Colours of Northern Japan

  • days: 17
  • from $10,895

Flights Included

Countries Visited:

  • Japan

Description

Spring Cherry Blossom & Autumn Colours

Colours-of-Japan-200px

Experience the magic of Cherry Blossom (May departure) or witness stunning Autumn Colours as they sweep the country (Oct / Nov departures).

Hurry, book now! Seats are limited!

Discover the incredibly scenic and historic areas of northern Japan on this unique adventure. Admire the impressive waterfalls and limestone caves along the Geibikei Gorge, discover the history of the Samurai in Morioka and wander through the stunning Hirosaki Castle Gardens. 

Changing Scenery

From the bustling city and bright lights of Tokyo venture north and visit Nikko National Park and Matsushima. Then admire the impressive waterfalls, rock formations and limestone caves in the Geibikei Gorge - a truly magical experience. 

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 cruising around Tokyo Bay in a typical Japanese-style houseboat from the Heian period, known as a Yakatabune. [B,D]

Day 4. Tokyo - Nikko - Sendai

This morning we travel to Nikko National Park to visit Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Waterfall. We will then see Toshogu Shrine, the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who ruled Japan for over 250 years. This lavishly decorated shrine complex consists of more than a dozen buildings set in a beautiful forest. This afternoon we'll travel by bullet train to Sendai. [B,L]

Day 5. Matsushima Excursion

On our way to Matsushima we will visit the Sendai City Museum, which houses a reproduction model and digital display so you can imagine how it stood during its heyday. Upon arrival in Matsushima, we'll enjoy a cruise along the stunning bay, regarded as one of Japan’s most scenic views for centuries. This area was hit by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, so we’ll visit the City Earthquake Memorial Museum and the area devastated by the tsunami. Our final stop is Entsū-in Temple. 

Special-Experience-Icon-30px

Special Experience: Experience the local cuisine at a special dinner where we'll try the delicacy of gyutan (been tongue). [B,D]

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 Chūson-ji, founded in 850 according to the Tendai sect, and Konjikido Hall. 

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. [B]

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.

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. [B,D]

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. We'll then travel to Oga. 

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.

We'll spend the next two nights at a traditional ryokan guesthouse, a unique style of accommodation with tatami mat floors and authentic cuisine. We’ll be sleeping on traditional Japanese-style bedding made up of a futon bed on top of the tatami mats on the floor. [B,L,D]

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 before visiting the Mt Kanpuzan Rotating Observatory for spectacular views. The rest of 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 - Aomori

Sit back and enjoy the scenic drive this morning to Aomori. 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 Tsugaru Neputa Village to see the exhibits of local crafts and enjoy a shamisen live music performance. [B,D]

Day 12. Aomori - Hakodate

We board the bullet train for Hakodate on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. We'll then take the Hakodate 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 Goryōkaku Tower, which is 107 metres high and provides fantastic views. After lunch, we'll visit the Motomachi district and the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, the first commercial warehouse in this important port city. [B]

Day 14. Hakodate - Sapporo

This morning we take the bullet train north to Sapporo, famous for its ramen and beer. 

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. 

Our last stop today is Hokkaido Shrine, which enshrines three pioneering gods. [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 its grand hall, lit with one-of-a-kind oil lamps. This evening we'll enjoy a group farewell dinner. [B,D]

Day 16. Depart Sapporo

Today we begin our journey home. [B]

Day 17. Arrive Australia 

Inclusions

Travel

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to Japan. Taxes included
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour based on arrival into Narita airport only
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles
  • 3 Bullet train journeys in Japan 

Accommodation & Meals

  • 12 nights in 3-4 star hotels
  • 2 nights in a traditional Ryokan guesthouse, Oga
  • 14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 7 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

Tour Guides

  • English-speaking locally based national guide

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

  • Visit Nikko National Park and see Lake Chuzenji, Kegon Waterfall and Toshogu Shrine.
  • Explore the largest city of the Tohoku region, Sendai, including the Sendai City Museum and Date Masamune Statue. 
  • 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.
  • Visit the Jokenji Temple and Kappabuchi Pool.  
  • 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 Tezukurimura and learn about the Japanese art of Indigo dyeing.
  • 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.
  • Witness the panoramic views of Oga and the mountain range of Mayama at the Mt Kanpuzan Rotating Observatory.
  • 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.
  • Visit Tsugaru Neputa Village including Shamisen performance.
  • 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, Goryokaku Tower and the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward.
  • 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.

Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices

Autumn & Spring Cherry Blossom departures

Colours-of-Japan-200px

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

Hurry, book now! Seats are limited!

 
 

Starts Ends Save Total Cost* Status Book
04/05/20 20/05/20   $10,895 Available book now
12/10/20 28/10/20   $10,895 Available book now
19/10/20 04/11/20   $10,895 Available book now
26/10/20 11/11/20   $10,895 Available book now
02/11/20 18/11/20   $10,895 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, $250pp
Single supplement: from $1,575
  • 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

Bunnik Tours travellers are required to at least:
1. Be able to walk 2-3 hours on uneven surfaces without the use of any walking aid, on any given day
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

Accommodation

Accommodation

Grand Prince Hotel, New Takanawa, Tokyo

Located next to a 5 acre Japanese Garden, Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa offers spacious rooms featuring modern amenities. A short walk from Shinagawa Shinkansen Station, it is in an ideal location to explore the city.

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

Hotel Metropolitan, Sendai

Located adjacent to the city station, the Hotel Metropolitan provides stylish and comfortable accommodation in the heart of downtown Sendai. The property boasts 3 restaurants, including both Japanese and Chinese specialty venues, as well as a lobby lounge serving high tea and a bar serving fine beverages.

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

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

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

Century Marine, Hakodate

Century Marine is set in Hakodate in the Hokkaido region, just 5 km from Goryokaku Park and 5 km from Hakodate Goryokaku. The hotel includes a restaurant, free wifi and a sauna. 

Facilities: free wifi; spa; air-conditioning; restaurant; tea & coffee making facilities 

Sapporo Grand Hotel, Sapporo

Established in 1934 as Sapporo's first "western-style" hotel, the Sapporo Grand Hotel has maintained its pursuit of the highest possible service for over 80 years. The hotel is ideally located in the heart of central Sapporo and boasts 3 restaurants, a beer hall, 2 lounges and 2 bars, as well as a bakery. Guest rooms are luxurious and fitted with all the modern conveniences.

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

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.

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

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23

25

29

31

27

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12

Ave Min C

1

2

4

10

15

19

22

24

20

14

9

4

Rainy Days

6

7

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12

12

11

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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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28

24

19

14

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-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

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-1

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-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

Reviews for Colours of Northern Japan

This tour has a rating of 5 stars based on 2 reviews.

Here's what others have had to say about this tour.

Colours of Northern Japan Lovely scenery 4
Enjoyed the beautiful scenery, cherry blossoms and our tour guide, who was amazing. Margaret Goldie - April 2018
Colours of Northern Japan Lovely autumn colours 5
I enjoyed the diversity of sightseeing and the autumn colours. Our tour guide was the best. Very knowledgeable and always there to help. Yvonne Dell - October 2018

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Special Experiences!

  • Experience the local cuisine at a special dinner where we'll try the delicacy of gyutan (beef tongue). 
  • 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.
  • Take part in the local Wanko Soba tradition for dinner. These soba noodles originated in Morioka and Hanamaki; 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 and their wealthy families.
  • 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, and enjoy a tasting of ‘Fukkoku Sapporo Bakushu’ - a unique beer brewed according to traditional methods dating from 1881.

Trip Info

Group Size

Min: 9 | Max: 20

Transportation

Coach, cable car, 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 • Explore the stunning Iwate Prefecture • Ascend Mt Hakodate by ropeway for amazing views • Visit Sapporo’s impressive Hokkaido Shrine

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Bunnik Tours Reviews for Colours of Northern Japan

This tour has a rating of 5 stars based on 2 reviews.