Every spring, Japan blooms. Slopes of mountains, edges of temples and even city parks are covered in an ebullient canopy of sakura, or cherry blossoms. Red, white and shades of pink, the annual arrival of these delicate petals is a time for nation-wide celebration. It’s a beautiful sight which has inspired travelers for generations. There are numerous places to catch the action, but you don’t have to go any further than Ueno Park in Tokyo where thousands of cherry trees bloom into a riot of color every April. TUI China has a nine day package for ¥12,000 which puts you in Tokyo and throws in a day trip to Mt. Fuji. Buy picnic supplies and throw your own hanami (blossom viewing) party) right in the heart of the city.
TUI China Travel, Tel: 8519-8937
The Dai Water Splashing Festival occurs every year between April 13-15. One of China’s most unique traditional festivals sees participants soaking each other with buckets of cold stuff. The traditional epicenter of the action is the Dai prefecture in Xishuangbanna in the southern part of the province. Variarts Travel has a six day Xishuangbanna package for ¥7,600 (does not include airfare).
Variarts Travel Tel: 8532-4808
After two years of waiting, the Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park Hotel recently opened for business. Spread over 30 floors in the iconic Cloud 9 Plaza, it is the highest Renaissance property in the world. The rooms enjoy stunning views over Puxi and easy access to Zhongshan Park. Through the end of February, get a Deluxe Room for ¥980 (excluding tax).
Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park Hotel, Tel: (21) 6115-8888
The China Culture Center trundles off in search of the soul of kung fu and ancient China. First stop on this three day trip are the Longmen Grottos and White Horse Temple in Luoyang. The next day you’ll visit famed Shaolin Temple and watch martial arts masters perform amazing feats of strength and agility. ¥2,900 (with booking before March 6), leaves March 20.
China Culture Center Tel: 6432-9341