The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) New York Office has announced a new partnership with Remote Lands, a leading luxury travel specialist in Asia, to introduce four new seasonal itineraries for travelers to explore the lesser-known northern region of Tohoku, Japan.
Tohoku, located in the northernmost region of Honshu, Japan, is a seasonal travel wonderland featuring diverse natural scenery and experiences for every time of year. Once considered the undeveloped hinterland of Japan and now becoming a vestige of Japan's natural and cultural charm, Tohoku is comprised of six prefectures, including Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Yamagata, each with its own unique attractions. As part of this new campaign, Remote Lands will be promoting four new seasonal itineraries to the destination, ranging from vibrant fall foliage, cherry blossoms and luxury skiing to scenic hiking, interactive festivals and authentic cuisine.
"We are honored to partner with an esteemed luxury tour operator such as Remote Lands to introduce visitors to our country to the relatively undiscovered gem that is our northern region of Tohoku," says Naohito Ise, the Executive Director of JNTO's New York office. "One important part of our mission is to help visitors to Japan discover the many wonders of Japan that lie beyond the major metropoles and better-known tourist sites - and working with trusted, in-the-know travel partners such as Remote Lands is an invaluable key to transmitting that message."
The new seasonal itineraries inviting travelers to explore the region of Tohoku include:
WINTER: Winter Fun and Powder Chasing Through Tohoku
Ski enthusiasts looking for fresh powder will enjoy this 14-day itinerary through Tohoku's winter wonderland, hitting the snowy slopes of Mt. Hakkoda, Mt. Zao and Mt. Bandai while gazing at the "snow monsters," a curious phenomenon where snow and wind leave the trees in the upper reaches of the mountain looking like an army of frozen monsters. The itinerary also includes excursions to important nature sites such as Lake Towada and Inawashiro Lake to see bizarre ice formations and beautiful scenery. In addition to immersing in the great outdoors, travelers will be treated to a taste of Tohoku's unique culture with visits to ancient temples and traditional samurai villages, as well as winter festivals filled with fireworks, igloos, live performances, snow mazes, tasty local dishes, unique local artwork and more. Winter is also the best time to visit the famous sake breweries of Tohoku, which is the top producer of high quality sake in Japan. Visitors will stay in luxury ryokans along the way, such as the Chikusen Mount Zao Onsen, while enjoying picturesque snow-capped views, abundant hot springs and trademark Japanese hospitality. While this itinerary can be enjoyed at any time during the winter, the peak times for both the snow monsters and festivals are from early to mid-February. Rates start at $27,300 per person.
SPRING: Spring in Tohoku: The Ultimate Cherry Blossoms Path
From late April to early May, the Tohoku region turns into a stunning sea of pink, with the blooming of the iconic springtime cherry blossoms. For guests who want to see this natural phenomenon in full bloom, the week-long itinerary offers an exclusive tour of some of the best sites in Tohoku, and arguably the entire country, for viewing the cherry blossoms. Highlights include the Hirosaki Castle set upon gently sloping hills and ponds, the dreamlike Kitakami Tenshochi Park which can be explored by foot, boat or horse and carriage, the preserved samurai district of Kakunodate, and Hanamiyama Park in Fukushima, where views of the snow-capped Azuma mountains are visible in stunning contrast to the pink blossoms. These sites, as well as others along the way, come alive in the spring with an excess of cherry blossoms, creating a mesmerizing viewing experience for guests. In addition to the magical cherry blossom experience, travelers will also get a taste for the northern region's culture, indulge in the local cuisine and stay in luxurious accommodations. Due to the region's later blooming season, travelers can take advantage of smaller crowds and cheaper tickets while being treated to scenery that is equally as beautiful as other parts of the country. Rates start at $15,300 per person.
SUMMER: A Tohoku Summer: Hiking and Festivals
Summer in Tohoku is an ideal time to experience the region's colorful festivals and idyllic hiking trails, and Remote Lands' new 11-night itinerary gives visitors the chance to explore both on their next summer vacation. If traveling in early August, this trip includes visits to the Three Great Festivals of the Tohoku region: Aomori's Nebuta Festival, an illuminated lantern festival featuring enormous lantern floats, large taiko drums, musicians, and dancers; Akita's Kanto Matsuri pole lantern festival in which performers balance long bamboo poles in the air with a wall of lanterns affixed to them; and Sendai's Tanabata Festival featuring thousands of colorful streamers that turn the city's shopping arcades into brightly colored forests, accompanied by stage performances, live music, traditional dances, local crafts, food stands and more. In addition to the vibrant festivals, travelers will also have the opportunity to hike amongst beautiful landscapes and varied natural topography as well as to the summits of the three sacred mountains of the ancient Dewa province including Mt. Haguro, Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono. One particular nature highlight on the itinerary is a full day at Shirakami Sanchi, a largely undisturbed UNESCO World Heritage primeval beech forest nestled amid deep valleys and steep slopes with a great number of waterfalls. The trip also includes visits to a number of thought-provoking museums, relaxing hot spring baths, traditional temples, authentic handicrafts/products, and a taste of the regional cuisine including flavorful seafood dishes, fresh fruit and regional noodles. Rates start at $24,300 per person.
AUTUMN: Colors of Autumn in Tohoku
Perfect for travelers looking to combine outdoor sightseeing with a mixture of relaxation, culture and cuisine, this 14-day scenic excursion showcases the best the region has to offer at a leisurely pace. The highlight is the vibrant autumn foliage, which peaks most brilliantly between mid-October and early November. While fall foliage is abundant throughout the destination, the most outstanding places to view the brilliant fall colors include the picturesque Urabandai, located behind Mt. Bandai in Fukushima; Matsushima Bay in Miyagi, lauded for its picturesque waters dotted with pine-filled islands; Naruko Onsen in Miyagi including the highly sought-after Naruko Gorge and the Ofukazawa Bridge, surrounded by trees and exposed rock faces; and the Mt. Hakkoda area in Aomori, where visitors will witness the incredible contrast between the warm-colored leaves and the intense blue of Lake Towada's waters. In addition to exploring the surrounding scenic nature, travelers will also have the opportunity to visit cultural heritage sites including one-of-a-kind Buddhist pagodas, the preserved samurai village of Kakunodate and traditional Japanese castles, as well as indulge in local specialty dishes including sake, which Tohoku is renowned for, noodles, sushi and more. Rates start at $25,200 per person.
"We are excited to be working with the Japan National Tourism Organization to promote the hidden gem region of Tohoku, Japan," said Catherine Heald, co-founder and CEO of Remote Lands. "For our clientele looking to step off the beaten track and experience a more remote area of Japan, Tohoku offers a range of seasonal attractions and stunning natural scenery from spring cherry blossoms and summer hiking to autumn foliage and winter skiing, all without the crowds typical of the more touristed Japanese destinations such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Niseko."
For more information about travel to Japan, visit JNTO on its Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+. To contact the New York office of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) New York office directly, please e-mail email@example.com or call 212-757-5641.
To learn more about Remote Lands' Tohoku itineraries, visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.