Japan’s cherry blossom season just got 'extended'
Tailor-made travel specialist Audley Travel re-introduces a blossom ‘capital’ of Japan, Tohoku
The cherry blossom window of opportunity for visitors to Japan has just expanded following the re-introduction of Tohoku to Audley Travel’s portfolio of destinations, available to book now for 2024 and beyond.
Located in the rugged, rural most northern region of the mainland, the iconic flowers bloom into April, later than the Golden Route season of the middle to end of March.
Dramatic landscapes and mountainous terrain make Tohoku’s major gateways must-visit destinations. Sendai, the region’s largest city and site of the Osaki Hachimangu Shinto shrine, is neighboured by beautiful Matsushima, the city’s island-dotted bay considered one of Japan’s most scenic spots to watch the sunrise.
A short journey north takes clients to Kakunodate, the scenic backbone of the country and a town known for its samurai history. Here, clients have the rare opportunity to spend the night in a luxuriously converted and restored former samurai residence, many of which are maintained as homes or museums.
Circling back to the iconic flora and fauna of Japan, Hirosaki is home to Hirosaki Castle park, one of the most visually stunning cherry blossom spots in the whole country. Each of these locations are well connected by train and air travel, allowing for a more efficient trip in terms of time and the opportunity to fit more in.
David Peat, Senior Product Executive at Audley Travel said, “Visitors to Japan often believe that the chance to see the iconic cherry blossom is limited but by heading north to Tohoku, where it blooms later in the year, this period is expanded and therefore so are the opportunities to explore more.
“It is this type of destination knowledge that helps clients of Audley make the most of the time they have on their trip, and in Japan that means the ability to not only see the major sights of Tokyo, but also tour the rural, mountainous north and all of the unique, culturally-rich experiences it offers.”
For an authentic and luxurious experience in Japanese cuisine, Audley’s specialists recommend a visit to the city of Yuzawa in Akita, where the need to preserve food during the snowy winter has led to a diverse fermented food culture. The traditional setting of The Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery hosts a unique full pairing menu, with all items crafted using their patented fermentation techniques. Visitors can learn through tasting sensory experiences and workshops about the brewing techniques for miso and soy sauce, as well as having the chance to take a stroll down the beautiful, historic Masuda preserved street front.
Audley Travel’s experts recommend travelling to the Tohoku bases of Sendai/Matsushima, Kakunodate and Hirosaki between April and November, with the late summer months of August/September offering a cooler climate than other areas, and the chance to visit some spectacular summer festivals such as Aomori Nebuta. Whilst the cherry blossom can be enjoyed into April, October is the month where the vivid colours of Autumn come to life meaning Tohoku truly is a year-round destination.
A 14-day tailor-made trip to Japan, including some time in Tohoku and the ‘fermented foodie day’, staying in a converted traditional storehouse property in Kakunodate, as well as Kyoto, Kanazawa and Tokyo costs from £9,300 per person (based on two sharing) and includes flights, transfers, accommodation and excursions. 01993 838210 / www.audleytravel.com/japan.