18 Day Japanese Gardens, Landscapes & Culture during Cherry Blossom Season (2023)

Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on APT's 18 Day Japanese Gardens, Landscapes & Culture during Cherry Blossom Season. 18-days including a 13-night luxury small ship cruise during the heart of the cherry blossom season. Be enchanted by the sight of the beautiful and richly symbolic Sakura flower in full bloom. Venture along historic shores exploring ancient castles, peaceful gardens and opulent temples.

You will be met at Osaka airport and transferred to your hotel in Kyoto. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner this evening where you will meet your Botanical Guide and fellow travellers. Stay Two Nights:  Kyoto, Tokyu Hotel or similar (D)

Visit the exquisite Ryoan-ji rock garden, the most famous in Japan that was originally an aristocrats villa during the Heian Period. Continue on to Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion, a fine example of Muromachi-period garden design. After lunch visit the gardens of Ginkaku-ji, one of Kyoto's most celebrated Zen temples.

Tonight, enjoy a private dinner and Maiko (apprentice Geisha) performance. Gain insight into the life of Maiko and Geisha during this unique experience. (B/L/D)

After breakfast we will visit the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove before travelling from Kyoto to Tokyo via bullet train.

Upon arrival be transferred to your hotel and enjoy dinner this evening. Stay: Tokyo, Keio Plaza Hotel or similar (B/L/D)

Today we will visit some of central Tokyo's most impressive sights and gardens, including the Imperial Palace East Gardens, the former site of Edo Castle's innermost circles of defence, and surrounded by the original moats, walls, entrance gates and guardhouses.

Later we will visit Asakusa, Tokyo's Old Town. Enjoy time to explore the shopping street of Nakamise, which leads to Sensoji Temple.

This afternoon, be transferred to Yokohama Port where we board our luxury cruise ship. Settle into your suite and enjoy a Welcome Dinner this evening. Stay 14 Nights: Silver Muse (B/L/D)

Arrive in Shimizu where, weather permitting, you will see Mount Fuji's cone emerging through the haze. Depart the pier for the scenic drive to the Sumpu Castle Park and Momijiyama Garden. The Sumpu Castle was built at the command of the first Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The park is a lovely example of a Japanese strolling garden surrounding a pond, and was designed with four different themes; Mountain, Mountain Village, Sea and Rural Area. Continue to Shizuoka Sengen Shrine, a collection of three distinct shrines. Our final stop is at Miho no Matsubara. Take a guided stroll through the pine tree forest enroute to the sandy beach, and marvel at splendid views of Mt. Fuji. (B/L/D)

Today we wake up in the port of Kobe and are greeted by cherry trees laden with blossom. Travel to Himeji Castle, one of Japan's biggest and most beautiful castles. We will also visit the Kokoen garden, which consists of nine separate walled gardens. (B/L/D)

Enjoy the opportunity to relax, unwind and enjoy the facilities aboard your magnificent ship. (B/L/D)

From Hiroshima, we will visit Miyajima Island, where you will see one of Japan's top scenic wonders, the scarlet Torii Gate which appears to float above the surface of the water. Explore the shrine complex which consists of multiple buildings, including a prayer hall and a main hall. There is also a Noh Theatre Stage as well as many wild deer walking around the island. (B/L/D)

Arrive onto the island of Kyushu, the third largest of Japan's five island provinces, abundant in nature and spiritual history. Here we will visit the Dazaifu Tenmanguxt Shrine, one of the most important in Japan, afterwards visit the Kyushu National Museum with an impressive collection of artifacts spanning Japanese history, from the prehistoric era to the Edo period. (B/L/D)

The South Korean city of Busan is one of the largest and busiest ports in the world, cradled by lush mountains and endless ocean scenery. We visit Haedong Yonggung Temple nestled on a dramatic cliffside, just above the crumbling rocks and crashing waves of the East Sea. Dating back to 1376, the temple's multi-storey pagoda is adorned with lions, each representing a different emotion.

Later, we visit Ahopsan Forest, which has been owned and gardened by one family for over 400 years with over 116 designated protected trees. (B/L/D)

Enjoy your day at sea to relax or take advantage of the ship's amenities. (B/L/D)

Kanazawa was spared the destruction visited upon several of Japan's other major cities during World War II, which enabled it to preserve many of its old neighbourhoods. We visit Kenroku-en, located next to Kanazawa Castle, classified as one of the “Three Great Gardens of Japan”. The garden has an artificial pond, and hills and houses are dotted within its 11.4 hectares.

It has Japan's oldest fountain using natural water pressure and a tea-house dating back to 1774. Close by is the Higashi Chaya Gai Geisha District, designated a National Cultural Asset and the biggest of the Geisha districts of Kanazawa. Some of the houses not only retain the original structure, but still are used as Geisha houses. Some of the streets have traditional shops creating a nostalgic atmosphere. Kanazawa is also known for its lacquer ware, Kutani-style pottery, gold-leaf workmanship and delicately painted silk kimonos. (B/L/D)

Overnighting in Kanazawa, today we will explore it's cutting edge museum of Contemporary Art which focuses on art created after 1980.

Afterwards, we travel to the Nagamachi District, a samurai district located at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle, where samurai and their families used to reside. The area preserves a historic atmosphere with its remaining samurai residences, earthen walls, private entrance gates, narrow lanes and water canals. One of the main attractions of the district is the centrally located Nomura Samurai House, a restored samurai residence displaying the lifestyle and artifacts of the era when samurai were prosperous.

The family successively held executive posts from generation to generation under rule of the Maeda family. The house has a coffered ceiling totally made of Japanese cypress and fusuma-e (paintings on sliding-door panels) created by the Maeda family's personal painter. The garden inside the residence has a Japanese bayberry over 400 years old and a meandering stream surrounded by ancient and strangely shaped rocks. (B/L/D)

Akita is located in the far north of Japan's main island. The city's blossoming trees run along the banks of the Hinokinai River, which is said to “bring a grown man to his knees and weep at its beauty”. We visit Senshu Park, famous for its valley of more than 700 cherry trees. You will also have the option to experience a Japanese hot spring before returning to the ship. (B/L/D)

We arrive into Aomori with spectacular mountain scenery, soaring temples and castles surrounded by cherry blossoms. Framed by dark peaks clad with dense forestry, the city enjoys a picturesque location on Japan's main island Honshu. Visit the stunning Hirosaki Castle, in bloom with rose-pink cherry blossom, as spring's sunshine clears away winter's plentiful snowfall. The castle's moat, glowing with the pale hue of fallen blossom, is a truly mesmerising sight to behold. Next visit the Tsugaru-han Neputa Village, home to the Neputa Festival, one of the largest, most popular festivals in Japan. (B/L/D)

Hakodate port was one of the first to open Japan up to the world, and to international trade in 1854 - a fact reflected in the architecture, with its influences from the West and beyond. Redbrick buildings line the port, while nearby the city's Russian Orthodox church stands resplendent. Elsewhere, the star-shaped Goryokaku fortress glows with natural colours and a beautiful haze of cherry blossom during the season.

Visit Onuma Quasi-National Park, which is renowned for its picturesque, island-dotted lakes and dormant volcano, Mount Komagatake. Thanks to a temperate climate and a combination of heavy rainfall and melting snow, the area is a paradise for birdlife and boasts an abundance of diverse vegetation. (B/L/D)

Enjoy your last day at sea to relax or further explore your beautiful ship. (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we disembark our ship in Yokohama, from where you will be transferred to one of Tokyo's airports or to your post-tour hotel. (B)


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