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Tohoku Discovered

15 days from CAD7,855pp

What is tailor made? 100% custom | Exceptional experiences | Hand-picked guides | Lodging with character | Designed to your schedule, budget & interests

    Places visited:

  • Tokyo
  • Nikko
  • Sendai
  • Matsushima
  • Towada-ko
  • Nyuto Onsen
  • Kakunodate
  • Dewa Sanzan
  • Hot spring bathing in rural inns.

  • Climbing the beautiful peaks of Dewa Sanzan.

  • Driving through spectacular mountainous scenery.

  • Watching a local summer festival.

  • Looking out over Matsushima Bay for sunrise.

What our specialists say...

This fascinating itinerary offers the chance to escape the crowds and explore a magical area of Japan rarely visited by foreign tourists. The region blends traditional culture and spectacular scenery with the famed hospitality of the Tohoku locals. Travel by train and hire car to explore the clear lakes, deep forests, mountain peaks and secluded lamp-lit inns of Japan's best kept secret. Come summer the area is awash with the bright colours and raucous noise of local festivals and in winter heavy snowfall makes relaxing in an outdoor hot spring bath all the more romantic!

We recommend this trip for:

  • Tokyo
  • Nikko
  • Sendai
  • Matsushima
  • Towada-ko
  • Nyuto Onsen
  • Kakunodate
  • Dewa Sanzan
  • Tokyo

Itinerary idea in detail

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Day 1 Tokyo

Tokyo

You are met on arrival and assisted with your onward transfer to Tokyo. Your guide will help you to exchange your rail pass today, making any reservations necessary for your trip. The rest of the day is at leisure. A good suggestion is to head to the Imperial Palace gardens for the afternoon to relax in the calm of one of the busiest capitals in the world.

Accommodation options

Day 2 Tokyo

Tokyo

Explore Tokyo at your own pace today, using the sightseeing suggestions provided. Enjoy a pleasant river cruise up from central Tokyo to the older area of Asakusa to see the Sensoji temple then in the afternoon, head to the west to see the more iconic modern image of Tokyo with its neon and bright lights.

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Day 3 Nikko

Tokyo , Nikko

Leave Tokyo by high-speed bullet train this morning and head north to the intricate shrines and lakeside scenery of the old city of Nikko in the mountains just north of Tokyo.

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Day 4 Nikko

Nikko

Explore the temples, Lake Chuzenji or go walking in the hills around the town.

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Day 5 Matsushima

Nikko , Sendai , Matsushima

Continue by bullet train today to Sendai then local train to Matsushima, one of Japan's top three most scenic spots. Take a boat trip out to the bay this afternoon.

Accommodation

Day 6 Towada-ko

Matsushima , Towada-ko

Take the train north to Hachinohe, where you pick up your hire car for the journey to Lake Towada. This is a very scenic drive, taking you through the Oirase Gorge.

Accommodation

Day 7 Towada-ko

Towada-ko

Explore the lake area on foot or by hire car. There are lots of hot springs to enjoy if you feel like enjoying the scenery and relaxing.

Accommodation

Day 8 Nyuto Onsen

Towada-ko , Nyuto Onsen

Drive south to Nyuto Onsen, one of the best known hot springs in northern Japan. Spend the evening relaxing in one of the outdoor baths, some of which are mixed sex - this is rural Japan so modesty goes out of the window here!

Accommodation

Day 9 Kakunodate

Nyuto Onsen , Kakunodate

After a leisurely morning continue your drive through the scenic backbone of Japan to Kakunodate, a town known for its samurai history. Some samurai houses have been restored to their feudal era glory and you even spend the night in a converted samurai residence.

Accommodation

Day 10 Kakunodate

Kakunodate

Explore the town at your leisure today. You may like to drive out to Lake Tazawa too, which although a little touristy, has some lovely views and you can stroll along the sandy shore to take them in.

Accommodation

Day 11 Dewa Sanzan

Kakunodate , Dewa Sanzan

Leave Kakunodate early this morning for the relatively long but atmopspheric drive to the secluded, holy mountain trio known collectively as Dewa Sanzan. You overnight in basic but charming temple lodgings.

Accommodation

Day 12 Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan

This morning climb the stone steps to the summit of the smallest peak, Mt Haguro. Walk or take the bus back to Haguro for the evening.

Accommodation

Day 13 Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan

Drive to the midway point of Mt Gassan and then climb to the top to visit the shrine and take in the views, an ascent of around two hours. Treat your aching limbs to a dip in the temple's communal bath this evening.

Accommodation

Day 14 Tokyo

Dewa Sanzan , Tokyo

Drop off your car in Tsuruoka and then take local and bullet line trains to Tokyo.

Accommodation options

Day 15 Return home

Tokyo

Return to the airport by shuttle bus and fly back home.

traditional tea ceremony
Audley Travel specialist Scott

Contact a specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to Japan will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

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When to go

Drag the slider to see monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily Max Temperature Monthly Rainfall
Tokyo
 
 
 
Nikko
 
 
 
Matsushima
 
 
 
Towadako & Hirosaki
 
 
 
Nyuto Onsen
 
 
 
Kakunodate
 
 
 
Dewa-sanzan
 
 
 

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