See cherry blossoms in beautiful natural settings of northern Japan.
Visit Sensoji Temple in Tokyo.
Cruise Matsushima Bay, one of Japan's best views.
Visit the Towada Art Centre.
Stay at two luxurious onsen hotels.
Join the sakura festival at Hirosaki Castle.
Stay and walk in the beautiful Oirase Gorge.
Join the cherry blossom festival at Goryokaku Fort in Hakodate.
Walk the Mt Usu volcanic geopark area by Lake Toya.
Transport and entry to all places described
Accommodation and meals described
The services of Riki Inamura, the tour escort
Airport-hotel transfers in Japan
Tokyo - Mercure Hotel Ginza
Sendai - Daiwa Roynet Sendai
Oirase - Keiryu Hotel (luxury onsen hotel in the forest)
Hirosaki - Smile Hotel
Hakodate - La Jolie Motomachi
Lake Toya - Kohantei (onsen hotel)
Sapporo - Cross Hotel
Travel to Tokyo Wednesday 18 April 2018
Arrive at Narita or Haneda by own arrangement with transfers provided into Tokyo.
Visit Sensoji Temple in old downtown Tokyo to wish a safe journey ahead. You can then spend your afternoon at leisure, or join Riki for a walk through the historic area of Yanaka, Tokyo University and Ueno Park. The weather should have warmed up, so azaleas will be coming into bloom throughout the city. In the evening, we’ll have our welcome dinner at a local izakaya (Japanese style pub).
Tokyo to Sendai via Matsushima B
In the morning, we’ll begin our journey north to catch the blooms of sakura. We’ll take the Shinkansen to Sendai, then a local train into the port town of Matsushima, one of Japan’s three best ocean views. We’ll take a cruise on the pretty island studded bay, and also stop by the 17th century Entsuin temple with its delightful gardens. Later we’ll take the local train back to Sendai, a great city for walking and shopping.
Sendai and Kakunodate day trip B
Today, we’ll head north-west on the Shinkansen for a day trip to the beautiful town of Kakunodate on the Hinokinai River, which is lined with cherry blossom trees for over 2km. The old samurai residences also make this town one of the best places to experince Japan’s pre-modern era.
Sendai to Oirase Gorge BD
We’ll take the Shinkansen further north, then join a local bus to visit the Towada Art Centre, and Oirase Gorge, deep in the forests. You can join Riki for a walk up the verdant gorge. Oirase is a great place to unwind within this beautiful natural setting. Relax in the onsen at the hotel before dinner.
Oirase Gorge to Hirosaki BD
In the morning, we’ll take a local bus up and over the Hakkoda Mountains to Hirosaki. Weather permitting, we’ll spend the afternoon at the cherry blossom festival that takes place around the splendid 17th century castle and its gorgeous grounds and moats. In the evening, we will enjoy our dinner together.
Hirosaki to Hakodate B
We’ll take an early morning viewing of the sakura at Hirosaki Castle again before taking a local train and Shinkansen north for our journey under the sea to Hokkaido.
Today, we'll visit the cherry blossom festival at the 19th century Goryokaku Fort, which has about one thousand sakura trees planted around its star shaped moat. Your afternoon will be free at leisure in this delightful port town.
Hakodate to Lake Toya BD
We'll take an express train to the lakeside village of Toya, where you can walk the Mt Usu area, a smouldering volcano, then soothe your feet in the onsen.
Lake Toya to Sapporo BD
For our last trip, we will take a bus to Sapporo for our farewell dinner. We can enjoy Hokkaido style chicken 'zangi' washed down with Sapporo beer at a local Izakaya (Japanese style pub).
Return home Saturday 28 April 2018 B
After breakfast, you will depart from New Chitose Airport depending on the schedule of your airline. Have a great trip home!