Duration: 9 nights
Location: Tokyo, Matsushima, Nyuto Onsen & Sapporo
Price: from £1,299 pp

The Great North Tour is a self-guided trip through Hokkaido & Tohoku in Northern Japan, and offers some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery. In summer, it’s a great place to go to escape the heat whilst in winter you can luxuriate in some of the loveliest onsen (“hot springs”) whilst looking out over the snow covered landscape. This 9 night itinerary takes in some of the region’s most lovely spots.

Download The Great North Brochure here: The Great North Itinerary 2017 and a Reservation Form here The Great North Reservation Form

TOUR INCLUDES:

  • 9 nights’ accommodation including ryokan accommodation for 1 night
  • 7-day Japan Rail Pass
  • Bullet Train services, starting on Day 3.
  • Train/bus tickets from and to Narita International Airport (Tokyo).
  • Meet & Greet service on arrival at Narita International Airport (Tokyo).

 

HOW OUR INDEPENDENT TOURS WORK

Enjoy independent travel but not the hassle of planning? One of our Independent Tours could be just the ticket. Carefully put together by our team of specialists, our excellent collection of sample itineraries are designed to inform and inspire your next Japan adventure. Every one of our Independent Tours is fully tailor made for you, ensuring your trip is everything you want it to be.

It’s quite straight forward to travel independently in Japan. We will provide just the right amount of support and logistical planning to make you feel comfortable in a very foreign land. These itineraries are available for any departure date (with a few exclusions which coinciding with Japanese National Holidays and some weekends). We’ll do all the work for you and provide you with an information pack to make your trip run smoothly. You can also add guided tours as indicated and if you do want your own personal guide we can arrange this too.

To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.
 

ItineraryLocation GuideAccommodationInclusions

The Great North Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Japan
Welcome to Japan. Our friendly Meet & Greet service representative will be waiting in the Arrivals lobby in Narita Airport (Tokyo) and will direct you to the Narita Express train or limousine bus bound for Tokyo. Check into your clean and comfortable hotel in Tokyo for 2 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.

Day 2: Tokyo
Your options are unlimited in this incredible city. Explore Tokyo’s past in the bustling, traditional Asakusa district, visit the world’s largest fish market at Tsukiji, shop in the fashionable districts of Shibuya and Harajuku and dine on Japan’s finest cuisine. Tokyo is relatively straightforward to navigate, and our Information Pack will make travelling around the city a breeze.

 Optional guided excursion
 Enjoy a full day of sightseeing by coach in Tokyo, with lunch included. Your guide will show you the highlights of this vast metropolis, from the Imperial Palace and serene Meiji Shrine to the ‘Electric City’ of Akihabara.

Day 3: Tokyo-Matsushima (Start using your 7 Day Japan Rail Pass today)
It’s time to say goodbye to Tokyo and speed on the Bullet Train to Matsushima. The journey takes less than 3 hours and you have a plenty of time in the afternoon to visit the sights of Matsushima including the famous Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple and Zuiganji Temple as well as nearby cultural properties. Visit some of the islands in the Bay (via the picturesque red painted bridge) or enjoy a cruise across Sendai Bay to take in the beautiful views of Matsushima. You will stay in a comfortable hotel in Matsushima for 1 night.

 Day 4: Matsushima – Nyuto Onsen
Spend the morning visiting some of the islands in the Bay (via the picturesque red painted bridge) or enjoy a cruise across Sendai Bay to take in the beautiful views of the picturesque archipelago – designated one of Japan’s top 3 most beautiful places. This afternoon, set off to Nyuto Onsen. You will stay at Tsurunoyu onsen, the oldest onsen in the region, regarded as among the most beautiful in the country. Here you will have a truly authentic and relaxing experience. Check in here for 2 nights. A Japanese haute-cuisine kaiseki dinner and breakfast are included both nights.

Day 5: Nyuto Onsen
Spend today exploring the surrounding area. You can make a short trip over to Kakunodate, where you can feel the atmosphere of a past age as you stroll down the beautifully preserved samurai-era streets, or go for a bracing hike on Mt Komagatake. There’s nothing better than a good soak in a hot spring after an invigorating walk!

Day 6: Nyuto Onsen – Sapporo
Depart from Nyuto Onsen to Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido. You’ll spend most of today travelling by train as the journey time is around 7 hours. Check into your hotel in the central of Sapporo for 3 nights. Whilst in Hokkaido you might want to visit the 147.2m Sapporo TV tower which offers a superb observation deck over the city. Hokkaido is also well known for its delicious local food so good places to visit include Nijo Food Market, Shiroi Koibito Park (a theme park run by a local chocolate company) as well as the Sapporo Beer Museum. Alternatively you may want to visit the lovely harbor city Otaru near Sapporo.

Day 7: Furano
Today we suggest you make the day trip to Furano situated in the centre of Hokkaido which is famous for its beautiful scenery and fine farming. Visit one of Hokkaido’s premier flower farms complete with its own cafes, and delicious local ice cream stalls including the famous local lavender ice cream. You could also visit the Furano Winery (a working winery) as well as the Furano Cheese Factory where you can observe its production process and join hands-on workshops.

 Day 8: Noboribetsu Onsen
Today we suggest you make the day trip to Hokkaido’s most famous hot spring resort, Noboribetsu Onsen in southwestern Hokkaido. Jigokudani or “Hell Valley” is a spectacular, appropriately named valley just above the town of Noboribetsu Onsen, where you can view hot steam vents, sulfurous streams and other volcanic activity.

 Day 9: Sapporo-Tokyo
Enjoy the morning in the lovely surroundings of your hotel before heading back to Tokyo. You have a choice of returning to Tokyo by train (approximately 10 hours) (included in the package price) or by plane (for an additional amount). Spend your last free day in Tokyo and check into your comfortable hotel for 1 night.

Day 10: Depart Japan
Transfer from your hotel to Narita International Airport (Tokyo).

 railpassJapan Rail Pass
The JR Pass allows you almost unlimited travel for 7/14/21 days on all Japan Rail lines throughout the country. It allows you to travel on the world-famous Bullet Train (Shinkansen) as well as the popular ferry from Hiroshima to Miyajima.

To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.

Tokyo embraces the modern and ancient like no other city on earth and offers something for everyone who wants to delve into the Japanese phenomenonTokyo

Home to over 12 million people, the vast metropolis of Japan’s capital must be seen to be believed. Tokyo embraces the modern and ancient like no other city on earth and offers something for everyone who wants to delve into the Japanese phenomenon: the towering skyscrapers and frenzied neon of Shinjuku, the pop culture and gadget paradise of Akihabara, the sophisticated chic of Ginza, the biggest and liveliest fish market in the world, the old downtown area of Asakusa, and the tranquil, understated beauty of Meiji Shrine. Not to mention superb restaurants and great bars as well as fabulous shopping and museums befitting the capital of the world’s second-largest economy.

 

Matsushima is located in the central part of Miyagi Prefecture. There are some 260 beautiful islands, scattered in picturesque Matsushima BayMatsushima

Matsushima is located in the central part of Miyagi Prefecture. There are some 260 beautiful islands, scattered in picturesque Matsushima Bay. The view of Matsushima changes from place-to-place and from-season-to-season, and its famous view is ranked as one of the Top Three Views of Japan.

Nearby cultural properties include Zuigan-ji, Entsū-in, Kanrantei, and the Satohama shell mound.

Nyuto Onsen
Nyuto Onsen is one of Japan’s most beautiful hot spring areas, famous for its milky-white spring water which is purported to have numerous health benefits. It is nestled away in the mountains of Akita Prefecture, where the scenery is beautiful, and nearby Mt Komagatake offers good hiking. Nearby Kakunodate, with its lovely samurai-era streets, makes a good day trip from here.

 

Home to Japan's native Ainu people, Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost and least developed of Japan's four main islands.Hokkaido

Home to Japan’s native Ainu people, Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost and least developed of Japan’s four main islands.

It is home to the nation’s fifth largest city of Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, pleasant and picturesque rural towns of Biei and Furano, and Hokkaido’s most famous hot spring resort of Noboribetsu.

 

To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.

Your selection of hotels in Tokyo

Toyoko Inn Ikebukuro (3* package)

toyoko-inn

Toyoko InnLocated just a 5 minute walk from Ikebukuro station (on the Yamanote Line). The hotel is close to several shops, restaurants and only a short walk from Sunshine City.

This business class hotel features compact well equipped rooms with flat screen TVs, refrigerators and bathroom amenities. All rooms have free wi-fi. Computer terminals are available in the lobby along with 24 hour coin laundry.

Breakfast is a light Japanese breakfast consisting of rice balls, miso soup, some salad items and also a little bread.

The b Ikebukuro (4* package)

B Ikebukuro twin

Located a short walk from JR Ikebukuro station which is serviced by the Narita Express and also Sunshine Road, the main entertainment area of Ikebukuro, the b is the ideal place to explore Tokyo from.

Rooms are compact and come equipped with refrigerator, TV and free wifi. Although the rooms have no bath they have rain shower heads and body jets and are stocked with Shiseido products.

A buffet breakfast is served in the second floor Italian restaurant.

Your selection of hotels in Matsushima

Hotel Matsushima Taikanso (3* package)

taikanso matsushima

This hilltop hotel is a 10-minute walk from Matsushimakaigan train station, or 3 minutes via Matsushima loop bus. It overlooks Matsushima Bay with breathtaking views from a seaside room. The hotel is close to Zuiganji Temple.

All rooms come equipped with a TV, mini-fridge, and tea and coffeemaker. They also have sitting areas with traditional short-legged tables.

Breakfast and parking are free. The hotel has 6 restaurants serving Japanese, Chinese and Western food, a tea lounge, a bar and a karaoke room. It also has communal public baths (men and women separated), along with an open-air pool with bay views.

Matsushima Ichinobo (4* package)

matsushima ichinobo

Matsushima Ichinobo is a 5 minute journey via a free shuttle bus from Matsushima station. It is close to Zuiganji temple, Date Masamune Historical Museum, and Kyohei Fujita Museum of Glass.

All rooms have a refrigerator, TV, and a safe-deposit box. Some rooms have their own private onsen (hot spring bath).

The hotel has communal public bathhouses overlooking the bay (men and women separated).

Nyuto Onsen: Tsurunoyu


Tsurunoyu is one of the oldest hot springs in all Japan. The name Tsurunoyu means ‘Spring of the Crane’. Legend has it that the spring was named when a hunter saw a crane healing its wounds in the waters there. There are actually 4 separate springs at Tsurunoyu, each with a different mineral composition and health properties. Whether they will heal your wounds is up for debate, but a good soak in one of these fantastic springs will surely be a good cure for your worries and cares.

There are various accommodation options here. The rooms in the main building, which dates back to the Edo period, are of a very traditional style, with tatami mats and rustic wooden furnishings. In the more modern annex, the rooms are larger and have more sophisticated facilities.

Delicious sansai mountain vegetable cuisine is served at Tsurunoyu, which is vegetarian focused but usually features some element of meat or fish as well, often grilled trout or char. Everything is seasonal and locally sourced and will leave you feeling very satisfied.

Tsurunoyu is right out in the rural mountains of Akita prefecture. There is no better place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities; the tranquil atmosphere of the little wooden buildings, the contented locals walking from bath to bath and the gentle murmur of the woodland breeze will make you wonder whether you haven’t stepped into another world.

Your selection of hotels in Sapporo

Toyoko Inn Sapporo (3* package)

Toyoko Inn

A short 5 minute walk from Sapporo station, and close to the convenience stores.

This business class hotel features compact well equipped rooms with flat screen TVs, refrigerators and bathroom amenities. All rooms have free wi-fi. Computer terminals are available in the lobby along with 24 hour coin laundry.

Breakfast is a light Japanese breakfast consisting of rice balls, miso soup, some salad items and also a little bread.

Sapporo Prince Hotel (4* package)

sapporo prince

Set in a striking hi-rise cylindrical tower, this upscale hotel is a 3-minute walk from Chuo-Kuyakusho-Mae train station and a 12-minute walk from the iconic Odori Park.

Every room is bright and elegant, with free Wi-Fi, a TV, mini-fridge, and tea and coffee-making facility.

You will find 4 different restaurants: French, Chinese, a buffet restaurant, and a teppanyaki eatery, along with a trendy top-floor bar and a coffee shop. The hotel also has a coin-operated laundry, and a communal bathhouse. Bike and ski hire are available.

5* hotels available on request.

To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.

Price Includes

  • 9 nights’ accommodation in a double/twin room on a bed and breakfast basis (hotel accommodation for 8 nights and ryokan accommodation for 1 night)
  • 7-day Japan Rail Pass allowing you unlimited travel on the entire Japan Rail network including Shinkansen
  • Bullet Train services, starting on Day 3.
  • Delicious included dinners: on Days 4, 5 and 8 (for the 3*package), or, on Days 3, 4, 5 and 8 (for the 4* and 5*package)
  • Train/bus tickets from and to Narita International Airport (Tokyo).
  • Meet & Greet service on arrival at Narita International Airport (Tokyo).

 

Not included in Price

  • International airfare.
  • Domestic flights to/from Sapporo
  • Meals not mentioned above
  • Entrance fees
  • Taxi, subway and tramway fees.
  • Travel insurance.

 

PRICE:
The price for this Great North independent itinerary as detailed above is as follows:

3* Hotels/ryokan: from £1,299 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.
4* Hotels/ryokan: from £1,575 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.
5* Hotels/ryokan: from £1,875 per person based on twin/double room occupancy.

3* single room supplement: from £199
4* single room supplement: from £260
5* single room supplement on request

OPTIONAL GUIDED EXCURSIONS:

Tokyo: £101 per person

All price estimates are based on current rates of exchange and are subject to availability. All prices are good for travel before the end of 2017 but exclude blackout periods which coincide with Japanese National Holidays and some weekends.

To make a booking, a deposit of £200 per person is required.

Download The Great North Brochure here: The Great North Itinerary 2017 and a Reservation Form here The Great North Reservation Form

The balance of the price of the trip must be made 12 weeks prior to departure.

Full terms and Conditions

All price estimates are based on current rates of exchange and are subject to availability.

To find out more, call one of our specialists now on 020 7766 5267.

INSURANCE

Travel can be a great experience, but it can also be fraught with problems, so when going anywhere it is essential you are properly covered with good travel insurance. You should be protected against cancellation, curtailment and loss or damage to your belongings as well as medical emergencies and have peace of mind if the unexpected happens.

Japan Journeys in association with Holiday Extras, is now able to offer excellent low cost cover to their customers.

Please click on the image below for a quote.

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