Joining a bus tour is an economical way of going around Japan. It is available in most cities and can be used for short- or long-distance travels. But wouldn’t it be nice if you can go on tour while wining and dining at the same time? A Japanese bus company called Willer Travel (ウィラートラベル) is giving people a chance to make the most of their travel time by offering gourmet meals on wheels while allowing them to enjoy the beautiful outdoor scenery. The program’s trial run will take place in Niigata Prefecture (新潟県) from April to June 2017.
There are so many unique sightseeing buses in Japan. Many of them offer tours that are guided, fully tailored, and accommodate small groups. The best thing about them is that they are reliable and requires little effort when it comes to touring around certain places. They also circle a number of sites with a minimum amount of walking. Most of the time, bus tours also include additional activities such as popular hotel buffets and stage performances. They are also conducted by top-notch tour guides who have passed strict national exams. There are also times when bus tours provide surprise visits to some spots not listed on the itinerary, which makes the whole trip exciting. With so many bus tours around the country, it is best to find the one that truly suits your needs.
Willer Travel has a restaurant bus which allows people to enjoy outdoor views while having a delicious meal inside the bus. The currently available plans are trips to the townscape of Niigata from April 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017. You may choose between two courses during Saturdays:
1. Fukushima Lagoon + Rice Culture Course (福島潟・米文化 堪能コース)
The first course is a lunch course that will introduce you to the passion of local producers through the seasonal ingredients nurtured in the environment.
- Boarding starts at 9:30 AM and the tour departs from Niigata Station (新潟駅) at 9:45 AM.
- Lunch will start at Imayotsukasa Brewery (今代司酒造) where you’ll get a chance to have a sake (酒) tour and a toast with low-malt sake.
- Next, you’ll stroll around Ozuki Village (大月集落) and learn about the lifestyle in the countryside. You’ll get to have another sake made from rice which was harvested from the land.
- Then you’ll visit Fukushima Lagoon which offers a panoramic view of the plains. It is a great time to have another meal while feeling the air blowing against your face.
- You’ll then be joining a harvest workshop at Takagi Farm (タカギ農場) where you can also enjoy desserts and Niigata tea.
- You’ll be back at Niigata Station at approximately 1:40 PM.
2. Sakata Dune Lake, Sea of Japan, and Dune Course (佐潟・日本海、砂丘を堪能コース)
The second course is perfect if you’d like to experience Niigata’s steady climate and see the sunset as you tour.
- Boarding starts at 3:15 PM and the tour departs from Niigata Station at 3:30 PM.
- You’ll start your dinner as the bus travels along the Sea of Japan.
- You will have a tour of Fermier (フェルミエ), a winery that cultivates grapes on top of sand dunes. You may enjoy the wine with local in-season ingredients here.
- You’ll then engage in a harvest workshop at Ota Farm (太田農園) and stroll around Sakata Dune Lake, a certified wetland.
- At dusk, you can enjoy a meal with ingredients coming from the local produce of farmers in Sakata.
- You’ll be back at Niigata Station at approximately 7:00 PM.
Both of the courses cost 15,120 yen per head (inclusive of tax). However, remember that there are no toilets inside the bus and large pieces of luggage are not permitted. The bus’s roof can only be opened and closed by the staff and requests for specific seats cannot be accommodated.
Catch any of the two courses mentioned above if you’d like to explore Niigata in a day. Enjoy visiting some of the region’s famous tourist spots while tasting the different food and beverages common to the place. Keep your seat belts on and don’t forget to snap some great shots while on the ride!