Japan Travel Planning Newsletter – 24 February 2019

Welcome to the Japan Travel Planning fortnightly newsletter for 24 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

For the past fortnight we have been doing final fine tuning of our itinerary to Singapore and Japan, which includes setting up some great new partnerships.  A key area that we wanted to focus on for this trip is to trial several food tour companies so that we can provide better information on this topic for our readers.  We are really looking forward to working with our new partners to promote their tours.

The first partner where we can announce our plans is with Arigato Japan – we will be participating in the following tours.  You can use our new coupon code pretraveller10 to get a 10% discount off the price of any of their tours.  Arigato Japan has a large selection of food, walking and other tours in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto Mt Fuji and Hiroshima.

Reworking our Japan Itinerary

We also had an issue of dates which required us to rework the final part of our trip where we are travelling to Osaka, Miyajima Island, Hiroshima and cycling on the Shimanami Kaido in the inland Seto Sea.  We had previously set up this part of the trip in a sequence where were were doing some key activities such as Universal Studios Japan and the Shimanani Kaido during Golden Week, which was causing issues as we were too late to book our bicycle hire 🙁 and to get the tickets we wanted at USJ.

Our updated itinerary sees us now visiting USJ prior to Golden Week (and being able to stay in accommodation right outside the door of USJ), then doing our Shimanami Kaido bike ride also prior to Golden Week, and we now have out bicycle hire booking locked in. We then visit Miyajima Island and Hiroshima before returning to Osaka.

An annoying thing was that we needed to reduce our previous accommodation booking for Osaka from 4 nights to 3 nights, however the price they wanted to charge us to make this change would have resulted in us paying over twice the price per night for the same accommodation…  It does show that it pays to book early to get the best prices.

We have now booked in to visit TeamLab Borderless in Odaiba – their ticket bookings for April just opened mid last week.  We are also planning to visit TeamLab Borderless Planets, their tickets for April are not yet open but I am watching daily to ensure we do not miss out.

What do we have left to book?

So what is left to book for our trip?  Quite a lot…

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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 21 February 2019 the fourth 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 21 March 2019, full bloom starts 29 March 2019.
  • Kyoto/Nara.  First bloom starts 23 March 2019, full bloom starts 31 March 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 🙂 :

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.

Resources to Help you Plan Your Cherry Blossom Viewing

Here are some resources to help you plan your cherry blossom viewing 🙂

Voyagin Sakura Spring Promotion

Voyagin is currently running their Sakura Spring promotion to celebrate the upcoming cherry blossom season from 11 February to 31 March 2019 with the following coupon code discounts, note that this deal does not include discounts on Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo Disneysea tickets or Japan Rail Passes:

  • Spend $US 150, Save $US 10, use coupon code`SakuraSpring10`
  • Spend $US 300, Save $US 25, use coupon code `SakuraSpring25`
  • Spend $US 450, Save $US 40, use coupon code `SakuraSpring40`

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

Upcoming major events for the next month (and you can find many more into the future in our Japan Planning Calendars as mentioned previously!):

Click on this page for Tokyo and this page for Japan to see further information about upcoming events.

Everything Sumo!

Upcoming sumo tournaments:

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.

How to Buy Sumo Wrestling Online Tickets in 2020

Top Articles This Fortnight From the Facebook Group

3 days in Osaka itinerary: Best things to do by JRailPass

You’ve got three days – three days to tour the second largest city in Japan. What should you see first? Can you taste the best that Osaka has to offer in just two or three days? With the help of this travel guide, yes you can. We’ll help you hit the highlights and provide helpful information along the way.

You’ll likely arrive in the city at either Osaka Station or Shin-Osaka Station, especially if you are enjoying the ease and affordability of the Japan Rail Pass. Choose a hotel in a central location, with easy access to a train station – for example, one of the hotels in or around Osaka Station City. Once you are comfortably settled into your home away from home, your adventure is ready to begin.  Click here to read more…

Tokyo Haneda airport: Why this is really the best airport in the world by Traveller

My favourite airport in the world doesn’t feel like an airport. And that’s the key. There are a few of the inevitable reminders there – the check-in process, the security queues, the requirement to get on a plane and fly somewhere – but for the bulk of the time you spend at this place, it’s basically not an airport at all.

And it’s not Singapore Changi, despite what you’re probably thinking. It’s not Seoul-Incheon either. My favourite airport in the world, hands down, is Tokyo Haneda.  Click here to read more…

Behind the Stereotype: “Japanese People Are So Nice and Polite!” by Live Japan

Japan seems to be shrouded in stereotypes like no other country. From obscure vending machines to speaking toilets, from the shyness of Japan’s people to their eccentric subculture fashion. Amidst preconceptions and memes, we’re left wondering – what is Japan really like? As someone born and raised in Japan, I will try my best to share an inside perspective on the common stereotypes that people have about my home country. One of them is that Japanese people are incredibly nice and polite.

From anime to sushi, Japan leaves its cultural fingerprints all across the globe. It is known as a quirky, innovative country that is the source of many a trend and invention, some useful, others amusing. However, there is one aspect of this developed nation that has undergone an undeniably unique evolution, especially compared to other countries in Asia and Europe. I am talking about communication in a global world. And especially the often-lauded kindness of Japanese people has everything to do with this.  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

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!

Japan Travel Planning

Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.