See cherry blossoms in beautiful natural settings of northern Japan.
Start your sakura hunt from the Morioka Castle ruins.
Join the sakura festival at Hirosaki Castle.
Join the cherry blossom festival at Goryokaku Fort in Hakodate.
Stay at a luxurious onsen hotel at Lake Toya.
Visit the new national Ainu Museum, Upopoy.
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 - Richmond Premier Asakusa
Morioka - Daiwa Roynet Morioka
Hirosaki - Smile Hotel
Hakodate - La Jolie Motomachi
Lake Toya - Nonokaze
Sapporo - Century Royal Hotel
Travel to Tokyo by Fri 23rd April 2021
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 Morioka B
In the morning, we’ll begin our journey north to catch the blooms of sakura a the Morioka Cherry Blossom Festival. We’ll take the Shinkansen to Morioka by Mt Iwate, where we will start our sakura hunt from the castle grounds.
Morioka 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. We will also have time to visit the 17th century Suzuki Sake Brewery.
Morioka to Hirosaki BD
We’ll take the Shinkansen further north to Aomori, where we will change for a local train, arriving into Hirosaki around noon. The Hirosaki castle grounds was my father's favourite cherry blossom site in all of Japan, so I am looking forward to sharing it with you. In the evening, join me for a set menu of regional food at a local restaurant.
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. You will be free in the afternoon to explore the port area. If you would like to join me for some excellent sushi, please do.
Today, we'll visit the 19th century Goryokaku Fort, which has about one thousand sakura trees planted around its star shaped moat. You will have a one day tram ticket, so you can explore this historical port city as you wish. It is worth visiting the old Motomachi area and the ropeway up to Mt Hakodate.
Hakodate to Lake Toya BD
In the morning, we will take the express train to Lake Toya, where I am sure you will be enchanted by the beautiful crater-lake scenery with views across to Mt Yotei. In the afternoon, you will have the chance to explore Mt Usu, an active volcano, which most recently erupted in 2001. Our accommodation for the night also has excellent onsen facilities.
Lake Toya to Sapporo BD
In the morning, we will take a train to the brand new National Ainu Museum at Shiraoi, where you will have the chance to learn about the indigenous culture of Japan's northern peopl. We will then continue on to Sapporo where we can have a farewell meal of Zangi chicken plus other local delights, washed down with local beer or sake.
Return home on Sun 2 May 2021 B
Today, you can easily head for home from Sapporo's Chitose Airport (transfers provided). Most flights will connect with Australia bound destinations at Tokyo's Haneda airport.