Spring Blossoms of Aomori & Hokkaido

Aomori & Hokkaido Prefectures are the last region and prefecture to take in all the spectacular beauty of Spring where cherry blossoms, pink moss come into play and the perfect time for some amazing seafood freshly harvested from the long months of winter. We journey into Northern Japan to uncover the wonders of Spring. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Experience fine lodgings with exquisite cuisine

Admire amazing Spring season landscapes

Experience less trodden towns and villages 

Visits to local artisans and craftman studios

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE AOMORI / OWANI

Arrive this morning into Aomori Airport where we then travel into Aomori City, the northernmost prefectural capital city in mainland Honshu. Begin our visit to the Furukawa Fish Market where fresh seafood, local produce and fruits and vegetables are sold in abundance and perhaps have the opportunity to sample a "nokkedon" with different variety of sashimi. Later, we then visit the Nebuta Warasse Museum, dedicated to Aomori's famous Nebuta Matsuri festival. Be fascinated with the giant floats depicting characters from folklores and legends. Spend some leisure time later to visit the A-Factory, a modern market with cafes and restaurants selling a variety of apple products including cider, jams, pastries and more with fantastic views of the Aomori Bay Bridge. Next, we journey out of the city to the southern section of the Tsugaru Peninsula to arrive at the beautiful Ashino Park where more than 1,500 cherry trees bloom in Spring for one of the best chery blossom viewing spots in Japan. Thereafter, we continue to another cherry blossom spot to the Tsugaru Fujimi Lake where over 2,000 cherry trees provide more spectacular visual feast. Finally, we retreat to the astonishing Kai Tsugaru

Overnight: Kai Tsugaru, Owani

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: OWANI (EXCURSION TO HIROSAKI & MOUNT IWAKI)

Today, a short drive takes us into the castle town of Hirosaki - the undisputed "Number One Cherry Blossom Viewing Spot" in all of Japan. With more than 2,500 cherry trees covering the entire Hirosaki Castle complex including its moats, be wowed by the sensory adventure. Worth visiting also is the Samurai District of the Tsugaru clan to admire the beautiful residences with stunning gardens. Later, enjoy even more sakura treat as we take a drive on the "World's Longest Cherry-lined Road" with more than 6,500 cherry trees stretching for over 20km long set against the backdrop of Mount Iwaki. 

Overnight: Kai Tsugaru, Owani

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 3: OWANI / LAKE TOWADA / OIRASE STREAM

We leave Kai Tsugaru today for a scenic drive to the beautiful Lake Towada, the largest caldera lake in mainland Honshu where we stop at several view points to admire the beautiful lake with spring blossoms. Thereafter, continue to to surreal Oirase Stream, renowned for its amazing waterfalls, graceful streams with trails that takes you to amazing nature. We will then retreat to the Oirase Keiryu Hotel

Overnight: Oirase Keiryu Hotel, Oirase Stream

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 4: OIRASE STREAM / TOWADA / HAKODATE

Spend a relaxing morning in the stunning nature of the Oirase Stream and in the afternoon, a short drive takes us to Towada City where we have time for lunch and thereafter, visit the impressive Towada Art Center which exhibits contemporary art installations including work by Ron Mueck, Jeong Hwa Choi and Yoko Ono. During the cherry blossom season, this is also one of the most photogenic places to appreciate including the Kanchogai-dori street lined with over 200 cherry trees extending for over 1.1km. We then continue our drive to the Shichinohe-Towada Station where you will board the Hokkaido Shinkansen across the undersea Seikan Tunnel in the Tsugaru Straits and into Hakodate in Hokkaido. On arrival at Shin-Hakodate Station, be met and transfer to the stunning Ryokan Wakamatsu in the onsen town of Yunokawa Onsen. 

Overnight: Wakamatsu, Hakodate

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 5: HAKODATE

Arrive this morning into Hokkaido's third-largest city, Hakodate where we begin a tour of this gastronomic city renowned for its amazing array of fresh seafood all year round. Our first stop will be the bustling Hakodate Asaichi Morning Market where an abundance of seafood such as crabs, salmon eggs, sea urchin, shrimps are available to tantalize your tastebuds. Thereafter, continue on to the star-shaped Fort Goryokaku, the symbol of Hakodate and in Spring (late April-early May), teases with thousands of cherry blossom trees. Enjoy a panoramic view from the Goryokaku Tower to soak in the tremendous views of its unique shape decorated in pink. Worth visiting too are the Red Brick Warehouses, built during the late Edo Period where Hakodate was among the first Japanese ports to open to international trade. 

Overnight: Wakamatsu, Hakodate

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 6: HAKODATE / KIKONAI / MATSUMAE / ESASHI

Embark on a day out to the Oshima Peninsula in Southern Hokkaido as we begin a scenic drive past rows of enchanted cherry blossom trees in Hokuto before stopping in the town of Kikonai where we visit Mount Yakushi to admire the fields of pink moss in full bloom. Later, we continue to the historic northern-most castle town in Japan, Matsumae where we visit the Matsumae Castle, built in the 17th Century which played an important part in the development of Hokkaido's otherwise wild frontiers in the past. Enjoy a walk through the castle ruins at Matsumae Park - home to over 10,000 cherry trees, providing one of the most astonishing cherry blossoms-viewing experience. Later, we continue along the beautiful coast to the charming seaside town of Esashi, one of the oldest towns in Hokkaido and the birthplace of "Esashi Oiwake", a form of traditional folk music as well as being a thriving port town that prospered through herring fishing. Enjoy an observation of an amazing Esashi Oiwake performance at the Esashi Hall which combines instruments such as the shakuhatchi, shamisen and the drum. Later, take a walk along the Inishie Kaido street, lined with charming Edo Period buildings before we arrive at the modern Ryotei Kuki infused with traditional Japanese elements.  

Overnight: Ryotei Kuki, Esashi

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 7: ESASHI / HAKODATE

Our journey comes to an end where we make a drive to Hakodate Airport for your onward journey. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Kai Tsugaru is located in the Owani Onsen district near the castle town of Hirosaki combining traditional Japanese elements with modernist features and design. Each evening, live Tsugaru shamisen performance is staged while kaiseki-styled dinner extensively uses seasonal seafood and ingredients from Aomori Prefecture. 

Kai Tsugaru, Owani

The Oirase Keiryu Hotel stands alone near the Oirase mountain stream, one of the most picturesque locations in Japan, allowing guests to immerse in the tranquil natural beauty. Rooms are designed in contemporary style and offers a relaxed stay for the modern traveler. 

Oirase Keiryu Hotel, Oirase Stream

Boasting ocean views, the Ryokan Wakamatsu is a traditional ryokan located in Yunokawa Onsen, just 15mins drive away from Hakodate's city centre. Each room features traditional tatami flooring and futon bedding and serves stunning seasonal kaiseki dinner with fresh seafood. 

Wakamatsu, Hakodate

Enjoy an intimate experience at the exclusive Ryotei Kuki, with only 7 Japanese villa-styled rooms in the historic town of Esashi, complete with a modernist architecture, spectacular sea views, an exceptional culinary offering and a perfect base to explore southern Hokkaido.

Ryotei Kuki, Esashi

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