As Japan unwraps itself from the blanket of winter, it bursts into life and reaches full bloom in spring. Cherry blossom fever sweeps the nation as your journey captures the heart of Japan swathed in pink. Join the viewing parties in Tokyo or stroll among the petals in Kyoto - the "Sakura" is never far away.
Explore the traditions and culture of the land of the Samurai warrior, the exquisite Geisha and the Tea Ceremony, against a backdrop of glorious cherry blossoms and complemented by some tantalizing dining experiences.
April is the best time to see cherry blossoms around Japan.
Day 01: Arrive in Tokyo
Welcome to Japan! Meet your guide on arrival at Narita airport and transfer by coach to your Hotel for a three night stay. Stretch your legs on a short walk to a local restaurant for dinner.
Day 02: Tokyo
Begin to explore Tokyo on a full day city tour. In the historic Asakusa district visit Kaminari Gate, Nakamise Arcade and Sensoji Temple. After lunch, stroll in the lovely Rikugien Garden, well known for its cherry blossoms, and take in the panorama at Roppongi Tokyo City View. A Welcome Dinner tonight is in Tokyo's most famous shopping street, the Ginza.
Day 03: Tokyo
Marvel at the sights and sounds at the Tsukiji Fish Market then visit Meiji Shirine, the Imperial Family's official shrine. Shop in Harajuku and Omotesando district - there's something for everyone. After lunch, thhe afternoon and evening are free to explore the city at your own pace.
Day 04: Tokyo - Kamakura - Hakone
Travel by coach to Kamakura to visit the Kotokuin Temple with its statue of Great Buddha. Walk through an arcade of cherry blossom trees leading to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. Continue to Hakone for a cruise on Lake Ashi and a gondola ride up to the Owakudani Valley with views of Mt Fuji. Stay one night in the traditional ryokan style Hotel and dine-in on traditional kaiseki.
Day 05: Hakone - Matsumoto - Takayama
(Your suitcases will be sent on to Hiroshima, so an overnight bag is required for tonight.) Travel to Matsumoto by coach and visit the Matsumoto Castle for an insight into the traditions of Samurai warriors. The castle moat is surrounded by hundreds of cherry trees. After lunch, travel on to Takayama and check-in at your Hotel for an overnight stay. Dinner of your choice.
Day 06: Takayama - Nagoya - Hiroshima
Sightseeing in the history filled streets of Takayama includes the morning market and Sannomachi Old Town. Proceed to nearby Shirakawago World Heritage Village with its traditional thatched houses in a mountain setting. Drive on to Nagoya enjoying views of cherry blossoms en route. Board an evening bullet train for the super fast 2.5 hour journey to Hiroshima. Enjoy a Bento Box meal onboard. Check into your hotel for two nights.
Day 07: Hiroshima - Miyajima
Hiroshima was the first city in the world to experience an atomic explosion - the city and its name will forever be synonymous with that event. Your city tour includes visits to the Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Museum. After lunch at a local restaurant travel to Miyajima by ferry to see the Itsukushima Shrine (the "shrine in the sea"), the pagoda and cherry blossoms. Dinner to suit your choice.
Day 08: Hiroshima - Okayama - Himeji - Kyoto
Travel to Okayama for a stroll through Korakuen Park, one of the top three gardens in Japan, owned and influenced over the centuries by various daimyo (powerful territorial lords). See groves of plum, cherry and maple trees. Drive on to visit Engyoji Temple on Mt Shosha near Himeji, used for the filming of "The Last Samurai". Tour the temple and receive meditation instruction from a Zen monk. Arrive Kyoto in the evening and stay three nights at your Hotel. Dinner is in a quiet back street a short walk away in a cosy Japanese restaurant that offers modern home-style cooking.
Day 09: Kyoto
Your experience in and around Kyoto includes visits to the Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle, Ryoanji with a Zen Garden, Maruyama Park with weeping cherry trees, Kiyomiza Temple and time to stroll in the Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka districts. Sushi and udon noodles are featured for lunch.
Day 10: Nara Excursion
Immerse yourself in Japanese culture at Nara, the first permanent capital and birthplace of much of the Japan's traditional arts and literature. Visit Todaiji Temple to see the Great Buddha. Return to Kyoto for lunch at famous Ninja Kyoto which offers traditional cuisine in a setting that transports diners back to the time when Ninja, medieval spies and masters of martial arts, roamed Japan. Time to stroll along Nishiki Market Street, then the remainder of the day is free before a farewell at a prominent restaurant.
Day 11: Kyoto - Depart Osaka
Transfer to Osaka Kansai airport for exit flight back home.