Snow festivals of Tohoku and winter sports at Mount Zao from 8 days

 

Japan changes according to each season. Indeed, thoughout the year, not only the landscape but also traditional events will be completely different, offering many ways to enjoy these wonders. In winter, enjoy snow festivals, hot springs and winter sports, all these activities are included in this tour. Have you ever heard about travelling in Japan during winter ?

In this tour, you are about to discover Japan as you had never imagined.

This trip focus on the Tohoku area known for its heavy snow. Each part of this region takes advantage of the weather and there it finds many snow festivals. We will head for Aomori to see the Yuki doro snow festival in the town of Hirosaki, and for the Namahage festival in Oga (Akita Pref.) listed in the UNESCO World Heritage, and also we will go to the Kamihinokinai paper balloon festival which takes place in the same Prefecture. Then, we will reach the Yamagata Prefecture to the town of Zao Onsen where we will enjoy the majestic Juhyo festival. 

Moreover, Mount Zao is one of the biggest ski area in Japan, and if you wish, we could organise an extended stay for you to enjoy onsen (hot springs) and winter sports. The very good quality of the snow known to be the best in Honshu island and a wide range of slopes await you. There you will also be surprised seeing  the famous snow monsters of Mount Zao, the big trees covered by ice during winter.   

If you like onsen, as the Japanese do, it is recommended to extend your stay at Ginzan Onsen. It is a village where stand plenty of traditional houses surrounded by a beautiful snow landscape that will amaze you. Therefore, Ginzan Onsen is highly recommended to be visited during winter. 

This tour is entirely plannified. However, it is possible to plan different departure dates, and customize the tour according to the festivals. We could also arrange an extended stay at Zao Onsen if you want to enjoy winter sports a little longer. 

We are looking forward to meet you and help you discover winter in Japan !


This tour can be customized. If you would like to change it, please select your date of departure on the schedule at the bottom of this page and fill in the request form.

 

 Other Suggested Itineraries
 Contact us here

 

 

- Travel to Japan with Peak Experience -

8
From ¥229,000

Overview

 

Japan changes according to each season. Indeed, thoughout the year, not only the landscape but also traditional events will be completely different, offering many ways to enjoy these wonders. In winter, enjoy snow festivals, hot springs and winter sports, all these activities are included in this tour. Have you ever heard about travelling in Japan during winter ?

In this tour, you are about to discover Japan as you had never imagined.

This trip focus on the Tohoku area known for its heavy snow. Each part of this region takes advantage of the weather and there it finds many snow festivals. We will head for Aomori to see the Yuki doro snow festival in the town of Hirosaki, and for the Namahage festival in Oga (Akita Pref.) listed in the UNESCO World Heritage, and also we will go to the Kamihinokinai paper balloon festival which takes place in the same Prefecture. Then, we will reach the Yamagata Prefecture to the town of Zao Onsen where we will enjoy the majestic Juhyo festival. 

Moreover, Mount Zao is one of the biggest ski area in Japan, and if you wish, we could organise an extended stay for you to enjoy onsen (hot springs) and winter sports. The very good quality of the snow known to be the best in Honshu island and a wide range of slopes await you. There you will also be surprised seeing  the famous snow monsters of Mount Zao, the big trees covered by ice during winter.   

If you like onsen, as the Japanese do, it is recommended to extend your stay at Ginzan Onsen. It is a village where stand plenty of traditional houses surrounded by a beautiful snow landscape that will amaze you. Therefore, Ginzan Onsen is highly recommended to be visited during winter. 

This tour is entirely plannified. However, it is possible to plan different departure dates, and customize the tour according to the festivals. We could also arrange an extended stay at Zao Onsen if you want to enjoy winter sports a little longer. 

We are looking forward to meet you and help you discover winter in Japan !


This tour can be customized. If you would like to change it, please select your date of departure on the schedule at the bottom of this page and fill in the request form.

 

 Other Suggested Itineraries
 Contact us here

 

 

- Travel to Japan with Peak Experience -

Ideas of activities to enjoy before the day of departure.

★Kawagoe ~Historic and cultural town~
 Only 30 minutes from Tokyo, the small town “Kawagoe” is the perfect place to pass one pleasant day and learning about the architecture of the old capital of Japan having the name of Edo (from 1603 to 1867). One of the very representative streets in the ancient atmosphere is the street of warehouses, “Kurazukuri no machinami” in Japanese, a lane of the traditional buildings, of which the solid construction being fire proof (there was a big fire in Kawagoe a few centuries ago). You would see the old bell tower in wood “Toki no kane”, “the bell of the time”, and you might go to the famous “Kashiya Yokocho”, the street of sweets. In order to know further about the interior of the traditional Japanese houses, it is recommended to make a visit to the Honmaru Goten of Kawagoe castle surrounded by magnificent gardens.
 
★Nagatoro in Chichibu area
The little town of Nagatoro is located in the Chichibu district, in the centre of the prefecture of Saitama, in the north of Tokyo. It is easily accessible from Tokyo and you could find the beauty of nature in Japanese countryside, along the bank of Arakawa river, surrounded by mountains and forests. Being beautiful in each season, but it is especially appreciated in autumn, as we say in Japanese, “Kôyô”, the autumn coloured foliage. In spring time, around mid-April, it is fantastic to visit Nagatoro which has been classed among top 100 best sites of Japan for cherry blossoms.

  
★Yayoi Kusama Museum
Yayoi Kusama has been the leading runner of the Japanese contemporary art as her famous work:"Infinity Mirror Room - Phalli's Field" and "pumpkin sculptures". If you want to appreciate her works, "YAYOI KUSAMA MUSEUM" in Shinjuku is the place to visit.
Not only her works are on permanent exhibit, but also rotating exhibits are held several times in a year. The museum provides an opportunity that visitors can feel the breeze of the represented artist of the Japanese contemporary art.  
Tickets are not available on the door, all tickets must be purchased in advance only through the museum’s website. 
Entry is timed and only valid for a specific 90 minute time-slot.
 
 

Day 1 Tokyo

Free time in Tokyo

Please enjoy sighsteeing Tokyo. 
According to your wishes, a one day tour and a private guided tour are possible. 

Our suggestions : 

* Visit of Tsukiji Fish Market (there is still the outside market). Possibility to take a breakfast of Sushi in one of the numerous shops. (the market could be closed some days).

* Discovering of the Hama Rikyu onshi Koen where you could take the boat bus on the sumida river and go north-east of Tokyo

* Visit of the Tokyo Skytree (Tembo Deck (observatory at 350m) et Tembo Galeria (observatory at 450m).

* Old streets of Asakusa : Kaminari-mon door (the thunder door) - Nakamise dôri street - Sensô-ji temple-  Asakusa-jinja sanctuary

* Yanaka district (Old Tokyo) and Ueno (Tokyo’s national museum and the Ueno Park - Old Ameyoko market.)

* Visit of Roppongi district and the Roppongi Hills complexe, the Mori tower, the Mori Art Museum, the Suntory Museum and Tokyo Midtown.

*Near Roppongi, you will see the Tokyo tower, near which is a beautiful japanese garden and a very good restaurant named “Tofuya Ukai” (it is possible to take a lunch there - the prices are average 6000 yen per pers. )

* Akihabara (Electric City) (electronics, mangas, figurines, maid cafés)

* Discovery of Ginza district and its luxury shops 

* District of Shinjuku and and its huge buildings (cocoon building, Tokyo city hall - do not miss the observatory located at the 45th floor from where you will enjoy a impressive view on Tokyo.)

* Not far from the city hall of Tokyo is the Park Hyatt hotel well known to be the hotel in the Sofia Coppola’s film “Lost in translation”

* Discovery of the Shinjuku Gyoen Park

* Visit Shibuya - Omotesando avenue, the Japanese “Champs Elysées” - luxury shops and contemporary architecture - Prada building - Shibuya’s crossway and the sculpture of the dog Hachiko. 

* Discovery of Harajuku and the Takeshita street (fashion street liked by teenagers)

* The Meiji-jingû sanctuary 

* Rainbow Bridge (To go to Odaiba, you could take the automatic subway ''Yurikamome'')

* Stroll in the Odaiba-kaihin park : enjoy the beach and admire the replica of the statue of liberty. 

* Visit of the Fuji Television building, famous for its observatory and its spherical architecture

*Visit of “Palette Town” and the great wheel, the commercial center Venus Fort and its artificial sky changing colours throughout the day and the auto show “Toyota Mega”.

* Visit of the New science national museum of Odaiba (Miraikan)  and its robots. 

Click here to discover our accompanied tours from Tokyo 

Click here to discover our self -guided tours

Overnight in Tokyo

Hotel in Tokyo

Day 2 Hirosaki's Yuki dôrô matsuri

Tokyo station -(Shinkansen+train)- Hirosaki - 「Hirosaki's Yuki dôrô matsuri (festival)」 - Hirosaki - (overnight)

 

From Tokyo station, we will take the shinkansen and the local train to the town of Hirosaki.

For your lunch, we will recommend that you buy a bento box which you could enjoy in the shinkansen ! (bento box are small boxes containing japanese meals. The one we find in the stations are called Eki ben, Eki means station in japanese.) Tokyo station boasts a wide range of Bento shops, so many that you might get lost trying to choose between them. 

Hirosaki (Aomori)

The city of Hirosaki is located west of Aomori Prefecture, and is the third biggest city of the Prefecture. This region of Japan is known for apple growing which represents 20% of the national production. In Hirosaki in August takes place the Hirosaki Nebuta festival listed in the national intangible cultural heritage. It is one of the three great summer festivals of Tohoku. Hirosaki is also famous for the cherry blossom in spring, its park and its castle. The festival attracts more than 2,8 millions of visitors each year.

Hirosaki's Yuki dôrô Festival (7,8,9 Feb)

Springtime is famous in Horaski for the cherry blossom, but also winter for the Yuki Doro festival which attracts many visitors. 

Covered with snow, the Hirosaki castle appears to float into the dark night where more than 200 snow lanterns and snow sculptures are enlightened creating a majestic and poetic winter scene. Big sculptures, 300 small igloo and many other snow creations will amaze you during the festival. It is also known as one of the 5 Michinoku’s snow festivals.(5 great snow festivals of Tohoku).

(Photographs are used thanks to the kind permission of the city of Hirosaki)

Hotel in Hirosaki
breakfast

Day 3 Oga's Namahage festival

 Hirosaki station -(train)- Akita station -(train)- Oga station-(Bus)-「Namahage festival 」-(Bus)- Oga station -(train)-Akita city(overnight)

From Hirosaki, we will take the train then the bus to go to the festival which takes place in the city of Oga. 
Oga is well-known for the Namahage festival, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage. 

 Namahage festival (7,8,9 Feb)

It is one of the 5 great snow festivals of Michinoku and is the symbol of winter for the Shinzan sanctuary. For more than 900 years, every year on 3 January, this folkloric event is repeated in front of the inhabitants houses. You will assist to this very impressive ritual of the Namahage (men wearing demon costumes) who come down from the mountain carrying torches. This event symbolizes the coming of the gods of mountain.

(Photographs are used thanks to the kind permission of the city of Oga)

Hotel in Akita
breakfast

Day 4 stroll around the samurai mansions

Akita station -(train)- Kakunodate -  samurai residence - Kakunodate(overnight)

From Akita, we will take the shinkansen bounds for Kakunodate. 

Kakunodate

The town of Kakunodate is located in the Semboku district (Akita Prefecture). During Sengoku period (XVIIth century), it developed as a feodal town owning a castle. For a long time, the town developed the Kyoto culture, and plenty of old samurai mansions are preserved. kakunodate is often called "the little Kyoto of Tohoku". 

kakunodate is also famous for the Sakura blossom (cherry tree) in spring, its wonderful willow cherry tree blossom along the samurai houses and the Hinokai river alley which is listed as one of the 100 best spots to admire cherry blossom in Japan.  

Samurai houses of kakunodate 

Formerly, Kakunodate owned a castle in front of the fortified town where still stand the samurai mansions. Among these are the somptuous mansions of Ishiguro and Aoyagi families. In spring, we admire the willow cherry blossom; in winter, the snow covers the entire town and the scenery is getting magical attracting many visitors. 

This place is often used to make historical movies. 

(Photographs are used thanks to the kind permission of the lake Tazawa tourist association / Kakunodate)

Hotel in Kakunodate
breakfast, dinner

Day 5 The paper balloons festival of Kamihinokinai

Hotel - free time(Optional : handicraft experience)-  Kakunodate station -(train)- kamihinokinai station -「The paper balloons festival of Kamihinokinai 」-  Kamihinokinai station -(train)ー Kakunodate station - Kakunodate(overnight)

Morning  Free time (Optional. experience  "Kabazaiku" handicraft - supplement fees)

Kabazaiku

Kabazaiku exists for a long time in Kakunodate. It consists of make small mountain cherry tree tea boxes  (Yamazakura), used as tea boxes or snuffboxes, and many others wood confections. During Edo period, lower rank samurai used to practice this handicraft as a second source of funds.  kabazaiku is also considered as a national traditional handicraft. 

During the class, you will create wall decoration items or wood coasters - the class duration : about 2 hours

(Photographs are used for illustration purposes)


Afternoon -「Kamihinokinai balloons festival」

Kamihinokinai balloons festival (10 Feb)

The festival takes place in the city of Kamihinikinai located in the Semboku district. The main attraction of the festival consists of lighting huge balloons made of washi paper and let them fly in the dark night. During Edo period, a famous scientist named Hiraga Gennai was invited in the town to introduce the concept of hot air balloon. Nowadays, every winter on 10 February, more than 100 balloons fly in the dark sky of Kamihinokinai while people pray for safety for their family and success in their business. The huge balloons lighted into the night make the scenery magical. A not to be missed event. 

Hotel in Kakunodate
breakfast

Day 6 Ginzan Onsen

Kakunodate station - (shinkansen+train+shuttle bus)- Ginzan onsen - free time - Ginzan Onsen(overnight)
We will take the shinkansen, and the local train to Ginzan Onsen which is located in the Yamagata Prefecture. 

Ginzan Onsen

The onsen (hot springs) is located  in the city of Obanazawa.

At the beginning of the XVIIth Century, miners who worked in a silver mine discovered by accident the hot springs of Ginzan Onsen. From the end of Taisho era (1912-1926) to the Showa era (1926-1989) having been built many onsen in this town, and on both side of the river are many ryokan (Japanese traditional inn). The street is slightly lit by gas lamps which gives a pleasant retro ambience and a perfect spot for you to take beautiful photographs. there are no less than 3000 onsen countrywide and it is one of the 30 best hot springs spots in Japan. 

* It is also in 32nd place of Japan's top 100 onsen according to the Japan tourism newspaper (Kanko Keizai Shinbunsha) 
 

(Photographs are used thanks to the kind permission of Yamagata Prefecture)

Hotel in Ginzan Onsen
breakfast, dinner

Day 7 Zao onsen Juhyo matsuri

Ginzan Onsen -(shuttle bus)- Oishida station - (train)ー  Yamagata station  -(bus)- Zao onsen - Zao onsen Juhyo  festival  - Zao Onsen(overnight)

After having fully enjoyed Ginzan Onsen, we will take the bus and the train to the next onsen village : Zao Onsen

Relax in the hot springs and enjoy winter sports. During the juhyo festival of Zao onsen, it is possible to participate in many events as natural arts, or the illumination of the snow monsters. 

Zao Onsen

This onsen dates back to 110 B.C and its History is 1900 years old. Located on the west summit of Zao mountains, Zao Onsen is situated at a height of 880 meters. This is also a famous ski resort which boasts a top quality snow and a large ground to ride. This is the perfect place to enjoy winter sports and hot springs. 

The water of the hot springs is acidic and used to cure many skin diseases for a long time. It is also used to beautify the skin so it is called “water of the princess”. 

Zao Onsen ski resort (Festival Juhyo matsuri: Dec~Mar)

it is one of the most famous ski resorts of Japan, enjoyed for its large ground plenty of different kind of slopes.

From junior level to professional level, more than 26 slopes and 32 ski lifts. The panorama is also famous and attracts many visitors who come to admire the Juhyo festival, its frost scenery, and its stunning illuminations. 

Moreover, according to the american channel CNN, it is one of a selection of 31 more beautiful places in Japan.

Hotel in Zao Onsen
breakfast, dinner

Day 8 Road to Tokyo(or extra nights)

Zao Onsen -(bus)- Sendai station - (shinkansen)ー Tokyo
Possibility to add extra nights in Zao Onsen, Sendai, Tokyo.

 

Before your departure, enjoy fully skiing and frozen landscapes.
Departure in the evening by bus to Sendai. Transfer at Sendai to take the shinkansen bounds for Tokyo. 
If you would like, possibility of extra nights at Zao Onsen, Sendai or Tokyo. 

 
breakfast

Customize your trip!

This is a original tour made by our travel designers.
 
We would be pleased to recommend some sightseeing spots, give you information about the local cuisine and popular activities to enjoy.


This tour can be customized. If you would like to change it, please select your date of departure on the schedule at the bottom of this page and fill in the request form.


 Other Suggested Itineraries
 Contact us here

Where to Go

Itinerary

Ideas of activities to enjoy before the day of departure.

★Kawagoe ~Historic and cultural town~
 Only 30 minutes from Tokyo, the small town “Kawagoe” is the perfect place to pass one pleasant day and learning about the architecture of the old capital of Japan having the name of Edo (from 1603 to 1867). One of the very representative streets in the ancient atmosphere is the street of warehouses, “Kurazukuri no machinami” in Japanese, a lane of the traditional buildings, of which the solid construction being fire proof (there was a big fire in Kawagoe a few centuries ago). You would see the old bell tower in wood “Toki no kane”, “the bell of the time”, and you might go to the famous “Kashiya Yokocho”, the street of sweets. In order to know further about the interior of the traditional Japanese houses, it is recommended to make a visit to the Honmaru Goten of Kawagoe castle surrounded by magnificent gardens.
 
★Nagatoro in Chichibu area
The little town of Nagatoro is located in the Chichibu district, in the centre of the prefecture of Saitama, in the north of Tokyo. It is easily accessible from Tokyo and you could find the beauty of nature in Japanese countryside, along the bank of Arakawa river, surrounded by mountains and forests. Being beautiful in each season, but it is especially appreciated in autumn, as we say in Japanese, “Kôyô”, the autumn coloured foliage. In spring time, around mid-April, it is fantastic to visit Nagatoro which has been classed among top 100 best sites of Japan for cherry blossoms.

  
★Yayoi Kusama Museum
Yayoi Kusama has been the leading runner of the Japanese contemporary art as her famous work:"Infinity Mirror Room - Phalli's Field" and "pumpkin sculptures". If you want to appreciate her works, "YAYOI KUSAMA MUSEUM" in Shinjuku is the place to visit.
Not only her works are on permanent exhibit, but also rotating exhibits are held several times in a year. The museum provides an opportunity that visitors can feel the breeze of the represented artist of the Japanese contemporary art.  
Tickets are not available on the door, all tickets must be purchased in advance only through the museum’s website. 
Entry is timed and only valid for a specific 90 minute time-slot.
 
 

Day 1 Tokyo

Free time in Tokyo

Please enjoy sighsteeing Tokyo. 
According to your wishes, a one day tour and a private guided tour are possible. 

Our suggestions : 

* Visit of Tsukiji Fish Market (there is still the outside market). Possibility to take a breakfast of Sushi in one of the numerous shops. (the market could be closed some days).

* Discovering of the Hama Rikyu onshi Koen where you could take the boat bus on the sumida river and go north-east of Tokyo

* Visit of the Tokyo Skytree (Tembo Deck (observatory at 350m) et Tembo Galeria (observatory at 450m).

* Old streets of Asakusa : Kaminari-mon door (the thunder door) - Nakamise dôri street - Sensô-ji temple-  Asakusa-jinja sanctuary

* Yanaka district (Old Tokyo) and Ueno (Tokyo’s national museum and the Ueno Park - Old Ameyoko market.)

* Visit of Roppongi district and the Roppongi Hills complexe, the Mori tower, the Mori Art Museum, the Suntory Museum and Tokyo Midtown.

*Near Roppongi, you will see the Tokyo tower, near which is a beautiful japanese garden and a very good restaurant named “Tofuya Ukai” (it is possible to take a lunch there - the prices are average 6000 yen per pers. )

* Akihabara (Electric City) (electronics, mangas, figurines, maid cafés)

* Discovery of Ginza district and its luxury shops 

* District of Shinjuku and and its huge buildings (cocoon building, Tokyo city hall - do not miss the observatory located at the 45th floor from where you will enjoy a impressive view on Tokyo.)

* Not far from the city hall of Tokyo is the Park Hyatt hotel well known to be the hotel in the Sofia Coppola’s film “Lost in translation”

* Discovery of the Shinjuku Gyoen Park

* Visit Shibuya - Omotesando avenue, the Japanese “Champs Elysées” - luxury shops and contemporary architecture - Prada building - Shibuya’s crossway and the sculpture of the dog Hachiko. 

* Discovery of Harajuku and the Takeshita street (fashion street liked by teenagers)

* The Meiji-jingû sanctuary 

* Rainbow Bridge (To go to Odaiba, you could take the automatic subway ''Yurikamome'')

* Stroll in the Odaiba-kaihin park : enjoy the beach and admire the replica of the statue of liberty. 

* Visit of the Fuji Television building, famous for its observatory and its spherical architecture

*Visit of “Palette Town” and the great wheel, the commercial center Venus Fort and its artificial sky changing colours throughout the day and the auto show “Toyota Mega”.

* Visit of the New science national museum of Odaiba (Miraikan)  and its robots. 

Click here to discover our accompanied tours from Tokyo 

Click here to discover our self -guided tours

Overnight in Tokyo

Hotel in Tokyo

Day 2 Hirosaki's Yuki dôrô matsuri

Tokyo station -(Shinkansen+train)- Hirosaki - 「Hirosaki's Yuki dôrô matsuri (festival)」 - Hirosaki - (overnight)

 

From Tokyo station, we will take the shinkansen and the local train to the town of Hirosaki.

For your lunch, we will recommend that you buy a bento box which you could enjoy in the shinkansen ! (bento box are small boxes containing japanese meals. The one we find in the stations are called Eki ben, Eki means station in japanese.) Tokyo station boasts a wide range of Bento shops, so many that you might get lost trying to choose between them. 

Hirosaki (Aomori)

The city of Hirosaki is located west of Aomori Prefecture, and is the third biggest city of the Prefecture. This region of Japan is known for apple growing which represents 20% of the national production. In Hirosaki in August takes place the Hirosaki Nebuta festival listed in the national intangible cultural heritage. It is one of the three great summer festivals of Tohoku. Hirosaki is also famous for the cherry blossom in spring, its park and its castle. The festival attracts more than 2,8 millions of visitors each year.

Hirosaki's Yuki dôrô Festival (7,8,9 Feb)

Springtime is famous in Horaski for the cherry blossom, but also winter for the Yuki Doro festival which attracts many visitors. 

Covered with snow, the Hirosaki castle appears to float into the dark night where more than 200 snow lanterns and snow sculptures are enlightened creating a majestic and poetic winter scene. Big sculptures, 300 small igloo and many other snow creations will amaze you during the festival. It is also known as one of the 5 Michinoku’s snow festivals.(5 great snow festivals of Tohoku).

(Photographs are used thanks to the kind permission of the city of Hirosaki)

Hotel in Hirosaki
breakfast

Day 3 Oga's Namahage festival

 Hirosaki station -(train)- Akita station -(train)- Oga station-(Bus)-「Namahage festival 」-(Bus)- Oga station -(train)-Akita city(overnight)

From Hirosaki, we will take the train then the bus to go to the festival which takes place in the city of Oga. 
Oga is well-known for the Namahage festival, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage. 

 Namahage festival (7,8,9 Feb)

It is one of the 5 great snow festivals of Michinoku and is the symbol of winter for the Shinzan sanctuary. For more than 900 years, every year on 3 January, this folkloric event is repeated in front of the inhabitants houses. You will assist to this very impressive ritual of the Namahage (men wearing demon costumes) who come down from the mountain carrying torches. This event symbolizes the coming of the gods of mountain.

(Photographs are used thanks to the kind permission of the city of Oga)

Hotel in Akita
breakfast

Day 4 stroll around the samurai mansions

Akita station -(train)- Kakunodate -  samurai residence - Kakunodate(overnight)

From Akita, we will take the shinkansen bounds for Kakunodate. 

Kakunodate

The town of Kakunodate is located in the Semboku district (Akita Prefecture). During Sengoku period (XVIIth century), it developed as a feodal town owning a castle. For a long time, the town developed the Kyoto culture, and plenty of old samurai mansions are preserved. kakunodate is often called "the little Kyoto of Tohoku". 

kakunodate is also famous for the Sakura blossom (cherry tree) in spring, its wonderful willow cherry tree blossom along the samurai houses and the Hinokai river alley which is listed as one of the 100 best spots to admire cherry blossom in Japan.  

Samurai houses of kakunodate 

Formerly, Kakunodate owned a castle in front of the fortified town where still stand the samurai mansions. Among these are the somptuous mansions of Ishiguro and Aoyagi families. In spring, we admire the willow cherry blossom; in winter, the snow covers the entire town and the scenery is getting magical attracting many visitors. 

This place is often used to make historical movies. 

(Photographs are used thanks to the kind permission of the lake Tazawa tourist association / Kakunodate)

Hotel in Kakunodate
breakfast, dinner

Day 5 The paper balloons festival of Kamihinokinai

Hotel - free time(Optional : handicraft experience)-  Kakunodate station -(train)- kamihinokinai station -「The paper balloons festival of Kamihinokinai 」-  Kamihinokinai station -(train)ー Kakunodate station - Kakunodate(overnight)

Morning  Free time (Optional. experience  "Kabazaiku" handicraft - supplement fees)

Kabazaiku

Kabazaiku exists for a long time in Kakunodate. It consists of make small mountain cherry tree tea boxes  (Yamazakura), used as tea boxes or snuffboxes, and many others wood confections. During Edo period, lower rank samurai used to practice this handicraft as a second source of funds.  kabazaiku is also considered as a national traditional handicraft. 

During the class, you will create wall decoration items or wood coasters - the class duration : about 2 hours

(Photographs are used for illustration purposes)


Afternoon -「Kamihinokinai balloons festival」

Kamihinokinai balloons festival (10 Feb)

The festival takes place in the city of Kamihinikinai located in the Semboku district. The main attraction of the festival consists of lighting huge balloons made of washi paper and let them fly in the dark night. During Edo period, a famous scientist named Hiraga Gennai was invited in the town to introduce the concept of hot air balloon. Nowadays, every winter on 10 February, more than 100 balloons fly in the dark sky of Kamihinokinai while people pray for safety for their family and success in their business. The huge balloons lighted into the night make the scenery magical. A not to be missed event. 

Hotel in Kakunodate
breakfast

Day 6 Ginzan Onsen

Kakunodate station - (shinkansen+train+shuttle bus)- Ginzan onsen - free time - Ginzan Onsen(overnight)
We will take the shinkansen, and the local train to Ginzan Onsen which is located in the Yamagata Prefecture. 

Ginzan Onsen

The onsen (hot springs) is located  in the city of Obanazawa.

At the beginning of the XVIIth Century, miners who worked in a silver mine discovered by accident the hot springs of Ginzan Onsen. From the end of Taisho era (1912-1926) to the Showa era (1926-1989) having been built many onsen in this town, and on both side of the river are many ryokan (Japanese traditional inn). The street is slightly lit by gas lamps which gives a pleasant retro ambience and a perfect spot for you to take beautiful photographs. there are no less than 3000 onsen countrywide and it is one of the 30 best hot springs spots in Japan. 

* It is also in 32nd place of Japan's top 100 onsen according to the Japan tourism newspaper (Kanko Keizai Shinbunsha) 
 

(Photographs are used thanks to the kind permission of Yamagata Prefecture)

Hotel in Ginzan Onsen
breakfast, dinner

Day 7 Zao onsen Juhyo matsuri

Ginzan Onsen -(shuttle bus)- Oishida station - (train)ー  Yamagata station  -(bus)- Zao onsen - Zao onsen Juhyo  festival  - Zao Onsen(overnight)

After having fully enjoyed Ginzan Onsen, we will take the bus and the train to the next onsen village : Zao Onsen

Relax in the hot springs and enjoy winter sports. During the juhyo festival of Zao onsen, it is possible to participate in many events as natural arts, or the illumination of the snow monsters. 

Zao Onsen

This onsen dates back to 110 B.C and its History is 1900 years old. Located on the west summit of Zao mountains, Zao Onsen is situated at a height of 880 meters. This is also a famous ski resort which boasts a top quality snow and a large ground to ride. This is the perfect place to enjoy winter sports and hot springs. 

The water of the hot springs is acidic and used to cure many skin diseases for a long time. It is also used to beautify the skin so it is called “water of the princess”. 

Zao Onsen ski resort (Festival Juhyo matsuri: Dec~Mar)

it is one of the most famous ski resorts of Japan, enjoyed for its large ground plenty of different kind of slopes.

From junior level to professional level, more than 26 slopes and 32 ski lifts. The panorama is also famous and attracts many visitors who come to admire the Juhyo festival, its frost scenery, and its stunning illuminations. 

Moreover, according to the american channel CNN, it is one of a selection of 31 more beautiful places in Japan.

Hotel in Zao Onsen
breakfast, dinner

Day 8 Road to Tokyo(or extra nights)

Zao Onsen -(bus)- Sendai station - (shinkansen)ー Tokyo
Possibility to add extra nights in Zao Onsen, Sendai, Tokyo.

 

Before your departure, enjoy fully skiing and frozen landscapes.
Departure in the evening by bus to Sendai. Transfer at Sendai to take the shinkansen bounds for Tokyo. 
If you would like, possibility of extra nights at Zao Onsen, Sendai or Tokyo. 

 
breakfast

Customize your trip!

This is a original tour made by our travel designers.
 
We would be pleased to recommend some sightseeing spots, give you information about the local cuisine and popular activities to enjoy.


This tour can be customized. If you would like to change it, please select your date of departure on the schedule at the bottom of this page and fill in the request form.


 Other Suggested Itineraries
 Contact us here

Important to know
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult

  • Please inform us, at the time of booking, about the participation of any person with reduced mobility or suffering from any condition requiring special needs during the trip.

  • Please advise any specific dietary requirements at time of booking.

  • You are responsible for the time of arrival at your hotel during the tour. If you want to change the itinerary once the circuit has started, change your hotel, add nights, the costs will be at your expense.

  • Our agency provides the services indicated in the description of the circuit, and the documentation. In the case of any unexpected and uncontrollable situations that would cause a delay in the itinerary, a modification or cancellation of a visit, our agency can not take the responsibility; thank you for your understanding.

  • All the bookings must be confirmed not later than 30 days before departure.

Additional informations
  • You have the possibility to stay in a wide range of accommodation types in order to immerse yourself in our culture. Please refer to  “Accommodation

  • Please note that we will take public transport during the trip. Please refer to “Transportation

  • Your luggage will not be transferred from hotel to hotel as part of a free ride. It is recommended to send your luggage at least to the hotel where you will be staying two days later for your comfort.

  • A moderate amount of walking is involved; please wear comfortable walking shoes.

  • Please refer to “Travel information” about any useful information.

  • Pictures are used for illustrative purpose only.

    <Climate>

    Average temperature (Degree Celsius)
     

    Average
    Temperature

    Jan.

    Feb.

    Mar.

    Avr.

    May.

    June.

    july.

    Aug.

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Nov.

    Dec.

    Hirosaki

    -0.6 0.6 3.9 9.9 16.0 18.6 23.2 23.7 18.8 11.6 7.7 2.6

    Akita

    1.2 2.3 5.7 10.9 16.7 19.9 23.8 24.8 20.1 13.4 9.4 4.3

    Yamagata

    -0.2 0.9 5.0 11.6 18.6 20.6 25.3 24.3 19.8 13.7 9.9 3.7
Included

 

  • Briefing the day before departure with our staff

  • Itinerary details (travel document) and our recommendations

  • Customera service during the trip

  • The breakfasts and meals mentioned in the itinerary: 7 breakfasts, 3 dinners

  • Transport by JR (Japan Railway as Shinkansen) mentioned in the itinerary without train Akita/Oga & Kakunodate/Kamihinokinai. These train tickets must be bought on the spot (about 3000yens in total).

  • Transport by bus from Zao-onsen to Sendai.

  • Accommodation for 7 nights
    : 1 night in Tokyo, 1 night in Hirosaki, 1 night in Akita, 2 nights in Kakunodate, 1 night in Ginzan-onsen (hot springs resort), 1 night in Zao-onsen (hot springs).

  • Pocket Wifi (Optional) * Possibility of pick it up when you arrive at the airport and give it back directly there on your return. Please contact us for price requests. 

  • The price of the circuit for the children is available. Opportunity to negotiate a group price sharing the same room with a minimum of 3 people. Please contact us if you have any questions by visiting the booking form. 

Not included
  • International flights

  • The insurance

  • Guide

  • Personal expenses

  • Meals not mentionned in the itinerary

  • Entrance fees and activities

  • Shuttle or local bus for the place of festivals in Hirosaki and Oga (about 100~500 yens)

  • Entry fee (1000 yens) for Namahage festival in Oga city


    *I you want to extend your stay (before or after the tour), thank you for contacting us.

Dates & Prices

Please select & click on the date below to make a reservation / inquiry.
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