Welcome to the Japan Travel Planning fortnightly newsletter for 10 February 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 tours, information and references for you to better plan your trip.
Planning our Trip to Japan in April 2019
We have now finalised our itineraries for Singapore and Japan (which took many hours!). We already have a heap of great activities lined up where we are working with Voyagin. If you are interested in finding out more about these activities I have included the links below.
- Universal Studios Singapore – we are going to be doing the VIP tour – where you get your own private guide and expect to hit all of the major rides and shows within a 5 hour period. The price for this option is not a lot more than the cost for an entry pass, Express Pass plus a meal voucher, plus outside the tour period you have an Express Pass to get on as many rides as you like!
- Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck and Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.
- Universal Studios Japan – we have been fortunate to get a media tour of USJ which also means we have a great chance of getting onto all of the rides! (unlike last time we visited… 🙁 ). We will also be visiting the Harukas 300 Observation Deck in Osaka to get an awesome view over Osaka.
- Taiko Drumming in Ryogoku in Tokyo. We are really looking forward to this experience!
- Sumo Stable Tour in Ryogoku in Tokyo. We went to a sumo tournament on our last visit so we are looking forward to seeing another side of sumo wrestling. And we are planning to have a sumo style lunch afterwards!
- Kawaii Monster Cafe in Tokyo. Just to get our crazy on…
- Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. Note that if you are planning to visit Ghibli during your Japan visit during the April peak season then you should book as soon as possible to have the best chance of getting tickets.
- Private Tuna Auction and Toyosu Market Tour in Tokyo. Apart from the too early start at 4.30am this looks like it should be a really fun experience to check out the new fish market! We visited Tsujiki Fish market on our last trip so it will be interesting to compare the experience.
In addition we have been successful in partnering with Hoshino Resorts to stay in four of their accommodation locations including KAI Hakone, KAI Kinugawa, KAI Nikko and KAI Matsumoto. We are really looking forward to having a luxury Japanese experience in each location! Hoshino Resorts also have many more luxury properties across Japan – check out this link to see all of the Hoshino Resort locations.
So what is left to book for our trip? Quite a lot…
We plan to pre-book all of the activities which require tickets, so will be spending a lot of money over the next period of time 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.
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 below 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. On 7 February 2019 the third cherry blossom forecast was released. So far the forecast 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.
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 23 March 2019, full bloom starts 30 March 2019.
- Kyoto/Nara. First bloom starts 24 March 2019, full bloom starts 2 April 2019.
Cherry Blossom Day Tours in Japan
Along with the sakura cherry blossom season comes a heap of great day tour options to make the most of the sakura season. Here are some of the top options to check out 🙂 :
- Voyagin has a great range of sakura tour options for Tokyo, which include daytime tours, nighttime tours, river cruises and much more. Click on this link to see the Tokyo Sakura tour options through Voyagin.
- Voyagin has a great rang of sakura tour options for Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe which include a Sakura flight, day tours and cruises. Click on this link to see the Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe Sakura Tours through Voyagin.
Shiba-Sakura Pink Moss Phlox Festival Day Tours from Tokyo
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.
View this post on Instagram
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
Resources to Help you Plan Your Cherry Blossom Viewing
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 Hamamatsu Giveaway
Voyagin is providing the opportunity for you to win 2 tickets for selected activities in Hamamatsu worth up to 21,600 JPY! 3 winners will be randomly selected for this giveaway. Please submit your answer by 23 February, 2019 (Saturday) to take part in the competition.
Winners will be granted 100% discount to book 2 tickets for one of the following activities in Hamamatsu*:
– Soy Sauce Factory Tour in Hamamatsu. Click here to find out more about this tour through Voyagin.
– Japan Speedboat Racing at Lake Hamana. Click here to find out more about this tour through Voyagin.
– Hananomai Sake Brewery Tour. Click here to find out more about this tour through Voyagin.
The 3 winners will be announced on 25 February, 2019.
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.
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 commenced on 3 February 2019 and quickly sold out! Click here to order tickets through Voyagin. Your other purchase option is to book reseller tickets through viaGoGo at this link.
- 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
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Shinjuku by Gaijinpot
It’s almost like a numbers game. From the volume of pedestrians shuttling through the busiest train station in the world or the dizzying heights of the tallest skyscrapers to the multitude of restaurants feeding its hungry inhabitants — and one seemingly random horse trough — here are 10 things you didn’t know about Tokyo’s neon city-within-a-city. Click here to read more…
14 Traditional Japanese Towns That Still Feel Like They’re in the Edo Period by Tokyo Weekender
With their charmingly retro architecture and atmosphere, these traditional towns around Japan offer a glimpse back in time to the Edo period — perfect for a strolling weekend getaway. As a handy guide for you, we’ve grouped them into regions, and offered a few suggestions on when to go, and things to do while there. Click here to read more…
The Essential Guide To 2 Weeks In Japan For First Time Visitors by Pretraveller
As a first time visitor to Japan it can be difficult to put together a two week itinerary which will work for you. There are so many choices and options! To help you to develop your own itinerary I have put together three sample itineraries for first timers which can then be easily tailored to suit your particular trip.
My only other comment is don’t be afraid to go off any of these routes! Every person has different interests, and sometimes it is good to go off route as usually those destinations will be much less crowded – I have included an off route itinerary as the final option to consider (which is actually almost identical to the itinerary we did for our first trip to Japan! – I wanted to make sure we had some ‘mountain time’ on our trip, and I was also keen to see the snow monkeys 😉 ). 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!