Japan Northern Platinum Tour
Ainu Marimo Festival
Departs Monday, 5th October 2020
From $11,700* pp, twin share
Single supplement from $3,250 per person
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 Lake Towada, a stunning volcanic lake in Northern Honshu. The tour stays in an Onsen (hot spring) resort hotel in this famous mountain retreat and we stroll through the nearby picturesque Oirase Gorge. We end with a cruise through the many pine covered islands of Matsushima before returning to the lights and excitement of Tokyo. 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.You might like to stretch your legs and take a stroll in nearby Ginza.
Accommodation: The Imperial Hotel Tokyo
Day 2: After breakfast, we check out of the hotel and transfer to Haneda Airport for our flight to Memanbetsu in Hokkaido. On arrival we head towards the world heritage Shiretoko Peninsula and visit Oshinkoshin waterfall and Shiretoko Goko (5 lakes). We then transfer to our hotel in Shiretoko where you check in to your sea view room for 2 nights. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner.
Day 3: This morning we visit the peaceful rustic Utoro fishing village on the world heritage Shiretoko Peninsula National Park, where deer, foxes and squirrels roam free. In the afternoon we board a cruiser from which one can see the spectacular coastline of the Shiretoko Peninsula with its volcanoes, sea cliffs and waterfalls which can really only be seen by boat. Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: The Shiretoko Kita Kobushi Hotel
Day 4 We leave the hotel by chartered bus for beautiful Lake Mashu,and then travel on to Akan National Park where we check in for 2 nights. Visit striking Lake Onneto, considered one of Hokkaido’s “Three Major Secret Lakes”. Perhaps stroll around the lake or the village shopping strip where shops are run by local native Ainu people (Japanese Aboriginals). Dinner this evening is at the hotel.
Day 5 “Ainu Marimo Festival”
After breakfast enjoy a Lake Akan Cruise which takes us around the lake and to see “Marimo exhibition and observation centre” on a tiny island. 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 Ainu tribes.
Day 6 After checking out from our hotel we travel by chartered coach to Sapporo via Jozankei. Upon arrival at Sapporo, we transfer to our hotel and check in for 1 night. There is no dinner organised for tonight, but your tour coordinator will be happy to assist you with dinner arrangements.
Day 7 This morning, we visit charming Otaru port town. The town’s nostalgic, old fashioned atmosphere is enhanced by its architecture and layout and its picturesque canal. In the afternoon we visit an Ainu outdoor museum to learn more about Ainu culture.
Accommodation: JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo
We travel today from Sapporo to Hakodate by train along the coastline of Southern Hokkaido. We make a visit to the historic Goryokaku Fort and Mt Hakodate for a view of spectacular Hakodate Bay.
Accommodation: Four Points by Sheraton
Day 9 Morning, travel from Hakodate to Aomori by express train. After a bus ride through beautiful Hakkoda-san National Park we arrive at the scenic Lake Towada. This volcanic lake has been a popular summer destination for local Japanese for centuries. This evening we will enjoy a sumptuous dinner at a hot spring (Onsen) resort hotel by the lake.
Day 10 After a leisurely breakfast, we will travel to Oirase Gorge and enjoy a beautiful walk along the river side as it wends its way through a spectacular mountain gorge with brilliant autumn colours. Upon returning to the hotel, the afternoon is free at leisure.
Accommodation: Prince Hotel Towada
This morning we check out of our hotel and travel by train to Sendai. Upon arrival we make our way to Matsushima and enjoy a cruise along the bay which is dotted by over 200 small islands clad in pine trees. Afternoon, we check in to our hotel.
Day 12 Morning is free at leisure. In the afternoon we travel to Tokyo and check into the 5 star Imperial Hotel Tokyo for 2 nights. The remainder of the day is free to either relax or explore a bit of Ginza. Your tour coordinator will help you organise your activities.
Day 13 Free day at leisure to explore Tokyo. This evening relax with farewell drinks and a light meal in the Imperial lounge Aqua.
Accommodation: The Imperial Hotel Tokyo
Today is our last day in Japan, so you might wish to do some last minute souvenir hunting or an optional half day activity. Perhaps follow your escort to the Meiji shrine and Omotesando promenade of Harajuku, where Tokyo’s old & new cultures meet. Late afternoon we leave the hotel for Tokyo airport by Airport bus transfer service.
Platinum Gourmet Series Tours
From the welcome cocktails overlooking the Imperial Palace at sunset in Tokyo to your stay in a traditional Onsen ryokan, 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.
Accommodation: Kyoto Hotel Okura
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.
Accommodation:: Kyoto Hotel Okura
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.
Accommodation: Kyoto Hotel Okura
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
- 13 nights in 5 star accommodation or the best available in remote areas.
- Hot spring resort accommodation
- Private airport transfers for arrival and departure flights
- All transfers and admissions for sightseeing as specified
- Gourmet dining at hot spring resort and Lake Towada
- Farewell drinks
- Same day luggage handling
- All tipping-coach drivers, hotels (and service fees) and restaurants
- 22 Meals: Breakfast daily (13) Lunch (1) and Dinner (8)
Package tour price: $11,700 pp twin share. Single room from $14,950.
Kyoto Extension price: $2,500 pp twin share. Single room from $3,790.
Limited to 14 guests