Team Travel Kuramoto


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7 Days
Cherry Blossoms Tour in The Japanese Alps

Itinerary Summary

    Day 1 – Depart from Tokyo to Takato Castle

    In the morning, take an express train to Takato Castle Park in Nagano prefecture.

    This park’s cherry blossoms have been designated as one of the top three most beautiful cherry blossoms collections in all  of Japan. The park is also known for its unique Takato-kohigan variety of tree which has dense branches and light pink blossoms and is considered one of the most beautiful trees in Japan.

    In the evening you will reach Matsumoto, your stop for today.

    Night: Matsumoto

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 2 – Matsumoto Highlights

    Formerly known as Fukashi, Nagano Prefecture’s second-largest city has been here since the 8th century. In the 14th and 15th centuries, it was the castle town of the Ogasawara clan and it continued to prosper through the Edo period to the present.

    Your first stop today will be Matsumoto Castle. 

    The building is also known as the “Crow Castle” due to its black exterior, and is one of the most complete and beautiful among Japan’s original castles. It is a “hirajiro” – a castle built on plains rather than on a hill or mountain. Matsumoto Castle is unique for having both a secondary donjon and a turret adjoined to its main keep.

    Just across a small bridge on the way to Matsumoto Castle, Nawate Street is a row of small shops with a recurring frog theme. The banks of the river once echoed with the voices of frogs. Kaeru, the Japanese word for “frog” can also mean “to return home.” Aside from a variety of snack shops and a “Sweet” little cafe/bakery (which has been around since 1923), the street also has plenty of little nick-knack knick-knacks  shops and souvenirs. A number of shops allow you to make your own unique item to take home.

    Removed from Matsumoto’s city centrer, this cherry blossom spot lies under the radar for most international travelers, but it offers spectacular views for those who take a chance to visit. Overlooking Matsumoto City and the Japanese Alps, the hilltop of Koboyama is surrounded by a wall of 4,000 cherry trees. Many walking trails meander through the cherry woods, and during peak bloom, there are nightly light-ups here as well.

    In the evening, you will visit the Castle one again and enjoy the cherry blossom illuminations..

    Night: Matsumoto

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 3 – Transfer to Nagano

    For many, hearing the name Nagamo is a synonym of “snow”, and indeed the city is well-known for hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 1998. Nagano is less known for its incredible Cherry blossoms viewing spots. After lunch in Nagano,  you will travel to Suzaka city.

    Situated less than an hour from Nagano, Suzaka city is one of Japan’s “Top 100 cherry blossom spots”.

    Inside Garyu Park, you’ll find the beautiful Ryugaike Pond surrounded by cherry blossom trees. The trees are reflected on the pond’s surface, creating a mesmerizing image which is only enhanced once the cherry blossom leaves start falling and floating on the water.

    Late afternoon,  you will return to Nagano for the night.

    Night: Nagano

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 4 – Day trip to Obuse

    During the Edo Period, Obuse was a prosperous town rich in art and culture. Staying true to its heritage, the small town continues to offer visitors a variety of art museums, a sake brewery, shops and restaurants around the narrow lanes and attractive, traditional-style buildings at its centre. Obuse owes much of its acclaim to the famous painter, Hokusai, who spent several years here. A collection of his work can be seen at the Hokusai Museum at the centre of town.

    Outside of Obuse Town along the Chikuma River is the Obuse Riverside Park. Over 600 Yaezakura trees are planted along its 4km length, together with plum trees and Nanohana blossoms.

    Night: Obuse

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 5 – Transfer to Takayama

    Located in the northern part of Gifu prefecture, Takayama is a beautifully preserved old town that embraces tradition and hospitality. The town is rather small and most sites can be reached by foot.

    In Spring, Takayama is also home to one of Japan’s best 3 festivals. The Festival started in the 16th Century and is centred on the Hie Shrine where people pray for a good harvest.

    Takayama also has many shrines and attractions along Sanmachi Main Street. Walking along Sanmachi is like going back to the Edo period, with traditional well-preserved style merchant shophouses, some of which have been in business for centuries.

     A Next must-see stop is the Takayama Jinya, a beautiful and traditional Japanese style building used to serve as Takayama’s government office during the Edo Period, when the city stood under the direct control of the shogun due to its valuable timber resources.

    Night in Takayama

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees.

    Day 6 – Day trip to Shirakawa-go and Gokayama villages

    Today you will have a driver take you to the remote villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama. But first, visit Takayama’s famous morning market. Located on the riverbank, the morning market sells a variety of foods, souvenirs and handmade goods.

     You will then travel to Shirakawa-go and Gokayama.

    Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, the villages are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks in prayer.

    In the late afternoon, you will return to Takayama by private car.

    Night in Takayama

    Inclusions: Accommodation, Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

    Day 7 – Transfer to Nagoya and end of the tour (or continue to Kyoto)

    In the morning, checkout from your accommodation and take the express train leading you to Nagoya from where you will either continue your journey to another part of Japan or take a flight back to your country.

    Inclusions: Breakfast, Private Guide, Transportation and Fees

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