questions & answers: general japan travel

23-day trip to japan

23-day trip to Japan

Hi,

I will be traveling by myself for 23 days in Japan, arriving and departing from Narita. I currently have plans to visit Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Mt. Fuji and Tokyo. I was wondering:
1. if it's worth buying a 21-day pass for those trips
2. any recommendations for how long to stay in each city - trying to stay relaxed and not too rushed
3. are there any other recommendations that you would make for day/overnight trips
4. any nearby beaches to check out while there and how to get there
5. any accommodation recommendations for single female traveller

Thank you so much for your time!

canasian
canasian

Also, are there onsens or ryokans that you recommend staying at during the trip?

canasian
canasian

Hi there,

Lets quickly get a rundown on the cost of travel to your locations:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Kumamoto: ¥27,350 (486mins, 1372km)
  2. Kumamoto > Nagasaki(nagasaki): ¥7,370 (124mins, 212km)
  3. Nagasaki(nagasaki) > Hiroshima: ¥12,250 (198mins, 434km)
  4. Hiroshima > Osaka: ¥10,820 (109mins, 345km)
  5. Osaka > Kyoto: ¥540 (29mins, 42km)
  6. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690 (44mins, 41km)
  7. Nara > Odawara: ¥12,070 (188mins, 471km)
  8. Odawara > Tokyo: ¥1,450 (36mins, 83km)

JR ticket cost: ¥72,540 for 8 legs

Based on your basic travel above, you'll make a minimum saving of ¥14,840 with the 21 day JR Pass, and also have the flexibility to add further JR travel to your trip at no extra cost. Because of this I can certainly recommend the 21 day JR Pass.

Additional locations

Given the length of your trip I also recommend taking a look at the following extras:

  • Ibusuki hot sand baths at the bottom of Kyushu (overnight)
  • Sakurajima island (overnight)
  • Mt Aso (day trip)
  • Kurokawa Onsen (overnight)
  • Miyajima (overnight)
  • Naoshima (overnight)
  • Koyasan (overnight)
  • Kinosaki Onsen (overnight)
  • Arashiyama (day trip)
  • Shingu / Kumano (overnight/day trip)
  • Takayama (overnight)
  • Kanazawa (overnight)
  • Hakone Onsen (overnight)
  • Nikko (day trip)

Many of these are accessible by JR but Kurokawa, Hakone, Koyasan, Sakurajima and Naoshima all require small extra charges for non-JR travel components.

Timings

Regarding timings, I think I'd aim to spend 4-5 days in Tokyo, 4-5 days in Kyoto/Osaka/Nara, possibly 1-2 days in Hiroshima, and then split the remainder of your time depending on your itinerary. Time here very much depends on your pace and preferences, so will depend on how many of the above extras you think you will do.

Beaches

There are many beaches across Japan, expecially in Kyushu/south - we have a good blog post on this with more, but you may want to investigate the area around Ibusuki as it is the most southerly and tropical of the areas you'll go on your trip.

Acommodation

You'll find that accommodation for a single female is very safe and is similar (if not more safe) to other western countries so there is no specific advice needed here I think.

Finally, I strongly recommend you purchase the book Japan by Rail. This guide has lots of great sidetrips and excellent detail on places to stay and so on.

Hope this helps!

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mari
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THANK YOU so much for all your suggestions and advice! My trip is definitely looking more concrete. One other question - when I look on Hyperdia for the train schedule, how much time should I allot during train transfers as I don't want to miss a train because I got lost!

Thank you again.

canasian
canasian

No problem! :)

If you are transfering from 1 bullet train to another the transfer should be simple and around 5 mins. Depending on the station, I'd allocate around 10-15 minutes per transfer if moving between bullet and normal lines as you will have to leave the bullet train terminal area and move to the standard JR train station, often on another vertical level of the station (The bullet trains run on raised tracks).

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

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