AUTUMN COLOUR 2018
JAPAN BY RAIL
Experience the beauty of Japanese nature, culture, art and regional food
Join us for a twenty-five day tour of Japan to view autumn colours on the Japanese islands of Hokkaido, Honshu and Shikoku. As well as experiencing autumnal foliage in nature, the tour has a special focus on the culture, art and regional foods of Japan.
Travel first class on the high speed 'Shinkansen' trains – making your journey very comfortable. Enjoy special scenic rail journeys through the colourful forest on little known private railways.
A range of accommodations from modern city hotels, convenient simpler business hotels and luxury Japanese traditional ryokans with beautiful view and lovely hot spring (Onsen).
Taste local cuisine at ‘Izakaya’ restaurants and fine traditional (Kaiseki) dinners featuring local produce.
Even if you’ve been to Japan before, you’ll visit different locations and have a deeper cultural experience.
The tour is led by Japanese speaking expert Takako Ishige, who along with Owen Johnstone-Donnet, have designed and organised the tour. The tour is limited to 24 guests
Date : Wednesday 10 October – Sunday 4 November 2018
(Wed 10 Oct)
Daylight flight to Japan
A daylight flight with Japan Airlines to Tokyo’s Narita Airport then transfer for the short flight to Sapporo’s Chitose Airport.
Jozankei Gorge and Onsen
Japan’s autumn leaves begin in Hokkaido and sweep south in a wave to Kyushu. We start our journey in Hokkaido to view the early autumn colour in Jozankei Gorge – an onsen (hot spring) resort with a more than 150 year history. Explore this lovely village on foot, bicycle or canoe, and enjoy the excellent onsen experience in our great traditional ryokan for two nights.
Ainu culture, Winery and to Sapporo
Japan is a nation that often presents itself as ethnically homogenous, but in fact it has an indigenous population called the Ainu. Experience their culture in Hokkaido. Then picnic at a fledgling winery with freshly prepared lunch before we head for Sapporo - the largest city in Hokkaido with a rich history, dynamic city and great cuisine
Depending upon the best locations for autumn leaves, we will either explore Nakajima Park with the fine Kitari Concert Hall, visit the 531metre-high Mt Moiwa-yama which is known for its fine view, or head into the countryside to see autumn colours in nature. There is also an option to visit an open-air art park, or to explore the city at leisure.
Hirosaki, Towadako Lake and Oirase Stream Walk
We join a JR Hokkaido express train for the journey south towards Hakodate. Through the 57km Seikan Tunnel by Hokkaido Shinkansen to Hirosaki, the political and cultural capital of the Tsugaru Region. Explore Hirosaki and its Neputa Village; cruise on Lake Towada; stroll picturesque Oirase Gorge. Enjoy crisp moiuntain air and beautiful autumnal colour.
Scenic rail journey, Kakunodate and to Morioka
A journey south to Morioka on a scenic private railway through Akita prefecture. Enjoy the picturesque rural landscape on the rail journey as we traverse farmlands and gorges with autumn colours – you’ll gain an insight into the local life of people in regional Japan. On arrival at Kakunodate, a former castle town and samurai stronghold, enjoy an afternoon stroll through the atmospheric old town. You can join the group for a traditional Japanese ‘Korean’ meal in Morioka.
Next day we explore Geibikei Gorge by taking a calm, 90 minute ride on a flat-bottomed boat navigated by a boatman with a pole. Pleasant natural scenery with impressive, tall cliffs and rock formations can be viewed along the way. In the afternoon we visit their traditional iron casting workshop using traditional techniques.
Matsumoto, Kamikochi and Obuse village
we join the Tohoku shinkansen and head south to Omiya, where we change for the Nagano shinkansen to Nagano, then by limited express for the short journey to Matsumoto – a city surrounded by the Japanese Alps. Visit one of Japan's National Treasure’s Matsumoto Castle; visit a wasabi farm; and tread in the footsteps of mountaineers in Kamikochi as we stroll along the stream to the famed Kappabashi Bridge with autumn colours around.
In Obuse learn of the master painter Hokusai and enjoy Japanese chestnut ‘Mont Blancs.’
Head deep into the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine mountain range. Our journey takes us through more lovely mountain scenery to Unazaki Onsen, situated at the mouth of the Kurobe Valley in the north-eastern part of the prefecture. Experience ryokan style accommodation in this small village
Next day we travel deep into the Tateyama Mountains Range on a 20km rail journey to Keyakidaira. Plunging waterfalls and deep gorges contrast with orange and red foliage on the mountains. Enjoy a simple lunch at the top of the gorge, and there is the opportunity for those who wish to experience an outdoor foot hot spring experience.
Kanazawa and Shirakawago village
Visit one of Japan’s three best gardens at Kenrokuen, Kanazawa. Witness silk dyeing, stroll the historic entertainment district in the evening, and step back in time in the preserved Shirakawago mountain village with its gassho style houses. A scenic rail journey from Takayama to Toyama along the Hida River completes our visit to the region.
Takamatsu, Naoshima, Tokushima
Cross the Grand Seto-ohashi Bridge to Shikoku and the city of Takamatsu. Explore the lovely Ritsurin-koen Park; cruise on the inland sea to visit Naoshima and its impressive Tadao Ando designed art facilities – truly an ‘art island’ - outdoor sculpture and stand-out contemporary art gallery. See Awa Dori dance in the Tokushima Festival Museum, and ascend Mt Bizan by ropeway for views across the Inland Sea of Japan.
Izumo and Tamatsukuri Onsen
To the Izumo Region and a lovely ryokan experience. Visit the excellent Adachi Museum – voted Japan’s finest garden for successive years; visit the Izumo Shrine - the most sacred and important Shinto Shrine in Japan; and view the Yamato-no-orochi legend in an evening performance.
Kyoto, Hieizan Monastry and Miho Museum
Japan’s cultural epicentre, visit Enryakuji, one of the most important monasteries in Japanese history. Walk in the forests surrounding Hieizan, and enjoy cablecar, ropeway and mountain experiences. The unique I.M. Pei designed Miho Museum displays extraordinary antiquities, and Fushimi Inari’s thousands of red tori gates and Arashiyama’s beauty rounds off our visit to Kyoto.
$14,480 (person (twin share), plus airfares from Australia)
$ 2,425 single supplement for hotels
Limited to 24 guests
8 Places remain - Book Now!