (B)(D)
Enjoy a visit of Mitake Shosenkyo Gorge - part of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, noted as one of Japan’s most beautiful gorge. Located along the Arakawa River, enjoy the spectacular scenery with its forested valley, beautiful waterfalls, and interestingly shaped rocks and stones - many of which are named after animals or items they resemble. The highlight of the gorge is Kakuenbo (a giant rock) and the beautiful Sengataki Fall. Weather permitting, we’ll proceed to Takato Joshi Koen, a park in the city of Nagano to view thousands of Takato-kohigan-zakura - a hybrid of cherry blossoms. These tall trees with small, deep pink flowers are found only in Takato and admired as the most beautiful in Japan. The forest of these cherry trees in bloom harmonizes beautifully with the snowscape of the Chuo Alps and is designated a natural treasure by Nagano prefecture. We’ll continue on to the town of Hodaka to visit the Daio Wasabi (Japanese Horseradish) Farm, one of Japan’s largest wasabi farm. A nice selection of wasabi-themed products are available in the shops, including fresh wasabi and wasabi flavored ice cream. We’ll continue on to spend the evening in Nagano, a city known for its beautiful mountainous terrain consisting of the northern, central and southern ranges of the breathtaking Japan Alps. Dinner will be provided for you this evening.
Accommodations at MATSUSHIRO ROYAL HOTEL or similar
Saturday, May 4 (Day 07)
NAGANO - YUDANAKA ONSEN (B)(D)
We’ll visit Zenko-ji Temple, a Buddhist temple in Nagano, famous historically for its involvement in the battles between Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen in the 16th century. Currently, Zenko-ji is one of the last remaining pilgrimage sites in Japan. A photo stop will be made at Kawanakajima Ancient Battlefield, the location where the five epic battles took place between Uesugi and Takeda to secure the northern territory of Nagano. We’ll visit the Tanaka Honke Museum Garden, the huge estate of a politically powerful and wealthy Japanese family. The museum features the expensive clothing, art, earthenware items, and everyday items used by the Tanaka family over the generations from the middle of the Edo period to the Showa period. We’ll continue on to spend the evening at Yudanaka Onsen, a prominent hot spring resort in Yamanouchi, a municipality in northern Nagano prefecture. The area is best known for the Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Jigokudani Monkey Park), featuring unique wild monkeys who bathe in the park’s natural hot springs. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs of our onsen hotel.
Accommodations at HOTEL HOSHIKAWA-KAN or similar
Sunday, May 5 (Day 08)
YUDANAKA ONSEN - JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK - KUSATSU ONSEN (B)(D)
This morning, we’ll visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park, the chosen home for more than a hundred Japanese Macaques, Japan’s indigenous monkeys, also known as Snow Monkeys. Enjoy the unique experience to observe these wild monkeys bathing in a natural hot spring. From the forest of the Jigokudani Valley nearby the onsen town of Yudanaka, they descend to sit in the warm waters of the onsen, then return to the forest in the evenings. The monkeys live together in large social groups and can be quite entertaining to watch their interactions. We’ll drive through the snow corridor at Shibu Pass to enter Kusatsu Onsen - one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts due to its water quality. The sulfurous, highly-acidic water has been considered among Japan’s best for centuries as a treatment for health ailments that include arthritis and fatigue. A bath related attraction in Kusatsu is yumomi - a traditional method of cooling down hot spring water to bathing temperature by stirring the water with a large wooden paddle. This process is accompanied with the singing of a local folk song and a dance performance. Yumomi is held daily at the Netsunoyu Bath House, located next to the Yubatake, a hot water field that is one of the resort’s main sources of hot spring water.
Accommodations at HOTEL NAKAZAWA VILLAGE or similar
Monday, May 6 (Day 09)
KUSATSU ONSEN - TAKASAKI (B)(D)
On the foothills of Mt. Akagi lies the Gunma Flower Park, an enchanting landscape with huge flowerbeds full of various kinds of colorful tulips. Also featured in the park are five greenhouses including a begonia house, a Hydrangea Garden with thousands of colorful hydrangea surrounded by various other gardens, and a Flatopia (Flowerbed) covered with many varieties of flowers in bloom. Weather permitting, cherry blossoms should be in bloom at the spectacular Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura, a stretch of thousands of cherry blossom trees located on the southern slopes of Mt. Akagi. The gorgeous cherry blossoms together with the beautiful moss phlox create a most breathtaking scene. We’ll continue on to overnight in Takasaki, a city in Gunma prefecture. Takasaki is famous as the hometown of the popular Daruma Doll - a hollow, round, traditional Japanese doll modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism - regarded as a symbol of perseverance and good luck. Dinner will be provided for you this evening.
Accommodations at TAKASAKI VIEW HOTEL or similar
Tuesday, May 7 (Day 10)
TAKASAKI - ASHIKAGA - TATEBAYASHI - ODAIBA (TOKYO) (B)
Japanese people love flowers, and wisteria (fuji) are among their favorites. One of the best places to view these elegant flowers is at the Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashikaga city. Weather permitting, enjoy a stroll through the park featuring a breathtaking view of blue, white, and pink wisteria, including one large tree with its branches supported and spread out to create a huge umbrella. We’ll travel to Tatebayashi, a small and quiet town in Gunma prefecture with an event that they can be proud of - displaying koi-no-bori (carp streamers), a symbol of courage. The city commemorates the celebration of Children’s Day by flowing thousands of these carp streamers along the Tsuruuda River. We’ll visit Tsutsujigaoka Park, the largest azalea park in Japan featuring thousands of azaleas representing over fifty varieties in-bloom around Jonuma Pond. We’ll continue on to spend the night at a beautiful hotel on the large artificial island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay, located across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo. Dinner will be on your own this evening.
Accommodations at GRAND PACIFIC LE DAIBA or similar
Wednesday, May 8 (Day 11)
TOKYO - NARITA TO HONOLULU (B)
The day is free at your leisure for independent activities until our departure to the airport. We’ll depart in the afternoon to check-in for our evening flight home to Honolulu, arriving in the morning on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line. A light meal will be served on board the flight.