See cherry blossoms in beautiful natural settings of northern Japan.
First stop out of Tokyo is the beautiful Matsushima bay area
Continue your sakura hunt from the Morioka Castle ruins.
Explore the sakura in the samurai town of Kakunodate.
Join the sakura festival at Hirosaki Castle.
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 - Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon
Matshushima - Matsushima Century Hotel
Morioka - Daiwa Roynet Morioka
Oirase - Oirase Keiryu Hotel
Hirosaki - Smile Hotel
Travel to Tokyo by Wednesday 17th April 2024
Arrive at Narita or Haneda airport 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 half-day tour of Tokyo. 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 Matsushima BD
In the morning, we’ll head north on the Shinkansen bound for Sendai, where we'll change for a local train to the beautiful Matsushima Bay, from where we will start our sakura hunt. We will take a cruise on Matsushima Bay and look for sakura in the local area. You will have the chance to enjoy a hot spring onsen bath and seafood dinner at our hotel.
Matsushima to Morioka B
Today, we’ll head further north on the Shinkansen bound for Morioka by the spectacular Mt Iwaki-san. We will have more chances to see the sakura in this northern city, so I will take you to some lovely spots such as the old castle site.
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 experience Japan’s pre-modern era.
Morioka to Oirase Gorge via Towada BD
We’ll take the Shinkansen further north to Hachinohe, from where we will take a local bus to the farming town of Towada, which has a great row of sakura tree along its main street. There is also a great little local gallery which we can enjoy. From Towada, it's just a short way down into the Oirase Gorge, and although we won't see sakura here, the natural beauty and variety of short walks is there for you to delight you. The accommodation here is rather special and there is a great onsen bath for you too.
Oirase Gorge to Hirosaki B
Today, will be just a short bus trip and local train to the old castle town of Hirosaki, where we will spend two nights. Hirosaki has one of Japan's nicest intact castles surrounded by beautiful parklands full of sakura trees. You will have the chance to visit here several times at different times of the day and night. This is quite a small city, and the accommodation is simple, but I am sure you will enjoy this unique spot in Japan.
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 as part of their Hanami Festival. In the evening, join me for a set menu of regional food at a local restaurant.
Hirosaki to Tokyo B
Today, we will make the long journey south back to Tokyo on the Shinkansen. Make sure you grab a bento boxed lunch from Hirosaki or Aomori station to enjoy on-board. Sit back and relax for the day.
Return home on Friday 26th Apr 2024 B
Today, you can easily head for home from Tokyo's Haneda or Narita airport (transfers provided). Most flights will connect with Australia bound destinations at Tokyo's Haneda airport.