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Japan Spring Flower Festivals
23 APRIL – 6 MAY 2019

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ITINERARY
Japan celebrates Golden Week with festivals of azalea, peony and wisteria. Our floral adventure begins in the mountains of Nikko; travels four islands in the archipelago, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Naoshima; visiting cities of Tokyo, Matsue, Okayama & Takamatsu.
DAY 1
Tuesday 23 April 2019
Sydney – Tokyo

Meet your Tour Leader, Linda Ross in the departure lounge at Sydney Airport then depart on our evening flight to Tokyo.

DAY 2
Wednesday 24 April 2019
Ashikaga Flower Park (L/D)

Arrive Tokyo Haneda Airport and meet our Japanese guide. The day starts with a blast at Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi prefecture to see the world’s finest collection of wisteria. The Wisteria Festival will be in full swing with tunnels, arbours, arches and bridges smothered in weeping wisteria in white, mauve and pink. We’ll admire the 140-year-old ‘Great Wisteria’, a double petalled variety which spreads 1,000 square metres! We’ll have fun tracking down wisteria flavoured ice cream then head into the mountains to Nikko. Lunch at the Kanaya Cottage Inn and learn the fascinating history and guests of the Hotel Kanaya. Check into the charming Nikko Kanaya, the oldest western style hotel in Japan. Dinner tonight is western-style, silver service.

Accommodation: Kanaya Hotel, Nikko

DAY 3
Thursday 25 April 2019
Hitachi Seaside Park (B/D)

Another dazzling flower festival today, the fields of beautiful baby blue eyes or nemophila at Hitachi Seaside Park overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Ibaraki Prefecture. Nemophila covers Miharashi Hill, the tallest point in the park, with four million blossoms. Walk through the Seaside Park, with time for lunch within the complex and a chance to view the 200 varieties of tulips in the forest garden. Dinner again tonight at the Kanaya. We’ll meet in the cosy whiskey bar for a pre-dinner drink.

Accommodation: Kanaya Hotel, Nikko

DAY 4
Friday 26 April 2019
Toshogu Shrine (B/D)

Our day starts at the end of the ‘Sacred Way’ of ancient Japanese Cedars, once the path from Tokyo to Toshogu Shrine. The shrine was built in 1542 to honour the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Next door is the Rinnoji Temple Garden, a charming pocket-sized teahouse garden with Japanese maples bursting into leaf and azaleas flowering on the lake edge. The natural beauty of the place, its spiritual importance and its unique architecture still casts a spell on travellers today. Giant cryptomerias over 1000 years old, overlook the turbulent waters of the Daiya River and morning mists wrap mountain views. The entire site is World Heritage listed. Before leaving for Tokyo, we visit Omiya Bonsai Village and Museum. The village was established in 1925 when an earthquake in central Tokyo forced bonsai nurseries to look for an alternative location. Omiya was chosen for its clean water and good soil and Omiya Bonsai Village was established as a community of bonsai gardeners. Nurseries in the village specialise in bonsai and private gardens also have good collections by their front doors. Arrive in Tokyo and check into the New Otani Hotel with dinner included.

Accommodation: New Otani Hotel, Tokyo

DAY 5
Saturday 27 April 2019
Tokyo (B)

Incandescent colour at the Festival of Azaleas today at Shiofune Kannon Temple 40km northwest of Tokyo. The garden surrounds an ancient 1300-year-old Buddhist temple, known as the ‘Temple of Flowers’ because of its extensive planting of 17,000 Japanese azaleas. Level pathways zigzag through the valley so you can walk through banks of colourful azaleas to reach the giant Buddha statue at the top for a beautiful bird’s eye view. Return to our hotel with the afternoon free. Meet up again for an early evening stroll around Kameido Tenjin Shrine, the best place in Tokyo to see wisterias, lit beautifully at night. Stroll beneath arbours of fragrant wisteria that were planted in the Edo period.

Accommodation: New Otani Hotel, Tokyo

DAY 6
Sunday 28 April 2019
Nezu Shrine (B)

Nezu Shrine, established in 1705 as a Shinto shrine, is famous for its incredible 300-year-old azalea garden displaying 3,000 azalea plants of 100 species, including rare varieties such as Fuji-tsutsuji (tiny bean-size flowers), Hanaguruma (pinwheel-like flowers), and Karafune (black azalea). Then its all about peonies in the month-long peony festival in Tokyo’s Ueno Park at the Toshogu Peony Garden, which was opened in 1980 to commemorate friendly relations between China and Japan. Peonies are displayed fronting snow fences woven from straw in winter and shielded with brightly coloured Japanese parasols in spring – its a real delight! The remainder of the day is free for relaxation, shopping or to explore new areas of Tokyo with our tour leaders.

Accommodation: New Otani Hotel, Tokyo

DAY 7
Monday 29 April 2019
Tokyo – Matsue (B/D)

We take a short flight to Izumo in the Shimane Prefecture for a taste of old Japan at Matsue, famous for its a feudal castle, one of the few remaining medieval castles built of wood from the early 1600’s. It sits on a hill with commanding views of Izumo below, we can walk to the top to enjoy the view. We walk along the canal on Shiomi Nawate, an ancient street lined with timber samurai houses. Check into Excel Hotel Tokyu, Matsue. A treat tonight at a local restaurant overlooking the river with a traditional Japanese dinner with local specialities.

Accommodation: Excel Hotel Tokyu, Matsue

DAY 8
Tuesday 30 April 2019
Yushien Garden (B)

Peony heaven today at Yushien Garden, a treasure trove of peonies in a garden within an island on a lake, in an area famous for ginseng and peonies. Located on the sparsely populated Daikonshima Island in the middle of brackish Lake Nakaumi lies this exquisite Japanese garden full of mist, maples, ponds, waterfalls and stone bridges. You’ll come across a little timber house with a collection of fish tanks in the portico. Inside its cool and the peony display is breathtaking. Wandering on, we admire the local peony growing competition with some peonies as large as your face and onto a tea house to enjoy Matcha tea – a Japanese sweet and garden views. Next stop is the Adachi Museum of Art’s meticulous celebrated garden, awarded the best garden in Japan. Founded by Adachi Zenko in 1980 as a way of combining his passions for Japanese art, garden design and the works by Japanese painters and ceramicists. A true lover of gardens, Adachi collected each of the pines and stones himself for the six picture or ‘scroll’ gardens: the Karesansui Garden, the Garden of White Sand and Green Pine, the Moss Garden and the Pond Garden which you view from windows inside the museum. This garden crystrallises the Japanese landscape – depicting its island geography, forests, bamboo glades, pine-topped mountains, rushing rivers, mountain crags and surrounding sea. Dinner at leisure. Overnight Matsue.

Accommodation: Excel Hotel Tokyu, Matsue

DAY 9
Wednesday 1 May 2019
Matsue – Okayama (B)

Okayama this morning via train to visit Kōraku-en, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan (along with Kenroku-en and Kairaku-en). This quintessential Japanese garden was created 300 years ago by the daimyo (domain lord) Ikeda Tsunamasa, lord of Okayama, as a symbol of the power of the Samurai. See wisteria , zig-zag bridges, mounds of azaleas, streams lined with iris and a tea plantation. With the spectacular backdrop of Okayama Castle, the garden is designed as a circuit to experience the magic of the borrowed landscape, particularly Yuishinzan Hill. The Daimo loved the peace of the rest house, Ryuten, where he went to relax and watch the water flowing below. We’ll see the famous Japanese cranes that breed here. Check in to Granvia Hotel Okayama for the next four nights.

Accommodation: Granvia Hotel, Okoyama

DAY 10
Thursday 2 May 2019
Kawachi Fujien (B)

A fun day travelling by Shinkansen (Bullet train) west through Hiroshima to the southern-most island Kyushu. The famous wisteria arches await today at Kawachi Wisteria Garden, a private garden in the hills south of central Kitakyushu, famous for its spectacular planting of wisteria. Two tunnels each 100 metres long are planted with different species of wisteria, ranging from white, lilac, pink, mauve to dark purple. A viewpoint at the top of the hillside garden allows for views across the sea of wisteria and the surrounding valley. After, we head to the port town of Moji for lunch and a harbour walk. Back to Okayama tonight.

Accommodation: Granvia Hotel, Okoyama

DAY 11
Friday 3 May 2019
Naoshima (B)

It’s an exciting ferry trip today to Naoshima, the tiny art island in the Seto Inland Sea that is now famous for its modern art museums, architecture and sculptures. Much of Naoshima’s art was installed by the Benesse Corporation, designed by the well known Japanese architect Tadao Ando. It’s about the coexistence of nature, architecture, art and the revitalisation of a small fishing community. Benesse House is a place where people can explore art, nature and architecture. The complex is intended to blend into the natural environment of Setonaikai National Park. Chichu Art Museum was built mostly underground, so views of the natural beauty of this setting on the Seto Inland Sea are not interrupted. Artworks by Claude Monet, James Turrell and Walter De Maria are on permanent display. Take the ferry back to Okayama.

Accommodation: Granvia Hotel, Okoyama

DAY 12
Saturday 4 May 2019
Ritsurin Garden (B/D)

Our coach will take us to Japan’s fourth main island of Shikoku across the Great Seto Bridge which is the longest series of double-decker bridges in the world. Our destination is the sublime Ritsurin Garden in the city of Takamatsu. Built by local feudal lords during the early Edo Period, it’s considered one of the best gardens in Japan. It’s divided into a Japanese style garden in the south and western style garden in the north; all are set in front of the wooded Mt. Shiun which serves as a wonderful background and great example of borrowed scenery. After an optional lunch in the garden’s cafe, we return to Okayama with the afternoon free. Meet up tonight for our farewell dinner in the hotel.

Accommodation: Granvia Hotel, Okoyama

DAY 13
Sunday 5 May 2019
Okayama – Home (B)

Optional visit this morning to the old picturesque town of Kurashiki with its preserved canal area that dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867), when the city served as an important rice distribution centre. The name Kurashiki translated as town of storehouses where rice was kept. Local shopping is excellent here with Japanese denim and local ‘Bizen’ ceramics in high demand. Or visit the art gallery with many famous paintings by European masters. Later transfer to Okayama Airport for homeward flights.

DAY 14
Monday 6 May 2019
Arrive Home
HOW TO BOOK

To secure your booking and make your deposit, please complete our online booking form. You will be contacted by a Ross Tours Travel Manager to confirm your details and preferred method of payment.

CANCELLATIONS

Cancellations received 180-120 days prior to departure will incur loss of deposit.
Cancellations received between 119-60 days prior to departure will incur a 50% cancellation fee.
Cancellations received between 59-30 days prior to departure will incur a 75% cancellation fee plus any non-recoverable costs incurred.
Cancellations received within 30 days prior to departure will incur 100% cancellation fee.

Cancellations must be sent in writing.
Cancellation fee is based upon the total amounts paid including tours, airfares and all other travel arrangements.
Please refer to the Ross Garden Tours standard terms and conditions

TOUR INCLUSIONS
TOUR ESCORTED BY
LINDA ROSS
  • Return flights (including taxes) flying All Nippon Airways Sydney / Tokyo / Sydney and domestic flights Tokyo / Yonago and Okayama / Tokyo
  • Shinkansen and express train travel
  • Deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach throughout tour
  • Deluxe accommodation for 11 nights
  • Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
  • Breakfast daily, 1 lunch and 5 dinners
  • English speaking National Japanese Guide
  • Guided tours of Nikko and Tokyo
  • Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing including Ashikaga Flower Park, Kanaya History House, Hitachi Seaside Park, Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Rinnoji Temple, Omiya Bonsai Museum, Nezu Shrine, Ueno Toshogu Peony Garden, Shiofune Kannon Temple, Kameido Tenjin Shrine, Matsue Castle, Yushien, Adachi Museumof Art, Korakuen, Kawachi Fuji Garden, Chichu Art Museum, Benesse House, Honmura Art House Project, Ritsurin Park
TOUR PRICE

Twin Share land only $10,695 per person (Land Only price does not include internal flights in Japan)
Twin Share including air $11,995* per person
Single Supplement $1,995

All prices in Australian Dollars.
Prices based on minimum 15 passengers.
Price is based on departure from Sydney.
Price from NZ and other Australian ports available on application.

DISCOUNTS

Book and pay in full by 3/12/2018 to receive the Early Bird Discount of $300.00 per person off the final instalment.
Previous Traveller Discount $100
Garden Clinic Member discount $50

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POSTCARDS

Read what our tour leaders have written about Japan here.

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