Diamond Route / Feel the real Samurai Spirit
2 nights 3 days
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 neighbors – 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 Spirit
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 onsens (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.
Tokyo – Utsunomiya – Nikko
Meet your English-speaking guide at your hotel. Depart from Tokyo Station for Utsunomiya Station by bullet train (1h 9min). Then, transfer to Nikko by private vehicle(37 min). Begin your sightseeing with a visit to the Toshogu Shrine built-in 1617 as a mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and the first Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. This World Heritage shrine is Nikko’s most majestic attraction. Then, stop by 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.
Overnight: Hoshino Resort KAI Nikko or similar
Nikko – Utsunomiya – Koriyama
After breakfast, a private car will take you to Utsunomiya Station(1h). You will then board the bullet train bound for Koriyama(47 min). Visit a local master artisan that restores the katana, Japanese swords that have become rusty or chipped. After lunch at a local restaurant you will be driven to Nihonmatsu(26 min) where you will have an opportunity to participate in a private kendo lesson. Next, visit the ruins of Nihonmatsu Castle and the surrounding park. Learn about the history of the castle and its role in the Boshin War. After a busy day of exploration, you will then be driven to your ryokan. Rest of the day free at leisure.
Overnight: Yomogino Ryokan or similar
Koriyama – Urabandai – Koriyama – Tokyo
After breakfast, embark on a full day of sightseeing. Your first stop is Urabandai, known as Bandai-Asahi National Park. Following a massive eruption of Mt.Bandai in 1888, 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 the weather, seasons, and volcanic substances in the water gives mysterious hues such as emerald green and pastel blue. Next, visit Lake Hibara, the largest lake in the Urabandai region and enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of Mt. Bandai. Depending on weather conditions, you can also go kayaking on the lake. Your next stop is the Morohashi Museum of Modern Art, located in the heart of the Bandai Asahi National Park. The museum is one of the only a handful of museums in the world with a permanent Salvador Dali exhibition. At the conclusion of your tour, you are transferred to Koriyama(55 min) by private car. Catch the bullet train to Tokyo (1h 20 min).