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Taste of Hokkaido

July 8 - 19, 2017

Please contact us for the price.

 

Land Package Price Includes:
• Tour Escort
• Hotel Accommodations
• Ground Transportation as indicated in the itinerary
• Nine breakfast, three lunches, and seven dinners
• Admission to all sites, attractions, and tours as indicated in the itinerary

July 8 (Sat) Day One
Honolulu to Chitose

An afternoon flight takes us from Honolulu to Hokkaido.

July 9 (Sun)
Day Two
Chitose

We arrive at Chitose Airport in the evening.  Upon arrival we will pass through immigrations and then collect our luggage to clear customs.  From there we will go to our hotel for the night.

July 10 (Mon) Day Three
Chitose to Asahikawa (B/L/D)

Lavender Ice Cream at Farm Tomita

Today we head north to Hokkaido’s second largest city, Asahikawa.  Along the way we will visit Tomita Farms in Furano.  This farm is noted for starting the lavender craze, growing beautiful lavender fields and making a myriad of lavender products from lavender ice cream to award winning perfume.  The farm also grows roses, poppies, and yubari melon. 

For lunch we will try a local specialty, gatatan.  This dish was a favorite of the local mining community and combines a staggering amount of ingredients. 

Trick Art Museum

As we continue on we will also stop at the Trick Art Museum, which specializes in paintings that create the illusion of three dimensions.  The paintings range in size from three feet to thirty feet. 
Dinner tonight will be at a tonkatsu specialty shop.

July 11 (Tue) Day Four Asahikawa (B/L/D)

Frozen Ramen at the Ice Pavilion

In the morning we will go to Kamikawa to visit the Ice Pavilion.  This facility is kept at a cool - 4 degrees Fahrenheit.  Here we can experience the cold Hokkaido winter.  The highlight of the facility is a room that is kept at - 42 degrees Fahrenheit, the coldest recorded temperature in Japan.

For lunch, we will try one of Hokkaido’s specialties, Jingisukan, a grilled lamb dish.  Named after Genghis Khan because lamb was believed to be the choice meat of Mongolians.

Red Panda at Asahiyama Zoo

Then it is off to the Asahiyama Zoo.  This is one of Japan’s most popular zoo’s.  Its habitats are designed to let the animals live in more natural surroundings while still allowing visitors to get up close.

Ainu Museum

To finish the day we will visit the Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Museum, highlighting the culture of Hokkaido’s indigenous people.  They also offer various Ainu handcrafts for sale.  This is the least commercialized of the three Ainu museums in Hokkaido

Tour members in Ainu clothes

For dinner, we will try Asahikawa Ramen, which uses a shoyu based broth.

July 12 (Wed)
Day Five
Asahikawa to Soya (B/D)

Sled Dog Memorial at Wakkanai Park

We hop on a train to journey northward to Japan’s northernmost city, Wakkanai.  Upon our arrival we will enjoy some time strolling through the small downtown area near the station.  Next we head to Wakkanai Park where we will see a number of memorials, as well as a beautiful view of the surrounding area.  Among the monuments are one honoring Jiro and Taro, two sled dog brothers who survived a year in Antarctica on their own.  Our last stop will be at the memorial to the Korean Air jetliner that was shot down by a Russian MIG in 1983. 

Statue of Mamiya Rinzo

We will then check in to our hotel before walking to a nearby monument marking the northernmost point of Japan.  There is also a marker honoring Mamiya Rinzo, the Japanese explorer who finished mapping Hokkaido and the Sakhalin islands.  Near the monument we can see ryuhyo or drift ice which is created during Hokkaido’s winter when Soya’s waters freeze.

Iroribatayaki

Tonight’s dinner will be Iroribatayaki.  It features a pit in the floor around which you sit and your food is cooked over charcoals in the pit.  Their specialties include fresh King Crab, scallops, and local fish.

July 13 (Thu)
Day Six
Soya to Otaru (B/L)

After a quiet evening, we will head to Wakkanai Station to catch a train back south.  On the way to the station, weather permitting, we may have a chance to see konbu harvesting.  Hokkaido’s konbu is considered the best in Japan with a majority going to Okinawa. 

Curry Soup

Once we arrive at Otaru, we will visit the Sakaimichi district, where we will visit an antique music box museum and a glass factory.  The antique music box museum showcases music boxes from the 19th century ranging in size from a small wardrobe to a full size organ.  Nearby is a store where you can make your own music box, selecting the music ranging from Japanese music to classical pieces to Disney songs and then decorating the box itself.  At Kitaichi Glass you can find glass ware such as light weight mugs with color changing designs to dripless shoyu bottles.  The area also sells freshly made senbei, high end chocolates, and antiques.

Antique Music Box Museum

July 14 (Fri) Day Seven Otaru to Niseko (B/L/D)

Today we will head to Niseko.  Before we leave Otaru, we will visit a herring mansion.  In the early 20th century, Otaru was a major herring port and successful fishermen built large homes to house their workers as well as processing facilities to send the herring all over Japan.  We will also visit the home of one of richest fishermen of that time.

Otaru Pier

For lunch, we will go to the Otaru Pier to eat at a restaurant that specializes in catch of the day.

Nikka Whiskey

Our last stop will be in Yoichi to visit Nikka Whiskey.  Founded in 1934, it has produced award winning whiskey.  A 2014 Fall NHK drama is based on the love story between the Japanese founder and his Scottish wife.

July 15 (Sat) Day Eight Niseko (B/D)

Cooking baumkiutchen over a grill

In the morning, we will take a cooking class making a German confection, baumkutchen.  This is a popular dessert in Japan and can be found throughout Japan.  This class will teach how to cook it using an outdoor grill.

River rafting in Niseko

The afternoon is free to do as you wish.  For those who are interested in the outdoors, you can go rafting (on own).  Or you can also go into the town do a little shopping (on own).  And for those who just want to relax, you can enjoy the onsen at the hotel.

July 16 (Sun) Day Nine Niseko to Sapporo (B)

Cherries in Niki

After two peaceful nights, we leave Niseko for Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido.  Along the way we will stop at Niki to do a little cherry picking at a local farm.

Makomanai Fireworks Festival

Once we get to Sapporo, we will check in to our hotel and then head to Makomanai to watch the Hokkaido Makomanai Music Fireworks Festival.  It is held at the Makomanai Stadium, where we will witness a 20,000 firework display.  We will view this awesome one hour fireworks show from reserved seats in the stadium.

July 17 (Mon) Day Ten Sapporo (B)

Moerenuma Park

Our day begins with a visit to Moerenuma Park.  It was designed by Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi, with the concept of a “park that is considered to be one complete sculpture”.  In addition to the natural features of the park, there are several sculptures and buildings designed by Noguchi.  Here you can rent a bicycle (on own) and ride around the large park or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the grounds.

The Megmilk Snowbrand Museum is our next stop, where we will learn about one of Sapporo’s largest dairy producers.  Here we can learn about this company’s history from its early days to the modern era.  We can see how the technology evolved and the wide variety of dairy products that they produce.

Okurayama Ski Stadium

We will then visit the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium.  Designed for the 1972 Olympics, here we will ride the ski lift up to the top of the hill and gain a view of the city below.  We will also visit the Winter Sports Museum to learn about winter sports, as well as try various simulators that will give you an idea of what it is like to play a winter sport. 

For dinner, we will try curry soup.  Instead of the traditional thick Japanese curry, the ingredients are eaten as chunks with a curry broth. 

July 18 (Tue) Day Eleven Sapporo (B/D)

Ishiya Chocolate Factory - Chocolate Lounge

In the morning we will visit the Ishiya Chocolate Factory.  This whimsical factory produces Hokkaido’s signature cookie, Shiroi Koi Bito.  Here you can see how it is made, as well as its sugar crafts and other chocolate delights.  There is chocolate lounge, where you can enjoy chocolate desserts and drinks, and a small toy museum.

Later we will visit Sapporo's main shopping district, where we can find Japan's third largest 100 yen store.  We can also visit Sapporo's fish market, Nijo Market.  Here you can find seafood and produce from Hokkaido.  We will then make a stop at Oodori Park, the site of the annual Sapporo Snow Festival.  During the summer it is home to the Sapporo Beer Garden and host to a city wide flower competition.

July 19 (Wed) Day Twelve Sapporo to Chitose to Honolulu (B)

On our last day the morning is free to relax and do any last minute shopping and packing.  We will head to the Chitose Airport early.  There will be time to explore its three levels with everything from restaurants and shops to a Doraemon Play Area to the Royce Chocolate World and even a movie theater.  You can enjoy onsen one more time at the airport (on own) or make one last stop at a hundred yen store.

Our flight departs in the evening and will return us to Honolulu on the morning of the day we left Japan.  Upon arrival we must pass through immigration before we collect our luggage and then clear customs.

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