Major travel agency H.I.S. Co. has been forced to cancel a sales campaign offering customers the chance to travel with "beautiful girls" from the University of Tokyo after an online backlash.

Hours after announcing the campaign on Wednesday, the agency was hit with a wave of critical comments that said it was a form of sexual harassment.

The company launched the travel campaign, offering five groups of winners the opportunity to travel abroad with female students from Japan's top university.

The women appear in the book "Todai Bijo Zukan" ("Pictorial Book of Beautiful Girls at Todai"), compiled by students at the university and others and sold at the school. Todai is the common abbreviation for the University of Tokyo.

Under the campaign, the winners would get a chance to sit next to one of the girls on the way to a foreign destination, with their female travel companion providing highly knowledgeable travel commentary en route about the destination and its tourist attractions.

The company said it meant to offer customers "a new way to spend their time while on a flight."