Colours of Northern Japan

  • days: 18
  • from $10,795

Flights Included

Countries Visited:

  • Japan

Description

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Destinations visited icon

1 country

UNESCO icon

1 UNESCO World 
Heritage-listed site

Festival tour icon

Special departure: Experience the magic of Cherry Blossom (Mar / Apr) or witness stunning Autumn Colours (Oct / Nov)

Spring Cherry Blossom & Autumn Colours

Colours-of-Japan-200px

Experience the magic of Japan's Cherry Blossom (Mar / Apr departures) or witness stunning Autumn Colours as they sweep the country (Oct / Nov departures).

Hurry, book now! Seats are limited!

A beautiful journey through Northern Honshu and Hokkaido, taking in the incredible natural colours of the forests, gardens and hidden temples. Ride the bullet train, soak in a natural onsen and stroll through the beautifully preserved streets of historic villages.

Changing Scenery

From the bustling city and bright lights of Tokyo venture north into Japan’s breathtaking Tohoku region by bullet train. Experience the unique local cuisine at a traditional dinner and discover incredible Matsushima Bay, ranked as one of Japan’s most scenic views for centuries, dotted with hundreds of tiny pine-clad islets. 

Traditions & Folklore

Delve into a treasure trove of culture and folklore in the garden city of Tono and take part in the local ‘Wanko Soba’ tradition over dinner. Learn about the rich history of wealthy samurai in Kakunodate. Discover the fascinating legend of Namahage and its yearly festival in the city of Oga and wander the grounds of the beautiful Hirosaki Castle.

The North Island

Venture further north by bullet train to the northernmost island of Hokkaido. Explore the cities of Hakodate and Sapporo. Discover the history of Japanese beer-making at the famous Sapporo brewery and the Hokkaido Shrine. 

 

Itinerary

Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 1. Depart Australia

Day 2. Arrive in Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo, Japan’s dazzling, ultra-modern capital city.  

Day 3. Tokyo

We begin the day at the grounds of the Imperial Palace, residence of Japan’s Imperial Family, and situated on the former site of Edo Castle. We’ll also visit the Meiji Shrine, an oasis in the heart of the bustling Shibuya district, dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji. This afternoon we’ll experience the neon lights and hustle and bustle of Shibuya before admiring the city lights on a dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay in a typical Japanese-style houseboat from the Heian Era, known as a yakatabune. [B,D]

Day 4. Tokyo - Sendai

This morning we transfer to the station to board the bullet train to Sendai. Here we’ll visit the Sendai City Museum, which houses a reproduction model and digital display so you can imagine it as it stood in its heyday. [B,D]

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Special Experience: Experience the local cuisine at a special dinner where we’ll try the delicacy of gyutan (beef tongue).

Day 5. Matsushima Excursion

We spend the day discovering Matsushima and its iconic bay, ranked one of Japan’s most scenic views for centuries. Hit by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, we’ll visit the City Earthquake Memorial Museum and the area devastated by the tsunami. We’ll also visit the Entsū-in Temple. After some free time for lunch, we’ll enjoy a cruise on the stunning bay, dotted with some 260 pine islets. [B]

Day 6. Sendai - Morioka

Today we explore the Iwate Prefecture at the easternmost point of the island of Honshu. We’ll visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Buddhist temple of Chuson-ji, founded in 850 according to the Tendai sect, and Konjikido Hall. [B]

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: Admire the impressive waterfalls, rock formations and limestone caves on a scenic cruise along the Geibikei Gorge. Enjoy local folk songs sung by the boatmen as they guide us through the spectacular gorge.

Day 7. Morioka

This morning we’ll discover the garden city of Tono, known as a treasure trove of Japanese folklore, thanks to its legends of spirits, animals and supernatural creatures. Our sightseeing includes the Municipal Museum and Tono Furusato Mura, a recreation of a traditional farming village. This afternoon we’ll explore the Morioka Castle Ruins Park. [B,D]

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: Take part in the local Wanko Soba tradition for dinner tonight. These soba noodles originated in Morioka and Hanamaki; by tradition you quickly eat small servings from small bowls, which are repeatedly refilled.

Day 8. Morioka - Oga

We depart for Tezukurimura this morning and tour the Japanese Cultural Arts and Crafts mall, where we’ll take part in an indigo-dyeing experience. [B,L,D]

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: Explore the Kakunodate Aoyagi Samurai Manor open-air museum and discover the rich history and way of life of samurai and their wealthy families.

Day 9. Oga

Learn about the fascinating legend of Namahage and the tradition of its yearly festival this morning at the Museum. We’ll then tour the Shinzan Folklore Museum and Shrine. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy the natural onsen (hot springs) and facilities of our ryokan accommodation. [B,L,D]

Day 10. Oga - Hirosaki

Sit back and enjoy the scenic drive this morning to Hirosaki. After stopping for lunch, we’ll discover majestic Lake Towada, the largest crater lake on the island of Honshu. The water here is so clear that you can peer down more than 10 metres into it. We’ll also visit Oirase Gorge, one of the most beautiful river areas in Japan. [B,L]

Day 11. Hirosaki - Aomori

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: Wander through the stunning Hirosaki Castle Gardens, one of the best places in Japan to witness the breathtaking cherry blossoms and autumn colours.

This afternoon we’ll continue to Aomori via the Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse which offers a glimpse into the spectacular Nebuta Festival held each year in August. [B,D]

Day 12. Aomori - Hakodate

We board the bullet train for Hakodate on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. We’ll see the famous star-shaped fort known as Goryokaku and visit the tower observatory for panoramic views. This afternoon we’ll take the Hakodateyama Ropeway to the top of Mt Hakodate and enjoy the views of the city and surrounds. [B]

Day 13. Hakodate

Today we discover the city of Hakodate, starting with the Jomon Culture Centre, which provides insight into the distinctive Japanese culture that has lasted for more than 10,000 years. We’ll also visit the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, the first commercial warehouse in this important port city. Enjoy some time at leisure before we tour the historic Motomachi District. [B]

Day 14. Hakodate - Sapporo

This morning we take the train north to Sapporo, famous for its ramen and beer. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore. [B]

Day 15. Sapporo

We spend the morning in the port city of Otaru on Ishikari Bay, and explore its beautifully preserved canal area. Otaru is also famous for its glass and we’ll visit the original Kitaichi Glass Sangokan in a converted fishery warehouse. As well as a place to shop for souvenirs, it is also famous for a grand hall lit with one-of-a-kind oil lamps. [B]

Day 16. Sapporo

Today we'll visit Hokkaido Shrine, which enshrines three pioneering gods. 

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: Discover the history of beer making in Japan and the famous Sapporo brewery at the Sapporo Beer Museum, and enjoy a tasting of ‘Fukkoku Sapporo Bakushu’ - a unique beer brewed according to traditional methods dating from 1881.

This evening we'll enjoy a group farewell dinner. [B,D]

Day 17. Depart Sapporo

Today we begin our journey home. [B]

Day 18. Arrive Australia

 

Walking Man

Level of fitness: This tour features 2+ hours of walking, often across uneven ground and in areas of high altitude or heat and humidity on 1 or more days.

Inclusions

Travel

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to Japan. Taxes included
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour (if using group tour flights only)
  • 3 rail journeys in Japan
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
  • Tipping is not part of the Japanese culture, so tips are not expected 

Accommodation & Meals

  • 13 nights in good quality hotels (3-4 star)
  • 2 nights in a traditional Ryokan guesthouse including a typical Japanese onsen (hot springs) bath followed by a traditional Japanese dinner
  • 15 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 7 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

Tour Guides

  • English-speaking locally based national guide throughout

Sightseeing

Modern and traditional Tokyo

  • Explore the grounds of the Imperial Palace, situated on the former site of Edo Castle.
  • Tour the Meiji Jingu Shrine, dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken.
  • Stop at the famous Shibuya Crossing, the busiest intersection in Japan and the meeting point of 5 roads in the most populous city in the world. 
  • Admire the bright lights of Tokyo from a yakatabune dinner cruise around Tokyo Bay.

Stunning nature of Tohoku

  • Explore the largest city of the Tohoku region, Sendai, including the Sendai City Museum and Aobajo Honmaru Kaikan. 
  • Try the local delicacy of gyutan (beef tongue) at a special dinner in Sendai.
  • Visit the Matsushima City Earthquake Memorial Museum and explore the Tsunami-devastated area caused by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami.
  • Walk through Entsu-in, a famous Buddhist temple built in 1646 in mourning of the son of the ruling local feudal lord, Date Terumune, who met an untimely death at the age of 19.
  • Cruise on stunning Matsushima Bay, considered to be one of Japan's three most scenic views for centuries.  The bay is dotted by some 260  tiny pine-covered islets.
  • Travel to Morioka and visit Chusonji Temple, established in 850 as a temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. Then admire neighbouring Konjikido Hall, which dates back to 1124 and is completely covered in gold.
  • Enjoy a scenic boat trip along the Geibi Gorge, surrounded by impressive waterfalls, rock formations and limestone caves.  These unique boatmen sing local folk songs as they guide you through the gorge. Scenic all year round, it is particularly spectacular during Autumn.
  • Explore the garden city of Tono, including the Tono Municipal Museum and the Furusato Village where you will learn about the performing arts, folk beliefs, farm life and culture of Tono's people.  
  • Tour the Morioka Castle Ruins Park with its beautiful stone walls, a hidden gem of the Tohoku region.
  • Enjoy a Wanko Soba meal, consisting of soba noodles in small bowls, unique to the Morioka Region.
  • Visit the Kakunodate Aoyagi Samurai Manor Museum and learn how the middle and wealthy-class samurai families once lived.
  • Discover the legend and tradition of the Namahage culture, visiting the Nanahage Museum, Shinzan Folklore Museum and the Shinzan Shrine.
  • Spend 2 nights in a traditional Japanese Ryokan in Oga with hot spring bath and sauna.  Enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner on both nights.
  • Travel to Lake Towada, a dual crater lake formed by the caving in of a volcano mouth and volcano eruption.  The scenery during Autumn here is breathtaking.  
  • Stop at Oirase Gorge in the Aomori Prefecture, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful river valleys in Japan. The crystal-clear river runs mostly parallel to the road through a beautiful deciduous forest.
  • Walk through the Hirosaki Castle Gardens, considered one of the best spots in Japan to witness Cherry Blossom and Autumn Colours.  Hirosaki Castle was built in 1611 by the Tsugaru Clan with a 3 story tower, fortified moats, castle gates and some corner turrets.
  • Experience the unique Nebuta Wa Rasse Museum dedicated to the Nebuta Matsuri festival held annually.
  • Take in the magnificent panoramic views of Goryokaku Tower and the surrounding area. Also considered one of the premier spots in Japan for viewing Cherry Blossom and Autumn Colours.

Highlights of the north 

  • Ascend Mount Hakodate via the Hakodate Ropeway, the most heavily used aerial cable car in Japan. Witness the amazing views of Hakodate and its harbour.
  • Spend a full day exploring Hakodate including Hakodate Jomon Culture Centre, Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse.
  • Learn about the history of beer making in Japan including some unique tastings on a visit to the famous Sapporo Beer Museum. 
  • Visiting Hokkaido is not complete without a stop at the Hokkaido Shrine, built in 1869. This important shrine was dedicated to Shinto deities offering spiritual uplifting to the pioneers of the area.
  • Visit the Otaru Canal, a central part of the city's busy port in the first half of the 20th century. Stop at the Kitaichi Glass Sangokan, a historical stone-on-wood frame building dating back to 1891.

Accommodation

Accommodation

Shinagawa Prince Hotel, Tokyo

The Shinagawa Prince Hotel is located at the southern gateway to the Tokyo metropolis with breathtaking views of the city and Tokyo Bay. Besides its convenient location, this impressive multi-functional hotel complex offers a wide array of dining and entertainment options. The hotel is home to a 10 screen multiplex theatre, a cabaret, bowling centre, indoor swimming pool, indoor tennis courts, indoor golf centre, and a great selection of restaurants!

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge; safe deposit box; indoor swimming pool

Hotel Vista, Sendai

Hotel Vista Sendai is conveniently located, just a 4-minute walk from JR Sendai Station. It features an on-site restaurant and free wifi. Air-conditioned rooms are equipped with a 32-inch flat-screen LCD TV, fridge, air purifier and electric kettle. The en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer and complimentary toiletries.

Facilities: air-conditioning; LCD TV; free wifi; fridge; kettle

Hotel Metropolitan, Morioka

Offering modern and comfortable accommodation, the Hotel Metropolitan Morioka is conveniently located in the city centre, within a 10 minute walk of the Kaiunbashi Bridge. The property features a restaurant and deep soaking tubs in all rooms.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge; safe deposit box (at reception)

Oga Onsen Bettei Tsubaki, Oga

A traditional Japanese ryokan in the Akita prefecture, the Oga onsen boast large natural hot spring baths to enjoy, both indoor and outdoor. From the lobby you'll enjoy views over the Sea of Japan and the World Heritage site of Mt Shirakami. The property also features a local sake corner.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge; hot spring baths

Art Hotel, Hirosaki

Located in the heart of Hirosaki near the famous Hirosaki Castle, the Art Hotel is beautifully designed and offers luxurious guest rooms with all the modern conveniences. The property boasts a Teppanyaki counter and Japanese grill, as well as a bar and coffee lounge. The building includes a shopping precinct and large fitness centre.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge; safe deposit box (at reception); tea & coffee making facilities

Hotel Aomori, Aomori

The Hotel Aomori is located in the heart of downtown Aomori and offers views of Mt Hakkoda and Mutsu Bay. Modern and comfortable guest rooms feature deep soaking tubs and coffee makers. The property also boasts 3 restaurants, a coffee shop/cafe and a bar.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge; safe deposit box (at reception); tea & coffee making facilities

La Vista Hakodate Bay, Hakodate

Situated in the heart of Hakodate Bay and with all the main attractions nearby, La Vista is the perfect base from which to discover the city. Guests will enjoy the property's impeccable service and amenities, plush and well-equipped guest rooms, and top-class fitness and recreational facilities such as hot springs, sauna, spa and massage.

Facilities: air-conditioning; free wifi; fridge; safe deposit box (at reception)

ANA Hotel Sapporo, Sapporo

Situated in Sapporo, the fifth largest city in Japan, ANA Hotel Sapporo has been a landmark for luxury and relaxation coupled with the best of Japanese hospitality. Guest rooms feature natural color toning and a comfortable interior, creating an exquisite environment for a pleasurable experience. Rooms are air-conditioned, furnished with flat-screen TV, refrigerator and include free wifi. Easily accessible and centrally located, ANA Hotel Sapporo is just a minute walk from the Sapporo Subway Station and an additional 6 minutes from JR Sapporo Station.

Facilities: air-conditioning; LCD TV; free wifi; safe deposit box

Accommodation listed is subject to change and the list should be used as a guide only. Every effort is made to avoid changes however if a change becomes necessary then accommodation of a similar standard will be used.

Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices

Autumn & Spring Cherry Blossom departures

Colours-of-Japan-200px

Discover Japan's stunning Autumn Colours (09 Oct - 06 Nov departures) as they sweep the country or witness the magic of Cherry Blossom (24 Apr - 08 May departures).

Hurry, book now! Seats are limited!

Starts Ends Save Total Cost* Status Book
30/04/19 17/05/19   $10,795 Guaranteed Departure book now
07/05/19 24/05/19   $10,795 Available book now
08/10/19 25/10/19   $10,795 Available book now
15/10/19 01/11/19   $10,795 Available book now
22/10/19 08/11/19   $10,795 Available book now
05/11/19 22/11/19   $10,795 Available book now
Valid From: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane & Perth
Other departure cities: Please contact our office for applicable pricing
Tips: Tipping is not part of the Japanese culture, so tips are not expected
Taxes: Total cost includes - air taxes, $205pp
Single supplement: from $1,675
  • Taxes & Fuel Costs: Total cost includes air taxes. Taxes and fuel surcharges change regularly so above levies shown as a guide only
  • T&C: All prices shown are per person based on twin share and include airfares, all taxes and tips. Prices and itineraries correct at current time but are subject to change. Please call for more details. View our full terms & conditions here.

Fitness to Travel

Let's Talk Fitness

Levels-of-Fitness-sml

At Bunnik Tours we don’t put specific age limits on our tours, but we also recognise some travellers may find our itineraries challenging.
We have a duty of care to all tour participants and the tour guides, so we do impose a firm policy on the level of fitness required by all our clients to attempt to ensure your safety and the safety of other travellers on our tours.
At Bunnik Tours our goal is for all our travellers to enjoy their tour, not struggle through it! Which is why we want to work with you to ensure you are on the best possible trip for your fitness level. We do reserve the right to refuse bookings if we feel that the requirements of the tour are too demanding.
Bunnik Tours are for independently minded travellers with good levels of mobility.

Our tours include:
1. Generous amounts of free time
2. Lots of walking
3. Local and authentic experiences including various modes of transport and accommodation

In some regions travellers can also expect:
1. Long days of travelling, at times on dirt and gravel roads in Africa
2. Extended periods at high altitude (3,000-4,000 metres) in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Ethiopia
3. Extended periods of walking/hiking through humid forest areas in Rwanda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica
4. Limited medical facilities in remote areas

Bunnik Tours travellers are required to at least:
1. Be able to walk 2-3 hours on uneven surfaces
2. Walk up multiple flights of stairs and short, steep hills
3. Stand for 20 minutes without needing to sit down, often in hot/humid climates
4. Carry their own luggage
5. Get on and off various modes of transport without assistance, including small boats

Weather

Weather

Tokyo

Summer: June to August

Autumn: September to November

Winter: December to February

Spring: March to May

Tokyo

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F

M

A

M

J

J

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10

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18

23

25

29

31

27

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17

12

Ave Min C

1

2

4

10

15

19

22

24

20

14

9

4

Rainy Days

6

7

10

11

12

12

11

10

13

12

8

5

Sendai

Summer: June to August

Autumn: September to November

Winter: December to February

Spring: March to May

Sendai

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A

M

J

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5

6

9

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19

22

26

28

24

19

14

8

Ave Min C

-2

-2

1

6

11

16

20

21

18

11

5

1

Rainy Days

7

7

9

10

11

13

16

12

13

9

8

7

Sapporo

Summer: June to August

Autumn: September to November

Winter: December to February

Spring: March to May

Sapporo

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

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-1

-1

4

11

17

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25

26

22

16

8

2

Ave Min C

-8

-8

-4

2

7

12

17

18

13

6

1

-5

Rainy Days

17

14

12

10

8

9

9

10

11

12

13

15

Currency

Currency

Japanese Yen

The official currency of Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY; ¥).

  • 1 Japanese Yen = 100 sen
  • Notes are in denominations of ¥10,000, 5000, 2000 and 1000
  • Coins are in denominations of ¥500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1

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Special Experiences!

  • Experience the local cuisine at a special dinner and try the delicacy of gyutan (beef tongue).
  • Admire the impressive waterfalls and caves on a scenic cruise along the Geibikei Gorge. Enjoy local folk songs sung by the boatmen as they guide us through the spectacular gorge.
  • Take part in the local Wanko Soba tradition at a typical dinner tonight. By tradition you quickly eat small servings from small bowls, which are repeatedly refilled.
  • Explore the Kakunodate Aoyagi Samurai Manor open-air museum and discover the rich history and way of life of samurai.
  • Wander through the stunning Hirosaki Castle Gardens, one of the best places in Japan to witness the breathtaking cherry blossoms and autumn colours.
  • Discover the history of beer making in Japan and the famous Sapporo brewery at the Sapporo Beer Museum.

Trip Info

Group Size

Min: 9 | Max: 20

Transportation

Coach, gondola, local train, boat, bullet train & Japanese-style houseboat

Tips

Tipping is not part of the Japanese culture, so tips are not expected

Tour Highlights

• Enjoy the grounds of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace • Cruise through the pine-clad islets of stunning Matsushima Bay • Discover the legend and tradition of Namahage in Akita • Take in the breathtaking scenery of Lake Towada and the Oirase Gorge, one of the most beautiful river valleys in Japan • Ascend Mt Hakodate by ropeway for amazing views • Visit Sapporo’s impressive Hokkaido Shrine

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