2023 Cherry Blossom Spectacular Tour of Japan
The 2023 Cherry Blossom Spectacular Tour has been engineered as the ultimate bucket list tour of Japan. While enjoying superior accommodation and personal care of our guides in an extra small group of 8, tick off many items you have dreamed of experiencing in Japan.
Your Cherry Blossom spectacular tours experience will of course start with cherry blossom. How about a picnic under the trees with an authentic Japanese obento lunchbox? Next is the hot springs experience at popular Hakone near Mt Fuji. A ride on a rickshaw through magnificent bamboo forest is next on the card. Pay respect in Hiroshima and feel the ancient spirit in the sacred island of Miyajima. Finally, the tour concludes in a vibrant pop culture in Osaka.
This 13-day tour blends cherry blossom colours in with Japan’s most iconic destinations. Along the way it offers deeps insight into Japan’s history and cultural traditions, and many exclusive experiences you cannot get anywhere else.
The Cherry Blossom Spectacular ttour offers a superb level of accommodation including a premium ryokan in Hakone, and excellent use of public and private transport like Green Class shinkansen (bullet train). It’s a perfect option if you would like a holiday which is almost fully escorted by specialist guides, includes all your transport in Japan and most meals. You will enjoy very personalized and boutique travel experiences.
Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo
Welcome to Japan! On arrival at one of Tokyo’s international airports, you will be met by a member of Journey to the East and escorted to your hotel by private transport. After a good night’s sleep, you will be ready to start the first full day of your 2023 Cherry Blossom Spectacular Tour of Japan.
Day 2: Tokyo
Guided tour of Tokyo including Tsukiji Market, Asakusa Sensoji temple, Imperial Palace and Shinjuku Gyoen for cherry blossom viewing. Tonight, we gather for a welcome dinner at a restaurant serving modern Japanese cuisine.
Day 3: Tokyo
Today's guided tour of Tokyo will mainly focus on the modern aspects of the city. You will see the pop fashion in Harajuku and people-watching at Shibuya Crossing. In the evening, drop in an izakaya (Japanese style pub) and see how Japanese office workers enjoy their after-5.
Day 4: Kamakura
A break from bustling Tokyo in the former coastal capital, Kamakura. Kamakura is home to some of the country’s best Zen Buddhist temples and the 11.4m high bronze Buddha constructed in 1252. We explore a few of Kamakura’s best temple gardens with their cherry blossom trees. At return to Tokyo, why not trying Karaoke tonight?
Day 5: Hakone
Your Cherry Blossom Spectacular Tour moves on as you hop on Japan's famous shinkansen and travel to Hakone, a scenic hot springs resort area located in the mountains near Mt Fuji. Here as well as visiting some art museums, at Lake Ashi you take a scenic ride on board the ‘Viking’ ship aiming to catch a view of Mt Fuji in the distance. Tonight you experience your stay at an authentic Japanese ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). Here you enjoy a multi-course kaiseki dinner and soak in an onsen, a mineral hot springs spa.
Day 6: Hakone to Kyoto
This morning, continue exploring beautiful Hakone including the Hakone Open-Air Museum with its amazing outside sculptures. This afternoon, take a shinkansen headed for the delightful old capital of Kyoto. In Kyoto, you will visit select gardens to admire cherry blossoms in formal settings.
Day 7: Kyoto
In Kyoto, we take a stroll along the Path of Philosophy lined with a breathtaking avenue of cherry trees, visit Kiyomizu Temple and Fushimi Inari to see thousands of red gates. In the evening over dinner, you’ll have the chance to meet a maiko (a geisha-in-training) and learn more about the fascinating life of a modern-day geisha.
Day 8: Arashiyama
A day-trip to Arashiyama in the mountains to Kyoto’s west. The area is known for its natural beauty and rural setting. Here you’ll take a rickshaw ride and travel through groves of thick bamboo. After lunch, you will visit Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) on the way back to your hotel.
Day 9: Hiroshima
Hop back on the shinkansen and head further west to Hiroshima. We visit the Memorial Peace Park and its informative museum. In the evening, you can visit Shukkeien Japanese garden where gorgeous cherry blossom trees are beautifully illuminated. Tonight’s dinner also highlights great regional cuisine, “soul” food of Hiroshima including Okonomiyaki.
Day 10: Miyajima
Today, we head to the sacred island of Miyajima by train and ferry. Miyajima is one of the top scenic spots in Japan. It’s best known for the vermillion-red floating torii gate, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 11: Osaka
For the last time, catch a shinkansen in its superior comfort of Green Class to Osaka. Osaka is our final destination and Japan’s third largest city. In the evening we explore the lively entertainment district of Dotonbori, famous for its night-time neon and historic canal. We wander the street stalls, stopping to sample freshly grilled Takoyaki and Kushikatsu (deep-fried vegetables and meat on skewers).
Day 12: Osaka
On the last day of the tour, our guide will take you to Osaka’s iconic castle. In the evening, we come together one last time for a farewell dinner in a teppanyaki-style restaurant serving delicious wagyu-beef.
Day 13: Goodbye
This morning after breakfast, your 2023 Cherry Blossom Spectacular Tour of Japan concludes. You can travel to Kansai International Airport (about 1 hour from central Osaka) or return to Tokyo on the shinkansen (about 3.5 Hours). Perhaps you might like to linger in Japan for a little longer. We will be delighted to plan your personal post-tour extension to show you a different part of Japan. Please see our Extension Model Itineraries for inspirations! Note: The cost of an escorted transfer to your departure airport is not included in our Small Group Tours (as we found many guests choose to stay in Japan a bit longer), but we will be happy to arrange your transfer to next destination or to exit airport. Please see our FAQ for more details.
- 12 nights accommodation (including traditional inns)
- Meals as specified.
- Airport meet & greet and hotel transfer by private transport on arrival
- All local transport (train, bus and taxi)
- Pre-loaded Suica card
- Locally licensed English speaking tour guides
- Most cultural activities and entry fees included in itinerary
- Luggage transfers (1 piece per person)
- International and domestic airfare (unless otherwise stated)
- Transfer on the last day
- Travel insurance
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Tips and gratuities (not routinely expected in Japan)
- Transport during free time
- Personal expenses (laundry, internet, telephone, coin lockers etc.)
- Visa (if required)