Welcome to the Japan Travel Planning monthly newsletter for February 2020, 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.
A current hot topic is the novel coronavirus which has started in China, of which there are also confirmed cases in Japan. We have had many questions in the Facebook Group, as well as many people deciding to cancel or delay their travel. At this stage our feedback is that you should read official government information and make a decision which is best for you and your family.
We are gathering a lot of information into our official coronavirus thread in the Facebook group, so ensure you check it out at this link.
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Start Planning Your Trip to Japan
We have been very busy producing new content following our recent Japan trip. You can check out our most recent articles below:
- How to Find the Best Ramen in Tokyo with Tokyo Ramen Tours. Check out our article to learn more about what to expect when you book in to do a Ramen Tour with Frank!
- Top 10 Things to Do in Tokyo During the 2020 Olympics. For those of you planning to visit Tokyo for the Olympics, check out our detailed article on what to do
- Try Out Taiko Drumming in Tokyo. One of the really fun activities we did during our recent visit to Japan was a Taiko drumming lesson. Check out our detailed review of what to expect!
Key Japan Planning Information
Getting Ready for Cherry Blossom Season in Japan
Many of you are planning to visit Japan for the upcoming Cherry Blossom season. The latest cherry blossom forecast can be found at this link. 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 18 March 2020, full bloom starts 26 March 2020.
- Kyoto/Osaka/Nara. First bloom starts 17 March 2020, full bloom starts 27 March 2020.
Also check out our new article on the Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Japan. We asked for other travel bloggers to contribute their best places to see cherry blossoms in Japan – so this is a very comprehensive article to help you plan your trip to Japan in Spring 2020!
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.
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 Chinese New Year Promotion
Voyagin is currently running their New Year Sale to celebrate Chinese New Year from 7 January to 9 February 2020 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:
- 8 – 22 March 2020 in Osaka. Official ticket sales commenced on 2 February 2020. Click here to order tickets through Voyagin. Your other purchase option is to book reseller tickets through viaGoGo at this link.
- 10 – 24 May 2020 in Tokyo. Official ticket sales commence on 4 April 2020. Click here to pre-order tickets through Klook.
For more information about how to purchase your sumo wrestling tickets check out our article on How To Buy Sumo Wrestling Online Tickets in 2020.
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
Japan Travel Planning with Kids Facebook Group
We have also just started a new Japan Travel Planning with Kids Facebook Group, to help families plan their trip to Japan – if you are travelling as a family please click on the link and request to join.
Our Other Facebook Groups
We have additional Facebook Groups to have a key focus on planning your travel to Japan for the Olympics in 2020. If you are planning to visit Japan for this event you are invited to join the groups with details below
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!