questions & answers: itinerary check

3 weeks including hokkaido & okinawa

3 weeks including Hokkaido & Okinawa

Hi there

I'm planning to travel around mid May ~ early June with another friend, and here's the itinerary we've come up with. We try to place Tokyo towards the middle end of the trip because we do plan to shop abit and don't want to be carrying too much in the early stage of our travel. The Okinawa diving trip is pretty much fixed, and we kinda workout the timing to fit the diving trip. So here's the itinerary.

Day 1: Sydney

Day 2-5: Hokkaido
Haven't decided much to do. But mostly food and culture exploration. Any recommendation? Is 4 days too short?

Day 6: Osaka
By flight. Spend a whole day enjoying Mount Koya (any chance to visit Himeji?)

Day 7-9: Kyoto
Use this as a base to go Nara and Kinosaki. Should we stay overnight at Kinosaki-Onsen?

Day 10: Kanazawa
Rent a car to Gokayama and Shirakawa-go. Will stay overnight at farmhouse in Shirakawa-go and explore Ogimichi and the smaller towns if time permits. Alternatively will be bus.

Day 11: Takayama
Then drop the car here

Day 12-15: Tokyo
Explore tokyo city / suburbs with day trips to Nikko, Mt. Fuji and maybe Yokohama.

Day 16-19: Okinawa
For diving - this trip is fixed.

Day 20: Kerama Islands
Take 1 hr boat ride and stay overnight at Okinawa

Day 21-22: Ishigaki
Go by flight.

Day 23 Sydney

Is the trip looked ambitious? Is it worth getting 2 weeks JR pass? We generally love culture, experience and adventure. Not too big on temples, even though we might checkout some. We also have pretty strict budget and will most likely stay at guesthouses, but will fit in ryokan for 1-2 nights for the entire trip. It will be great if we could have some suggestion on places that we should /shouldn't go based on the limited time we have (and hopefully we can cover in our future Japan trip.)

Thanks heaps for your help.

Von

hui2ong
hui2ong

Hi Von,

I really like this plan! Okinawa is absolutely amazing and so is the rest of Japan. The trip is certainly possible in terms of time although more time in Okinawa would be something I'd look at.

You take out most of your travel time by flying to Osaka - this is a great way to save time - it also makes reduces the usefulness of the JR Pass and I don't think that a 14 day JR Pass would pay of. Instead you could consider a 7 day JR Pass and use it for instance from day 7-13 and cover as much train travel with it as possibly, Such as Kinosaki, Kanazawa, Tokyo and it would especially be nice if you could include Nikko too.

In this case you could be looking at the following savings.

Kyoto - Nara (return) ¥ 1,380
Kyoto - Kinosaki (return) ¥ 9,820
Kyoto - Kanazawa ¥ 6,910
Takayama - Tokyo ¥ 14,600
Tokyo - Nikko return ¥ 11,260

For a total of ¥ 43,970 or ¥ 15,670 in savings as the 7 day JR Pass is ¥ 28,300.

I hope this helps!
Daniel

PS: I'd certainly recommand staying the night at Kinosaki onsen, this way you can enjoy an Onsen stay, the town has some amazing Ryokan, so this may be your chance to stay at one.

PS2: I would not add a visit to Himeji on the same day as Koya, it just adds too much travel time.

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Daniel-san
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Hi Daniel-san

Thanks sooo much for your suggestion. I truly appreciate it. Just a few quick question:
1. What would be the best option for day 1-6, 14-15 then? To get daily tickets?
2. Since my Okinawa trip is fixed, after day 19 I still have 3 days before going back to Sydney. Is it worth spending time in Ishigaki, or should I go back to Tokyo and explore more? The return tickets will cost almost the same.

Thanks again :)

Von

hui2ong
hui2ong

Hi Von,

1.) I would start using the JR Pass as of day 7 to Nara up-to day 13 and make a day trip with it to Nikko on the last day. This way all expensive rail travel is covered and the rest day 1-6 and 14,15 should not require much.

2.) Good question, I've been to Okinawa a couple of time but not yet to Shigaki, however once you've made such an amazing trip - what could be better than spending a couple of days on a sub tropical island? You can always return to Tokyo at a later date!

Hope this helps too :)
Daniel

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Daniel-san
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Hello!

I have finalised our trip and there has been necessary changes and might affect the type of pass that we gonna use in Japan. Really appreciate your help. Thank you so very much :)

Day 1: Sydney - Sapporo

Day 2: Niseko

Day 3: Furano

Day 4: Sapporo

Day 5-6: Osaka

Day 7-9: Kyoto

Day 10: Kanazawa

Day 11: Takayama

Day 12-16: Tokyo

Day 17-19: Okinawa

Day 20: Kerama Islands

Day 21-22: Ishigaki

Day 23: Okinawa - Sydney

P.S. What's the best way to travel to Kanazawa and Takayama? Those places seem very time consuming when travelled with train/bus. Is it worth hiring car for 2 people for 2 days instead?

regards,
Ivona

hui2ong
hui2ong

Hi Ivona,

As you may have guessed, with the changes to your itinerary it would be better to just buy normal tickets for your travel as you don't do enough travel for a JR Pass to pay off.

For travel to Kanazawa and Takayama, I think going there by rail is way faster than by car. Especially Kyoto - Kanazawa. You could consider a car between Takayama - Kanazawa, especially if you wish to make a stop at Shirakawago.

Have a great trip,
Daniel

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