Japan Cherry Blossom Tours 2021

Plum blossom Shinjuku in Bloom Matsushima Blossom

Cherry blossom season and spring is a beautiful time of year to travel to Japan.  With the changing of the seasons people across the country enjoy the vibrant early plum blossom before the more popular and delicate colours of the cherry come into bloom. 

We have designed our blossom tours to capture some of the best displays the Japan has to offer.  However, our tours include much more than simply the opportunity to enjoy some of the cherry blossom festivals that are held in different parts of the country.  Japan is a country that allows you to enjoy terrific scenery, fascinating castles, temples, shrines, culture, a rich history as well as delicious food as you travel around.

In previous years our cherry tours have seen many early bookings, well in advance.  For our tours for the 2019 blossom season we closed to additional bookings in early in the New Year.  (The 2020 season was effectively cancelled due to the Covid pandemic and Japan closing its borders.)  As this is a very popular time of year it is best to contact us to secure your place as soon as practical.  You can either use our simple contact us form or email us directly at admin@japancustomtours.co.nz

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Japanese Government has imposed restrictions on travel to Japan including changes to the visa/entry requirements for many countries.  As at November 2020 these restrictions include the requirement for quarantine, avoiding the use of public transport, and the suspension of the visa waiver programme.  Effectively this prevents tourists from visiting until otherwise notified.  Therefore, any inquiry or booking needs to take these factors into account, along with your own country restrictions of travel and re-entry.  Currently we do not expect international visitors and tourism in Japan until the second half of 2021 at the earliest.

March and April 2021 Japan Cherry Blossom Tours

For spring 2021 we are offering two main cherry blossom tours.  Due to the disrupted 2020 season we have needed to change the tours we are offering in March and April.  For March we have a flexible slot in the first half of the month to capture some tail end of the late plum/early cherry blossom season.  The second half of the month we have a rescheduled private tour so, unfortunately those dates are not available for 2021.

Our main tours are therefore based around the core season in April.  Building on previous years we have made some changes to our schedules based on guest feedback and improvements to the order and travel times in some places.  This has resulted in a reduction in travel times between locations, but also things like an additional scenic journey between Takayama and Matsumoto, and incorporating a visit to the city of Sendai and one of the "three views of Japan, Matsushima Bay.

With most arrivals occurring one or two days prior to the commencement of the tours this allows us to meet you at the airport, transfer you to your hotel in Tokyo and provide an initial introduction to Japan and Tokyo, one of the largest and vibrant cities in the world.  This also gives you some free time to adjust to the time-zone, and explore a few areas of the city that interest you before we head off on our journey around the country.  We understand many guests wish to arriving before the formal start of a tour due to flights and flight pricing, this allows people flexibility to easily join a tour.  Depending on guest arrival times we my also be able to offer an optional Fuji/Hakone excursion that has a popular add-on for many people.

We have designed the cherry blossom tour schedules taking into account the dates for the Japanese cherry blossom festivals and viewing in each location. These dates are based on the average flowering times from the last ten years and are a guide only. (The actual dates are out of our control.) However, there are a couple of things that make chasing the cherry blossom a little easier.  Firstly, the early part of the season is when plum trees are flowering, providing an alternative offering of spectacular colours.  Secondly, the "official" cherry blossom forecasts refer to a specific five petal variety (somei yoshino), and there are many different types of cherry trees - some that flower earlier and some later, extending the season.  Certainly for our previous tour seasons we had cherry blossom viewing across a two month period.  We also take pride in finding tranquil and uncrowded spots for our guests to enjoy the blossom season across the full March and April season.


Cherry blossom tours and Schedules

Each year we update our schedules incorporating feedback from guests and to build in improvements over the previous year's tours.  The following provides a brief description of the tours we are planning for spring 2021 and more detailed schedules are available on request.  A tour brochure is available for download using the following link. 

Cherry blossom Kanazawa  

Spring Cherry Blossom Tour (Wednesday 31st March to Thursday 15th April 2021)

The peak period for cherry blossom viewing starts in Tokyo at the end of March, including some of the famous and popular viewing locations around the city before heading into the Japanese Alps including a stay at a traditional Japanese inn/ryokan in Matsumoto. 

From Matsumoto the scenic journey through the Alps continues to Takayama, including a visit to the World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go.  Passing through Kanazawa (one night) for the famous Kenrokuen Gardens we go south to Hiroshima for Miyajima island and its famous floating torii and Iwakuni's Kintaikyo Bridge area.

Moving across to Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku we have a day scheduled on the art island of Naoshima. Returning to the main island with a stay at Okayama, the Korakuen Gardens and a visit to the picturesque Kurashiki canal district and historical quarter.

Our journey next takes us next to Kyoto, the previous capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years. With hundreds of possible sites to explore across the city we cover a mix of famous/popular location and some of the less crowded sites. A day trip to Nara is included.  From Kyoto we take the shinkansen ride back to Tokyo completing the tour.

Late Cherry Blossom Tour (Sunday 18th April to Saturday 1st May 2021)

Our late cherry tour includes a trip to the north of Tokyo including side trips from Sendai (for Matsushima and Kakunodate depending on the season), and also Aomori for the Hirosaki Castle Park, a site with 2,600 cherry trees and a site of a large and famous cherry blossom festival.

Returning to the centre of the country, we stay in the mountains at an onsen near Nagano and a visit to the snow monkeys before undertaking a scenic mountain trip to Matsumoto and onward to the alpine town of Takayama (including a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawago).  Heading to the western side of Japan we visit the city of Kanazawa.  From Kanazawa, for those limited to a two week trip there is a speedy shinkansen journey back to Tokyo.  For those with a little more time, the historic capital of Kyoto beckons.

Price inclusions/exclusions

We price in Japanese yen, but can quote in your local currency on request. 

Spring Cherry Blossom Tour: The price for seventeen days (accommodation for sixteen nights) is from Y745,000 per person share twin/double.

Late Cherry Blossom Tour: The price for the base fourteen day tour (accommodation for thirteen nights) is from Y595,000 per person share twin/double.

For solo travellers (one person, without a shared room), the cost of accommodation is unable to be shared, but we have a policy to limit the extra cost and have priced our tours for a solo travellers at Y145,000 above the shared/double/twin rate to partly cover the cost of accommodation.

The price includes:

Exclusions are generally items such as theatre performances, sporting or other special events, theme parks, lunch and evening meals, snacks/drinks and other incidental costs such as hotel room service/laundry. 

Bookings and Inquiries

If you are interested in joining one of these tours, please contact us or email us directly at admin@japancustomtours.co.nz.

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