Cherry Blossom Viewing Tour 2015

Cherry Blossom Tokyo skyline Gion in Kyoto

The 2015 cherry blossom tour was fully booked, starting and ending with two guests, and nine guests at its busiest on the trip to Sendai.  If you are interested in joining the 2016 cherry blossom tour you can use the contact us form or email us at admin@japancustomtours.co.nz.  We are taking reservations for 2016, and will incorporate some of the locations from our 2015 schedule. 

April 2015 (cherry blossom viewing)

The schedule below is based on current tour requests and covers the period between the 2nd of April through to the 21st of April.

Joining a tour:  Patrick and Wendy are available to meet you at the airport.  After clearing immigration, luggage collection and customs meet us at the exit of the arrivals hall.  We will then collect our JR Rail passes using pre-purchased vouchers. (Japan Rail requires passes to be purchased before travelling to Japan.)  If arriving at Narita, we take the Narita Express train to Tokyo Station (1 hour) and then transfer to the selected hotel.

Departing a tour:  Activities on a day where you are departing a tour will be adjusted to take into account travel time to the airport.  We can assist and travel with you as required.

Dates and Schedule

Wednesday 1 April Tokyo: Accommodation in Tokyo staying at the Monterey Akasaka Hotel.

Thursday 2 April Kanazawa: Take the new Hokuriku shinkansen to Kanazawa.

Friday 3 April Kanazawa: Visit the Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa castle.  Enjoy the local seafood cuisine including fresh sushi and sashimi at the local fish market.

Saturday 4 April Tokyo: Return to Tokyo - scheduled guest arrival at Narita.  Options for the evening include dining out, seeing some of the city at night or just sleep if you are jetlagged.

Sunday 5 April Tokyo: Morning hanami (cherry blossom) viewing at Ueno Park.  Visit to Skytree (Y2060 pp) and the neighbouring Asakusa Kaminarimon (thunder gate), Hozomon and pagoda.  An array of stalls lines the entrance to this shrine.  Either lunch from the food stalls or from a nearby restaurant. Or whatever YOU want to do.

Monday 6 April Tokyo to Kyoto: For early risers, a visit to see the tuna auction at the Tsujiki fish markets (limited space "� first come, first served from 5 a.m.).  Alternatively the main wholesale areas are open to the public from 9 a.m.  Then take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto.  The trip is 158 minutes and is very comfortable.  There are many types of bento (lunch box) and sandwiches available for around Y1000 in the train station and also a smaller range of food available for purchase on the train (including hot coffee and English tea).  Visit the Inari Fushimi shrine (10,000 tori gates) - it is spectacular, very easy to get to (right next to a train station) and is a good option for sightseeing in the late afternoon.  Accommodation in Kyoto staying at the Kyoto Century Hotel. 

Tuesday 7 April Kyoto: Morning cherry blossom viewing and look around the Gion district. During the evening visit Kodai-ji Temple (cherry blossoms and optional tea ceremony).  The temple complex includes a Zen garden, bamboo forest and artisan souvenir shops.  It is illuminated in the evenings and provides a view of the city.  Access to/from will be via taxi.  .

Wednesday 8 April Kyoto: Day trip to the world heritage site at Nara.  At Nara there is both Todai-ji temple (with the world's largest bronze Buddha), and Kagusa Shinto shrine.  There are sacred deer roaming the park and excellent souvenir and food shops in the railway station area.   

Thursday 9 April Kyoto to Takayama: Travel by local train to the mountain town of Takayama, staying at a local Japanese inn.  Accommodation in Takayama is at the Ryokan Asunaro including breakfast.

Friday 10 April Takayama: Several options (including relaxing) are available.  Explore the town's historic buildings and shops, visit the festival exhibition hall or sample the local food.

Saturday 11 April Takayama to Tokyo: Leave Takayama and head back to the metropolis of Tokyo. Accommodation in Tokyo staying at the Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu.

Sunday 12 April Tokyo: Guests scheduled to join tour in Tokyo. Visit to Skytree (Y2060 pp) and the neighbouring Asakusa Kaminarimon (thunder gate), Hozomon and pagoda.  An array of stalls lines the entrance to this shrine.  Either lunch from the food stalls or from a nearby restaurant.  Visit one or more of the famous neighbourhoods of Shibuya or Shinjuku.

Monday 13 April Tokyo to Sendai: Head north to follow the cherry blossom.  Sendai is also famous for its scenery.

Tuesday 14 April Sendai: Visit Matsushima by ferry, one of the top three views in Japan (designated "special places of scenic beauty").

Wednesday 15 April Sendai to Kyoto: Leave Sendai and head south to Kyoto. Visit the Inari Fushimi shrine (10,000 tori gates) - it is spectacular, very easy to get to (right next to a train station) and is a good option for sightseeing in the late afternoon.  Accommodation in Kyoto staying at the Sakura Terrace Hotel.

Thursday 16 April Kyoto: Day trip to the world heritage site at Nara.  At Nara there is both Todai-ji temple (with the world's largest bronze Buddha), and Kagusa Shinto shrine.  There are sacred deer roaming the park and excellent souvenir and food shops in the railway station area. 

Friday 17 April Kyoto: Shopping at the covered Nishiki Market, which includes a selection of local food stalls.  The Isetan and Takashimaya department stores are also excellent for shopping and both have vast food halls.  Other options include a visit to the "golden pavilion" Kinkaku-ji.  During the evening visit Kodai-ji Temple in Kyoto.  The temple complex includes a Zen garden, bamboo forest and artisan souvenir shops.  It is illuminated in the evenings and provides a view of the city.  Access to/from will be via taxi.

Saturday 18 April Kyoto: Options include a free day, or a day trip to Osaka.

Sunday 19 April to Tuesday 21 April: Travel to Hiroshima to visit the peace museum and/or the Miyajima shrine and its "floating" tori gate..

Price Inclusions/exclusions

Please contact us for availability and pricing covering the days that you wish to travel as the accommodation costs vary by location and time of month, especially for Kyoto as this is the peak tourist season.

Price excludes meals and incidental entrance fees.


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