Take a day off from train schedules and see Japan as it can only be seen in spring: covered in flowers and filled with fresh fruit waiting to be picked! We’ve looked up some of the best (and most affordable) spring bus tours from Tokyo so that you can enjoy a relaxing day out without doing all the research that goes with it.
Spring makes its mark in Japan with flowers—like cherry blossom or weeping wisteria—and since nature needs space, the best parks are usually quite a trek from Tokyo. While most can be reached by public transport, if you haven’t got a car it can be time-consuming and expensive trying to reach them. Luckily, there are guided bus tours to take you from the streets of Tokyo to blue-covered fields with some bonus treats on the way. The buses leave from central locations, often in Shinjuku and at around 7:30am, giving you a full day out.
1. Cherry blossoms, snow (!) and strawberries
Shizuoka | ¥11,000 | Lunch not included
One of the earlier options, this tour allows you to enjoy the very beginning of spring, with some snow on the side. The first stop is the Matsuda Cherry Blossom Festival, where early-blooming varieties mean you can start the season properly. Next, you can try sledding and battle it out in a snowball fight at Snowtown Yeti, a ski resort on the slopes of Mt. Fuji. To re-energise, you get an all-you-can-eat slot at a local strawberry farm before a chance to try out the Mishima Skywalk—the longest pedestrain-only suspension bridge in Japan. The bridge offers views of Mt. Fuji, Suruga Bay and the Izu Mountains.
The tour includes entry fees for the strawberry picking, but not for sledding, or the Mishima Skywalk (which costs ¥1,000 for adults). You will need to bring appropriate clothing for the snow experience. If cherry blossom has not yet bloomed, you may visit a plum blossom festival.
2. Spring flowers, strawberries and shopping
Tochigi | ¥12,000 | Lunch included
This bus tour begins with strawberry picking in Tochigi, and moves on to the scenic Takatsudokyo Gorge where you can see hundreds of blooming azaleas in spring, and then lunch at Mizunuma Onsen Station. After lunch, you can go on a train ride through the Watarase Valley. This is followed by the amazing flowers and views from Ashikaga Flower Park, and wraps up with a quick shop stop at the Edo-inspired Hanyu Service Area.
The tour covers all experiences including strawberry picking, and lunch is included.
3. Ashikaga and Hitachi flower parks with yakiniku lunch
Tochigi | ¥11,880 | Lunch included
Hitting two of the best flower parks in one day, this tour is a great one, as long as you don’t mind long stints in your bus seat.
Leaving Tokyo rather early in the morning, you’ll be taken all the way to Tochigi Prefecture to admire the famous wisteria of Ashikaga Flower Park. This garden, 111 miles away, has six species of wisteria and some of the oldest and largest in all of Japan. Grown onto canopies and tunnels, they have a variety of colors, although the ancient purple trees are the most famous.
Hitachi Seaside Park is a surreal sight in spring, with 4.5 million baby blue eyes (nemophila) carpeting the hills and blending with the blue skies. Located near the Pacific Ocean, the park incorporates sand dunes, forests and grasslands as well as their annual rotation of flowers.
The parks both have food stands and flower-themed treats like ice creams and drinks.More information and booking.
4. Fuji Shibazakura Festival and the Heavenly Tulip Festival
Yamanashi | ¥9,685 | Lunch included
On this flowery Fuji day trip you’ll visit the gorgeous Shibazakura Festival that takes place each year in front of Mt. Fuji. With over 800,000 shibazakura blooming in a variety of colors, you’ll be treated to some amazing views. The tour includes a trip to the nearby Tulip Festival in Grinpa, featuring over 210,000 tulips in more than 150 varieties. There’s also a buffet lunch and some shopping time built in.
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The tour includes entry tickets for both flower parks. The prices vary slightly depending on which day you select.
5. Mount Fuji cherry blossoms and strawberry picking
Yamanashi | ¥10,800 | Lunch included
Killing two birds with one stone, this tour allows you to see Mt. Fuji framed with cherry blossom—possibly the most Japanese sight in existence! Taking you from Tokyo to spots near Fuji-san, you will visit Jinroku Sakura Park, where you can see 600 cherry trees, old trains and stunning views of Fuji.
Next, you’ll see traditional hina dolls at the Kanzo Yashiki folk houses before heading to Enzan for a lunch of sakura pork and crab hotpot—the local specialty. Erin-ji Temple, Kawaguchiko Lake and Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine may be on the itinerary, depending on the blossom schedule. Once you’ve walked off lunch, you can enjoy strawberries in an all-you-can-eat session. Last but definitely not least, Arakurayama Park offers a view of Fuji-san with the famous chureito pagoda AND cherry blossom—you might just pass out with the Japan-ness of it all.
The tour includes all entry fees and the strawberry-picking experience, as well as lunch. Note: there is no vegetarian option available for this tour.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Prices are approximate. Itineraries may be adjusted in line with COVID-19 preventative measures. Post first published in March, 2018. Last updated March, 2020.