Pawprint Pathways | April 15-28, 2014
Love animals? Love cute? Want to see all of Japan’s most legendary destinations in one fantastic trip? Sure!
PacSet’s inaugural PacSet Pick trip is our love letter to those that share our passion for animals. We’ll be spending a night on Okunoshima, an island inhabited by rabbits, in the picturesque Seto Inland Sea. We’ll also be spending a night at a hot spring near Jigokudani Onsen, the place where the monkeys kick back and relax. Oh, and the island up north where cats live and are cared for by the locals? We’re going there too. In Tokyo, you’ll also get to visit one of the city’s famous “bunny” or “cat” cafes.
Not enough? This tour is also one of the largest, most all-encompassing trips to Japan that we offer. The floating shrine at Miyajima, Matsumoto Castle, Kyoto, Tokyo, the famous Matsushima Islands, Sendai, Osaka, Nagano, onsens (hot springs)… we’re doing it all. Only PacSet offers this much on a tour for this little (look it up!). Plus, for every signup we get, we’ll donate $100 to the Los Angeles Animal Welfare Trust Fund to support our furry friends in need.
So if you are an animal lover, cute afficionado, or just want an amazing trip – signup below and pack those bags!
- R/T airfare from Los Angeles
- Hotel accommodations across Japan for 11 nights!
- Stops in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, Miyajima, Matsumoto, Nagano, Yudanaka Onsen, Sendai, Tashirojima, Okunoshima, Matsushima
- All transportation (train, ropeway, bus, shinkansen/”bullet train”, etc.) within Japan
- Professional bilingual guide services
- Admission to all activities
- Customized tour guidebook
- Nightly turndown service with local snacks and homemade sweets
- Much, much more!
Pawprint Pathways is pretty special because we’re covering a lot of ground from Southern to Northern Japan. Besides seeing cute animals on islands and checking out the famed monkeys at Jigokudani Onsen, we’re also going to be viewing some amazing sights. We’ll also be visiting Matsushima, known as one of the Three Views of Japan. Our PacSet Picks are a bit adventurous, but we’re hoping you’ll join us in this one of a kind adventure!
After meeting up at Los Angeles International Airport, we’ll board our flight to Japan!
DAY 2: Going west
We begin our journey in Hiroshima, to the west. Settle in and nap, or head out for a late night dinner of the local specialty, Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki.
Day 3: Shopping with Deer
Our first stop will be Miyajima and the famous floating shrine there, Itsukushima Shrine. After checking out the views, walk among the friendly (and occasionally hungry – hide your food!) deer that populate the area as you shop for souvenirs and other goodies. In the afternoon, we return to Hiroshima for a somber visit to the Hiroshima Peace Museum before a relaxing night out on the town.
Day 4: Bring your carrots
The tour moves to Okunoshima today, home to beautiful seaside views, swimming – and lots and lots of bunnies. Join us for a walk around the island, or if you prefer, just take it easy! For the adventureous types, Japan’s most famous cycling road is just nearby and your guide will arrange for bike rentals upon request.
Day 5: Dive into Osaka
After we bid adieu to the bunnies, we’ll make our way to Osaka to visit the gigantic Kaiyukan aquarium on Osaka’s bayfront. Check out the sealife before checking in at the hotel and exploring Umeda, where Osakans eat, drink, and party.
Day 6: The Kyoto Experience
Today we visit Japan’s famous traditional capitol, Kyoto! First up, a trip to the Fushimi Inari Shrine – home to long shrine tunnels and fox folklore. Kiyomizu Temple is next; take a stroll to the love shrine, take photos of the city, and buy local sweets. Finally, we walk along the Meiji-era aqueduct through the forest to Nanzenji Temple – a massive temple surrounded by lush forested mountains.
Day 7: Castle Crashers
A train through the mountains will whisk us to Nagano Prefecture and the city of Matsumoto, where one of Japan’s massive castles awaits our visit. Then it’s off to Yudanaka Onsen, where we’ll soak in natural hot springs and enjoy the tranquil surroundings of the Japan Alps.
Day 8: Monkeys!
The famous “monkey onsen” – Jigokudani – is our first stop of the day! Watch wild Japanese macques bathe in the hot spring at what has become one of Japan’s hottest destinations. After hanging with the “locals,” we make our way down to Olympic host city Nagano to grab a bite to eat before transiting across Honshu to Sendai City.
Day 9: Matsushima Cruising
Matsushima – long considered one of the “best views” in Japan – is where our day begins, as we sail among picturesque islands resting in the bay. The seagulls might come along for the ride; if they do, we’ll have something to feed them! After lunching and temple hopping, we continue East and catch a ferry to the “Cat Island” – Tashirojima – where we’ll check in, visit the kitties, and maybe picnic under the cherry blossoms (weather permitting).
Day 10: Chilling with the Cats
A local cruise around the island will be a part of our morning – as will a bit of free time to explore the island’s many hiking trails. Don’t get lost though; we’ve got a boat to catch back to the mainland where we’ll return to Sendai for a night in the big city. Shop for Tohoku-area souvenirs, snack on the local specialty of beef tongue (yep, beef tongue!) and – if you’re brave – have a crack at Karaoke.
Day 11: City Cute
After touring all over Japan, we’ve come to the last stop on our journey – Tokyo. Once we get back to the city and get situated, we’ll head to Shibuya and Harajuku so those of us who aren’t done absorbing cuteness can visit one of the local bunny or cat cafes!
Day 12: Free Day!
Everyone has a different thing they want to see in the big city; today, you’ll have the freetime to check out Akihabara, the Ghibli Museum, or anything else you want to check out! Your guide will be on hand to help you select a destination.
Day 13: Return home
Yup… it’s time to go home. ;_;