15 DAYS ●
Along with the must-see sites on the island of Honshu and a day trip to Nikko, this is a tour of varying landscapes as it journeys south from Hokkaido uncovering the charming cities of Sapporo, Otaru and Hakodate.
Discover the less-visited island of Hokkaido
Tour a traditional sake brewery
Explore the beautiful surroundings of Nikko
Ascend Japan's iconic and inspirational mountain
Our Journey through Japan itinerary has been intricately designed for those who wish to see iconic sites and magnificent treasures. You'll travel with the assurance that all your arrangements are taken care of, with international flights, accommodation and all the touring listed below. You will be accompanied by our industry-leading National Escorts whose unparalleled knowledge and talent will turn your tour into an unforgettable experience.
Fly to the vibrant city of Sapporo, capital of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
This morning, ascend to the Okurayama viewing point, soaring up to the summit of the Sapporo Winter Olympics ski jump by chair lift – the views over the surrounding mountains are breathtaking. Continue to the pretty port town of Otaru and take some time to walk along the streets of the village and stroll along the picturesque canal. This evening visit the Sapporo Beer Museum where there is an optional beer tasting before popping next door to the Sapporo Beer Garden to dine on a Genghis Khan dinner – barbeque lamb, a Sapporo special!
Depart Sapporo and travel to a lovely lakeside spot to visit a museum of Ainu culture, an indigenous people of the area. Continue to Noboribetsu Jigokudani (Hell Valley) and walk through a volcanic caldera where you can see steam jets, vents and hot springs. After lunch, hop on a train to the harbour city of Hakodate, set on Hokkaido’s southern tip, where you’ll embark on a night tour with time to ascend the ropeway up Mount Hakodate, for magnificent views over the illuminated city.
Start the day wandering Hakodate’s bustling asaichi (morning market), where hundreds of stores and stalls sell fresh local produce, seafood and the odd souvenir. Ascend Goryokaku Tower for views over Goryokaku Fort and Mount Hakodate before boarding the bullet train to the lovely city of Aomori in the north of Honshu, Japan’s largest island. Visit the Nebuta Warasse, a museum dedicated to Aomari’s famous, 300-year-old Nebuta Matsuri, a lively summer festival.
Depart Hirosaki for Kakunodate, an old samurai stronghold still known for its samurai traditions. Visit the Aoyagi Samurai Manor Museum for a fascinating look at samurai culture and stroll around Ishiguro House, a traditional samurai residence. Continue to the hot spring resort of Tsunagi, where you can make use of the onsen facilities at the traditional Japanese ryokan where you'll stay overnight.
Travel to Hiraizumi, where you’ll explore the peaceful Chusonji with its beautiful old gold leaf-covered hall. Continue to Matsushima to enjoy a relaxed cruise on Matsushima Bay, passing amongst the small pine tree-covered islands of this picturesque seascape.
Walk to Sendai station and take the bullet train to the culture-filled town of Nikko. Start your explorations in the beautiful surroundings of Nikko National Park, where you’ll visit Toshogu shrine. Built in the 1600s, this is Japan’s most lavish shrine, built as the final resting place of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Continue to the magnificent Kegon Waterfall, taking a 100-metre tall elevator up to the perfect viewing spot. Transfer to Tokyo.
Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is the ultimate 24- hour city, but look behind its frantic, high-tech frontage and you’ll find plenty of tranquil backstreets and old temples to explore. Start the day in the vibrant district of Asakusa, where you will visit Sensoji, Tokyo’s oldest temple, and wander down Nakamise shopping street before a visit to Edo Tokyo Museum. After lunch, stroll through the peaceful Meiji Jingu Shrine complex, before ascending to the observatory deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building for exceptional views over the city.
Travel by road from Tokyo to Mount Fuji, where you’ll ascend 2,400 metres up Japan’s most iconic sight to the 5th Station (weather permitting). Transfer to the Hakone area. Embark on a cruise on the spectacular Lake Ashi before flying high above the lake on the Komagatake Ropeway to the summit of Mount Komagatake where the views of Mount Fuji will be breathtaking, if the peak isn’t hiding in cloud of course! Return to Tokyo.
Take a bullet train to Kyoto. Capital for 1,000 years, the city today is full of the legacy of ancient Japan and home to tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens. This afternoon, visit Togetsukyo Bridge in the heart of the vibrant Arashiyama district and walk through the bamboo forest, with its towering bamboo thickets.
This morning, visit one of Japan’s most famous temples, Kinkakuji, the ‘Golden Pavilion’. Set amongst classical Japanese Zen gardens and on the edge of a reflecting pool, the temple’s main hall is covered in gold leaf. Then, stroll through Nishiki Market, dubbed ‘Kyoto’s kitchen’, where there are many interesting food and sake stores to explore before a free afternoon to spend as you wish.
Try your hand at handkerchief dyeing and then experience the rituals of a tea ceremony. After lunch, walk the vermillion, torii gate-lined pathways of the Fushimi Inari Shrine and tour a traditional sake brewery, where you can have a few cheeky tasters. Drive to the booming city of Osaka.
This morning is free at leisure before you transfer to Osaka airport for your return flight home.
All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. Our tour prices are from prices based on per person, twin share and are subject to the availability of specific economy class fare levels. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal.
New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to travel to Japan. Other passport holders should arrange visas well in advance of departure, if required. Please note that a visa will be required for the China section of our Ancient Empires of China & Japan tour.
While travelling overseas, the Wendy Wu Tours contact number during business hours is +64 9 975 8117. Emergency Assistance (24-hours) is 0044 1888 288 288. You will find mobile phone coverage to be quite high throughout Asia. We recommend contacting your mobile carrier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated call and data costs before you leave New Zealand. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi, which usually comes at a cost.
Tipping is not part of the culture in Japan and therefore is not required during our tours in Japan, but if you would like to show your appreciation, you can do so in local currency. Note that tipping is customary in South Korea and China and for the tours that include those countries, a customary tipping amount is indicated.
Shopping is a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure. In keeping with most people’s interests while on holiday, your tour includes a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs. Included are visits to establishments that provide locally produced goods, unique to your destination. Witness the creation of these products, and see first-hand how their production supports the local economy. As most travellers like to take home souvenirs, we ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity.
We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or too unusual. Breakfast at your hotel includes local and western dishes. In remote areas, we suggest embracing local specialities. Bento boxes are a common lunch option. A traditional bento contains rice, seafood or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables. Drinks such as beer, soft drinks or bottled water are at your own expense locally.
At Wendy Wu Tours we are all avid adventurers, constantly seeking out the best ways for you to experience Asia. That's why we are Asia experts and New Zealand's leading Asia tour operator - our customer reviews and numerous awards say it all. This website is all about showcasing both Asia's top sights and its magnificent hidden gems; about the plethora of different types of authentic and exciting experiences that we can offer you; and about giving you the very best holiday, whether it's your first visit or your 10th.
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