Escorted Tour from Honolulu Kanto Cherry Blossom Tour – Tokyo & Lake Kawaguchi
Day 1 Apr 1 (Mon) Honolulu ~ Narita Airport
ANA check-in and TSA were both very smooth. We unexpectedly waited on the runway for 30 min. due to strong side winds but smoothly took off.
Day 2 Apr 2 (Tue) Narita Airport ~ Tokyo
I heard many positive comments about our ANA flight. The seats are spacious with the newest movie selections to watch, nice meals, free alcohol drinks, and quiet cabin! The immigration line at Narita Airport was also smooth. Good start!
Day 3 Apr 3 (Wed) Tokyo
We started our 1st day in Tokyo with the English speaking guide, Ms. Mika Akiyoshi. First stop was Tsukiji Outer Fish Market. All kinds of fresh products are sold here in the small alleys. A lot of us enjoyed street foods such as egg on the skewers, strawberry Mochi, etc. Then we moved to the restaurant, Yachiyo, to learn how to make Sushi. This hands-on experience was very enjoyable and included eating what we made.
We spent this afternoon at Ueno Park and Ameyoko shopping street. Ueno Park is one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Tokyo. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom and just so beautiful. There were many people having Hanami parties under the trees so we could witness how Japanese people enjoy this special season. After leaving Ueno Park, we walked to the Ameyoko shopping street. Many of us shopped so much at the discount candy store, Niki-no- Kashi. Ameyoko offers dried scallops, clothing, shoes, street foods, so much more for all discounted price. You may enjoy negotiating with the seller for better bargains!
Day 4 Apr 4 (Thu) Tokyo –Mt. Fuji – Hakone – Lake Kawaguchi
We left our hotel at 7:30am to Mt. Fuji area this morning. Due to the snow that fell on Mt. Fuji a few days ago, we could not drive up to the 5th station, however, we were able to see snowcapped beautiful Mt. Fuji very clearly from everywhere we went. In the morning, we drove to Hakone and took a ropeway to the top of Mt. Komagatake. Some of us enjoyed walking up to the shrine on the summit. What a fantastic view looking down Lake Ashi and mountains around!
After Japanese style lunch, we went Oishi Park where the best Mr. Fuji picture could be taken at. Oshino Hakkei is the place where the natural spring water fountain from Mt. Fuji is gathered. The old Japanese atmosphere and serenity is loved by tourists. We enjoyed strolling around the fountains. The last stop was the Mt. Fuji Visitor Center. We learned about the volcanic activities of Mt. Fuji from the video we viewed.
After a long day, Onsen was awaited for us at Fuji Lake Hotel. We all dressed in Yukata and gathered at the group dinner. Kaiseki style dinner offers the delicacy of four seasons of Japan, and we enjoyed Japanese Spring with its looks, smells and tastes very much.
Day 5 Apr 5 (Fri) Lake Kawaguchi – Odawara – Kamakura – Tokyo
The first activity of the day was strawberry picking at Nirayama. In the green tent, 30 min. all you can eat fresh strawberries! Benihoppe brand strawberries are famous for its sweetness and soft shell.
Then we visited Odawara Castle. Cherry blossoms were in full bloom here too. We could even look down cherry blossoms in full bloom from the top floor of the castle.
After late lunch in Kamakura, we walked to Kamakura Great Buddha at Kotokuin Temple first, then to Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine by bus in the afternoon. The old capital town Kamakura offers such deep history to explore. It was a long day but fulfilled with many impressive visits.
Day 6 Apr 6 (Sat) Tokyo
Back to Tokyo again! We spent our day in Sumida Ward where the atmosphere of old Tokyo still exists. Our first stop was Edo Tokyo Museum which is a must see in this area. We took a short tour with Japanese volunteer guides to learn the history of the Edo period. I’ve heard that some of us even went back to the museum the next day to explore some more. After the museum, we spent the afternoon to check out the modern times of Tokyo by visiting the Tokyo Skytree! First we went up to the observatory to enjoy the city view of Tokyo, then took an elevator down to Soramachi Shopping area for lunch and shopping. Sumida Aquarium on the 5th floor was fun to walk through after the busy shopping experience. Then lastly we boarded on Sumida River Cruise which we could observe beautiful cherry blossom along the river side. The Sumida river flows into Tokyo Bay and along the bay side we saw 2020 Olympic Village were under construction.
Day 7 Apr 7 (Sun) Tokyo
It was a free day and many of us took public transportation to our destinations using the SUICA card. 11 of us visited Sengakuji Temple nearby our hotel where the famous 47 Ronin were resting in peace. We then took the JR train to Kinshicho. We strolled down to Kinshicho park, which was filled with a lot of cherry trees. Many families were having picnic lunch under the cherry trees. The Arcakit Shopping Center located by the station offers the huge Daiso, GU, MUJI, Supermarket and many more was perfect destination to enable us to shop at all popular shops at once.
Day 8 Apr 8 (Mon) Tokyo – Narita – Honolulu
Hard to believe it was already time to go home! Time to say good bye to the beautiful cherry blossoms and Mt. Fuji but our itinerary was packed with fun till the moment we leave. We quickly stopped by at Imperial Palace and then had a farewell lunch at Happoen. It was a beautiful Kaiseki lunch. We strolled down to the Japanese garden and admired the $5 million dollar Bonsai! We then headed to Narita City to visit Naritasan Temple and Narita Aeon Mall.
Narita Airport was almost empty so had a smooth check in and last minute shopping. Cherry blossom season is very special for Japanese citizens and was it surely to us, too. Please visit Japan in this beautiful season.
Posted by Kat Spear
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