Japan Package Tours

Self Drive Tours

14 Day Northern Japan (Tohoku and Hokkaido) Self-Drive Adventure

Single Package:
Twin Package:
Triple Package:
  • Tokyo
  • Otaru
  • Sapporo
  • Hakodate
  • Hirosaki
  • Sendai

Package Includes:

  • Airport Limousine Bus transfer coupon (one-way)
  • Domestic flight between Tokyo and Sapporo (one-way)
  • 7 Day Japan Rail Pass
  • JPY1,500 Pasmo Card
  • 3 Day Car Rental
  • Nikko World Heritage Tour
  • 3 nights of accommodation at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Tokyo
  • 2 nights of accommodation at the Hotel Sonia in Otaru inc. breakfast
  • 2 nights of accommodation at the Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo
  • 2 nights of accommodation at the Hotel Resol Hakodate
  • 2 nights of accommodation at the Art Hotel Hirosaki City inc. breakfast daily
  • 2 nights of accommodation at the Hotel Metropolitan Sendai East

Day 01 - Arrive Tokyo

Welcome to Japan! Upon arrival at Narita International Airport, clear customs with your luggage and exit to the arrivals lobby.

Present your airport transfer coupon at the Limousine Bus counter and board the bus from the airport to your accommodation at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. (80 mins)

Shinagawa is the ideal place to stay in Tokyo for its convenient location and access to a wide range of restaurants and shops.

Across the road is Shinagawa Station, where you can exchange your 7 Day Japan Rail Pass to commence using from day 8. You can then make reservations for the journeys on your itinerary ahead.

Stay: Shinagawa Prince Hotel - 1/3

Day 02 - Tokyo

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

Day 03 - Tokyo - Nikko - Tokyo

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

Day 04 - Tokyo - Otaru

Check-out of your accommodation and from Shinagawa Station use your Pasmo Cards to board the Keikyu Airport train to Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal Station. (20 mins)

Check-in for your flight and depart Tokyo for Sapporo. (95 mins)

Upon arrival at New Chitose Airport, collect your luggage and visit the car rentals desk to pick-up your car.

Set your navigation system for your accommodation at the Hotel Sonia, which is a 75 minute drive from the airport.

After check-in, commence your exploration of Otaru. 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) which is a 20 minute drive north of your accommodation. 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/ JPY 1,080) the luxurious villa of one of the most successfully families in the herring industry.

*Your stay at the Hotel Sonia includes breakfast daily

Stay: Hotel Sonia - 1/2

Day 05 - Otaru

Drive out to the Shakotan Peninsula which forms part of the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru-Beach Quasi-National Park. Three major capes on the peninsula, Cape Ogon, Cape Shakotan and Cape Kamui are all well-known for their unusual rock formations and beautiful sea along the shoreline. The sea surrounding this area is Hokkaido’s only designated Marine Park.

Set your navigation system for the Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery (09:00 – 17:00/Ph: 0135-23-3131), which is a 30 minute drive from Otaru. Nikka Whiskey is one of Japan’s top whiskey brands and was founded by the man who introduced whiskey to Japan, Taketsuru Masataka. Nikka established its whiskey distillery in Yoichi for its clear water, brisk air and rich peat, and produces award-winning whiskey that is ranked among the world’s best single malt whiskeys.

Next, commence your journey around the peninsula with a visit to Candle Rock, which is 12 km northwest of Yoichi. This unique rock formation stands in the ocean, 0.7km from the coast and is 46 meters in height.

Continue northwest for 13km to Bikuni fishing port. Nearby is Cape Ougon, a good look-out for a view of the port and the Sea of Japan.

Next, at Cape Shakotan (17km from Bikuni), enjoy the superb Shimamui Coast, chosen as one of Japan’s top 100 beaches. Cliffs 100 meters above sea level overlook the Shimamui Coast and the translucent and brilliant blue water, described as ‘Shakotan Blue’, which has underwater visibility of 30 meters. A 30-meter tunnel leads to the coast, obscuring the view until the moment you exit the tunnel, giving impact to the spectacular scene. Two observatories can be found nearby, from which rugged steps lead to the shore. In the colder months, you may see seals along the coast. Be sure to rug up in warm clothing and wear appropriate footwear.

Continue on to Cape Kamui (15km from Cape Shakotan), where legend has it, a goddess named Charenka lived and caused stormy and violent seas when she was jealous. As this was dangerous for the fishermen, women were forbidden from going there. The path from the entrance, built 80 meters above sea level, leads out to the tip. Cape Kamui can be accessed from 08:00 – 16:30.

Return to Otaru in the afternoon.

Stay: Hotel Sonia - 2/2

Day 06 - Otaru - Jozankei Onsen - Sapporo

Check-out of your accommodation and set your navigation system for the Jozankei sports park free parking area, which is a 50 minute drive from Otaru.

The Jozankei Hot Spring town, which is situated in a ravine upstream from the Toyohira River, was discovered by a monk by the name of Jozan Mizumi, and was named after him for his efforts to develop it as a therapeutic spa in 1866. A bronze statue of him sits in the Jozankei Gensen Park (07:00-21:00) which was built to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jozan’s birth. Enjoy the foot baths of the park and boil and egg in the hot spring water.

The hot spring town consists of a number of accommodations, a number of which offer their hot springs baths for day use. The Jozankei hot spring is well-known for its plentiful water, which flows some 200,000 litres every hour and contains a range of therapeutic minerals.

Learn about the culture of the indigenous Ainu at the Sapporo Pirka Kotan (08:45 – 22:00/JPY200). Exhibits display 300 artefacts relating to traditional clothing, tools, arts and crafts.

Make your way to Sapporo by setting your navigation system for your accommodation at the Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo, a 45 minute drive from here.

Drop your rental vehicle off at the hotel and check-in.

Stay: Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo - 1/2

Day 07 - Sapporo

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 - 2/2

Day 08 - Sapporo - Hakodate

Today is the first day of your 7 Day Japan Rail Pass.

Check-out of the Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo and from Sapporo Station board a Limited Express Hokuto train to Hakodate.

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

Day 09 - Hakodate

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

Day 10 - Hakodate - Hirosaki

Check-out of your accommodation and from Hakodate Station board a Limited Express Super Hokuto train to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station. (20 mins) Make your way to the bullet train lines and board a Hayabusa bullet train to Shin-Aomori Station. (60 mins) Change trains and board a JR Ou Line train to Hirosaki Station. (40 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

Day 11 - Hirosaki

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. 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)

Return to Hirosaki Station and 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

Day 12 - Hirosaki - Sendai

Check-out of your accommodation and from Hirosaki Station board a JR Ou Line train to Shin-Aomori Station. (40 mins) Change trains and board a Hayabusa bullet train to Sendai Station. (100 mins)

Your accommodation at the Hotel Metropolitan Sendai East is directly connected to the station.

A city sightseeing loop bus, the Loople Sendai, departs from JR Sendai Station (West Exit) bus stop #15-3 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 Natinoal 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

Day 13 - Sendai - Matsushima Bay - Sendai

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

Day 14 - Depart Tokyo

Today is the final day of your 7 Day Japan Rail Pass.

Check-out of your accommodation and from Sendai Station board a Komachi or Hayabusa bullet train to Tokyo Station. (95 mins) Change trains and board a Narita Express train to Narita Airport. (50 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.
Contact us now for a no-obligation quotation.

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