14 days from £2,715 p/person
Discover the untouched nature and beauty of this region: the north of mainland Japan, off the beaten track. Starting in Aomori, this tour visits Kakinodate and Ichinoseki, take a short hike to the mountain temples in Yamagata, and explore Geibikei Gorge before finishing in Sendai.

  • Enjoy a local Sendai Food & Culture Group Tour (including an English-speaking guide, six items of local food/drinks, public transportation and entrance fees)
  • Explore the fascinating Tohoku region, off the beaten track

Day 1 : Arrive Aomori

Upon arrival at Aomori airport, go to the “Airport limousine bus” counter in the arrivals hall to buy tickets for the next shuttle bus service to your accommodation.
Check in and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Aomori is the capital of the region of the same name in Tohoku. Due to its location in northern Tohoku, it is enclosed by the sea on three coastlines.
Its name translates as “Green Forest”, although there is little forest in the area now. Aomori is best known for its festivals of which the Nebuta festival is the most famous, and one of the top 100 soundscapes of Japan. Held between 2nd and 7th August, the Nebuta Festival is an ideal way to experience the matsuri (festivals) of Japan.

Day 2 : Aomori

Enjoy the day at leisure.
Suggestions of activities in Aomori:
1) Hirosaki Castle which was built in 1611 by the Tsugaru Clan. A three-story castle tower, fortified moats, castle gates and some corner turrets (yagura) survive or were reconstructed. The castle is located in Hirosaki Park, a spacious public park of about 0.6 square kilometres.
2) The Neputa Mura or “Neputa Village” is a museum about Hirosaki’s famous festival, the Neputa Matsuri, and also introduces the city’s other cultural specialties.
3) The Aomori Museum of Art is a modern art museum found just outside of downtown Aomori City. The building houses both temporary and permanent exhibits, and was designed to resemble the Sannai Maruyama Jomon Archaeological Sites next door.

Day 3 : Aomori

Enjoy the day at leisure.
Suggestions of activities in Aomori:
1) Lake Towada (十和田湖, Towadako) is part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park and is the largest caldera lake on Honshu, Japan’s main island. Located on the border between Akita and Aomori Prefectures, the area is well known for its autumn colours especially around the Oirase Stream, one of Japan’s most famous autumn colour spots.

Day 4 : Aomori - Akita

This morning check out of your accommodation and make your way to Akita using the Japan rail pass (around 2 hours depending on the route taken).
Upon arrival, check into your accommodation and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Akita is a large prefecture at the Sea of Japan coast in the northern Tohoku Region, and Akita City is the prefectural capital. Among Akita’s main attractions are its natural beauty of mountains and the sea, hot springs and the town of Kakunodate, which preserves one of Japan’s most interesting samurai districts.

Day 5 : Akita (day trip to Kakunodate)

Enjoy the day at leisure.

Kakunodate is a former castle town and samurai stronghold in today’s Akita Prefecture. While Kakunodate Castle no longer remains, the town is famous for its samurai tradition and its hundreds of weeping cherry trees (shidarezakura).

Suggestions of activities in Kakunodate:
• Samurai District, which once housed about 80 families, is one of the best examples of samurai architecture and housing in the country. Its wide streets and large courtyards are shaded by dozens of weeping cherry trees which bloom in early May.
• Kakunodate Castle was an important regional fortification, and a small castle town was built around it in the late 1500s.
• Lake Tazawa, make your way back to Morioka station and take the train to Tazawako station followed by a local bus to the lake. Lake Tazawa (Tazawako) is a scenic caldera lake that has not been overly developed and retains a natural and rustic atmosphere. The lake is often visited in conjunction with nearby sites like Nyuto Onsen or Mount Akita-Komagatake, which also offer rustic scenes that are typical of the Tohoku Region.

Day 6 : Akita

Enjoy the day at leisure.
Suggestions of activities in Akita:
1) Explore Dakigaeri Gorge and unwind in nature whilst taking in the vast scenery of the gorge which is also known for its pristine blue clear waters and hiking areas.

Day 7 : Akita - Iwate

This morning check out and make your way to Iwate using the Japan Rail Pass (approx. 2 hours).
Upon arrival into Ichinoseki, check in to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Iwate is a large prefecture on the Pacific coast in the northern Tohoku Region. Its prefectural capital is Morioka. A former political and cultural center of the Tohoku region, the city of Hiraizumi is also located in the prefecture.

Day 8 : Iwate (Ichinoseki)

Enjoy the day at leisure.
Suggestions of activities in Iwate:
1) Visit Hiraizumi and learn the history surrounding the area. During the Heian Period, the Fujiwara were the most powerful clan in Japan. In 1105, Hiraizumi (平泉) was chosen as the seat of the “Northern branch” of the Fujiwara family. The city steadily grew in cultural sophistication and political power, so that it even came to rival Kyoto, the national capital.
Why not visit some of the following shrines and temples inside Hiraizumi:
Chuson-ji Temple (golden temple)
Motsu-ji Temple
Takkoku no Iwaya

Day 9 : Iwate (Ichinoseki)

Enjoy the day at leisure.
Suggestions of activities in Iwate:
Take a short train from Ichinoseki to Geibikei Gorge station to enjoy a 90 minute river tour along Geibikei Gorge. Pleasant natural scenery with impressive, tall cliffs and rock formations can be viewed along the way.

Day 10 : Iwate - Sendai

This morning check out of your accommodation and make your way to Sendai (approx. 30 mins) using the Japan Rail Pass.
Upon arrival into Sendai, check in to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Sendai is the largest city in the Tohoku region of Japan’s Honshu island.
The modern city was founded around the year 1600 by Date Masamune, one of feudal Japan’s most powerful lords. Many of the city’s tourist attractions are related to Masamune and his family. Sendai is comfortable and pleasant, very green — in fact they call it “Mori no Miyako, “Forest City”. The main avenues around the city are wide and tree-lined, giving it an almost European feel. Less than an hour northeast of the city centre is the town of Matsushima, whose bay is dotted by pine-clad islets and is one of Japan’s three most scenic views.

Day 11 : Sendai

Morning free at leisure to explore the city.

12:25 Just before lunch, go on an unforgettable food tour of Sendai and appreciate the legacy of Date Masamune, the samurai founder of Sendai City popularly known as the ‘One-eyed Dragon’. On this tour, you will get a ‘taste’ of the history of the city as you walk the modern streets, stopping to try some local treats along the way, exploring some hidden alleys and taking a step back in time, to the Showa era.
17:10 Tour ends at Sendai station

Instead of the foodie day tour, we can also offer an evening back-alley bar hopping tour in Sendai, where you will enjoy hopping from one traditional bar (Izakaya) to another, in the atmospheric back-alleys of Bunka-yokocho and Iroha-yokocho. Starts at 17:50 and finishes at 20:30.

Day 12 : Sendai (day trip to Matsushima)

Enjoy the day at leisure and take a day trip to Matsushima (approx. 1 hour away) using the Japan rail Pass.
Matsushima is famous for its bay, which is dotted by many pine clad islets and has been ranked one of Japan’s three most scenic views for centuries. Also famous in the town is Zuiganji, one of the Tohoku Region’s most important Zen temples.

Suggestions of activities in Matsushima:
1) Matsushima Bay has been celebrated as one of Japan’s three most scenic views alongside Miyajima and Amanohashidate. The bay is dotted by over 200 small islands covered by pine trees.
2) Zuiganji is one of the Tohoku Region’s most famous and prominent Zen temples, and is well known for its beautifully gilded and painted sliding doors (fusuma).
3) Kanrantei is a Momoyama-style tea house originally built in Kyoto by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This tea house currently looks over Matsushima Bay and provides guests with scenic views.

Optional tour: Matsushima Bay Cruise & Green Tea Break Time at a Historical Tea House
• Additional: £15 p/person

Enjoy a cruise around Matsushima Bay which is known to be one of three most spectacular views in Japan. Indulge on traditional Japanese sweets and matcha green tea at Kanrantei teahouse.
*Meeting time every hour from 10:00 till 15:00

Day 13 : Sendai (day trip to Yamagata)

Enjoy the day at leisure and take a day trip to Yamagata to visit Yamadera Temple. This will approximately take 1 hour using the Japan Rail Pass.
Yamagata is a large prefecture along the Sea of Japan coast in the southern Tohoku Region. The prefectural capital is Yamagata City. The prefecture is known for its agricultural products, especially cherries, hot springs, rural flair and natural beauty.

Suggestions of activities in Yamagata:
• Yamadera is a 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.

Day 14 : Sendai - London

This morning check out of your accommodation and make your way to Sendai airport (approx. 30 mins) for your return flight back to London.

Print-friendly itinerary

From £ 2,715

per person sharing twin room.

Included

  • 13 nights standard accommodation based on twin rooms
  • 14-Day Japan Rail Pass (Ordinary class)
  • Day 2 - Sendai Food & Culture Group Tour
  • Return flights London-Aomori, Sendai-London on economy class including taxes and other charges (flight prices may vary)

Not included

  • Optional Tours
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any excess baggage (over 23kg on Economy flights)
  • Passport and other visa document fees (UK citizens do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days in Japan)
  • Incidental costs such as personal laundry, drinks, snacks