Japan 14 days ex Tokyo
Pack your best winter gear as we explore the far north of Japan - a fascinating part of this diverse country few people get the chance to see.
You will have the opportunity to see the best of the Northern Winter Festivals, including the amazing Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival, as well
as have the chance to enjoy some winter sports that Hokkaido is growing famous for. On our return journey south we will visit the beautiful
Nikko National Park as it undergoes its annual transformation into a beautiful winter wonderland where you can explore 800 year old
temples and shrines set amongst 400 year old cedars.
Join the festivities at the famous Sapporo Snow Matsuri, Feast on the freshest sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo and enjoy a day tour of
this amazing city, Sip sake in a 300 year old brewery in Asahikawa (the first skiing area in Japan), Enjoy the Snow Lantern Festival at the
castle town of Hirosaki, Relax and ponder the stunning scenery of Matsushima Bay at its 8th century Zen temple Marvel at the gilded
mausoleum of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in Nikko.
|Days 1-2 Tokyo
Beneath the neon lights and high-tech gadgetry this busy metropolis still features ancient traditions and culture
within its serene temples and gardens. We make an early morning visit to the enormous Tsukiji Fish Market to
witness the frenzy of a tuna auction and enjoy some very fresh fish - sushi - for breakfast. We have a day exploring
some key areas at the heart of the town including Harajuku for a look at Tokyo's trendiest teens and Ginza for a
Kabuki performance or retail therapy.
Days 3-5 Sapporo
Nestled in a wide basin beneath snow-capped mountains, Sapporo is the lovely capital of Hokkaido, Japan’s
northern most island which has only 5% of the population living on over 20% of Japan’s landmass. It is a very
special time of year in the city as it hosts its annual Snow Festival – an incredible display of lights, ice sculptures
and snow which delights both domestic and international visitors. We join the eating, dancing, drinking, singing
festivities that go with being in the city as it showcases this unique art.
Days 6-7 Asahikawa
Further into the northern wilderness from Sapporo is Asahikawa which hosts a smaller and more local snow and
ice festival in the city’s main park. Enjoy the ice sculptures as you munch on festival food from the many stalls.
Surrounded by mountains and long famous for winter sports the city has something for everyone: soaking in an
onsen, dog-sledding or checking out the many breweries, museums and unique traditional art displays.
Days 8-9 Hirosaki
Hirosaki is a lovely castle town that makes an excellent stop off point on our way back south. The well preserved
garden and park area of the castle looks stunning at this time of year and we have some time to explore the town in
the lead up to its own Snow Lantern Festival. This yearly event is a popular fixture on the winter calendar in Hirosaki
and originated as an opportunity for community interaction and exercise during the long, cold winter.
Days 10-11 Matsushima
The beautiful Matsushima area is famous for its many sites and great scenery, and Matsushima Bay is considered
one of the best 3 views in Japan. We visit the Zuiganji Zen temple which is the finest in the area as well as spend
some time enjoing the stunning bay. With its pine trees growing on eroded sandstone pinnacles rising out of the
clear sea it is a view that has inspired countless poets to make what was once a month long pilgrimage to the
same vantage points we will be standing at.
Days 12-13 Nikko
Home to Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine, Nikko offers a peek into the secret world of the samurai as well
as the history of Buddhism as it entered Japan and was melded with the native religion of Shinto. For breathtaking
volcanic scenery, glassy lakes and a chance to get up close to Japanese wildlife, head out on a hike in the nearby
Day 14 Tokyo
Returning to Tokyo there is time to experience city life, do some final Tokyo sites or go shopping for friends and
family. Gaze at galleries or eye the electronics in this dynamic metropolis before our final night on the town – some
great Japanese food, a nip of sake and maybe ‘go local’ and belt out one of your favourites in one of the endless
14 days ex Tokyo
03 Feb 2009
min 4, max 12
2 breakfasts, 2 dinners
1. All travellers must
arrive with a 14-day
Japan Rail (JR) pass.
Please arrange this
through your travel
Train), local train
Hotels (5nts), Ryokans
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