Japan Cherry Blossom Trip Itinerary

Seeing cherry blossom in Japan has always been on my bucket list. So I have bought the ticket to Osaka a year last year during AIR ASIA Big Sale. I didn’t buy airlines ticket in Garuda Travel fair like my previous trip because I already knew Garuda will not discount ticket for peak period like cherry blossom. It was a bit of a gamble buying Air Asia ticket 1 year in advance and hoping that the dates will be those dates where those cherry tree decided to blossom 😛

The best time to see Cherry Blossom in Japan

Actually the bloom dates really depend on the weather conditions each year. The cherry blossom front — meticulously studied and broadcasted across the country — edges its way up, starting at the southernmost tip of Japan as early as January. The best times for cherry blossoms in Kyoto and Tokyo and the surrounding regions are often from the last week of March to the first week of April. And for more northerly cities such as Sapporo? Don’t expect to see any pink at least until May.

The significance of Cherry Blossom in Japanese Culture

Every year, this cherry blossom market grows larger and the range of products and food centered on the flowers increase. Especially dessert creations and sweets are plentifully available during March and April when Japan actually experiences the beautiful cherry blossom. However the routes of the cherry blossom in Japan runs yet much deeper than mere convenience store crazes. Their fleeting beauty illustrates all too perfectly that nothing in this world is permanent, everything passes away at some point.

A sad but beautiful admiration for this impermanence has been an important part of the Japanese mindset since ancient times. In Japanese, it’s called “mono no aware.” This mindset can be found in the smallest things of Japanese daily life.

Another common theme of Japanese cultural trappings, is their inextricable links with food. Fans of manga and anime might know the expression “hana yori dango (food over flowers),” which simply means to be present in the moment by pairing nature’s beauty with equally appealing and delicious food. There are many ways to enjoy the beauty of cherry blossoms but they nearly always include alcohol and food! Plenty of Japanese look forward to gathering with their friends, family, acquaintances, and future classmates and coworkers during Cherry Blossom season.

Our Itinerary

Coming to Japan during Cherry Blossom meaning we come at the peak season. Cherry blossom not only popular for tourist but also for the locals. These are the season everybody is waiting every year and just like Christmas in the western country, seeing Cherry Blossom is the main event on Japan’s Social Calender. You will get to see Hanami Party everywhere in the park under cherry blossom trees during lunch time and in the evening. 

All the key attractions in Kyoto and Osaka were crowded so the maximum place we can visit in one day is limited to 2-3 spots.

Day 1: Landing Osaka 9.25pm Take train to airbnb in Shin Osaka
Day 2: Osaka Universal Studio
Day 3: Explore Osaka: Osaka Castle, Kita, Minami and Dotonburi
Day 4: Travel to Shirakawago by train via Kanazawa (0744-1025) and Nohi Bus to Shirakawago (1110-1225). Nohi Bus need to be reserved in advance by phone as we are using Hokuriku pass. Stay 1 night in Shirakawago
Day 5: Leave Shirakawago by Nohi Bus (1205-1255) to Takayama and take train to Kyoto (1632-1945). Stay 2 nights in Kyoto
Day 6: Explore Kyoto: Arashiyama, Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji and Path of Philosophy
Day 7: Explore Kyoto: Fushimi Inara, Niko Castle, Maruyama koen park and Kiyamizu Dera Temple. Travel back to Osaka
Day 8: Around Osaka. Shopping in Osaka shopping district, Tennoji Park and Shinsekai area. Alternative option: take train to Nara or Kobe
Day 9: Fly home 11am

After spending time in Kyoto I realized that our itinerary was not effective. If you are going to explore Kansai area like us, this will make a better itinerary

Day 1: Landing Osaka at night and take train to airbnb in Osaka
Day 2: Osaka Universal Studio
Day 3: Explore Osaka: Osaka Castle, Kita, Minami and Dotonburi
day 4: Day trip to Nara or Kobe
Day 5: Travel to Shirakawago by train via Kanazawa and Nohi Bus. Stay 1 night in Shirakawago
Day 6: Leave Shirakawago by Nohi Bus to Takayama and take train to Kyoto. Stay for 3 nights in Kyoto
Day 7: Explore Kyoto: Arashiyama, Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji and Path of Philosophy
Day 8: Explore Kyoto: Fushimi Inara, Niko Castle, Maruyama koen park and Kiyamizu Dera Temple.
Day 9: Take Train to Kansai Airport and fly home

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