2019 Cherry Blossom Tour - Northern Japan
Cherry blossom arrives later in northern Japan, however, it is well worth the wait. This trip to 2019 Northern Japan is a chance to see this most exquisite part of Japan.
Everyone knows one of the best seasons to visit Japan is at cherry blossom time. What they don’t know is the best-kept secret, it is in northern Japan in spring is the best of the best.
This 2019 Cherry Blossom Tour – Northern Japan will take you to Tohoku (northern Honshu) and Hokkaido, a region less visited by overseas visitors. You will experience the unspoiled natural beauty of the region, the warm hospitality of Tohoku people, great local food and sake, all in a more relaxed environment. This tour is also ideal for repeat visitors to Japan who have been to the other (southern) cities of Japan.
Yet for first timers, this tour offers the best cherry blossom and authentic Japan. Why not begin your trip to Japan with this group tour and add the traditionally visited places like Kyoto after the tour?
Places visited: Tokyo, Nikko, Sendai, Matsushima, Kakunodate, Hirosaki, Hakodate and Sapporo
Group size: Min 6, Max 8
Transport: Train, public bus, private mini van and taxi
Accommodation: Average 4 star hotels and equivalent Japanese style inns (with futon bed)
Fitness level: Moderate (please refer to FAQ)
UNESCO World Heritage listed site of Nikko
Hand crafted cherry blossom bark goods
Matsushima, one of Japan's three most beautiful natural landscapes
Hidden jewel of Hirosaki
Canal city of Otaru
Character filled cites of Hakodate and Sapporo
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome to your 2019 Cherry Blossom Tour – Northern Japan. Today members of your group will be arriving from all over the world. You will be welcomed by a Journey to the East guide at the International Airport on your arrival in Tokyo. You will be transferred to your hotel in Tokyo by airport bus or train.
Day 2: Old & New Tokyo
Today’s guided tour will show you “old” and “new” Tokyo. There are so many things to see in Tokyo, and we endeavour to show you the backstreets of Tokyo suburbs such as Asakusa and Marunouchi and everyday life there. You will be amazed at what you discover.
Day 3: Nikko – the UNESCO World Heritage listed site
Nikko’s history goes back to the 8th century. Walking through an avenue, framed by giant cedar trees leading to the shrine gate, you cannot help transcending into this solemn and serene world. Tonight, you will experience traditional Japanese hospitality at a ryokan and try an onsen (mineral hot spring) spa. Dinner is a masterfully presented Kaiseki dinner at your ryokan and experience sleeping on futon.
Day 4: Nikko to Matsushima
On the bullet train, you head for Matsushima via Sendai. Matsushima is said to be the most beautiful landscape spot in Japan. Our stay in Matsushima will allow you to admire the beautiful views both in day and at night. The images of the cherry blossom in front of the bay are sure to stay in your memory for long time to come.
Day 5: Matsushima
Your guided tour today will include a cruise on the the bay with all its pine tree clad islands. We sit in a traditional tea house looking back across the bay drinking Japanese tea as we ponder our cruise.
Day 6: Kakunodate - Little Kyoto of Tohoku
On board shinkansen again, today you will head to Kakunodate. The well-preserved samurai residence district will take you on a time trip. The samurais brought craftsmen and merchants in to the area when they first settled here. You will see the descendants of the highly skilled craftsmen making very high quality crafts such as cherry bark timber-ware and pottery.
Day 7: Kakunodate
Our tour today will continue at a leisurely pace here in Kakunodate arguably some of the best cherry blossom in the whole of Japan. The afternoon is free to wander through this historic town of Kakunodate at your own pace.
Day 8: Hirosaki
Hirosaki developed as a castle city. Apart from being one of the region’s most culturally rich cities its literally thousands of cherry blossom trees make it stand out at this time of the year. We will visit the Hirosaki Castle and enjoy the local music performance at night.
Day 9: Hakodate
This morning we leave the main Island of Japan (Honshu) on the bullet train under the sea to Hokkaido and the city of Hakodate. The fascinating city has a very ‘foreign’ almost European feel to it. You will see the remains of Japan’s first star shaped, Western style citadel and the masses of cherry blossom trees. In the evening, we will enjoy a fabulous view across the city and out to sea from the restaurant.
Day 10: Hakodate
The diversity of Hakodate becomes more obvious as you spot a Russian Orthodox church next to a Catholic Church near an Episcopal Church across the road from Japan’s first concrete temple. The heritage buildings and view such as the red brick warehouses standing out of the beautiful harbour views are exquisite.
Day 11: Sapporo
We skirt Uchiura Bay on the express train and proceed to our final destination – Sapporo. The newest capital city in Japan is located where there were only a handfull of people in the mid 1800's. In spring, you should look out for the fresh new asparagus and prawns
We will walk through the wide 1.5 km long Odori Park that is right in the middle of the city. This famous park is where the Sapporo Snow Festival is held in February. However, in spring the masses of flowers in well manicured gardens make it hard to imagine the amount of snow that was here just a short time ago.
Day 12: Otaru
Today we take a short train ride to the picturesque port city of Otaru. The canal that runs through the city is flanked by converted warehouses with cafes, restaurants, and a very special boutique brewery and more. The city is famous for its glass works and sake distilleries. We return to Sapporo and tonight and visit the famous Sapporo Beer Museum where you can get a glass of beer to quench your thirst. We gather tonight for a farewell dinner with our new friends and chat about our holiday in Hokkaido.
Day 13: Goodbye
After the breakfast your 2019 Cherry Blossom Tour – Northern Japan concludes. Your options will include staying on in Hokkaido a little longer, return to Tokyo by shinkansen (and exploring southern Japan) or flying directly to Narita Airport for your outbound flight.
The itinerary is indicative only. Actual activities may differ.
- 12 nights accommodation (including 4 nights in traditional inns)
- 12 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 8 dinners as per itinerary
- Transport (train, bus and private coach) including a Japan Rail Pass as per itinerary
- Pre-loaded Suica card (for local trains)
- Locally licensed English speaking tour guides
- Cultural activities and entry fees indicated in the itinerary
- Luggage transfers (one piece per person)
Does not include:
- International or domestic airfares
- Travel insurance
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Tips and gratuities (not routinely expected in Japan)
- Any items not explicitly include in the itinerary