For our travels in Japan we opted to do the Japan Railpass. This 14 day pass gave us complete freedom to explore the country as we pleased. We paid one price for the pass (prices dependent upon the number of days you are looking to travel) and were given access to train routes all over the country as well as smaller trains and metro systems within each city.
If you are looking to travel throughout the country, it is well worth the money as one ride on the Shinkansen (the Japanese bullet train- it’s SO FAST!) can be a few hundred USD. It allowed us to explore nine cities within our 20 days for a very affordable price. Using the Shinkasen cut down travel time by almost half and seats are incredibly comfortable. Japanese trains are always exactly on time as well, which made rail travel something to look forward to rather than a headache.
You may think that this post is just about the Japan Railpass, but I promise it gets better…
One of our favorite cities along the way was Kanazawa. It’s a fairly bustling city west of Tokyo whose most prominent attractions are the Kenroku-en Gardens and Kanazawa Castle. The city itself was great, we had some of the best sushi we have ever eaten and thoroughly enjoyed running or walking around the city at anytime of day.
But what really set this city apart from the rest was our timing for the Cherry Blossoms.
Cities prior, we had been a few days too early or too late to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, but upon arrival to our Kanazawa hostel, we were delighted to hear that there would be evening light festivals in Kenroku-en garden in honor of the full blooms.
It was a truly magical sight.
But the evening show was just a warm up for what we’d experience the next day.
We decided to run to the garden for round two of our cherry blossom experience the next morning and found the garden even more magnificent than the evening before.
We now had a clear understanding for why Japan is obsessed with cherry blossoms.
After our time in the garden, we hopped across the street to the Kanazawa castle for more blossoms and Japanese gardens.
It was the only city that we hit with perfect timing for the cherry blossoms, but it made up for missing the rest.