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2019 Cherry Blossom Tour – Northern Japan

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.

Days Price Departure Availability
13 AU$6,950 17 April 2019 Fully booked
13 AU$6,950 24 April 2019 Fully booked

Tour Outline

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?

  • 17 April Tour
    Price: AU$6,950 per person twin share (single supplement AU$1,640)
    Tour Code: GSN-19a
    Start: Wednesday 17th April 2019 in Tokyo
    End: Monday 29th April 2019 in Sapporo
  • 24 April Tour
    Price: AU$6,950 per person twin share (single supplement AU$1,640)
    Tour Code: GSN-19b
    Start: Wednesday 24th April 2019 in Tokyo
    End: Monday 6th May 2019 in Sapporo

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)

Tour Highlights

Nikko-Toshoju-Temple_500x500
UNESCO World Heritage listed site of Nikko
Fine-cherry-tree-bark-work_500x500.
Hand crafted cherry blossom bark goods
Matsushima-2_500x500
Matsushima, one of Japan's three most beautiful natural landscapes
Hirosaki-Castle_500x500
Hidden jewel of Hirosaki
Otaru
Canal city of Otaru
Sapporo-city_500x500
Character filled cites of Hakodate and Sapporo

Itinerary

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.

Tokyo (The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon or similar)
No meals
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.

Tokyo (accommodation as above)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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.

Nikko (Nikko Senhinemonogatari  or similar)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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. 

Matsushima (Hotel Matsushima Taikanso or similar)
Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Matsushima (accommodation as above)
Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Overnight: Kakunodate (Tamachi Bukeyashiki Hotel or similar)
Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Overnight: Kakunodate (accommodation as above)
Breakfast
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.

Overnight: Hirosaki (Art Hotel Hirosaki City  or similar)
Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Overnight: Hakodate
Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Overnight: Hakodate (Hakodate Kokusai Hotel  or similar)
Breakfast, Lunch
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.

Overnight: Sapporo (Cross Hotel Sapporo or similar)
Breakfast
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.

Overnight: Sapporo (Accommodation as above)
Breakfast, Dinner
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.

Breakfast

The itinerary is indicative only. Actual activities may differ.

Inclusions

Includes:

  • 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