Japan's Northern Paradise, Noboribetsu - Hokkaido
New Chitose Airport - Noboribetsu Onsen - New Chitose Airport 5 Days 4 Nights
  • Day 1
  • Arrival at New Chitose Airport
Arrive at New Chitose Airport, Sapporo, from Tokyo. This 1.5-hour flight takes you to a whole different side of Japan. Continue your journey to Noboribetsu Onsen by express train, a 50-minute ride that takes you directly to Noboribetsu station. After that, it's a 10-minute taxi ride to Takinoya.

You could also take an express bus from the airport to Noboribetsu Onsen bus terminal, which takes 1 hour. From the bus terminal it's only 3 minutes to Takinoya.
Takinoya has a free transfer service from the bus terminal to the ryokan.
*Please book in advance.

Check in at Takinoya.

This ryokan, nestled amid the leafy forests of southern Hokkaido's Noboribetsu resort area, is a glorious place to rest your eyes on the wonders of nature as you soak away your cares in some of the finest hot springs in Japan. Takinoya is elegant and tasteful – Japanese art, both traditional and modern, graces the interior spaces, which are designed in the lovely, spare, Zen-inspired geometric simplicity of traditional Japanese design. The ryokan's hallways are floored with tatami, and guests pad around in bare feet or special socks, unlike most ryokan, where slippers are the norm.

Until dinner time, why not stroll through Noboribetsu's Jigoku-dani Valley? This valley is the crater of a volcano that erupted 10,000 years ago and is now the main source of Noboribetsu's hot spring water. Follow the hiking trails and find the natural hot spring Oyunuma River, where you can enjoy a natural hot spring footbath.
*Footbath may not be available in winter due to heavy snow.

Before dinner starts, enjoy the onsen hot spring baths that boast five different typesof water, piped in from the Jigoku-dani Valley, each with a different mineral content,acidity and alkalinity to ease both body and mind.

  • Day 2
  • Biratori or Lake Toya

Today is at leisure – you are free to relax at the ryokan or explore the environs.

Option 1 – Experience Ainu culture
Visit with your guide by private car Biratori Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum, devoted to the history and cultural assets of the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido. The museum is in the town of Biratori, 1 hour drive from Takinoya.

The Ainu have their own unique culture and history. Now mostly assimilated into Japanese society, the Ainu were a society of hunter-gatherers, living mainly by farming, hunting and fishing, and followed a religion based on the natural world. The Ainu culture can be found from Japan's northern island of Hokkaido to Sakhalin Island, Kamchatka Peninsula and into Siberia. Their culture is unique and fascinating, with distinctive clothing, tools, dances, festivals and other cultural features.

Visiting the excellent Biratori Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum is a great chance to learn about the Ainu and experience their fascinating culture first-hand.

You will be invited as a private guest to a traditional-style house where Ainu people still live today, followed by a visit to an Ainu textile studio. There you will have a chance to learn about Ainu culture directly from Ainu people. This is a rare experience that is unique to this area, and you can only have by coming here.

Ainu are renowned for their beautiful, colorful textiles, which are quite different from traditional Japanese clothing, and are often made of different materials, such as cloth made from elm bark.
*An English-speaking guide and private car should be reserved on Day 1 for this tour.

Option 2 – Lake Toya Nature Tour
Visit Lake Toya and Showa Shinzan with your guide by private car. This beautiful lake is about 1 hour and 30 minutes away.

Join your nature guide to watch wild Ezo deer and giant trees on the volcanic Nakajima Island, located in the middle of Lake Toya. This island, accessible only by boat, is uninhabited by humans, but is home to small herds of deer and other animals in their natural state, as well as old-growth forests of pine, spruce and chestnut trees. Nakajima is famous for its giant Ezo Spruce trees, some of them centuries old.

Showa Shinzan is a rather rare thing – a new mountain, a lava dome that appeared next to Mt. Usu after a series of earthquakes and rose from the earth in just two years in 1944-45. The mountain is now 400 meters tall and still growing. A cable car takes you on a six-minute ride from the foot of Showa Shinzan to the summit of Mount Usu, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views over Lake Toya.

The Mt. Usu Ropeway, next to Showa Shinzen, is also a fun trip – you take a gondola 725 meters up the active volcano Mt. Usu. After enjoying spectacular panoramic views over Lake Toya from observation deck, you may walk the Usu Outer Rim Hiking Trail. This 1.6km hike from Sanroku Gondola Station to the Outer Rim Observation Deck takes about 1 hour. In this course you can walk on the boardwalk through a sea of lush natural mountain vegetation.
*An English-speaking guide and private car should be arranged on from Day 1 for this tour.

Return to Takinoya.

  • Day 3
  • Noboribetsu
Today you may relax at Takinoya or visit the neighborhood around the ryokan.

Noboribetsu Bear Park, located on the top of Mt. Kuma, is a fascinating destination. A 7 minute ride from the town on a cable car takes you to this park, a fenced-in bear sanctuary where about 140 bears wander freely. You can see the bears up close, feed them (only with special bear cookies) and watch the daily performances. The purpose of this park is not just entertainment – the operators want to change the public perception of bears, which are often thought of as a dangerous nuisance.

Noboribetsu Marine Park Nixe is a fun facility that incudes both a theme park and an aquarium. It is only 15 minutes away from Takinoya by car, and is a great place to take your family. The park has a replica Danish castle, with an aquarium inside. The aquarium is one of the biggest in Japan, and features fascinating exhibits, including an underwater tunnel where you can see sharks, as well as king crabs, giant octopi, and many other sea creatures. It also has dolphin and sea lion shows.

Back at Takinoya, you could try a relaxing session in the spa. Services in the Treatment Salon Spa include head, foot and body massages, facials and salt oil treatments, as well as aromatherapy and original spa treatments.

If you visit in sakura (cherry blossom) season in May, you can have a chance to go through the famous Sakura Tunnel, which extends 8km from JR Noboribetsu station to the hot spring town.

During summer, you can enjoy the Demon's Fireworks shows. These fun shows are held from June 1st to the middle of August. You may walk to the Jigoku-dani (Hell Valley) observatory after dinner. Then you’ll be thrilled as red and blue demons launch handheld fireworks and dance to Japanese drums to bring happiness to the people and drive evil spirits out.
*Shows are held every Thursday and Friday during the season, starting at 8:30 pm.

In winter, you could enjoy skiing at Sanlaiva Ski Area, which is only 15 minutes by car from Takinoya. This ski resort is suitable for beginners to advanced skiers as well as snowboarders.

  • Day 4
  • Departure
Check out from Takinoya and transfer to New Chitose Airport.

If you transfer back to the airport by private car, you may stop by the Northern Horse Park, a natural park with lots of activities that allow visitors to interact with horses, including horseback riding, horse-drawn carriages and sleighs in the winter, and ponies for the kids. It’s a popular attraction, and close to the airport.