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    Review of 7-day travel itinerary in Japan in cherry blossom season

    Every spring, cherry blossoms bloom all over Japan’s streets. People from all over the world flocked together to admire the beauty of the “national flower of the Rising Sun”.

    In just 1 week, but we try to go to all the most beautiful spots during the cherry blossom season in Japan, for those who are self-sufficient, economical and don’t have much time.

    Here is the schedule of 7-day travel itinerary in Japan in cherry blossom season : 
    Day 1: Tokyo (Narita) – rest at hotel
    Day 2: Asakusa (Sensoji Temple) – Sumida Park – Skytree – Odaiba
    Day 3: Ueno Park – Chidorigafuchi Park – Shinjuku Park
    Day 4: Go to Kyoto (Golden Temple Kinkakuji – Philosopher’s Path – Gion)
    Day 5: Arashiyama – Kiyomizu-dera – Inari Fushimi – to Osaka (Namba)
    Day 6: Osaka – Yokohama – Visit Minato Mirai Port Park – Cup Noodle Museum – China Town
    Day 7: Back to Tokyo – Kawaguchi Lake – Shibuya shopping

    Let’s go into the details of the trip :

    Day 1: Tokyo (Narita) – rest at hotel

    After a flight longer than 5 hours (not to mention if you don’t hunt for cheap tickets to fly directly but fly in transit, it must be very tiring). We recommend that you arrange flexibly to visit and eat around the hotel and rest and restore energy for the coming days.

    7 day travel itinerary in Japan

    TIPS:

    • If you want to hunt for cheap tickets, check regularly on Skyscanner, and Hopper. Don’t waste your time opening up a hundred airline websites and choosing schedules and comparing prices. The era of technology is wrapped up in a blink of an eye.
    • Regarding hotels, in developed countries, it is still best to choose a place as close to the train station as possible. Actually in Tokyo, you can stay on the edge a bit to save money, as long as it’s convenient, you can go to the train station. Basically, Tokyo is very large, the attractions are also far apart and require a train ride, so it doesn’t have to be in the center!
    • Activate JR Pass: When you come to Japan, you must activate and change it to a JR pass to use. You can exchange at any major station in Japan like Tokyo station, or Shinjuku, or even at Narita airport. Note that you have the right to choose the activation date, not necessarily on the same day that you arrive in Japan. Therefore, I recommend that as soon as you arrive at the airport, find a counter to activate for the next day to save time the next day. Especially when changing the JR Pass, you are required to have the original passport (because they want to confirm whether you are a short-term tourist or not), so changing it the next day may cause you to forget your passport at the hotel.

    Day 2: Asakusa (Sensoji Temple) – Sumida Park – Skytree – Odai

    1. Ancient Asakusa

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    This is where we feel quite impressed in Tokyo. Right in the center of this world’s most developed development, people can still preserve traditional values. Sensoji Temple is a prime example. Built in the 7th century, with a small scale originally just a part of the village school house. It is said that in the past, when the villagers were fishing, there was a statue of Guan Yin that kept getting caught in the net, and after many times released into the Sumida River, the statue still returned to them. Seeing that sacredness, people started to build this temple and worship Quan Am to this day.

    The entrance to the temple is the bustling Nakamise shopping street lined with “enchanting” snacks and souvenirs. It seems that in Japan, any souvenir makes visitors falter and because of its sophistication. In front of the temple gate hangs a giant lantern, which is the symbol of the temple, and of the whole of Tokyo on some tourist newspapers.

    Because it is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and also a symbol of the city, tourists flock to it in large numbers, especially during this cherry blossom season, so try to go early!

    2. Sumida Park

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    The park along the Sumida River is not far from Sensoji Temple, the atmosphere is extremely pleasant. During cherry season, this is also one of the highly rated locations. The day we came, many families came here to eat and enjoy flowers.

    Here, you can also see the Tokyo TV tower, the unique Unko building in the shape of a bubbly beer glass in Tokyo.

    3. Tokyo Sky Tree TV Tower

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    This is a famous place that people often come to see the panoramic view of Tokyo from above and even Mt. Fuji on clear days. Ticket prices are quite expensive. For a ticket of 2,060 yen for adults, you can enter the Tembo Deck. At an altitude of 350 meters, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city and Mount Fuji during the day. If you go up another 100 meters at Tembo Hall (Tembo Galleria) then you have to pay an additional 1,030 yen surcharge. The day we arrived, it was crowded, so their staff suggested to buy instant tickets for 3000-4000 yen.

    However, there are also supermarkets or shops selling fashion items of all kinds. If you’ve come but can’t go up because of the crowd, or because your budget doesn’t allow it (like us), you can spend time for visiting and shopping. That time we bought sushi and sashimi in the supermarket here and were given a big box of strawberries, so delicious.

    4. Odaiba Seaside Park

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    Odaiba is actually an artificial island built with the original military purpose, to protect the capital Tokyo. “Odaiba” means “place of cannons” in Japanese. Today, this place has begun to thrive in tourism. In contrast to the sweltering capital of Tokyo across the shore with skyscrapers, Odaiba is airy with air and sea breeze. That’s why many Japanese people like to come here for a weekend picnic to change the wind. There is also a large shopping area here, and especially the ” Statue of Liberty ” – a mini version of the statue in New York.

    Day 3: Ueno Park – Chidorigafuchi Park – Shinjuku Park

    1. Ueno Park

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    This is a public park, and there are quite a few cherry blossom trees planted. When we arrived, it was very busy. Family, friends, lovers,… all gather here to see the flowers and have lunch together (called “hanami” in Japanese).

    We also learned to buy sushi and sashimi and were given a box of delicious strawberries, enjoying while looking at the flowers. There are people here who spread a big towel/tarpaulin, if you forgot to bring it, you can ask for a seat (like us), everyone is very happy and hospitable!

    2. Chidorigafuchi Park

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    This place must be classified as one of the best flower viewing places in Tokyo because the scenery is so beautiful and romantic. Although you can’t have a picnic here, you can still rent a boat to go around or walk under hundreds of cherry trees in full bloom.

    3. Shinjuku Park

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    This is a huge park, there is a fee of 200yen/ticket/person but it’s really worth it! The park is divided into 3 gardens: Japanese style, French style and English style. Peach blossom here a lot! Personally, I especially like the greenhouse park here. It is simply a small garden inside the park built in the style of a greenhouse with plants like cacti and ferns. But really appreciate the Japanese spirit of love and preservation of nature.

    End your day of flower viewing with the beautiful street lights in Shinjuku. You can go shopping and visit a restaurant to enjoy. Personally, I often plan a hearty dinner because morning and noon are often greedy to see a lot, so eating is also a bit rushed.

    Day 4: Go to Kyoto (Golden Temple Kinkakuji – Philosopher’s Path – Gion)

    It is very important to note that when traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto by Shinkansen, remember to sit by the window on the right, because this is the view of Mount Fuji. Please book the earliest train a few days in advance, because everyone wants to book tickets in the right windows! To avoid wasting time buying tickets early in the morning anymore. On the train, remember to ask the staff about what time you will see the mountain, to keep track of the time. The train will run for more than 2 hours 30 minutes, that time we bought the fastest train.

    1. Golden Temple (Gingakuji)

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    A certain temple not to be missed when visiting Kyoto even though it has no or very few cherry blossoms. It is completely inlaid with gold leaf, with typical Japanese architecture. This is a testament to the pinnacle of Japanese horticultural art. The temple is surrounded by a calm lake, the temple’s shadow is dotted with delicate bonsai trees. The beautiful scenery really comes out like a picture!

    Behind the temple, people play with coins. Anyone who can throw it into the hollow in front of the Buddha image is lucky, even luckier is in the small copper bowl in front. I also tried to throw. The first coin entered the hollow of the rock. Throw an extra coin into the bowl and make a sound that everyone around screams and claps. You also try to play luck and try your marksmanship!

    One more thing you need to pay attention to is that behind the pagoda, there is a very delicious green tea ice cream shop. The price when I ate was 300 yen, I don’t know if the price has increased yet.

    2. Philosophy path

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    The Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto is named after one of Japan’s most famous philosophy professors, Nishida Kitarō (1870-1945). Legend has it that he walked this path as a way of daily meditation. The trail runs along a canal that begins at the Silver Pavilion (Ginkakuji), passes by Eikando Shrine and several other shrines, and ends at Nanzen-ji Temple. The road is especially beautiful in the cherry blossom season. Hundreds of cherry trees along both sides of the canal bloomed like pink clouds.

    The road is only about 2km long, it takes about half an hour to walk. However, you should spend at least a few hours to be able to explore the landscapes along the way. We spent most of the afternoon here, just hanging around, nooks and crannies. Some shops even grow tulips.

    3. ‘Hunting’ Geisha in Gion

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    The funniest thing we do but also find it interesting so we want to share it with you. It’s about taking pictures of Geishas. Gion is the only prefecture in Japan that still retains its ancient features along with the presence of geishas. Don’t confuse Geisha with Maiko (apprentice). Maiko’s age usually ranges from 25-20 years old, has a long belt, and usually doesn’t wear makeup and doesn’t stand out like a Geisha. They usually appear at dusk until evening, but no one can tell when they will appear, so meeting a Geisha is also a blessing.

    The geishas seem to be practicing qigong or something, walking like flying, they glide very quickly, appear and disappear, and they don’t stop for you to take pictures. We always have to hold the camera ready to see a click and snap, but sometimes we miss.

    Day 5: Arashiyama – Kiyomizu-dera – Inari Fushimi – to Osaka (Namba)

    1. Arashiyama

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    Note that Bamboo Forest is extremely crowded, because it is so famous for the movie ‘House of Flying Daggers’, so if you don’t want to be crowded without a picture, you have to come early. Around 8am, it was already very crowded.

    The scenery in Arashiyama is very beautiful. There are rivers, there are mountains, there are forests, there are peach blossoms in full bloom, and there are delicious food too.

    2. Kiyomizu-dera

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    The temple is very beautiful on the mountainside, from here you can see the ancient capital of Kyoto and Kyoto tower from above. The name Kiyomizu-dera comes from the source of water flowing into the Otowa waterfall that continuously resounds in the Otowayama mountain (in Japanese, Kiyomizu means clear stream).

    Well, to get to the Temple, you have to climb a rather long slope, but you will certainly not be tired. Higashiyama is a street that sells a lot of Kyoto souvenirs and specialties. We always love to “try” the product until we are full haha.

    3. Fushimi Inari – with “Memoirs of a Geisha”

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    The temple is famous in the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” with thousands of Tori gates typical of Japan. You can go along these gates and “get to the top” haha. It was raining heavily that time, so we couldn’t go all the way because it was too cold. But really this is a point not to be missed in your Kyoto trip.

    4. Go to Osaka – Visit Namba

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    From Kyoto to Osaka, you can take a regular train, but if you have a JR Pass, you can use the Shinkansen. Basically it will not be much faster, just imagine when driving, you also need a period of time to reach maximum speed. But because Osaka is so close to Kyoto, the speed can only go up that much. But the price difference between regular trains and Shinkansen trains is “not only that much”!

    If you have little time, we recommend just going to Namba, because this place is very busy and crowded in the evening. Along the riverside, there are many cool shops. You can go on a boat tour to see Namba on the river like us, or just wander, eat crabs, eat squid ink takoyaki in such cold weather is enough.

    Day 6: Osaka – Yokohama – Visit Minato Mirai Port Park – Cup Noodle Museum – China Town

    Note that from Osaka to Shinkansen to Yokohama, the station will be Shin-Yokohama. So when planning, please look up how to get to other attractions from this station.

    1. Minato Mirai Port Park

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    Minato Mirai means future seaport. If you go in the flower season, this is also a place worth going. When we came, the flowers bloomed on both sides of the road very beautifully. You go along the port, cross the bridge, the scenery of the seaport is very pleasant, in the distance there is the famous Intercontinental sail hotel in this city. There are also museums and Queen’s Square shopping centers selling everything from fashion to cosmetics.

    Minato Mirai Port Park has a few games, feeling “slightly strong”, you can try.

    2. Cup Noodle Museum

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    Also located near the port, you can walk. We think this is a place worth going! You will be introduced to the history and origin of the noodles. Entering is overwhelmed with the collection of noodle cups through the ages. This is Japan’s second museum on the subject of Cup Noodle.

    Especially here, you can make noodles with your name on them and bring them back as souvenirs. Unfortunately, the day we arrived, there were quite a few children from the schools who came to visit, so there was not an empty place for us to participate in making noodles.

    3. China Town

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    Since 1859, when Yokohama became the first seaport for trade around the world, a large number of Chinese people came here to live and established this Chinatown. This is the largest Chinatown of the three in Japan and also one of the largest Chinatowns in the world, and in our opinion the cleanest in the world. With more than 500 stores with a full range of items from snacks to restaurants. Note that restaurant prices are quite different, some places 800 yen, some places up to 1500 yen or 2000 yen for a meal. I have read somewhere that the difference is related to the cost of food hygiene and safety, you can consider choosing a cheaper price with more risk. We had a dinner date at an acquaintance’s house that time, so we didn’t have a chance to try it here.

    Day 7: Back to Tokyo – Lake Kawaguchi – Shibuya shopping

    1. Kawaguchi-ko lake

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    Kawaguchi-ko (“ko” in Japanese means “lake”) is located in a chain of five lakes around Mount Fuji that people collectively call Fuji Five Lakes. This place is a famous tourist destination of Japan because you can see Mount Fuji very clearly and beautifully.

    There are no words to describe the beautiful lake. When I arrived at the end of March, other places were already in full bloom, but here only a few trees were in full bloom, the rest were just blooming. Those of you who plan to go to see flowers and want to avoid the high season, you can come here in mid-April! Here, you can enjoy an onsen bath to see the mountains, as well as cycle around the lake to visit the neighboring lakes, and visit museums, as well as parks.

    2. Shibuya

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    Visit the Hachiko dog statue at the Shibuya train station, and the Shibuya crossroad specialty. Every time the light is red, then the light is green, people from 7 walking directions rush in, creating a character for Shibuya, as well as the always busy city of Tokyo. In Shibuya, there are also many goods selling functional foods, or domestic cosmetics, and also popular brands such as H&M, Uniqlo, so you can spend the evening here buying gifts for your family and friends. Shouldn’t you reward yourself with something?

    Then back to the hotel to pack up and rest, to prepare to return. It’s only a pity that the time to go out is so fast, if only I could stay longer. If you don’t stop this trip, how can there be next “memorable” trips?

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