MAY 7 - MAY 20 2024
SAPPORO IN / FUKUOKA OUT
2 DINNERS & 1 LUNCH
Classic Japan, an all-encompassing journey from north to south
If you only had one chance to visit Japan and you wanted to tick all the boxes, then the Classic Japan Tour would be the tour to join. This tour is scheduled in late spring, the perfect time for traveling the length of Japan. Join us on this
all-encompassing tour of Japan and travel from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south.
Some of the places we visit on this amazing tour include Sapporo, Otaru, Hakodate, Sendai, Matsushima Bay, Tokyo (Ueno, Asakusa, Tokyo Sky Tree, Odaiba, Harajuku, Meiji Shrine, Shibuya), Mt. Fuji, Kamakura, Kyoto (Golden Pavilion, Fushimi-Inari Shrine, Nijo Castle, Gion (Geisha District), Yasaka Shrine, Arashiyama), Himeji Castle, Miyajima Island (Itsukushima Shrine, Daisho-in Temple), Hiroshima, and Fukuoka! Join our Classic Japan Tour and see everything Japan has to offer all at once!!
・Explore the length of Japan, from Hokkaido to Kyushu
・Enjoy a leisurely day trip to Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi
・Visit the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Kamakura
・Enjoy some of the best sushi Japan has to offer in Otaru
・Visit the Golden Pavilion & Fushimi-Inari Shrine in Kyoto
・Enjoy a relaxing cruise around beautiful Matsushima Bay
・View Tokyo and Mt. Fuji from the Tokyo Sky Tree (350 m)
・Visit the amazing Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island
Airport-hotel transfers in Japan
Transport and entry to all places described in the itinerary
13 nights accommodation in carefully selected hotels/inns
13 breakfasts and 1 lunch
2 dinners (welcome dinner and farewell dinner)
The services of Craig Campbell (tour guide/driver/interpreter)
*Please note that tour prices do not include airfares to and from Japan
DATE: May 7th, 2024 Sapporo
Travel to Sapporo by Tuesday May 7th, 2024.
Arrive at New Chitose Airport (CTS) by own arrangements.
Craig will meet you at the airport and assist you with the transfer to your hotel in central Sapporo. Once you have checked in to your hotel you will have free time to relax, or enjoy some local sightseeing, shopping, dinner, etc.
DATE: May 8th, 2024 Sapporo
Enjoy a leisurely day trip to Otaru.
We will travel from Sapporo to Otaru on a local train which meanders along the beautiful coastline of western Hokkaido. On this train ride you will see some of the most spectacular ocean views you are ever likely to come across. You may even be lucky enough to spot some of the local wildlife as well. Hokkaido is a wild animal paradise, featuring bears, deer, foxes, cranes, swans, and even orcas.
Once we arrive in Otaru we will visit the city's beautiful canal area and take a leisurely stroll up to the Otaru Suitengu Shrine. The small port city of Otaru is often referred to as the Venice of Japan because of its historic and picturesque canals which are lined with brick warehouses and gas lights.
The Venice connection has also been expanded to include a new focus on glass-blowing in the city. Not only can you enjoy the beauty of the canals,
but you can also enjoy locally brewed beers and ciders at one of the local breweries, or try some of the best sushi in Japan on Sushi Street. Sushi Street is lined on both sides with dozens of delicious sushi restaurants, some of which have been in business for more than 100 years.
At night we will enjoy a lovely welcome dinner together at a local izakaya (Japanese-style restaurant/bar).
DATE: May 9th, 2024 Hakodate
Travel from Sapporo to Hakodate by limited express train.
Once we arrive in Hakodate we will travel through the streets of this beautiful port city by streetcar until we reach the historic Goryokaku Fort. This massive, star shaped, western style fort was built approximately 150 years ago and was the first of its kind in Japan. It is now designated as a special historic site due to its historical significance. In the late afternoon we will make our way to the very top of Mt. Hakodate by an aerial ropeway gondola to enjoy the sunset and stunning night views. The view from Mt. Hakodate is highly acclaimed, gaining the highest possible three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide Japan.
DATE: May 10th, 2024 Sendai
Travel from Hakodate to Sendai by shinkansen.
After we arrive in Sendai we will then make the short trip to Matsushima Bay to enjoy a relaxing cruise. Matsushima Bay is dotted with hundreds of pine clad islets, and has been ranked as one of Japan’s three most scenic views for centuries. After enjoying the beauty of Matsushima Bay from the water, we will then walk to a couple of islands and explore black and red pine forests and ancient temples and shrines.
DATE: May 11th, 2024 Tokyo
Travel from Sendai to Tokyo by shinkansen.
Once we arrive in Tokyo we will visit some of this amazing city's most famous and iconic places, including Harajuku, Meiji Shrine, and Shibuya.
Our first stop is Harajuku, the center for Japan's most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles. The focal point of Harajuku is undoubtedly Takeshita Street and its side streets. These streets are lined with trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crepe stands, and restaurants.
In stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Harajuku is our next destination, Meiji Shrine, one of Tokyo's most famous Shinto shrines. It was built to enshrine the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken in 1920. Unlike many other flashy places of worship throughout Asia, Meiji Shrine is a quiet, serene place of worship surrounded by a dense forest of over 120,000 trees. Similar to Central Park in New York City, Meiji Shrine and its surrounding grounds are like a natural oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle. To end our half day tour of Tokyo we will visit perhaps its most popular shopping and entertainment district - Shibuya. Here you will have the chance to cross the world famous Scramble Crossing. This crossing is the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing, with as many as 2500 people crossing at a time.
DATE: May 12th, 2024 Tokyo
Enjoy a full day tour of Tokyo, taking in both the old and the new of one of the largest cities in the world.
First we will visit the old downtown area of Tokyo (Asakusa), where we will walk down the famous Nakamise Shopping Street to the Asakusa Kannon Temple (otherwise known as Sensoji Temple), the oldest and most visited Buddhist temple in Tokyo.
Next we will visit two of the most modern places in Tokyo, the Tokyo Sky Tree and Odaiba. The Tokyo Sky Tree was completed in 2012, and is the tallest building in Japan. We will go to the first observation deck (350 m) to
enjoy spectacular views of the Tokyo metropolis and Mt. Fuji.
We will finish the day by going to Odaiba, an ultramodern area on Tokyo Bay. Here you can enjoy pleasure cruising, shopping, and spectacular views of Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Bay, and the Tokyo skyline.
DATE: May 13th, 2024 Tokyo
Enjoy an unforgettable day trip to Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi by private vehicle.
Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi are located about 140 km southwest of Tokyo. Enjoy a relaxing drive taking in beautiful mountain scenery as we go.
Our first stop is the stunning Lake Kawaguchi, the second largest of the Fuji Five Lakes in terms of surface area. You will not only take in amazing views of Mt. Fuji from the lake's northern shores, but also have plenty of free time to enjoy Lake Kawaguchi in your way. Enjoy a lakeside walk, a pleasure cruise out to the middle of the lake, or even a ride on the Lake Kawaguchi Mt. Tenjo Ropeway.
After enjoying all that Lake Kawaguchi has to offer, we will have a special lunch at "Sanrokuen", a centuries old Japanese restaurant which serves the local delicacies of "Robatayaki" and "Hoto Udon Noodles".
Next is the highlight of the day, a drive up to the 5th Station of Mt. Fuji. At 2300 meters above sea level, the 5th Station offers commanding views of Mt. Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes area below. At this time of the year we may be even able to enjoy some gentle hiking on Mt. Fuji!
DATE: May 14th, 2024 Tokyo
Enjoy a day trip to the ancient capital of Kamakura to visit Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, the Great Buddha of Kamakura, and beautiful Hase-dera Temple. Then travel to Enoshima Island to take in magnificent views of Mt. Fuji from the top of the Enoshima Sea Candle.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is the most important Shinto shrine in Kamakura. It was first built in 1063 A.D. and enlarged and moved to its current site in 1180 A.D. It is reached via a long, wide approach that leads from Kamakura's waterfront district through the entire city center, with multiple torii gates along the way.
The Great Buddha of Kamakura was cast in 1252 A.D., and is the second largest bronze statue of Buddha in Japan (11.4 meters). It was originally housed inside a huge temple hall, but has been out in the open air since the hall was destroyed by a typhoon in the 15th century.
Hase-dera Temple is a hidden gem! It is most famous for its eleven-headed statue of Kannon, one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan (9.18 meters), but its real appeal is its beautiful Japanese gardens and ponds full of colorful carp.
After enjoying the best of Kamakura we will then travel to Enoshima Island using the iconic Enoshima Electric Railway. Enoshima Island is a small touristy island located just off the coast of Kanagawa Prefecture. The island is connected to the mainland by bridge, and offers a variety of attractions, including a shrine, park, observation tower, and caves. If the weather is nice we will be able to see magnificent views of Mt. Fuji from the top of the Enoshima Sea Candle observation tower.
DATE: May 15th, 2024 Kyoto
Travel from Tokyo to Kyoto by shinkansen.
Once we arrive in Kyoto we will visit three of the city's most famous places - Gion (Geisha District), Yasaka Shrine, and the absolutely stunning Fushimi-Inari Shrine.
We start our half day tour of Kyoto by walking through the beautiful streets of Gion, Kyoto's world famous geisha district. If we are lucky we might even get to see a real geisha as we stroll through the streets.
Next we will visit Yasaka Shrine, one of Kyoto's most famous Shinto shrines. This shrine is well known for hosting one of Japan's most famous festivals, the Gion Matsuri. This festival is held every year in July, and dates back over a thousand years.
We finish the day by visiting Fushimi-Inari Shrine, one of the most iconic places in Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of orange colored torii gates that straddle a network of trails behind the main shrine itself. The trails lead to the top of Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds. Although most tourists are attracted to the shrine by the beautiful scenery, Fushimi-Inari shrine is actually the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers, resulting in many fox statues throughout the shrine grounds.Fushimi-Inari Shrine also has ancient origins, predating the capital's move to Kyoto in 794 A.D.
DATE: May 16th, 2024 Kyoto
Spend the day taking in some of the most iconic sights of this traditional city. Today we will visit the historic Nijo Castle, the world famous Golden Pavilion, and the beautiful bamboo grove in Arashiyama.
Our first stop on our full half day tour of Kyoto is Nijo Castle. This historic castle was first constructed in 1603, and was the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). The castle's buildings are widely considered to be the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture from Japan's feudal era.
Our next stop, the Golden Pavilion (otherwise known as "Kinkaku-ji), is one of the most famous and most recognizable buildings in all of Japan. Formally the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, it is now a magnificent Buddhist Zen Temple completely covered in gold leaf.
We finish the day by traveling out to Arashiyama, widely considered to be the second-most famous sightseeing district in Kyoto. The main attraction here is the picturesque Arashiyama bamboo grove. It is one of Kyoto’s top sights, and for good reason. Standing amid the soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world.
DATE: May 17th, 2024 Himeji
Travel from Kyoto to Himeji by shinkansen.
Once we arrive in Himeji we will visit the majestic Himeji Castle and beautiful Koko-en Japanese Garden. Himeji Castle is widely regarded as the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture. Himeji Castle, also commonly known as White Heron Castle because of its elegant, white appearance, is one of Japan's original 12 castles, and is undoubtedly the most impressive and imposing castle in all of Japan.
Right next to Himeji Castle is our next destination, the beautiful Koko-en Japanese Garden. This amazing Japanese garden is located on the former site of the feudal lord's west residence, and consists of nine separate gardens designed in various styles from the Edo Period.
DATE: May 18th, 2024 Hiroshima
Travel from Himeji to Hiroshima by shinkansen.
Once we arrive in Hiroshima we will make the short trip to Miyajima Island to visit the world heritage listed Itsukushima Shrine and Daisho-in Temple.
Itsukushima Shrine is best known for its famous “floating” torii gate which seems to float on the water at high tide. This amazing shrine and its majestic torii gate is ranked as one of Japan's "three best views".
Daisho-in Temple is one of the most important temples of Shingon Buddhism. Located at the base of Mt. Misen, it features a variety of historic buildings, statues, and other religious objects to admire.
DATE: May 19th, 2024 Fukuoka
Visit the emotional Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Peace Memorial Park, A-bomb Dome, and hypocenter.
Here you will see the aftermath of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 with your own eyes.
Travel from Hiroshima to Fukuoka by shinkansen.
Once we arrive in Fukuoka we will enjoy a leisurely stroll through Ohori Park, and then visit the beautiful Ohori Park Japanese Gardens and Gokoku Shrine.
At night we will enjoy a lovely farewell dinner together at a local izakaya (Japanese-style restaurant/bar).
DATE: May 20th, 2024
Relax in Fukuoka before transferring to Fukuoka Airport (FUK) for your return flight. Depending on your flight time you may be able to enjoy some last minute local sightseeing or shopping in Fukuoka.