questions & answers: general japan travel

in japan from july 2 to july 28... help please! :)

In Japan from July 2 to July 28... help please! :)

Hello,

We're just starting to plan our trip to Japan in July. We're somewhat confused by all the different names and attractions and cities and we need help to start.

We're thinking of purchasing a 21 day pass. This is why we are asking your help. We would really like to try a bullet train at least once and maybe use a night train if possible.

We are two and we'll be spending one month in Japan arriving and departing from Tokyo.

We both like to visit interesting monuments. We're thinking of staying about a week in Tokyo and doing day trips to other cities. But there are so many closeby cities that seem interesting that it's hard to choose. We want to see temples and historical places minimum.

We'd like to either climb or at least get close to Mt Fiji... is there a train to get there? Does it stop somewhere and we have to hop on another public transportation to reach it?

We'd also like to visit Sapporo with stops along the way. Which ones? don't know yet... help?

We'd like to stay in Kyoto about a week also and also do day trips (or stay in Osaka instead since it seems a little cheaper???) from there. Again, there seems to be so many options. I heard there are hot springs and nice temples in that area.

Hiroshima is also a must for us. There are nice cities in that area but we're not sure which ones are worthwhile.

We are hoping to stay a week without using a pass too much but where should we be for that week? In Tokyo?

We'll have our backpacks but don't necessarily want to change hotels every day since it means we have to walk around all day with it.

We're hoping to be either in Kyoto on July 17th for the lantern festival or in Fukuoka on July 15th for the celebration if possible.

How can we use a 21 day pass within 26 days? Where should we not use it? or perhaps (but hopefully not) buy day passes...

I know it's quite vague (in a sense since we don't know which smaller cities to visit) but we're hoping to get help to start. We still have time to plan this great trip.

nadialo
nadialo

Hi there!

A full month Japan, with a 21-day rail pass sounds like a great plan already! Japan has a lot to offer and you will be sure to see a lot of it. I hope that I can help out a little with the planning.

The first question of course is where would you really like to go. From your plans I understand that you wish to visit Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka and perhaps Sapporo. The 21-day JR Pass is valid for 21 consecutive days, meaning that you will have some time without a pass. I would plan this period in Tokyo, travel around the capital is not very expansive and you can take your time to enjoy everything Tokyo has to offer.

So where to visit with the 21-day JR Pass? I think the first thing to ask is, if you will visit Sapporo. This because all together it will take an significant amount of time, for instance if you plan 4 nights there with 2 stops on the way there and back, than that will already take 7 of your travel days. Personally I made the trip at the beginning of April this year and it is certainly worth it but you have to ask your self if you would not rather spend the days somewhere else. Great places to make a stop at to spend the night at and also do some sightseeing are Hirosaki, Hachinohe and Hakodate on the southern part of Hokkaido.

I think that the festivals in Kyoto and Fukuoka make for good dates in your itinerary to plan around. What you can do is travel to Hiroshima first, than visit Fukuoka around the 15th and after that make your way slowly to Kyoto to enjoy the festival and the Kansai Area. You can stay in either in Osaka or Kyoto, I assume that you may stay in hostels as you are backpackers. Both Osaka and Kyoto have some really good hostels.

Some other real popular destinations that can be reached from Kyoto are:
Kinosaki-onsen a beautiful onsen town that makes for a great nights stay. Kanazawa. A beautiful historic town, with lovely gardens and parks. and Takayama a lovely mountain village, that has a lot to offers, the train ride to the village is also one of the most scenic in Japan.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
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Hi Daniel,

I'm sorry I didn't answer earlier... thanks so much for this answer. It will help us start our planning.
I know we'll be using a 21 day pass outside Tokyo. I just have to figure out how to organize it so we can see one of the festivals.
There's a good chance we won't go visit Hokkaido but I guess we do have to make choices... we can't see everything... unfortunately!

Thanks again for your help and I may post my itinerary when I have a better idea.

Nadia

nadialo
nadialo

Ok... so here's what I think so far...

Day 1-4 Tokyo (day trips to Nikko, Yokohama, Kamakura or when we come back)
Day 5 Hakone +Fuji
Day 6-7 Nagoya (do we need 2 days for this)
Day 8-9 Kanazawa (day trip to Takayama)
Day 10 Hiroshima
Day 11 Hiroshima
Day 12 Miyajima
Day 13 Beppu
Day 14 Fukuoka
Day 15 Fukuoka festival
Day 16 Travel to Kyoto- night in Kyoto
Day 17 Kyoto Lantern Festival
Day 18-23 Kyoto (with day trips to Osaka, Nara, Himeji, Universal Studios, Kinosaki onsen)
Can we do Kinosaki and Himeji castle in one day?
Day 24-28 Tokyo (Fireworks on the 27th)

Am I missing anything?
Which train ride can we use the bullet train on?

Thanks in advance!

nadialo
nadialo

Hi Nadia,

Your plans are looking good! I see that you are attending both festivals too, which is great!
You will ride the Shinkansen (bullet train) a lot to0, for instance to Nagoya, Hiroshima, Kyoto and back to Tokyo.

There are two things that I would like to point out:

The first is that your longest train ride will probably be Kanazawa - Hiroshima (about 270 minutes). So bring a good book for the ride or maybe get something else to keep you entertained with.

The second is that day 18-23 still look a little busy to me. I would make a choice between either spending a day in Himeji or Kinosaki Onsen. I certainly would not do both in the same day. Kinosaki is a very beautiful and romantic onsen town and it may be nice to spend the night there depending on the company you are traveling with. Himeji is more about history and culture and the main attraction certainly is the castle, although the shopping arcade is nice too.

Make the most of your trip,
-Daniel

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