Strawberry Picking Tour
Japan is world-famous for its delicious dessert strawberries. Pick and eat strawberries for as long as you would like on this Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Tour! Explore the indoor strawberry fields of Yamanashi Prefecture on this bargain tour including train tickets and an all-you-can-eat strawberry-picking pass at Noen Orchard! This free-plan tour includes JR limited express tickets. The With Lunch Plan allows you the chance to delight upon a lunch of beef stew and all-you-can-drink wine.
Noen Orchard is located in the vicinity of a variety of temples, shrines, and hot springs. Hokoji Temple is a 3 minute walk from Noen Ochard (entrance: 300yen). Erinji Temple is a 10 minute walk away (entrance: 300yen/ Temple + Museum Entrance Ticket: 700yen) Hanakage Hot Springs is a 10 minute walk away from the Noen Orchard. 3 hours/ 500yen; Towel Service/200yen. (Closed Mondays. However, when Monday is a national holiday, the hot springs will close on the following day.) If you would like to visit any of the above locations during your time on this tour, feel free to explore the area your own.
Departure: January 4 - April 28, 2012: Tuesday - Sunday
With Lunch Plan: Adult: JPY 10,000 / Child (6-11 years): JPY 7,800
Without Lunch Plan: Adult: JPY 7,500 / Child (6-11 years): JPY 4,800
Sakura, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Phenomenon
The unofficial national flower of Japan, Sakura, or the Japanese cherry blossom, holds tremendous symbolic and cultural meaning to the Japanese people. Contrary to the name, sakura does not bear actual cherry fruit; sakuranbo (cherries) actually from another type of tree.
Sakura can be observed in almost every aspect of Japanese culture. Whether it is the traditional kimono, ceramics, and sweets, or the fact that is difficult to turn on the radio in April and not have a song about (and not to mention titled) about Japan’s beloved sakura during this time.
It may seem incredibly bizarre to one who has not lived in Japan, but the whole country of Japan even dedicates weather forecasts to predicting the blooming schedules of the sakura.
Of course, there is good reason why the sakura have taken such deep root into Japanese culture. To the Japanese, sakura symbolize a time of new beginnings. As both the Japanese fiscal and school year both begin when the sakura bloom in April, the Japanese are raised from childhood with a distinct fondness for the white and pink blossoms produced by the tree.
Japan’s love of sakura is so deeply ingrained into the culture that its blossoming is used as a way to bring people together as well. Companies and friends have picnics during the cherry blossom season called hanami, where they drink, eat, and watch the sakura together.
Interested in taking a peek at Japan’s beautiful cherry blossoms this year? Let Sunrise Tours help you navigate through Tokyo’s cherry blossom-laden forests this late March/ early April and bring you to some of Tokyo’s best sakura sightseeing locations:
Tokyo Cherry Blossoms Night Cruise Tour
Take an evening cruise on Tokyo's Sumida River, which is famous for its cherry tree-lined banks. As you enjoy the scenery outside the pleasure boat, you can also enjoy a performance by apprentice geisha, known as furisode-san in Tokyo, as well as photo opportunities.
Historical Tokyo and Cherry Blossoms Walking Tour
Get a feel for old Tokyo while surrounded by beautiful cherry blossoms! This tour starts off with a visit to spacious Ueno Park which is one of the most famous and popular places in Tokyo for cherry blossom-viewing. Besides the beautiful blossoms themselves, you can experience the festival-like atmosphere of the park this time of year. Then, make a stop at a traditional restaurant for a short break and enjoy some green tea and Japanese snacks. Afterwards, continue to historical Yanaka, an old part of Tokyo where Buddhist temples and old buildings from the Edo period still remain. As you stroll through these history-laden streets, you can also enjoy the beautiful seasonal addition to the scenery that is the theme of this tour: rows of Japan's famous cherry blossoms. The delicate blossoms embrace the thoroughfare, creating almost a tunnel of white and pink petals.
Climbing Mt. Fuji
This is a backdated passage written by one of our staff members about her climb up Mt. Fuji. Our Mt. Fuji Climbing Tour is scheduled for sale in late spring of 2012. Information on how to book the tour will be uploaded to our website when this tour goes on sale. We request you do not contact us regarding this tour until it is on our website, because we will be unable to respond to any requests regarding the tour until it is on sale.
One of the most popular summer adventures in Japan is climbing Mt. Fuji. This report will show you my second challenge to reach the summit and view the sunrise - "the goraiko".
My challenge of last year failed because of the bad weather at the 8th station. During the last long-weekend, 16th-17th of July, I joined the mountain climbing tour as revenge. Fortunately, the weather was beautiful this time! On the first day, we climbed from the 5th station (2,304 meters) to Toyokan lodge at the end of 7th station (2,910 meters).
Overlook Lake Yamanaka from Toyokan lodge.
After dinner and short nap, we left Toyokan lodge at around 11:00 p.m. and continue ascending towards the top. Although it was in the middle of the night, the path was brightly-lit by moon, stars and flashlights of climbers. The condition was totally different form the last year's climb in a nasty storm...
At around 4:00 a.m., we finally arrived at the summit and waited the sunrise with about 10,000 climbers... and...
4:31 a.m. ...
A breathtaking view of the sunrise from the summit of Mt. Fuji, the highest point in Japan.
It was faster than I expected that the sun showed its whole face. Lights reflected from Lake Yamanaka and the seas of clouds were just fantastic. Many people might pray for the recovery of North East Japan from here.
Then we started descending. It was freezing cold around 5 degree C before the sunrise but the temperature increase immediately once the sun appears. Unfortunately I had anemia by this sudden change of temperature and thin air but the beautiful scenery of sea clouds and extensive forest brought relief for me.
Finally we came back to the 5th station after 5 hours descending. I was so exhausted but really filled with a sense of fulfillment. Furthermore, I felt it is really important to prepare well before the climb to enjoy the adventure safely.
Anyway my challenge from last summer has finally completed. I am really glad that my revenge to reach the summit and to see the sunrise has been achieved. If you are planning to climb Mt. Fuji, I strongly recommend joining the tour and climbing with professional mountain guide for your safety.
by Akane Suga/JTB Sunrise Tours Staff
JTB 100th Anniversary Hotel & Train Packages
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the JTB Group and say a warm "Thank you!" to the customers who have supported JTB throughout the years, JTB Sunrise Tours has created a variety of special package plans combining stays in established Japanese ryokan (Japanese-style inn) and bullet train tickets.
Wondering how much would it cost if you booked a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto and a night in an established ryokan yourself?
Round-trip bullet train tickets from Tokyo to Kyoto cost JPY 26,000 or more. 1 night in a formal Kyoto ryokan including dinner and breakfast (as standard for most ryokan) is between JPY 30,000 to 40,000. As there is limited availability for ryokan rooms, it may be difficult to arrange for your reservation on the date you request. However, on our JTB 100th Anniversary Thank You Package, you can stay at the Seikoro Ryokan, a historical ryokan which has been around for more than 100 years, for the reasonable price of JPY 45,900. This traditional Japanese ryokan has roots from the Taisho era, and is known for its delicious fresh food, and Kyoto-style kaiseki course meals.
Kyoto 2-Day Train & Hotel Package Seikoro Ryokan with Nozomi/Hikari Bullet Train
In celebration of JTB’s 100th Anniversary, we have arranged a special tour at the Traditional Ryuguden Ryokan located in Hakone. Ryuguden is well known for its beautiful views in the popular hot spring resort area of Hakone. Savor the flavors of the fresh seasonal kaiseki course meal while relaxing in a hot springs, where you can enjoy a sweeping panoramic view of Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji.
Hakone 2-Day Train & Hotel Package at the Traditional Ryuguden Ryokan
On both of these tours, you will have a chance to dine upon a full kaiseki-style course dinner and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the hot springs. Experience Japan’s traditional luxury resorts for a bargain price when you book today!
Sunrise Tours is currently in the process of developing new bullet train packages in other areas for 100th anniversary tours. New packages will be uploaded on Sunrise Tours’ website throughout the year.
Sunrise Takayama & Shirakawa-go Tour
These beautiful pictures are from Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture. Shirakawa-go is designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, and is famous for its Gassho-zukuri. Gassho-zukuri is one of the old Japanese architectural styles, with its feature of steep thatched roof. As it snows heavily in this area, Gassho-zukuri roof makes it easier for the residents to remove snow in winter. It is very rare to see such villages in Japan nowadays, so it is worth visiting!
You can visit the site through our Sunrise Tour.
The tour will also visit Takayama and Kanazawa, where you can explore a folk museum, Kenrokuen Garden, and the old samurai residence. You can start the tour from and end the tour at Tokyo, Kyoto, or Nagoya, so please choose the one that best suits your needs and situation.
Although it is cold in winter, enjoying beautiful snow view, as you can see on the pictures, is also attractive.
Please check out our website for JTB Sunrise Tour.
Takayama Express 3-Day Tour of World Heritage Shirakawa-go, and Kanazawa
Takayama Holiday 4-Day Tour of Mt. Fuji, World Heritage Shirakawago, and Kanazawa
Takayama, World Heritage Shirakawa-go, and Kanazawa 3-Day Tour from Kyoto
Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa 3-Day World Heritage Tour from Takayama
By Ryoko KAMADA/JTB Sunrise Tours Staff