July 2 - 13, 2017 (12 days and 10 nights)
** Guaranteed Departure **
Tours are operated by Aloha World, a tour division of Kobayashi Travel Service
$100 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT
(deposit must be made by 11/15/2016)
Narita, Chitose, Lake Shikotsu, Shiraoi, Porotokotan (Shiraoi Ainu Museum), Jigokudani, Noboribetsu Onsen, Lake Toya, Mt. Showa Shinzan, Usuzan Ropeway, Fruit Picking, Otaru, Sapporo, Furano, Farm Tomita, Biei, Otokoyama Sake Brewery, Asahikawa, Sarobetsu Primeval Flower Garden, Wakkanai, Wakkanai Koen, Cape Soya, Lake Kutcharo, Sounkyo Gorge, Abashiri, Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum, Abashiri Prison Museum, Oshin Koshin Waterfall, Shiretoko Peninsula, Shiretoko-Go-Ko, Lake Mashu, Lake Akan, Marimo Exhibition and Observation Center, Tokachigawa, Sapporo, Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium, Kaitaku Kinenkan (Hokkaido Historical Museum), Asahi Beer Brewery, Chitose, Haneda
$ 4,795 per person
$ 595 per person
$ 3,895 per person
Sunday, July 2 (Day 01)
HONOLULU to NARITA
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 our flight to Narita International Airport. Lunch and a snack will be served on board the flight.
Monday, July 3 (Day 02)
ARRIVE NARITA to CHITOSE
On arrival at Narita Airport, we'll clear entry and customs formalities, then transfer to the domestic lobby to check-in for our flight to Chitose in Hokkaido, the second largest and northernmost island of Japan. We'll arrive Chitose Airport in the evening, then transfer to our hotel located in the airport terminal to check-in for the night.
Accommodations at CHITOSE AIR TERMINAL HOTEL or similar
Tuesday, July 4 (Day 03)
CHITOSE - SHIRAOI - NOBORIBETSU (B)(D)
We'll travel to visit picturesque Lake Shikotsu, Japan's second deepest and northernmost caldera lake located in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. This scenic lake was formed from collapses in the earth after volcanic activity and is encircled by mountains, one of which is Mount Tarumae. We'll continue on to the town of Shiraoi, visiting Porotokotan (Shiraoi Ainu Museum), an outdoor reproduction of a small Ainu village. Interesting exhibits and artifacts are displayed in the conventional museum relating to the history, culture, and lifestyle of the Ainu - the indigenous people of northern Japan. Enjoy a traditional Ainu song and dance performance in a chise (Ainu home) performed by some of the villagers, including a demonstration of how to play the mukkur, a kind of mouth harp made of a piece of thin-shaved bamboo with a thread attached to it. We'll continue on to spend the night in an onsen resort in Noboribetsu, one of Hokkaido's most famous hot spring resort surrounded by forested hills. Before checking-in, we'll visit Jigokudani (Hell Valley), a spectacular ravine located just above the town of Noboribetsu. Displays of 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 a delicious dinner and relax in the indoor and outdoor baths of our fabulous onsen hotel this evening.
Accommodations at NOBORIBETSU GRAND HOTEL or similar
Wednesday, July 5 (Day 04)
NOBORIBETSU - LAKE TOYA - NIKI - OTARU - SAPPORO (B)
Our travel continues on to view scenic Lake Toya, a large volcanic caldera lake located in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. This picturesque lake was chosen as the location of the G8 summit which Japan hosted in the summer of 2008. In addition to the lake, this region features Mt. Showa Shinzan, one of Japan's youngest and still active volcanoes. Showa Shinzan originally emerged as a little bump, but after a series of earthquakes and mud slides, continued to surge upwards to reach its present height. It is an awesome sight to see as it sits there hissing steam. Mt. Usu-zan, the force behind the creation of Showa Shinzan can be seen in the distance. Enjoy a ride on the Usuzan Ropeway to the observation deck offering a close-up view of the volcano's summit, panoramic views of Lake Toya and the neighboring Showa Shinzan. We'll travel to Niki, a town known for its fruit orchards, to enjoy a fruit picking adventure. We'll continue on to visit 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. Many of the buildings along the canal have been restored into museums, restaurants, and shops. Enjoy strolling through Sakaimachi Dori, a preserved merchant street featuring several cafes, glassware and sweet shops, and a unique music box museum. Standing at the front entrance of the museum is an old-fashioned steam clock, presented to Otaru by the city of Vancouver. 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, this is one of the most popular souvenir to bring home for your family and friends. We'll continue on to spend the night in Sapporo, capital city of Hokkaido. Dinner will be on your own this evening.
Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar
Thursday, July 6 (Day 05)
SAPPORO - FURANO - BIEI - ASAHIKAWA (B)(D)
Our journey continues on to Furano, a city located in the geographical center of Hokkaido. The city is best-known for its beautiful fields of lavender flowers in bloom during the summer season. We'll visit Farm Tomita, one of Hokkaido's premier flower farms to view a variety of beautiful seasonal flowers neatly planted in rows - creating a 'colorful rainbow field' of flowers. The farm features various fields of flowers, several greenhouses, and cafes. The highlight is to enjoy the view of a purple carpet of lavender at one of the oldest lavender fields in Japan, together with the rural landscape of the Furano Valley and the Tokachi Mountains. We'll drive north through the picturesque town of Biei, noted as the 'town of beautiful hills'. The scenic view of its vast fields, hills and trees has been used as a backdrop for many Japanese commercials and television programs. We'll continue on to spend the night in Asahikawa, Hokkaido's second largest city. The island of Hokkaido is known to have the ideal climate and water conditions to produce superior sake. For sake enthusiasts, Otokoyama is Asahikawa's most famous sake - both within Japan and worldwide. We'll visit the Otokoyama Sake Brewery & Museum, featuring the sake making process and to see the tools utilized in the making of sake. At the conclusion of the tour, some of their delicious products will be available for you to sample and enjoy. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.
Accommodations at ASAHIKAWA GRAND HOTEL or similar
Friday, July 7 (Day 6)
ASAHIKAWA - HORONOBE - WAKKANAI (B)(D)
We'll travel on a scenic route north through the towns of Horonobe and Toyotomi to spend the night in Wakkanai, a city located at the northern fringe of Hokkaido. Enroute, we'll visit the Sarobetsu Primeval Flower Garden, home to hundreds of alpine wetland plants and delicate flowers (weather permitting). On arrival in Wakkanai, we'll visit Wakkanai Koen, a large park offering commanding views of the area. Featured in the park are several interesting monuments including the 'Monument to Nine Ladies' - a memorial commemorating the nine female operators working at a Sakhalin Island telegraph station who committed suicide at the post office after they learned about the fall of Karafuto (Sakhalin) to Russian troops. Also featured in the park is a 'Monument to Taro and Jiro', two Siberian huskies that an Antarctic expedition was forced to leave behind. When the trainer returned with another expedition the following year, much to his surprise, he was warmly greeted by the two dogs who had survived a whole Antarctic winter. Their story is detailed in the 1983 film Nankyoku Monogatari. Weather permitting, you may be able to see Rishiri Island and Rebun Island - two windswept islands off the northern tip. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.
Accommodations at ANA CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL WAKKANAI or similar
Saturday, July 8 (Day 07)
WAKKANAI - LAKE KUTCHARO - NAYORO - SOUNKYO (B)(D)
This morning, we'll visit Soya-Misaki (Cape Soya), located at the northernmost point of the island of Hokkaido and Japan - a lonely but significant spot. To commemorate this fact stands a large 'Northernmost Point Monument' - a gray concrete triangle engraved with accomplishments. Located nearby is the 'Statue of Mamiya Rinzo', a Japanese explorer from the Edo period famous for his explorations and mapping of Karafuto (Sakhalin) and discovering it was an island. In the hills behind the cape near the lighthouse are several additional monuments: The 'Tower of Prayer' - a memorial of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 that was shot down in 1983 with its tip pointing toward the direction where the plane went down, and the 'Bell for World Peace', a replica of the bell located in the garden opposite the United Nations Building in New York. We'll continue our journey south to view Lake Kutcharo, a world famous wetlands area that is home to thousands of swans that migrates from northern Siberia to Japan during the winter season. We'll continue on to spend the night in Sounkyo - a popular hot-spring resort located in the Daisetsu-zan National Park. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs of our onsen hotel this evening.
Accommodations at CHOYO RESORT HOTEL or similar
Sunday, July 9 (Day 08)
SOUNKYO - KITAMI - ABASHIRI (B)(D)
The largest of Japan's national parks - Daisetsu-zan - contains the very essence of rugged Hokkaido: vast plains, soaring mountain peaks, hidden gorges, cascading waterfalls, forests, and wilderness. The main route through the park is Sounkyo Gorge - a scenic ravine that extends into the park. For a 5-mile stretch, sheer cliffs rise on both sides of the canyon as the road winds through the mountain. This tame gorge is renowned for its picturesque waterfalls featuring two of the main ones: Ryusei-no-taki (Shooting Star Falls) and Ginga-no-taki (Milky Way Falls). We'll make a photo stop to view both of these falls before continuing on to Abashiri, a city overlooked by Mount Tento-zan and the Sea of Okhotsk. On arrival in Abashiri, we'll visit the Abashiri Prison Museum, consisting of many buildings which were in use until the year 1984. Only the most heinous criminals were banished to this forbidden northern outpost known as the 'Alcatraz' of Japan. The prison cells, watch towers, and prison farm buildings show how stark and monotonous life was for inmates, relieved only by restricted bathhouse visits. Anguished-looking mannequins bring it all to life as we retrace the history of convict labor and the harsh life of a prisoner on a tour of this open-air site. A visit to the Okhotsk Ryuhyo (drift ice) Museum located on Mount Tento provides interesting explanations about the history of drift ice that flows into the Sea of Okhotsk. We'll enjoy a video in a hi-vision theater that features the views of the four seasons of the Sea of Okhotsk and observe a view of the surrounding area from the Tentozan Observatory. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs of our elegant hotel this evening.
Accommodations at ABASHIRI KOSO or similar
Monday, July 10 (Day 9)
ABASHIRI - SHIRETOKO (B)(D)
We'll proceed east to Utoro, located on the west coast of Shiretoko and make a photo stop at the Oshin Koshin Waterfall - selected as "one of the 100 most beautiful waterfalls of Japan:" The peninsula, Shiretoko-hanto, remains as one of the most remote wilderness areas in Japan and is known for its healthy brown bear population. As we enter the Shiretoko National Park at Utoro - the main gateway to the park - we'll board the Shiretoko Tourist Ship 'Aurora' to enjoy a scenic cruise along the peninsula in the Sea of Okhotsk, skirting the shores with impressive views of rugged cliffs and mountains (weather permitting). Located within the peninsula are the Shiretoko Go-Ko (Five Lakes), a collection of five small lakes grouped together between the sea and the mountains. Weather permitting, we'll enjoy a leisure stroll on the boardwalk through the marsh to catch a glimpse of one of the five lakes. This evening, enjoy a fabulous dinner and relax in the hot springs of our elegant hotel.
Accommodations at SHIRETOKO DAI-ICHI HOTEL or similar
Tuesday, July 11 (Day 10)
SHIRETOKO - LAKE AKAN - TOKACHIGAWA ONSEN (B)(D)
We'll travel southwest to enjoy a spectacular view of Lake Mashu from an observation point (weather permitting). The small isle (actually a lava hill rising from the lake bottom) in the center of the lake is known to the Ainu as the 'Isle of the Gods'. On a clear day, the clarity of the water and its intense blue color is quite startling - its transparency depth was once a world record. Smoking volcanoes, 'Me-Akan' and O'kan' watch over Akan-ko (Lake Akan), but the lake is best known for its marimo, a rare spherical green algae designated as a Special Natural Monument. Marimo is formed when separate pieces of algae at the bottom of the lake roll around and eventually form into balls, gradually growing larger and larger. We'll enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Akan, providing us with a close-up view of the mountains, islands, and into remote sections of the lake. A brief stop will be made at Churui Islet to view live marimo upclose in large tanks at the Marimo Exhibition and Observation Center. We'll continue on to spend the night in Tokachigawa, noted for its golden-brown onsen waters and breathtaking scenery of the Tokachi Plains. The Tokachi River creates rare botanical-based moor hot springs, known as 'hot springs for beauty', recognized as one of Hokkaido's heritages. Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs of our ryokan this evening.
Accommodations at TOKACHIGAWA DAI-ICHI HOTEL or similar
Wednesday, July 12 (Day 11)
TOKACHIGAWA - SAPPORO (B)
Our journey continues on to spend our last night in Sapporo, capital city of Hokkaido to visit some of the attractions in the area. 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. Okurayama was the main ski jump used in the 1972 Winter Olympic Games and is now used as a prime training facility for athletes at Nordic events. Enjoy spectacular views of Sapporo city at the top of the observation deck. You'll enjoy the same view as the ski jumpers when sitting on the plank preparing to fly in the sky. 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 2 million years ago to modern times in eight separate areas. The first beer brewed in Japan was in Sapporo and Hokkaido has since had a reputation of brewing the best beer. Enjoy a guided tour of the Asahi Beer Brewery, a leading brewery and soft drink company in Hokkaido - noted as one of the "Big Four" breweries. At the conclusion of the tour, samples of some of their delicious products will be available for us to enjoy in the tasting room. Dinner will be on your own this evening.
Accommodations at SAPPORO CENTURY ROYAL HOTEL or similar
Thursday, July 13 (Day 12)
SAPPORO - CHITOSE to HANEDA to HONOLULU (B)
The morning is at your leisure for your own activities or to do some last minute shopping in the underground mall located nearby our hotel. We'll transfer to the Chitose Airport in the late afternoon 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 home to Honolulu, arriving in the morning on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line.
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 9/1/16. 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