17 Day Japan Cherry Blossom Dreams Tour 2023
15 Days in Japan
Departs Tuesday, 14th March 2023 (Booking Closed)
Departs Wednesday, 29th March 2023
From $10,890 /person
twin share, Economy class package
A deluxe tour along the “golden route” in Cherry Blossom time. 15 days in Japan visiting vibrant Tokyo, majestic Mt. Fuji and scenic Lake Kawaguchi, the traditional capital Kyoto with its famous temples and gardens, the elegant White Heron Castle at Himeji, historic Hiroshima, and the floating shrine of Miyajima. Visit the historic Samurai residential district of Kanazawa and see one of Japan’s most beautifully designed gardens, Kenrokuen. Stroll through Kiso valley villages Tsumago and Magome with their well-preserved Edo period buildings and streets and stay the night in a traditional Japanese style guest house. Travel to Arita & Imari pottery villages and visit National Treasure and World Heritage sites.
Day 1 – Australia
21:45 Depart from Sydney by All Nippon Airways overnight flight NH880
Day 2 – Tokyo [No meals are arranged]
5:25am Upon group arrival at Tokyo Haneda airport, you will be met and greeted by your tour leader, and transfer to your hotel to check-in for 3 nights. Since your arrival is early morning, immediate check in is arranged for you to refresh and recover from the flight. The hotel is located close to Shinagawa Station, which is a great staging point for exploring Tokyo or getting to those famous Tokyo shopping areas by train. Meet at 1:00pm at the lobby for a stroll through Meiji shrine and Harajuku.
Early Check in is Arranged – Accommodation: Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa or similar for 3 nights
Day 3 – Tokyo [B, D]
We begin our first day in Tokyo with a sightseeing tour, including panoramic views of Tokyo from The Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo’s iconic 634 m high tower, a visit to the famous Asakusa Buddhist temple Sensoji well known for the large red lantern at the Kaminari mon (Gate of Thunder and Lightning) and strolling down the colourful Nakamise shopping arcade, lined with tiny stalls and thronging with enchanted shoppers and temple visitors. We will head for Meiji shrine and the tree lined streets of Omotesandou, famous for its art and high fashion inspired stores. Mid-afternoon we return to our hotel. This evening, get to know your fellow travellers a little more as you chat about the day’s events at our welcome dinner.
Day 4 Tokyo – Mt. Fuji/Hakone – Tokyo [B,L]
This morning we travel to Lake Kawaguchi, in the Mount Fuji National Park. Mount Fuji holds a special place in the hearts of Japanese people. Lake Kawaguchi is one of the five lakes surrounding the foot of Mount. We will drive up Mt Fuji as far as we can during spring, to what is known as the 5th station, some 2300 meters above sea level. Late afternoon, we travel back to Tokyo
Day 5 Tokyo – Kiso Valley/Magome & Tsumago [B,L,D]
This morning we leave the metropolis of Tokyo and travel to the tranquil Kiso Valley with its quaint historical post towns, Magome & Tsumago, where cars are banned and signs of modernity such as power lines are hidden to maintain the old-style ambience. Kiso is surrounded by Japan’s foremost high mountains, the Ontake mountain range to the west and the Central Alps to the east. Prior to the Edo period, Kiso also prospered as a key junction for transportation and as a production area of Japanese cypress, the main building material for shrines and temples. Deep mountain gorges and clear streams have been fostering Japanese cypress plantations for over 300 years.
The post towns also used to offer lodging for weary travelers and merchants on the trail from Osaka to Tokyo. Traditions and cultures in Tsumago have changed little and the streetscape of the old highroad has been largely preserved. A stroll through the streets evokes an image of a simpler life, far removed from the hustle and bustle of modern Tokyo. After soaking up the atmosphere we stay the night, much like the travellers of old would have done, in a traditional Japanese style guest house.
Accommodation: Japanese Style Guest House for 1 night
Day 6 Kiso Valley – Takayama – Kanazawa [B,L]
This morning we visit the nearby historic town of Takayama. Once a castle town whose isolation protected it to some extent from the Shoguns, the town has worked hard to retain its links with the feudal past in the “Old Town” district. There we will walk through ancient streets lined with tiny shops and eating places, much as they were hundreds of years ago. We will visit Takayama’s famous morning market, where we get to mingle with the locals as they stroll through stalls selling foods, produce and bric-a-brac. After a lunch of famous Hida wagyu beef, we will travel on to Kanazawa.
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Kanazawa Sky or similar for 2 nights
Day 7 Kanazawa [B,D]
We start the day with a morning tour of Kanazawa. Enjoy sightseeing of the Nagamachi Samurai District located at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle. Well preserved streets and buildings reflect life during Samurai times, before Japan was opened to the western world. We will visit Nomura House, a restored samurai residence displaying the lifestyle and artefacts of the era when samurai were prosperous. We will also visit the Geisha district Higashi Chayagai and Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan’s three most famous gardens. The Afternoon is free at leisure. Dinner is organised this evening.
Day 8 Kanazawa – Kyoto [B]
This morning we travel by express train to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan and home to the finest art, crafts and culture in the country. In the afternoon, we visit Fushimi Inari a Shinto shrine, famous now for its vermillion torii gates. There we will explore the array of almost 10,000 vermilion torii gates wending their way through the hills behind Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. We will also enjoy a walking tour of Kiyomizu Temple, nestled in a mountain to the east and overlooking the city. Part of the fun of visiting Kiyomizu temple is the approach to the temple along the steep and busy lanes of Kyoto’s old atmospheric Higashiyama district, as you share the winding and narrow lanes with pilgrims and local Japanese tourists. After exploring the hundreds of little shops lining the road up to the temple and the surrounding neighborhood. We then head back down to the city, to visit historic Nishiki Arcade where you can experience the sights, sounds and smells of this market whose owners have been provedores to Kyoto’s leading restaurants for centuries. Check in at our hotel in Kyoto for 2 nights
Accommodation: Miyako Hotel Hachijo or similar for 2 nights
Day 9 Kyoto [B]
Kyoto is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Cultural sites and today, as we take a Kyoto sightseeing tour, we visit two of the most interesting – the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and Nijo Castle. Kinkakuji is a beautiful Zen temple once the retirement villa of the Shogun Ashikaga in northern Kyoto, and whose top two storeys are completely covered in gold leaf. Nijo castle (built in 1603) was the Kyoto residence of the first Shogun, Tokugawa, and is one of the best surviving examples of feudal Japan’s castle palace architecture. In the afternoon we also visit Sagano – Arashiyama, famous for its iconic bamboo groves and specialty handcraft shops including pottery, Japanese rice paper, bamboo craft and handmade clay bell shops
Day 10 Kyoto – Himeji Castle – Hiroshima [B]
Today, we travel to Himeji by Bullet Train and then on to Hiroshima. We will visit the famous majestic Himeji Castle (also known as the White Heron Castle) considered Japan’s most spectacular. Unlike many other Japanese castles, Himeji Castle was never destroyed in wars or fires and survives in its original form. It is both a national treasure and a world heritage site. We then travel on to Hiroshima and check in at our hotel for 2 nights. After enjoying the picturesque castle grounds and the impressive castle itself, we board the Bullet Train to Hiroshima where we transfer to our hotel and check in for 2 nights.
Accommodation: Hiroshima Granvia Hotel or similar for 2 nights
Day 11 Hiroshima – Miyajima Island – Hiroshima [B,D]
Today, we will visit nearby Miyajima Island in The Inland Sea, to enjoy sightseeing around the Sacred Goddess Miyajima Floating Shrine and the world-famous Torii gate. Miyajima island has been held sacred since ancient times prompting worshipers to build Itsukushima Shrine, now a World Heritage Site. The shrine itself is built over the bay on pylons, to give the impression of floating on water. The shrine and “floating” Torii gate are together considered one of Japan’s top 3 attractions.
Day 12 Hiroshima – Fukuoka/Hakata [B]
Morning at leisure. Afternoon, we visit the Peace Memorial Park today and the poignant Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Hiroshima is recognized by people from around the world as a symbol of peace and hope. This is not only for its familiarity as the site of the atomic bombing, but because people worldwide value its reconstruction from ruins, and recognize Hiroshima as the city that continues to aspire for nuclear weapons abolition and lasting world peace. The museum has displays on life before and after the atomic bomb and is dedicated to those who lost their lives or loved ones to the bomb. After exploring the museum and park. Late afternoon, we hop on a train for Hakata /Fukuoka where we stay for 2 nights
Accommodation: JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Hakata Central or similar for 2 nights
Day 13 Fukuoka – Imari Pottery Villages – Fukuoka [B,L]
We set out today to travel to Arita & Imari pottery villages. Centuries ago, a potter from Korea discovered a fine-quality white clay (kaolin) nearby in Mt. Arita-Izumi-yama leading to the development of the pottery village, Arita. Now the cradle of porcelain manufacturing in Japan, it is a quiet and peaceful town hidden away in the mountains. We will visit a master potter’s workshop for an insight into this delicate craft. While in the village will enjoy an exquisite traditional Japanese lunch.
Day 14 Fukuoka – Osaka [B,D]
This morning, we travel by Bullet Train to Osaka. Now the 3rd largest city in Japan, Osaka has a long history as a mercantile centre stretching back thousands of years and is a vibrant, brash city which has become known as a culinary wonderland. We will be staying tonight in the heart of Osaka and this evening we will take an evening walk, escorted by our guide, around the coulourful and famous Dotonbori area and have the opportunity to try delicious local street foods. Dotonbori is the biggest “downtown” precinct in Osaka. Advertising displays such as a neon sculpture of a famous sweet, huge moving crab and octopus-shaped boards, moving dolls and boards shaped like animals, etc. battle for the attention of passers-by. Indulge yourself and sample some of Osaka’s amazing street foods, such as Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki and Kushikatsu.
Accommodation: Hotel Nikko Osaka or similar
Day 15 Osaka – Tokyo [B, Farewell Dinner]
Today, we travel back to Tokyo by Bullet Train. Upon arrival we make our way to the luxury Keio Plaza Tokyo Hotel where we stay for our last night in Japan. The remainder of the day is free to either relax or explore the bustling local Shinjuku area. Your tour coordinator will help you organise your activities. We regroup this evening to reminisce and celebrate, Tokyo-style, with a farewell dinner at a local Izakaya.
Accommodation: Keio Plaza Hotel or similar
Day 16 Tokyo – Airport [B]
Today is our last day in Japan, so you might wish to do some last-minute souvenir hunting or an optional half day activity. Tour concludes 18:00. We check out from the hotel at 12:00 and the afternoon is free at leisure. We leave the hotel early evening to transfer to Haneda Airport, departing Haneda Airport by All Nippon Airways’ flight NH879 at 22:20
Day 17 Arrive Home
- Fully escorted tour by expert guides
- International flight by All Nippon Airways
- Return airport transfers in Tokyo
- Overnight large suitcase delivery service.
- Welcome and Farewell Dinners
- All transfers and admissions for sightseeing as specified
- Deluxe quality accommodation or best available quality in the region.
- Total of 24 meals included – Breakfast (14), Lunch (4), Dinner (6).
- Your guide to assist when ordering outside these meals.
Tue 14 MARCH
Wed 29 MARCH
*Prices are twin share/person and are for Sydney departures. Price includes airport transfers in Japan. Single Supplement options are available.
*plus $180 / ticket and subject to change.
Departing from other cities? Check with JANESCO
- Travel insurance (highly recommended)
- Beverages during meals.
Dreams Series Tours
Enjoy the cool Autumn ambiance and gentle Spring air as you wander through rustic villages, majestic castles and ancient temples. Wonder at the majesty of Mt Fuji and the beautiful Cherry Blossom trees. Follow the Golden Route and visit places off the beaten track, from the Northern island of Hokkaido to the Southern islands of Okinawa and Kyushu.
Our Dreams Series of tours are fully escorted and offer a deluxe service that’s great value for money.Book Online
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