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2017 Autumn Hokkaido and Tohoku

October 12 -  23, 2017 (12 days and 10 nights)

** Guaranteed Departure **

Tours are operated by Aloha World, a tour division of Kobayashi Travel Service

 Traveling to Honshu through Seikan Undersea Tunnel on Hokkaido Shinkansen

$100 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT
(deposit must be made by 01/31/2017)

Narita, Chitose, Otaru, Kaitaku Kinenkan (Historical Museum), Sapporo, Odori Park, Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, Lake Shikotsu, Poroto-kotan (Shiraoi Ainu Museum), Noboribetsu, Jigokudani (Hell Valley), Mt. Showa Shin-zan, Usu-zan Ropeway, Hakodate, Fort Goryokaku, Goryokaku Tower, Hakodate Morning Market, Seikan Undersea Tunnel, Aomori, Nebuta Warasse, Apple Picking, Oirase River Valley, Morioka, Morioka Tezukuri Mura, Hiraizumi, Geibi-kei Gorge, Matsushima Bay, Fukushima, Kiku-Matsuri (Crysanthemum Festival), Iimoriyama Hill, Aizu Buke Yashiki (Samurai Mansion), Inawashiro, Nikko, Tosho-gu Shrine, Tobu World Square, Odaiba, Haneda

TWIN RATE:
$ 4,795 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
$ 595 per person
LAND ONLY:
$ 3,695 per person
 
(Individual arrangements to meet group are not included)
 

Thursday, October 12 (Day 01)
HONOLULU to NARITA to CHITOSE
Our tour commences this morning when we assemble at the check-in lobby at the airport for baggage check-in procedures. We will depart Honolulu for Narita International Airport. A meal and a snack will be served on board the flight.

Friday, October 13 (Day 02)
ARRIVE NARITA to CHITOSE
On arrival at Narita Airport, we'll clear entry and customs formalities, then transfer to check-in for our domestic flight to Chitose International Airport in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost and second largest island. On arrival at Chitose Airport, we'll transfer to our hotel to check-in for the night.

Accommodations at CHITOSE AIR TERMINAL HOTEL or similar

Saturday, October 14 (Day 03)
CHITOSE - OTARU - SAPPORO (B)(D)
This morning, we'll travel to Otaru, a charming port city facing Ishikari Bay located in western Hokkaido. A well-known symbol of the city is Otaru Canal, adorned with Victorian-style street lamps and old warehouses, providing a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere. Many of the buildings along the canal have been restored into museums, restaurants, and shops. Enjoy strolling through Sakaimachihondori, a preserved merchant street in the center of the town to browse through the sweet shops, glassware shops and a unique music box museum. In front of the entrance to the building stands an old-fashioned steam clock, presented to Otaru by the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Otaru is also noted for its intricate glassware featuring its most popular item - a drip-free soy sauce bottle. Created in all sizes, shapes and colors, you'll find them available at 'Sa Shi Su Se So', an outlet shop specializing in soy sauce bottles. We'll visit Kaitaku Kinenkan, (The Historical Museum of Hokkaido) located in the Nopporo Forest Park. The museum features interesting exhibits that document the history of Hokkaido from millions of years ago to modern times in eight separate areas. We'll continue on to spend the night in Sapporo, the largest and capital city of Hokkaido. This evening, dinner will be provided for you at a local restaurant.

Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar

Sunday, October 15 (Day 04)
SAPPORO - LAKE SHIKOTSU - SHIRAOI - NOBORIBETSU (B)(D)
Experience an exciting ride on the chairlift at the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, a ski jumping venue located on the eastern slopes of Mt. Okura. Weather permitting, enjoy spectacular views over Sapporo city at the top on the observation deck. The stadium has hosted a number of winter sports events, including the 1972 Winter Olympics and FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 2007. Currently, it is used primarily as a training facility for athletes at Nordic events. We'll travel south to scenic Lake Shikotsu, Japan's second largest caldera lake, part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Due to the small surface area to depth ratio, the water temperature of this lake remains constant throughout the year, making it the northernmost ice-free lake in Japan. We'll continue on to the town of Shiraoi, visiting Poroto-kotan (Shiraoi Ainu Museum), an outdoor reproduction of a small Ainu Village. Interesting exhibits and artifacts are displayed in the museum relating to the history, culture, and lifestyle of the Ainu - the indigenous people of northern Japan. Traditionally dressed Ainu men and women will perform a traditional song and dance in a cises (a thatched house). One of the villagers will demonstrate how to play the mukkuri (mouth harp), an Ainu musical instrument made of a piece of thin shaved bamboo with a thread attached to it. We'll continue on to spend the night in a beautiful hotel in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido's most famous hot spring resort. Before checking-in, we'll visit Jigokudani (Hell Valley), a spectacular ravine located just above the town of Noboribetsu. Hot steam vents, sulfurous streams, and other volcanic activity can be viewed at this magnificent site - the main source of Noboribetsu's hot spring waters. Enjoy dinner and relax in the fabulous onsen at the hotel this evening.

Accommodations at NOBORIBETSU GRAND HOTEL or similar

Monday, October 16 (Day 05)
NOBORIBETSU - LAKE TOYA - MT. SHOWA SHINZAN - HAKODATE (B)(D)
Lake Toya webWe'll travel along the scenic Uchiura Bay to Toya-ko, a large and attractive caldera lake located in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. This region features one of Japan's youngest and still active volcanoes - Mt. Showa Shinzan. Located on the east flank of Mt. Usu, Showa Shinzan was created as a result of hundreds of explosive eruptions and mudslides. Hissing steam still escapes through some of the fissures of this new mountain. Weather permitting, enjoy a ride on the Usu-zan Ropeway to the observation deck to get a close-up view of the volcano's summit with panoramic views of Lake Toya and the neighboring Showa Shinzan. We'll continue our drive around Uchiura Bay to the seaport city of Hakodate, Hokkaido's third largest city located at the island's southern tip, to spend the night. En-route, we'll make a stop at Kombu-kan, a kelp shop offering a wide variety of kombu and kombu-related products. On arrival in Hakodate, we'll visit Fort Goryokaku, a massive star-shaped Western-style citadel, built originally for the defense of the city. After the fort lost its military importance, it was eventually transformed into a public park. Enjoy a bird's eye view of this star-shaped fortress and the city from the observation deck at Goryokaku Tower. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at LA VISTA HAKODATE BAY HOTEL or similar

Tuesday, October 17 (Day 06)
HAKODATE - SEIKAN UNDERSEA TUNNEL - AOMORI (B)(D)
This morning, we'll enjoy an exciting shopping excursion at the Hakodate (asaichi) Morning Market, a busy marketplace with many indoor and outdoor local vendors offering a huge selection of dried seafood products such as scallops, squid, cuttlefish, and a nice variety of seaweed-related products. Also available are hand-made craftwork, souvenirs, clothing, and more. Have fun bargaining with the various vendors for the best discounted prices for your merchandise. We'll proceed to the Hakodate Railway Station to board the 'Hokkaido Shinkansen', traveling through the Seikan Undersea Tunnel that connects Hokkaido to the island of Honshu. We'll arrive in Aomori, the northernmost capital city of Aomori Prefecture on Honshu Island to spend the night. On arrival, we'll visit Nebuta No Ie Warasse, an interesting museum dedicated to the city's famous Nebuta Matsuri (Nebuta Festival) held annually during the summer. The museum is housed in a unique building along Aomori's waterfront district and features photos and images to provide you with a glimpse of the 300-year history of the Nebuta Matsuri. Admire the intricate craftsmanship and details of several floats used for past festivals displayed in the showroom. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.

Accommodations at AOMORI SUNROUTE HOTEL or similar

Wednesday, October 18 (Day 07)
AOMORI - LAKE TOWADA - MORIOKA (B)
Lake Towada ko AutumnAomori prefecture is also noted as Japan's largest producer of apples and you'll find many apple-related products available at many of the souvenir shops in this prefecture. We'll visit an apple orchard to enjoy an apple picking experience (subject to availability). Our travels continue on to enjoy a relaxing drive along the picturesque Oirase River Valley, one of Japan's major tourist attractions of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park during the autumn season. The Oirase stream flows along the scenic Oirase Gorge, winding among trees with brilliant red, yellow and orange colors together with waterfalls cascading down into the stream from the walls of the gorge. We'll drive by scenic Towada-ko, the largest crater lake on Honshu Island. Located on the border between Aomori and Akita prefectures, its bright blue color is due to its great depth and is noted as the third-deepest lake in Japan. We'll continue on to spend the night in Morioka, one of the most appealing old castle towns in Japan with a long history of ironware production. We'll visit Morioka Tezukuri Mura (Handy Works Center), a village with several workshops featuring hand-crafted traditional goods such as wooden toys, pottery, tie-dyed merchandise, cast ironware and more. Enjoy the experience of making your own nambu senbei at one of the workshops. Dinner will be on your own this evening to try some of the local cuisine offered at one of the restaurants located at the train station near the hotel. Specialties of Morioka are wanko-soba (soba noodles served in tiny bowls) and reimen (cold firm Chinese noodles).

Accommodations at HOTEL METROPOLITAN MORIOKA or similar

Thursday, October 19 (Day 08)
MORIOKA - HIRAIZUMI - MATSUSHIMA (B)(D)
Our tour continues on to enjoy a relaxing ride on the peaceful waters of Geibi-kei Gorge in a flat-bottomed boat. This scenic gorge is located outside of the city of Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture. Enjoy the natural scenery with impressive tall cliffs and rock formations as we glide on the shallow river through the gorge, navigated with a serenading boatman on board. Weather permitting, the fall colors should be at their peak this time of the year. We'll continue on to Shiogama Pier to board a ferry and enjoy a scenic cruise on Matsushima Bay with hundreds of tiny islands covered with pine trees floating in the bay. This breathtaking view is noted as one of the three most beautiful sights of Japan - Nihon Sankei. We'll arrive at the pier in the town of Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture. Enjoy strolling through the souvenir shops lined along the main street of this quaint little town. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs at our hotel this evening in Matsushima.

Accommodations at MATSUSHIMA ICHINOBO or similar

Friday, October 20 (Day 09)
MATSUSHIMA - FUKUSHIMA - NIHONMATSU - INAWASHIRO (B)(D)
Kiku Matsuri   Tohoku AutumnKokeshi dolls (Japanese dolls) are one of the most popular and famous traditional folk craft product in the Tohoku area. These dolls are handmade from wood with a simple trunk and an enlarged head with no arms or legs. We'll visit the Miyagi Zao Kokeshi Museum to enjoy a hands-on experience of drawing your own features on a kokeshi doll to take home as a souvenir. Our journey continues on to Nihonmatsu, a city located in Fukushima Prefecture in northern Honshu. The main attraction here in the autumn season is to visit the Kiku-Matsuri (Chrysanthemum Festival) held annually on the grounds of Kasumigajo Castle. Stroll through the grounds of the castle to view beautiful and unique displays of brightly-colored chrysanthemum flowers, some draped on mannequins depicting various historical or mythical figures from Japanese culture, kabuki actors, and characters from the NHK Taiga drama historical TV series. These flowers were introduced into Japan in the 8th century from China and the Emperor has adopted this flower as his official seal. We'll visit the famous Aizu Buke Yashiki (Samurai Mansion), a residence that served as the quarters of the region's most important and highest-ranked samurai, including his family, employees, and servants. The original complex has been reconstructed and furnished to replicate its appearance during the Edo Period. We'll continue on to spend the night in the town of Inawashiro, located in the northern Aizu region of Fukushima prefecture. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs at our onsen hotel this evening.

Accommodations at HOTEL LISTEL INAWASHIRO or similar

Saturday, October 21 (Day 10)
INAWASHIRO - NIKKO - KINUGAWA ONSEN (B)(D)
This morning, we'll visit Iimoriyama, the site where twenty young Aizu soldiers of the Byakkotai (White Tiger Force) committed seppuku (ritual suicide) when they presumed that their castle Tsuruga-jo was on fire and all was lost. On the top of the hillside are several monuments including the nineteen tombs for the Byakkotai soldiers. Although there were twenty of them, one of the boys was not successful in his suicide attempt. Along the pathway down from the hillside are several monuments, statues, and other buildings of interest devoted to the Byakkotai. We'll continue on to Nikko, a small town located at the entrance to Nikko National Park, one of Japan's major tourist attractions due to its splendid shrines and beautiful autumn foliage. Nikko is famous for Toshogu Shrine - Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Consisting of many Shinto and Buddhist buildings set in a beautiful wooded forest, Toshogu Shrine is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate who ruled Japan for over 250 years. A huge stone torii (Shinto Shrine Gate) and a beautiful red and gold five-story pagoda marks the entrance to the shrine. This evening, enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs at our hotel in Kinugawa Onsen.

Accommodations at KINUGAWA PARK HOTEL or similar

Sunday, October 22 (Day 11)
KINUGAWA ONSEN - ODAIBA/TOKYO (B)
Odaiba TokyoEnjoy a visit to Tobu World Square, a theme park located at Kinugawa Onsen, featuring replicas of famous buildings from around the world. Models include ancient monuments, cultural treasures, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites reproduced with miniature detailed cars, trains, gardens, and 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 - featuring the White House and a section of downtown New York City. We'll continue on to Odaiba, a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay to spend the night. Situated across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo, the island was initially built for defensive purposes but has since developed into a popular tourist attraction with a wide selection of shopping, dining & leisure options. After checking in, the day will be at your leisure to explore Odaiba at your own pace. Visit and shop at some of the malls located within walking distance of the hotel. A free Bay Shuttle is available from the hotel to take you to select locations in Odaiba. Dinner will be on your own this evening.

Accommodations at HOTEL GRAND NIKKO TOKYO DAIBA or similar

Monday, October 23 (Day 12)
ODAIBA - HANEDA TO HONOLULU (B)
The morning is at your leisure to enjoy more shopping or to explore more of Odaiba on your own. In the afternoon, we will transfer to Haneda Airport to check-in for our flight. On arrival at the airport, we'll transfer by shuttle bus to the Haneda International Terminal for our flight home to Honolulu, arriving in the morning on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line. A late meal will be served on board the flight.

 

 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 8/1/16. Tour fare is subject to change according to any airfare increase, increase in government taxes, 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.

Land portion based on 110 Yen = $1.00 U.S


Tour Registration Form
2017 General Conditions (Japan/International)

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Traveling to Honshu through Seikan Undersea Tunnel on Hokkaido Shinkansen