Japan Northern Platinum Tour
Ainu Marimo Festival
Departs Monday, 7th October 2019
This Platinum tour has been designed for experienced visitors to learn about the hidden culture of Japan’s “Ainu” aboriginal people. The itinerary is organised to coincide with the Ainu Marimo festival in Hokkaido. Experience the wonderful nature in the unspoiled Northern Mountains, sea and rivers. Tour the Tohoku region, the Northern part of the main island of Japan, which still holds on to its proud history, and retains a very modest, rustic way of life. The Autumn colours at this time of year start in Hokkaido and Kamikochi, the gateway to the Northern Alps’ climbing routes. We complete the tour in this famous mountain resort in Nagano, where one can enjoy walking through the vast virgin forests of birch and Japanese larch trees in this glacial valley, or perhaps simply kick back and relax at the Alpine Resort. You can elect also to finish your trip in the traditional capital, Kyoto with a 3 night extension.
Platinum Series Tours Include
Chauffer Pick Up
It is difficult to believe that the thronging city of Tokyo, grew from what had been a small, little-known fishing village in 1457 into the largest metropolis in the world with an estimated population of 1,000,000 by 1721. It was the centre of the Shogun regime from the 17th century until Japan was opened up to the west in the late 19th century. No other place in Japan shows the contrast between the historical culture of the samurai period and the modern technical miracle better than bustling Tokyo, with everything from high tech shopping and outrageous fashion districts to the traditional Imperial Palace.
Hokkaido is Japan’s second largest and the most northern and least developed of the Japanese islands. It was settled by the Ainu, Nivkh and Orok peoples 20,000 years ago. The population remained small (around 60,000) and largely secluded from the rest of Japan until the mid 1800s. Hokkaido has therefore, for much of the last 20,000 years, remained a wilderness area – a frontier territory famous for its natural beauty and as the last refuge of the indigenous Ainu people. Its unspoiled nature and temperate summer climate attracts outdoor adventurers and high snowfall in winter attracts ski enthusiasts.
Arrive in Tokyo and be greeted by your English-speaking driver. Transfer to the Imperial Hotel Tokyo and check in for one night. Your evening is free at leisure to explore and rest after your journey.
After breakfast, we check out from our hotel. Midday, we fly to Kushiro in Hokkaido. Upon arrival, we will be transferred to Lake Akan. Check-in at the Tsuruga hotel for two nights. After dinner at the hotel we will soak up some of the local culture with a walk around the Lake Akan shopping strip.
Day 3 “Ainu Marimo Festival”
Mid morning, we will visit the striking emerald Lake Onnetou. This evening, after an early dinner, we will see the traditional Marimo festival of the Ainu people including the colourful torch-lit parade followed by ceremonial traditional folk dances of the different tribes.
We leave the hotel by chartered bus to beautiful Lake Mashu, then head on to the thermally active Iou-zan and then the peaceful rustic Utoro fishing village on the world heritage Shiretoko peninsula National Park, where deer, foxes and squirrels roam free. We visit Oshinkoshin waterfall and may be able to see the salmon run in the local stream as they head upstream to spawn. We check in at Shiretoko Kita Kobushi Hotel for two nights. All rooms have a water view.
Morning, at leisure. This afternoon we board a cruiser to travel around the picturesque Shiretoko peninsula. Visit Shiretoko Goko (5 lakes) and do a little bush walking. Dinner at the hotel.
After checking out from our hotel we travel by chartered coach to Memanbetsu domestic airport to catch a flight for Sapporo. Upon arrival in Sapporo mid-afternoon, we transfer to our hotel and check in for one night.
We check out from hotel and transfer to Sapporo airport to travel to Matsumoto situated in the centre of Nagano. Upon arrival at Matsumoto, we will be transferred to The Imperial Hotel in Kamikochi, the gateway to the Northern Alps’ climbing routes, where we check in for two nights. All rooms with balcony. Dinner at a French restaurant.
Today enjoy walking through Kamikochi, one of the most scenic spots in Japan. Surrounded by The Hotaka Mountain Range, Mt. Yaake-dake and Jonen Mountains, the area features vast old-growth forests of birch and Japanese larch trees. Kamikochi is a small basin some 1,500 meters above sea level on the upper stream area of the Azusa-gawa River and was one of Japan’s first mountaineering resorts after the country was opened to the west in the late nineteenth century.
This morning, we check-out from the hotel and transfer to Matsumoto where we will visit Matsumoto Castle. Catch an express train back to Tokyo. Arriving at Tokyo late afternoon, we transfer to the 5 star Imperial Hotel Tokyo and check in for one night. The remainder of the day is free to either relax or explore a bit of Ginza. Dinner at local restaurant.
Today our journey concludes. Enjoy your last day in Japan with some last minute souvenir hunting before heading to Tokyo airport to take your flight home to Australia.
Platinum Series Tours
From the welcome cocktails overlooking the Imperial Palace at sunset in Tokyo to your stay in a traditional Onsen ryokan in Wakura, experience a collection of Platinum pleasures during your next visit to Japan.
Our Platinum Series of luxury tours are fully escorted and offer gourmet experiences of regional delicacies, first class bullet train travel and 5-star comfort to enhance your Japan holiday. Platinum tours are at a relaxed pace, avoiding early morning starts, your luggage is forwarded by same-day courier service and airport transfers are by private limousine.
3 Night Kyoto Extension
Kyoto is the spiritual heart of Japan and is home some 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the stunning Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and Nijo Castle. It was the main centre for the evolution of religious and secular architecture and of garden design for almost a thousand years. Famous for its classical Buddhist temples, imperial palaces, Zen gardens and traditional wooden houses, it the cultural centre of Japan and with its 2,000 religious places – 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and architecture intact – it is also one of the best preserved cities in Japan.
Extend your time in Japan with a three night stay at a luxury hotel in the nation’s ancient capital.
Travel to Kyoto by Bullet Train. Upon arrival in Kyoto around mid afternoon we visit the spectacular Kiyomizu temple, nestled in a mountain on the east of the city. Enjoy the approach to the temple along the steep and busy lanes of Kyoto’s old atmospheric Higashiyama district. This evening we stroll to the Gion Geisha district. Check in to the Kyoto Okura Hotel for three nights.
Today we take a Kyoto half day tour visiting the UNESCO world heritage sites of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and Nijo Castle. Lunch at Gion at a former Geisha house. Afternoon is free at leisure.
Visit Sagano Arashiyama district, for a taste of the Kyoto countryside, visiting a private garden and a bamboo forest walkway and browsing through specialty handcraft shops. Afternoon, join your tour leader on a stroll along Nishiki arcade, lined with food shops providing traditional ingredients to Kyoto restaurateurs.
Today is your last day in Japan, so you might wish to do some last minute souvenir hunting or an optional half day activity. Late afternoon, we check out from the hotel and leave for Itami/Osaka airports.
Your Japan Northern Platinum Tour package includes:
- Fully escorted tour by experienced English speaking tour escorts
- First Class trains
- Luxury hotels or the best available in remote areas.
- Hot spring resort accommodation
- Bullet train ride and 3 x domestic flights
- All transfers and admissions for sightseeing as specified
- Gourmet dining at hot spring resort and Kamikouchi
- Farewell drinks
- Special luggage handling, all tipping
- Breakfast daily (9) and Dinner (7)
Package tour price: $8,380 pp twin share. Single room from $10,400.
Kyoto Extension price: $2,200 pp twin share. Single room from $3,090.
Limited to 14 guests