Japan’s Magnificent North Central: A Sublime Tour of Art, History & Beauty

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Customizable Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary to inspire a personalized trip designed with your travel specialist

Countries Visited

Japan

Places Visited

Tokyo, Kakunodate, Matsushima, Obuse...

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Suggested Duration

13 Days

Japan has so much more to offer than its famous big cities. On this 13-day tour, get to known the real Japan as you explore the country’s majestic north and central mountain regions. Stay at inns popular with the locals, and see many sights that are off the beaten path. This tour is guaranteed to provide equal parts relaxation and excitement, giving you the chance to make unique memories that will last a lifetime. 

Customizable Itinerary

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Trip Highlights

  • Stay at Japanese ryokan inns in Matsushima, Hoshi Onsen, and Mt. Fuji
  • Tour carefully preserved homes which were once inhabited by samurai
  • Indulge in a cruise of Matsushima Bay, allowing for new panoramic views
  • Relax in multiple onsen baths throughout the Japanese countryside
  • Tour of the Hokusai Museum in Obuse, once home to Japan’s most famous artists in the Edo period

Detailed Description

During your 13-days in Japan, expect a handcrafted tour that ensures that your first trip to Japan is one of many to this amazing country. Though Tokyo is the most visited city in Japan, your time there includes visits to some of the metropolis’ lesser known areas. Eat where the locals do as you see the city’s best sites while avoiding the tourist crowds.

After a full day in Tokyo, you’re off to Kakunodate, one of the most northern cities in Honshu. Here, walk in the footsteps of the samurai as you discover the city’s old town. Here the locals have preserved Edo Period crafts and cuisine for your enjoyment, making your time in Kakunodate as historically accurate, and enjoyable, as possible.

Matsushima was spared the destruction that devastated Japan’s northern coasts in March 2011. While there, enjoy a sea cruise exploring the bay’s many islands. Inland, you find a stunning temple and moss-covered shrines invoking a harmony with nature. Your inn in Matsushima includes views of the sea, certain to inspire reflection.

Hoshi Onsen is the ultimate spot for relaxation. Your ryokan’s (Japanese inn) onsen (hot springs) baths are second to none. Also, the surrounding area is home to a variety of nature trails and winter skiing. Or, if you want a little down time, your hotel room’s balcony features views of rivers and forests. It is a perfect place to read a book or simply listen to the sounds of nature.

Obuse was once a major post town on the Nakasendo trail between Tokyo and Kyoto. For 250 years, travelers passed through on foot, stopping in Obuse for lodging and food. For a day, you follow in these travelers’ footsteps as you tour Obuse’s old town, getting a first-hand look at what a Japanese town was like hundreds of years ago. In the evening, stay at a boutique hotel that was once a sake distillery.

Over 300 years ago, Matsumoto was home to one of the most power daimyo clans that helped oversee Japan during the Edo Period. Thus, the Matsumoto Castle was built as an imposing fortress. Restored over the last 100 years, today the castle teaches visitors about the lives of samurai, commoners, and merchants who lived in this city so long ago.

In many ways, the city of Tsumago is similar to Colonial Williamsburg in the United States. Though the home’s inhabitants have all the comforts of modern life, city regulations make sure that Tsumago’s ascetic does not vary from its Edo Period roots. As you explore this quaint town, see (and eat) like the Japanese of the 19th-century.

Mt. Fuji is one of the most famous mountains on Earth. Traveling to the mountain by train, take in the sights while staying at a ryokan at Mt. Fuji’s base. Everything from lake cruises to ropeway rides let you take in incomparable views of stunning nature.

Your last full day in Japan is completely up to you. Though your hotel this evening is in Tokyo, take more time at Mr. Fuji, or take an early morning train back to the capital for one last day of exploration and fun.

Perfect for couples or small groups, this tour is best taken in late winter or early spring. No matter which season you travel to Japan, be prepared for varying weather, as your tour takes you through the country’s different geographical regions and climates. 

Starting Price

$5,195 per person (excluding international flights)

Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.

What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all activities and tours
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip

Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.

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