B: Breakfast | L: Lunch | D: Dinner | SD: Special Dinner
2019 Japan Alps with Nemophila & Wisteria Viewing
2 Departure Dates: May 11 – 19 & May 13 – 21, 2019
Day 1** Honolulu – Osaka
We begin our journey by boarding an international flight to Kansai Airport, the gateway city to Osaka. Meals and snacks will be served on the plane.
Day 2** MAY 12 | Osaka
Upon arrival at Kansai International Airport, we will meet with an Air and Sea Travel Representative who will escort us to our hotel in the Kansai area.
Day 3**Osaka – Omihachiman – Komatsu – Kanazawa | (B, L, D)
We will travel from Osaka to Omihachiman, a small castle town in Shiga Prefecture. Prior to the invention of the train and automobile, Omihachiman was a hub for canal transportation, delivering goods and people to nearby Kyoto. We can walk around the canal and take a boat tour on the canal that allows us to enjoy a different, natural world. Afterward, we depart for Yunokuni No Mori, a crafts village in Komatsu. Komatsu is a city located in the southern portion of Ishikawa Prefecture near the Awazu Onsen amid a massive acreage of preserved forest land. At Yunokuni no Mori, you will have time to participate in learning crafts and making various Kaga area goods by yourself. These high quality craft products include: Wajima lacquer ware, Kutani ceramics, gold leaf, Kaga Yuzen (printed silk), and Yamanaka lacquer ware. After a Seafood Donburi for lunch, we will visit Kenrokuen, one of the three famous gardens in Japan. As a strolling style landscape garden, it incorporates fancy designs in every corner, achieving peerless scenery in each season. According to the ancient Chinese book of gardens, six elements contribute to the qualities of the garden: spaciousness and seclusion, artifice and antiquity, water courses and panoramas. We will also visit the Kanazawa Castle Park, a large, partially-restored castle in Kanazawa. This evening, enjoy some free time for omiyage (souvenir) shopping at Kanazawa JR Station area before dinner.
Day 4** MAY 14 | Kanazawa – Kurobe Gorge (Toyama) | (B, L, D)
In the morning, our journey will take us to The Historic Village of Gokayama, one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The site is located in the Shogawa river valley stretching across the border of Gifu and Toyama Prefectures in central Japan. The Gokayama (“Five Mountains”) area is divided between the former villages of Kamitaira and Taira in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture. These villages are well known for their houses constructed in the architectural style known as Gassho-zukuri. The Gassho-zukuri, “prayer-hands construction” style is characterized by a thatched and steeply slanted roof resembling two hands joined in prayer. The design is exceptionally strong and in combination with the unique properties of the thatching, allows the houses to withstand and shed the weight of the region’s heavy snowfalls in winter. We will have famous Toyama Black Ramen for our lunch. Then we continue driving to the Northern Alps. Forget city life – let’s see the natural beauty of Japan. The Hida Mountains or Northern Alps are one of the finest areas of natural beauty and the Kurobe Gorge is among the most spectacular places in the Hida Mountains. The open carriage style Train makes us feel that we are in nature. The view of the gorge changes as the train zigzags its way up. Then we will return to the Onsen Hotel.
Day 5**Kurobe Gorge – Tateyama Kurobe Alpine – Nagano | (B, D)
After a morning onsen bath and breakfast, we will experience stunning vistas and unique landscapes as we travel on, above, and even under majestic Mt. Tateyama. We will stop to enjoy a stroll through flower filled meadows and steaming volcanic valleys. The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is known as the “Roof of Japan”. It passes through the dynamic scenery of Mt. Tateyama in the Japan Alps and is traversed using a variety of vehicles with an elevation change of 2400 meters from Toyama Prefecture to Nagano Prefecture. The route is approximately 90 km long and we will be impressed by the variety of scenery that can be seen in different seasons. First, we take a Cable Car to Bijodaira that takes us 500 m up. The average gradient here is 24°, and a site with unique rock formations named “Zaimoku-ishi” (timber rocks) is visible from the cable car. Second, we take the Highland Bus to Midagahara and Murodo. We will be captivated by the views as we travel through the range with a 1500 m change in altitude. The large trees in the forests, the highlands, and the mountain ranges are the highlights of the route. We will be able to get off the bus and walk along the road between 2 walls of snow 18 meters high. Third, we take the Tunnel Trolley Bus to Daikanbo which is the highest altitude trolley bus in Japan (2450 m). This bus runs inside a tunnel, piercing through the heart of Mt. Tateyama (3015 m high). The bus is powered by electricity, so the bus is “green” and does not produce exhaust fumes. Fourth, we take the Ropeway to Kurobedaira. The cable car here is one of the most unique in the world. It is the only cable car in Japan without pylons along its span. It is like a “moving observatory” giving a full panoramic view of the surrounding nature. Fifth, we take another Cable Car to Kurobeko. This is the only underground cable car in Japan, allowing it to be unaffected by snowfall. We have to do some walking before coming to the next station. Sixth, we take the Kanden Tunnel Trolley Bus from Kurobe Dam to Ogizawa Station. The tunnel for this trolley bus was originally built to transfer materials needed to build Kurobe Dam. The trolley bus crosses the border between Toyama and Nagano Prefectures, which was one of the most inaccessible places before the construction of the Kurobe Dam. After today’s exciting excursion we will return to the hotel to enjoy a delicious dinner and relax in the Onsen Hotel. Japanese onsens are extremely beneficial for one’s health because of its mineral content. Different minerals provide different health benefits while relaxing our body and mind.
Day 6**Nagano – Karuizawa – Nikko | (B, L, D)
Karuizawa is an upmarket mountain resort at the foot of the active volcano Mount Asama in Nagano Prefecture. It contains many elegant vacation houses and some exclusive hotels but the atmosphere of this popular country town is relaxed, casual, and without ostentation. Today, we will go to the Karuizawa Ginza shopping street to do some shopping. This shopping street has a romantic ambiance and is suited for a stroll or for buying souvenirs and local desserts. After a Japanese Sukiyaki lunch, we will transfer to Nikko, a small town to the north of Tokyo in Tochigi Prefecture. It has been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for many centuries. Nikko and the Okunikko area around Lake Chuzenji, in particular, are well known for their beautiful landscapes. The 100 meter tall Kegon Waterfall is the only outlet for the waters of Lake Chuzenji and is the most famous of Nikko’s many beautiful waterfalls. It is ranked as one of Japan’s three most beautiful falls, along with Nachi Waterfall in Wakayama and Fukuroda Waterfall in Ibaraki. After that, we will transfer to our onsen hotel in Nikko. The city of Nikko has various types of Hot Springs that offers different atmosphere and spring quality; depending on its spring quality, each Hot Spring has a distinct color, smell, feeling to the skin, and effect. Kinugawa Hot Spring is a popular hot Spring resort town in Nikko. The clear, mild waters that flow from the area’s hot springs have been in use since the Edo Period. Let us enjoy the hot spring in our onsen hotel.
Day 7**Nikko – Tokyo | (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will continue our visit in Nikko before we transfer to Tokyo. Toshogu Shrine, Japan’s most lavishly decorated shrine and the Mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, are the most famous sites in Nikko. They are part of the “Shrines and Temples of Nikko”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nikko Yuba Teishoku will be arranged for lunch. We will transfer to the “Top 10 World Dream Destinations” – Ashikaga Flower Park. Come and see the great wisteria over 150 years old which spreads over a 600 tatami trellis area, as well as the 80m-long white wisteria tunnel, the kibana wisteria tunnel and more than 350 other wisteria trees in full bloom. Various colors of wisteria bloom in order, from pale red, purple white, to yellow, which allows you to enjoy all of the wisterias for about one full month. We can also see a Rose Garden here. After visiting this CNN selected dream destination, we will transfer to Tokyo, the capital, political, and commercial center of Japan. “Kani Doraku” is the most well-known crab restaurant in Japan. Founded in Osaka in 1960, Kani Doraku has been operating the top crab restaurants in Japan. We will have our Special Farewell Dinner here.
Day 8** MAY 18 | Day trip to Hitachi | (B, L)
Today, we will have a day trip to Hitachi, a major industrial center that is famous for some incredible flower gardens. Hitachi Seaside Park is probably the area’s most picturesque park blanketed in flowers of different colors and overlooking the town of Hitachi and the ocean. During the spring, the park’s gentle hills are covered in pale blue nemophila flowers. Nemophila is a genus found in the flowering plant family Boraginaceae, and it has the common name of “baby blue eyes”. After that, we will transfer to Mito. After lunch, we will visit Kairaku-en, which mean “A park to be enjoyed together”. It is a Japanese garden that is considered one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Unlike Japan’s other two great landscape gardens, Kairakuen served not only for the enjoyment of the ruling lord, but was open to the public. We will then return to Tokyo and visit a Duty Free Shop and go to Shinjuku city, a well-known shopping district and Tokyo’s most vibrant commercial center, with many alleys, nooks, and crannies. Tonight, we can enjoy shopping and dinner here.
Day 9** Tokyo – Narita Q Honolulu | (B)
After breakfast, we have free time to explore the city and enjoy last minute shopping. “Shop till you drop; eat till you overflow!” We will transfer to Narita International Airport for our return flight to Honolulu later in the afternoon, taking with us the lasting memories of this wonderful Japan Alps trip with beautiful flower viewing.
☺We wish you a safe journey and have many wonderful memories to share with family and friends! ☺
CHECK OR CASH PAYMENT ONLY. A deposit of $ 350 per person is required at the time of application. The balance is due on Mar 1, 2019. In case payment balance is not made within the required time period, Air and Sea Travel Center reserves the right to cancel reservations and charge a cancellation fee.
Written notice is required for any cancellation. The cancellation fee will be as follow:
** Mar 1 – Apr 10, 2019, 50% of total price plus any other service fee caused from the cancellation;
** From Apr. 11, 2019 to departure or withdrawing during the tour shall be regarded as willingly giving up all rights concerned, 100% of total price, and request for other services as a substitute shall not be accepted.
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance when you make your reservation.
Price from: $3,588.00
Includes: Tax and fuel surcharge
(SINGLE SUPP: $750)