questions & answers: itinerary check

21 night april trip - help maximising our itinerary

21 Night April Trip - Help Maximising Our Itinerary

Hi guys, I am spending 3 weeks in Japan with my Girlfriend this April.

We both enjoy Theme Parks, Eating/Drinking/Nightlife, Museums/Art Galleries and other cultural experiences (Temples/Castles/Shrines/Gardens etc). We are on a moderate budget and can afford to budget ~AUD $130/ YEN 12,000 each per day.

With help from a number of online resources I have put together a rough itinerary. Any feedback so we can get the most out of our trip would be appreciated! We are reasonably flexible with dates, however I do want to visit Universal Studios after the 7th April (to avoid Spring School Holidays) and spend 2 or 3 days at Tokyo Disney mid- week (also to avoid crowds).

Questions:

Are we missing any “essential” cities/towns/experiences?

Would buying a JR Rail pass for the first 14 days, and then just individual tickets in Tokyo be the most cost-effective?

Is it worth spending a night at a Buddhist temple at Mount Koya or could this time be better spent elsewhere?

Can Hiroshima and Miyajima be done in the one day/night? I like the idea of taking things a bit slower here and spending the night on Miyajima.

Tokyo Accomodation - We are looking at renting an apartment for 7 nights. Can this be recommended? I understand the importance of staying as close a possible to a major train station, so we have been looking around the Shibuya/Shinjuku area for easy access to other neighbourhoods/Disney Resort/day trips from Tokyo.

Day 1 (Sunday 31st March) - Arrive Osaka 7am (Kansai Airport) - Kyoto

Day 2 (Monday 1st April) - Kyoto

Day 3 (Tuesday 2nd April) - Kyoto

Day 4 (Wednesday 3rd April) - Kyoto

Day 5 (Thursday 4th April) - Miyajima

Day 6 (Friday 5th April) - Hiroshima

Day 7 (Saturday 6th April) - Osaka

Day 8 (Sunday 7th April) - Osaka (Day Trip to Nara)

Day 9 (Monday 8th April) - Osaka (Universal Studios)

Day 10 (Tuesday 9th April) - Mount Koya

Day 11 (Wednesday 10th April) - Kanzawa

Day 12 (Thursday 11th April) - Takayama

Day 13 (Friday 12th April) - Nagoya

Day 14 (Saturday 13th April) - Hakone

Day 15 (Sunday 14th April) - Tokyo

Day 16 (Monday 15th April) - Tokyo

Day 17 (Tuesday 16th April) - Tokyo (Disneyland)

Day 18 (Wednesday 17th April) - Tokyo (Disneysea)

Day 19 (Thursday 18th April) - Tokyo

Day 20 (Friday 19th April) - Tokyo

Day 21 (Saturday 20th April) - Tokyo (Day Trip to Nikko)

Day 22 (Sunday 21st April) - Tokyo - Depart Narita Airport 11pm

Any help is much appreciated!

Elliot
Elliot

Hi there,

You already have a well planned itinerary and looking at your post, your research is very good too.
The budget you are traveling on is very reasonable and you should have no problem traveling around with it (unless perhaps you go on a shopping spree in Ginza). In general there is not that much I can add to it but here are some suggestions:

Unless you have specific plans in Nagoya. consider swapping it out for an extra day in Hakone. The area is very beautiful and offers much more than a simple day trip. Especially if you travel with someone special, it is a lovely place to spend some quality time together.

When you are in Kyoto and the fancy takes you, consider a day trip to Kobe. There I would recommend walking the narrow but very long shopping under the train tracks and visiting it's extravagant China Town.

To your questions:
Like you said the 14-day Rail Pass is perfectly suited for your travel in Japan. You can cover all of your long distance travel and will only have to pay separately for local travel in and around Tokyo. It is hard to say if you will miss any ''essential'' experiences but I think that the itinerary that you have now does a very good job of covering many great places and experiences in the main land of Japan! Just be sure to visit an Onsen or two and try some Takoyaki! If you had a day or two more I would recommend to visit Nagasaki, it is a very different town than the other places you visit and offers a lot of history too not to forget the beautiful bay view.

Mount Koya is a really great option and staying there the night is a great experience. Just be sure to arrive there on time (at least before 5 p.m.) to witness the ceremonies and enjoy the foods. If you ask me: DO IT!

It is a bit short but combining Hiroshima and Miyajima in a single day is certainly possible. Do make sure to plan what you want to see and how to get there beforehand though!

I have never rented an apartment for a week in Tokyo so can not really comment on that, I have always used Hostels in Tokyo and for me that has always been a great experience. Some also offer double bed rooms for Couples starting at 3000/yen per night per person (be sure to book these well in advance though).

Hope you have a wonderful time in Japan!
-Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

I have made some considerable changes to our itinerary. I have done this to minimise travelling time and cut down our costs. I also like the idea of being in the one location for longer, and taking day trips.

  • We will buy 7 day JR passes, activating them to travel from Osaka to Miyajima

  • I removed Mount Koya as I feel we will be seeing enough temples/shrines in Kyoto. Getting there and arriving in the afternoon/having to leave early morning feels like a lot of effort for a short experience.

  • I have already booked accomodation in Kyoto (near Kyoto station) and Osaka (near Namba station). As we aren't doing any day trips from Kyoto is this the best location to be staying at?

  • To maximise time we are going to combine Miyajima/Hiroshima into one day. We will leave Osaka early (8am), spending the day on Miyajima and staying in Hiroshima that night. The following day we will explore Hiroshima (peace park/museum) before taking a late train to Kanazawa.

  • Can you recommend any other day trips from Osaka or Tokyo? From Tokyo I was also thinking about Yokohama or Kamakura.

Do my changes all make practical sense?

Day 1 (Sunday 31st March) - Arrive Osaka 7am (Kansai Airport) - Kyoto

Day 2 (Monday 1st April) - Kyoto

Day 3 (Tuesday 2nd April) - Kyoto

Day 4 (Wednesday 3rd April) - Kyoto

Day 5 (Thursday 4th April) - Osaka

Day 6 (Friday 5th April) - Osaka

Day 7 (Saturday 6th April) - Osaka (Day Trip to Kobe)

Day 8 (Sunday 7th April) - Osaka (Day Trip to Nara)

Day 9 (Monday 8th April) - Osaka (Universal Studios)

Day 10 (Tuesday 9th April) - Miyajima/Hiroshima

Day 11 (Wednesday 10th April) - Kanzawa

Day 12 (Thursday 11th April) - Takayama

Day 13 (Friday 12th April) - Takayama

Day 14 (Saturday 13th April) - Hakone

Day 15 (Sunday 14th April) - Tokyo

Day 16 (Monday 15th April) - Tokyo

Day 17 (Tuesday 16th April) - Tokyo (Disneyland)

Day 18 (Wednesday 17th April) - Tokyo (Disneysea)

Day 19 (Thursday 18th April) - Tokyo

Day 20 (Friday 19th April) - Tokyo

Day 21 (Saturday 20th April) - Tokyo (Day Trip to Nikko)

Day 22 (Sunday 21st April) - Tokyo - Depart Narita Airport 11pm

Thanks again!

Elliot
Elliot

Hi Again,

You made some significant changes indeed!
I think it all looks good, travel times are indeed low and you will still be able so see many great places!

Staying in Osaka/Kyoto
Namba is a great place to stay in Osaka, I always felt that it was one of the two center places of Osaka (the other beeing Umeda). The area is great to walk around in but really comes to live in the evening and is even busy during the night.
Kyoto station is not in the center of Kyoto city but the city is not so big so every place can easily be reached by Bus or Metro that depart frequently or about 30minutes by foot. The best place to stay in Kyoto is around Kawara-Machi or Gion if you want to be in the city center.

For other day trips:
From Osaka consider a visit Wakayama or perhaps Iga the ninja town.

Let me know if I can help with anything else!
-Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

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