Our third small group tour of 2018 was our Classic Japan Tour 2018. This tour was a 14 day tour which ran from May 22nd to June 4th, 2018. This all-encompassing tour of Japan began in Sapporo on the northern most island of Hokkaido and ended in Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu. A small group of three people from Australia joined the tour, and we had a wonderful time traveling the length of Japan taking in beautiful mid-spring scenery at some of Japan's most famous Buddhist temples, Shinto Shrines, and nature spots.
We began the tour by exploring Hokkaido, including a day trip to the beautiful port city of Otaru. Otaru, also known as the "Venice of Japan", is famous for its beautiful canals and delicious sushi. We enjoyed a wonderful sushi lunch at a restaurant that has been serving customers for more than half a century!
After spending two wonderful nights in Sapporo, we traveled south to the port city of Hakodate, where we went to the very top of Mt. Hakodate and saw a beautiful sunset and spectacular night views of the city.
Day four of the tour took us off the island of Hokkaido and south to Sendai. Here we made the short trip to Matsushima Bay, a beautiful bay which has been ranked as one of Japan’s three most scenic views for centuries. After enjoying a relaxing cruise around the bay, we went out to one of the islands and took in the beautiful scenery away from the crowds. Ah the serenity! For me this was one of the highlights of the entire tour.
Our next stop was the metropolis of Tokyo, where we spent 4 nights in the exciting city of Ikebukuro.
While in Tokyo we experienced all the hustle and bustle that this huge city has to offer, including the scramble crossing in Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Asakusa, and the always entertaining Yoyogi Park. In Yoyogi Park we saw a woman pushing dressed up Meerkats in a pram, the Rockabilly dancing group, and a man dressed only in Hello Kitty underwear... some things you really can only see in Japan!
While in Tokyo we took a day trip out to Kawaguchiko Lake and Mt. Fuji. When we first arrived the weather was overcast and we couldn't see Mt. Fuji at all, but after we had enjoyed a traditional "robatayaki" style lunch at a 150 year old restaurant the clouds cleared and we got to see Mt. Fuji in all of its glory.
After Tokyo we traveled south to the ancient capital city of Kyoto. Here we visited some of the most famous places this wonderful city has to offer, including the Golden Pavilion, the Ryoanji Zen Garden, Nijo-jo Castle, and Kiyomizu-dera Temple. While in Kyoto we were able to see real life geisha as they walked through the streets of Gion and Ponto-cho.
Next we traveled to Himeji to visit the magnificent Himeji Castle. This castle is widely considered to be the best castle in Japan, and it certainly lived up to this reputation. The weather this day was absolutely perfect, making the "White Heron Castle" look even more spectacular than it usually does.
Our next stop was the beautiful city of Hiroshima, where we visited the emotional Peace Memorial Museum, the A-bomb Dome, and the hypocenter. Some friendly advice from a local taxi driver lead us to a huge kimono festival where we were able to enjoy local street foods and watch traditional dancers and performers. While in Hiroshima we also took a day trip to beautiful Miyajima Island where we explored the amazing Ituskushima Shrine, as well as the back streets where we saw traditional old houses and stores.
This brought us to our last stop, the historic city of Fukuoka. While exploring Ohori Park and the ruins of Fukuoka Castle we came across a beautiful Japanese garden. Not only was the garden absolutely stunning, but we were also lucky enough to see a traditional Shinto wedding taking place. Timing is everything, and we certainly had great timing all throughout this tour!
We were blessed with fine sunny weather for most of the tour, with only some light rain on one morning. The timing of this tour means you can enjoy Japan when the weather is stable and when the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.
Please check out our Gallery Page to see photos and videos from the Classic Japan Tour 2018, and our Testimonials Page to read testimonials from our happy, satisfied customers!
We look forward to seeing you on one of our fully escorted private or small group tours of Japan sometime soon!
A&C Tours Japan