In April 2017 I made one of my dreams come true: travel to Japan during the hanami to see them cherry blossoms. It was a trip that was divided into two parts. I visited the first Osaka and Kyoto for eight days with a friend and then we made a route through the area Honshû center with Xavier. In this article we bring you all the practical info of our trip to Japan during the hanami.
Itinerary 18-day trip to Japan in April
Day 1: Arrival at Kansai airport (night in Osaka)
Day 2: A day in Osaka during cherry blossom (night in Osaka)
Day 3: Miyako Odori and visit Shimogamo Jinja (night in Kyoto)
Day 4: Rent a kimono in Kyoto and visit the neighborhoods of Gion and Higashiyama (night in Kyoto)
Day 5: Walk of the philosopher, Ginkaku-ji and excursion to Kifune and Kurama (night in Kyoto)
Day 6: Heian-Jingu, Keage Incline and Nishiki Market (night in Kyoto)
Day 7: Bamboo forest of Arashiyama, Kinkaku-ji and Kitano Tenmangu (night in Kyoto)
Day 8: Yoshinoyama excursion (night in Kyoto)
Day 9: Hikone Castle Tour (night in Kanazawa)
Day 10: Visit to Kanazawa: Ninjadera, Nishi Chaya, Nagamachi and Higashi Chaya(night in Kanazawa)
Day 11: Two days in Kanawaza: Kanazawa Castle, Kenroku-en and the Kaga-Honda Museum (night in Kanazawa)
Day 12: Tempo Zenko-ji of Nagano and Shibu Onsen (night in Shibu Onsen)
Day 13: Jigokudani or Snow Monkey Park (night at Shibu Onsen)
Day 14: The Hokusai museum in Obuse and the Sanada residence (night in Nagano)
Day 15: Ueda Castle and the fortress of Aratojo (night in Matsumoto)
Day 16: Matsumoto Castle and the Ukiyo-e Museum (night in Matsumoto)
Day 17: Tokyo Edo Museum and walk through Akihabara (back home)
Day 18: Return to Barcelona
The cheapest way to go from the Kansai airport to the center of Osaka it is with him Nankai line train. When you leave the airport on the second floor, on the left you will find the ticket offices (you can pay by credit card) and on the right is the station. The fast train (Nankai Airport Exp. For NAMBA) takes 46 minutes to reach Namba (last station) and costs 920 yen.
If you have the Japan Rail Pass, you can activate it at the ticket offices of the JR and take the train LTD. EXP HARUKA to Tennoji station and there take the Osaka Loop Line to your accommodation.
In all areas of interest in the city there are points to connect free to the urban wifi. You have to connect to Osaka Free Wi-Fi, and after registering you will have a free hour. In fact, you can connect during the day without problems, as long as you do not exceed the time. Unlike other cities, the Osaka Free Wi-Fi It worked quite well. Although the official website is only in Japanese, the Osaka Free Wi-Fi menu is also available in English. If you want to always have WIFI available it is best to rent a pocket wifi before traveling. In Japan Experience They have them from € 40 for five days.
He Osaka Free Guide It is a volunteer service that offers free guided tours of Osaka. It is necessary to book in advance and if you visit the city on the weekend you are more likely to find guides available. On this trip we visited Osaka on a business day and for that date there were no guides available. You can contact them at through your website.
We chose a hostel that was cheap and be the most central possible: in Namba. We booked at Hostel Wasabi Bed and Library cabin in female dormitory room. The best thing about this hostel is the situation, although the spaces between the beds were narrow and it was difficult to open the suitcases. However, the bathroom area is very good and, if you are fond of sleeve, in the common areas there are shelves full of Japanese comics to read. The night came out for 3800 yen per person.
To buy the subway ticket you first have to look at which station to which station we want to go. Depending on the number of stops on the way you have to pay more or less. The simplest ticket in Osaka costs 180 yen. At the top of the vending machines there is a map where the price is indicated according to the season where you want to get off.
First you have to look at the price that puts at the stop you want to go (180, 210, 230 yen ...).
On the machine, which has menu in English, first you select «ticket» and then the «180, 210, 230…» fare. Then you have to enter the money, either in coins or bills, and collect the ticket and exchange (if applicable). The ticket must be introduced in the barrier to pass and pick it up again (be careful not to lose it!). When you get off at the destination station you have to enter the ticket at the exit machine. If the fare was correct, the machine will swallow the ticket and let you pass. If not, you will have to go to the box office to pay the difference in the rate.
You have to press the «Ticket» button on the screen.
Then, select the price of the ticket you want to buy.
You can pay the ticket with coins or bills.
Here you will get the subway ticket and change.
What to do a day in Osaka
To know what to do, what to visit and what to eat in Osaka In one day do not miss the post: A day in Osaka during cherry blossom (hanami)
TOOLS TO ORGANIZE YOUR TRIP✪ Hotels in Osaka✪ Guided tours and excursions in Osaka✪ Japan Rail Pass and Kansai Area Pass✪ Pocket wifi rental
Since Namba, the cheapest way to go to Kyoto is in subway to the station Umeda (Midosuji line, 230 ¥) and then take the train at Osaka station to Kyoto (JR Special Rapid Service for TSURUGA, 560 ¥). You can check the train schedules on the web Hyperdia.
The fastest way is with the JR Limited Express Haruka train. The train connects Kansai airport with the Kyoto train station in 80 minutes and costs 3370 yen. If you have the Japan Rail Pass, it is included. If you do not have Japan Rail Pass an option to travel a little cheaper is buying the Kansai Area Pass of a day that costs 2000 yen and covers the route.
Another option is the bus. He Osaka Airport Limusine It costs 2550 yen and takes about 90 minutes to Kyoto station.
We stay at The Prime Pod a capsule hotel which opened in February 2017 and is very well located: near the Sanjo and Teramachi street. We took advantage of the launch offer and the bed cost us € 25 a night on the female floor. The hostel is great and the capsule is quite wide and does not give claustrophobia. The cabin is equipped with a small safe and television with wireless headphones. The bathrooms are very good, with shampoo, gel and Shiseido conditioner. The negative note is that the area where you store your bags is very small and that the employees did not want to send us the suitcase to the airport. Thing that in other hotels we never had a problem.
In Kyoto we pass six nights to be able to experience the hanami to the fullest If you want to know what to do in Kyoto for six days, don't miss the following articles:
- Kyoto in April: Miyako Odori and visit Shimogamo Jinja
- Japan in April: rent a kimono in Kyoto
- Five places to see the hanami or cherry blossoms in Kyoto
- Excursions from Kyoto: Kifune and Kurama
- Excursions from Kyoto: Yoshino Yama
In this case we moved mainly walking, although we take some journey from subway and bus. If you want to have information on how to move in bus by Kyoto and how it works, you can find it in the 20-day Japan travel guide We published a few years ago.
TOOLS TO ORGANIZE YOUR TRIP✪ Hotels in Kyoto✪ Guided tours and excursions in Kyoto✪ Japan Rail Pass and Kansai Area Pass✪ Pocket wifi rental
Yoshinoyama tour from Kyoto
If there is a place to pilgrimage in the time of hanami this is Yoshinoyama. This mountain is the mecca of the cherry blossom since centuries. On its slopes and around there are planted more than thirty thousand cherry trees, divided into four zones.
Shimo Senbon, at the base of the mountain; Naka Senbon, middle zone, Kami Senbon, upper zone and Oku Senbon at the top of the mountain. Each of these areas has 1000 cherry trees planted.