Japan in Cherry Blossom Season

Hakone & Mount Fuji, Japanese Alps & Northern Honshu, Kyoto, Southern Honshu & Kyushu, Tokyo & Around

Duration: 10 nights

Price: From $12,350 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including accommodation, some meals, private transfers, train transportation, experiences as stated and taxes

Spring in Japan is heralded by a delicate cloud of cherry blossom that manages to turn every corner of the country into a beautiful and picture-perfect scene – making even the most Instagram-immune pull out a camera for a quick snap. As soon as the pale pink flowers emerge, lining the canals and streets and hanging low over the water gardens, the country erupts with hanami (flower-viewing picnics) and sakura matsuri (blossom festivals) and takes on a party-like atmosphere. Joining in the festivities on this 10-night vacation, you’ll make a pilgrimage through the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto and the countryside of Hakone National Park and Yamanaka to follow the cherry blossom through Japan - finding pockets of tranquillity and secret gardens surrounded by newly sprung buds along the way.
Perfect forGreen-thumbed couples and budding horticulturists (pun intended).
In the knowWith around 1,300 cherry trees dotted around its shrines and island walking trails, consider extending your trip to include a visit to Miyajima Island.

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Itinerary details


2 nightsTOKYO

Certainly the centre of the party during spring, Tokyo will be your first stop as you take in the excitement and buzz of the city in bloom. Arriving into the capital, you’ll be taken to the glass-encased Park Hyatt, which will be your scenic base for two nights. During your stay, you’ll head to Ueno Park, a magnet for kimono-clad locals and whole families looking to celebrate. Thanks to its 1000-plus cherry trees, it is one of Tokyo’s most popular hanami spots and you’ll be able to join in with a picnic under the beautiful low-hanging branches. Tokyo also benefits from large pockets of green spaces and Zen gardens, where you can escape the hustle of the city. One such area is the Omiya Bonsai Village and museum, where you’ll be taken to see the numerous bonsai nurseries and exhibitions of finely styled trees on show.  
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2 nightsHAKONE

Where two of Japan’s famous icons overlap, Hakone National Park is the most picturesque place to see the blossom. For a few months each year, views of Mount Fuji are fringed by the pink buds. Swapping the bright lights of the capital for stunning countryside and inner serenity, you’ll be taken from Tokyo to the traditional inn Gora Kadan. While away a couple hours in your private onsen, taking in the beauty of the tranquil gardens and natural landscape, before changing out of your yukata robe and walking along the pathways of seasonal flowers in the Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands. As well as providing a great way to see the area, the Hakone Tozan Railway, Japan’s oldest mountain railway, is lined by thousands of hydrangeas in summer – definitely worth a ride if traveling during the season. If you love wisteria as much as the Japanese do, consider a day trip to the Ashikaga Flower Park to walk beneath its incredible long tunnel of white fuji (wisteria) flowers and to take in the beauty of its huge purple, blue and pink trees.
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3 nightsKYOTO

From Hakone, you’ll take the bullet train to Kyoto and stay in the 300-year-old Tawaraya Ryokan for three nights amongst hidden gardens and ancient forests. If you enjoyed the hanami experience in Tokyo then go to the Kyoto Botanical Gardens for the perfect secluded spot underneath the small forest of weeping cherry trees, a favourite haunt of locals in the know. In between hitting the classic temples and sights, such as the Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle and the Geisha district Gion, you’ll be taken on a tour of the secret gardens of the former Imperial capital. Visiting a series of Japanese rock gardens, stroll gardens and gardens using the ‘borrowed scenery’ technique, you’ll see some of the finest examples of sculpted gardens in the country. You’ll also visit Arashiyama, a stunning bamboo forest standing 30 feet tall along the western edge of Kyoto. The bamboo spurts an incredible 100cm a day, where if you wait long enough, you can quite literally watch the forest grow.
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Your next stop is the hot spring town of Yamanaka Onsen, where you’ll go on a tour of Kenrokuen, justifiably classified as one of Japan’s most beautiful landscaped gardens. Formerly the outer gardens of the Kanazawa Castle, Kenrokuen is a now a strolling-style garden sculpted with the seasons, revelling a different side of the garden’s beauty every few months.  With beautiful lily ponds, stone pagodas, wooden bridges, tea houses, streams of koi carp and waterfalls at every angle, you could spend your whole day walking through the rows of plum and cherry blossoms (in spring) and colourful maple trees (in autumn). However, with the historic Kanazawa Castle nearby, leave a bit of time for exploring the Edo Period castle, which dates back to 1580. Having spent a good few hours strolling the extensive gardens, rest your feet in the hot baths at your ryokan, the exquisite Ryokan Kayotei, before feasting on the delicious multi-course kasieki cuisine.
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1 nightTOKYO

Taking the bullet train back to Tokyo, you’ll have one last night in the Park Hyatt before catching your return flight home. If you thought the hotel was familiar, it could be because it featured in the cult movie, Lost in Translation. Make like Bill Murray and head to the top floor bar to sample a Japanese whiskey or the LIT cocktail, which was named after the movie, or if Scarlett Johansson is more your character, wander the neon-illuminated streets or even pop into a karaoke bar (pink wig optional). Alternatively, watch a morning sumo practice at one of the stables in the Ryogoku district before feasting on hearty chankonabe (sumo wrestlers’ stew) or ramen in a restaurant conveniently located close to the stables.
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