This tour starts off in Tokyo and continues up north, offering an introduction to some of Tohoku's highlights. During this tour you will experience a mix of spectacular nature, fascinating history and get a taste of the undiscovered charm of Northern Japan. With an appropriate amount of time at each destination, this itinerary offers an exciting program with a variety of sightseeing activities.
Welcome to Japan! Upon arrival at Narita International Airport clear customs with your luggage and make your way to the Arrivals Lobby.
Present your Limousine Bus Coupon at the Airport Limousine Bus counter and board the bus from the airport to your accommodation at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. (80 min)
Stay: Shinagawa Prince Hotel - 1/3
At Shinagawa Station, visit the Information Centre at the Central Ticket Gates (09:00 – 19:00) and issue your 7 Day Japan Rail Pass to commence using from Day 4. You can now make reservations at any time for the journeys on your itinerary ahead.
Start today by boarding a JR Yamanote Line train from Shinagawa Station to Ueno (18 mins) to visit the Ameyoko Ueno Markets. The long market lanes run from JR Ueno Station to JR Okachimachi Station. There are over 500 shops that sell everything from basic foods to high-class imported goods at reasonable prices, and thus it is always crowded with shoppers.
In the nearby Ueno Park, there is a concentration of cultural institutions such as the first zoo in Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo Cultural Hall, National Western Art Museum, National Science Museum and Tokyo National Museum, all offering recreation and relaxation for the citizens.
Next, board a Tokyo Metro Ginza Line train to Asakusa Station (5 mins) to visit the nearby Sensoji Temple (popularly known as Asakusa Kannon Temple), Tokyo’s oldest and most impressive temple which is said to have been founded in the 7th century. Nakamise Dori, the colourful shopping promenade, extends from Kaminarimon Gate to Hozomon Gate and is an excellent place to buy everything from kimono to traditional sweets. Positioned across the road from Kaminarimon Gate the Asakusa Rickshaw tour guides await to guide you around the area by rickshaw.
Return to Ueno on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (5 mins) and change trains to board a JR Yamanote Line train from Ueno to Akihabara Station. (3 mins) Akihabara boasts the largest area of electronic appliances and devices in the world. Here, the very latest in technology and system compatibility is available to both the Japanese and foreign market. In recent years Akihabara has become home to a number of shops specialising in Japanese animation Anime and Manga which is growing increasingly popular around the world.
In the evening, return to Shinagawa Station on the JR Yamanote Line.
Stay: Shinagawa Prince Hotel - 2/3
This morning, you will join the Nikko World Heritage Tour, operated by Sunrise Tours. This full-day guided tour takes you to some of Nikko’s most popular sightseeing spots including the World Heritage-listed Toshogu Shrine and the beautiful Kegon Falls. Comfortable clothing and walking shoes are recommended.
From Shinagawa Station board a JR Yamanote Line train to Hamamatsucho Station. (7 mins) You will be collected from the Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal at 09:00am. Please aim to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the tour pick-up time.
Nikko Toshogu Shrine – marvel at the ornate architecture of this famous World Heritage site. Tour includes viewing of Yomei Gate and the Main Hall.
Lunch – Enjoy a Japanese-style lunch at a local restaurant.
Lake Chezenji – Created by an eruption of Mt. Nantai, this lake is a symbol of Nikko
Kegon Falls – Known as one of Japan's 3 great waterfalls, Kegon Falls towers an impressive 97 meters and gushes water from Lake Chuzenji. Admire the waterfall from the observation deck facing the falls
The tour will return to Tokyo by motorcoach and disband in Shinjuku or the Ginza district around 19:30 – 20:00. Your guide will advise how to return to your hotel.
Stay: Shinagawa Prince Hotel - 3/3
Today is the first day of your 7 Day Japan Rail Pass.
Check-out of the Shinagawa Prince Hotel and from Shinagawa Station board a JR Yamanote Line train to Tokyo Station. (12 mins) Make your way to the bullet train llines and board a Yamabiko bullet train to Sendai Station. (115 mins)
Your accommodation at the Hotel Metropolitan Sendai East is a directly connected to the station.
A city sightseeing loop bus, the Loople Sendai, departs from JR Sendai Station (West Exit) bus stop #16 and does a one-hour loop around a number of major attractions. An all-day pass can be purchased for JPY620.
Board the bus to visit:
Zuihoden Mausoleum (09:00 – 16:30/JPY550) – the ornate Zuihoden Mausoleum features intricate, and brightly coloured woodwork, and is site where Date Masamune, one of the most powerful feudal lords during the Edo period, is entombed.
Sendai City Museum (09:00 – 16:15/JPY400) – features a number of exhibits relating to various aspects of Sendai’s history. Here you will find the suit of armour belonging to Date Masamune, which is a Important Cultural Asset, on display.
Osaki Hachimangu Shrine – a beautiful shrine covered mostly in black lacquer and decorated with gold leaf. Designated as a National Treasure, it enshrines the guardian deity of the Date family.
For dinner tonight, visit one of the restaurants on Gyutan Dori (Beef Tongue Street) for Sendai’s most popular delicacy. Most commonly grilled on a barbeque, many restaurants will also serve it on top of rice, in a curry or in a stew.
Stay: Hotel Metropolitan Sendai East - 1/2
From Sendai Station board a JR Senseki Line train to Matsushima Kaigan Station. (40 mins) From here it is a ten minute walk to Zuiganji Temple. (08:00 – 15:30/JPY700)
Originally established in 828AD, Zuiganji is one of the most important Zen Buddhist temples in northern Japan. Built at the end of a period of long, civil wars, the temple features a watchtower and nightingale alarm floors which are more commonly defence features found in castles. The temple is surrounded by small caves where monks once lived and prayed.
Next, visit Etsuin Temple (08:30 – 16:00/JPY300), a short walk from Zuiganji. Etsuin Temple is home to the mausoleum of samurai ruler, Date Masamune’s grandson, who died mysteriously at age 19. The Mausoleum is decorated with western designs and symbols brought back from Europe on a trade mission sent by Date Masamune.
Enjoy a hot matcha green tea and Japanese sweet at the Kanrantei Tea House. (08:30 – 16:30/JPY150 entry; JPY300-700 for tea) *Place your tea and sweet orders at the ticket booth. The Kanrantei Tea House is the tea house of the ruling Date family and once served tea to samurai and royal guests. Now the tea house is open to the public and overlooks Matsushima Bay.
Take a sightseeing boat trip around Matsushima Bay and its 260 islands. A number of companies offer 50 minute cruises that depart from the pier next to the rest house. (departs hourly 09:00 - 15:00/JPY1,500)
Return to Sendai in the late afternoon.
Stay: Hotel Metropolitan Sendai East - 2/2
Check-out of the Hotel Metropolitan Sendai East and from Sendai Station board a Hayabusa bullet train to Shin-Aomori Station. (90 mins) Change trains and board a Limited Express Tsugaru train to Hirosaki Station. (30 mins)
Your accommodation at the Art Hotel Hirosaki City is a one minute walk from the station.
Hirosaki is a small castle town in Aomori with a varied architectural heritage featuring temples, samurai residences and a castle from the Edo period, and churches, libraries and civic buildings from the Meiji Period when many foreign scholars were invited to Hirosaki.
With Aomori producing more than half of the nation’s apples, and being the birthplace of the Fuji apple, you will find apple-incorporated sweets throughout Hirosaki. A Hirosaki Pie Guide Map will direct you to 47 of the best apple pies around.
After check-in, commence your exploration of Hirosaki by boarding a Dote-Machi city sightseeing loop bus from in front of Hirosaki Station to Shiyakusho-mae bus stop. (15 mins) From here it is a two minute walk to the Otemon Gate of Hirosaki Castle (09:00 – 17:00/JPY310). Built in 1611, this castle of the Tsugaru Clan is one of the 12 remaining original castles in Japan.
Visit the Tsugaru-han Neputa Village (09:00- 17:00/JPY550) where you can watch as artists create traditional crafts, and enjoy a performance of the Tsugaru-jamisen, a three-stringed folk instrument.
A short walk from here is the Nakacho Traditional Buildings Preservation District where the traditional townscape has been maintained. Visit the Kawasaki Dyeing Plant where the traditional art of natural indigo dyeing is still carried out.
*Your stay at the Art Hotel Hirosaki City includes breakfast daily
Stay: Art Hotel Hirosaki City - 1/2
Start today by boarding a Konan Railway Konan Line train from Hirosaki Station to Tambo Art Station. (23 mins/JPY430)
From here it is a short walk to one of the two famous Rice Paddy Art sites, for which the prefecture of Aomori is famous for. Since 1993, the small town of Inakadate has been creating images in their rice paddy fields by carefully planting rice of varying colour. In their first year, they used two colours, yellow and purple, to create a simple image of Mt. Iwaki. Each following year, the designs become more elaborate and now consist of 7 colours and 11 variety of rice. The images can be seen from June to mid-October, but are best from mid-July to mid-August. Entry to the viewing platform is JPY300.
A courtesy shuttle bus departs every 30 mins from this art site and will take you to the second site. (10 mins)
From Hirosaki Station board a Limited Express Tsugaru train to Aomori Station. (33 mins)
Visit Nebuta Warasse (09:00 – 19:00/JPY600) which is a one minute walk from the station, to view the large, glowing floats used in Aomori’s Nebuta Festival. Get a taste of the lively festival atmosphere and learn about the history and traditions of one of Tohoku’s ‘Big Three Summer Festivals’.
For lunch, visit the Furukawa Fish Market (07:00 – 16:00) where you can create your own nokkedon, or bowl of rice topped with fresh seafood. Purchase tickets in sets of five (JPY540) or ten (JPY1,080) which are exchanged for rice and various seafood toppings sold in the market.
Return to Hirosaki in the afternoon. For dinner tonight you may like to visit one of the izakaya where local specialties are served, and Tsugaru folksongs are performed.
Stay: Art Hotel Hirosaki City - 2/2
Check-out of the Art Hotel Hirosaki and from Hirosaki Station board a Limited Express Tsugaru train to Shin-Aomori Station. (30 mins) Make your way to the bullet train lines and board a Hayabusa bullet train to Shin-Hakodatehokuto Station. (60 mins) Change trains and board a Hakodate Liner train to Hakodate Station. (15 mins)
Your accommodation at the Hotel Resol Hakodate is a three minute walk from the station.
After checking in at your hotel, commence sightseeing in Hakodate City. Walk to Hakodate Ekimae tram stop and board a tram #5 to Suehiro Machi (10 min). Suehiro Machi is bayside area and interesting buildings and museums such as glass museum (old post office), Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse (inside of the warehouse is refurbished as shopping mall).
In the late afternoon, visit Mt Hakodate which is walking distance from Suehiro Machi area. Take a ropeway (JPY1,160/adult for return trip) up to the mountain for an extraordinary panoramic view of Hakodate City.
Return to your accommodation in the evening.
Stay: Hotel Resol Hakodate - 1/2
Visit the Morning Markets (05:30 – 12:00) which span an area of four blocks near the JR Hakodate Station area and enjoy a fresh, seafood breakfast!
Next, take a day trip to Onuma. Onuma is famous for its beautiful nature scenery. Have a relaxing day in Onuma. From Hakodate Station, board a Limited Express Super Hokuto train to Onuma Koen Station. (20 min)
Onuma is famous for its beautiful, natural scenery. This quasi national park covers over 9,000 hectares and has two very attractive lakes, Onuma and Konuma. The area has several walking trails which lead you around the lakes’ peninsulas and islands and are interconnected by small bridges. Sightseeing boats are available to take you on 30 minute tours for JPY1,100/person.
Stay: Hotel Resol Hakodate - 2/2
Today is the final day of your 7 Day Japan Rail Pass.
Check-out of your accommodation and from Hakodate Station board a Limited Express Super Hokuto train to Sapporo Station. (225 mins)
Your accommodation at the Keio Plaza Hotel is a five minute walk from the station.
Spend the day using your maps and guides to explore the sights around Sapporo.
For dinner, you may like to visit the Sapporo Beer Garden’s Genghis Khan Hall where you can feast on the popular local dish of barbequed mutton, washed down with the famous Sapporo Beer.
Stay: Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo - 1/2
Make a day trip to Otaru by boarding a JR Semi Rapid Ishikari Liner, JR Hakodate Line or JR Airport Rapid train to Otaru Station. (30-50 mins)
Otaru is a small harbor city full of character thanks to the beautiful warehouse-lined canals and buildings from former trade and shipping companies.
Stroll along the canal, and visit Sakaimachi Street with its attractive, old buildings that have since been converted into cafes, boutiques and museums. Visit the Otaru City Museum (09:30 – 17:00/JPY300) to discover Otaru’s history and the early development of Hokkaido.
Next visit the Herring Mansion (09:00 – 17:00/JPY300) by boarding a city bus #10 or #11 from Otaru Station (25 mins/JPY220). View the tools and living conditions of herring fisherman during the heyday of herring fishing, once one of Otaru’s major industries. Since the early days of the town’s development right through to the 19050s when the industry collapsed due to a drop in herring stocks, large fortunes were made by leading fishing enterprises. Visit the Aoyama Villa (09:00 – 17:00/JPY1,080), the luxurious villa of one of the most successfully families in the herring industry.
Stay: Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo - 2/2
Check-out of the Keio Plaza Hotel and purchase a ticket from the front desk for the Airport Limousine Bus (JPY1,100). Board the Airport Limousine Bus from the Keio Plaza Hotel to New Chitose Airport. (90 mins)
Be sure to check-in for your flight at least 2 hours prior to its scheduled departure.
Japan Package Tours will be happy to prepare you a personalised itinerary to suit your budget and preferences.
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