Welcome to the Japan Travel Planning fortnightly newsletter for 27 January 2019, which includes information to help you plan your trip to Japan, top travel deals and articles about Japan.
The cherry blossom season will be starting shortly (and many of you are travelling to Japan at this time!) so if you are planning to make the most of your visit then I have put together a heap of information and references for you to better plan your trip.
Planning our Trip to Japan in April 2019
We have now finalised our plans for our short visit to Singapore – and next cab off the rank is to sit down and finalise our Tokyo itinerary! We are staying in Tokyo for 10 days and have a lot to see and do, so the real challenge is to plan all of our activities in a way that also enables us to have some rest time! We are staying in both the Asakusa (4 nights) and Shinjuku areas (6 nights) to maximise our time in both areas. What is on our list you may ask? Here is the start of our list:
- Cherry blossoms! We are arriving on the cusp of cherry blossom season, so are watching the regular updates with keen interest. The latest forecast shows that cherry blossom season in Tokyo should start with first bloom from 24 March 2019, full bloom from 31 March 2019. Full bloom usually lasts for around one week depending on the weather – so we will be arriving just a few days after the start of the full bloom! And plan to make the most of it. Here are some links of best places to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo.
- In the Asakusa area we are planning to do a sumo stable tour, go to the sumo museum and also check out foodie street! Also visit a public sento bath (there are quite a few in the area) and much more.
- In the Shinjuku area we are planning to do ‘everything’! Golden Gai, Tokyo Metropolitan Tower, Harajuku Park, Shibuya crossing, flea markets, Nakano Broadway anime area, the Kanamara Penis Festival (yay!), Toyosu Fish Market, Odaiba, Robot Restaurant, Kawaii Monster Cafe, baseball match, Mario Kart, Ghibli Museum, Pokemon Cafe and Samurai Museum (and lots more…)
- Oh, and we are also planning to visit Disneyland Tokyo… (we went to Disneysea last time…)
We plan to pre-book all of the activities which require tickets, so will be spending a lot of money over the next couple of months leading up to our trip! By pre-booking you can take advantage of great deals currently on offer, and also lock in your costs for your trip.
We are also in discussions with a food tour company about partnering with them, so hopefully we will do some great food tours in Tokyo and Osaka and be able to share these experiences with our readers.
We are also thinking about setting up an evening drinks session to catch up with the Japan Travel Planning readers while we are in Shinjuku. More information to follow…
Avoid FOMO… Order Your Japan Planning Calendar Now!
Thank you to the many people who have already purchased our new Japan planning calendars – the Spring 2019 calendar in particular has been very popular and we hope that they really help you to plan your trip with more confidence.
Just be aware that if you are an email subscriber you get exclusive access to a coupon code to receive a great discount on your planning calendar! Sign up above to get access to the discount 🙂 .
A real challenge when you start planning your trip to Japan is to understand when public holidays, school holidays and significant events are occurring, so that you can either choose to join in with these events or avoid them.
As a result we have spent many hours creating detailed planning calendars for Japan which include details of all of the public holidays, Japan school holidays and major events to help you plan your trip. The downloadable PDF documents include clickable links for each event to help you easily find out more information and more confidently plan your itinerary. Click here to find out more and purchase your Japan Planning Calendar.
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Key Japan Planning Information
Getting Ready for Cherry Blossom Season in Japan
Many of you (like us!) are planning to visit Japan for the upcoming Cherry Blossom season. The second forecast has now been released, and so far it is indicating that the bloom may occur slightly earlier this year. The cherry blossom forecast usually gets updated fortnightly in the early part of the season and then shifts to daily updates. You may not realise that Okinawa is the first area to start the bloom in late January!
Current forecasts for the major tourism areas are as follows. Note that the blossoms are usually on view and at their peak for around one week after the full bloom date, subject to weather conditions. The bloom progressively moves from the south to the north of Japan, with alpine areas blooming later than close by lowland areas.
- Tokyo. First bloom starts 24 March 2019, full bloom starts 31 March 2019.
- Kyoto/Nara. First bloom starts 26/27 March 2019, full bloom starts 3 April 2019.
Here are some resources to help you plan your cherry blossom viewing 🙂
- 15 Tokyo Cherry Blossom Spots That You Just Have To See!
- 17 recommended places Sakura – Cherry Blossoms around Lake Kawaguchiko
- 5 Best Cherry Blossom Spots around Mt.Fuji
- 15 Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots In Kyoto!
- 5 Best Places to See Cherry Blossom in Osaka
- The ultimate “Hanami” (cherry blossom viewing) travel guide to Nara’s Yoshino area
- Five Recommended Spots to See Cherry Blossoms in Nara
- 10 Great Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Kansai: Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima
- Cherry Blossom in Okinawa | 2019 Hanami in Japan
- Nagano’s Top Cherry Blossom Spots
- 6 Best Places to See Cherry Blossom in Sendai
- Hokkaido’s Cherry Blossoms|Top 8 Cherry Blossom Spots Chosen by Hokkaido Residents
- 4 Famous Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots In Hokkaido
Voyagin Chinese New Year Promotion
Voyagin is currently running their New Year Sale to celebrate Chinese New Year from 7 January to 10 February 2019 with the following coupon code discounts, note that this deal does not include discounts on Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo Disneysea tickets or whole of Japan Rail Passes:
- Spend $US 80, Save $US 5, use coupon code`NEWYEAR5`
- Spend $US 130, Save $US 10, use coupon code `NEWYEAR10`
- Spend $US 350, Save $US 30, use coupon code `NEWYEAR30`
To see a great range of popular purchase options through Voyagin to take advantage of this sale I suggest you check out our Voyagin Tours and Tickets page at this link.
Viator Foodie and Cultural Short Tour Deals
Viator have four 3-4 hour long Japan foodie and cultural short tours on special at the moment as follows.
Osaka, often referred to as the soul of Japan’s Kansai prefecture, is an integral stop on any tour of the Land of the Rising Sun. Experience Osaka’s neon-fronted nightlife, exceptional food, and buzzing markets on a 3.5-hour sightseeing tour. Sightseeing highlights include Kuromon Ichiba Market, famed for its gourmet hole-in-the-wall restaurants, Tsutenkaku Tower in Luna Park, and Dotonbori, a canal-side strip home to neon signs and a giant mechanical crab. Japanese snacks, including octopus balls and skewered meat, are included on this small-group tour, limited to 12 people.
- 3.5-hour sightseeing tour of Osaka including Japanese snacks
- Ideal for lovers of local culture and cuisine
- Discover hidden hole-the-wall restaurants in Kuromon Ichiba Market and explore Osaka’s garish downtown district
- Stroll around Dotonbori, a canal-side strip home to a mechanical crab and famous Running Man sign
- Sample Japanese delicacies including octopus balls and meat skewers
Major Upcoming Events in Japan
Other Japan Events
Snow Monkey Season!
With winter now here in Japan many of you will be planning to visit Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park near Nagano to see the monkeys bathing in the hot springs. Click here to check out our article: How To Visit Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park From Tokyo And Nagano In Winter 2018-2019, which details how to visit the park either as part of a one or two day tour, or to visit independently.
Upcoming sumo tournaments:
- 10 – 24 March 2019 in Osaka. Official ticket sales commence on 3 February 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.
- 12 – 26 May 2019 in Tokyo. Official ticket sales commence on 6 April 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
5 Top Tips On How NOT To Start Your First Visit To Japan (Plus Bonus Tip!) by Pretraveller
The story of how our first trip to Japan got started in a less than wonderful manner – and which led to the inspiration to establish the Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group! I expect to see many more Limousine Bus bookings once people have read our experience of trying to navigate Tokyo Station for the first time after an overnight flight from Australia… Click here to read more…
29 foods you need to try if you visit Japan by Insider
Japanese cuisine is known for being just as beautiful, affordable, and healthy as it is delicious. Beyond sushi — which is popular many places throughout the world — the country has pioneered other incredible dishes that both look and taste like heaven.
Next time you find yourself in the land of the rising sun, don’t forget to try at least a few of these popular Japanese dishes. 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!