Cherry Blossom Japan

Cherry Blossom Japan

15 days
DEPARTS 26 March 2016

Price from$8,170

Each spring, Japan's landscape is host to fragile pink and white sakura blooming; stunning colour that is celebrated throughout the entire country. Start this journey in bustling Tokyo and its impressive gardens, see spectacular views of Mt Fuji and the alpine 'old town' of Takayama. Finish with cultural Kyoto and poignant Hiroshima. This unique and incredibly scenic country with enchanting culture, wonderful cuisine and gracious people awaits you.

On this journey you will experience the following special experiences: •Take the ultimate sushi-lovers tour in Tokyo We'll visit Tsukiji to see the world's largest fish market. You'll try your hand at making sushi rolls and nigiri from a sushi master which we'll then enjoy for lunch.

•Explore ancient houses in Takayama old town We'll take a tour of ancient houses in a well-preserved quarter with Edo-style streets, this alpine 'old town' is unique and incredibly scenic with enchanting culture, wonderful cuisine and gracious people.

•Tour historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama Located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time, these villages with their Gassho-style houses subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms. On this tour you'll see the large houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs, the only examples of their kind in Japan.

If you have travelled on one of our Journeys before, we would like to offer you a saving of $400 per couple (or $200 per person) if you book this journey.

Cherry Blossom Japan map

Day 1: Arrive Tokyo Meet your tour host and other group members at your hotel bar or lounge this evening.

Day 2: Tokyo (B,L,D) We have a full day tour of Tokyo visiting Meiji Shrine, Tokyo's most famous Shinto shrine which is wonderfully serene and austere. Visit Tokyo Tower, Omotesando Street, Asakua Kannon Temple, Akihabara Electronic Town and drive by Shibuya. Lunch is included at a local Japanese restaurant. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening at your hotel.

Day 3: Tokyo (B,L) Enjoy a half day tour of Tokyo to see the Tsukiji Fish Market and learn how to make sushi from a local chef. Visit Ginza Mitsukoshi, the oldest surviving department store. See the Imperial Palace Plaza, Hamarikyu Garden and Ueno Park, a popular spot for cherry blossom parties with more than 1000 trees lining the streets. Afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 4: Tokyo > Mt Fuji > Hakone (B,L) We travel to Hakone, the gateway to Mt Fuji and the surrounding national park. Hakone is famous for its 'onsen' or natural hot springs, its natural beauty. After lunch, we will ride the world's second longest cable car up Mt Owakudani, passing over sulphurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers in this volcanic area, where you can eat a hard boiled egg from the sulphuric hot springs. If you do, it will add seven years to your life! From the top, we will see stunning views of Mt Fuji, Japan's highest and most worshiped mountain. Finish with a ride on a replica pirate ship across Lake Ashinoko, where about 150 Somei Yoshino cherry trees are planted on the river embankment.

Day 5: Hakone > Takayama (B,D) Travel to Takayama through the Japanese Alps. Enjoy a tour of ancient houses in Takayama old town and visit a Wasabi Farm.

Day 6: Takayama > Shirakawago > Gokayama > Kanazawa (B,D) Visit the delightful morning markets and then visit the former government house of Takayama. See the Shirakawago UNESCO World Heritage Listed site, famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Visit the Japanese Paper Village of Gokayama. Finish in Kanazawa; this pristine castle town was Japan's wealthiest in the 17th century and is still a centre for culture and arts.

Day 7: Kanazawa > Kyoto (B,D) Visit Kenrokuen garden, one of the top three gardens in Japan. Its beauty shines through in any season but in spring, visitors can see plum blossoms. We also visit the Nagamachi Samurai district, the Samurai House and Omi Market. Then we travel two and a half hours on the train to Kyoto and check into our stunning hotel, the ANA Crowne Plaza Kyoto.

Day 8: Kyoto (B,L) Kyoto is the centre of artistic and cultural history in Japan, with temples, gardens and traditional courtyards. On our full day tour we will visit Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji Temple and Ryoanji Temple, ending with Kiyomizu Temple, perched on a hill overlooking the Kyoto basin. Kiyomizu Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a Gion lunch at a local restaurant.

Day 9: Kyoto (B,D) Arashiyama half day tour with visits to Sagano Bamboo Grove where we'll stand among thick green bamboo stalks, which seem to continue endlessly in every direction. Then visit Togetsukyo Bridge also known as the 'Moon Crossing Bridge' a central landmark famous for its cherry blossom viewing. Finish with a visit to Tenryuji and Kodaiji Temples and Gion, the famous entertainment and geisha quarter. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 10: Kyoto > Nara > Osaka (B) Touring today includes a Nara and Osaka tour. Visits include Todaiji Temple, Nara Park, Kasuga Shrine and views from Osaka Castle.

Day 11: Osaka (B,L)
Osaka half day tour including the Kaiyukan Aquarium, Japan's most spectacular aquarium. See Umeda, the commercial and business district, home to prominent skyscrapers. Enjoy time at leisure.

Day 12: Osaka > Hiroshima (B,L) Take the bullet train to Hiroshima and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Check in to our hotel, ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima followed by an afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 13: Hiroshima & Miyajima (B,D)
Hiroshima has risen phoenix-like from the ashes, and rebuilt itself as one of Japan's most laid back, vibrant cities full of wide boulevards and art Museums, great food and friendly, welcoming people. Visit the Peace Memorial and Museum, A-Bomb Dome and take a short ferry ride out to Miyajima Island, a small wooded island located in the Inland Sea. Here you will find perhaps the most photographed site in Japan - The Floating Torii Gate, a shrine known worldwide for being built over water, seemingly floating in the sea during high tide.

Day 14: Hiroshima > Kobe (B,D) Take the bullet train to Kobe, one of Japan's most attractive and cosmopolitan cities which is perched on a hillside sloping down to the sea. Enjoy a short tour including a Japanese Sake Brewery, Kobe Port and Sannomiya, the biggest downtown area in the city. Farewell dinner this evening.

Day 15: Depart Osaka (B) We have a final breakfast before we take the bullet train to Osaka Airport where our journey ends.

• A World Journeys host • Accommodation in 4 star hotels • Transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary • Train journeys as per the itinerary • Meals as indicated

Pricing (per person) $AUD

Type TWIN SINGLE

Tour cost

$8,170

$9,600

Departs

26 March 2016

Booking conditions

A non-refundable deposit of $1800 per person is required. Full payment is required prior to 13 December 2015. As cancellation fees apply, travel insurance is mandatory. Please refer to Terms & Conditions.

There are limited single rooms available, but we do currently have a single lady wishing to 'twin share' with another on this departure.

Please refer to World Journeys terms & conditions.

Not included

• Flights to the start and from the end of your tour • Items of a personal nature • Visas • Travel insurance (mandatory) • Optional activities

Gratuity

Tipping is neither required nor expected in Japan.