17 Days Escorted Journey | 26 March – 11 April 2025

$21,730 per person Twin | $26,195 per person Single

Escorted from Auckland by World Journeys, this 17-day return journey will enchant you as you witness Japan’s sakura (cherry blossom) blooming, and explore this unique and incredibly scenic country, rich in culture, cuisine, and gracious people.

Sakura Blossom Japan Escorted Journey Map

Beginning in bustling Tokyo, enjoy the capital’s mix of traditional and modern culture, and visit its impressive gardens.

Explore Japan’s alpine ‘old town’ of Takayama and seek out the famous ‘snow monkeys’, visit Kyoto’s temples, imperial palaces and Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, reflect in poignant Hiroshima, and marvel at the iconic Mt. Fuji vistas from the top of Mt. Owakudani.

Inclusions

  • Small group tour (max. 18)
  • Economy Class airfares ex Auckland
  • 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 on the itinerary – B|L|D

Not Included

  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Optional activities

Gratuities
Tipping is neither required nor expected in Japan.

Special Experiences

The ultimate sushi-lovers experience in Tokyo

A sushi master will guide you through making sushi rolls and nigiri which you will then enjoy for lunch.

Visit steaming hot springs to see monkeys bathing

Visit Yudanaka Onsen where you will look for wild ‘snow monkeys’ (Japanese Macaque) relaxing in the steaming hot springs surrounded by thick forest.

Tour the 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 will see the fascinating houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs, the only examples of their kind in Japan.

Kyoto Streets
Snow Monkey in Yudanaka

Itinerary 26 March – 11 April 2025

WED 26 AUCKLAND to TOKYO

Morning flight to Tokyo. On arrival we will be transferred to our hotel for an evening at leisure.

THU 27 TOKYO - B|L|D

Full day tour of Tokyo where you will visit the Tsukiji Outer Fish Market, then visit a restaurant to learn how to make sushi from a local chef. Visit Ginza Mitsukoshi, the oldest surviving department store in Tokyo. See the Imperial Palace Plaza, Hamarikyu Garden and Ueno Park, a popular spot for cherry blossom parties with more than 1000 cherry trees lining the streets.

Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening.

FRI 28 TOKYO - B|L

Another 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, Asakusa Kannon Temple and Akihabara Electronic Town, and drive by the famous intersection of Shibuya, the bustling shopping district.

Lunch is included at a local restaurant.

SAT 29 TOKYO to YUDANAKA - B|L|D

This morning depart for Nagano by bullet train and then travel by train to Yudanaka, a popular spa town. Here we visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park where we hope to see ‘snow monkeys’ bathing in the steaming natural onsen pools. Check in to our ryokan complete with indoor and outdoor onsens (spas).

Enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner this evening.

SUN 30 YUDANAKA to TAKAYAMA - B|L|D

Continue to the historical town of Takayama, set in the heart of the Japanese Alps, visiting the Zenkoji Temple, a wasabi farm and Matsumoto Castle en route. This town is beautifully preserved with many buildings dating from the Edo period, when the city thrived as a wealthy town of merchants. They provide a glimpse into the former living quarters of the merchants an exhibit traditional household goods and local arts and crafts.

MON 31 TAKAYAMA - SHIRAKAWA-GO to GOKAYAMA to KANAZAWA - B|D

Visit the morning markets and the former government house of Takayama. See the Shirakawago UNESCO World Heritage Listed site, famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, with their steeply pitched thatched roofs, some of which are more than 250 years old. Visit the Japanese Paper Village of Gokayama.
Finish in Kanazawa, a pristine castle town with an array of cultural attractions.

TUE 1 KANAZAWA to KYOTO - B|D

Visit Kenrokuen garden, one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens.
In spring, visitors can see plum and cherry blossoms. We also visit the Samurai House, Gold  useum and Ohmi-cho Market.

Then we travel a little over two hours by train to Kyoto.

WED 2 KYOTO - B|L|D

Kyoto is Japan’s cultural heart, known for its Buddhist temples, beautiful gardens and colourful shrines. Enjoy a full day tour to see the Kinkakuji Temple and Ryoanji Temple, ending with  Kiyomizu Temple, perched on a hill overlooking the Kyoto basin and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

THU 3 KYOTO - B

Visit Nijo Castle then Arashiyama for a visit to the Sagano Bamboo Grove with thick green bamboo stalks which seem to continue endlessly in every direction. See the “Moon Crossing Bridge”, a central landmark famous for its cherry blossom viewing. Finish with a visit to Tenryuji Temple.

Afternoon at leisure.

FRI 4 KYOTO to NARA to OSAKA - B

Touring today includes Nara en route to Osaka. Visits include Todaiji Temple, Nara Park and the Kasuga Shrine, with great views from Osaka Castle.

SAT 5 OSAKA - B|L

Enjoy a half day tour of Osaka including the Kaiyukan Aquarium. See Umeda, the commercial and business district, with its prominent skyscrapers.

Enjoy time at leisure.

SUN 6 OSAKA to HIROSHIMA - B|L

We drive to Kobe to visit a sake brewery then have lunch at a Teppanyaki restaurant. In the afternoon take the bullet train to Hiroshima.

MON 7 HIROSHIMA & MIYAJIMA - B|D

Hiroshima has rebuilt itself as one of Japan’s most laid back yet vibrant cities full of wide boulevards and art museums, great food and friendly, welcoming people. Visit the Peace Memorial and Museum and 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 the famous, floating Torii Gate, a shrine known worldwide for being built over water, seemingly floating in the sea.

TUE 8 HIROSHIMA to HAKONE - B|D

Take the bullet train to Hakone via Nagoya. Visit the Ichiku Kubota Museum and scenic Lake Kawaguchi before transferring to our hotel. Some great views of Mt Fuji today, weather permitting.

WED 9 HAKONE to TOKYO - B|L|D

Ride the cable car up Mt Owakudani, passing over sulphurous vents and hot springs. In this volcanic area, you can eat a hard-boiled egg cooked in the sulphuric hot springs, adding seven years to your life! From the top, if it’s a clear day, we will see stunning views of Mt Fuji, Japan’s highest and most worshipped mountain, and Lake Ashi.
We end with a cruise on Lake Ashi then continue to the amazing Hakone Open Air Sculpture Museum.

Arrive in Tokyo late afternoon and enjoy a farewell dinner.

THU 10 TOKYO to AUCKLAND - B

Morning at leisure before we transfer to the airport for our overnight flight to Auckland.

FRI 11 AUCKLAND

Morning arrival in Auckland.

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There is limited space on this amazing journey!!

Get in touch with us to secure your spot today. 

Call us to chat about it on 09 426 1490