Study Trip

Following the Footsteps of the Samurai in Northern Japan

Thursday, 17 to Saturday, 26 May 2018
Leader: Khun Fumiko Boughey, Former Cultural Envoy, Government of Japan, Former Council member of the Siam Society



On this trip we will be exploring the northern part of Japan “Following the Footsteps of the Daimyo (feudal lords) and their Samurai”.

The feudal lords built castles to impress and to intimidate rivals with their size, beauty of architecture and elegant interiors. Thus, these became the capitals of the great Daimyo and culturally flourished as centers of their feudal governments.

From the 12th century, Japan was governed by a Shogun military leader appointed by the Emperor. The final Shoguns of Japan were those of the Tokugawa clan, who came to power in 1603 and ruled until 1867, called the Edo period. Power was centralized in the hands of hereditary shoguns that took control of religion, regulated the entire economy, subordinated the nobility, and set up systems of taxation, government spending and bureaucracies. It avoided international involvement and wars, established a national judiciary and suppressed protest and criticism. The Tokugawa era brought peace, and that brought prosperity to a nation of 31 million.

Over the 200 years, Tokugawa’s peaceful Japan flourished culturally. Its period of seclusion came to an end in 1854 by the demands of trade with Japan by Commodore Perry.  In 1867 the Fifteenth Tokugawa shogun, was forced to give up his position and return his power to the Emperor’s court. The following year, the Emperor moved from Kyoto to Edo, present day Tokyo, and the new government swept away most of the systems established by the shogunate.

However, during last period of political turnover of power, - there were several battles, among them was the battle of Aizu known as the Fall of the Samurai battle. It was fought in 1869, between the remnants of the Tokugawa army which joined the armed forces of the rebel Ezo Republic (Hakodate government). It is known as the Battle of the Goryokaku and its star-shaped fort is where we will start this trip of “Following the footsteps of Samurai in Northern Japan.

We will begin with the so- called last government of feudal Japan, the short lived   Hakodate government, on Hokkaido where of the remnants of Tokugawa samurai are located. By taking the Shinkansen, or bullet train under the sea we go to the most northern prefecture of mainland Japan, in Aomomori. Then,we will be exploring the areas of North eastern Japan, both the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan sides. We will also visit Hiraizumi, in Iwate prefecture listed as World Heritage site where the Northern Fujiwara,- noble family ruled the northeast of Honshu during the 11 th century as their own realm. Hiraizumi’s most famous attraction is the Chusonji temple established 9th century and there is also a beautiful Noh theater stage different from other Noh theaters of Kyoto, as seen in the subtle beauty of the building.

These parts of Japanese towns flourished during the feudal times and once were considered very culturally advanced, but after the Meiji period when Modernization took over, some of these towns fell behind and appear old fashioned.

We will also visit the world reknown- Mingei pottery artist, Hamada, his workshop and his private Museum at Mashiko near Nikko, the World Heritage site in Tochigi prefecture, Then continue by seeing the Mingei- kan, the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo dedicated to the display of folk craft, established in 1936 by Yanagi Soetsu, the father of the Mingei,movement was first recognize and value the beauty in hand-crafted art of ordinary people.

We will also enjoy a Noh performance in the newly built Noh theater at the Ginza 6 in Ginza district, just opened in the heart of Ginza in April 2017.


The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Thursday, 17 May : Bangkok

08:00 p.m. Meeting at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
10:05 p.m. Depart to Tokyo by All Nippon Airways flight NH850

Day 2: Friday, 18 May : Bangkok-Tokyo-Hakodate

06:15 a.m. Arrive at Haneda Airport by NH850
- Transfer to domestic flight
10:20 a.m. Depart to Hakodate by NH553
- Visit - Goryokaku
- Hakodate Magistrate’s office which is shown in a Edo period
- Government structure with traditional architecture

Day 3: Saturday, 19 May : Hakodate-Aomori-Kakunodate

- Take Shinkansen from Hakodate to Aomori
  Visit - Hirosaki Castle
- Kakunodate

Day 4: Sunday, 20 May : Kakunodate-Sakata-Tsuruoka

- Visit - Sankyo Soko
- Sakata Honma Museum
- Dewasan

Day 5: Monday, 21 May : Tsuruoka-Hiraizumi-Matsushima

- Visit - Chusonji Temple
- Motsuji Temple

Day 6: Tuesday, 22 May : Matsushima-Aizu

- Visit - Matsushima Bay Cruise
- Zuigannji Temple
- Tsuruga Castle

Day 7: Wednesday, 23 May : Aizu-Mashiko-Nikko

- Visit – Shoji Hamada Memorial Museum, Mashiko
- Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Day 8: Thursday, 24 May : Nikko-Tokyo

- Visit – Mingeikan, The Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Tokyo
- Kanze Nogakudou Theatre in Ginza, Tokyo

Day 9: Friday, 25 May : Tokyo

- Visit - Tsukiji Outer Market
09:00 p.m. Check in Tokyo Haneda International Airport

Day 10: Saturday, 26 May : Tokyo-Bangkok

00:30 a.m. Depart from Haneda Airport by All Nippon Airways flight NH849
05:00 a.m. Arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok


Bt. 148,500 (Bt. 151,500 for non-members). Single room surcharge Bt. 17,000. A deposit of Bt. 50,000 and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. Payment in full is required 45 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Monday, 2 April 2018)



Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Alternatively you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7.  Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us. In case the tour has to be cancelled due to insufficient participants, a full refund of the deposit will be made.


The contribution includes meals, airfare tickets (international and domestic), accommodation for two persons per room, transportations, entrance fees, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee to Japan (if any), personal expenses, personal beverages, etc.

To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies, and to facilitate smooth working condition between the Siam Society and the tour agencies, please read carefully the revised cancellation policies stated below:

Cancellation charge:

45 days before the start of the trip:                                         Deposit forfeited
45-30 days before the start of the trip                                     50% of the tour cost
Less than 30 days or cancellation without notice:                      No refund
* Please note that deposit 6,000 THB for air ticket reservation per person is non-refundable

Your booking will not be confirmed until deposit payment has been received. Please supply a copy of your passport with your booking.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.