The highly anticipated spring season has arrived in Japan’s Final Frontier! When the “sakura” cherry blossom season in other parts of the country has ended, here the flower viewing peak is just getting started. Spring is also excellent timing for a culinary travel adventure. During this private tour, you will travel in South Hokkaido and experience not only the well-known attractions and classic flower viewing spots, but also the everyday life and special places loved by the locals.
You will be warmly welcomed in small fishing harbors pulsating with life and cozy private kitchens where you can really experience springtime Hokkaido and the authentic, local cuisine up close and personal.
The harmony of Japanese and Western culture in Hakodate city
Your special private tour will start from Hakodate, a city with a fascinating history. A local guide will take you for a nice evening stroll and show you some of her very favorite places, pale pink cherry blossom flowers blooming all around.
Hakodate was one of the first trading ports opened after Japan’s isolationist “Closed Country” foreign policy that lasted around 200 years. Thanks to this, one can appreciate the enthralling blend of Japanese and Western architecture and cuisine in Hakodate.
“Jingisukan” grilled lamb under the cherry blossoms of Fort Goryokaku
Today, it is time for some private cherry blossom viewing with a Hokkaido twist. Jingisukan is a type of grilled lamb BBQ passionately loved by Hokkaido residents and anyone who has had the chance to try this delicacy. You will get to taste this juicy local culinary treat under the illuminated pink cherry blossoms of a famous historical site, “The Last Samurai Battlefield” Fort Goryokaku. After a peaceful private picnic attuning to the historic spot under the beautiful flowers, you will be rested and ready to continue your travel and dive deeper into the intriguing local culture the next day!
– Genghis Khan or “Jingisukan” is a very famous local Hokkaido dish with a history of over 100 years.
– As you travel you can find Jingisukan restaurants all over Hokkaido.
– The tender lamb meat is grilled in the center of a special dome-shaped iron plate with vegetables on the sides.
– As you may expect, the name of the dish is derived from the name of the Mongol Empire leader Genghis Khan, but the exact story behind the origin of the name is unclear. All we can say for sure is in the minds of Japanese at the time there was a strong association between Mongolians and lamb meat.
Cooking super fresh seafood with the locals
It’s time for a little day trip. We are proud to introduce a group of strong, bright, independent ladies who are real culinary masters when it comes to Hokkaido seafood. During a private cooking class, you will get to cook fish that has been caught the very same day by their fisherman husbands!
You will also learn about features of Japanese cuisine that might be less-known overseas, such as Hokkaido “kombu” kelp, an inseparable part of Japanese seasoning.
Visit a local rice farm and pound traditional "mochi" rice cake
Time to leave Hakodate city behind and travel off the beaten path to understand local Hokkaido culture on a deeper level. Today you will travel to the lovely town of Yakumo. Meet Mr. Chiba, an energetic and charming personality, who truly loves to share with you his lifestyle and to talk about his beloved family. You will get to try out a traditional way of pounding “mochi” rice cakes and spend some private quality time with the locals!
High-quality Japanese scallops straight out of Uchiura Bay
As you travel from Yakumo to Shikotsu-Toya National Park, don’t miss the chance to stop by another unique location where to experience yet another side of authentic Hokkaido culture and of course, taste some seasonal delicacies.
This is Toyoura, a small seaside town facing the Uchiura Bay, by the Pacific Ocean. The town is known for Japanese scallops, but for us, it is also the town where we travel to meet a lovely local guide, who really makes visiting this small harbor a truly delightful experience. Spring is the season of small shellfish fries and steamed shellfish fry is a seasonal specialty that can only be eaten at this time of the year.
– Japanese scallops “hotate” are a world-famous delicacy, distributed to expensive high-end restaurants all over the world.
– The most high-quality scallops come from Hokkaido and Aomori.
– Scallops are low in fat, they are a good source of protein and contain vitamins and minerals considered to be good for your health.
Relaxing by Lake Toya in Shikotsu-Toya National Park
Next it’s time to take it easy by the gorgeous Lake Toya in Shikotsu-Toya National Park. If you still have the energy after the long travel, you can head out for a cycling adventure around this round lake, that was formed by a volcanic eruption around 110,000 years ago. Or just let your hair down and wander around this stunning lakeside with a view to the sleeping volcano Mount Usu.
Thanks to the volcanic land, Lake Toya has excellent “Onsen” hot springs. Soaking in a private hot spring and letting yourself relax all the way to your core totally deserves a try.
Visit to Hell Valley and some tender and tasty local beef
On the way from Lake Toya to Sapporo, there is a great opportunity to stop by at Noboribetsu “Hell Valley”. Hell Valley is a steaming hot, sulfur smelling valley that is the source of the area’s famous “onsen” hot springs.
Before arriving to Sapporo, the biggest city in Hokkaido, there is still time for some extraordinary local gourmet! You probably know the world-famous Kobe “wagyu” Japanese beef, but did you know that there is excellent high-quality wagyu produced in the town of Shiraoi, Hokkaido? This red and soft meat is known for its a deep flavor.
Take in the atmosphere of springtime Sapporo
Today is the last day of your spring Hokkaido journey. If you have not yet had enough of cherry blossom flower viewing, you could take a nice stroll in the city’s central Odori Park, or we could maybe take you to visit Hokkaido Shrine, with over 1000 cherry blossom trees. Lastly it is time to head to New Chitose Airport and say goodbye for now to the treasure island. We hope you will return home refreshed and inspired by your new experiences!
7 Nights Accommodation
7 Breakfasts / 5 Lunches / 3 Dinners
8 Days Jumbo Taxi with Local English speaking Driver
2-3 Toyota Alphard with Local nglish speaking Driver
Parking, Fuel and Highway Fees
Taxes (10% Consumption Tax)
*Prices are in JPY（Japanese yen）, per person, based on double occupancy.