Japan is world-famous for its stunning panoramas of cherry blossoms. On this springtime trip, you'll see the flowers while discovering the country's highlights by train. Begin by exploring Osaka on a river cruise and food tour. Transfer to the historic city of Kyoto for sightseeing and temples, then move on to Hakone, where you'll visit hot springs and stay in a traditional ryokan inn. Top off your experience with some cherry blossom-spotting excursions in Tokyo and en route to Mount Fuji.


  • Sample traditional sweets and snacks on a street food tour of Osaka
  • Discover Kyoto's historic sights
  • Experience a traditional ryokan inn in Hakone
  • Take unforgettable photos of Mount Fuji framed by cherry blossoms

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Osaka, Explore Osaka
Day 2 Sightseeing in Osaka, Nighttime Foodie Tour Osaka
Day 3 Train to Kyoto, Explore Kyoto
Day 4 See Magnificent Views in Arashiyama Kyoto
Day 5 Train to Hakone, Ryokan Experience in Hakone Hakone
Day 6 Train to Tokyo, See Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo Tokyo
Day 7 Spot Cherry Blossoms Around Mount Fuji Tokyo
Day 8 Depart Tokyo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Osaka, Explore

See Osaka on a river cruise
See Osaka on a river cruise

Welcome to Japan! After taking the train to your Osaka hotel and settling in, head out to explore the city. If you'd like, start with a visit to the Tombori Riverwalk, a canal that reflects the neon lights of the busy Namba district. This scenic riverside walk is full of enormous laser advertisements that will make you feel like you're in a futuristic movie. If you want to appreciate the view from a different perspective, why not take a Tombori River Cruise? When walking around the canals, you will see the eye-catching yellow boats which offer the cruises.

Later, for some shopping, head to Shinsaibashi-suji. This building is half arcade and half-shopping mall but has the air of a traditional Japanese marketplace. Finish your day with a visit to Sōemoncho, Osaka's most famous nightlife district on the busiest side of the Dōtonbori neighborhood. This area contains restaurants, bars, nightclubs, small ramen shops, and karaoke halls.  

Day 2: Sightseeing in Osaka, Nighttime Foodie Tour

Sightseeing in Osaka
View of Osaka

Spend the day visiting some of Osaka's famous sights, such as Osaka Castle, the Umeda Sky Building, and Shin-Sekai. At night, head back to bustling Dōtonbori, where the lights are bright, and the neon signs make for a whimsical panorama. Get ready to take part in a delicious food tour through the streets of Osaka. Your guide will show you the city's best restaurants and traditional foods, so make sure you come with an empty stomach!

On this small-group guided nighttime tour, with dinner and drinks included, you'll experience two of Osaka's most dynamic and delicious foodie neighborhoods. Your food expert will show you the unique dishes of Osaka (and, of course, you'll also be able to taste them!) as you learn about the city's history and culture on a three-hour walk. Try local specialties like takoyaki (a ball-shaped snack), kushikatsu (Japanese deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables), and okonomiyaki (a Japanese pancake). 

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Day 3: Train to Kyoto, Explore

Kyoto's Golden Pavilion
Kyoto's Golden Pavilion
Take a train from Osaka to Kyoto in the morning, then head out to enjoy this atmospheric city and take in its highlights on a guided history and culture tour. Stroll through the picturesque Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and visit three important temples and shrines: Kinkaku-ji Temple (the Golden Pavilion), Ryoan-ji Temple—known for its Zen garden, and Fushimi Inari Shrine—known for its rows of bright orange torii gates. You'll also walk into the Gion geisha district. The combination of traditional buildings and night views is stunning!

Day 4: Visit Arashiyama

See Magnificent Views in Arashiyama
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove of Kyoto

Today, you'll be heading to Arashiyama, the western part of Kyoto. Start by visiting the UNESCO-listed Nijo Castle, built in the 1600s as the residence of the first Edo-era shogun. After the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1867, the structure was used as an imperial palace before being donated to the city and opened to the public as a historic site. Its buildings are arguably the best surviving examples of Japan's feudal-era castle architecture.

Later, immerse yourself in the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and enjoy walking the famous forest trails. Among the many must-see attractions in the area, you can also visit the Zen Tenryuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an excellent place of perfect peace and tranquility, as well as the Monkey Park, where you can see playful monkeys roaming freely. 

Day 5: Train to Hakone, Ryokan Experience

Ryokan Experience in Hakone
Visit Hakone and stay in a traditional ryokan

Check out of your hotel and take a train to one of the most famous onsen (hot spring) areas, Hakone. There, you'll experience a stay in a ryokan (traditional inn). Ryokans are often at least 100 years old and feature traditional Japanese architecture. Many also have beautiful gardens you can admire while bathing in the hot springs. Their guest rooms feature sliding paper doors, tatami floors, futon beds, and sitting tables, which you can enjoy while dressed in the yukata (comfy kimono-style pajamas) provided by the facility.

Most ryokans offer breakfast and dinner meals showcasing the best of their region, carefully and seasonally selected. These traditional hotels are usually family businesses, so the hosts will ensure you are treated with the reputed Japanese omotenashi or hospitality. Their immaculate attention to detail, cleanliness, and efficiency will make your stay a perfect one as you enjoy some goro-goro (relaxation) far away from Japan's busy cities and fast-paced society.

Day 6: Train to Tokyo, See Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms in Tokyo
Cherry blossoms in Tokyo

Take a train from Odawara Station in Hakone to Tokyo Station. Then, get ready to embark on a full day of cherry blossom viewing across Tokyo with a private guide. Start with a visit to Nakameguro, a hip neighborhood of Tokyo full of picturesque cafés. In spring, this area becomes completely pink, with around 800 trees blooming at once over a 2.5-mile (4 km) waterway.

Next, visit the Sakura Festival in Chiyoda, close to the Imperial Palace. Here, you'll see the pink paradise of the Chidorigafuchi Green Way, a 2,300-foot (700 m) long walkway featuring 260 trees. This is the perfect place to enjoy the calmness and beauty of the sakura (cherry blossoms) away from the hectic neighborhoods of Tokyo. Finish your tour with the Rikugien Garden, where you can enjoy the nighttime sakura and see a 70-year-old tree whose stunning pink-covered branches fall to the ground like a cascade. After a long day, visit the Shibuya area for dinner and a nighttime view.

Day 7: Spot Cherry Blossoms Around Mount Fuji

Spot Cherry Blossoms Around Mount Fuji
On the way to Mount Fuji, there are many great spots to see cherry blossoms

See more cherry blossoms today as you take the train to Yamanashi Prefecture. There are many great cherry blossom spots to choose from along this route. You can visit one site or combine several of them into one day. At Shiogama Shrine and Chureito Pagoda, snap your classic photos of Mount Fuji with a red pagoda and cherry blossoms. You could also visit Maizuru Castle Park, where hundreds of cherry trees are alongside the old stone ramparts of the castle.

Next, head to Fuefukigawa Fruit Park, a wonderful spot to take children. Or venture to the Yamataka Jindai Sakura to see the oldest cherry tree in Japan, believed to be 2,000 years old. Travel with a private guide to help you get the most out of your day, or explore the area independently.  

Day 8: Depart Tokyo

Cherry blossoms in Tokyo
Say goodbye to Tokyo's cherry blossoms
Pack your bags and prepare to say goodbye to Japan as you head to the airport via public transportation or private transfer. Have a safe journey home or to your next destination!

More Great Japan Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Japan? Check out these other Japan itineraries, explore different ways to spend eight days in Japan, or discover the best time to visit Japan.


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Map of Japan Cherry Blossom Tour - 8 Days
Map of Japan Cherry Blossom Tour - 8 Days