Oct 4-6, 2019
340000JPY (approx. $3300 USD )
Get ready to throw yourself into the sights, smells, sounds and spirit of Autumn in the Japanese countryside!
~ ‘Kampai’ with the locals as you dance behind festival floats at one of Japan’s best lantern festivals – the Nihonmatsu Chochin Matsuri!
~ Cycle through the countryside before rewarding yourself with a picnic in a local vineyard.
~ Trek around vibrant volcanic lakes and conquer multi-coloured mountains.
~ Indulge in local dishes made from freshly harvested veggies and fruit.
~ After all that action and adventure – rejuvenate with a soak in a hot spring bath.
Escape the city for the weekend and discover why there’s no better season to ‘fall’ in love with Japan!
Meet your guide at JR Sendai Station in front of the stained glass windows on the 2F.
Arrive at ‘Akiu-sha’ farmhouse restaurant in Akiu hot spring village. Although just a short drive from the heart of Sendai City, the Akiu area is a countryside oasis surrounded by mountains.
Kick-off the tour with some countryside cycling! Enjoy a guided cycling tour (approx two hours) through the Akiu area, stopping at scenic points along the way including the beautiful Rairaikyo Gorge and Akiu Great Falls.
The cycling tour will finish at Akiu Winery. After working up an appetite, enjoy a delicious picnic lunch served in the vineyard (with local wine, of course!)
*Vegetarian and vegan options available.
Enjoy a quick dip at one of the local hot spring baths to refresh after the day’s activity.
Check-in to your hotel back in Sendai City and enjoy some downtime.
Back-alley Bar Hopping! Follow your guide down the hidden back-streets of Sendai City to discover the culinary delights of ‘Bunka-yokocho’ and ‘Iroha-yokocho’ alleyways! Each alleyway is lined with various styles of Japanese ‘izakaya’ bars. Your guide will take you to three local favourites for a drink and some local food at each!
Leave Sendai and drive south to the neighbouring prefecture and ‘Kingdom of Fruit’, Fukushima!
Stop by ‘Anzai Fruit Orchard’ for a chat to local farmer Anzai-san as you enjoy a spot of fruit picking. Sweet and juicy Japanese Nashi-pears will be in season – try them straight from the tree! Be sure to save some room for a tasty lunch made with local organic veggies and ingredients.
Drive through the Autumn mountains to Urabandai-Asahi National Park.
Trek around the intensely beautiful lakes and marshes of ‘Goshikinuma’ (five-coloured lakes)
Check-in to your traditional ryokan accommodation at Dake Onsen and take a quick dip before heading out to the highlight of the tour…the Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival, one of Japan’s top three lantern festivals!
NIHONMATSU LANTERN FESTIVAL
Follow the echos of taiko drumming and chants of ‘Wa-shoi, wa-shoi!’ to Nihonmatsu City (around 20 mins from Dake Onsen). For nearly 400 years, the streets of the usually quiet city come to life with music, fire and neighbourhood rivalry during the annual ‘Nihonmatsu Chochin Matsuri’ (lantern festival) held during the first weekend of October. Despite being recognised as one of Japan’s Top 3 Lantern Festivals, this particular festival is still a well-kept secret, relatively unknown outside the prefecture (…until now)!
In true Japanese festival form you will find streets lined with street food vendors and friendly locals handing out sake, ready to ‘Kampai’ with anyone that smiles at them! The main event, however, is the parade of seven beautiful festival floats called ‘Taikodai’, each adorned with over 300 lanterns! After the lanterns are lit with sacred fire from Nihonmatsu shrine, the Taikodai make their way from Kasumiga-jo Castle through the main streets of town, all the while surrounded by lively townspeople in festival garb chanting ‘Wa-shoi, Wa-shoi’ – themselves alight with copious amounts of sake and festival cheer!
Don’t just watch the parade – join in! You will have the opportunity to jump into the action behind one of the floats and become part of the festival atmosphere yourself.
After partying hard with the locals the previous evening, the last day of the tour will take you back to the peace and quiet of nature as you conquer Mt. Adatara, one of the best locations for enjoying Autumn foliage in Fukushima.
First, take the rope-way to part way up the hiking path, before hiking your way up to the summit. Enjoy views over the Autumn leaves and volcanic crater before trekking back down to Dake Onsen for a rejuvenating hot spring bath.
Tour ends at JR Koriyama Station (Tohoku Shinkansen)