questions & answers: general japan travel

sapporo -) fukuoka in 2 weeks?!

Sapporo -) Fukuoka in 2 weeks?!

Hi there!!

first compliments for this site and forum!! After I've been to Tokyo (and surroundings) I decided to see more of this beautiful country: this july I want to travel from Sapporo to Fukuoka (in about 2 weeks with the JR pass), so see as much as possible of the counrty. I'll start with 3 days in Sapporo.

I'm trying to plan a nice route (Aomori, Akita, Sendai, Niigata, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka/Kobe, Hiroshima, Fukuoka), but it looks a little bit to much for 2 weeks. Can U give me some advice on that?

I'm 37 and will be travelling alone (and don't mind a nice train ride;)).

Looking forward to hea from you.

Kind regards,
Erik

Madiba
Madiba
  • in Fukuoka I'll take the boat to Busan/South Korea.
Madiba
Madiba

Hi,
Well, 2 weeks is too short to cover nearly the whole length of the country, so you can see some of the best known sights and move on. You certainly can get your money's worth by riding the rails so far though. You might start with Sapporo and do a day trip to Otaru, or if you want to see Hokkaido at its best, in July the lavender fields in Furano and Biei are in full bloom. Then move on down to Hakodate. After there you can see Aomori: the Shimokita Peninsula if you like, then go to Lake Towada and walk down a bit by the Oirase River which is quite famous. Some other popular places in the region are Hiraizumi, Sendai/Matsushima Coast, Yamadera, Zao, Dewa Sanzan, then proceed to Niigata and Tokyo.

If you have not seen Nikko, Kamakura and Hakone, they all make great day trips from Tokyo. From Tokyo, you can proceed down to the Kansai Area (Kyoto/Osaka/Nara/Kobe) or if you want, to can go see Takayama and Kanazawa first. Definitely see Kyoto and Nara though, then you can move down to Okayama and see the castle, plus Korakuen and the Handayama Gardens. Further south is Hiroshima/Miyajima, then Iwakuni for its iconic bridge and mountaintop castle.

Not to be missed in the area is Akiyoshido which is a 300 million year old limestone cave 1km deep with an underground river and giant caverns. Beyond Yamaguchi is Kyushu and Fukuoka. You might want to spend a few hours in Kitakyushu to see Kokura Castle and the wonderful night view from atop Sarakurayama. For Fukuoka, there are many open parks, shopping, seaside historical areas, and urban neon. See this site as a good guide.

For Fukuoka, don't miss the Nanzoin Temple which is one of Japan's finest yet almost totally unknown to the outside world and completely free!
Look into a Fukuoka Tourist City Pass also.
You can also see a lot of previews on the best there is to see here.
Actually if you could go visit Nagasaki for at least a day, it'd be well worth it too. It's really the most interesting city on Kyushu.

Most likely there is too much for 14 days listed here. You should go through the various places and see which you want to see the most, and then flesh out your itinerary.

Regarding taking the ferry or hydrofoil to Korea though - you will need some paper showing a ticket or reservation, otherwise you will likely be denied boarding at your airport departure - unless you have a visa to stay in Japan, you need to have a reservation out of the country within the allowed period of your landing permit.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Hello Erik,

Two weeks should be plenty of time to make the route! I did it once in a single day.

For some idea's in Hokkaido and Tohoku, have a look at this itinerary. Then for south of Tokyo have a look at this one.

I think I would take one week from Hokkaido - Tokyo then one week from Tokyo - Hiroshima. You could do something like. Sapporo - Hakodate - Hirosaki - Sendai - Nikko - Tokyo - Kanazawa - Kyoto/Osaka - day trip to Nara or Himeji - Hiroshima.

Aomori and Niigate don't offer much for most tourists. That's not to say there's nothing but you would need something that is of personal interest.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thanks both for the great info!! This site and your input is very usefull!!

What kind of paper regarding the ferry will I need? A planeticket out of SKorea? It's hard to find some info on that.

Daniel-san, thanks for the itineraries! Because I've been already been there, I'll skip Tokyo this time. Do you know why it's impossible to fin a hotelroom in Sapporo on sa. 18 july (summer festival?)?

Madiba
Madiba

Hi,
Of course you can do the route - what I am saying is that there is no way you can see everything Japan has within such a distance in 2 just weeks. You could spend that long in Kyoto alone and still not see everything.
At any rate, regarding the proof of onward travel, it's not that the ferry company needs it - it's Japanese Immigration that needs it. If you just go to Japan with what looks like a one way ticket, they immediately think illegal immigrant. Airlines are required to check itineraries and passports before a flight to make sure they don't transport someone who'd be instantly denied entry (they get fined by the government big time if they do). A simple e-ticket copy of your ferry reservation out of Japan should suffice. Any major travel agency can book it.
Since you want to travel such a distance, it would be probably be better to stick to places that are not too far from the bullet train lines. There are numerous sites of interest on the Sea of Japan side, but trains are rather slow and too time consuming.

Best of luck.

Toraneko
Toraneko

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