Northern Japan tour

“Explore Japan’s beautiful but little visited Tohoku region, home to temples, hot springs and national parks, supporting a region still recovering from 2011’s earthquake as you travel.”


Tokyo | Nikko | Hiraizumi | Geibikei Gorge | Yugendo Caves | Naruko | Ishinomaki | Matsushima Bay | Niigata | dairy farm visit | hot springs | Sado Island

Description of Northern Japan tour

Spend two weeks on Japan’s main island Honshu, exploring its northern region, home to beautiful national parks, temples perched on mountain tops, and pretty villages built around hot springs. This small group tour reveals Japan’s secret delights, revealing a side of the country that few visitors ever see. You’ll travel by public transport, eat at local restaurants and stay at Japanese owned accommodation, to really get to know this beautiful part of Japan.

The tour focuses on the Tohoku region, which sits north of Tokyo and stretches up to the northernmost tip of Honshu islanda, and contains six prefectures. This remote part of Japan is known for its wonderful scenery, long winters and warm hospitality. Previously little-known to the outside world, Tohoku hit the international headlines in 2011 when it was struck by an earthquake and tsunami. Visiting now is timely. Though most of Tohoku was not affected by the disaster, the region has seen a decline in tourism, so your presence will be greatly appreciated by the hotels, restaurants and museums we visit. For an insight into the devastating earthquake, you will also visit Ishinomaki, one of the towns worst affected by the tsunami, where you can hear first-hand about events from a local volunteer guide.

This is a wonderful itinerary which ventures well of the beaten track into Japan's magical north. You will visit Matsushima Bay, where you can admire one of the top three scenic views in Japan; historic Hiraizumi, with its golden temple; and Naruko Onsen, a charming hot spring town of wood-panelled streets and steamy baths. Outside of the Tohoku region, visit the elaborate temples of Nikko and the abandoned gold mines of Sado Island, known for its taiko drummers.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Check dates, prices & availability

21 Oct 2021
excluding flights
26 Sep 2022
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 26 Sep 2022 departure
17 Oct 2022
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 17 Oct 2022 departure

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Japan’s northern region of Tohoku and in particular its coastal communities were badly hit by the 2011 Great Earthquake. Traveling in Tohoku helps support the region's recovery.

On this tour, travellers will visit a number of stunning locations well removed from the usual tourist trail. Our choice of accommodation, methods of transport and day by day activities have been chosen to support the region's sustainability and nature conservation efforts.

All of our travellers are issued with a ‘Japan Pre-departure Guide’, which provides practical travelling information, but which also gives a balanced introduction into some of the environmental issues facing the world’s second richest nation. On the ground in Japan, our travellers receive a ‘Tread Lightly’ guide to travelling responsibly, which asks travellers to shun excess packaging and avoid daily changing of hotel linen. We are extremely passionate about Japan and therefore try to reduce any potential negative environmental impact our holidays could have on this beautiful country.

The Impacts of this Trip

We are committed to helping the local communities of Tohoku for whom tourism is an important source of income. We consider it fundamental that each aspect of the trip supports and benefits the local economy and provides meaningful interactions for travellers and locals alike.

We use public transport, eat at local restaurants and stay at Japanese owned accommodation. We book experiences with small businesses and use local guides. We arrange hands-on experiences with local crafts people. For example, on this tour travellers will take part in Kokeshi doll painting and paper making workshops. By supporting the community in this way we help to keep traditional crafts alive.

At Ishinomaki, a town almost completely washed away by the tsunami in 2011, we will meet and talk with a local Japanese resident who experienced the disaster first hand. Through experiences like these we hope that visitors will develop a strong connection with the Tohoku area and its people.


Popular similar holidays

Japan small group holiday, Japan unmasked

Japan small group holiday, Japan unmasked

Whistlestop Japan highlights with an expert tour leader

From £2660 - £2940 14 days excluding flights

Hidden Japan holiday

Hidden Japan holiday

Get beneath the surface into the heart of Japan

From £3920 - £4330 13 days excluding flights

Japan small group holiday by bullet train

Japan small group holiday by bullet train

Japan's must-see cities and beautiful, rural countryside

From £4130 - £4570 14 days excluding flights

Walking tours to Japan

Walking tours to Japan

Explore the backroads of Japan

From £3220 - £3480 15 days excluding flights