Northern trains: from the Sea of Japan to the Pacific

The Tôhoku region was for many centuries in the minds of the Japanese, the mysterious land where the 'emishis' lived. These hunter-gatherers from the Palaeolithic era preceded the massive and inexorable arrival of other peoples from the asian continent, bringing with them rice-growing. 

You will first visit the magnificent sites of the northern marches of imperial and then feudal civilisation, before heading for the northern shores of the Sea of Japan, buried under a thick blanket of white during the winter months. Small, comfortable trains allow you to admire the panorama along a wild coastline that is still very sparsely populated. 

Amazing museums will enhance your journey in the provincial capitals you pass through before finally reaching the immense shores of the Pacific. A stopover in a warmly welcoming fishing town, a gastronomic coastal train and, finally, the magnificent indented coastline of Sanriku and its towns rebuilt by courageous inhabitants after the terrible tsunami of 2011.


5 days / 4 nights itinerary by train throughout the Tôhoku region 

  • Departure city : Tokyo
  • Morioka
  • Akita
  • Aomori
  • Sendai
  • Return city : Tokyo

Please find detailed itinerary information below. 

Note: Departure from Tokyo at 8:00 on day 1 and return at around 15:00 on day 5. This excursion requires a minimum of two people.


Why choose this excursion to Japan ? 

  1. Get away from the big tourist flows in search of an undiscovered Japan 
  2. The wild beauty of landscapes  
  3. The comfort and charm of small railway lines 
  4. The incomparable benefits of natural hot springs 
  5. The recommendations available in your digital travel guidebook

Your excursion in detail

Itinerary

  • Day 1 : The pure land garden

    You will catch the high-speed train just before 8:00 from Tokyo station, or an hour and a half later if you choose to spend the night in Sendai

    By mid-morning you will reach the town of Hiraizumi, whose treasures are classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. After the visit and lunch, you'll take a short train ride to visit a very old foundry where the famous Japanese cast-iron teapots have been made with passion for 400 years. 

    You will then travel at high speed on the graceful and comfortable "shinkansen" through rural landscapes to a charming little town, your stop for the evening, where delicious cuisine and hot baths await you in a traditional setting.

  • Day 2 : From samurai to contemporary art

    After breakfast in your hotel, you will start by visiting some very beautiful old samurai warrior mansions, some of which still belong to their descendants. 

    From the station you'll take the high-speed train back to the provincial capital on the western seaboard and the Sea of Japan in less than an hour. There you can visit an astonishing museum and a very pleasant park where you can see the remains of the clan fortress. 

    You will have lunch in one of the town's many restaurants before boarding a small train, then another after a short change, and finally head north along the wild coast, admiring the sun disappearing over the sea from your comfortable seat. 

    You will get off at the station in a tiny seaside town where you will stop for the night.

  • Day 3 : Forests and rocky coast

    From the small station where you arrived the day before, this time you'll take the bus to the edge of a 130,000-hectare park, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its unspoilt beech forest. A series of pleasant footpaths will allow you to discover several small lakes in their wild setting. 

    The bus will take you back to the small station, where you can catch the charming little train that runs north and then east along the indented coast of the Sea of Japan to reach the town of Aomori, at the very tip of Honshû. Here you'll discover a fascinating folk museum, before taking the high-speed train back to the immense shores of the Pacific Ocean

    This evening's stopover is renowned for its fresh fish and friendly restaurants.

  • Day 4 : Gastronomy on the Pacific

    You will leave your hotel at around 9:00 to take the train to the southern part of the city, where you'll find an astonishing sanctuary on the edge of the ocean, literally invaded by an impressive number of seabird. 

    You will then make your way to the main station, where a charming little train awaits you on the platform, with three top chefs on board, ready to help you discover all the flavours of their region as you gaze out over the ocean from your seat. 

    On arrival, while you wait for your next train, you can discover an amazing building designed by the famous architect Kisho Kurokawa. Then it's back along the coastline, with its tall red pine trees typical of the Sanriku coast

    The evening stopover was made famous by the terrible images of the overflowing ocean in 2011, but it has also been famous for the exceptional beauty of its beaches for much longer. So it's by the water that you'll be sleeping again this evening, with the prospect of a beautiful sunrise this time for the early risers...

  • Day 5 : From countryside to high buildings

    This morning you can stroll along the ocean shore before taking the bus back to the station and then boarding a small local train. 

    You'll pass through a landscape of wooded mountains, lazy rivers and small stations. After around two hours, civilisation reappears: you're back on the high-speed railway line! 

    Now it's time to head back to vibrant Tokyo and its dizzying glass and steel buildings...

    Included in your self-guided excursion

  • Accomodation

    - 4 nights in a 3-star hotel 

    The base rate includes a twin room.

  • Transportation

    - JR East Pass covering all of your journeys in train is included.  

  • Visit & meals

    - Breakfasts 

    - Dinner at your hotel is included on day 2 and day 4

    - Lunch cooked by top chefs will be provided on the train on day 4

    Other services

  • Other services

    - 7/7 telephone assistance in English and Japanese bilingual

    - Complete digital travel diary before your departure

  • Not included in the price

    - Optional insurance 

    - Personal expenses including lunches (you will find addresses selected by us in your travel pack) 

    - Entrance fees to museums, gardens or temples 

    - Pocket wifi 

    - Everything not included in the "included in your excursion" section

More information about your trip

Your excursion:

- Please note that this excursion cannot be booked by people travelling alone

- The prices shown on this page may vary according to the Japanese ¥ exchange rate. 

- Unfortunately, this tour is not accessible to people with reduced mobility. 

- Pets are not accepted. 

- Children aged 3 and over are accepted. Child rates available for ages 3 to 11 inclusive. 

- This program may be subject to changes due to imperatives such as weather conditions or other force majeure events. Please note that due to the current situation, all mentioned information is subject to change or adaptation. 

- In order to benefit from an internet connection, book a pocket wifi or SIM card with Japan Experience. 

- This tour must be booked at least 30 days before the start date of the tour. 

- Your travel documents will be sent to you by email 20 days before your departure.


Your accommodation:

- Some hotels may ask you to pay a tourist tax on arrival. This depends on the town and even the hotel, as some do not include it in the cost of the reservation. It generally amounts to ¥200/night/person (about €1.60) but may be a little higher in 4-star hotels. It must be paid in cash at the hotel reception. 

- Single room: People travelling alone and/or wishing to book a single room must pay a supplement at the time of booking. Please note that a single room supplement for an order of more than 2 people will be applied in all accommodation except ryokans (3 and 4*). As this is traditional accommodation, people with the same reservation are grouped together in spacious rooms that can accommodate up to 5 people. 

- 3-person room: If there are 3, 5 or more of you and you do not select the single supplement, you will be allocated a triple room. 

- Hotel names: The names given on the site are for information only. In the event of unavailability, an establishment of equivalent standing will be scheduled. 

- In the ryokan, you will sleep on comfortable futons placed on the tatami mat. The room has a private washbasin and WC. As is customary in Japanese ryokan, the onsen bathroom is shared (not mixed) unless you take the "private bathroom in the room" option.


Your transport:

- JR East Pass covering all of your journeys in train is included. 

- Tickets for the sumptuous Train Restaurant Tohoku Emotion are included.


Your meals:

- All breakfasts are included.

- Dinners are included on days 2 and 4.

- Lunch prepared by renowned chefs will be served on the train on day 4.

- For other meals, you will also find addresses selected by us in your travel diary.

Northern trains: from the Sea of Japan to the Pacific

From
$796

Optional services

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