14-Day Private Cherry Blossom Tour, Japan
Cherry blossom season in Japan is undoubtedly the most beautiful time of the year. This 14-Day Cherry Blossom Private Tour of Japan model itinerary includes all the must-see locations especially selected for cherry blossom viewing.
On this itinerary, you explore Japan’s most iconic sights in Tokyo and Kyoto, travel down to Hiroshima and the splendid island of Miyajima in the country’s western reaches. The tour also explores Japan’s west coast and central alpine regions, and visit the old samurai towns of Matsumoto and Kanazawa. Finally you will catch views of majestic Mt Fuji while soaking in an onsen spa.
For visitors who prefer comfortable travelling at a reasonable pace, this 14-Day Cherry Blossom Private Tour of Japan is a comprehensive introduction to Japan’s diverse landscapes as well as its classic sights and hidden treasures.
Important notes about our model itineraries:
Our model itineraries are developed to show viewers the ideas for an itinerary and price guide. The itineraries can be further customized, and the accommodation and guide time can be adjusted to suit you. The number of people in your group will affect the price, too. We will give you more firm quotation once we develop your personal itinerary.
Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo
Welcome to Japan! On arrival at one of Tokyo’s international airports, our escort will meet you and take you to your hotel in Tokyo.
Day 2: Guided tour of Tokyo
This morning you will meet your guide at your hotel lobby after breakfast and have a private guided tour of Tokyo. The day's program will be completely customised for your interests and preferences. You can visit one of many parks in Tokyo where cherry blossoms are at their peak, visit old part of Tokyo and learn their historical background, or explore the modern and quirky sides of this mega capital. Lunch and dinner are not included but we will make recommendations if you require.
Day 3: Guided tour of Kamakura
Today you will have an option of another guided day in Tokyo or a guided daytrip to the historic seaside town of Kamakura, just south of Tokyo’s sprawling metropolis, only one hour by train. Our guide will take you to a couple of the best temple gardens where you can see some classic examples of flowering cherry trees in full bloom. On the way back to the station, you can wander through Kamakura’s popular Komachi Street to check out its numerous craft shops and galleries showcasing some beautiful handmade wares. The day can be as slow or active as you like. After catching the train back to Tokyo, our suggestions for dinner tonight include izakaya, a casual pub-style eatery, popular amongst Japanese office workers.
Day 4: Guided tour of Hiroshima
Today you will hop onboard Japan’s famous shinkansen and journey down to the iconic sites of Hiroshima (4-5 hours, domestic flight is also available). On arriving in Hiroshima, you will meet our Hiroshima guide at the station and have a guided tour of the Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Museum. Despite its tragic past, present-day Hiroshima remains very welcoming and vibrant, characterised by wide boulevards and attractive leafy parks. Enjoy some of its characteristic cuisine such as Hiroshima style okonomiyaki. You can stay at one of the modern western style hotels in Hiroshima, a traditional ryokan on the island of Miyajima or one of these at each night of Day 4 and Day 5.
Day 5: Guided tour of Miyajima
This morning a short train and ferry ride take you to one of Japan’s top scenic sites – Miyajima. This sacred island is best known for the vermillion-red floating torii gate that sits in the sea in front of Itsukushima Shrine (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). You can have a guided tour of the shrine, which was originally constructed in 593 when the island was designated a sacred island to be inhabited only by the gods. In the afternoon stroll around Miyajima’s Buddhist temples or take the ropeway to the top of the island for breathtaking views of the Inland Sea. Today you have a choice of making it a day trip from Hiroshima continuing to stay at a modern western style hotel, or staying overnight on the island at a traditional style Japanese inn with kaiseki dinner and futon bedding on tatami mat room.
Day 6: Himeji
This morning you will travel by shinkansen to Kyoto, but make a stop along the way at the town of Himeji. Himeji Castle is ablaze with cherry blossoms in early April. Himeji Castle is located not too far from Shinkansen Himeji Station, and makes an ideal stop over on the way to Kyoto. When you arrive at Kyoto Station, take a 15-minute taxi to your hotel and check-in.
Day 7: Kyoto
Today you will have a full day guided tour of Kyoto (half day option available). Depending on the timing of your visit, we will select the best sites for your cherry blossom viewing as well as cultural sites. Popular sites include the vast Heian Jingu Shrine complex with its weeping cherry trees and the Path of Philosophy and its scenic canal lined by a breathtaking avenue of cherry trees. There are a variety of choices in terms of accommodation and restaurants in Kyoto. Please let us know of your preferences. If you are a group, why not try a private banquet with a maiko (apprentice geisha) to join you for dinner. It will be an unique opportunity to engage with her in person and learn more about this centuries-old art form and the life of a modern-day geisha.
Day 8: Arashiyama (Kyoto)
A guided day trip today is to Arashiyama and Sagano in the mountains to Kyoto’s west. It is most well-known for its lush bamboo groves, but also has sublime gardens, rural sceneries, rivers and ravines set against a stunning mountain backdrop. Here you can stroll around or take a ride on a rickshaw (a two-passenger wagon pulled by young men in traditional garb) and travel through groves of thick bamboo. A pause for lunch, why not try the classic Kyoto-style lunch of yudofu, freshly made from local tofu. On the way back to the hotel, you can stop at Kinkakuji Temple (Kyoto’s famed Golden Pavilion) to see the stunning three-storied pavilion covered in dazzling gold leaf. Private guide for 8 hours
Day 9: Kanazawa
Leaving Kyoto, you will head by express train to the city of Kanazawa on the Sea of Japan coast (just over 2 hours). With its historical heritage as a wealthy castle town, Kanazawa offers a huge array of cultural attractions. Beautifully preserved and small in scale, Kanazawa is best explored on foot. Upon arrival at Kanazawa Station, you will meet our Kanazawa guide and begin your guided tour of Kanazawa. Kanazawa is home to the sublime Kenrokuen Garden. We highly recommend you visit this garden today and appreciate some of its ancient flowering cherry trees. Kanazawa is also a food lover’s heaven. Kanazawa’s sushi is highly sought after, but other cuisines such as beef teppanyaki and modern fusion cuisines are also available.
Day 10: Shirakawago
This morning you will have an option of staying in Kanazawa and seeing the endless list of Kanazawa’s interesting sites or making a half day visit to nearby UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago by local coach. In Kanazawa we recommend strolling through the atmospheric streets of the Nagamachi district where samurai lords and their families once resided. The area is so well preserved, you can easily imagine walking along the street with a samurai. Also, there are many galleries for high quality traditional crafts such as lacquerware, gold leaf, silk kimono and potteries. Afternoon is your time to explore the city at your own pace. A cooking class or sake tasting is also highly recommended here.
Day 11: Matsumoto
Another train ride (2-3 hours) and you are in Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture, heartland of the Japan Alps. While in Matsumoto, Matsumoto’s castle is a top of must-see list. It is Japan’s oldest wooden castle and one of the nation’s five castles designated national treasures. The castle garden is home to a number of flowering cherry trees, which we hope will be in blossom during your visit. Matsumoto is also popular for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and galleries set amongst a stunning alpine setting. You can visit the Matsumoto City Museum of Art featuring the avant-garde works of internationally renowned artist Yayoi Kusama. Self-guided transfer and self-guided day in Matsumoto
Day 12: Kawaguchiko (Mt Fuji)
From Matsumoto you will travel on a scenic train to the town of Kawaguchiko, located in the Five Lake district in the foothills of Mt Fuji. Kawaguchiko offers some breathtaking views of the majestic Mt Fuji, and its lakes and springtime foliage only add to the natural beauty of the area. The visit to Itchiku Kubota Art Museum is a treat, where you see superb examples of kimono art using the centuries-old “shibori” tie-dyeing technique. Tonight we recommend you stay at a traditional Japanese inn, and have the chance to soak in a hot-spring onsen bath with dramatic views of Mt Fuji across the lake (weather permitting of course!). Dinner will be a multi-course Japanese kaiseki banquet. (Western bed accommodation options are also available.)
Day 13: Kawaguchiko to Tokyo
This morning you experience a traditional Japanese-style breakfast – a nutritious mix of grilled fish, miso soup, rice and pickles! After spending some time in Kawaguchiko, you will head back to Tokyo for the last night in Japan. Depending on your flight time, you can go directly to the Narita or Haneda Airport on this day.
Day 14: Departure
Today you will transfer from your hotel to your exiting airport after breakfast. We will describe how to get to the airport for your flight and book a shuttle bus or train for you.
- 13 nights accommodation with daily breakfast
- Meals as specified
- Airport meet & greet and hotel transfer by public transport on arrival
- 14 Day Japan Rail Pass (Ordinary Class)
- Suica IC card with starter credit
- Locally licensed English speaking tour guides where specified
- International and domestic airfare (unless otherwise stated)
- Entrance fees to attractions
- Travel insurance
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Tips and gratuities (not routinely expected in Japan)
- Personal expenses (laundry, internet, telephone, coin lockers etc.)
- Visa (if required)