Japan Tours Itinerary

Cherry Blossom Tour

Tour to Japan – 16 days, 15 Nights

28 March – 13 April 2023

Japanese Cherry Blossom Tour

Japan’s Cherry Blossom or Sakura, is a truly magnificent sight to behold.  All the parks, gardens and landscapes come alive with a gorgeous soft pink hue and the air is filled with the lovely scent of cherry blossoms.  Sakura is a wonderful time of celebration ‘Hanami’ all over Japan.  The upbeat party atmosphere and stunning pink landscapes draws people from across the globe, and this is one of the most popular times to visit Japan.  With only a small window of opportunity, from late March to early April this tour is designed to take you to some of the most iconic places in Japan whilst allowing you to appreciate the breath-taking pink landscapes only visible in the Cherry Blossom season.

Day 1 – Australia/Tokyo

Morning:  Depart Australia for Japan
Afternoon: Arrive Tokyo
Evening: At your Leisure

Fly direct to Tokyo from Australia. Once we have arrived at the hotel and settled in, feel free to explore the area and sample the delights on offer at the local eateries.  Your guide is always on hand to give ideas and tips on where to eat in the local area.

Day 2 – Tokyo/Osaka

Morning: Shinjuku Gyoen (sculptured garden)
Afternoon: Samurai museum
Evening:  Shinkansen to Osaka

Today we start with a leisurely walk through the (gorgeous) landscaped gardens of Shinjuku Gyoen.  With three different garden landscapes and more than 1000 Cherry Blossom trees, this is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks and it is one of the best places to view the sea of pink cherry blossoms.  After Lunch, we will visit the Shinjuku Samurai museum, displaying over 700 years of the Samurai history and artefacts including original armour and swords. Here, you can try on the armour, see sword performances or even take Japanese calligraphy lessons. At the end of the day, we will take an evening train to Osaka where we will check into the 4-star Hotel Monterey Le Frere  for the next 6 nights.

Day 3 – Kyoto

Morning: Ginkaku-ji (silver pavilion) & Philosophers path

Afternoon: Kiyomizudera Temple

Evening: Gion corner 

Today we visit the beautiful Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) which sits in magnificent landscaped gardens at the foot of Kyoto’s eastern mountains. The garden consists of half a dozen other temple buildings, a beautiful moss garden which features tranquil ponds with a number of islands and curved bridges and a unique dry sand garden known as the “Sea of Silver Sand”. From here we take a leisurely stroll along the Philosopher’s Path lined with hundreds of Cherry Blossom Trees that creat a stunning explosion of pink colours.

After lunch, we visit the Higashiyama district, home of Kiyomizudera, one of the most famous and celebrated temples in Kyoto. Perched on the edge of a hill, the stunning wooden temple, built between 788 and 1633,  provides you with an amazing view over Kyoto and the surrounding hillsides which are awash with pink colours from the cherry blossom. Here you can take a drink from the sacred water at the Otowa no Taki waterfall.

Day 4 – Nara

All Day: Day trip to Nara
Evening: Izakaya dinner with Japanese host

Today we visit Nara, home to some of Japans oldest and largest temples. We’ll meet up with our local guide who will show us around the many temples, shrines and pagodas in the area. We visit the Todai-ji Temple, the largest wooden structure in the world, built to enshrine ‘Great Buddha’ – a 15m high bronze buddha.  From there we stroll through the beautiful Nara Park (which is awash with pink cherry blossoms) where you can feed the deer that roam freely in the park.  Next, we visit the Kasuga-taisha Shinto Shrine before heading back into Nara to see the motchi pounding demonstration and visit souvenir alley.  To finish off the day we will have a traditional Izakaya dinner with our Japanese host before heading back to our hotel.

Day 5 Osaka

Morning: Kaiyukan (Osaka aquarium)
Afternoon:
Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street
Evening:
Dotonbori

Today we will visit one of the most amazing world renowned aquariums you will ever see. We will take the spiral ramp all the way from the 8th floor to the 4th floor, leaving the land of terrestrial animals to find yourself stepping into the sea all the way to the ocean floor. After having lunch we will travel into Osaka to Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street, the longest undercover shopping street (1.76km)in Japan. This evening we will head to the vibrant Dotonbori, the kuidaore food area of Osaka with its towering walls of neon signs and so many restaurants to choose from. Sights that will amaze you.

Day 6 – Arashiyama

All Day: Arashiyama
Evening:
Free time

Today we travel to the designated historic site of Arashiyama with it’s beautiful pathways of cherry blossoms to the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. There will be plenty of time to look around, grab some lunch (and maybe a hot spring foot bath) before we take a walk along the riverbank where you can take a traditional Japanese boat ride and bask in the unspoiled natural beauty of the thickly forested mountainsides that drop steeply to the Oi River beneath. 

Tonight is your own to explore the local cuisine in one of the many local restaurants in the local area (your guide will be available to help)

Day 7 – Himeji

Morning:  Himeji Castle
Afternoon: Osaka Umeda area
Evening:  Free time

Today we travel to the world heritage listed Himeji Castle – the largest, and one of the only original castles in Japan.  This stunning white castle is surrounded by a moat with high walls and a wide-open area full of gorgeous cherry blossoms.  We will explore the inside of the castle, navigate the narrow passageways and steep steps where you can see a collection of original samurai armour and get a close-up view of the fish-shaped roof ornaments, believed to protect the building from fire.  

Day 8 – Hiroshima

Morning: Hiroshima
Afternoon: Shukkeien Garden, Peace Museum, Peace Park
Evening: Shopping street and dinner

Today we take our reserved seats on the bullet train for the 341km (90 minute) journey to Hiroshima.  On arrival we start with a light picnic style lunch in the magnificent Shukkeien Garden. Here you can stroll around the beautiful gardens complete with ponds, bridges tea houses and pagodas. Then we’re off to the Peace Museum to get a true insight into what happened, on 6 August 1945, before we take a leisurely stroll through the peace park to the UNESCO world heritage listed Atomic Bomb Dome building.  The dome building is the only building that was not totally destroyed by the atomic bomb blast. Then we finish the day with a walk past the ground-zero plaque before wandering to the undercover shopping street to stop for dinner on the way back to the hotel.

Day 9 – Iwakuni

All Day: Iwakuni
Evening:
Free time

Today we travel to one of the EDO period feudal domains of Japan – Iwakuni –  with its mountain top castle and unique Kintai-Kyo wooden 5 arched bridge. Here we will sit beneath the cherry blossom trees, on the riverbank, enjoying our picnic lunch before we head past the old Samurai houses to the cable car and the top of the mountain to take in the views from the castle.

  

Day 10 – Beppu

All Day: Beppu
Evening:
Free time

Today we take the train 330km south to Kyushu Island and the largest hot spring town in Japan. We will start the day with a visit to the different ‘Hell holes’ – steaming ponds of various colours, bubbling mud pools and other hydrothermal activity before having lunch. Then we will try out a traditional Japanese hot spring or beach sand hot spring. Either way, you will find it most relaxing and a great experience. After a relaxing day, we will head back to Hiroshima in time for dinner.

  

Day 11 Takamatsu

Morning:  Okayama
Afternoon: Takamatsu
Evening:  Aeon mall Okayama

Today we take the Shinkansen to Okayama where we start the day with a look around  Kurashiki Bikan historical quarter with its traditional Japanese style harmonised with early western influences. A prospering trading area during the 1600s, this historic area is alive with its many traditional shops and resteraunts along the banks of the willow-lined Kurashki river. We then head to Takamatsu on Shikoku island. Here we will visit one of Japan’s most beautiful historic gardens – Ritsurin Garden,  a large, historic garden completed in 1745 as a private strolling garden and villa for the local feudal lords. Tonight you can explore the Aeon Mall of Okayama with its hundreds of shops, restaurants and supermarkets.

  

Day 12 – Tokyo

Morning: Shinkansen to Tokyo
Afternoon: Imperial palace and East garden  
Evening: Ginza area

This morning we take the bullet train 894km back to Tokyo (in just over 4 hours). After leaving our bags at the hotel, we head to the Imperial Palace and gardens for a leisurely stroll. The Imperial Palace has its original castle walls and gates which date back to 1603, and its perfectly manicured gardens are filled with beautiful pink cherry blossoms. Next, we walk over to the Ginza District – Tokyo’s most famous upmarket shopping and dining area for a look around. 

Day 13 – Mount Fuji

Morning: Mount Fuji, Lake Kawaguchico, Fuji caves
Afternoon: Saiko Iyashi no Satoneba Historic Village
Evening:  At your leisure

Today we take a day trip to the majestic Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain. We will start with a ride to the mountain’s 5th station to take in the breath-taking views before going to visit the famous ice cave, a 70-foot-deep ice cave carved out by lava from Mt. Fuji.  Next, we’ll travel around to the Saiko Iyashi No Satoneba Historic Village which is like stepping back in time where you can marvel at the original thatched roof shops and homes all with a backdrop of Mount Fuji.

Day 14 – Tokyo

Morning: Sumo & Edo museum
Afternoon: Kiyosumi Garden
Evening: Akihabara/Shibuya

Today we take a look at the history of Sumo wrestling at the Ryogoku Sumo stadium before we head over to the Tokyo Edo museum (to look back at what Tokyo was like during the Edo period) before we head over for a relaxing stroll around the most beautiful Kiyosumi garden. Later we head to the famous Akihabara ‘Electric Town’ for a look around before heading out to take in the atmosphere of Shibuya, home to the world’s busiest crossing, with its bright neon lights, shopping, dining and entertainment area.

Day 15 – Tokyo

Morning: Sumida River cruise
Afternoon: Tokyo Skytree
Evening:  Senso-Ji temple & Asakusa

After a leisurely breakfast, we head out to Hinode pier to catch our scenic Sumida river cherry blossom cruise to the centre of Tokyo where we stop for lunch in the beautiful Sumida Park. Our next destination is the 880m high Tokyo Sky Tree  to catch the magnificent views of all of Tokyo – even Mount Fuji (on a clear day). After the Skytree we head to the historic area of Asakusa and the senso-ji temple, Tokyo’s oldest, and still operating, temple. This is a great spot for souvenir shopping and dinner in one of the many restaurants in the area. As a side tour, you can always take a stroll through Kappabashi or Kitchen town where you will find everything and anything to do with kitchens

Day 16 – Tokyo

Morning: Last minute shopping
Afternoon: Depart for the airport and flight home

Today you can spend at your leisure packing and getting any last-minute souvenirs before we head out to the Airport at 3:30pm.  At the airport, we will check in as a group, after which you are free to wander the shops and restaurants or go straight through to the duty-free shops in the departure hall.  We will all meet up again at the departure gate 40 minutes before take-off to board the plane

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Included in the Cherry Blossom Tour

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All Accommodation

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All Light Lunches

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All Breakfasts

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All transportation within Japan

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All Tour Guides & Entrance Fees

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