Traditional Japan and north of Japan

Duration

13 Days

Physical rate

Moderate

Starting city

Osaka

Available

April 2021 / October 2021

Cities to visit: Osaka ; Koyasan, Wakayama; Kyoto; Tokyo; Nikko; Sendai; Matsushima; Hiraizumi; Morioka; Hirosaki; Aomori; HAKODATE; Onuma; Noboribetsu; Sapporo; Toyako Onsen; Porotokotan; Ferry Tomakomai Sendai; Yamadera; Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture; Ōuchi-juku

Video Gallery


Detailed day by day description

Introduction

This tour is a flexible, guaranteed escorted coach tour, guided in English only.

Once the tour is booked, it is guaranteed so it will definitely go ahead, and will never cancel.

The tour is flexible so you can tailor it to suit your needs. By clicking ‘Quote or Book’, you will have an option to choose your start and end date and destinations within the tour parameters. As these tours allow for such flexibility, the same people, tour guides or drivers may not be on your entire journey.

Day

Arrival. Welcome to China! Transfer to the hotel  and free time. You will receive information about the start of the circuit during the afternoon.

12.00hrs-  We will depart Osaka to visit,  MOUNT KOYA , one of Japan’s sacred mountains and Japan’s main centre of Shingon Buddhism. There are 120 shrines and monasteries on this mountain which is a magical place of pilgrimage. We will visit Okuno Mausoleum , a spiritual place and an immense cemetery in the wilderness that has more than 200,000 graves. We will visit Kongobuji temple , built in 1593.


Note:  In winter, as it gets dark earlier, we will not have time to enter Kongobuji temple.

We will spend this night at a Buddhist monastery. The monks will offer us a Zen meditation session (Ajikan).  Supper included (vegetarian food). There is religious ceremony at the temple early in the morning if you wish to attend it.

Note:  We consider the sojourn at the monastery as an experience of great existential value. The rooms at this place are modest, without bathrooms, in the traditional Japanese style with tatamis. Bathrooms are communal.

Total distance: 130km.

Japanese breakfast at the temple. 
07.30hrs- We leave early for Kyoto.

10.00hrs- KYOTO,  we spend the whole day in the city, which was the capital of Japan between 794 and 1868 and home to the Imperial Court. During World War II the city was the only major Japanese to escape the bombardments, and so it still preserves its wealth of artistic heritage; the famous protocol restricting greenhouse gas emissions was signed in Kyoto in 1997.

The  visit includes a trip to one of the most important parts of the city . We will see the marvellous Shinto Shrine of Fushimi Inari, the Imperial Palace and Kinkakuji temple, “the golden pavilion” and its wonderful gardens.

19.00hrs - At night, a transfer to  GION  will be included, a busy traditional quarter famous for its Geisha. Free time. The return to the hotel will be free, we suggest you take a taxi. The guide will explain how.

Note:  If you already visited Kyoto on your circuit, our guide will offer you information and advice on visiting the other parts of the city unaccompanied.

After breakfast transfer to the station to take the  BULLET TRAIN  to Tokyo. Arrival to Tokyo after almost 500 km in just over two hours.

Late in the afternoon, we will pay a visit to this fascinating city by taking a  trip on the metro  (tickets included) to the  Shinjuku  district and see the crowds of people who use this modern and efficient collective transport system. Shinjuku is one of the most important  nightlife  districts.  Dinner included  and return to hotel.   

08.00 hrs.- In the morning, we take part in  a 5-hour trip  with our guide to see this amazing city, with its hustle and bustle and extremely modern districts that coexist with quiet, peaceful areas. Brief stop at the  Zojoji Temple  to make a beautiful photograph of the Tokyo Tower.  Pay attention to the hundred of Jizos, stone traditional protecting deities who guide us on our travels, give power to those who are weak (such children) and those in dangerous places, and who are dressed including hats, robes and windmills. Then we head to the  junction of Shibuya , a junction that is said to be the most crowded in the world. The  Meiji Temple  is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, his wife, and their spirits.  We continue on our bus along the elegant street of  Omotesando . We will edge the most beautiful part of the Imperial Palace and the gardens. Stop to visit the famous  Nijubashi Bridge . We will pass through the district of  Akihabara,  the “electric town” with icons from the popular Japanese Manga and Anime culture and then see  Kokugikan , the Sumo stadium, home of this Japanese sport. We will also visit the Buddhist  temple of Sensoji , the oldest and most important temple in Tokyo, with its 55-metre high pagoda. Then we will have some free time to visit the traditional commercial street of Nakamise in the district of  Asakusa. Lunch included   in a local restaurant. Return to hotel.

Free time in the afternoon. 

Total distance:  425km.
Note: We recommend to bring comfortable shoes since in Nikko we will have to walk.

08.00hrs- We leave Tokyo for Nikko.
10.30hrs- NIKKO. Arrival to this fantastic where we will visit the impressive Nikko Toshogu Shrine with the room of the crying dragon. We will also visit the Taiyuinbyo Mausoleum, set in an impressive, peaceful site, followed by a walk near the river, in Kannanga Fuchi, under the watchful eye of hundreds of Jizo statues!
Free time in the city centre for lunch and a stroll.

15.30hrs- Nikko, departure.
19.45hrs- SENDAI, arrival to this modern, bustling city with over 1 million inhabitants. Passengers can explore the city and have dinner in its busy, thriving centre.

Total distance: 217km.
Landscapes of forests and mountains, wonderful in the area of the thousand islands.

08.00hrs-We depart for the marvellous city of Matsushima. 
08.30hrs-MATSHUSHIMA , a city on the “Thousand Islands” Bay in the Pacific Ocean and considered one of the most attractive cities in Japan. After arriving, we will visit a magnificent “tea house” overlooking the sea and enjoy a cup of traditional tea while our guide tells us about the city. Then we will go on a 50-minute cruise (included). 

11.00hrs- Departure. Lunch included.  
14.00hrs.- HIRAIZUMI to visit its temples and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Takkoku no Iwaya, carved in the rock in 801, followed by a visit to the magnificent Buddhist temples of Chusonji. We take time to relax in the gardens of Motsuji temple, where passengers can take part in a Zen ceremony (admission included) .

17.15hrs- We tren carry on to Morioka.
18.45hrs- MORIOKA, the pleasant capital of Iwate province, where we settle in at our hotel and have some free time to explore.

Total distance: 197km.
Note : We recommend you to wear warm clothing to enjoy the deck of the boat.

07.30hrs- Departure. In a region of beautiful scenery we travel to Hirosaki. 
09.30hrs- HIROSAKI. Ancient capital cultural during the Edo period with its castle of the seventeenth century.  We will visit its  castle  in a beautiful park where more than 2,500 cherry trees blossom in the spring. 

10.30hrs- Departure. 
11.40hrs- AOMORI , the provincial capital, located on Mutsu Bay. Time for visit to Nebuta Museum where we will learn about the Japanese festival tradition, which reminds us of the Carnival, with its vivid, painted floats. Lunch included. 


Then we board the ferry to HOKKAIDO Island , the departure of the ferry is scheduled at 14.20hrs. The crossing takes just over three and a half hours.

18.00hrs- HAKODATE –Arrival-. Before going to our hotel, we will ascend Mount Hakodate , which has wonderful views. We make the descent by cable car. Time in the beautiful city pedestrian centre in which to admire the influence of other cultures in the city (Russian Orthodox and Christian churches).

Total distance: 338km
Landscapes:  Beautiful landscapes. Impressive volcanic areas. 
Note: We recommend wearing comfortable shoes for walking through the Hell’s Valley.

In the morning we visit the impressive and busy fish market. Then we climb the GORYOKAKU Tower with its impressive views, from where we can make out the star-shaped fortress of Hakodate. Then we will take a stroll through the castle area before continuing our journey.

11.00hrs- Departure. 
11.45hrs- ONUMA . Free time in this wonderful tourist site, with its countless small islands in which to explore the islands, go on a boat trip and have lunch included .

13.45hrs- Departure. Our journey takes us towards the ocean.
16.15hrs- NOBORIBETSU , an impressive volcano site, where we can walk amidst geysers in Jigoku Dani (Hell’s Valley), admire the hot spring lake of Oyunuma and follow the path next to the hot spring to the site of the footbath.-

18.30hrs- Departure.
20.15hrs- SAPPORO. -  At the end of the day, we arrive at this beautiful city, the capital of North Japan.-

Total distance: 120 km.
  

08.30hrs- City tour (included) stopping at the clock tower and Odori Koen avenue-park, dominated by the telecommunications tower. We will enjoy for an hour the beautiful Shinto shrine of Hokkaido Jingu. The visit includes a ceremonial Kito (prayer session) in which we give thanks for the journey.    

11.00hrs- At the surronding of Sapporo, we visit the  Ainu Cultural Museum , with information about the Ainu culture, a people of Eskimo origin that lived in the North of Japan.    

12.15hrs-  We continue to Otaru.  
13.00hrs- OTARU , arrival to this small city with a European air and streets filled with shops, an old canal and tiny museums. Lunch included. 

15.30hrs-Departure. We return to Sapporo at about 16.30hrs. Free time in the afternoon in Sapporo.

Total distance: 200 km.
 
Landscapes:  Beautiful landscapes of the interior of the island, snow on the peaks, volcanic areas.  
Note: We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes in the high area of the cable car. We recommend wearing warm clothing. Prepare a small travel bag so you do not have to lower your bags on the night ferry.    

08.15hrs- Sapporo departure to the interior of Hokkaido Island.  
09.00 hrs.- We will leave Sapporo, we know the  HILL OF BUDDHA , new center of avant-garde architecture opened in 2015, the hill covered with lavenders keeps the giant statue of Buddha, in the complex we will also see the replica of the statues Moai (Easter Island).   

10.00 hrs.- Hill of Buddha departure. Amidst beautiful scenery in the interior of Hokkaido Island, we pass lakes and mountains and eventually come to the spa city of Toyako.  
11.45 hrs- TOYAKO , at the foot of an impressive volcano, on the banks of a pretty lake that occupies a former crater. Free time to wander along the bank. We will visit the volcanology museum to learn about the eruptions suffered by this region. Then we will take the cable car to the summit of the USU Volcano with time to walk around the volcano and its awesome landscape. Lunch included.   

15.30 hrs- Departure. Then our journey takes us along the coast. 
17.15hrs- TOMAKOMAI. We take a modern ferry for a night crossing. The departure of the ferry is scheduled at 19.00hrs. Dinner included. Accommodation in double cabins with private bathrooms. We spend the night on board crossing the Pacific Ocean.  

Total distance: 215 km
Landscapes: Mountains, forests, green landscapes.
Note: Provide comfortable footwear and a waterproof for Yamadera.

10.00hrs- We reach Sendai port and continue our journey.

11.30hrs.- YAMADERA.- arrival to the very beautiful  complex of temples  founded more than 1,000 years ago in the mountain’s, amidst forests of immense trees. The landscapes are spectacular, you will have to climb 1000 steps to reach the temples. Time to see this magical place.  Lunch included.

14.30 hrs.- Yamadera.- Departure to Yonezawa.

15.45 hrs.-  YONEZAWA . We are in one of the main producer regions of Sake, we will visit the  Sake Museum  with its small distillery. 

16.45hrs.- Yonezawa.- Departure through pretty scenery.

18.00hrs- AIZUWAKAMATSU . Free time to explore this bustling city.

Note: In winter, as it gets dark earlier,  the climb to Iimoriyama will be done on arrival in Aizuwakamatsu (instead of Saturday)

Total distance: 345 km

In  AIZUWAKAMATSU   we visit the  SAMURAI MANSION,  a historical mansion where we will learn about the Samurai Warriors. After this we stroll in the Castle Garden and maybe we will see children doing martial arts on the Dojo. We will go up to Iimoriyama, where we will see the sculptures donated by Mussolini and they will tell us about the child martyrs of this city.   

11.00 hrs-  We travel south between pleasant green landscapes. Stop en route for lunch.
14.00 hrs.- MITO. On the way, we will stop in this pretty Mito. We include the entrance to the  gardens of KAIRAKUEN , considered some of the most beautiful in Japan, with more than 3,000 cherry trees.   Free time in the city centre before leaving to TOKYO

15.30hrs.- Mito  departure.  
18.45 hrs.- TOKYO  – Arrival at the end of the day-.

End of our services. Please, check the time of your flight in case you might need an additional night. 


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