This Japan round trip takes in the natural wonders and cultural sites of Hokkaido and northern Japan, concluding with the sacred Mount Fuji.
You will discover Japan by bus, train and the super express train Shinkansen accompanied by your English speaking tour guide.
Culture and culinary:
Detailed prices on request
Lake Mashū in Akan-Mashū National Park
After an overnight flight and a change of planes in Tokyo, your tour guide will welcome you at Memanbetsu Airport. By bus you will continue to your first hotel. Here you will meet the other tour participants and your tour guide at a first dinner together.
Open-air onsen at Akan Lake
Today you will discover the natural wonders of Akan Mashu National Park. In the middle of the lake is a nature station where you will meet the park's mascot: the extremely rare Marimo spherical algae. There is strong geothermal activity around the lake and during a walk through the lush nature you will discover numerous hot springs and fumaroles. In the afternoon, you will set out for Lake Mashu, which has the richest lake water on the planet. Located in the middle of an extinct volcanic crater, we will go on a hike to the most beautiful spots to enjoy the spectacular views of the lake and explore the pristine vegetation (walking time: about 4 hours). In the evening, be sure to take advantage of the hotel's onsen (natural hot spring bath) to relax extensively. Optionally, you can also join an evening hike in the evening, which enchants the forests around Lake Akan with mystical light shows (seasonal).
The red crowned cranes in Kushiro National Park
By group bus, you will continue today towards Kushiro, where you will meet one of the heraldic animals of the Japanese Imperial House. On the way, you will stop at one of the popular open-air onsen to fully enjoy the healing effects of the hot springs. Just outside the city of Kushiro lies the unique marshland of Kushiro-Shitsugen, which is also home to a large number of Japanese Manchurian cranes. On a hike, you will discover the best view from above over the marshland from a hilltop. To get to know the majestic crowned cranes better and to support their conservation, you will stop at the International Crane Center to get to know the animals even better. Tomorrow, your large luggage will be couriered to the hotel at Lake Toya, as it is not possible for the group to take luggage on the train. Please pack everything handy for one night.
Japan's youngest metropolis - Sapporo
Today you will continue with a very special train to the big city of Sapporo, which is also the capital of the northernmost island of Japan. The Ozora Express not only travels almost through the sea in parts, but also offers beautiful views of the natural landscapes of the wild north. Arriving in Sapporo, you will learn more about the young history of this city with a view of the brick-built city hall. You'll visit the Nijo Market, take in the colorful displays, and then look down on the city from the downtown TV tower. As is typical of Hokkaido, this evening you will of course enjoy locally brewed beer, for which Sapporo is famous, and one of the local seafood specialties over dinner: Hokkaido crab!
The historic port city of Otaru
We will embark on a short journey back in time to the village of Otaru. After visiting the local fish market, where you will discover all kinds of local seafood, you will stroll along the central canal of the town. You will reach the picturesque old town of Sakaimachi Street and breathe in the atmosphere of early industrialized Japan. You will visit the Music Box Museum (with its own steam music box outside the door), because you may not have known that Japan nowadays produces some of the most expensive mechanical music boxes in the world. What will also surprise you is the Otaru Art Base, where you will marvel at dozens of English Victorian stained glass windows. You will spend the evening at the cozy spa hotel on Lake Toya. Use this breather at the halfway point of this round trip for a long walk or relax extensively in one of the local hot springs.
The fortress of Hakodate
At the Uppopoy National Ainu Museum, learn about Japan's ethnic minority, which to this day tries to continue its cultural traditions in the context of mainstream Japan. The Ainu are actually Japan's indigenous people and today they are also fighting for the survival of their language, although it is almost extinct. In the afternoon, you will continue to Hakodate. In the 17th century, the city was considered the northernmost post of the Japanese Empire, from which the "wild" north was subdued. The city bastion Goryokaku, built on the European model, bears witness to this and you will also marvel at its geometric star shape from a tower in front of the complex.
Aomori - colorful festival floats
After an excursion to the picturesque harbor and old town district, in the early afternoon you will use the world's most punctual train, the Shinkansen Super Bullet Express, to reach Aomori, 200 km away and separated by a strait, in one hour. Here you will visit the museum of the Nebuta Matsuri Festival. The floats, some of which are more than 5 meters high and 15 meters wide, are completely covered with gigantic and colorfully painted paper lanterns, the sight of which has never left anyone cold. Since the city is also known for its apple production, you can taste the locally brewed cider in one of the local pubs. In the afternoon, you will take the Shinkansen train to Sendai.
The bay of Matsushima
Early in the morning, we take a train to one of the three most beautiful landscapes in Japan: Matsushima Bay. Like splinters in an idyllic landscape painting, small islands are scattered around the bay, some of which are overgrown with ancient and crooked pine trees. By boat you will explore the bay, from which one picturesque moment follows the next. On the way back, we will visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Zuiganji Temple. This was once the retreat of a shogun, the samurai rulers of Japan, and as such features magnificent gilded and finely painted sliding doors. A glimpse into the splendor of the great samurai dynasties! Back in Sendai, you'll still visit the rebuilt mausoleum of the great prince of Hakodate, Date Masamune, who is revered in the colorful Zuihoden Temple. In the evening, join your tour guide for an evening stroll through the metropolis of millions, perhaps enjoying one of the local specialties.
Hiraizumi World Heritage Sites
Today, you will travel by group bus to one of the great highlights of of northern Japan: to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Hiraizumi. Not only a wonderful garden of the Motsuji temple belongs to it, but also but also the most magnificent temple of the country: the golden hall of the Konjikido, dating from the 12th century, is the most impressive symbol of the opulent temple design of the High Middle Ages. In the afternoon, return to Sendai. Here, in the evening, enjoy local specialties on a guided izakaya (popular Japanese restaurant) tour.
The magnificent Yomeimon Gate of Toshogu Shrine
In the morning, travel to Nikko by Shinkansen and coach. As a Japanese proverb claims, "Never say kekko (magnificent) until you have seen Nikko". You will travel to the famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Nikko. These include the mausoleum of the first shogun of the so-called Edo period, the Toshogu Shrine, whose incredibly magnificently decorated building with gleaming gold plating will leave you speechless. The equally impressive Rinnoji Temple at the foot of the complex, with its three gigantic main statues, gives an impression of the great reverence with which pilgrims in the 17th century must have already stepped in front of these votives of Buddhism. For here, as in no other place in Japan, the two world religions of Japan meet in close proximity: Shintoism and Buddhism.
The sacred Fuji
oday you will travel by coach to the highlight of your trip: The holy mountain Fuji. In the summer months you have the opportunity to climb this 3776m high and still active volcano. You will spend the night in a mountain hut in the evening in order to set off for the summit in the early morning. Alternatively, you will take a guided bike tour around the 5 lakes of Fuji National Park. In good weather you will enjoy indescribably picturesque views. In the evening, a fancy dinner awaits you in a traditional ryokan with its own onsen.
View over Chureito Pagoda to Mount Fuji
Early in the morning you set off to enjoy the indescribable view at sunrise on the summit of Mount Fuji! At a leisurely pace you will then return to the 5th mountain station and by bus to your accommodation. Alternatively, today you will go to Chureito Pagoda with a wonderful view of Mount Fuji. In the evening, a Japanese farewell dinner awaits you. The next morning a coach will take you directly to the airport.
Transfer to Tokyo airport and say goodbye to the tour guide.