SHORTLIST

Cherry Blossom Festival - 13 days

CHERRY BLOSSOM TOUR: See Japan in 2025! Springtime is one of the best times to visit Japan, when cherry blossom trees come out in full bloom across the nation. Take in the highlights of Japan, visit some of the country’s most beautiful gardens, witness the famous Spring Geisha Dances in Kyoto, enjoy a traditional tea ceremony and sample the crop (if you dare) at Japan's oldest Wasabi Farm.
Tour details
Tour Provider On The Go Tours
Price From
$10,695
Number of Days
13
Start Location
Tokyo, Japan
End Location
Tokyo, Japan
Age Range
Avg. 50+
Group Size
1 to 28
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
No specific theme
Physical Rating
Easy
Itinerary Open all
Day 1: Tokyo
Welcome to Japan! Upon arrival to Tokyo you will be met at either Narita or Haneda International Airport by your guide or a representative and will travel togerther by train into the heart of the city and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend at your leisure.

We recommend arriving before 3pm on this day, as there will be a Welcome Meeting at 6pm, where you will meet your guide and the rest of the group.
Day 2: Tokyo
Today we embark on a full day tour of the city by public transport. We start with a cruise down the Sumida River, followed by a walk through Hamarikyu tei-en, a tranquil garden that is just a few minutes’ walk from the lively Ginza Shopping District, where we will be able to see cherry blossom trees. Later, we visit the revered Meiji Shrine where the emperor Meiji and his wife are enshrined.



The last stop of the day is the Shibuya Crossing - regarded as one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in the world. It is said that up to a 1000 people converge onto the intersection with every light change. Known as 'the scramble' we'll give it a go then you can purchase a coffee at the second floor Starbucks located directly above and leisurely take in the spectacle from our vantage point. The remainder of the afternoon offers free time for you to further discover this exciting city independently, before our group welcome dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
Day 3: Matsumoto
Tokyo – Matsumoto. This morning we take a private coach to Matsumoto, and upon arrival visit the incredibly beautiful Matsumoto Castle, which is one of the original and most complete of the handful of medieval castles that exist in Japan today. The towering black and white structure holds some 400 years of history, is a National Treasure (1 of only 4 castles) and is the most iconic landmark in the city. The reward for climbing the narrow stairs to the top are the stunning views of the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto City and the swans circling in the moat below, that can be seen from the slim wooden windows (used for archers and gunmen). Tonight, we have the unique experience of enjoying a night at a traditional Japanese ryokan.
Day 4: Takayama
Matsumoto – Takayama. From Matsumoto we take a private coach to Takayama, a charming town in the heart of the Hida Mountains. Established in the 16th century as the castle town of the Kanamori family, the town is famous throughout Japan for its old town area of narrow streets filled with well-preserved inns, tea houses, shops and merchants houses with latticed windows and overhanging roofs that are characteristic of the Edo period.



On our way to Takayama we will stop at the picturesque Daio Wasabi Farm, one of Japan’s largest wasabi farms. There is free time to take in the beautiful gardens and fields. The shop on site offers many different options to try of this unique product - wasabi chocolate, wasabi beer, wasabi ice-cream, wasabi juice and much more. Upon arrival to Takayama and we’ll drive to the outskirts of the town to visit the fascinating Hida Folk Village, an outdoor museum comprising 30 or so traditional farmhouses from around the Hida region, re-built here on the hillside overlooking the town.
Day 5: Takayama
This morning we visit the town's market stalls, overflowing with fresh produce brought in daily from the surrounding fields before experiencing a traditional tea ceremony. An elevated art form in Japan, known in Japanese as sado ('the way of the tea')



Later, we explore Takayama’s Old Quarter, where you can enjoy free time to wander around the shops and perhaps visit a sake distillery to sample the town’s famous sake. Here you can also enjoy the 'onsen' or public hot springs, well known for their therapeutic benefits to body and mind!



During your stay in Takayama we recommend you sample some of Takayama’s delicious Hida beef at one of the many restaurants or beef burger cafes.
Day 6: Kanazawa
Takayama – Kanazawa. Today we take a private coach to Kanazawa. First, we will head to the Nagamachi District located at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle – known for its old samurai houses. Upon arrival we will visit the Nomura Family Samurai House. When it hits lunch time, we will explore the lively Omicho Ichiba Market, a food market and restaurant area.




Afterwards, we will visit one of Japan’s most impressive gardens, Kenroku-en, located opposite Kanazawa Castle. Once part of the feudal lord's garden, Kenroku-en is regarded as one of the best places to see the country's famous cherry blossoms - hopefully in full bloom. In Kanazawa, the cherry blossom trees are due to bloom in late March/early April. When in bloom, these delicate soft pink flowers can be seen lining the streets and filling the parks and gardens all over the city. The remainder of the day is at your own leisure.
Day 7: Kyoto
Kanazawa – Kyoto. With our luggage in tow, this morning we’ll take two trains to reach Kyoto, Japan’s ancient and cultural capital, where we will spend the next three nights. As one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia, Kyoto is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, over 1,600 Buddhist Temples and 400 Shinto Shrines.



Upon arrival we tour Sanjusagen-do Temple, famous for its statues of Kannon. The one thousand life-size statues of Kannon are made of Japanese cypress and are completely covered in gold-leaf. Standing in rows of 10 and each hand carved, so that no two are alike. Our last stop today is the enchanted Fushimi Inari Shrine with its torii gates and picturesque tunnels.




Please note, during our time in Kyoto we will be travelling only via local transport. It will be busy at this time of year, but that's all part of the experience!
Day 8: Hiroshima
Kyoto - Hiroshima - Kyoto. This morning we depart for a full day sightseeing excursion to Hiroshima, taking one of the fastest trains in Japan (the Nozomi Shinkansen) which reaches speeds of up to 300km on the route. Arriving to Hiroshima we visit the iconic A-Bomb Dome - one of the very few buildings left standing after the blast, the Peace Park and Peace Park Museum, which are a sobering reminder of Hiroshima’s devastating past. We return by train to Kyoto, arriving just after sundown.
Day 9: Kyoto
This morning we visit the stunning Zen Buddhist Temple of Kinkaku-ji, known as the Golden Temple which forms part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto's World Heritage Site. The top floor of the two-story structure is completely covered in gold and sits beside a small lake where its beauty is reflected in the calm waters. After, we embark on a guided walking tour of UNESCO Listed Nijo Castle, which was built by the first Tokugawa Shogunate in 1603, the exquisite castle is a wonderful example of Momoyama architecture.



Later today we make our way to Gion for a guided walk through the famed Geisha District. This evening, we have tickets to witness the Miyako Odari geisha dances at the Minami-za Theatre. Dinner tonight is at SODOH Higashiyama - keep a look out, as it's very possible to see Maiko (apprentice Geisha) dressed in beautiful kimono walking to and from their lessons.



Luggage Forwarding: Please note, you will need to pack an overnight bag as our main luggage will be couriered from Kyoto to Hakone and it will arrive tomorrow.
Days 10-11: Hakone
Kyoto - Hakone National Park. Today a bullet train takes us to Fuji Hakone National Park on day 10, where we will spend the next two days exploring the local area. Arriving at our hotel after lunch, the afternoon is at leisure.



During our stay, we have access to unlimited travel on nearly all the local modes of transport thanks to our Hakone Freepass Card - from mountain buses, trams and switchback rail, to lofty cable cars. We'll take a cruise across picturesque Lake Ashi to Moto-Hakone to visit the Shinto Shrine of Hakone-jinja, where we will hopefully be rewarded with the best views of Mt Fuji (on a clear day), we will also see the Red Torii Gate of Hakone. At our Hakone hotel we can also enjoy the relaxing experience of more hot springs.
Day 12: Tokyo
Hakone - Tokyo. We take a private coach back to Tokyo this morning and this time we will be staying in old-town Akakusa, a pretty district famous for its historic Sensoji Buddhist Temple and its abundance of interesting souvenir and craft stalls. After a guided visit of Senso-ji Temple, the rest of the afternoon offers the opportunity to do any last-minute sightseeing or shopping. You may also wish to head up to the Tokyo Sky Tree for some final dazzling views of the city.
Day 13: Tokyo
Today our holiday concludes. Travel (unescorted) back to Narita or Haneda International Airports by train.


We offer post-tour accommodation for those interested in staying in Tokyo a little longer, please enquire.
Inclusions
Breakfast daily and 5 dinners
12 nights 3 - 4 star accommodation (including a traditional Ryokan stay)
Airport arrival transfer on day 1 (by train) from Narita or Haneda International Airport
Guided sightseeing and walking tours in Tokyo, Matsumoto, Kanazawa, Takayama, Kyoto and Hakone
Day trip to Hiroshima with visits to Peace Park, Peace Park Museum, various memorials and the A-Bomb site
All relevant transfers and transportation - private buses and trains (including Tokyo Transport Pass and 2 day Hakone Free Pass)
Fuji Hakone National Park, with lake cruise, cable cars, ropeways and switchback trains
Sumida River boat cruise in Tokyo
Ticket to the Spring Geisha Dances (Miyako Odori performance and guided tour of the Gion Geisha District in Kyoto
Escorted by a licensed English speaking Japanese tour guide
Entrance fees to all included sightseeing
Baggage forwarding service from Kyoto to Hakone (one bag per person)
Maximum group size: 18 persons
Train back to Narita or Haneda International Airport on day 13 (unescorted)
Departure dates
Start End Availability Price NZD
24 Mar 2025 05 Apr 2025 Available $10,695
28 Mar 2025 09 Apr 2025 Available $10,695