questions & answers: general japan travel

16 days in japan

16 days in Japan

Hi All,

Just wanted to get some general advice. I'm an experienced traveller but it is my first time to Japan which is very exciting. I've done a lot of research on the places I will mention in this post already but happy to take any advice on board.

I land in Kansai and plan to base myself in Osaka seeing Osaka & Kyoto as well as side trips to Kanzawa and Mt Koyosan all up for about 8 or 9 days before making my way to Tokyo for 7 days. I then fly out of Tokyo. Breaking it up a bit further:

Osaka/Kyoto 5 days
Kanazawa - overnight
Mt Koyosan - overnight

Tokyo 7 days (incl. Disneyland/sea 1 maybe 2 days)

So is there anything other places i should consider or recommend? Is that too much time in any one place? I've been told to go to Hakone whilst in Tokyo as that gives me the best views of Mt Fuji.

I'm looking at the JR 14 day pass. Is that the best?

Appreciate any help/advice. Oh btw I'll be coming to Japan 1st to 16th of March 2014.....

Cheers,
Mike

Mike24
Mike24

Hi Mike,

Osaka, Kyoto, Kanazawa and Tokyo are a very good pick to start your travels with. A visit to Koya is also very nice - especially when you stay for a night. Depending on your interests, I have added a couple of options for your to consider.

The first is Hiroshima one of the more historically important cities, the peace museum and memorial park will leave a deep impression. It is also easy to make a day trip to Miyajima Island and Itsukujima Island.

An other is a visit to Takayama not too far from Kanazawa or Nagoya, it's a small traditional mountain town, especially nice for a 1-2 night visit.

Lastly a visit to NIkko is something that I would highly recommend. One of the first Shogunate tried to make himself immortal by building a very impressive mausoleum. Nikko is also surround by beautiful nature making for a great day trip (away) from Tokyo.

As for what JR Pass to get, it really depends on what you wish to see and do. You could go for a 7 Day JR Pass and use it to cover most of your rail travel. You can also consider a 14 day JR Pass but you would have to do more travel for it to pay off.

Let me know what you think!
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi Daniel,

Firstly thanks so much for your reply - very helpful! And some great ideas too. So taking on board your suggestions I thought something like the itinerary below. This is just an idea and I might swap things around a little but I do this kind of planning to see if I can fit in everything that I want to do.

So based on below - some questions:

Should I go to Takayama instead of Kanazawa or as well as Kanazawa? The reason i wanted to go to Kanazawa is to see the samurai architecture and the scenery, (the are is UNESCO isn't it?) Am I getting confused with the town versus the prefecture maybe? I could always spend an extra night in Kanazawa/Takayama? Then i would change days 9 and 10 and go Hiroshima to Osaka - stay overnight in Osaka and go through to Tokyo next morning. Is Takayama far from Kanazawa?

Hiroshima - is Miyajima a day trip or can you do it in a half day?

I don't think I can fit in Mt Koya as well which is ok I suppose. I'd rather not fit in so much that I can appreciate where I am. I might also do a day trip to Hakone depending on how much I get to see and do in Tokyo.

Lastly based on below what would be the best way to get around - JR pass versus individual tickets? There seems a bit of train travelling so a 14 day JR pass - would it be worth it?

Thanks so much Daniel for your help - I really appreciate it!

Cheers, Mike

Day Accommodation In
1 Osaka Osaka
2 Kyoto Osaka
3 Kyoto Osaka
4 Osaka / Kanazawa Kanazawa (leave early) extra day maybe
5 Kanazawa / Osaka Osaka (leave afternoon)
6 Kyoto (Imperial Palace) Osaka
7 Osaka/Hiroshima Hiroshima (leave early)
8 Hiroshima (Miyajima) Hiroshima
9 Hiroshima / Osaka Osaka (leave early) change this to leave afternoon
10 Osaka / Tokyo Tokyo (leave early)
11 Tokyo Tokyo
12 Disneyland Tokyo
13 Tokyo Tokyo
14 Tokyo (Nikko day trip) Tokyo
15 Tokyo Tokyo
16 Tokyo Tokyo
17 Fly out of Narita

Mike24
Mike24

Hmmm sorry the formatting didn't work so my itinerary may be confusing. It should read as:

1 See Osaka......................stay in Osaka
2 See Kyoto........................stay in Osaka
3 See Kyoto........................stay in Osaka
and so on

Also,

7 leave early from Osaka and catch the train to Hiroshima where I will stay in Hiroshima that night

I hope that makes a bit more sense

Cheers,
Mike

Mike24
Mike24

One more question Daniel - can you go straight through from Hiroshima to Tokyo? I see you can get the Nozomi Shinkansen from Hiroshima direct to Shinagawa station, but that is not covered by JR pass is it? If not how much would that cost? Is it a frequent train? I see it takes 4-5 hours.

I'm really thinking about adding one more night in Kanazawa area which I can do if I can go direct from Hiroshima to Tokyo, (hoping I can leave Hiroshima in the afternoon to get to Tokyo later in the evening).

Cheers,
Mike

Mike24
Mike24

Hi Mike,

Thank you for clarifying, makes much more sense now :) There's a lot of things to look at, so let's get started right away!

First, visiting Takayama or Kanazawa. Takayama is a traditional mountain village and is best if you wish to see some of traditional Japan. Highlights include the folk village, old town which makes amazing hamburgers from local Hida beef. Kanazawa has more to offer in terms of variety, there's Kanazawa Castle and surrounding park, Kenroku-en garden en the local Geisha Quarter. It's hard to say which is better, so visit both if you have the time! You could for instance visit Kanazawa from Osaka/Kyoto and swing by Takayama before going to Tokyo.

Next, Hiroshima and Miyajima. I think that you will be able to see Miyajima is half a day for sure. The island can be a nice walk but it's not that large. Traveling from Hiroshima to Tokyo involves one transfer at Shin-Osaka because the JR Pass unfortunately does not cover the Nozomi. The part between Hiroshima and Shin-Osaka is traveled on the Sakura Shinkansen and between Shin-Osaka and Tokyo on the Hikari, trains depart every 30minutes.

Let's have a look if a JR Pass would help you make savings (or not):

Osaka - Kyoto (return) ¥ 1,080
Osaka - Kyoto (return) ¥ 1,080
Osaka - Kanazawa (return) ¥ 14,880
Osaka - Kyoto (return) ¥ 1,080
Osaka - Hiroshima ¥ 9,950
Hiroshima - Miyajima (return, incl. ferry) ¥ 1,140
Hiroshima - Tokyo ¥ 18,050
Tokyo - Nikko (return) ¥ 10,860
Tokyo - Disney Land (Maihama station) ¥ 210

For a total of ¥ 59,410 or ¥ 14,310 as the 14 day JR Pass is ¥ 45,100. Remember that you can also use the pass for local JR lines in Tokyo and Osaka, adding even more.

Lastly, I think that your itinerary is coming together very well. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

Hope this helps!
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

PS: I tried to write or ¥ 14,310 in savings :)

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hey Daniel,

Yes I will be using the train a lot around Kyoto/Osaka/Tokyo so will get even more savings. I will be going with a 14 day pass - thanks for your help on that.

Thanks for the great advice. You're right - it makes more sense to get to Tokyo via Takayama and it ultimately cuts out travelling time for me. So I'm going to do Hiroshima as a side trip from Osaka and spend an extra night in Kanazawa/Takayama and spend 2 days 1 night in Hiroshima. That should give me a great view of Japan!! I can't thank you enough. You've added so much to my trip which I wouldn't have known about.

Now I just have to wait 3 months!! LOL

Cheers, Mike

Mike24
Mike24

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