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Exploring Japan

Cherry Blossom viewing

One of the most popular times to visit Japan is in spring, when the famous cherry trees come into bloom all over the country. The first buds generally appear in the last week of March or so and last until the first or second week of April when the final flowers come into blossom. While the end of March and beginning of April is a relatively safe rule of thumb, it is not guaranteed! This spectacular annual sight attracts Japanese and foreigners alike, who flock to witness the streets as they are transformed with delicate hues of pale pink and white. The peak blossom period lasts for approximately two weeks only, so to ensure you make the most of it, we have created this  this itinerary to cover some of the most scenic places in Japan to admire this short but sweet event. Book now for any time from the end of March until mid-April.

Please note that all the guided tours listed in this itinerary will be done with public transport, which is tremendously efficient, convenient and economical in Japan. If you prefer to use private transport, please let us know when you enquire and we can arrange it for you at an additional cost.

Please remember this is a sample itinerary to inspire you and we are happy to modify it to suit your plans. We can add or remove days, experiences or activities, include additional destinations or remove any that you do not wish to visit on this trip. To start planning your holiday, give us a call on (UK) 020 7112 0019  or email japan@fleewinter.com.

Your Itinerary

DAY 1 - WELCOME TO TOKYO

You will be met on the arrival hall of the airport by your personal agent who will give you a warm welcome to Japan and will assist you with the included shared transfer to your artistic hotel Park Hotel (City queen room). After check in, the rest of the day is at your leisure, resting and relaxing after your flight or, if you prefer, you can already start exploring this lively city.

DAY 2 - EXPLORING THE TRADITIONAL SIDE OF TOKYO WITH YOUR LOCAL GUIDE

Explore with your private guide the most traditional areas of Tokyo with some of the best blooms in the city: the beautiful Meiji Shrine, Imperial Palace gardens to enjoy the beautiful blossoms across the lawn and Yanaka cementery, one of the top cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo.

DAY 3 - A NATURAL PARADISE

Today you will visit Nikko National Park, where ancient temples and stunning nature coexist in beautiful balance since centuries.

DAY 4 - TRADITIONAL WOODEN HOUSES AND SAKE

Enjoy one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan, winding your way through tall mountains and stunning gorges, green valleys and beautiful rivers to Takayama.

Check in to your luxurious ryokan Hanaougi, an authentic Japanese style accommodation with hot spring baths where you will have included a yummy handmade Japanese dinner tonight and breakfast. Bon appétit!

DAY 5 - CYCLING THROUGH RICE PADDIES AND BLOOMING TREES

Embark on a guided cycling tour on Takayama´s magnificent countryside and discover this town through the eyes of a local. On the way, you will cycle by the lovely cherry trees of the charming old town.

DAY 6 - SHIRAKAWA-GO VILLAGE

On your way by bus from Takayama to Kanazawa with the included tickets you will stop in the lovely rural village of Shirakawago which was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. It is famous for their traditional the farmhouses’s steep thatched roofs and beautiful mountain scenery. Enjoy its authentic and beautiful countryside atmosphere.

Continue your trip to Kanazawa by bus (guided option for this tour available).

The rest of the day is at leisure after you check in to Sainoniwa Hotel, a stylish hotel with a nice and charming traditional ambiance, hot spring baths and three beautiful on site Japanese gardens.

DAY 7 - GOLD & GARDENS

Discover the gold city of Kanazawa on your own with the help of the information pack we will include for you. The efficient and well organised sightseeing tourist buses are easy to use and perfect for visiting the main attractions in the city: the famous Kenrokuen garden – one of the top three most beautiful gardens in the county- with its beautiful blooming cherry trees, Kanazawa Castle and the samurai neighbourhood (do not miss the visit of a -real- samurai home!).

DAY 8 - KYOTO: ZEN GARDENS, GEISHAS, SHINTO SHRINES AND ANCIENT TEMPLES

Head to Kyoto by train using your included Japan Rail Pass train tickets. With 2,000 religious buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and associated architecture, it is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Check-in to Noku, your lovely boutique hotel in Kyoto and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Suggested afternoon activity:

DAY 9 - CHERRY BLOSSOMS AND TEMPLES

Follow your guide to the Philosopher’s path and enjoy a stroll at the side of the canal next to hundreds of Cherry Blossom trees and discover many temples and shrines along the walk. The path gets its name due to Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan’s most famous philosophers, who was said to practice meditation while walking this route on his daily commute to Kyoto University.

DAY 10 - THE BLOSSOM CARPET

Go on a special tour with your local guide to Mount Yoshino to view the Cherry Blossom in one of the most concentrated sites of cherry trees across the whole country. With more than 30.000 cherry trees, this UNESCO World Heritage site has been an inspiration for artists and poets for centuries.

DAY 11 - BULLET TRAIN TO TOKYO

Take the bullet train for your journey back to Tokyo where you will to spend your last night in this beautiful country.

DAY 12 - SAYONARA

Spend the day at your leisure before your shuttle transfer to the airport to catch your flight back home. Safe travels!

What's included?

INCLUDED
  • Meet and greet airport service upon arrival
  • Transfers from airport to hotel on arrival and from your hotel to airport on your departure day
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • All excursions, activities and meals mentioned in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees with service of English speaking guides for excursions
  • Transport as described
  • A PASMO subway card recharged with 2500 JPY
  • Local taxes
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered
NOT INCLUDED
  • Optional suggested day trips/experiences
  • International flights
Make a booking

One of the most popular times to visit Japan is in spring, when the famous cherry trees come into bloom all over the country. The first buds generally appear in the last week of March or so and last until the first or second week of April when the final flowers come into blossom. While the end of March and beginning of April is a relatively safe rule of thumb, it is not guaranteed! This spectacular annual sight attracts Japanese and foreigners alike, who flock to witness the streets as they are transformed with delicate hues of pale pink and white. The peak blossom period lasts for approximately two weeks only, so to ensure you make the most of it, we have created this  this itinerary to cover some of the most scenic places in Japan to admire this short but sweet event. Book now for any time from the end of March until mid-April.

Please note that all the guided tours listed in this itinerary will be done with public transport, which is tremendously efficient, convenient and economical in Japan. If you prefer to use private transport, please let us know when you enquire and we can arrange it for you at an additional cost.

Please remember this is a sample itinerary to inspire you and we are happy to modify it to suit your plans. We can add or remove days, experiences or activities, include additional destinations or remove any that you do not wish to visit on this trip. To start planning your holiday, give us a call on (UK) 020 7112 0019  or email japan@fleewinter.com.

Tokyo
In the medieval times Tokyo was known as Edo, a small castle town which became Japan´s political center and a few centuries later, Edo grew into one of the world´s most populous cities . Nowadays, Tokyo is one of the world’s most cutting-edge capitals, offering a huge offer of entertainment, dinning, shopping, and culture to visitors.

Tokyo is city of contrasts where you can find the most modern technology, neon-lit landscape and towering skyscrapers but also excellent museums, sprawling parklands, sacred and ancient shrines and temples, and lovingly tended traditional gardens and green spaces in the middle of the city center.

Despite its mania for anime pop culture, fashion, digital trends and discernable consumption, the city embraces an ancient heritage evident in the temples and shrines scattered amongst the vast skyrise.

Almost all travelers to Japan will go through Tokyo and it is definitely worth spending a few nights in this fascinating city. Whilst it is not easy to find boutique hotels in Tokyo, we have put an extra effort into finding the best places to stay for all budgets and tastes.
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Kyoto
Kyoto was for more than thousand years the imperial capital of Japan and nowadays is known as the cultural city of the country. With 2,000 religious buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens etc it is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Go back in time to Japan’s mysterious past where echoes of the court nobility resonate at the Imperial Palace and the search for contemplation in the zen gardens, explore the city’s narrow alleyways where tea houses thrive and kimono-clad geisha hurry from elegant function to function.
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Hiroshima
Hiroshima is notorious for its destruction when the first Atomic Bomb was dropped over the city during the Second World War which obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometre radius. From this absolute annihilation, Hiroshima emerged, phoenix-like, and become a beacon of hope and peace for the rest of mankind.

Many destroyed monuments of the city’s historical heritage had been reconstructed, such as the Shukkeien Garden and the Hiroshima Castle. The city centre boasts a large recreational area named Peace Memorial Park, reflecting the aspirations of this reborn city. Besides excellent museums, Hiroshima is also the most popular gateway for trips to nearby Miyajima, a nearby island considered to be one of Japan’s most scenic spots.
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Kanazawa
Kanazawa was an important city during the Edo period and became a town with a great cultural scene rivalling with Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo). Nowadays, the samurai and chaya entertainment districts, have survived in good condition and you can walk in these streets and imagine how life was in the ancient Japan.

The city boasts many historical attractions such as restored residences and districts, as well as modern museums and its great castle. But Kanazawa´s unchallenged main attraction is Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s “three best landscape gardens”, and often considered the most beautiful of them all.
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Takayama
Full of temples, shrines, festivals, rivers and bridges, this beautiful mountain town Takayama has been called “little Kyoto” and has preserved the ancient atmosphere of the Edo era until now. This area is well known not just for its natural environment and preserved culture but also for its delicious food and sake breweries. Local dishes including Hida beef and Hoba miso are highly recommended. More
Hakone
Hakone is a lovely mountainous town less than hundred miles south of Tokyo on the foothills of Mt Fuji. Traditional inns aka Ryokans and pleasantly relaxing hot springs “Onsen” are the staple attraction in Hakone, with Mt Fuji being its crown jewel. Beautiful Hakone is a natural nature wonderland, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and has about everything a vacationer could wish for. A great destination for hiking, with marvellous views at every turn and plenty of hot springs to soothe any aching muscles after a days of exploring. Besides the towering mountains, lakes and views of Mount Fuji, it is also blessed with interesting historical sites, temples and Shinto Shrines. More
Osaka
Osaka is the historical commercial capital of Japan and Japan’s second largest metropolis which has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai region for centuries.

Nowadays Osaka, is one of Japan’s most vibrant cities, known for its lively people, large aquarium, underground shopping arcade, Universal Studios amusement park… and specially famous for its local spectacular cuisine. Its nickname “Tenka no Daidokoro” (the nation’s kitchen) inspired us to create some foodie tours for you to experience the real taste of Osaka.
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Shirakawa-go
This picturesque village, famous for its traditional Gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukkuri translates as ‘Praying Hands’, as the farmhouses steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer and are designed to withstand the heavy snows which fall in the region.
Miyajima
Miyajima Island. A small sacred island located in the Island Sea, it has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times.

Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan: The Floating Torii Gate. Designated as one of Japan’s ‘Most Beautiful Views’, the shrine it belongs to dates back to the 6th century. The harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill, and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nikko
Nikko had been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for many centuries before Toshogu was built in the 1600s, and Nikko National Park continues to offer scenic, mountainous landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys and hiking trails.

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Kamakura
Kamakura is a beautiful historical town located one hour away from Tokyo by public transport. Home to a collection of beautiful temples, shrines and impressive large buddhist statues.

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Kawagoe
Kawagoe is a delightful city west of Tokyo, usually called “Little Edo” because it still preserves the atmosphere of the ancient Tokyo (Edo is the old name of the capital).
The old storehouse merchant houses are lined up, and the Toki-no-kane (Bell Tower)
rings to tell the time. Take a stroll through the town in a kimono and
you'll feel as if you've travelled back in time to ancient Edo. In Kawagoe, you can
experience the traditional and pure Japan which you can't see in Tokyo.
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Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s most iconic images, instantly recognisable for its snowcapped symmetric beauty. Still an active volcano to this day, at 3766 meters it is the country’s highest mountain. More

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