Welcome to the Japan Travel Planning fortnightly newsletter for 5 May 2019, which includes information to help you plan your trip to Japan, top travel deals and articles about Japan.
We apologise for not sending out a new newsletter last fortnight – as it worked out we were so busy on our Japan trip that I just did not have time to put it together!
We have just returned home to Sydney after spending the last 4 weeks in Japan – we had a great trip with near perfect weather throughout and did so many locations and activities that it is going to take us a while to progressively write up our articles to share with you all. Our favourite experiences included:
- Spending a lot of quality time as a family – as we were in such close quarters we noticed that we had a lot more conversations and interactions than we normally would at home, so hopefully this will be an experience that our children will remember with fondness.
- Experiencing the Sakura cherry blossom bloom – we started in Tokyo, carried on to the Mt Fuji area, and in many places there were late blooming cherry blossoms so the floral delights just kept coming! The downside was that for the first few weeks we have a lot of photos with very bare looking trees, but by the last week of our trip everything had turned a wonderful green new foliage colour.
- Seeing Mt Fuji in its full glory with perfect weather and visibility.
- Really delving into Tokyo more to get to know the city better – we had so many favourite experiences that there are too many to list!
- Seeing the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route ice walls was amazing, unfortunately with too many other people.
- Kamikochi National Park was an amazing experience and with only a few people around.
- Learning more about Japanese history at Edo Wonderland in Nikko through actually doing the activities rather than just reading or hearing about them!
- Going to every major theme park in Japan – we went to Disneyland, Disneysea, Universal Studios Japan and Fuji Q.
- Enjoying the luxury ryokan experiences at KAI Hoshino Resorts in Hakone, Kinugawa, Nikko and Matsumoto. Each resort was a very different experience and the food and onsen baths were amazing!
- Watching our children play with the frisky deer on Miyajima Island.
- Enjoying the floating torii gate on Miyajima Island at both high and low tide and with no crowds around.
- Doing six local food and walking tours across Japan – we really enjoyed getting to know the Akihabara area better from an anime and gaming perspective, trying 6 different types of ramen on the Tokyo ramen tasting tour and learning more about the food in Harajuku, Hiroshima and Nishiki Market in Kyoto and learning about Japanese culture in Asakusa, as well as wearing a kimono for the first time. More articles to follow with further details on these!
- Experiencing the shinkansen, but we also enjoyed the days where we hired a car and drive ourselves around.
- Cycling part of the Shinanami Kaido Cycling Route.
Our least favourite experiences were:
- Visiting many crowded tourist attractions. We regularly used the strategy to visit early but that was not always effective.
- Having many long days – as we are travel bloggers this was a business trip so we did a lot more activities than the average tourist so did not have as much down time as we would usually prefer.
- We were doing too much shopping – we had way too much luggage, you may be surprised to learn that we filled up two overflow bags while we were in Tokyo, and were able to leave them in storage to pick up on our way back through Tokyo to fly out. We filled up one additional bag while we were travelling away from Tokyo – I am not sure how many plushies we really need but we have quite a few! As well as many other mementos of our trip. Another big contributor was all of the brochures and maps that we collected – we retain these to use to write our articles after we return home and they can build up to quite a bit of extra weight as we travel.
- Golden Week crowds were definitely noticeable and less than pleasant for the last few days of our visit.
- Shirakawago thatched roof historic village was an absolute tourist trap, with so many tour buses and people. We much preferred visiting the smaller historic village of Ainokura (after we managed to find it, our GPS took us via a very interesting back road route…), and ran out of time to also visit the village of Suganuma – the scale and number of tourists was much smaller in both villages.
- 1 Key Japan Planning Information
- 2 Top Articles This Fortnight From the Facebook Group
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Key Japan Planning Information
Cherry Blossom Season in Japan
The cherry blossom season is now in its final stages in Hokkaido. Here is the website with the latest forecasts – make sure you scroll down to below the map to see the specific forecast dates for each location. Here are resources if you are planning to view the cherry blossoms in Hokkaido.
- Hokkaido’s Cherry Blossoms|Top 8 Cherry Blossom Spots Chosen by Hokkaido Residents
- 4 Famous Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots In Hokkaido
Shiba-Sakura Pink Moss Phlox Festival Day Tours from Tokyo
The Pink Moss Phlox is now at its peak so now is a good time to visit.
Close to the cherry blossom season is the awesome Shiba-Sakura pink moss phlox festival which will be held over 13 April to 26 May 2019 near Mt Fuji. Klook has two day tour options from Tokyo which are an easy way to see the festival as well as other experiences and views around Mt Fuji.
- Fuji Area Sightseeing, All-You-Can-Eat Fruits & Mt. Kachi Kachi Ropeway Day Trip from Tokyo. Click here to check out the details through Klook.
- Tokyo Fuji Shibazakura, Mt. Fuji 5th Station & All-You-Can-Eat Strawberry Picking Day Tour. Click here to check out the details through Klook.
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Cherry blossoms with Mt.Fuji viewing reminder in May – Fuji Shibazakura Festival near the lake Motosuko in Yamanashi prefecture. The best time to see is the beginning of May. #japan #iphone 富士芝桜まつりの見頃は例年GW明け。 . . . #shibazakura #shotoniphone #cherryblossom #cherryblossoms #cherryblossomseason #cherryblossomtree #instacherry #sakura #桜 #櫻 #さくら🌸 #桜🌸 #sakura🌸 #cherryblossom🌸 #櫻花 #벚꽃 #벚꽃🌸 #樱花 #bungasakura #mountain #mountfuji #fujisan #fuji #mtfuji #富士山 #instagramjapan #japanphoto #instajapan
Major Upcoming Events in Japan
Other Japan Events
Upcoming major events for the next month (and you can find many more events into the future in our Japan Planning Calendars as mentioned previously!):
- 5 May 19. Golden Week – Children’s Day (Carp Banners)
- 6 May 19. Children’s Day Public Holiday (observed) (End of Golden Week)
- 9 – 15 May 19. Kanda Matsuri Festival in Tokyo
- 12 May 19. Mother’s Day
- 12 May 19. Kanda Matsuri Festival in Tokyo – Major Parade
- 12 – 26 May 2019. Sumo Wrestling Tournament – Tokyo
- 15 May 19. Aoi Matsuri Festival in Kyoto
- 15 May – 31 October 2019. Opening of Norikura Skyline Road between Matsumoto and Takayama (highest road in Japan)
- 17 – 19 May 2019. Sanja Matsuri Festival in Asakusa, Tokyo
- 26 – 28 May 2019. Donald Trump USA Presidential visit to Japan (TBC)
Upcoming sumo tournaments:
- 12 – 26 May 2019 in Tokyo. Official ticket sales commenced on 6 April 2019 and sold out within two hours. Click here to order tickets through Voyagin. Klook also offers a great range of ticket package options at this link.
- Voyagin are offering a new special package for the upcoming Tokyo event in May 2019 where they are offering a package which includes either a Masu B seat, which is a 1.5m2 seat option where you’ll be seated on the front & opposite side of the ring, with a futon cushion to sit on the floor in comfort – which is perfect for family of up to 4 people, or a Chair B seat, which is located behind and a little bit higher than Chair A, which is perfect to view the whole fight from above in comfortable western style seating. Both of these packages include a Chanko lunch, pus when you order these seats they are guaranteed. When you order a ticket only option you need to wait for the official ticket release date before you receive your booking confirmation from Voyagin, and we do have people missing out on tickets from time to time. This package has been pre-negotiated so if you place an order, once you receive the confirmation your booking is locked in. Click here to pre-order a guaranteed sumo seating package including lunch through Voyagin.
- 7 – 21 July 2019 in Nagoya. Official ticket sales commence on 23 May 2019. Click here to pre-order tickets through Voyagin. Ensure you place your order early to ensure that you have the best chance of getting the tickets you want.
- 8 – 22 September 2019 in Tokyo. Note that this sumo tournament overlaps with the Rugby World Cup 2019, so get in early to pre-order your tickets through Voyagin to ensure you have the best chance of success. Official ticket sales commence on 3 August 2019. Click here to pre-order tickets through Voyagin. Ensure you place your order early to ensure that you have the best chance of getting the tickets you want.
For more information about how to purchase your sumo wrestling tickets check out my article on How To Buy Sumo Wrestling Online Tickets In 2018 and 2019.
Top Articles This Fortnight From the Facebook Group
The Best Day Trips From Osaka (The 13 Best Choices 2019) by Backpackingman
So you’re planning to do some day trips from Osaka? Great! It’s the best city to base yourself in the Kansai region and further afield for just that. I have spent several months travelling in Japan (as of writing this) and several weeks of that was in Osaka. It’s the perfect city for Japan and is known as the “nations kitchen”. Some of the best Japanese food can be found there and it’s the second largest city in Japan.
Although Osaka doesn’t have the big draw of the temples in nearby Kyoto, it certainly has plenty of things to see and do in itself. The Osaka Castle, many museums, and the busy district of Dotonbori which is best seen at night, amongst many others. Another great thing about Osaka for travellers is that many budget airlines from all over Southeast-Asia use it as their base. So it can be an excellent alternative to Tokyo for flying into the country.
This post is to give you some advice from my own experiences of staying in Osaka and doing day trips from there. Click here to read more…
The Ins and Outs of Everyone’s Favorite Train Bento by Live Japan
Train trips in Japan can range from short pleasant trips to long and adventurous rides. If you’re taking one of the longer trips, you might notice your stomach starting to grumble part of the way through. You don’t need to stress over making or carrying food around for a long time, though. If you’re journeying by train in Japan, you shouldn’t miss out on one of the best parts of the trip: the special lunches eaten on the train, known as ekiben. They have become a very important part of Japanese food culture as well. Find out about the history of these delicious, trouble-saving train bentos, and what makes them so special! Click here to read more…
Thanks Anne and Tony.
PS. If you have any questions you are welcome to ask questions in the Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group
Other Facebook Groups – Rugby World Cup 2019 and Olympics 2020
If you are planning to visit Japan for either (or both!) of these events you are invited to join the groups with details below
- Japan Travel Planning – Rugby World Cup Facebook Group
- Japan Travel Planning – Olympics 2020 Facebook Group
We are just getting started in putting together the content for each of these groups and look forward to having a dedicated area where group members can interact without overloading the main group!
Join the Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group
You are also welcome to join our Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group – it is a great resource to enable you be inspired and to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Japan!