Introducing Tokyo’s Northern Neighbors : Fukushima, Ibaraki and Tochigi Prefectures
What is Diamond Route?
The Diamond Route is a little-known tourist trail only 2.5 hours away from Tokyo made up of three of its northern neighbours – Ibaraki, Fukushima and Tochigi prefectures – which, if you join them together on a map, form the shape of a diamond. History, culture, nature, food, outdoor sports, these three prefectures are full of sparkling treasures, to give you the experience of a lifetime in the heart of Japan.
Feel the real Samurai Spirits
Samurai Spirit is a set of morals, a way of living, a code of honor. Learn about the fascinating samurai history and participate in a variety of samurai-related experiences, including Japanese archery and Kendo. Or visit a private studio of a master artisan specializing in restoring the katana(Japanese swords). Easily reached from Tokyo via the JR Tohoku Shinkansen, Fukushima prefecture is known for its many relaxing onsen(hot springs), unique culture and fine local cuisine, beautiful nature, old castles and fertile lands that produce some of Japan’s best fruit and sake.
Recommended Itinerary – Fukushima, Nikko Area, Ibaraki (3 night/4 days)
Day 1 Tokyo / Mito / Koriyama
Meet your English-speaking guide at your hotel and depart for Mito by kimited express train(about 90 min). Mito was the power base of the Mito clan during the Edo Period (1603-1867), one of three families of the Tokugawa regime that dominated Japan during that time. Visit Kairaku-en Garden, Mito’s main tourist attraction (considered one of Japan’s top three landscape gardens). Next, transfer to Utsunomiya station by private car (1h 13 min). Then, take the bullet train to Koriyama (39 min) and transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day free at leisure.
Overnight : Yomogino Ryokan or similar
Day 2 Koriyama / Urabandai / Aizu-Wakamatsu
After breakfast, set on a full day touring by private car. Your first stop is Urabandai, known as Bandai-Ashi National Park. Following a massive eruption of Mt. Bandai in1888, the ensuing massive landslides blocked rivers and created a number of lakes and marshes. Enjoy a short hike(approx. 1h) to the mysterious Goshikinuma Ponds. The combination of mysterious hues such as emerald green and pastel blue. Then, visit Lake Hibara, the largest lake in Urabandai region and enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of Mt. Bandai. Next, travel to Aizu-Wakamatsu (47 min). Visit Tsuruga-jo Castle, Japan’s only red- and – white castle that has been important to local history (including the tragic tale of the Byakkotai). Then, stop by limoriyama, the site of the suicide by a group of young soldiers and see Sazae- do temple that was built in the form of a double helix slope, and, has a completely different route up and down.
Overnight : Harataki Ryokan or similar
Day 3 Aizu-Wakamatsu / Ouchijuku / Nikko
After checking out of the hotel, depart for Ouchijuku by private car (approx. 40 min). This was a former post town along the Aizu-nishi Kaido trade route, which connected Aizu with Nikko during the Edo Period. Today, Ouchijuku has been restored and the main street is lined by thick thatched roof buildings which house a variety of shops, restaurants and small inns. After lunch, a private car will take you on a scinic drive to Nikko(approx 1 h 55 min). Visit Toshogu Shrine built in 1617 as a World Heritage shrine is Nikko’s most majestic attraction.
Overnight : Nikko Kanaya Hotel or similar
Day 4 Nikko / Utsunomiya / Tokyo
This morning, set off a full-day tour of Nikko by private car. Your first stop is Futarasan jinja Shrine, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The name of Nikko is derived from Futarasan, where the god of marriage dwells in the hallowed ground. Next, visit Tamozawa Imperial Villa, former Nikko residence of the Imperial Family. The villa was erected in Nikko in 1899, using parts of a residence that originally stood in Tokyo. After lunch, you will take the famous Irohazaka winding road to Kegon Waterfall, located at Lake Chuzenji in Nikko National Park. The almost 100 meter tall Kegon Waterfall is the most famous of Nikko’s many beautiful waterfalls. At the conclusion of this tour, you will be transferred to Utsunomiya station where you will board your shinkansen train to Tokyo.
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