Team Travel Kuramoto


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10 Days
Rural Charms of East Japan

Itinerary Summary

    Day 1 – Transfer to Sendai

    After check-out, head to the station and take the bullet train bound for Sendai.

    You will be welcomed by your guide at Sendai station.

    The city possesses beautiful scenery, such as the Hirose-gawa River that runs through central Sendai, and the lush zelkova trees (often used for bonsai) that line its streets. Greenery is especially abundant in the centre of the city, which has tree-lined streets and parks. As a result, Sendai is called the “City of Trees.”

    Zuihoden is the mausoleum of Date Masamune, one of the most powerful feudal lords of the Edo Period. Zuihoden was designed in the ornate style and it features intricate woodwork and a rich variety of vivid colours.

    Next, you will tour the Kirin Brewery. If you want to know more about Kirin beer in Japan, the tour of this brewery is a must for you. Learn everything about beer and enjoy a beer tasting at the end of the tour.

    Night in Sendai

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 2- Day trip to Akiu National Park

    ust 30 minutes from Sendai, mountainous Akiu is a convenient and restful place to gorge yourself in the natural surroundings.

    Stop at The Akiu Waterfall is a 55m waterfall on the outskirts of Sendai. It is said to be one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan.

    Before returning to Sendai, you will visit Akiu Kogei no Sato (Akiu Traditional Crafts Village).

    Showcasing nine traditional Japanese crafts, this village of artisans offers visitors a chance to watch history at work. Established in 1975, the village gives traditional craftsmen a place to work and showcase their expertise. As a visitor, you can also take part in various craft workshops such as lacquering chopsticks, making kokeshi dolls (simple wooden dolls with no arms or legs that have been crafted for more than 150 years as toys for children), indigo-dyeing, and china-painting.

    At the end of the day, you will return to Sendai with your guide. The evening will be at your leisure.

    Night in Sendai

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 3 – Day trip to Matsushima

    In the morning, hop into your private car and head to Matsushima. Before reaching Matsushima, we will make a culinary stop at the Shiogama Fish Market.

    Shiogama is one of Japan’s most important fishing ports in the country. The Fish Market contains about 140 shops and stalls selling all manner of fresh and processed seafood products including local specialties such as Matsushima oysters and local varieties of processed fish cake. In the fish market, too, visitors can enjoy a sushi breakfast or lunch from a restaurant inside the market. Alternatively, visitors can also make their own seafood rice bowl (kaisendon) or grill fresh seafood in one corner of the market.

    After the market, you will head to the Matsushima bay.Dotted by over 200 small islands covered by pine trees, Matsushima Bay is said to be one of the three best scenic views in Japan.

    Before cruising around the island, head to the Yondaikan  observation deck and take in the incredible 360-degree views below.

    Stop at The Zuiganji Temple, a National Treasure and Important Cultural Property, is one of the most important Zen Buddhist temples in northern Japan. The temple is surrounded by small caves where monks once lived and prayed and also a walkway lined with cedar trees.

    Next, hop on board the ferry and tour the islands. Some of them are sacred and forbidden, but you will be able to see them from the boat.

    At the end of the day, your guide will take you back to Sendai.

    Night in Sendai

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 4 – Day trip to Yamadera

    Yamadera is a sprawling Buddhist temple complex nuzzled into the side of a small mountain. The journey by local line train takes one hour from Sendai. Yamadera literally means ‘mountain temple’, although the official name of the temple is Risshaku-ji.

    It takes between 30 minutes and an hour to reach the top of the mountain. Once you reach the top, there are some great views across the valley and down to the town below.

    In one of the sub-temples, you will find a flame which has been burning for over a thousand years since the creation of the temple by the founder of Tendai Buddhism in Japan.

    Mid-afternoon, return to Sendai. The evening will be at your leisure.

    Night in Sendai

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 5 – Transfer to Aizu-wakamatsu

    Meet your guide at your accommodation after check-out, and together head to Aizu-Wakamatsu by express train. Aizu-Wakamatsu is a castle town in the interior of Fukushima Prefecture which is known for its award-winning sake and its samurai tradition.

    Visit the Tsurugajo Castle. The former building of the castle was built nearly 630 years ago but demolished in 1874, to be rebuilt in 1965. In 2011, restoration of the tower was completed with its red tile roofs tiles in a faithful reproduction of the castle’s design at the end of the Tokugawa period. Tsuruga-jo is the only castle in Japan today which features red tile roofs.

    Near the Castle, you will find the Tsurugajo Kaikan where you can experience Fukubu lacquerware. Visitors can paint their favourite designs using various materials including rash-free lacquer, metal or coloured powder, and glittering stickers. Making an original traditional craft is an exciting and special experience.

    Next stop today, the Sazaedo Temple. Halfway up Mt. Iimori, where the Byakkotai (teen-age samurai) is buried, is a hexagonal temple called Entsu Sansodo but is more popularly known as the Sazae-do. The outside and inside are designed as twisted slopes, making it a building with a double helix structure. It once held 33 statues of the Buddhist Kannon goddess of mercy, but the Meiji government removed all the statues from the premises after they passed a law abolishing Buddhism. The interior is covered in stickers that are actually graffiti from previous visitors.

     Walk Mt. IImoriyama. After the fall of the shogunate in 1867, forces still loyal to the shogun suffered a decisive defeat at Tsuruga Castle. Looking out from Iimoriyama Hill, a group of young Aizu soldiers in a unit called the Byakkotai (White Tiger Corps) saw their castle engulfed in flames and committed seppuku. The twenty boys, aged 14 to 16, had made a mistake as the castle had not actually been taken. Nevertheless, the story of their loyalty and devotion has become well known.

    End of the day at your accommodation.

    Night in Higashiyama onsen

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 6 – Aizu-Wakamatsu

    For this second day in the Aizu-Wakamatsu area, you will visit the following:

    Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan “school” was established in 1803 by the Aizu Domain for the purpose of fostering Japan’s next generation of talented samurais. Aizu Hanko Nisshinkan was the highest level of learning institution of its time. Children of samurai families entered this school at the age of ten and worked on academic studies and physical exercises to instill both physical and mental discipline. On the ground, you will find a martial arts training hall, an astronomical observatory, and Suiren-Suiba Ike, Japan’s oldest swimming pool.

    Today, it is possible for visitors to experience disciplines of the samurai, including tea ceremony, Japanese archery, meditation, and horseback riding, as well as experiencing hand painting of an akabeko (red cow), a traditional good-luck charm of Aizu.


    Returning downtown, stop at The Yamada Orimoto Company. The company dates back to the start of the Edo Period (1603-1868), meaning that cotton has been produced by Yamada Orimoto for over 400 years. Aizu momen (Aizu cotton) products are still greatly valued for their high quality and their traditional manufacturing techniques. Everything produced at Yamada Orimoto is made using the same techniques that have been practiced here for over 100 years, on equally aged machinery.


    Next visit the Suehiro Sake Brewery, one of the largest and most well-known sake producers in Tohoku, Suehiro’s sake is of such high quality that it has been designated the official sake of Toshogu Shrine in Nikko. Founded in 1850 and has been passed down from generation to generation and has won numerous national and international awards over the years. Suehiro Sake Brewery’s traditional method for sake-making by slow, open fermentation is called ‘yamahai’. After the tour, you can do a sake tasting experience – refills allowed!

    Finish the day at Aizu Bukeyashiki, a samurai residence which served as the quarters of the region’s most important and highest ranked samurai, as well as his family, employees, and servants.

    Night in Higashiyama onsen

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 7 – Transfer from Aizu-Wakamatsu to Nikko

    Check-out from your accommodation and take the express and local train to Nikko.

    Arriving in the city, a guide will help you with check-in before taking you on a tour of Nikko’s highlights:

    The graceful arch of Shinkyo Bridge  is one of Japan’s three most beautiful bridges and marks the entrance to the shrines and temples. The current bridge dates back to 1636 but an archway of some sort has spanned the river beneath for much, much longer.

    The Toshogu Shrine is the final resting place of none other than Tokugawa Ieyasu, the man who finally unified all of Japan after years of civil strife. The lavishly decorated shrine complex consists of more than a dozen buildings set in a beautiful forest. Countless wood carvings and large amounts of gold leaf were used to decorate the buildings in a way not seen elsewhere in Japan, where simplicity has been traditionally stressed in shrine architecture.

    Ieyasu isn’t the only Tokugawa enshrined in Nikko! Located only a stone’s throw away from the Toshogu Shrine, you’ll find Taiyuin-byo, the mausoleum of Ieyasu’s grandson Iemitsu. Taiyuin-byo is located the farthest away from all Nikko’s sites and nestled within the crest of a hill amongst ancient cedars that lend a spiritual charge to the air.

    Another must-see site will be the Kanmangafuchi Abyss. Known for its row of about 70 stone statues of Jizo, a Bodhisattva who cares for the deceased. This particular group of Jizo statues is alternately called “Bake Jizo” (Ghost Jizo), “Narabi Jizo” (Jizo in a line) or “Hyaku Jizo” (100 Jizo). The statues look out over the river and across to the Nikko Botanical Garden.

    End of the tour at your accommodation in Nikko

    Night in Nikko

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 8 – Nikko (second day) Okunikko Area

    Today you will explore the area of Okunikko. A place of scenic beauty where nature lovers can hike or walk along the designated trails, marvel at the waterfalls, lake and mountains from the observation decks, or take a scenic drive along Irohazaka (a pair of winding roads connecting central Nikko and Okunikko).

    From Tobu Nikko Station, enjoy a scenic ride along Irohazaka to Akechidaira. Here, you will take the ropeway (3-minute ride) to an observation deck from which affords incredible views of Kegon Waterfall, and Lake Chuzenjiko in the distance.

    Your tour continues with a visit to the Chuzenjiko Onsen area, a picturesque place to see gorgeous fall colors of Lake Chuzenji’s shores and surrounding mountains. From here, you take a little walk to Kegon Waterfall (about 100 meters tall), which is designated as one of Japan’s three most beautiful waterfalls.

    End of the tour at your accommodation in Nikko.

    Night in Nikko

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 9 – Transfer to Tokyo

    Check out your accommodation and take the express train from Nikko direct to Tokyo. Check-in at your new accommodation and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 10 – Departure

    After breakfast, you will transfer to Narita airport for your departure.
    See you again!

    Inclusions: Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation.

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