Summer Festivals Tour 2018
Our fourth small group tour of 2018 was our Summer Festivals Tour 2018. This tour was a 14 day tour which ran from July 23rd to August 5th, 2018. This exciting summer tour began in Japan's second largest city of Osaka and ended in Hakodate on the northern most island of Hokkaido. A full group of ten people from America joined the tour, and we had a wonderful time traveling through Japan enjoying some of the county's largest and most famous summer festivals and fireworks displays as we went.
We began the tour by taking in all the excitement of Osaka's largest and most famous summer festival, the Tenjin Matsuri. We joined the literally millions of other people in enjoying delicious street foods, spectacular fireworks, and an amazing land and water festival parade. The festival was so popular with the group that we even went back the following day to enjoy some more of it before we moved on to our next destination, the ancient capital city of Kyoto.
In Kyoto we enjoyed some of this historic city's most iconic sites, including Nijo-jo castle, Kiyomizu-dera Temple and the mystical bamboo forest in Arashiyama. The large amount of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Kyoto means that at this time of the year there is a festival somewhere nearby almost every night. While exploring one night we came across a traditional "obon" festival which we were eagerly encouraged to join by the friendly locals. The group had a ball eating, drinking, dancing, and experiencing "real" Japan!
Our next stop was the metropolis of Tokyo, where we spent four 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, Odaiba, and the always entertaining Yoyogi Park.
The highlight of our time in Tokyo though was undoubtedly the spectacular Sumida River Fireworks Display. We headed to the river nice and early and found a great vantage point right along the riverside. This fireworks display is widely considered to be one of the biggest and best fireworks displays in not only Japan but in the entire world!
While in Tokyo we also took a day trip out to Lake Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji. We were once again blessed with the weather and enjoyed a relaxing time at Lake Kawaguchi and some casual climbing on Mt. Fuji before exploring the amazing Narusawa Ice Caves.
We finished the tour by enjoying two of northern Japan's most famous summer festivals, the Nebuta Festival in Aomori prefecture and the Hakodate Minato Festival in the port city of Hakodate on Japan's northern most island of Hokkaido. Both of these awesome festivals attract people from all over world, and the group enjoyed not only mingling with the locals, but also with people from many other countries from around the globe.
Being summer the weather was hot and humid for most of the tour, however we were extremely lucky to dodge a typhoon that hit while we were staying in Kyoto. The wind and rain began in the evening but by the time we were ready to leave the following morning the sun was out and the skies were blue!
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