Soul of Autumn 2018 | October 12-24, 2018
$515/month (payment plan)
W/FLIGHT FROM LAX: $4,095 | LAND ONLY: $3,295
*All prices in US Dollars.
(What’s included? Read the Tour Information)
Read Terms & Conditions and FAQ / Prices listed are per person, double occupancy
Sign up & payment deadline: CLOSED
Lose yourself in the colors and flavors of Autumn on a relaxing adventure unlike any other.
Picture this: a serene mountain temple overlooking rushing rivers, bathed in the fall colors. The smell of street food in the air, the views, and the shops lining the street all beckon you. Your guide tells you to go ahead and see all you like and when to meet up later, and off you go. This is Soul of Autumn; a trip that is all about transporting you to Japan’s finest fall views, food, and hot springs with an experienced guide, but without the pressure of a jam-packed schedule. Besides, Northern Japan in the fall is meant to be experienced and explored – not seen from a bus window.
After a festival in Tokyo, we’ll dive into Tohoku to explore the picturesque islands of Matsushima, visit historic samurai homes, castles, and temples in Yamagata, Aomori and Akita, and cruise the Japan Sea coast on a resort train. Then it’s off to Hokkaido, where we’ll see the beloved cityscapes of Hakodate and Sapporo, eat the freshest food you’ve ever had, step into Japan’s history at Fort Goryokaku, and shop the arcades and avenues that locals have loved for generations.
This year, aside from adding an extra day to the schedule, we’ve added even more fall color to our adventure with new stops at the spectacular mountain temple of Yamadera and the islands of Onuma Park. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to sample some of Japan’s best cuisine, get one-of-a-kind souvenirs you would never find in Tokyo, and even make your own handicrafts and soba noodles! The best part? Our last stop in Hokkaido is a two night stay at a five-star ryokan resort, where all the guest rooms come with a private outdoor onsen bath overlooking Lake Akan!
It’s a one-of-a-kind adventure unlike any other – all that’s missing is you. Sign up today!
|TOUR AT A GLANCE
Baggage: 1 carry-on sized bag *Due to space constraints on Trains, no large “Check-in” sized bags are allowed – NO EXCEPTIONS.
Single Room: $1,000 additional – NO SINGLE ROOMS AT THE ONSEN
Tour price includes:
- R/T airfare from Los Angeles to Japan (NOT included with Land Only package)
- Tour dates: Departs October 12, returns on October 24
- Hotel accommodations: 2 nights Tokyo, 1 night Sendai, 1 night Kakunodate, 1 nights Ajigasawa Onsen, 2 nights Hakodate, 2 nights Sapporo, 2 nights Akan Onsen Resort
- Stops in Tokyo, Yamadera, Matsushima, Kakunodate, Akita, the Resort Shirakami Line, Ajigasawa, Hirosaki, Aomori, Hakodate, Sapporo, Lake Akan, and more!
- Dinner and Breakfasts are included at Ajigasawa and Lake Akan (meals are otherwise not included)
- All transportation (train, ropeway, bus, shinkansen/”bullet train”, etc.) within Japan
- Professional bilingual guide services
- Admission to all activities
- Customized tour guidebook
- Nightly turndown service with local snacks and homemade sweets
- Much, much more!
OPTIONAL PAID ADD-ONS
Tokyo Guided Extension: +$495
Single Room: +$1,000 (Not available at the onsen)
All prices listed in US Dollars.
LAND ONLY GUESTS: Due to connecting train and flight schedules, PLEASE consult with PacSet before purchasing your flights to Japan!ONSEN TATTOO NOTE:Guests with large, visible tattoos may be denied entry to the baths at the onsen. PacSet cannot offer any compensation if you are denied entry. All guests may use the in-room Onsens without any problems.
We depart from Los Angeles for Tokyo!
Day 2: Lift the Lights
Upon arrival in Tokyo, we’ll head to our hotel and get settled in. In the evening, join us as we celebrate with the locals at Ikegami’s famous Oeshiki Festival!
Day 3: Fall into Autumn
Today we begin our trip into Hokkaido with a brand new stop: the mountainside temple of Yamadera in Yamagata! After riding a special edition shinkansen (bullet train) north, you’ll venture into the temple to explore the many views of the buildings and the fall colors in the valley below. Aside from the views and spectacular architecture, be sure to stop by local merchants for a quick bite of dango or to pick up some local handicrafts. In the evening, we’ll relocate to Tohoku’s largest city, Sendai, for a night of rest (and if you prefer, a stop at a local izakaya).
Note: Passengers may choose to ship a suitcase to Hakodate from Tokyo if they wish to avoid carrying it on the train during Days 3 through 6. Bags will be re-acquired in Hakodate.
Day 4: Magic Matsushima
We’ve seen the mountains, now it’s time to head to the shore! We begin our day in the island-filled bay of Matsushima, considred one of the three most gorgeous views Japan has to offer. We’ll cruise among the islands before visiting the caves and views of the recently restored Zuiganji Temple. Take a stroll to Fukuura Island to do some exploring or relax in a café to take in views of the sea. After grabbing lunch to go, we’ll relocate to the “Little Kyoto” of Tohoku, Kakunodate! You’ll explore old-school samurai homes, sample sauces and sweets at a soy sauce brewery, and admire local cherry bark handicrafts before we settle in for a nice local dinner.
Day 5: From the Mountains to the Sea
Our first stop of the day will be the aquamarine streams and waterfalls of Dakigaeri Gorge in the mountains – considered by many to be one of the most inspirational places to visit in Tohoku. After walking among the scenery, we’ll stop in Akita City for lunch before cruising among the scenery on the Resort Shirakami Train. Check out on-board performances and sample local snacks as the train winds past the cliffs and forests of the Shirakami Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). In the evening, we’ll hop off at Ajigasawa and check in to a local hot spring to get a taste of Tohoku hospitality.
Day 6: Castles and Apples
After a late check-out, we’ll move on to the city of Hirosaki in Central Aomori. Here, we’ll check out the fall colors set against the moats and traditional structures of Hirosaki Castle! You’ll have ample free time to explore the castle grounds at your pace and get to check out the castle itself before we swing north to Aomori for a dinner stop at A-Factory to sample some of the prefecture’s famous Apple desserts and wines. Finally, we board the brand-new Hokkaido Shinkansen to make our way to Hakodate.
Day 7: Hakodate in Autumn
Welcome to the city most beloved by our previous guests: Hakodate! We’ll begin at the city’s iconic morning market, where you can sample some of Japan’s freshest crab and scallops. Then we’ll head to Fort Goryokaku, where you’ll get a view of this famous star-shaped fortress from Goryokaku Tower before venturing inside to explore the fortress grounds and the recently reconstructed Hakodate Magistrate’s Office. After a lunch break (try the local burger joint – we mean it!), we’ll head back into town to check out the old “western” quarter of the city. Here, you’ll have the chance to have tea at the Old English Consulate, explore the picturesque lanes and alleyways past the Hakodate Public Hall, shop at the Kanemori Warehouses – or a little of all three! To top off the day, we’ll take in Japan’s most famous night view from the summit of Mt. Hakodate.
Day 8: The Islands Beneath the Mountains
Our dive into Hokkaido continues! Our first stop will be the amazing vistas of Onuma Park, where we’ll check out the fall colors from walking paths that lead through forests and over islands beneath picturesque Mt. Komagatake. You can boat around the lake on your own if you like, or if you like, board a special boat for tea and treats on the water. Then we continue towards Sapporo, where we’ll hang out by the station for the evening to hit up the area’s best restaurants.
Day 9: Noodling around Sapporo
We’ve been eating the best in Japanese cuisine this entire trip – now it’s time to make it ourselves! Our first stop today is a local soba shop, where we’ll have the chance to make our own version of Japan’s most famous noodle! Then we’ll head to the Tanuki-Koji area of the city for a little big-city shopping and free time. Your options include anime-themed shopping, sampling Hokkaido’s famous Yukijirushi Ice Cream, visiting the Sapporo Beer Museum and Factory, and much, much more!
Day 10: Laying back on the Lakeside
The time has come: we’re off to Lake Akan! We’ll board a bus to sail through Hokkaido’s highlands and stop at a few scenic spots before finally arriving at our resort. Upon arrival, you’ll get freshly prepared Green Tea and be escorted to your suite by the friendly onsen staff. Settle in and enjoy the baths, but don’t forget to join us for a huge buffet dinner in the evening!
Day 11: Onsen Exploration
Today is yours to do as you wish: relax, explore, or do a little of both. Your guide will be running two mini-excursions during the day: a quick trip out to the Bokke Mud Spring in the morning and stops on the seashore and Ainu Kotan Village in the afternoon.
Day 12: Free time in Akan
Go ahead and sleep in if you wish; you’ll want to savor the best of the resort before we check out! In the afternoon, cruise with us around Lake Akan and check out the local merchants one last time before we transfer to Kushiro Airport for the flight back to Tokyo.
Day 13: The journey home
Return home with a suitcase full of souvenirs, a head full of memories, and the feeling that you can’t wait to go back!
So you want to experience the best of Fall in Japan, but you also want more time to explore and shop your way across Tokyo? No problem! With our side excursion, you’ll get three extra days to check out the best of what the big city has to offer. We’ll visit Akihabara, Harajuku, the Ghibli Museum, Shibuya, Asakusa, and other destinations – plus we’ll have a full extra free day so you have the chance to visit a theme park like Tokyo Disney Sea, schedule a fancy meal, or just revisit a place where you wanted a little extra time.
When: October 24-October 27, 2018
– All flight deviation charges
– 3 extra nights hotel in Tokyo
– Bilingual Guide
– All rail and admissions
– Complimentary shipping of an extra bag to the Airport
– Much, much more!
Cost: +$495/person; price based on double occupancy