2019 Cherry BlossomTour of Japan - Classic Route
Japan in spring is a wonderland – The temples, the castles, the gardens and the cherry blossoms of course!
The 2019 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan – Classic Route, takes you see the the best cherry blossom locations and traditional sights in just 11 days!
The tour has cherry blossom as its main focus yet you will not miss out on the best of Japan. This 2019 cherry blossom tour also blends in a wonderful mix of culture and Japanese cuisine. If you have relatively shorter time and want the very best experience then this tour is sure to please. Being only 11 days it is also ideal for adding time for some personal interests too.
Alternatively, you may take the bullet train back to Tokyo.
Places visited: Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Osaka
Group size: Min 6, Max 8
Transport: Train, public bus, taxi, private minivan
Accommodation: 4 star hotels in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, Japanese style inns in Hakone and Miyajima (with western bed)
Fitness level: Moderate (please refer to FAQ)
Cherry blossoms and Japan in just 11 days
The giant Buddha and the seaside
Experience the fascinating culture of Japan
The modern Tokyo, the ancient Kyoto and renowned Hiroshima
Private qualified guides escorting the tour most of the way
Magnificent views of Mt Fuji
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome to your 2019 Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan – Classic Route. Journey to the East will greet you at Narita International Airport on your arrival. Private transfer to your hotel in Tokyo.
Day 2: Cherry Blossoms & Central Tokyo
Today you start with a short orientation with your private guide. Then your guided tour of Tokyo will begin with a visit to Asakusa to set the scene. This is where ‘old Tokyo’ still exists and the atmosphere conjures up images of days long gone. Take a stroll through many charming streets of Asakusa and a pause for lunch. After lunch join the Sumida River cruise and admire the dream-like views of cherry blossoms from water. You will have a few hours of free time in Ginza where Kabuki Theatre and many traditional shops are located. Welcome dinner tonight will give you an anticipation of wide ranging food experience ahead.
Day 3: Kamakura - Peace and Serenity
Today you will change pace 180 degrees from busy Tokyo, immersing yourself in peace and serenity of an old sea-side capital, Kamakura. Kamakura was a capital between 1185 and 1333. Only an hour from Tokyo it is a sharp contrast with the crowded metropolis. You board a quaint local train, Enoden, which brings you to the ocean front. Your guide will show you a sample of temples and gardens as you stroll through cherry trees and green bamboo. Komachi Street is dotted with small craft shops check out the skilfully made local products.
Day 4: Mt Fuji & Onsen
Today you will travel by train with your guide to Hakone. Hakone’s numerous features include views of mount Fuji, ropeway, ‘switchback’ train and the Hakone Open-Air Art Museum.
A cruise on Lake Ashi in a ‘viking’ ship adds to the spectacle. The historic Hakone Checkpoint is where you can get some idea of the journeys in a bygone era. Today you will experience Japanese traditional accommodation, ryokan and onsen (mineral hot spring spa). Onsen is a favourite pastime of Japanese people. When you soak in a hot tub to relax after your day of sightseeing, you will understand why so many Japanese people find it very special.
Tonight you can also try masterfully presented kaiseki dinner at your ryokan.
Day 5: Kyoto
From Hakone you will take a shinkansen (bullet train) ride to the beautiful old capital of Kyoto. On the day we carefully select the best sights to show you the spectacular displays of cherry blossoms at this time of the year. They often include Ginkakuji and the Philosopher’s Path. Others may include the streets leading up to the Kiyomizu temple that are packed with delightful little cafes and shops selling tasteful Kyoto memorabilia and the magnificent Japanese pottery and silk goods. In the evening, we will introduce you to a Kyoto speciality.
Day 6: Arashiyama – Fascinating part of Kyoto
Today’s theme is “romance” as you go with your guide to embark on an excursion to Arashiyama and Sagano. As well as their natural beauty surrounded by pristine rivers and mountains, Arashiyama and Sagano are the famous locations of many romantic legends. A rickshaw will add to the scene as it takes you through rustic Japanese gardens, bamboo groves and rice paddies.
In the evening, a maiko (a geisha-in-training) will join you for dinner tonight so you will get a glimpse of the fascinating life of geisha.
Day 7: Kyoto - free day
There is much to see in Kyoto and today has been set aside as a free day for you to enjoy Kyoto in your own way.
Discover the skill of artisans in silk kimono and pottery workshops, admire Zen gardens, or check out vibrant Kyoto food scenes at markets. Why not trying a cooking lesson or tea ceremony while you are in Kyoto? Choice is endless. You will have plenty of information to help you get to see your selections.
Day 8: Hiroshima & the iconic Miyajima Island
In the morning you will visit the Peace Memorial Park and the A-bomb Museum in Hiroshima, and then on to the island of Miyajima, one of the top scenic spots in Japan. Famous for the floating gate (torii), it is definitely the sight that leaves you with ever lasting impressions of its spectacular landscape, stacks of history and atmosphere.
Day 9: Osaka - a Vibrant Commercial Centre
After enjoying more time in Miyajima including some free time to stroll the backstreets of this sacred island, you will travel once again on Shinkansen to our final destination Osaka. Osaka is Japan’s third largest city and is a vibrant commercial centre of western Japan. Upon arrival you will visit a famous entertainment district of Dotonbori under the larger-than-life neon signs.
Day 10: Osaka
On the last day of the tour, you will have a morning guided tour of Osaka including a Osaka’s icon, Osaka Castle. Osaka is a perfect city to complete our somewhat food-focused journey as it is known as a city of ‘Kuidaore’ or ruining oneself financially by one’s extravagance in food (hopefully you don’t!).
Day 11: Goodbye
This morning you will check-out hotel after breakfast and the trip concludes. Using your JR rail pass you can connect with your flight out of Kansai International airport (about 1 hour from Osaka) or return to Tokyo on the bullet train to fly home.
The itinerary is indicative only. Actual activities may differ.
- 10 nights accommodation (including nights in traditional inns)
- Most meals – 10 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 8 dinners
- All local transport (train, bus and taxi) including a Japan Rail Pass
- Pre-loaded Suica card
- Locally licensed English speaking tour guides
- Cultural activities and entry fees included in itinerary
- Luggage transfers (one suitcase per person)
Does not include:
- International airfare
- Travel insurance
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Tips and gratuities (not routinely expected in Japan)