JAPAN - THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS

Number 20 on the list.
The Cherry Blossoms, known in Japanese as ‘Sakura’ have dazzled the world for centuries and continue to overwhelm visitors and locals. With over 200 different varieties, the wave of pink, which sweeps up the country beginning in March, announces the arrival of spring each year, symbolising human life, transience, and honour.

Cherry blossom season is now one of the most iconic experiences in the world and the small window of opportunity to visit this astonishing event means places fill up quickly.
 

Jewels of Japan
12 Days / 11 Nights

Immerse yourself in the unique and fascinating culture of Japan. Encompassing the essentials with natural wonders, imperial heritage and mystical surprises, this tour incorporates a number of experiences that give your holiday a truly authentic edge.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Discover the delights of vibrant Tokyo
• Admire breath-taking Mount Fuji
• Make your own Japanese soba noodles
• Experience the speedy bullet train
• Explore Japan’s history in Kyoto
• Travel during the Cherry Blossom season and be dazzled^

INCLUDES
• Return international economy flights from Australia to Japan
• All accommodation
• All meals (from dinner on day 2 to breakfast on the last day)
• All sightseeing and entrance fees
• All transportation and transfers
• English-speaking National Escort
• Comprehensive travel guides

ITINERARY
DAYS 1-2 AUSTRALIA - TOKYO
Fly overnight to Tokyo, the capital of Japan. On arrival, you will be met by an English-speaking representative and transfer approximately 1.5 hours to your hotel.
Please note: Early check-in is not included. If your flight arrives in the morning and you wish to arrange this, please speak to your reservations consultant. Transfers will differ depending on group size, but you may share a coach with other passengers who are not part of a Wendy Wu Tour. If you are on a shared bus transfer, you may have to walk for a few minutes to get to your hotel.
 
DAY 3 TOKYO
Tokyo is the ultimate 24-hour city, but look behind its frantic, high-tech frontage and you’ll find plenty of tranquil backstreets and old temples to explore; today take a tour by coach of this fascinating city. Head to the 1st observatory of the Tokyo Skytree for panoramic views over the city before taking a wander through the district of Asakusa for an opportunity to pick up some souvenirs on Nakamise Shopping street and visit Sensoji Temple. Explore the Edo Tokyo Museum and Tokyo’s Imperial Palace East Garden (you will not enter the palace itself). You will be on your feet for 4-5 hours during your touring in Tokyo. Dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant within walking distance of your hotel.
 
DAY 4 TOKYO
Spend a relaxed morning wandering around the classical landscapes of the Hamarikyu Garden and exploring the huge evergreen forest that encompasses the Shinto Meiji Shrine. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before returning to your hotel, driving by the Shibuya “Scramble” Crossing on the way. Return to your hotel where your guide will let you know what time to meet for this evenings dinner cruise, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore independently or relax in the hotel. Transfer from the hotel to your boat and take a leisurely 1-hour dinner cruise on Tokyo Bay for some excellent city vistas. You will need to get on and off your boat this evening without assistance.
 
DAY 5 TOKYO - FUJI FIVE LAKES
Journey 2 hours through the foothills of the iconic Mount Fuji to its base, where you will find the Fuji Five Lakes. The region is spectacular with the calm waters of the five lakes, formed by past volcanic eruptions, reflecting Fuji’s picture-perfect cone. Try your hand at making traditional Japanese soba noodles before tucking in to your creations for lunch. Continue to Itchiku Kubota Art Museum to view the elaborate dyed silk creations before strolling around Oshino Hakkai, a scenic area of ponds full of crystal clear spring water created by Fuji’s melting snow.
 
DAY 6 MOUNT FUJI
Today is a full day of touring, start with a visit to the Fuji San World Heritage Centre where you can learn about the cultural and ecological history of Mount Fuji. Head up Fuji’s 5th Station for spectacular mountain vistas, please note it is only possible to reach the 5th station if weather permits. After lunch transfer 1.5 hours to Iyashi no Sato historical village, located on the western shores of Lake Saiko, it is famous for its thatchedroofed houses. Return to your hotel for dinner.
For May departures only: instead of visiting the Iyashi no Sato historical village, a visit to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival has been included. This is the best time of the year and one of the most scenic places in Japan to see the pink moss phlox in full bloom.
 
DAY 7 FUJI FIVE LAKES - KYOTO
Drive 1 hour 45 minutes to Mishima to board your 2-hour bullet train to Kyoto. An enchanting city, Kyoto was capital for a thousand years; today it is the legacy of ancient Japan, full of tranquil temples, silk-clad geisha and sublime gardens. Visit a traditional teahouse where you will be joined by a Geisha or an apprentice Geisha, known as a Maiko. Next, take a tour of the Ryoanji Temple before heading to the Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion, due to its gold-like exterior. Continue to your hotel to check in for a 2-night stay.
Please note that your luggage will be transferred separately to your hotel in Kyoto and arrive later the same day.
 
DAY 8 KYOTO
Start the day visiting the spectacular Kiyomizu Temple. You will spend 1.5 hours on foot exploring the temple. After lunch, learn the traditional Japanese handicraft of origami and enjoy the art of a tea ceremony. Return to your hotel and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Please note: Kiyomizu Temple is undergoing renovations which may last until 2020. You can still visit the temple and the shrines around it and your touring will not be affected.
 
DAY 9 KYOTO - HIROSHIMA
This morning, transfer to Kyoto station and take the bullet train to Hiroshima, a journey of 1 hour 40 minutes. A modern and prosperous city, Hiroshima will be forever remembered as the world’s first atomic bomb target. Travel by coach to the famous Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Please be aware that the museum may be confronting and upsetting for some group members and it is at your discretion if you wish to visit or enjoy time at leisure exploring the Peace Memorial Park. After lunch, travel 1 hour by coach and take a short ferry ride to Miyajima Island, where sightseeing will be at a leisurely pace on foot. Visit Itsukushima Shrine and explore the traditional market town at leisure. Later this afternoon, return by ferry and then coach to Hiroshima for dinner before checking into your hotel.
Please note: You will need to pack a smaller overnight bag for tonight as your main luggage will be transferred separately this morning to your Osaka hotel.

DAY 10 HIROSHIMA - OSAKA
Travel 3.5 hours by coach to Himeji, with a rest stop along the way. On arrival, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before visiting the beautiful Himeji Castle and Koko-en Garden. Himeji Castle is largely in its original condition so, please be mindful of your step when walking around. You will have to remove your shoes before walking along some of the wooden floors and there are some steep wooden steps to reach certain areas. After the reopening in March 2015, Himeji Castle has welcomed a large number of visitors. As such, they now issue numbered tickets to enter the Main Keep in order to limit the number of people who can enter, reducing congestion, waiting time and to protect the cultural properties. Please note this means that there may be cases where some visitors are not allowed to enter the Main Keep, however, there are many other parts of the castle to explore. Transfer approximately 2 hours to Osaka for your overnight stay.
Please note: There will be a substantial amount of walking today, including a large number of steps.
 
DAYS 11-12 OSAKA - AUSTRALIA
This morning is free at leisure before you transfer to Osaka airport for your return flight home.
Please note: Only breakfast is included today. Late check-out is not included in our Jewels of Japan tour. If you wish to book a late check-out for your final day in Osaka, please contact our reservations department who can confirm the additional price and make this arrangement for you, subject to availability at the hotel.
Transfers: In the event that your flight departs outside of the majority group departure time, you will be transferred to the airport by a shared coach (not with other Wendy Wu Tours passengers). If you are on a shared coach transfer, you may have to walk for a few minutes to get to the coach.


2019 DEPARTURE DATES
From 18 March to 10 November~

PRICE
From $8,990*

*Terms and conditions apply. Prices are per person twin share and subject to availability at time of booking. Valid for sale until sold out and for travel on specific departure dates between 21 March and 10 November 2019. ~From price based on 14 & 18 April and 14, 18 & 21 May 2019 departures. ^Available on selected departures, call us for more details. Black-out dates and seasonal surcharges may apply. Depending on airline schedules, extra nights pre or post tour accommodation or stopovers may be required at additional cost. Offer is only available for new bookings and prices are subject to change without notice due to change in fees, taxes or surcharges. Prices are correct as at October 2018. Further conditions apply, call your Bucket List Buddy team.