Cherry Blossom Festival | Japan
FROM: CAD $7,655 pp
Cherry Blossom Festival - 13 days map

ESCORTED GROUP TOUR: See Japan in 2024! Springtime is one of the best times to visit Japan, when cherry blossom trees come out in full bloom across the nation. Take in the highlights of Japan, visit some of the country’s most beautiful gardens, witness the famous Spring Geisha Dances in Kyoto, enjoy a traditional tea ceremony and sample the crop (if you dare) at Japan's oldest Wasabi Farm.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels
Reviews

Trip Highlights

Tokyo - Cruise along the Sumida River, see the cherry blossoms in bloom in Hama-rikyu Gardens, Sensoji Temple, Meiji Shrine and Shibuya Crossing
Daio Wasabi Farm - Find out how wasabi is grown, enjoy the spectacular scenery and perhaps even try some wasabi flavoured ice cream!
Kanazawa - See the cherry blossoms at Kenrokuen - one of the best and most beautiful feudal lords' gardens in Japan
Kyoto - Explore the UNESCO Listed ancient and cultural capital of Japan. Visit Nijo Castle, Sanjusagen-do Temple and Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
Hiroshima - Learn about the horrific hiroshima bombing, see the UNESCO Listed A-Bomb Dome and visit the beautiful Peace Park and moving Peace Memorial Museum,
Matsumoto - Visit Matsumoto Castle, one of the few original and complete castles in Japan, giving a real sense of ancient Japan and how the Samurai used to live and fight
Takayama - Discover this enchanting ancient town famed for its narrow streets lined with inns, tea houses, shops and merchant houses. Enjoy a tea ceremony and a visit to a traditional Hida village on the outskirts of town
Stay in a traditional ryokan - Sample Japanese hospitality, bathing in natural hot springs and wear a Yukata (casual Kimono)
Kyoto - Enjoy a walking tour of Gion Geisha District and watch the beautiful Miyako Odari (Spring Geisha Dances)
Hakone - Marvel at the incredible views of the snow-capped Mt Fuji. Explore the beautiful region and travelling aboard mountain buses, switchback railways, boats and cable cars

Included

Breakfast daily and 5 dinners
Airport arrival transfer on day 1 (by train) from Narita or Haneda International Airport
Day trip to Hiroshima with visits to Peace Park, Peace Park Museum, various memorials and the A-Bomb site
Fuji Hakone National Park, with lake cruise, cable cars, ropeways and switchback trains
Ticket to the Spring Geisha Dances (Miyako Odori performance and guided tour of the Gion Geisha District in Kyoto
Entrance fees to all included sightseeing
Maximum group size: 18 persons
12 nights 3 - 4 star accommodation (including a traditional Ryokan stay)
Guided sightseeing and walking tours in Tokyo, Matsumoto, Kanazawa, Takayama, Kyoto and Hakone
All relevant transfers and transportation - private buses and trains (including Tokyo Transport Pass and 2 day Hakone Free Pass)
Sumida River boat cruise in Tokyo
Escorted by a licensed English speaking Japanese tour guide
Baggage forwarding service from Kyoto to Hakone (one bag per person)
Train back to Narita or Haneda International Airport on day 13 (unescorted)

Not Included

International flights and visa
Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3-5 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture

Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Japan

Welcome to Japan! Upon arrival to Tokyo you will be met at either Narita or Haneda International Airport by your guide or a representative and will travel togerther by train into the heart of the city and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend at your leisure. We recommend arriving before 3pm on this day, as there will be a Welcome Meeting at 6pm, where you will meet your guide and the rest of the group.
Overnight: Tokyo

Day 2

Tokyo sightseeing - Meiji Shrine, Ginza, Shibuya & river cruise

Today we embark on a full day tour of the city by public transport. We start with a cruise down the Sumida River, followed by a walk through Hamarikyu tei-en, a tranquil garden that is just a few minutes’ walk from the lively Ginza Shopping District, where we will be able to see cherry blossom trees. Later, we visit the revered Meiji Shrine where the emperor Meiji and his wife are enshrined.

The last stop of the day is the Shibuya Crossing - regarded as one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in the world. It is said that up to a 1000 people converge onto the intersection with every light change. Known as 'the scramble' we'll give it a go then you can purchase a coffee at the second floor Starbucks located directly above and leisurely take in the spectacle from our vantage point. The remainder of the afternoon offers free time for you to further discover this exciting city independently, before our group welcome dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
Overnight: Tokyo  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3

Beautiful Matsumoto Castle

Tokyo – Matsumoto. This morning we take a private coach to Matsumoto, and upon arrival visit the incredibly beautiful Matsumoto Castle, which is one of the original and most complete of the handful of medieval castles that exist in Japan today. The towering black and white structure holds some 400 years of history, is a National Treasure (1 of only 4 castles) and is the most iconic landmark in the city. The reward for climbing the narrow stairs to the top are the stunning views of the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto City and the swans circling in the moat below, that can be seen from the slim wooden windows (used for archers and gunmen). Tonight, we have the unique experience of enjoying a night at a traditional Japanese ryokan.
Overnight: Matsumoto  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4

Takayama - charming Hida Folk Village

Matsumoto – Takayama. From Matsumoto we take a private coach to Takayama, a charming town in the heart of the Hida Mountains. Established in the 16th century as the castle town of the Kanamori family, the town is famous throughout Japan for its old town area of narrow streets filled with well-preserved inns, tea houses, shops and merchants houses with latticed windows and overhanging roofs that are characteristic of the Edo period.

On our way to Takayama we will stop at the picturesque Daio Wasabi Farm, one of Japan’s largest wasabi farms. There is free time to take in the beautiful gardens and fields. The shop on site offers many different options to try of this unique product - wasabi chocolate, wasabi beer, wasabi ice-cream, wasabi juice and much more. Upon arrival to Takayama and we’ll drive to the outskirts of the town to visit the fascinating Hida Folk Village, an outdoor museum comprising 30 or so traditional farmhouses from around the Hida region, re-built here on the hillside overlooking the town.
Overnight: Takayama  |  Breakfast

Day 5

Takayama's Old Quarter

This morning we visit the town's market stalls, overflowing with fresh produce brought in daily from the surrounding fields before experiencing a traditional tea ceremony. An elevated art form in Japan, known in Japanese as sado ('the way of the tea')

Later, we explore Takayama’s Old Quarter, where you can enjoy free time to wander around the shops and perhaps visit a sake distillery to sample the town’s famous sake. Here you can also enjoy the 'onsen' or public hot springs, well known for their therapeutic benefits to body and mind!

During your stay in Takayama we recommend you sample some of Takayama’s delicious Hida beef at one of the many restaurants or beef burger cafes.
Overnight: Takayama  |  Breakfast

Day 6

Cherry blossoms of Kanazawa

Takayama – Kanazawa. Today we take a private coach to Kanazawa. First, we will head to the Nagamachi District located at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle – known for its old samurai houses. Upon arrival we will visit the Nomura Family Samurai House. When it hits lunch time, we will explore the lively Omicho Ichiba Market, a food market and restaurant area.

Afterwards, we will visit one of Japan’s most impressive gardens, Kenroku-en, located opposite Kanazawa Castle. Once part of the feudal lord's garden, Kenroku-en is regarded as one of the best places to see the country's famous cherry blossoms - hopefully in full bloom. In Kanazawa, the cherry blossom trees are due to bloom in late March/early April. When in bloom, these delicate soft pink flowers can be seen lining the streets and filling the parks and gardens all over the city. The remainder of the day is at your own leisure.
Overnight: Kanazawa  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Kyoto - beauty, art & culture

Kanazawa – Kyoto. With our luggage in tow, this morning we’ll take two trains to reach Kyoto, Japan’s ancient and cultural capital, where we will spend the next three nights. As one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia, Kyoto is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, over 1,600 Buddhist Temples and 400 Shinto Shrines.

Upon arrival we tour Sanjusagen-do Temple, famous for its statues of Kannon. The one thousand life-size statues of Kannon are made of Japanese cypress and are completely covered in gold-leaf. Standing in rows of 10 and each hand carved, so that no two are alike. Our last stop today is the enchanted Fushimi Inari Shrine with its torii gates and picturesque tunnels.

Please note, during our time in Kyoto we will be travelling only via local transport. It will be busy at this time of year, but that's all part of the experience!
Overnight: Kyoto  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Hiroshima - Peace Park, Museum & Memorials

Kyoto - Hiroshima - Kyoto. This morning we depart for a full day sightseeing excursion to Hiroshima, taking one of the fastest trains in Japan (the Nozomi Shinkansen) which reaches speeds of up to 300km on the route. Arriving to Hiroshima we visit the iconic A-Bomb Dome - one of the very few buildings left standing after the blast, the Peace Park and Peace Park Museum, which are a sobering reminder of Hiroshima’s devastating past. We return by train to Kyoto, arriving just after sundown.
Overnight: Kyoto  |  Breakfast

Day 9

Kyoto's best temples, Miyako Odari - Spring Geisha dances

This morning we visit the stunning Zen Buddhist Temple of Kinkaku-ji, known as the Golden Temple which forms part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto's World Heritage Site. The top floor of the two-story structure is completely covered in gold and sits beside a small lake where its beauty is reflected in the calm waters. After, we embark on a guided walking tour of UNESCO Listed Nijo Castle, which was built by the first Tokugawa Shogunate in 1603, the exquisite castle is a wonderful example of Momoyama architecture.

Later today we make our way to Gion for a guided walk through the famed Geisha District. This evening, we have tickets to witness the Miyako Odari geisha dances at the Minami-za Theatre. Dinner tonight is at SODOH Higashiyama - keep a look out, as it's very possible to see Maiko (apprentice Geisha) dressed in beautiful kimono walking to and from their lessons.

Luggage Forwarding: Please note, you will need to pack an overnight bag as our main luggage will be couriered from Kyoto to Hakone and it will arrive tomorrow.
Overnight: Kyoto  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Days 10-11

Hakone National Park & Mt Fuji

Kyoto - Hakone National Park. Today a bullet train takes us to Fuji Hakone National Park on day 10, where we will spend the next two days exploring the local area. Arriving at our hotel after lunch, the afternoon is at leisure.

During our stay, we have access to unlimited travel on nearly all the local modes of transport thanks to our Hakone Freepass Card - from mountain buses, trams and switchback rail, to lofty cable cars. We'll take a cruise across picturesque Lake Ashi to Moto-Hakone to visit the Shinto Shrine of Hakone-jinja, where we will hopefully be rewarded with the best views of Mt Fuji (on a clear day), we will also see the Red Torii Gate of Hakone. At our Hakone hotel we can also enjoy the relaxing experience of more hot springs.
Overnight: Hakone  |  Breakfast x 2, Dinner x 2

Day 12

Tokyo - Sensoji Temple District & free time

Hakone - Tokyo. We take a private coach back to Tokyo this morning and this time we will be staying in old-town Akakusa, a pretty district famous for its historic Sensoji Buddhist Temple and its abundance of interesting souvenir and craft stalls. After a guided visit of Senso-ji Temple, the rest of the afternoon offers the opportunity to do any last-minute sightseeing or shopping. You may also wish to head up to the Tokyo Sky Tree for some final dazzling views of the city.
Overnight: Tokyo  |  Breakfast

Day 13

Goodbye Japan...

Today our holiday concludes. Travel (unescorted) back to Narita or Haneda International Airports by train. We offer post-tour accommodation for those interested in staying in Tokyo a little longer, please enquire.
Breakfast

Prices & Dates

Departure dates marked with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departures are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to those who don’t have anyone to share a room with or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.

Guaranteed Departure
2025
Twin Share
Single Room
CAD $9,115
CAD $10,345
CAD $9,115
CAD $10,345

Extra Prices

Twin Share
Single Room
Pre Tour Accommodation
CAD $225
CAD $285
Post Tour Accommodation
CAD $195
CAD $255

Hotels

The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi, Tokyo

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi is a stylish hotel that is connected to Tokyo Station. Guests can enjoy rooms with modern interior, a fridge, private bathroom and flatscreen TV. For extra comfort, why not order room service, check out the restaurant or enjoy a massage? Guests will definitely want to visit the 27th floor TENQOO restaurant and bar, as it features beautiful views of the bustling city of Tokyo.

Asakusa View Hotel, Tokyo

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Set in an Art Deco style, the Asakusa View Hotel offers modern accommodation in an ideal location. Guest rooms are brightly lit and feature impressive floor to ceiling windows. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available and for a surcharge guests can use the pool. The hotel also has a number of good dining options including Cafe de Kapitein on the ground floor and Karuta on the 6th – offering a great selection of Japanese cuisine. The hotel is also directly connected to Asakusa Station – so getting to and from here couldn’t be easier!

Nishikinoyu Jimotoya, Matsumoto

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: Japanese Ryokan

Nishikinoyu Jimotoya is a tradional Japanese Inn known as a ryokan located in the Asama Onsen area near Matsumoto. The property features indoor and outdoor hot spring baths and Japanese-style rooms which are equipped with tatami (woven-straw) floor and traditional futton mattresses as well as a private bathroom and seating area. There is a bar lounge on site as well as a Japanese garden to enjoy during your stay.

Hotel Around Takayama, Takayama

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Hotel around Takayama is situated just 700m from the JR Takayama station making it an ideal location for exploring the city, with Fuji Folk Museum a 13 minute walk away and Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village approx 2.9km away. Guest rooms are calm in design and provide air conditioning and private bathrooms. Hotel around Takayama also features a hot spring bath, a 24-hour front desk and free WiFi throughout the property.

Mystays Premieru Kanazawa, Kanazawa

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

With a short walk to Kanazawa Station, large comfortable rooms, well-equipped gym and complimentary Wifi, this hotel provides an enjoyable stay after a day of sightseeing Kanazawa's many sites. Included in your rooms are tea and coffee making facilities, a small fridge, private bathroom, air-conditioning, heating and a large flat screen TV. The hotel has an onsite café that offers both Japanese and western meals and a restaurant that offers tasty Hokuriku cuisine.

ibis Styles Kyoto Station, Kyoto

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Conveniently located just by JR Kyoto Station, the ibis Styles Kyoto Station offers clean and comfortable rooms and free WiFi. Each room at the hotel features a fridge, flatscreen TV, electric kettle and private bathroom. The restaurant offers a Japanese and Western buffet breakfast each morning. The hotel is within walking distance of various temples, why not explore the cultural wonders of Japan before retreating to the comfort of the ibis Styles?

Yumoto Fujiya Hotel, Hakone

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Prepare for relaxation when you stay at Yumoto Fujiya Hotel. This hotel offers hot-spring baths, reflexology treatments and 4 dining options. You can even take advantage of the on-site sauna or private onsen. Each room includes a TV, WiFi, private bathroom, air-conditioning, seating area and bathtub. The outdoor pool is open during the summer - but why not check out other activities at the hotel - like karaoke or mahjong?

Hakone Kowakien Hotel, Hakone

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Please note: This hotel is not open yet and is scheduled to open in July 2023. Hakone Kowakien Hotel is a modern hotel offering guests a seasonal pool, garden, shared lounge, terrace, sauna and hot spring baths. With 2 large public onsen, and 7 private onsen available, you'll be in a world of relaxation. All guest rooms come equipped with air-conditioning, a desk, safety deposit box and flatscreen TV. Curb your appetite at the on-site restaurant, which offers daily buffet breakfast.

Reviews

Travellers have rated this tour as 4.71 out of 5 based on 14 recent reviews

1  |  2

Great tour, saw everything stated on allotted itinerary, guide Mewa was very good, helpful and enjoyed her history narratives whilst travelling.

• Submitted 09 Apr 2019
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'Happy' (her name in Japanese means happy) our tour guide was incredible. She made this trip interactive, personal and enjoyable. Excellent execution of knowledge and skills. Thank you.

• Submitted 17 Apr 2018
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We did this tour for our honeymoon and it was fantastic! I'd recommend this trip to everyone. Our tour guide made Japan extra special. She went above and beyond to find information and recommendations for anything not included on the tour. She was polite, accomodating, very informative and was one of the main reasons our experience was so very special. We look forward to visiting Japan again and would love to have 'Happy' as our host again.

• Submitted 17 Apr 2018
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Our guide 'Happy' was a very organised, helpful, caring and joyful guide for our group. She helped structure our days and gave us advance planning of the following day. She worked out routes to avoid the crowds and also best places to eat etc. She made our tour a success.

• Submitted 11 Apr 2018
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After the mix-up with my arrival transportation to my hotel, everything was wonderful. 'Happy' was there for my welcome meeting and had everything under control from then on. I would do any tour in a heartbeat if I knew she was my tour guide!

• Submitted 09 Apr 2018
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Our guide Mari was excellent, nothing was too much trouble.

• Submitted 25 Apr 2017
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Overall, the holiday was fantastic with a packed itinerary and plenty of options. Hotels were excellent and the places we visited superb. The group were great too.

• Submitted 24 Apr 2017
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Thank you so much! It was a very memorable and positive experience for us (and my 60th birthday!). Our guide Mark was fantastic and we had some great conversations with him about Japan and he was able to tell us so much. We enjoyed his company for the whole tour. Mark was very accommodating and helped us with any queries we had. He explained timing, being ready in the mornings, meeting times, dinner arrangements etc very clearly. The 14 days was well paced and we did 4 to 5 hours of walking nearly every day (either with Mark or on our own).

Just some feedback for you. Timing for the Cherry Blossoms everywhere we went was spot on! Absolutely phenomenal! By the time we returned to Tokyo on Day 13, there weren't many left flowering so glad we were there when we did.

Shinjuku Hotel - 3 nights. great location, lovely modern room, nice breakfast options. Lovely first night dinner with the rest of the group to get to meet them.

Sending our big luggage on is a great idea (we've experienced this before), however a couple of people on our tour didn't quite understand the concept of having overnight bags (while being away from the main suitcase) and they were not well prepared.

Matsumoto was fantastic. Hotel room was only just okay. Clean but dated

Takayama Ryokan was awesome! Dinner was fabulous. Also the breakfast

Just a suggestion here though. 1 x traditional dinner in the ryokan is enough. 2nd included dinner was a repeat, we would have liked to have experienced a local restaurant.

Kanazawa hotel - location was excellent however, the hotel rooms were not up to the standard.

Kyoto and Gion district - lovely. The Miyako Odori was amazing. Included dinner at Mimiu was awesome. Hakone & the Fujiya Hotel!! What a fantastic time we had there with all the history! And the private onsen was a highlight.

We didn't get to see Mt Fuji while in Hakone because it was so misty but from our View Hotel in Tokyo we were very fortunate to see her on a clear day!

Also another suggestion - include a tour to the Skytree Tower. We did that on our last morning and had lunch there with so many choices. The food hall area was amazing.

Many highlights I haven't mentioned but the whole tour was fantastic! Mark was absolutely a delight and nothing was any trouble for him. Hoping to do another trip to Japan. We hear that November is an ideal time to go.

Jo & Warren Naseby

• Submitted 18 Apr 2017
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Mark Fujishige was fantastic and we had some great conversations with him about Japan and he was able to tell us so much. We enjoyed his company for the whole tour. Tour was well paced & loved the hotels.

• Submitted 01 Dec 2016
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The tour was, in a word - Fantastic. Great hotels and in great locations. Also the nights stayed in each hotel was well thought out.

Tour content was excellent. Pace was fast but that is how we like it. Cant complain about anything.

• Submitted 01 Dec 2016
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1  |  2

At a Glance

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Tokyo
Ends
Tokyo
Departs
26 & 28 Mar 2024
Group Size
Min 4 / Max 18
Hotel Rating
3 & 4 star & traditional ryokans
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 12, Dinner: 5
Countries
Minimum Age
15 yrs, accompanied by an adult
Arr. Transfer
Yes
Dep. Transfer
Unescorted train departure
View of Matsumoto Castle from across the water
Beautiful, turquoise water surrounded by lush forest in Takayama
Stunning green lake surrounded by verdant vegetation in Kanazawa
Beautiful lake with a temple in the background in springtime in Kyoto
Hiroshima memorial, dedicated to those lost in the tragedy
Beautiful lake with a temple in the background in springtime in Kyoto
View of Miyajima from across the water in Hakone

Extra Tour Info

City skyline | Tokyo | Japan
Best Places to Visit
Places on our must-see list of any visit to Japan
Best Time to Visit menu image
Best Time to Visit
Information on climatic and weather conditions in Japan
Our comprehensive guide to the cherry blossom festival in Japan
Cherry Blossom Festival FAQ
A comprehensive guide
Picture of three geisha girls in Japan
Top 10 Experiences
Our picks for Japan and where best to sample these delights
Updated
21st June 2023

Great tour, saw everything stated on allotted itinerary, guide Mewa was very good, helpful and enjoyed her history narratives whilst travelling.

Deborah
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