202119A

TOHOKU TRAVEL’S "ORIGINAL" TRAIL of SAMURAI AUTUMN WEST JAPAN TOUR #19A

Departure date: 5 November (Fri) 2021

Return date: 17 November (Wed) 2021

Escort: Gary Tsumoto

TOUR ITINERARY


5 NOV (FRI) HONOLULU,

Leave Daniel K. Inouye Int’l Airport. A meal and snack will be served aboard the flight. FREE Movies and Drinks.


6 NOV (SAT) HIMEJI,

HOTEL NIKKO HIMEJI

Arrive at Kansai International Airport and after clearing government formalities, go by bus to an old castle town Himeji, filled with many historical events and interesting sights. Hotel is located right in front of Himeji station. After hotel check-in around 9:00 pm you can relax and get a good night rest.


7 NOV (SUN) HIMEJI / OKAYAMA,

HOTEL NIKKO HIMEJI

Today we will visit Japan’s best preserved feudal castle and designed as Japan’s 1st World Heritage site Himeji Castle. The “White Heron Castle” with her elegant white appearance is widely considered “Most beautiful and spectacular castle in Japan.” You can step back 400 years and picture yourself in the World of the Samurai. Then go to Tatsuno for lunch. This former castle town is famous throughout Japan for the best quality Somen noodles. We will visit Somen-no Sato to learn the history and production process of Somen. You will taste local specialty product that was eaten during the Samurai period. Next, we will go to Bizen Osafune that is synonymous with master Samurai sword making. It has been Japan’s sword craft center for over 1,000 years. We will visit Japanese Sword Museum, with a collection of Samurai swords masterpieces that are on display aiming to honor those important historical and cultural legacies. Hand crafted kitchen knives, scissors, etc., are available at their gift shop.


8 NOV (MON) FUKUYAMA,

FUKUYAMA NEW CASTLE HOTEL

This morning we will go to Japan’s greatest swordsman birthplace Musashi-no Sato Village. Miyamoto Musashi, the legendary Samurai fought over 60 battles and was never defeated in his lifetime. We will visit Musashi Museum learning from exhibits and related items of Musashi including his handguard of his sword, calligraphy and artwork that was drawn by him. This is a good place to understand the roots of this peerless swordsman. Then head to Fukuyama, an old castle town since early 17th century. We will stay 2 nights at the hotel which is located right across from train station and within easy walking distance to Fukuyama Castle, department store, etc. After hotel arrival, tour guides will take you “Holo-Holo” around the hotel.


9 NOV (TUE) FUKUYAMA / SETO INLAND SEA,

FUKUYAMA NEW CASTLE HOTEL

This morning we will enjoy a relaxing drive on the Shimanami Kaido the highway above the Seto Inland sea, with breathtaking island-to-island bridges to enjoy the luxurious multi-isle beauty of Seto Inland Sea National park. Go to Kurushima Strait to enjoy Uzushio Viewing Cruise of the whirling tide this narrow strait surrounded with small islands makes tidal currents strong and intricate to navigate. Enjoy a once in a lifetime experience of the whirlpools right up close on a large yacht type pleasure boat. Then proceed to Oyamazumi Shrine was once “One of the most important shrines for the Samurai” and today it’s well-known as “Japan’s Most Extensive Samurai Treasury.” Visit its famous museum holds the collections of Samurai body armor including the armor of Minamotono Yoshitsune, Minamotono Yoritomo’s sword, statuaries belonging to famous Samurais, etc.


10 NOV (WED) OSHIMA ISLAND,

HOTEL & RESORT SUN SHINE SAZAN SETO (ONSEN) ♨

Today we will go to Saijo, home of 1 of 3 great Sake producing areas in Japan. Visit Kamotsuru Sake Brewery, producing famous Sake that once former Japanese Prime minister Abe served to former President Obama. This will be a good chance to learn about Sake, enjoy shopping and Sake tasting. Then visit Kintai (Brocaded) Bridge, originally constructed in 1673. A beautiful wooden arched bridge that praised as “1 of 3 most beautiful bridges in Japan.” Near the bridge there is a statue of Sasaki Kojiro, a prominent samurai regarded as Musashi’s most formidable opponent. His Tsubame-gaeshi move was invented after observing swallows flying under the bridge. Then head to Suo Oshima Island and visit the Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii which displays genuine articles related to emigrants in Hawaii, contributions of their culture and economy for their hometowns and history of cultural exchanges, etc. This is a fascinating museum to think nostalgically upon your ancestors. We will stay at nice resort hotel located in front of Ocean. Enjoy a relaxing soak in the Onsen Hot Spring bath & Open-air Roten buro bath! In the evening, enjoy Japanese Kaiseki Dinner with local seasonal seafoods.


11 NOV (THU) YUDA ONSEN,

HOTEL NEW TANAKA (ONSEN) ♨

Go to Yanai renown as the “Townscape of the White Walls” created by many remnants of traditional, white-walled merchant houses and shops during Edo Period. We will visit Kunimori Old Merchant House built in the late 18th century. This is a good example of a mid-Edo Period wealthy merchant house designated as a National Important Cultural Asset. We will also visit Kanro Shoyu Factory with over a 200-year history. The characteristic is a thick, intense shoyu with a deep creamy character by the double fermentation that is originated in Yanai. Later visit Mori Garden which was once owned by a ruling Samurai clan in this area. This gorgeous garden is skillfully enhancing both natural and man-made beauty thus appointed to a National Significant Scenery. Then go to Yuda a hot spring town called “Kyoto in the west” because of its long history dating back to 12th century. Enjoy a relaxing soak in Onsen Hot spring bath with Open-air Rotenburo Bath that is known for Bijinno yu, a Hot spring for beauty.


12 NOV (FRI) KOKURA,

HOTEL CROWN PALAIS KOKURA

Today we will head to Tsunoshima Island by crossing 1-mile long Tsunoshima bridge while enjoying magnificent ocean scenery with small islands floating on horizon and the shining emerald green sea. This is a good place to take an amazing photo which often appear on TV commercial such as Lexus, Honda, etc. After enjoying lunch on the island visit Toyoura Refresh Park where Kochia known as brush grass filling the ground a vibrant scarlet color. Then proceed to Kyushu via Kanmon Straits, a historically important place where some great historical sea battles were fought. After hotel arrival, tour guides will take you walking to Tanga Market which has 100 years history. Enjoy shopping with 220 stores lining densely and the markets are always abuzz with energy.


13 NOV (SAT) KOKURA,

HOTEL CROWN PALAIS KOKURA

Take a short boat cruise to land on Ganryujima Island, the site of the most celebrated duel in the Samurai period, the fight between the two arch-rival swordsmen, Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro. There are statues of Musashi and Kojiro depicting their famous duel on the island. Later go to Karato fish Market for some fun shopping for Dried Seafood, Konbu seaweed, etc. This will be perfect chance to eat fresh Sushi at the famous fish market (You can purchase at your own expense from 1 piece). Those who wish to, you can visit Akama Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Antoku who died as a child in the Battle of Danno-Ura (need to go up by steps). And visit Kokura Castle, once Miyamoto Musashi moved here in 1634. You can enter the castle building and learn its history with huge screen using the latest technology. Enjoy “Holo-Holo” to Local Department store after going back to the hotel.


14 NOV (SUN) ASO,

HOTEL GREENPIA MINAMI ASO (ONSEN) ♨

Go to Yabakei Gorge, one of “Japan’s New Scenic Trio” which is a wonderful gorge created through lava plateau. This is known as the best place to see the beautiful Autumn leaves in Kyushu with spectacular unusual-shape stones and rock formations. Then head to Aso-Kuju National Park to visit 1,279 ft. long Kokonoe Great Suspension Bridge which is the highest pedestrian bridge in Japan at 567 ft. high. If you wish to or have the courage to try walking on it. You will feel like you are walking in the air over the forest. Then proceed to Mt. Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan. Aso’s ancient caldera ranks among the world’s largest. Tonight’s hotel is award winning mountain resort located at the scenic outer rim of the Mt. Aso’s caldera. Enjoy a relaxing soak at Onsen Hot spring bath with Open-air Roten Buro Bath. Enjoy a magnificent scenery of Mt. Aso while relaxing in the Onsen. In the evening, enjoy a Japanese Kaiseki Dinner with local ingredients.


15 NOV (MON) KUMAMOTO,

HOTEL NIKKO KUMAMOTO

We will visit the impressive Takachiho Gorge, another one of Kyushu’s top spectacular sights in Autumn. The natural environment here is praised as “One of Japan’s most beautiful gorges.” You can see outstanding natural scenery with remarkably pristine river that flows through the sheer basalt rock walls. Later enjoy Seiwa Bunraku Show, a traditional puppet show date back to 1850’s. This rural entertainment was originally performed as an offering to the god of agriculture. Then head to Kumamoto, old castle town with a rich cultural heritage, where Miyamoto Musashi spent his last days. We will stay 2 nights at the hotel which is located close to department store and shopping mall. After hotel check-in go “Holo-Holo” around the hotel.


16 NOV (TUE) KUMAMOTO,

HOTEL NIKKO KUMAMOTO

In the morning we will visit Musashizuka park where the gravesite of Miyamoto Musashi is located. Legend states that Musashi in his armor was buried here to look after his lord all the time. Afterwards visit Sakura-no baba Josaien, an Edo-themed complex near Kumamoto castle. Enjoy a leisurely stroll while shopping for local products. Later we will visit Aeon Shopping Mall for lunch and some more shopping. For those who wish to, you can visit Reigando cave where Musashi wrote “Gorin no sho” also known as the book of The Five Rings. It has all his experience of fighting. He died one week after he finished writing. To get here we will need to walk about 15 minutes up slopes and slope and steps. (Lunch/Dinner will be at your own expense. )


17 NOV (WED) KUMAMOTO / HONOLULU,

At checkout time our agent will come to tape and tie-up the boxes and take the baggage to be checked-in down. In the afternoon proceed to Fukuoka International Airport to catch Airline Flight # in the evening to Honolulu. Arrive in Honolulu the same morning, 17 NOV (WED) After clearing U.S. Customs, proceed home. (Lunch & dinner will be at your own expense.)


Clients remaining back will be assisted in obtaining plane, train, and hotel reservations. Members may return to Honolulu individually, but no later than 90 days from day of departure. Weekend returns will cost more per person. Please call our office if you are extending your stay. MAHALO!


*Buffet meals are subject to change Set meals.


*At this moment Tohoku Travel Service are working on the prices for all our tours. They will be posted soon, as we are also waiting for airfare prices. Mahalo for your patience.



TOUR GET-TOGETHER LUNCHEON

DATE:

TIME: 11:00 AM

ATTIRE: CASUAL

COST: NO COST TO TOUR MEMBERS

PLACE: HOUSE OF WONG @ 477 KAPAHULU AVE, HONOLULU, HI.