(Traveling through the six prefectures of Tohoku:
Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, Aomori, Akita, and Yamagata)
April 15 - 26, 2017 (12 days and 10 nights)
** SOLD OUT / WAIT LIST **
Tours are operated by Aloha World, a tour division of Kobayashi Travel Service
$100 EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT
(deposit must be made by 08/31/2016)
Narita, Mito, Kairakuen Garden, Hitachi Seaside Park, Fukuroda Falls, Iwaki, Spa Hawaiians Resort, Miharu Takizakura, Akiu, Miyagi Zao Kokeshi Museum, Matsushima Bay, Genbikei Gorge, Chusonji Temple, Kitakami Tenshochi Park, Morioka, Morioka Tezu-kuri Mura, Ishiwarizakura, Towada-ko, Hakkoda-Towada Snow Corridor, Aomori, Wa Rasse Float Museum, Asamushi, Hirosaki Park, Odaiko no Yakata (Drum Museum), Kakunodate, Kasumigajo Park, Matsugasaki Koen, Aizu Wakamatsu, Tsuruga-jo, Iimoriyama, Koriyama, Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Tobu World Square, Kinugawa Onsen, Ashikaga Flower Park, Tsutsujigaoka Park, Tokyo
$ 4,595 per person
$ 895 per person
$ 3,895 per person
Saturday, April 15 (Day 01)
HONOLULU TO NARITA
Our tour to Japan commences this morning when we assemble at the curbside lobby at Honolulu International Airport for baggage check-in procedures for our flight to Narita International Airport. Lunch and a snack will be served on board the flight.
Sunday, April 16 (Day 02)
ARRIVE NARITA - MITO (D)
We'll arrive Narita Airport in the afternoon and after completion of entry and customs formalities, we'll board our chartered motor coach to begin our Tohoku Ohanami tour. We'll travel on the Joban Expressway to Mito, the capital city of Ibaraki prefecture to spend the night. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.
Accommodations at MITO PLAZA HOTEL or similar
Monday, April 17 (Day 03)
MITO - HITACHI SEASIDE PARK - DAIGO - IWAKI (B)(D)
Enjoy a stroll through Kairakuen Garden, ranked as one of Japan's three finest landscape gardens. Built by the local lord Tokugawa Nariaki, the garden features a bamboo grove and cedar woods but is most famous for its thousands of plum trees. The name kairakuen means "park to be enjoyed together". We'll continue on to visit Hitachi Seaside Park, a beautiful flower paradise featuring "Miharashi No Oka", a hillside commanding a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. The park is best known for its delicate nemophilas (translucent-petaled blue flowers also known as baby-blue-eyes) blooming over the hillside, creating an unforgettable sight (weather permitting). Daffodils, colorful tulips, and many other varieties of flowers are also in bloom, spread-out in various gardens throughout the park. We'll travel to the town of Daigo to enjoy a view of the breathtaking Fukuroda Falls - ranked as one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. The falls drop down in four cascades to the bottom from a giant cliff dashing against the rocks, creating an awesome sight. We'll continue on to spend the night at the Spa Hawaiians Resort - formerly known as the Joban Hawaiian Center located in the city of Iwaki, a coal mining town. The film "Hula Girls" was based on the story of the founding of the resort. Dinner will be provided for you at our onsen resort hotel. After dinner, enjoy an evening of entertainment with a Hawaiian dance performance held in the main showroom.
Accommodations at SPA HAWAIIANS RESORT or similar
Tuesday, April 18 (Day 04)
IWAKI - AKIU - MATSUSHIMA (B)(D)
We'll continue on to the town of Miharu - home of Miharu Takizakura (waterfall cherry tree), an ancient cherry tree said to be over 1,000 years old. Weather permitting, enjoy a view of this giant weeping cherry tree with its light pink flowers spread-out in all directions from the branches, like a cascading waterfall. Designated as a national treasure in 1922, this tree is classified as one of the five great cherry trees in Japan. Kokeshi dolls are one of the most popular and famous as a 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 creation on a blank doll to take home as a souvenir. We'll continue on to Shiogami Pier and board a ferry to enjoy a relaxing cruise on picturesque Matsushima Bay, designated as one of the three most scenic sights in Japan - nihon sankei. Enjoy the view of hundreds of pine-studded islets in the bay - each one with a name relating to a Japanese legend. We'll arrive in the city of Matsushima to spend the night in a beautiful hotel overlooking the bay. As an option, you may want to visit Godaido, a small temple hall located on an islet nearby the hotel. The hall's exterior is decorated with small carvings of the twelve animals of the lunar calendar. Enjoy a delicious dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs this evening.
Accommodations at MATSUSHIMA CENTURY HOTEL or similar
Wednesday, April 19 (Day 05)
MATSUSHIMA - ICHINOSEKI - KITAKAMI - MORIOKA - TSUNAGI ONSEN (B)(D)
We'll travel on to the city of Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture to visit Genbikei Gorge - shaped by the rapid flowing water of Iwai River that carved the rocks, resulting in smooth and interwoven rock faces. One of the highlights at the gorge is to experience some delicious kakko dango (flying dumplings). At a cost of 300 yen, hit the wooden board with a mattock, then send the basket on the wire across the river to a teahouse. The basket with a box of dumplings and hot tea will come flying across the river on the wire for you to enjoy. We'll continue on to visit Chusonji Temple and its main attraction - Konjiki-do (Golden Hall) - designated as one of the National Treasures by the government in 1951. The hall was constructed to house the remains of three generations of the Fujiwara family and received its name from the unique golden walls covered in gold leaf and inlaid with mother-of-pearl. We'll make a stop in Kitakami, a city famous for the thousands of cherry trees planted alongside the Kitakami River in Tenshochi Park. Weather permitting, the cherry blossoms should be in bloom to form a beautiful tunnel of sakura, earning a spot as one of the three best cherry blossom viewing sites in Tohoku. We'll continue on to Morioka, capital city of Iwate-ken - noted for cast ironware and wanko-soba, its culinary specialty. We'll visit Morioka Tezukuri Mura (Morioka Handi Works Square), a village featuring various workshops offering hand-crafted traditional goods such as cast ironware, pottery, wooden toys, and more. Enjoy a hands-on experience to make your own nambu senbei at one of the workshops. Enjoy dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs this evening at Tsunagi Onsen.
Accommodations at HOTEL SHION or similar
Thursday, April 20 (Day 06)
TSUNAGI ONSEN - TOWADA - ASAMUSHI ONSEN (B)(D)
This morning, we'll drive by the grounds of the district courthouse in Morioka city to view the 400-year old Ishiwarizakura (stone-splitting cherry blossom tree) growing through a large boulder. We'll continue our journey past scenic Towada-ko, the third deepest caldera lake in Japan located in the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. Weather permitting, relax and experience the beauty of the mountains and marvel at the snow-covered trees and snow corridor as we drive through a section of the Hakkoda Towada Gold Line. Aomori is the northernmost capital city of Aomori prefecture and is best known for its spectacular Nebuta Matsuri Festival held in the summer. We'll visit Nebuta Warasse, an interesting museum housed in a unique building dedicated to Aomori's famous Nebuta Festival. Featured in the museum are a few floats from past festivals, photos, and exhibits providing you with a glimpse into the 300-year-old history of the festival. Enjoy a delicious dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs this evening at our elegant onsen hotel in Asamushi.
Accommodations at ASAMUSHI KAISENKAKU HOTEL or similar
Friday, April 21 (Day 07)
ASAMUSHI - HIROSAKI - HACHIROGATA - AKITA (B)(D)
We'll continue on our journey to the castle town of Hirosaki to visit the ruins of Hirosaki Castle, the city's most famous landmark. Weather permitting, enjoy a spectacular view of cherry blossoms in bloom on the castle grounds in the surrounding Hirosaki Park. The park is designated as one of Tohoku's most famous 'ohanami' sites featuring thousands of cherry trees planted all around the park. Enjoy a fun hands-on-experience to make kiritanpo, a popular and traditional cuisine of Akita. We'll form the cooked rice around a stick, toast it on a grill, then spread some miso sauce on it to enjoy. We'll travel to the town of Takanosu in Akita Prefecture to enjoy a visit of Odaiko no Yakata (Great Drum Museum), a hall featuring a collection of unique drums from over 40 countries. The museum is also home to Tsuzureko Odaiko (Giant Drum) - listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest drum. We'll continue on to spend the night in Akita, the capital city of Akita prefecture. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at our hotel.
Accommodations at AKITA VIEW HOTEL or similar
Saturday, April 22 (Day 08)
AKITA - KAKUNODATE - YOKOTE - TENDO (B)(D)
Our journey continues on to the town of Kakunodate, noted as one of Tohoku's most popular ohanami sites where hundreds of shidare-zakura (weeping cherry trees) line the central avenue of the town. Weather permitting, we may also be able to view delicate somei yoshino cherry blossoms lined along the left bank of the Hinokinai River that flows through the town. Kakunodate is also famed for its well-preserved bukeyashiki (samurai houses) and gardens located behind wooden fences and gates along the main avenue. Among one of the most interesting mansions open to the public is the Ishiguro Samurai House - the former residence of Kakunodate's highest ranked family. A visit to this house and garden offers a fine example of traditional samurai house architecture. Kakunodate is also noted for their traditional kaba-zaiku (wooden craft-ware) using the bark of wild cherry trees. Several of these intricate pieces are displayed in the Kakunodate Cherry-Bark Craft Museum. We'll continue on to overnight in Tendo, a town noted for the manufacture of shogi (Japanese chess pieces). Enjoy dinner and relax in the hot springs at our fabulous onsen hotel this evening.
Accommodations at TAKINO-YU ONSEN or similar
Sunday, April 23 (Day 09)
TENDO - YAMAGATA - YONEZAWA - AIZU WAKAMATSU - KORIYAMA (B)(D)
Our drive this morning takes us through Yamagata prefecture to view beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom at Kasumiga-jo Park (weather permitting). Enjoy a leisure stroll to view more cherry blossoms in bloom on the grounds of Matsugasaki Koen, the former residence of the Date and Uesugi clan. We'll proceed to the castle town of Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima prefecture to visit Tsuruga-jo, a traditional castle noted as an important Tokugawa stronghold in the Tohoku region. We'll visit Iimoriyama, the site where twenty young Aizu soldiers of the Byakkotai (White Tiger Corps) committed seppuku or 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 on the hill, 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 spend the night in the city of Koriyama in Fukushima prefecture. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at our hotel.
Accommodations at HOTEL HAMATSU KORIYAMA or similar
Monday, April 24 (Day 10)
KORIYAMA - SUKAGAWA - NIKKO - TOBU - KINUGAWA (B)(D)
We'll travel south to Kinugawa, a popular hot spring resort town in Tochigi Prefecture. Enjoy a visit to Toshogu Shrine, a Shinto shrine established to enshrine Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The lavishly decorated shrine complex consists of many buildings set in a beautiful forest - including a five story pagoda located in front of the main entrance gate. Many elaborate wood carvings decorate some of the buildings, including the most famous "see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil" monkeys. We'll continue on to visit Tobu World Square, a theme park that exhibits replicas of famous buildings from all around the world. Models include ancient monuments, cultural treasures, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites reproduced with detailed cars, trains, gardens, and miniature 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 spend the night at an elegant onsen hotel in Kinugawa. Enjoy a delicious dinner and relax in the soothing hot springs this evening.
Accommodations at KINUGAWA GRAND HOTEL or similar
Tuesday, April 25 (Day 11)
KINUGAWA - ASHIKAGA - TATEBAYASHI - TOKYO (B)(D)
The 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 the city of Ashikaga in Tochigi Prefecture. This spacious park features several tunnels or trellises of breathtaking blue and white wisteria in bloom throughout the park, and yellow laburnum (kingusari) that looks like yellow wisteria flowers. The highlight of the park is to view a large 100-year-old tree with its branches spread-out, creating a huge umbrella of blue wisteria flowers. We'll continue on to the city of Tatebayashi and visit Tsutsujigaoka Park, the largest azalea park in Japan. Enjoy strolling through the park featuring hundreds of colorful azalea plants representing over 50 varieties of flowers in bloom (weather permitting). We'll continue on to spend our last night in the city of Tokyo. Dinner will be provided for you this evening at the hotel.
Accommodations at HOTEL GRAND NIKKO TOKYO DAIBA or similar
Wednesday, April 26 (Day 12)
TOKYO - NARITA TO HONOLULU (B)
Enjoy your last breakfast in Japan before making preparations to return home. The morning will be free to do some last minute shopping or just relaxing around the hotel. In the afternoon, we will transfer to Narita International Airport to check-in for our evening flight home to Honolulu, arriving on the same day due to the crossing of the International Date Line. A meal will be served on board the flight.
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 6/01/2016. Tour fare is subject to change according to any airfare increase 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