Explore Japan on foot
Discover the rich culture of Japan
|Open - Custom Tour|
|12 nights, 13 days|
|Minimum of 2 guests|
|Breakfasts: 12 Lunches: 0 Dinner: 9|
|Airport Pick-up and Orientation at your arrival. Private Local Guide in Ouchijuku on Day 4. Detailed materials will be provided as well as support from our experts in Japan will be available for this independent tour. No tour leader is supplied.|
-Aizu-Wakamatsu: Deep Japan
-Ginzan Hot Spring
|Age restrictions: Everyone younger than 20 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.|
Your airport pick up will meet you at Narita or Haneda International Airport (assuming your flight arrives after 8:00am and before 21:30) and will take to your hotel by public transportation. They will answer any of your questions and hand you your pocket internet device to use during your trip. They will also hand you a rechargeable transportation card to use on non-JR trains with 2,000 yen initial credit for each traveler. Details directions will be included in your tour organizer send to you about 2 weeks before you depart for Japan.
Once you are checked in and had time to rest, you will be free to enjoy dinner anywhere you'd like. Make sure to ask your airport pick-up to provide a few recommendations before parting ways.
Today you will travel to Nikko and stay in one of their famous Japanese ryokan inns. Nikko's colorful shrines and temples, and its national park offer the visitor a wonderful combination of both Japanese history and natural beauty. Nikko means "sunlight," and its shrines and temples were constructed in the 17th century in honor of the great shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. This complex of temples and shrines at Toshogu are the highlight of Nikko.
You will have dinner served at your ryokan and breakfast the following morning. After dinner we suggest bathing in one of the ryokan's natural hot spring baths.
This castle town is well known for its sake and samurai tradition because the Aizu clan remained loyal to the shogun even after the feudal leader was removed from power in the Meiji Restoration. While staying in Aizu-Wakamatsu we suggest you to visit Tsuruga Castle or Aizu Bukeyashiki (a large reconstructed samurai house),Suehiro Sake Brewery,... The ride from Nikko to Aizu-Wakamatsu for about 3 hours and 20 minutes
Today you will have breakfast at your ryokan and head to Ouchijuku together with your local private guide. Your guide will not work from a predetermined itinerary and will show you sights that are interesting to you. They are also very flexible and can make on the fly changes to fit your style, mood, weather and crowds. Like Tsumago or Magome along the Nakasendo road; Ouchijuku is a former post town along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route, which connected Aizu with Nikko during the Edo Period. Ouchijuku is located in Shimogo Town, about 20 kilometers south of Aizu. The nearest station is Yunokami Onsen on the Aizu Railroad (it’s a 35 minutes ride, not covered by the Japan Rail Pass), from where Ouchijuku can be reached in a 15 minute taxi ride (around 2000 yen one way).
Today you will explore the beautiful and off the beaten path area of Urabandai by charter taxi. For the classic sightseeing spots, just leave that up to us. The taxi drivers are very knowledgeable and can can introduce you to the tasty food spots that only locals know about. We will try our best to reserve an English speaking driver for you but it depends on availability so we invite you to reserve your tour as soon as possible.
Today you will travel to Matsushima, a group of about 260 shima (islands) were covered in matsu (pine trees) and this is how the area got its name. Along with Miyajima and Amanohashidate, Matsushima Bay is considered one of the most scenic places in Japan. The islands can be viewed from various lookout points, or by taking a local cruise. The train from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station to Matsushima Station will take approximately 3 hours.
Today you will arrive in the town of Yamadera which is is famous for its scenic temple located in the mountains northeast of Yamagata City. The temple grounds extend high up a steep mountainside, from where there are great views down onto the valley. The temple was founded over a thousand years ago in 860 as a temple of the Tendai sect under the official name Risshakuji. Its popular name, Yamadera, literally means "mountain temple" in Japanese. Today’s highlight after climbing about 1000 steps will be the Godaido Hall. From there you will have a relaxing view on the valley. If time allows we invite to hike in the surrounding forest where you will find stone lanterns and small Buddha statues. The train ride from Matsuhima to Yamadera is about 1 hour and 25 minutes long.
Ginzan Onsen is a well-known hot spring town in the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture. The area originally developed around a silver mine; however, these days it is better known as one of Japan's prettiest onsen towns with historic ryokan lined up along the river. Ginzan Onsen's traditionally styled ryokan occupy beautiful three and four story wooden buildings that, with their exposed woodwork and white plaster walls, evoke nostalgic feelings of a bygone era. There is one exception, however, in the Fujiya ryokan at the center of town, which was recently rebuilt by famous modern architect Kuma Kengo. The train ride from Yamadera to JR Oishida Station takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. From there you will take a shuttle bus to Ginzan Onsen (30 minutes ride).
Kakunodate is a former castle and samurai town. Though the castle no longer remains, its samurai and merchant districts are relatively unchanged from its founding in 1620. Well preserved former residences that now serve as museums offer a glimpse into the samurai lifestyle. The Aoyagi House, with its thatched roof, is one of the most interesting. The Ishiguro House has a collection of samurai armor and clothing on display. This area is also famous for its cherry trees. The industry of cherry-bark veneer handicrafts, called kabazaiku, thrives here and visitors can purchase locally crafted items as souvenirs. Kabazaiku demonstrations are given in the Denshokan Museum, where these and other regional crafts are on display. The bus and train from Ginzan Onsen to Kakunodate Station takes about 4 hours.
Nyuto Onsen is a hot spring resort in the rural setting, surrounded by deep forest and mountains. Main features of Nyuto Onsen are simply to enjoy plenty of mountain and forest scenery, taste traditional Japanese meals and appreciate their natural hot-springs. In summer, thousands of flowers blossom and open up around you. While leaves on trees change to shiny golden colors in autumn which attracts many season admirers, on the other hand you may surprise the volume of snow falls in winter. The transfer from Kakunodate to Nyuto Onsen will take about 45 minutes.
Today you can relax in your ryokan and enjoy its baths but if you like you can also visit other hot springs around Nyuto Onsen: Taenoyu, Kuroyu, Ganiba,… They charge a small fee for a bath during the day.
Today you will come back to Tokyo by Shuttle bus and Shinkansen Bullet Train. It takes about 3 hours and a half from Nyuto Onsen to Tokyo Station.
Today you will fly home with memories that you will keep for the rest of your life.