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> 30 day trip to japan - help!
jade_damien
post Jun 23 2010, 04:00 AM
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My boyfriend and i are planning on a month trip to japan in feb (maybe end of jan to start of march). I have a few ideas on what we should see while there but there is so much to see. We would love to see most of Japan from one end to the other.

Depending on what is cheaper we will either fly to tokyo or osaka. Thought about starting in Hokkaido region first to experience the sapporo snow festival.

*Any suggestions on what to do in Hokkaido for about 3-4days?

Then from there to the Tohoku region, Mainly want to explore Aizu and Kakunodate for the samurai history and then maybe to Yamagata. Might stay there for 3-4 days.

*Any suggestions on where else we should go in Tohoku?

Not sure whether to go from there to Okinawa first as we want to finsih in Tokyo and thought about travelling upwards.

*Good or bad idea?

Okinawa we only want to spend a day or two there, not too sure what to do there.

*Suggestions?

If from Okinawa to Tokyo:

Kyushu would be next. havent quite planned anything here yet but would like to go to Fukuoka, Miyazaki, Nagasaki and Oita.

*How many days should we stay in this region? What are the main attractions or places we SHOULD see?

Then Shikoku. Maybe Naruto and Uchiko? Not sure where else we should go.

or to Chugoku first? to okayama, Hiroshima and Hagi.

*What is easier on the train system?

I guess from there to Kansai? Kinki? region. Mainly there we want to go to Kyoto, Himeji, Osaka and Iga Veno (?)

*Osaka we would like to stay for a week? But are the other places to far to travel for day trips?

Then lastly to Kanto region. Apart from Tokyo where else is a must go?

- Our interests are: obviously japanese culture. But samurai's, ninjas, anime, manga etc.

There is sooooooo much we would love to experience but not sure how to put it into a itinerary.

Any help would be very appreciated smile.gif

Thank you


-Jade
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mitsukishiroi
post Jun 25 2010, 09:36 AM
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1) It's quite cold in Hokkaido during febuary so make sure you dress warmly!

As for things to see in 3-4 days... Hokkaido is quite a big island, so if you stay in Sapporo and/or Hakodate, you might miss out on a few things.

When visiting Sapporo, I'd reccommend:
- Historic Village (open air museum about the history of Hokkaido)
- Shiroi Koibito Park (chocolate factory with a shop and museum, I thought it was lovely!)
- Mt. Moiwa to check out the few at night!
- Susukino (entertainment district)
- Nijo Market (Hokkaido's Tsukiji market!)

As for daytrips, if you're interested in visiting a hotspring, Noboribetsu makes for a good daytrip. It's only an hour away from Sapporo and it's Hokkaido's most famous hotspring resort. While visiting the hotsprings you can also check out Jigokudani, which is a valley displaying all vulcanic activities out there.

Hakodate to the south may be less interesting than Sapporo, but it's also a nice town to see. Especially the night view from Mt. Hakodate! Visiting the morning market and motomachi might be nice too!

2) Tohoku

I thought Kakunodate was more interesting during the cherry blossom time. Otherwise there's a nice samurai district and merchant district worth visiting. Kakunodate castle is quite hilarious too, as there's nothing left of the castle! The view (again!) is quite nice though.

Aizu is great! Make sure to visit Tsuruga Castle and the Fukushima Museum! Ouchijuku is also a nice trip from Aizu-- it used to be a former post town along a trade route. It's very authentic and rustic, so I quite enjoyed it. Make sure you eat some soba and char fish there. It's the best!

Also, while I think Yamagata is quite nice, I thought it was lovely to go to Sendai and visit Matsushima as well. Sendai is your usual big town with some nice sights, temples and mausoleums, but Matsushima is really unique and you should really see it. I can reccommend it to everyone.

3) Okinawa

Depending on where you'd like to end your journey, flying to Naha City is possible from Haneda Airport in Tokyo. A one way from Tokyo to Naha would be 37.000 yen, so it's quite costly, unless you have a Japan Air Pass, then you can do the trip for as little as 10.000yen.

I personally love the Yaeyama Islands, so I would recommend going there. You can reach the Yaeyama Islands from Naha City by air only, the ferry was discontinued in 2008. If you would just like to stay on the Okinawa Main Island (Okinawa Honto) check out the War Memorials and the Ocean Expo.

Other places to visit are the Shuri Castle, which is a replica of an old Ryukyu castle, Nakagusuku castle (also from the Ryukyu, though it's just it's remains). Kokusaidori is also very interesting to visit smile.gif

4) Kyushu

To get to Kyushu from Okinawa, there's basically two ways:

- to Fukuoka by air
- to Kagoshima by ferry (departs once every day)

In Kyushu I'd reccommend going from Kagoshima to Yakushima for a day, then back to Kagoshima. From Kagoshima go to Kumamoto. Stay there for a night, go to Nagasaki for a day, then to Fukuoka and visit Dazaifu as a sidetrip.

I'll look into the rest of your trip when I get back from work smile.gif

Though, a cautionary word of advice-- your trip will be quite costly and also very tiring. I'd recommend 3 months for a journey to see every aspect of Japan while taking your time, so to put this all into 5 - 6 weeks is too much. I'd cut away Shikoku for another time. Don't underestimate how much you'd want to see in places like Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka etc!
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mitsukishiroi
post Jun 26 2010, 06:10 AM
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Okay here's the itinerary I've made up for you guys smile.gif It's better time-wise, even though it's still high-speed traveling.

Day 1) Sapporo
Day 2) Sapporo
Day 3) Hakodate
Day 4) Kakunodate, Sendai & Matsushima
Day 5) Aizu - go to Tokyo and fly to Naha City
Day 6) Naha
Day 7) Naha
Day 8) Kagoshima (stay for a day, check out Sakurajima etc)
Day 9) Kumamoto
Day 10) Nagasaki
Day 11) Fukuoka
Day 12) Hiroshima
Day 13) Hiroshima & Miyajima
Day 14) Hiroshima - Kurashiki - Okayama - Kyoto
Day 15) Kyoto
Day 16) Kyoto
Day 17) Kyoto
Day 18) Nara
Day 19) Kobe
Day 20) Iga Ueno & Hikone
Day 21) Osaka
Day 22) Osaka
Day 23) Osaka
Day 24) Osaka
Day 25) Osaka
Day 26) Mt. Koya
Day 27) Osaka - Tokyo
Day 28) Tokyo
Day 29) Tokyo
Day 30) Tokyo
Day 31) Tokyo
Day 32) Tokyo
Day 33) Kamakura
Day 34) Nikko
Day 35) Tokyo

Explanation:

1) Hokkaido is where you want to start. I reccommend a full two days in Sapporo, especially if you'd like to see the snow festival. From there on, take the train to Hakodate, stay there for the day, then continue on the train to Kakunodate.

2) Tohoku: Kakunodate for half a day, then take the train to Sendai and Matsushima. Stay in Sendai for the night and leave for Aizu in the morning. Take half a day for Aizu, go by train to Tokyo and take the flight to Naha City there.

3) Okinawa: Stay in Naha for two nights, three days. Afterwards, take the flight or high-speed boat to Kagoshima, stay there for a night to check out Sakurajima and the port town.

4) Kyushu: From Kagoshima to Kumamoto by train. Stay there for the entire day, check out the town and the castle. From Kumamoto move on to Nagasaki and stay there for two days. Nagasaki to Fukuoka. Stay there, check out Dazaifu in the vicinity and take the train to Hiroshima.

5) Chugoku: Stay in Hiroshima for one full day. The next day, go to Miyajima and take your time in Itsukushima Shrine and the mountain. During day 14, take the morning train to Kurashiki, when you're done there, go to Okayama for the garden and then to Kyoto. I know that you'd like to visit Shikoku as well, but it's not feasible with only one month time. Sorry! Also, Himeji was on your list, but the castle is under construction until 2014 and completely covered in scaffolding!

6) Kansai: Spend at least 3 full days in Kyoto to see as much of the city as you can. Visit the Nijo castle, the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Ginkakuji, take a stroll over the Philosopher's Path etc. Take a day trip to Nara to see the ancient capital. Take another day trip to see the port city of Kobe and one more to check out Iga Ueno and it's Ninja Museum and then to Hikone, the castle near Lake Biwa.

After that, spend 5 days in Osaka and spend another day as a daytrip to Mt. Koya (though spending the night there is highly reccommended!!) From Osaka, take the train to Tokyo.

7) Kanto: Spend at least 6 days in Tokyo, visiting Shibuya, Shinjuku, Odaiba, Ginza, Akihabara, Harajuku and some other sights. As daytrips, you can go to Kamakura, Nikko, Yokohama, Kawagoe or Hakone.

I'm not quite sure how long you're going, but as for feasibility and train times, this seems to be one of the best options. Buy a 21day railpass before you go and activate it the day you come to Kagoshima-- it'll save you a lot.

Just remember that in order to really enjoy a country, it's best to take things a bit slower and go there another time to see the rest. Japan is a pretty big country and there's so much to be seen that it cannot be done in a month's time!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask smile.gif
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xerius
post Jun 29 2010, 06:20 PM
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Jade, is this a first-time visit for you and your boyfriend? I think it's a little overly ambitious, especially in winter when storms can cripple the rail system in Hokkaido and Tohoku. And, mitsukishiroi, that itinerary is nuts! Kakunodate, Sendai and Matsushima in one day? Same goes for Aizu/Tokyo/Naha and Hiroshima/Kurashiki/Okayama/Kyoto. Absolutely exhausting, no time to enjoy things and wholly dependent upon perfectly timed switches to transportation (that's not backlogged by a blizzard). Iga Ueno together with Hikone is a stretch too, as the former is a pain to get to by public transportation, and the latter is much better combined with nearby Nagahama.

If you ask me, you should really cut back a bit, Jade. You don't have to see everything in one month, and in any case February is not exactly an ideal time to do it either. If you're keen on snow, focus on the north down through maybe Kyoto. The Snow Festival will keep you busy for a couple days, then Otaru and Hakodate are each worth at least a day (though Hakodate really deserves two). In Tohoku, you should give Kakunodate a full day - in any case, if you're coming from Hakodate, it's going to take half a day by train just to get there. Another option would be to stop off in Hirosaki en route, which has an original castle, a lot of historic architecture and a charming temple district. After Kakunodate, rather than heading around to eastern Tohoku, you may want to jump down the line to little Yokote and its Kamakura Festival, which takes place in mid-February (Google it for details).

In Yamagata-ken (just down from Yokote), Yamadera is a great temple complex sprawling up the side of the mountain. Not sure how nice (or easy to hike up) it would be in February, but it'd be en route between Northern Tohoku and Aizu in the south. And I do recommend Sendai and Matsushima, as the former is a really pleasant city with good amenities and dining, and Matsushima is very picturesque and unique. As for Aizu-Wakamatsu itself, if you're going to see anything, you'll need a day, as it's a really spread-out place and the sights are not all in one area. Ouchi-juku, which mitsukishiroi recommended, looks like a beautiful spot, but it's several stops out of town by local train, after which you'll have to take a taxi. I missed it when I was there because of a lack of time and money.

Tokyo demands a good three to four days to even start to explore. But Kanto itself deserves a little more exploration as well. Kamakura and Nikko really should get a day each - you can't really do them in less. Hakone is a popular spot for relaxing, visiting an onsen and seeing Fuji (which should be quite visible mid-winter). And while I wouldn't consider it a "must-see", Yokohama is worth a day of exploration, plus a nice lunch or dinner spread in Chinatown.

All that could easily eat up the better part of three weeks. After that you could spend the rest of your time in Kansai. I'd say you need at least three days in Kyoto if you want to get an idea of the place, as there's absolutely loads to see and the bus system can be tedious. Nara really shouldn't be missed; you can daytrip it from Kyoto, but you'll only really be able to see the sights of Nara Park if you do that. Osaka is a great city with cheap, tasty food and busy nightlife, but I think its sightseeing is a little second-rate. The best sights of the lot are Osaka Castle (a modern reconstruction), the Kaiyukan aquarium and the Umeda Sky Building (wild architecture and fantastic views over the city). And really, Kyoto makes for a more comfortable and enjoyable base than Osaka. I'd skip Kobe - it's a lovely city, but there really isn't much to recommend it to a foreign first-time visitor on a busy itinerary. And Himeji has the country's finest intact, original castle, but it's unfortunately covered in scaffolding until 2014. They've just started a massive restoration project, and the main keep will be covered up for the whole thing. You can still get into the castle and see the inside (far less interesting than the outside), but if I were you, I'd get my Japanese castle fix elsewhere. Hikone-jo is a lot smaller, but it's very nice. Or if you somehow manage to cram in Chugoku, Shikoku and/or Kyushu, Matsue-jo, Matsuyama-jo and Kumamoto-jo are great examples (although Kumamoto's is a reconstruction).

I'll address your other questions, although I really don't think you can hit all the main islands in a month and actually see (or enjoy) much. The main island of Okinawa is pretty and fairly engaging, although much of the south is ugly and overdeveloped. Shuri-jo is a must-see, as they've done an impeccable job at reconstructing it and it's a beautiful site. Other than that, the central market, Kokusai-dori and the pottery district are the main attractions of homely Naha. Most of the other attractions are further north, particularly on or around Motobu Peninsula. The one notable exception, besides the Nakagusuku ruins, is the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, which gives a very thorough overview of the brutal Battle of Okinawa at the end of WWII. I'd say give the island three days (including flights) minimum if you want to do it justice. The other option, which mitsukishiroi mentioned, is the Yaeyama-shoto. I haven't been there yet, but they sound far more interesting and picturesque; friends of mine that have been loved it there. Ishigaki, Iriomote and Taketomi are the standard itinerary there, and I would budget at least a full day for each (plus a buffer day or two for flights) if you're going to go all the way there.

Kyushu is great and deserves a lot of exploration. It's not exactly a good place to zoom through. The main question I have is: why Oita and Miyazaki? Oita is mainly of note for hot springs (Yufuin and Beppu), which maybe is your point in mid-winter. Miyazaki is a beach destination, apart from Takechiho and Kirishima-Yaku, which is split with Kagoshima-ken. I would rather recommend Nagasaki (give it two days), Kumamoto (one day), Aso-san (one or two days, but probably one in winter), Kagoshima (one or two days), Fukuoka (one day) and Dazaifu (one day, visited from Fukuoka).

Chugoku is a really nice region, although there's a marked difference between the Sea of Japan side (San-in) and the Inland Sea area (San-yo). The San-in gets pounded with snow in winter, which will probably affect trains considerably, since they tend to run along the coast. Hiroshima and Miyajima will take up two days together. Okayama and Kurashiki you could *maybe* do in one day, but it's better to split them across two and maybe toss in nearby Takahashi on the second day. I personally like the back side of Chugoku better. Matsue, Izumo-taisha and the Adachi Art Museum are easy to combine in a couple days. Tsuwano further west is beautiful and charmingly historic, and it makes a good stop between the former group and Hagi. Hagi itself is pretty spread-out for a smallish city, so while you can do it in a day, you'll be plenty busy. It's also kind of out of the way compared to other destinations in Chugoku, so getting to and from it is a bit of a hassle.

Shikoku needs at least a few days devoted to it. If you want a good taster, I'd recommend Ehime-ken (rather than Naruto, which is alright, but not worth a trip out of the way). Basing yourself in Matsuyama, you can see the sights of the city in a day, chill in the hot springs of Dogo by night, then have Uchiko, Ozu and Uwajima nearby as possible daytrips (you could combine Uchiko and Ozu into one day, but all three would be too much). In my opinion, the most interesting part of Shikoku is the Iya Valley, in Tokushima-ken, but I don't know how easy it'd be in February, and you really need a car if you want to get around. Can't fathom driving those narrow mountain roads in the snow though.

OK, that mostly addresses your questions. If I were you though, I'd get a hold of a guidebook, read about the destinations you're most interested in thoroughly and scale back your plans a little. For me, winter's the least attractive season for travel in Japan (unless you're up north and banking on snow) and there are some potential problems weather-wise with packing in an itinerary. And a lot of the country looks a lot better when it's lush and green, rather than patchy, grey and brown. Besides, if you try to do too much, you're just going to exhaust yourself and turn your trip into a blur of train/bus stations and airports. Remember - you can always come back.
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mitsukishiroi
post Jun 29 2010, 07:27 PM
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QUOTE(xerius @ Jun 29 2010, 06:20 PM) *
And, mitsukishiroi, that itinerary is nuts! Kakunodate, Sendai and Matsushima in one day? Same goes for Aizu/Tokyo/Naha and Hiroshima/Kurashiki/Okayama/Kyoto. Absolutely exhausting, no time to enjoy things and wholly dependent upon perfectly timed switches to transportation (that's not backlogged by a blizzard). Iga Ueno together with Hikone is a stretch too, as the former is a pain to get to by public transportation, and the latter is much better combined with nearby Nagahama.



Well, they're trying to see a whole lot of things in one go. Like I said, if they like super high speed traveling while only seeing the major sights, it can be done. Otherwise they have to cut Okinawa at the very least.

Also, they didn't seem to be into big cities, so what I meant was to go from Hakodate to Kakunodate, stay there for half a day or even more, travel down to Sendai, check into a hostel/hotel and go to Matsushima to see one of the fabled sights. As Sendai isn't in their interests, they can spend the entire remainer of the day & evening in Matsushima.

The Aizu/Tokyo/Naha thing is mostly because they want to end in Tokyo and spend 2 days in Okinawa. You can get to Haneda from Aizu and then get on the flight to Naha. Again, nobody said it would be a good thing, but they're trying to see as much as possible.

Hiroshima/Kurashiki/Okayama/Kyoto is more Kurashiki and Okayama. You can get in Kurashiki in the morning, spend half a day there, then go to Okayama for the gardens and dinner and arrive in Kyoto late at night. I certainly didn't mean for it to sound like they had to spend some time in Hiroshima and Kyoto as well, haha.

As for Iga Ueno & Hikone; a friend of mine did that and said it was a very good trip to make, even though it's quite time consuming. But again, if you go in the morning to Iga Ueno and then in the afternoon to Hikone, it's possible. It just wouldn't be my style of traveling. smile.gif
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jade_damien
post Jun 30 2010, 12:26 AM
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thank you so much for your help mitsukishiroi, i have posted on other sites and you have been the only one willing to actually reply and help.
Yes xerius this will be my boyfriend and I's first trip to japan. Never been out of Australia - where we are from.
We know its a stretch to fit everything in 30 odd days. we maybe extending our stay depending on money, if not that cutting out certain places and if we ever go back to japan then we will see them. We would love to go to japan many times, but it all depends on life.

What are some places we should wait to see in different weather? rather than in winter. We have chosen winter to go in due to my study, and my break is in our summer, but in japans winter.

we are finding it hard to find out the length between trips to one place to the next but i will be getting some guide books in the next few weeks and hopefully that will help.

There is sooo much to see in japan, its quite overwhelming!

thanks again smile.gif
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xerius
post Jun 30 2010, 05:48 AM
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QUOTE(mitsukishiroi @ Jun 29 2010, 07:27 PM) *

Well, they're trying to see a whole lot of things in one go. Like I said, if they like super high speed traveling while only seeing the major sights, it can be done. Otherwise they have to cut Okinawa at the very least.

Also, they didn't seem to be into big cities, so what I meant was to go from Hakodate to Kakunodate, stay there for half a day or even more, travel down to Sendai, check into a hostel/hotel and go to Matsushima to see one of the fabled sights. As Sendai isn't in their interests, they can spend the entire remainer of the day & evening in Matsushima.


I wasn't criticizing you. I know you were just trying to be helpful. I just think the proposed itinerary - based on what was given in the OP - is kind of overkill. I'm a person that tends to pack things in when I travel, but that's exhausting even for me. On a first trip, it's better to have some time to soak up the atmosphere of places, and I think the only way to do that is scale things back.

Taking the Hakodate-Kakunodate-Sendai/Matsushima example, the leg from Hakodate to Kakunodate (via Hachinohe and Morioka) takes nearly five hours. That means they wouldn't get into Kakunodate until nearly noon. So doing anything beyond that would be next to impossible, especially given the reduced daylight in winter. Same goes for Aizu-Wakamatsu and onwards, really. Sendai to Aizu is only two hours, which is no big deal. But getting from Aizu to Haneda is a good four hours, which would make for one busy, busy day.

I see what you're saying about the Kurashiki->Okayama->Kyoto leg, though it's more hectic than I'd like, really. Doable, but Kurashiki is worth spending a more leisurely day in (Okayama perhaps less so). As for Iga-Ueno, now that I look at the train times and connections, it's not that hard to do together with Hikone (though it'll still be a busy day). It's just that other than the ninja museum, the thing I remember most about Iga-Ueno is how tedious it was to get to and from (and I live in Nagoya!!).
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xerius
post Jun 30 2010, 06:14 AM
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QUOTE(jade_damien @ Jun 30 2010, 12:26 AM) *

Yes xerius this will be my boyfriend and I's first trip to japan. Never been out of Australia - where we are from.
We know its a stretch to fit everything in 30 odd days. we maybe extending our stay depending on money, if not that cutting out certain places and if we ever go back to japan then we will see them. We would love to go to japan many times, but it all depends on life.


If it's your first time in Japan, then I really advise you to take your time and try to get to know the place. Thirty days is a good chunk of time, but this is a pretty big country with a fair bit to see. I've been here about six and a half years, and there are still a lot of places I've never been (and I've done a lot more traveling here than most). And in any case, if it's your first time abroad, you're probably better off taking it slower anyways, because you're going to need extra time adjusting to what's a very different system and culture to Australia's. If I were you, I'd spend about half the time in and around the Tokyo (Kanto) area and Kyoto (Kansai) region, then the rest taking in something more unique to the winter months in Japan.

QUOTE
What are some places we should wait to see in different weather? rather than in winter. We have chosen winter to go in due to my study, and my break is in our summer, but in japans winter.

we are finding it hard to find out the length between trips to one place to the next but i will be getting some guide books in the next few weeks and hopefully that will help.


I think if you're going to come in winter, you should spend a good chunk of your time in places that have a true winter feel. Down where I am, winter is just blustery and chilly, with drab cityscapes, brown scenery and very little snow. The same goes for a lot of the Pacific seafront, Shikoku, Kyushu, etc. Okinawa would be warmer and more scenic, but I wouldn't really consider Okinawa a "must see" on a first-time visit. For a "winter in Japan" experience, Hokkaido, Tohoku and the Sea of Japan coastline (particularly Hokuriku down through Shimane Prefecture) would be a better bet. Shikoku, Chugoku and Kyushu look best when they're green and lush. Tohoku and Hokkaido are stunning in the warmer months too, but at least they're still festive and picturesque in the winter.

Advice on what to do? Go snowboarding or skiing in Niseko, Hokkaido, if that's down your alley. Hit the Snow Festival in Sapporo, the Snow Lantern Festival in Hirosaki and/or the Kamakura Festival in Yokote to see a bit of Japan's traditional matsuri. Go to some of the many hot springs in the region: Noboribetsu in Hokkaido, Nyuto in Akita (close to Kakunodate), Ginzan or Zao in Yamagata, or Kinosaki in Hyogo (accessible from Kyoto). Hit Kanazawa on the Japan Sea coast and catch its beautiful Kenroku-en gardens under February snows. There are lots of possibilities, really. Just pack lots of warm clothes! (especially for Hokkaido!)
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peiqi
post Aug 21 2010, 11:20 AM
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QUOTE(mitsukishiroi @ Jun 29 2010, 07:27 PM) *

QUOTE(xerius @ Jun 29 2010, 06:20 PM) *




As for Iga Ueno & Hikone; a friend of mine did that and said it was a very good trip to make, even though it's quite time consuming. But again, if you go in the morning to Iga Ueno and then in the afternoon to Hikone, it's possible. It just wouldn't be my style of traveling. smile.gif


Hi there,

i'm doing a 11 day trip to the Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara) next next Monday and I need some advice! as my 11 days would be dedicated entirely to only Kansai (planning to do other parts of Japan next time), i have quite a no. of free days at the moment!

planning to probably include Iga Ueno and/or Hikone in my itinerary, but how do i actually get to these places from Osaka? And i would like to go to Mount Koya as well, similarly does anyone have any idea how i can get there from Osaka?

Thanks so so much in advance!
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mitsukishiroi
post Aug 21 2010, 10:43 PM
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QUOTE(peiqi @ Aug 21 2010, 11:20 AM) *


Hi there,

i'm doing a 11 day trip to the Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara) next next Monday and I need some advice! as my 11 days would be dedicated entirely to only Kansai (planning to do other parts of Japan next time), i have quite a no. of free days at the moment!

planning to probably include Iga Ueno and/or Hikone in my itinerary, but how do i actually get to these places from Osaka? And i would like to go to Mount Koya as well, similarly does anyone have any idea how i can get there from Osaka?

Thanks so so much in advance!


It depends-- where will you be staying? If I got it right, probably Osaka?

I'd do it like this:

1) Kyoto
2) Kyoto
3) Kyoto
4) Kyoto/Hikone
5) Osaka
6) Kobe
7) Osaka
8) Nara/Iga Ueno
9) Kobe
10) Mt. Koya (stay the night there-- it's quite an experience!)
11) Osaka

- Hikone can be accessed from Kyoto by train-- either by Shinkansen (stop at Maibara station, 2060yen, 20 minutes. Or a special rapid train directly to Hikone will cost you 50 min. 1110 yen from Kyoto

- Iga Ueno is tricky to get to. From Kyoto, take the JR Nara line to Kizu (35 min.) then transfer to the JR Kansai line to Iga Ueno (45 min.) with a transfer at Kamo station after about 7 minutes. Last transfer at Iga Ueno-- take the Iga Tetsudo Iga Line to Uenoshi (5 min). The entire trip will probably cost you about 1,5 hours. However, it's a very good idea imho to combine it with Nara-- I went to Iga Ueno in the morning, was done there about 1, and I went to Nara afterwards.

- Mt. Koya-- from Osaka's Namba station take the Nankai Koya line to the terminal station (Gokurakubashi). At Gokurakubashi, transfer to the cable car that will travels up the mountain (5 minutes, 380 yen). From the top station, there's about a 10 min. busride awaiting you to the city center (280 yen to the Senjuinbashi stop).
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ladyleaf
post Dec 10 2010, 04:24 PM
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Sorry to but in but I have posted stuff on forums too and have not got such and informative reply and I was hoping you guys could help me out with my itinerary.

Me and my partner will be in Japan from the 15th of march for 6weeks and we are hoping to see cherry blossoms and all the festivities that go only with it. I have been to Japan twice but my partner has never. We are flying into Tokyo and were thinking of heading down to Kyushu then making our way up Tokyo where we fly out. We are thinking of getting a rail pass which would you recommend because we will be doing some wwoofing aswell hopefully in Tokunoshima for a week. We are not so concerned with sightseeing but more so Japanese culture and people. We have been learning Japanese and would like to continue to learn more and really emerce ourselves into their culture. Also do you think it will be warming in the south during our stay?

Whatever your recommendations are I would love to hear them
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misocutlet
post Dec 12 2010, 06:05 AM
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I am from Central Japan. I would like to recommend Shirakawa-go, especially if you visit there in February. Overnight stay in a traditional thatched house surrounded by heavy snow would be a great experience. When I went to Shirakawa-go in January, I saw some international tourists including an Australian family enjoy beautiful sceneries of the village.

As for Japanese castles, if you choose an alternative for Himeji Castle, Matsumoto Castle may be a good choice. It has an original castle keep, which is much larger than that of Hikone Castle and designated as a national treasure. I compared the sizes of Japanese castles in my blog entry below.
http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entri...18525/tpod.html
It is an idea to proceed from Matsumoto to Nagano to encounter snow monkeys bathing in a hot spring of Jigokudani. They looked very popular among foreign tourists, when I visited there.
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