3 weeks in Japan
There are four of us and was thinking roughly to follow the 23 days itinerary approx Dec 9th to 1st Jan from this link
Days 1 - 7 Tokyo (with day trips to some or all of Nikko, Fuji and Yokohama)
was wondering if the itinerary is feasible for winter?
Are there any possibility for self-drive or is it better to stick with train?
We did a self-drive in Hokkaido back in Dec 2010, mainly Sapporo-Otaru-Niseko-Rutsusu, car was equipped with snow tires but there wasn't heavy snow back then. Thus was wondering can snow tires withstand heavy snow should it arise?
We have also done Hakone, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto on that same trip. How can I replace these places from the above itinerary?
This itinerary would work in Winter, most of your travel is to the south of Japan and you may not even see snow there. The full coast line of Japan Hokkaido - Okinawa is around 3,000km, that's roughly the difference between Sweden and Spain in Europe, which you will also notice with the temperature and weather.
You will also be covering a lot more distance that travel around Hokkaido and my advise would be to stick with train travel, however that is not that say that using a car would not work. Also, there are also many wonder full trains in Kyushu.
For Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, there are nice alternatives within the Kansai Area, think of Kobe, Himeji, Wakayama, Hikone (not Hakone) and possible even Kinosaki-Onsen.
A great alternative for Hakone, would be swinging south a little and visiting the Izu Peninsula.
Hope this helps,
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