B: Breakfast | L: Lunch | D: Dinner | SD: Special Dinner
2019 Hokkaido Spring Flower Festival
3 Departure Dates: May 9 – 17, May 11 – 19 & May 14 – 22, 2019
Day 1** Honolulu – Chitose
We begin our journey by boarding an international flight to Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island and northernmost prefecture and island. Meals and snacks will be served on the plane.
Day 2** Chitose – Yubari
Upon arrival at New Chitose International Airport in Sapporo, we will meet with an Air and Sea Travel representative who will escort us to our hotel in Yubari.
Day 3** Yubari – Obihiro – Lake Akan | (B, L, D)
This morning, we will transfer to Ohibiro. Our first stop is Ryugetsu Sweetpia Garden, a popular confectionery company that originated in Obihiro city. Ryugetsu Co., Ltd. received the 1st Excellent Company Award from the Governor of Hokkaido in 2005. We can see the production line from the second floor as we tour the factory. After lunch, we will drive to Akan National Park for a sightseeing cruise on Lake Akan (Akanko), a beautiful crater lake and one of the clearest lakes in the world. It is home to marimo, a rare algae species that forms itself into beautiful green balls. The algae have been designated a National Special Natural Monument. There are lakeside hot spring resorts around the lake and the largest Ainu Village (Ainu Kotan) in Hokkaido is nearby. Enjoy some souvenir shops along the hotel area. We will have a Buffet Dinner at the hotel.
Akan Onsen is a neutral hypotonic high-temperature spring. It is said to soothe fatigue, rheumatism, sprains, stiff shoulders, neuralgia, muscle pain, and arthralgia.
Day 4** Lake Akan – Shiretoko | (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will transfer to Shiretoko. Shiretoko Peninsula is located in the north-east of Hokkaido. Shiretoko National Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, is one of Japan’s most beautiful and unspoiled national parks. On the way to Shiretoko, we will stop by Mount Io, an active andesitic stratovolcano on the Shiretoko Peninsula that sits within the borders of the town of Shari. Mount Iō is known for erupting liquid sulphur in the 1889 and 1936 eruptions. A close look of the volcano will reveal two explosion craters and a lava dome at the summit of the volcano. After that, we will arrive at Shiretoko National Park. First, we will visit Oshinkoshin Falls, a spectacular waterfall designated as one of Japan’s best 100 waterfalls. The waterfall is also nicknamed “Sobi no Taki”, meaning twin beauties waterfall, as the stream is split into two visible falls. Shiretokogo Lake, five small lakes mysteriously located in the midst of primeval forests backed up against the Shiretoko Mountain Range, are the habitat of many wild animals. We can see an abundance of nature with traces of brown bear scratches and black woodpecker bites on trees. We will visit the lakes on an Elevated Wooden Path before returning to our onsen resort to enjoy dinner.
Shiretoko Onsen contains brown hot spring water is unique in this area. It is good for relaxation and for reducing stress.
Day 5** Shiretoko – Abashiri – Sounkyo | (B, L, D)
We start our morning by driving to Abashiri for flower viewing. Our first stop is Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park. What is Shibazakura? Shiba means “lawn” and Zakura means “sakura” (cherry blossom). It is cherry blossoms that lie on the ground, which is different from viewing traditional Japanese cherry blossoms on trees. The Shibazakura of Higashimokoto comes in a variety of colors. Although light pink shibazakura dominates most of the areas of the hillside, there are also white, light purple and red moss phloxes. The first thing that comes to our mind is a pink carpet crafted by a million moss phloxes. Abashiri is a city abundant with seasonal seafood available throughout the year, and so we can enjoy a Seafood Hot Pot lunch. Later, we will transfer to Kamiyubetsu Park where 200 varieties of colorful tulips vividly bloom in the vast 17 acre garden. From May 1 to early June every year, when late spring comes to the Okhotsk area, the Tulip Fair is held in the park, attracting many tourists. On the way to Sounkyo hotel, we will drive through part of Daisetsuzan, the largest national park in Japan that consists of three volcanic mountain groups. The park is known for its alpine meadows, remote backcountry and its wildlife, several of which are rare species. Then we will check in at the Sounkyo Onsen Resort, located in a narrow valley within the park. Relax at the Hot Spring tonight, and we will explore more spectacular views at the famous Sounkyo Gorge tomorrow. A special “Mountain-River’s Four Season” Kaiseki Banquet is arranged for tonight.
Sounkyo Onsen contains minerals such as hydrogen sulfide, salt, and iron. Its water is neutral and is said to be good for people suffering from hypertension and arteriosclerosis.
Day 6** Sounkyo –Asahikawa – Toyako | (B, L, D)
In the morning, we will visit the Sounkyo Gorge. This 12.4-mile gorge contains spectacular 100 meter (328 feet) jagged cliffs and gorgeous waterfalls, also known as the “Roof of Hokkaido.” We will also see the beautiful Ginga Waterfall and Ryusei Waterfall, collectively referred to as “husband-and-wife falls” in Japanese. Then we will stop at the Otokoyama Sake Brewery & Museum. Otokoyama is a well known sake brand both within Japan and worldwide. The museum is comprehensive in covering the rich sake brewing heritage, as well as the ancient sake-related literature and art. Enjoy Sake Tasting and the special gift shop. We can enjoy Asahikawa Ramen, a distinct variant of shoyu ramen that is unique to the city of Asahikawa, at Ramen Mura (Ramen Village) where the best ramen shops are located. After enjoying this special ramen, we transfer to Showa Shinzan, one of Japan’s youngest mountains. Still venting sulfurous fumes today, Showa Shinzan stands directly next to Mount Usu, which bears responsibility for the new mountain’s birth. We can get good views of the young volcano by taking the Usuzan Ropeway. Then we will return to our onsen resort to enjoy dinner. The Toya-ko region features an active volcano and Hot Springs is available for us to use any time in our resort. After dinner, we will view the spectacular Fireworks from the lake (weather permitting).
Toya-ko Hot Spring contains sodium chloride and hydrogen sulfide. Its water is neutral to weakly alkaline. It is said to be good to soothe fatigue, beautify skin, and help replenish the skin’s natural protectants.
Day 7** Toyako – Sapporo | (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will visit Usu Zenkoji, a historical temple built to enshrine a statue of Principal Buddha Amitabha, hand-carved by Buddhist priest Ennin in the year 826. The temple was damaged in Mount Usu’s eruption in 1822 and various precious treasures and records were lost, but in recent years it has been restored to its original condition. In 1974, Zenkoji was designated as a National Important Cultural Asset. The 190-year old Ezo Yamazakura is called Ishikari Cherry Tree, and is designated as a memorial protection tree of Hokkaido. また公園内は1000本の各種桜が順次咲くため、長期間にわたって花見を楽しむことができる。 In addition, 1000 cherry blossom trees in the park bloom sequentially, so we can enjoy the cherry blossoms for a long time. After enjoying the beautiful cherry blossom viewing, we will enjoy Special Salmon Chanchan Yaki for today’s lunch. After lunch, we will drive to Sapporo and visit the Hokkaido Shrine constructed in 1870 as an interim building of the shrine for three deities of the Hokkaido reclamation. Don’t forget the cherry blossoms viewing too. Then, we will stop at the Shiroi Koibito (White Lover’s Chocolate), which is famous for white chocolate and other related products. A Crab Feast is arranged for our Farewell Dinner. Local crabs are usually boiled with some salt or broiled and have an elegant sweetness and sophisticated flavor. It is said that the crab is so delicious that Japanese people become silent once they start eating. Hello hairy crab & king crabs, here I come…..
Day 8** Sapporo | (B)
Sapporo is known as a festival city because many different festivals are held here. Many locals eagerly look forward to The Sapporo Lilac Festival because it marks the end of a long winter and the start of a warmer season when they can enjoy strolling and eating outdoors. Odori Park has about 400 lilac trees, and on the first day of the festival, lilac seedlings are given away to visitors. There is also a music festival, an outdoor tea ceremony, and a stamp rally. We will participate in this year’s 61st Sapporo Lilac Festival at Odori Park. “Odori” means “large street” in Japanese. It stretches from east to west and divides the city into northern and southern sections. Local landmarks including the Sapporo TV Tower and the Sapporo City Archive Museum are located within its boundaries. With all the shopping centers, cafes, and restaurants finding a meal is quite easy. Lunch is on our own and we will have some time to shop in the largest shopping mall in Sapporo, the Tanuki Koji Shopping Arcade. The unique feature of this 123-year old mall is that we will find traditional merchants selling kimonos, tea or incense side-by-side with modern stores specializing in computer software or state-of-the-art electronics. We will have ample free time to walk around at our own pace with our tour guide today and enjoy the beautiful Festival.
Day 9** Sapporo – Otaru – Chitose – Honolulu | (B)
After checking out of our hotel in the late morning, our next destination is Otaru, a small harbor city that served as a major trading and fishing port in the late 1800’s. Many old warehouses and former office buildings give the city center a special charm reminiscent of past decades. The Otaru Canal makes for a pleasant stroll. During the day, artists present their works to passing tourists and in the evenings, old fashioned gas lamps are lit to provide a romantic atmosphere. Otaru is well known for its beautiful handmade and intricate music boxes. We will visit the Otaru Music Box Museum to learn about this special local product. The museum is located in a beautiful century-old red brick building, designated as one of the historic landmarks of Otaru City. Music boxes in various sizes and types are neatly displayed. Later in the afternoon, we will visit the Kitaichi Glass Company. There are three different sales floors: “Western,” “Japanese,” and “Country.” We will also enjoy a cup of coffee at the elegant café, “Kitaichi Hall,” and keep the special cup as our present. Then we will transfer to the New Chitose International Airport for our return flight to Honolulu, taking with us lasting memories of a magnificent trip to delightful Hokkaido.
CHECK OR CASH PAYMENT ONLY. A deposit of $350 per person is required at the time of application. The balance is due 70 days prior. In the event payment balance is not made within the required time period, Air and Sea Travel Center reserves the right to cancel reservations and charge some service fee for cancellation.
Written notice is required for any cancellation. $350 deposit is non-refundable if you cancel within 70 days before departure.
Within 70 days before departure, the cancellation fee will be as follow:
** 69-31 days prior departure, 50% of total price plus any other service fee caused from the cancellation;
** 30 days prior to departure or withdraw during the tour shall be regarded as willingly give up all rights concerned, 100% of total price, and request for the other service as substitute shall not be accepted.
Also we strongly recommend you to purchase travel insurance when you make a reservation.
Price from: $3,288.00
Includes: Tax and fuel surcharge
(SINGLE SUPP: $850)