questions & answers: itinerary check

central honshu travel

Central Honshu Travel


We will be travelling to Japan in October 2016 as a family with a 2-year old toddler. Our main interest is to go to Hokkaido and Central Honshu. In Hokkaido, we are planning to go to Sapporo, Otaru, Furano and maybe Hakodate. From Hokkaido, we are planning to travel to Tokyo and onwards to Takayama (stay the night here), Matsumoto, Karuizawa (stay the night here), Ikaho (stay a night or two here) and Shirakawago. We are also hoping to go to Nikko and Yokohama as day trips and Hakone (day trip or stay a night). We will be flying out from Tokyo at the end of the trip.

Please help us with below so that we can understand the flow of the travel and plan the pace because we are travelling with a toddler:

1) In Hokkaido, is Hakodate a recommended place to visit? We put this as one of our possible travel place is because it is nearer to Tokyo than Sapporo.
2) How can we link and travel from Tokyo to the places mentioned above? We aren't sure if we should travel from Tokyo to Takayama or Ikaho as our first stop and from the first stop how to travel to the other destinations.
3) Is a travel pass recommended for this travel?

Thank you very much for taking time to assist with above questions.



Hi Misty,

1.) Hakodate is a nice place to visit, though 1 day is likely enough to see the city. Going up to mount Hakodate and visiting fort Goryokaku are the main sightseeing spots. Hakodate is also a harbour town and you can eat some really fresh Sushi and Sashimi there.

2.) I recommend learning to plan with Hyperdia this way you can find any route/time table and more. Its a great tool for planning with the JR Pass. We also have a useful interactive map with all JR lines included. Do you know where you will start?

3.) Certainly, a JR Pass will give you very good savings. Just a return to Hokkaido will pay for the JR Pass.

Hope this helps,


Hi Daniel,

Many thanks for your valuable advice.

1) For Hokkaido, we are planning to stay 4 nights at Sapporo (trying not to tag our two luggage around too much) with day trips to Furano/Biei and Otaru.

(A) We are still considering whether to make a day trip to Jozankei and/or Lake Toya - not sure these two places are suitable for traveling with our 2-year old or not. (B) We are still thinking whether to go and stay a night at Noboribetsu or not for the same reason before traveling from Sapporo to Hakodate (to stay a night here).

2) After Hokkaido, we will head to Tokyo. I guess the route can be like this: Tokyo > Ikaho (stay a night) > Takayama (stay 2 nights) > Matsumoto (day trip from Takayama) > Shirakawago (day trip from Takayama) > Karuizawa (stay a night) > Tokyo.

(D) Please advise if the above route is planned in a correct order. (E) We are only interested in visiting the castle in Matsumoto, so will it be feasible to visit it then move on to Karuizawa? (F) What kind of JR passes will be suitable for us for this travel? We won't be returning to Hokkaido for our flight out of Japan - will fly from Tokyo.

Thanks again,


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