東北 5 Days/4 Nights in Honshu Island’s Great Northeast
Tokyo → Hiraizumi in Iwate → Kakunodate & Nyuto-onsen in Akita → Oirase, Towada-ko & Osore-yama in Aomori
There’s a grand expanse of delights awaiting you in Tohoku, which is defined as the areas above the Tokyo region all the way to the northern tip of the island.
Your luxury Tohoku tour starts from Tokyo and heads north into Iwate prefecture, Akita prefecture, and finally into the northernmost part of Honshu, Aomori prefecture. You will be rewarded with spectacular scenery, the distinctive culture of the Tohoku region, and be afforded a bit of wilderness exploration along the way.
You will also be treated to Tohoku’s delicious local cuisine and Jizake (local sake), famous across all Japan.
Day 1： Tokyo to Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture
After meeting your guide at your hotel, or Narita or Haneda airports, head for Tohoku district by Tohoku Shinkansen (Bullet Train). Total travel time: 150 minutes.
Your first destination will be Ichinoseki, and by private car you will continue on to visit Geibikei in Hiraizumi, one of the 100 Famous Landscapes of Japan. Geibikei is a 2-km gorge formed by the Satetsu River, surrounded by soaring cliffs over 50 meters tall. The river is teeming with fish, which you can feed from the boat during your Geibikei boat ride.
After Geibikei, you will head to Chuson-ji World Heritage Temple. The Konjikido is particularly notable as the only 12th century structure to still survive in its original form here at Chuson-ji. This small hall is dedicated to Amida Nyorai (the Buddha of Infinite Light) and, except for the roof, is decadently plastered with gold leaf both inside and out. While in this history-rich area, you will also visit the World Heritage-listed temples of Motsu-ji, Takkokuno-iwa, and the Jodo-teien Japanese garden.
Stay overnight in Hanamaki Onsen (hot spring) town. With medicinal waters of great repute and mountain scenery straight out of a painting, it is the one of the best onsen in Tohoku.
Suggested lunch: Morioka Reimen (cold noodle dish)
Suggested dinner: Traditional local cuisine and sake at your ryokan (Japanese inn)
Day 2： Iwate to Kakunodate (“Little Kyoto”) in Akita Prefecture
After a delicious breakfast at your ryokan in Hanamaki Onsen, today, you’ll head for Akita prefecture by chartered car. The route will take us alongside Towada Hachimantai National Park on our way to Akita prefecture.
A highlight of today will be our visit what is sometimes called “Little Kyoto,” Kakunodate. It is an old castle town and known both for its historic samurai houses and the beautiful blossoming cherry trees which surround them, with peak blossom season being from mid-April to the beginning of May.
While Kakunodate’s Inner Town has a large district of samurai houses side-by-side,
the Outer Town, in stark contrast to the stately elegance of the Inner Town, is a bustling merchant house district. Yet the sense of history and place remains undiluted. In fact, many old buildings and storehouses remain in use today, and the townsfolk treasure these spaces even as they make use of them with modern-day shops and restaurants.
Tonight you will stay in historical Nyuto Onsen-kyo hot spring village. The area’s beauty shines across the four seasons. Nyuto Onsen-kyo is spread out over a large area, blessed with natural hot spring waters that flow out from deep underneath the virgin beech forest across the valley.
Even today you can still will find inns that were visited by feudal lords seeking hot-spring cures more than 350 years ago, making it seem as though you have slipped back in time. Each of seven hot spring inns has its own spring source. The lodgings are secluded from one another and have open-air baths. Located deep in the mountains, it feels as though you have transcended to another place, far removed from the rest of the world.
Suggested Lunch: Akita specialty dish Inaniwa Udon
Examples of ryokan selections in Nyuto Onsen： Tsurunoyu
A special note about Akita’s famous Kanto-matsuri (festival) in early August: While this is a sight to behold, it is a hard ticket to get. Therefore, if you are interested in seeing the festival, you will need to complete your booking three months in advance.
Day 3： Akita to Oirase-keikoku & Towada-ko in Aomori Prefecture
After meeting your tour guide in the morning, you will head to Oirase-keikoku River and Lake Towada-ko in Aomori prefecture. Pass once again by Towada-Hachimantai National Park on the way, this time stopping by Tamagawa Onsen.
Great volcanic activity can be observed along the trail between Tamagawa Onsen and Goshogake Onsen.
The Oirase-keikoku river flows from Lake Towada-ko for 14 kilometers between Nenokuchi and Yakeyama. It runs through a virgin forest rich in diversity, playing host to white cedar, Japanese beech, and maple trees. The various waterfalls along Oirase Mountain Stream are a must-see.
You will stay overnight at a luxury hotel in Oirase-Keikoku.
You may wish to consider arranging this tour to coincide with one of Aomori’s most famous festivals, the Nebuta Matsuri, in early August
Day4： Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture
Today is your second day in Aomori prefecture. You will venture up to the northern extreme end of Honshu (Main Island), where Shimokita Peninsula lies. Cape Oma is the northernmost point of Shimokita Peninsula and is famous for its tuna fishing industry.
Oma no Maguro (Tuna of Oma) is among the best and most expensive in Japan, routinely finding its way into the finest sushi restaurants of Tokyo.
After Oma-saki, head to the mysterious and spiritual mountain, Osore-yama (or “Osore-zan”). Osore-yama is one of Japan’s three most sacred places, and is an experience not to be missed. The area is also rich in volcanic activity.
You’ll overnight at Yagen-onsen, at the foot of Osore-yama, where you will be enveloped by primeval cypress forests and canyons. You’ll also get the chance to enjoy local seafood, including “Oma no Maguro” and local sake.
Suggested Lunch: Oma Tuna and fresh local seafood
Suggested Ryokan: Hotel New Yagen in Yagen Onsen
Today, your Luxury Tohoku tour comes to an end. You will board a bullet train for Tokyo, or on to your next destination.
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The total tour cost will be based on the hotel room you have selected, and include transfers, a private vehicle with driver, English-speaking private tour escort, specialized field guides, travel insurance, activities and entrance fees, as well as breakfast at the hotel and lunches while touring. (Room prices at ryokans typically include breakfast and dinner to be savored in the room, or in some case in the hotel’s dining room.) Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Some personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, and spa treatments will need to be directly paid at the time of consumption. Prices may vary depending on season and chosen level of accommodation.
The approximate price of this tour for two: JPY 850,000.
Travel with Kids：
We offer fun tours that can be enjoyed along with your children. We can also arrange for child care, and a doctor or nurse should the unfortunate need arise.
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