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Japan in 2nd and 3rd week of April? 2019/9/19 08:42
My family and I are considering a first-time, 2-week trio to Japan. We can only go in April of 2020, for schedule reasons, but wefve heard that at the wrong time in April, everything is horribly expensive and crowded. I know we need to avoid Golden Week and a few days before it (it will start officially on the 29th). And I know the first two weeks of April are cherry blossom season.

So if we go from maybe the 11th to the 25th, starting in the smaller towns and countryside to avoid cherry blossom crowds until the 16th or so, and only then going to Tokyo and Osaka, leaving 4 days before Golden Week starts, will this be a good way to avoid all the craziness and high prices?

Or is the entire month of April expensive and crowded all over the country? Any tips will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
by Greenholly (guest)  

Re: Japan in 2nd and 3rd week of April? 2019/9/19 15:37
Cherry blossoms vary every y at but mid/late April are normally finish led in Kyoto and Tokyo.

That said, depending on the hotel it doesnft need to be more expensive. I was in Japan on business trip from 30/Mar to end May this year and stayed in business hotels which just had their normal rate. My advice: book early. (But Not too early as many hotels only start accepting reservations 6 months before checkin)

Cherry blossom season can be crazy crowded in the most famous spots (and on weekends) but it is also a very nice season and there are less crowded but still very nice spots. So deliberately missing cherry blossom would be a shame.

I had actually 4 weekends of Hanami in Kansai this year. The best of all probably here: http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2019/04/miho-museum-perfect-day...

Enjoy planning your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in 2nd and 3rd week of April? 2019/9/19 16:35
Last week of March and first week of April are the busy weeks.
by Hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in 2nd and 3rd week of April? 2019/9/19 19:15
Yes, mid to late April is my favorite time. There is still some sakura about especially in the higher areas but the busiest time is over. It is still cool - it can get pretty warm even in May.

Personally I would still look to lower key places. Our trip in May this year was just awesome and I'd do it again (mainly because I was being annoyed by work commitments and didnt really get to relax). We pretty much spent all of it in touristy countryside areas save for a couple of days at Hakone at the end.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in 2nd and 3rd week of April? 2019/9/20 02:41
You've been fed a bunch of half-truths.

Not all hotels jack up their prices during that time. It may seem that way if all the cheaper places fill up and you have to stay at a more expensive place. But on a previous trip I went to Kyoto during the peak cherry blossom season and didn't have to pay through the nose at all - I stayed at a hotel in Otsu in neighboring Shiga Prefecture. Just 10 minutes by train to Kyoto Station and virtually unknown to all the tourist mobs. You just have to plan ahead and outsmart the crowds.

Actually, the second half of April is one of the most beautiful times to be in Japan, and if I had total freedom in choosing, that is when I would love to go. If you want to see the cherry blossoms, you still can if you go up north to the Tohoku area or Hokkaido. And the rest of the country has many more flowers that are no less beautiful - the azaleas, tulips, peonies, irises, nemophila, shibazakura, wisteria, and with things warming up earlier now, even some water lilies and roses.

Nor do you really have to avoid Golden Week - this old thing is something else trotted out by those who don't know better. It is a very big holiday period, and airfares can get horrid - but if you plan around it, you can get by without a nightmare. There is a huge exodus from people in the big cities at the start, and their return at the end. If you avoid getting caught in the tidal wave, and don't go to the popular resort areas which get jammed, you can do pretty well. In fact, being in the big city in the middle of Golden Week can be even less crowded than normal at many places. Again, don't do what everyone else is doing.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in 2nd and 3rd week of April? 2019/9/20 20:24
As Ken has stated - this is a fine time to visit. If you want to see cherry blossoms - just go to the hills for one day as elevation plays a significant role in when the flowers bloom.

I'm also a big fan of Tohoku which could be in peak sakura season then but does not suffer from the mind numbing crowds of Tokyo or Kyoto. I have not visited Kyoto since 2014 but will visit once again in December for the last time.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in 2nd and 3rd week of April? 2019/9/21 08:06
I second the "fed a bunch of half-truths" line. April and cherry blossom time is actually no more busy than other times of the year. It seems busy if you go to popular viewing sites because other people are going for the same thing. It's an event.
The whole year is now busy compared to even a few years ago with increased inbound tourism. Hotels do not jack-up prices because of the season, but based on demand - when they get down to a few rooms left, they might have very expensive rates - depends on the hotel. Some hotels do have peak pricing, but their normal rates (full price) can be very high. And cherry blossom season (even in places like Tokyo/Kyoto) extends for weeks, so if you wanted to see some blossom, it is very easy to do.
As for where to go, sure the country side and smaller locations are less crowded, but they are also more challenging for some tourists. The big cities are easier, but might not be what you are after.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in 2nd and 3rd week of April? 2019/9/23 12:30
I went to Kyushu or rather Fukuoka to be exact on the first week of April this year. Hotel price seems normal to me, I only booked the hotels around 2 months before the trip.

As for the crowds, I agree with the above reply, the crowds are only abnormal in those famous places such as sakura viewing spots. Tokyo or Kyoto is always busy throughout the year.
In Fukuoka, I find that even at the Hanami event in Ohori Park, the crowd is less compared to the Yoyogi Park in a typical weekend in Tokyo. One place I found super crowded there is the special Sakura illumination at the Fukuoka Castle Ruin which requires a ticket. As mentioned above, it's a special event hence the crowd.

However, to be fair, I'm someone who doesn't really mind the crowds. I went to Kyoto in the peak autumn season and i don't find it to be uncomfortable. So Fukuoka is a very relaxed place for me. Your mileage may vary.
by jonralf rate this post as useful

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