$500/month - ($4,495 total with flight, or $3,495 land only)
Steak, Seafood, Sweets, Scenery… and that’s just the beginning
PacSet’s acclaimed food tour, Taste of Japan, is heading to Tohoku and Hokkaido for an all meals paid, all stomachs satisfied tour of Japan’s most popular agricultural treasures! On the menu: local Iwate steak, bottomless bowls of Soba in Morioka, street snacks in Ishinomaki, Japan’s finest crab in Hakodate, Sapporo’s legendary ramen, and more than 20 other unique culinary experiences that are sure to impress. Of course, the food is just the beginning! In Tohoku, you’ll ride down a river gorge and see UNESCO World Heritage sites in Hiraizumi, bar hop in Ishinomaki, visit an Apple Wine factory in Aomori, explore the caves at Zuiganji Temple, and more! We’ll be doing even MORE in Hokkaido, where we’ll attend Hakodate’s Port Festival, see fireworks on the shore of Lake Toya, explore the star-shaped Goryokaku Fortress, light our own fireworks at a local BBQ, make our own ice cream, marvel at the old trade houses in Otaru, visit the Sapporo Beer Museum, and so much more. Plus, unlike Tokyo, we’ll enjoy milder northern temps to go with the cool views!
We'll meet up at Los Angeles International Airport and board our flight to Japan.
Welcome Meeting and Tour Guidebook
At the airport, you'll be given the tour guidebook, maps, and other goodies.
The flight to Japan will take approximately 10~11 hours. Meals and on-board entertainment are complimentary!
Note: Guests flying to Japan on their own ("Land Only") guests should consult with PacSet with regards to their travel arrangements and meeting the group in Japan.
Be sure to read our tour pre-departure emails to be prepared for the trip!
Day 2: The feast begins!
Upon arrival in Japan, we’ll exchange money and head to the hotel to relax. In the evening, join us for our first meal out on the town: a multi-course dinner with bottomless drinks!
Day 3: Northward Bound
It’s time to hit Tohoku! After a complimentary cafe stopover at Tokyo Station, we’ll board the Shinkansen (bullet train) and head towards Matsushima! Immortalized in the poetry of Basho, we’ll gaze upon this natural gathering of small bay islands from the comfort of a ferry boat before checking it out from the shore during lunch. On the menu: two regional specialities, beef tongue and fresh oysters!
We’ll head to the caves of Zuiganji Temple following lunch before we re-locate to Ishinomaki. Here, enjoy the comforts of the friendliest inn in town and join the locals at The Common, a collection of food trucks started by young locals after the tsunami. You’ll nibble on all kinds of local foods, have a few drinks, and maybe even bond with some locals over games at the brand new Cafe Irori before we call it a night.
Day 4: Gorge-ous
We’ve visited the ocean – now it’s time to go inland! Our day will start at the Geibi Gorge in the mountains, where a local guide will sail us down the gorge and tell us folk tales about the area. The region is also known for skirt steak, which we’ll have in a nice post-sail lunch. Next up: Hiraizumi, a very well-preserved slice of feudal Japan and one of the seats of power for the Fujiwara Clan. We’ll check out the Chusonji Temple and its many treasures before wandering through the old part of town to hunt for souvenirs. Don’t snack too much though; for dinner, you’ll get to have the Iwate staple of Wanko Soba – a literally bottomless serving of fresh local soba noodles!
Day 5: Apples to Adventure
After a hotel breakfast buffet, it’s off to Aomori! We’ll check out the museum for the city’s famous Nebuta Festival to see the amazing floats that hit the streets in the summer months. For lunch you’ll visit A-Factory, a massive complex dedicated to Aomori’s number one export: Apples. Sip house-brewed Apple Wine and sample galettes made with local veggies – and Apple pie, of course!
Following that, we visit the Hakkoda-maru, a ferry boat that once crossed the strait between Hakodate and Aomori before the train tunnel was completed. Finally, we cross through that same train tunnel to Hakodate, our first Hokkaido stop! We hope you’re ready to party: the yearly Hakodate Port Festival will be happening, and we’re going to spend the evening hanging with the locals and eating festival food! :D
Day 6: HAKODATE!
Rated by our alumni as one of the best spots on our tours, Hakodate is a wonderland of good food and fun. We begin with the famous Asaichi Morning Market, home to some of Japan’s most famous fish and crab vendors, to sample the best crab you will ever eat (seriously!) and some fresh Hokkaido melon. Then we head into the old western quarter of the city to learn about the city’s history, grab a little tea at the old English Consulate, and eat Hakodate’s popular mini-cheesecake, the Snaffle.
Lunch will be a bit of a departure from our typical Japanese fare as we visit Japan’s most legendary hamburger spot, Lucky Pierrot. After a lunch on the waterfront, it’s off to Fort Goryokaku, a unique star-shaped fort that we’ll view from the ground – and a tower outside the moat. After having Japan’s best gelato, in the evening we’ll head to one of Japan’s most legendary ones: the city lights from Mt. Hakodate! Finally, since we haven’t eaten enough yet, we’ll head to Hakodate’s local beer hall for a selection of local dishes. <3
Day 7: Hopping Along
After breakfast, we’ll head north to Onuma Park, a park filled with natural islands that you can stroll or cycle across! Go fishing, hike around the outer ring of the park, or just chill at a cafe on the lake side. After a nice lunch, we’ll re-board the train and head to our home for the next two nights, Lake Toya! We’ll be staying at a lake-side hot spring resort, so kick back and let the shore-side breezes take you away. Our dinner will be a multi-course Kaiseki Dinner served by our fantastic hosts, so prepare to eat a lot! To close the day, enjoy some fireworks from the shore before we gather for a social night.
Day 8: Onsen Overture
The relaxation continues on Day 8! Get a massage, soak in the hot spring, or do some exploring. In the morning, we’ll be having lunch at a local farm, where you’ll also have the chance to make your own Hokkaido Ice Cream! In the evening, take in another fantastic dinner at the resort before we board a lake cruise to admire the fireworks from the water.
Day 9: Sapporo Love
It’s time to return to the city! We arrive in Sapporo today to experience some of the cuisine that makes the city a destination for foodies from around the world. Our starting point: Sapporo’s world famous ramen noodles, followed by a visit to the hip Tanuki-Koji and Susukino shopping areas. We’ll wander the picturesque Odori Park and check out the city’s famous old clock tower before heading to the Yukijirushi Parlour for an afternoon treat. Spend the afternoon exploring the stationfront area before we head to dinner at a local Izakaya!
Day 10: Fire Flowers
Adventures await in Otaru, Sapporo’s sea port, where we’ll check out local glass blowing factories, sake breweries, and dine on Hokkaido’s most famous Sushi in the Canal District. Then we return to central Sapporo to visit the Beer Museum and Factory for the world-reknowned beer that bears the city’s name. To send off the tour with a bang, we’ll be joining some locals for an outdoor barbecue party featuring Genghis Khan, a grilled mutton dish, and fireworks!
Day 11: Return home
Return home and discover how much you miss the food about three weeks after you get home. Sorry about that. ^_~
What's Included Destinations Aomori
, Tokyo Airfare R/T airfare from LAX to Japan
All transportation within Japan Train, ropeway, bus, shinkansen (bullet train)
Accomodations All Available Extras
Meals All meals on this tour are included! Tour guide services Professional, bilingual guide and onsite concierge services
Admission to all activities Costs for all scheduled tour activities (temples, museums, boat rides, etc.) are covered!
Customized tour guidebook Includes detailed itinerary, Japan travel basics, maps
Nightly turndown service Local snacks and homemade sweets
"I don't think my first time to Japan could be any better. Evan and Chrstine were amazing and they were both super helpful and Evan's managing of time was stellar. We never waited for a train. Also Evan's and Christine's humor was amazing. I appreciated how much work went into making this run. They have so much going on and they still managed to be personable." - Stephen, Taste of Japan 2017
"This tour was a food lover's paradise. The PacSet staff is top notch, friendly & always looking out for their guests' needs/wants. As usual, PacSet seems to attract a fantastic group of fun & interesting guests. That alone can make or break a great trip." - Rich Tracy