Sakura Spring in Japan - Japanspecialist
Experience the best Japan has to offer in the beautiful springtime with our Sakura Tour.
We've curated a program with delicious gourmet experiences, traditional accommodation and unique experiences. This tour features highlights like the art island Naoshima, Japan's most impressive castle Himeji, some of Kyoto's most beautiful temples and Tokyo's vibrant city life. You'll also have time and space to explore on your own. Get a better understanding of Japan and the country's unique culture on this fantastic tour.
Take your overnight flight from Europe to Osaka and try to get some good sleep, so you're ready for the adventure ahead of you!
You'll arrive at Kansai Airport in Osaka in the morning and take a bus to Kyoto, Japan's cultural capital, where you'll sightsee until noon. Since check-in at the hotel is not available until later in the afternoon, we will spend some time at Kyoto Station, famous for its unique architecture, and have a light lunch at a nearby restaurant.
After lunch, we will walk to our nearby hotel and check in. Enjoy some rest before we head together in the evening to the old town of Gion, where you might be lucky enough to spot a geisha before enjoying a delicious Japanese style welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Today you'll visit two of Kyoto's most famous sights. You'll travel to the northern part of the city, where Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, is located. Covered by gold leaves, the temple is one of Kyoto's most recognizable sights.
You'll then continue to the impressive Samurai castle Nijo with the so-called nightingale floor, which "chirps." The floor was made so that the shogun could hear if a ninja had to try to sneak in. After lunch, the rest of the afternoon and evening is free to enjoy as you please.
Today you'll explore more of Kyoto's cultural treasures. You'llYou'll travel by private bus to Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion, then stroll along the Philosophical Path down to the ancient Zen temple Nanzen-ji, home to impressive structures and gardens.
After, you'll continue to central Kyoto and explore independently. You can visit Nishiki Market, which is also a good place to buy Japanese chef's knives. If you want to get a little outside the city, we recommend Arashiyama (the western mountains) with the beautiful bamboo forests or the Fushimi Inari temple (south of Kyoto Station), which is famous for its thousands of red Shinto gates.
Today is free to explore as you please. Kyoto has over 1600 temples and 400 Shinto shrines, so there is plenty to see. The city is also home to excellent artisans, and you can buy the finest products Japan has to offer here. You can also book a full day trip to the country's oldest capital, Nara.
The trip must be purchased before departure and costs EUR 115 per person.
At 09:00, you meet with the guide outside the hotel and head to Kyoto Station, where you'll take a train to Nara Station. The trip takes around 30 minutes.
Upon arrival, you will go to the Todai-ji Temple, where the world's largest bronze Buddha figure stands - 16 meters high and weighing 437 tons. In Nara Park and around the park, friendly deer roam freely. After meeting the deer, enjoy lunch on your own.
After lunch, you'll head to Kasuga Shrine, one of the most important shrines within Shintoism. The shrine houses thousands of lanterns and is beautifully situated on the mountain of the same name. It guards the entrance to a sacred primaeval forest.
From Kasuga Shrine, the trip goes again down through the forest and to Kofuku-ji. Here you'll see the impressive 5-storey pagoda, and you will visit the small National Treasure Museum, which contains a fine collection of historical art treasures. The train from Nara runs back to Kyoto Station, where the trip ends around 16:30.
This tour is conducted with an English-speaking Japanese guide. Make sure you wear good hiking shoes, as the trip around Nara is approximately six and a half kilometres, with breaks along the way. Bring a small hiking bag and an umbrella if needed.
Before departing, we'll arrange for your larger suitcases to be sent directly to Tokyo – it makes your journey much easier.
After breakfast, you'll take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Himeji to see Himeji Castle. The UNESCO-protected castle has been closed for several years due to extensive renovation, and now it is open to visitors in all its glory. Then you're free to have lunch independently. You'll meet your guide at the station in Himeji and take the train to Okayama, arriving late afternoon.
You'll check in at the hotel, and in the evening your guide will show you the way to the city centre, where you can find a small cosy restaurant independently.
Today you'll take a day trip to Setouchi, the beautiful inland sea, and visit Naoshima. Naoshima is a small island dedicated exclusively to art. Here sit sculptures, art museums and architectural showcases - all in wonderful harmony with nature on this unspoilt island. The new Chichu Art Museum is even built into the ground so as not to ruin the landscape. Both this and the island's second main museum, Benesse House, were designed by world-famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
You can explore the island independently. For easy access, we recommend renting a bicycle. Please let us know if you want to rent a bike when booking the trip so we can reserve it in advance. Entrance to the Chichu Museum is included and is booked at fixed times to ensure we can enter without waiting too long. All other entrance tickets and transports are not included. In the late afternoon, you'll meet your guide at the harbour afterwards and return together to Okayama.
If you want to visit all museums, you should expect to pay approximately 50EUR for all entrances. The island also has local buses that cost around 1EUR per ride. Rental cars are also available for around 70EUR per day; a valid international driving license and passport is required to rent motor vehicles in Japan.
Today you'll head to Hiroshima by shinkansen. The day starts with a visit to Miyajima, close to Hiroshima, and admire Itsukushima Shrine, built on pillars that balance the seabed. On the island, you will be greeted by the free-ranging deer, considered to be messengers from the gods. You'll also visit the Toyokuni Shrine before having lunch, okonomiyaki, aka Japanese pancake, Hiroshima's very tasty soul food.
After lunch, you'll continue to Hiroshima Peace Park, which today stands as a memorial to the atomic bombing, and after, visit the Peace Museum. In the late afternoon, you'll return to Okayama with the shinkansen.
After breakfast at your hotel, you'll continue by shinkansen towards the scenic Izu Peninsula, which is flanked by Mount Fuji and the Pacific Ocean.
After arriving at Izu-Kogen, you'll check in at your ryokan, and take a walk down to the impressive rocky coast and enjoy the magnificent nature.
Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the baths and in your beautiful traditional rooms before enjoying a gourmet dinner at our ryokan.
After a traditional breakfast at your ryokan, it's off to Tokyo. You'll arrive around noon and leave our light luggage at the hotel before having lunch at a nearby restaurant. For the last four nights, the hotel is in the heart of Shinjuku, Tokyo's most vibrant area. After lunch, take a walk around the area so you get to know the district a little before enjoying the rest of your day independently.
Today we travel around the city. Start the day by visiting the beautiful Meiji Jingu Shrine, a green oasis in the middle of the big city. Next to the shrine, make a brief stop at Yoyogi Park, and continue on foot to colourful nearby Harajuku.
Next, it's on to Omotesando shopping street before taking the subway to the Shibuya district. Marvel at the world-famous pedestrian crossing at the station and say hello to the famous Hachiko dog. We eat lunch here and then the rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy as you please.
This day is open for you to enjoy as you please. Perhaps take a look at the fascinating architecture and modern art in Tokyo Midtown or visit Tsukiji, the world's largest fish market, for some fresh sushi. If the weather is good, Ueno is the area with the National Museum and sprawling Ueno Park. Finally, you can also just sit and watch people at one of the city's many cafes.
Another option is to take a full day trip to Hakone, which must be booked in advance.
The trip must be purchased prior to visiting Japan and costs EUR 120 per person. Our tour leader will guide you on this day trip.
Hakone National Park is close to Tokyo and at the foot of Japan's most famous landmark - Mount Fuji. In addition to being the area with Japan's oldest and most famous health resort, Hakone also has an interesting history, beautiful surroundings and a cool climate all year round.
Your tour leader will take you on a local train from Tokyo to Hakone, where we will take the train through the beautiful valleys to the outdoor museum, with one of the finest collections of modern sculptures.
You'll later take a cable car up to the active volcanic Owakudani (note that the area is sometimes closed for visits if there is too much volcanic activity), and if the weather is clear, admire views of Mt. Fuji.
After, you'll take the cable car down to Ashi Lake, where you can have a light lunch on your own before taking a relaxing boat trip on the lake. After the boat ride, it's back to Tokyo. The rest of the evening is free to enjoy as you wish.
You'll kick off today visiting the Tokyo City Museum (Edo Tokyo Museum) to get insight into the city's evolution.
Next, it's over to Asakusa for an early lunch before visiting Sensoji, Tokyo's oldest temple, dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy of Buddhism, Kannon. Grab some souvenirs and snacks from Nakamise Street leading up to the temple.
The rest of the day is at your disposal. In the evening, you'll meet your guide and group and enjoy a delicious "sayonara" dinner and enjoy the last night in Tokyo.
It's time to say "Sayonara" (goodbye) or maybe "matanee" (see you again) to Japan. Early in the morning, you'll transfer to Narita or Haneda Airport and fly back to Europe.
We hope this has been an inspiring journey that will enrich your life forever.
Length: 14 Days
Visiting places: Kyoto, Okayama, Naoshima, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji, Izu, Tokyo
Departing from: All major European Airports
Price: From EUR 4.100,- (learn more about prices)
- Airport tax, fees and 20-23 kgs checked luggage
- 4 nights in western style hotel in Kyoto
- 3 nights in western style hotel in Okayama
- 1 night in Japanese style ryokan with hot-spring in Izu-kogen
- 4 nights in western style hotel in Tokyo
- 12 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 3 dinners.
- E-bikes in Naoshima
- Ticket to the Chichu Art Museum in Naoshima
- All entrances and transport according to the program
- Tour leader available all days
- Valuable and detailed information about your trip
- Transport not mentioned above (e.g. local metro/bus/taxi etc.)
- Beverages during meals (except tap-water and green tea)
- Optional excursion to Nara (EUR 115 pp)
- Optional excursion to Hakone (EUR 120 pp)
- Other entrance fees in Naoshima (approx. EUR 50)
- Other transport in Naoshima
- Meals not mentioned above
- Local city tax which needs to be paid on the spot
- Travel and cancellation insurance