AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Japan Cherry Blossom Tour

Japan Cherry Blossom Tour

Japan Cherry Blossom Tour Overview

Japan Cherry Blossom Tour Springtime in Japan is nothing less than magical. From late March to early May Japan’s iconic sakura (cherry blossom) captures the attention of visitors and locals alike as their beautiful pink flowers blanket the country.

Every spring, people admire cherry blossoms and have a picnic party under the blooming trees. This picnic party is also called "hanami (cherry blossom viewing)" and it is one of the most popular events of spring in Japan.

Touring style: self-guided tour

Day 1: Fly to Japan

Day 2: Arrival into Tokyo Airport.

Make your way to the Airport Limousine Bus Counter. Take the coach to your chosen hotel. Stay 3 nights.

Journey time: Approximately 1.30 to 2 hrs.

Day 3: Full day Tokyo sightseeing

Full-day guided sightseeing tour of Tokyo by public transportation with an English speaking guide.

Visit Tsukiji Fish Market, Imperial Palace East Garden, Ginza Dis­trict, Asakusa Kannon Temple and Nakamise shopping arcade, Meiji Jingu Shrine and Harajuku fashion street.

Admire the cherry blossoms on the waterfront on a yakata-Bune, a type of Japanese pleasure boat.

From late March through early April, cherry trees reach peak bloom all at once on the certain section of the banks of Sumida River.

Day 4: Kamakura sightseeing

Full day visit to Kamakura. Visit Hase Kannon Temple, Kotoku-in Temple (Great Buddha), Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

Return to Tokyo for overnight.

Distance and journey time: 60 km, 1.20 hr each way

Day 5: Mt Fuji and Hakone

Make your own way to Shinjuku station. Take the Romance Car to Hakone. Stay overnight at a ryokan.

The surrounding area of Lake Kawaguchi, one of five lakes at the foot of Mt. Fuji is a great place to enjoy both Mt. Fuji and the cherry blossoms. When spring comes, the cherry blossoms bloom beautifully on the small cape called Ubuyagasaki. The cherry blossoms around Lake Kawaguchi reach peak bloom in mid-April.

Overnight in Hakone.

Journey time from Shinjuku to Hakone: approximately 1.30 hrs on the RomanceCar

Day 6: Mt Fuji to Takayama

Make your own way to Odawara station and take the train to Takayama.

Takayama is a treasure chest of Japanese architecture and traditions. Explore the old town and its myriad of narrow streets, shrines and sake stalls. See the Festival Floats Hall, Takayama Jinya, historic wooden houses, and the Takayama History and Art Museum.

Take a local train to Hida-Furukawa and enjoy a walking tour including the white storehouses, old residences, Enkouji Temple and the Saku Brewery.

Wander the streets of the morning market and soak up the atmosphere of the old town before returning to Takayama.

Overnight in Takayama.

Odawara to Nagoya: Hikari Express 1.10 min

Nagoya to Takayama: JR Express Hida 2 hrs

Journey time: Approximately 5 hrs

Day 7: Day trip to Shirakawa-go

Take a 50 min local bus to World Heritage Listed Shirakawago.

The bus terminal is on your left of the JR station.

When you arrive at Shirakawa-go, get a free map from the tourist centre which is right next to the bus terminal. Take a hike uphill to the Ogimachi Tenbodai Lookout for the postcard view of the village. Visit the museum Wada-ke Jutaku which is area's largest gassho-zukuri farmhouse. This fascinating area is dotted with large thatch roof dwellings which keep out the heavy snow during winter and keep in the cool during summer.

Return by bus to Takayama for overnight.

Distance and journey time: 58 km, 1 hr by bus each way

Day 8: Travel to Kanazawa

Take the train to Kanazawa.

A former castle town and samurai headquarters, Kanazawa is also home to one of Japan’s most famous gardens – Kenrokuen. Explore the garden as well as partaking in a tea ceremony, before visiting interesting Omicho Market and Bukeyashhhhiki Samurai House.

Overnight in Kanazawa.

Takayama to Toyama: JR Express Hida 1.30 hrs

Toyama to Kanazawa: Hokuriku Shinkansen 30 mins

Journey time: Allow 3 hrs

Day 9: Travel to Kyoto

Take the train to magical Kyoto, once Japan’s capital for over 1000 years, a myriad of temples, shrines and historical structures adorn this captivating city.

Stay 2 nights. Maruyama Park next to Yasaka Shrine is Kyoto's most popular public park for cherry blossom viewing. Its centrepiece is a large weeping cherry tree that gets lit up in the evenings.

Kanazawa to Kyoto: Thunderbird

Journey time: Approximately 2.30 hrs

Day 10: Full day Kyoto and Nara tour

Enjoy a do it yourself day in the ancient capital of Japan. See Nijo Castle and the Golden Temple, a sparkling highlight of any Kyoto visit. Enjoy the bustling atmosphere of Higashiyama district’s old streets and at Kiyomizudera Temple, then walk down narrow ‘Pontocho’, perhaps the world’s quaintest lane and home to local eateries, bars and tea houses.

Afternoon, join a tour to Nara. Nara was the site of Japan’s first permanent capital and is full of treasures, including magnificent Todaiji, the world’s largest wooden building. You also visit multi-storied Kofuju-ji and encounter free-roaming deer.

In the evening, participate in an evening Kyoto tour. See a delightful pageant of seven Japanese traditional arts: koto music, flower arrangement, tea ceremony, gagaku (court music dance), kyogen (ancient comic play), kyomai (Kyoto-style Japanese dance) and bunraku (puppet drama).

Walk to Gion Corner through Gion area with well-preserved old houses will remind you of the ancient days of Kyoto. You may well have a chance to see a pretty maiko girl there. Be part of an authentic, relaxing tea ceremony. Walk through a Japanese garden and enter a cozy tea room, where a tea master will serve tea and sweets to each guest individually in traditional manners.

Day 11: Travel to Osaka

Take the train to Osaka. Afternoon, wander around Osaka on your own.

Overnight in Osaka.

Kyoto to Osaka: Super Hakuto

Journey time: Approximately 30 mins

Day 12: Day tour of Hiroshima and Miyajima

Depart with your guide by train to Hiroshima. Visit Itsukushima Jinja Shrine and the Peace Memorial Park. The beauty and quiet atmosphere of Miyajima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Japan's three most beautiful landscape. Visit the Peace Memorial Park, near the epicenter of A-bomb area, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, featuring exhibitions of items related to the nuclear bomb.

Take the bullet train back to Osaka for overnight.

Journery time by train: approximately 82 mins each way

Day 13: Departure

Take the train to Osaka Airport for your departure flight.

Journey time: approximately 1 hr

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