Sakura (cherry blossom), hold a very special place in the Japanese heart. There is no better time to see Japan than when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. Come join me to see the best displays. Please contact me for more information.
April 8, 201
Tour No: HSC-328-12
Tour Price (per person): $5275 Twin, $5250 Triple, $6010 Single
via air with lunch served on board. Due to crossing the International Date Line, you will lose one day.
Day 2 Thursday, March 29 NARITA / OSAKA (D)
We arrive at
in the afternoon. After completion of government formalities, we transfer to the domestic departure lobby for our flight to
. Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel in
by chartered motorcoach in the early evening. Tonight we will enjoy a welcome buffet dinner at our hotel
Day 3 Friday, March 30
OSAKA/ AWAJISHIMA / TOKUSHIMA(B, D)
Breakfast is at our hotel. This morning we leave
, the capital of
and one of
's ten largest cities. We take a brief tour of the city, visiting Sannomiya shopping town, Kobe Harbor Land and a Japanese Sake Brewery. Here is an opportunity to taste some very good Japanese sake and also purchase a bottle to take home. We will then go to
and drive across the Akashi Straits to Awajishima via
AkashiKaikyoOhashiBridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world. We’ll enjoy the scenery as we drive along the island to the southern district. We will make a visit at the Awaza Theater to enjoy Ningyo Joruri Puppet Show. Ningyo Joruri has a long history of over 500 years. The
puppet theatre consists of three elements, the joruri, the shamisen and the manipulated puppets. Joruri is a kind of traditional narrative singing. As we continue our travel to
we will be crossing the Naruto Big Bridge. From the bridge we will enjoy the grand view of the world-famous Naruto-no-Uzushio, the whirlpool of the Naruto Straits. This evening we will enjoy a sukiyaki dinner at our hotel followed by some special entertainment, the Awa-odori (dance) performed at the Awa Odori KaikanHall.
Day 4 Saturday, March 31
TOKUSHIMA- TAKAMATSU- MATSUYAMA
(B)Breakfast is at our hotel. Today we will be leaving
. The park is considered one of the largest and most beautiful parks in
. Developed during the
period (1615-1868) as a private reserve for the ruling Matsudaira family, the Ritsurin was laid out as a large kaiyu orpromenade style garden. It is among the most renowned traditional gardens of
. After a stroll in this beautiful park, we will be heading toward
via the Expressway. We’ll be visiting Matsuyama Castle Park which in spring is surrounded by beautiful cherry blossoms. From there we will be seeing the oldest onsen in
, the Dogo Onsen. This evening we will explore the area around our hotel with the guide and escort for dinner on our own.
Day 5 Sunday, April 1
MATSUYAMA/ SHIMANAMI KAIDO / HIROSHIMA (B) (D)
Breakfast is at our hotel. Our first stop this morning after breakfast will be the Iyo Kasuri Kaikan. Iyo kasuri is an indigo blue cotton cloth and is one of the most famous products in the
area. In the early 19th century Kana Kagiya developed Iyo Kasuri by dyeing the thread according to the pattern before weaving. Mingei Iyokasuri Kaikan consists of a factory to make Iyo Kasuri and gift shops that sell many kasuri products. We leave
for Imabari, the gateway to explore the Setouchi Shimanami KaidoSightseeing Route also called the Nishi Seto Expressway. The route is actually a series of seven bridges hop-scotching across six islands situated in the
. The views of the sea and the countryside along this route are spectacular. Upon arrival at Imabari, we start on a sightseeing tour to Onomichi via the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido. Onomichi is famous for its picturesque hillside location with winding alleys and stairways, spectacular views of the Seto Inland Sea, many beautiful temples and a rich heritage of literature, art and films. From Onomichi, we continue to
via Mihara. Tonight we will have dinner at our hotel. Our hotel is in center city. We can explore the shopping arcade and if time permits take a walk to
Day 6 Monday, April 2
HIROSHIMA/ IWAKUNI / MIYAJIMA / HIROSHIMA(B)
Breakfast is at our hotel. Morning takes us to Iwakuni where we stroll over the Kintai Arch Bridge and enjoy the cherry blossoms in bloom along the banks of the
is located in
in the western part of
. The wooden structure consists of five arches. The elegance of the form inspired the name Kintai, which means gold brocade sash, because of a similarity to the traditional Nishiki obi for the kimono. From Iwakuni we proceed to Miyajima-guchi and take a ferry to
where the sacred tame deer greet us. Be careful they don’t snatch any items that you have sticking out of your pockets. We admire the beautiful gigantic torii gate in the sea as well as explore the Itsukushima Shrine. At high tide the structures seem to be floating above the water. The cherry blossoms on the island are spectacular to behold. Miyajima specializes in the momiji manju (maple-leaf shaped pastry). It is also known for their delicious fried oysters. We can enjoy a lunch of oysters or the delicate fish, anago. After lunch we return to
to tour the
. Look for the Children’s Peace Memorial, the Centaph and the Dome. Our second night in
gives you an opportunity to try another local specialty. How about sushi laced with one of the “catches” from the
or Anago, the local eel---very sweet and delicious or maybe the
okonomiyaki? Let your escort and guide help you find a place to eat.
Day 7 Tuesday, April 3 HIROSHIMA / KURASHIKI/ HIMEJI/ OSAKA
Breakfast is at our hotel. Our first destination today is
via Onomichi and
via Sanyo Expressway.
is noted for the Bikan-chiku Area, where old traditional buildings, shops, warehouses along the narrow canal all have been kept as they were in the
period. It is a great area to pick up some great souvenirs of things made in the area around
. Next stop is
HimejiCastle also known as the
. In 1992
was recognized by UNESCO as a building of world significance and was added to the World Heritage list.
is an excellent example of a Japanese castle with its traditional wooden architecture. Its stone walls and the white plastered walls which have been well maintained.
has been used as
in the long-running series, Abarenbo Shogun, which aired on KIKU TV. We overnight tonight in
where we explore the area for dinner on our own with help from our escort and guide.
Day 8 Wednesday, April 4
OSAKA/ NARA/ KYOTO(B)
Breakfast is at our hotel. A short ride this morning takes us to the site of our first visit,
. The castle was started in 1583 on the former site of the
, which had been destroyed by Oda Nobunaga thirteen years earlier. Toyotomi Hideyoshi intended the castle to become the center of a new, unified
under Toyotomi rule. It was the largest castle at the time. The castle has been burned down and rebuilt twice and the present structure was rebuilt in 1997. It stores a fine museum of information and artifacts of the samurai era. The castle tower affords a grand view of
. We continue on to
with its huge bronze image of Buddha, Nara Deer Park and the Kasuga Grand Shrine.
's Great Buddha Hall in
is the largest wooden structure in the world. It was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of
was the capital. It is home to the largest Buddha in
. Nara Deer Park is home to hundreds of freely roaming deer, considered messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion.
's deer have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated a National Treasure. The Kasuga Grand Shrine was founded in 768 and, according to Shinto concepts of purity, was torn down and rebuilt every 20 years in its original form until 1863. It is a shrine of vermilion-colored pillars and an astounding 3,000 stone and bronze lanterns. It is also known for its beautiful wisteria blossoms. At day’s end we proceed to
where we will spend the night. Tonight we will have dinner on our own. Our hotel isconveniently located near shopping and eating sites. Some time will be spent strolling areas of
to explore some of the historic alleys of ancient
Day 9 Thursday, April 5
Breakfast is at our hotel. We will embark on a city tour of
by motorcoach, visiting Nijyo Castle, best known for its so called nightingale floors which was designed to make squeaking bird-like sounds when walked upon, a warning of possible intruders. This castle was created by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Then it is on to the Heian Shrine with one of the most beautifully landscaped gardens in
. In spring we will be able to enjoy the delicate drooping cherry blossoms. Other notable places we visit are the
also known as the Golden Pavilion; and the
. Kinkakuji is a
formally known as Rokuonji. In 1397 construction started on the Golden Pavilion as part of a new residence for the retired shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Kinkakuji was converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimitsu's death in 1408.
is composed of several Buddhist temples. The temple was founded in 798, and it is named for a waterfall on the grounds ("Kiyomizu" means pure water). The most well-known feature of Kiyomizu dera is the huge veranda of the main hall. It juts out on wooden pillars and is an impressive sight. From the veranda you will have a sweeping view of
. During spring the cherry blossoms around the grounds create an outstanding spectacle. Tonight dinner is on our own.
Day 10 Friday, April 6
KYOTO/ MISHIMA / NIRAYAMA / HAKONE (B, L, D)
Breakfast is at our hotel. This morning your suitcase will be shipped to
, so we will travel to Hakone with our carry-on baggage. After breakfast we transfer to Kyoto Station by taxi. Upon our arrival we depart Kyoto Station. At
for Mishima aboard the Shinkansen (bullet train), with tourist class reserved seats. A box lunch will be served on board. Upon arrival at Mishima Station we will be continuing on to NIrayama where we will be treated to delicious sweet strawberries which we have picked ourselves. We start our tour of Hakone National Park crossing over the scenic Jukkoku Pass where we enjoy the fantastic view of
Fuji (if Fujisan is cooperative).and its neighboring areas. We glimpse
’s past history of the samurai era at the Hakone Seisho Barrier and the interesting museum filled with artifacts of the period. Next, we enjoy a boat cruise on
, followed by a visit to
with its steaming
. Tonight we can enjoy the onsen and a fantastic buffet dinner at the hotel.
Day 11 Saturday, April 7 HAKONE / KAMAKURA/ TOKYO(B)
Breakfast is at our hotel. This morning, we leave Hakone for
, driving along the Shonan Coast Driveway. Upon arrival at
we will embark on our tour to visit Daibutsu, a gigantic statue of the Great Buddha in a sitting position.
, once capital of
during the period of the first Shogunate, gives you a flavor of Old Japan. We’ll enjoy shopping and having our lunch on popular Komachi-dori, a quaint shopping street before proceeding to
for a tour of the
to view Nijyubashi, the famous bridge leading to the palace’s main entrance. Dinner is on your own with the help of the escort and guide.
Day 12 - Sunday, April 8 TOKYO/ NARITA / HONOLULU
Breakfast is at our hotel. The day is free until our departure from the hotel to the airport. For early morning risers there is an optional tour by subway to Tsukiji Fish Market to shop for marine products. Return to our hotel for breakfast and check-out. After breakfast you may want to join the escort on another optional tour by subway and train to Asakusa. We will be visiting Asakusa Kannon Temple and
Nakamise Shopping Street
. After Asakusa, those who wish to may visit Sengakuji Temple, where the 47 ronin depicted in “Chushingura” (a famous true-life story) are buried. We leave our hotel in the afternoon for
by motorcoach. Depart Narita for
via air. We arrive at
the same day. We gain one day crossing the International Date Line.
This tour includes:
Hotel 2 passengers in a room occupancy basis at the hotels
Meals 10 breakfasts and 4 dinners
to Mishima by Shinkansen Super Express Train with tourist class reserved seats
Transfers Chartered motorcoach throughout the tour
Admission Entrance fees to all attractions specified in the itinerary except for the optional tours
Photograph A group picture at one of the most impressive scenic spots on the tour
Guide An English-speaking guide throughout the tour in
and an escort from
Porterage Porterage for hotels
Overnight bag Well designed overnight bag
Baggage shipment Baggage shipment charge of one piece of luggage per person from
This tour must have 25 committed members to be guaranteed.
Every effort has been made to produce this itinerary without error.