questions & answers: itinerary check

help with 18-day itinerary?

Help with 18-day itinerary?

Day 1 - Tokyo
Day 2 - Tokyo
Day 3 - Tokyo
Day 4 - Tokyo
Day 5 - Hakone (activate JR pass?)
Day 6 - Takayama
Day 7 - Takayama to Shirakawago
Day 8 - Shirakawago to Kanazawa
Day 9 - Kyoto
Day 10 - Koyasan
Day 11 - Kyoto
Day 12 - Osaka
Day 13 - Osaka
Day 14 - USJ
Day 15 - Himeji + Okayama Washuzan Highlands on the way to Hiroshima
Day 16 - Hiroshima + Miyajima
Day 17 - Wisteria lane in Kitakyushu (I scheduled this for the second to the last day April 25 so we can have a higher chance to see the Wisteria lane...) + Rabbit island if it can fit this day? +travel back to osaka
Day 18 - fly out KIX

Will a 14-day pass be worth it?

I am also thinking of doing the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route.

I guess it would be better to do it after Kanazawa. So on Day 8, we would stay overnight in Toyama instead of Kanazawa. If we can get an early start the next day, do you think we can make it out to Ogizawa and back to Kyoto via Matsumoto in 1 day?

2nd option is do it on Day 12 and sacrifice our 2 days in Osaka. So on Day 12, we would go to Matsumoto from Kyoto then start at Ogizawa moving west. We might stay overnight in Midagahara and go back to Kyoto the next day.

zrach
zrach

A 14 day pass would certainly pay off if you are going from Tokyo to Kyushu and back to Kansai. You can activate it on Day 5 as you mentioned. But you can't use the JR Pass all the way to Hakone, since there is no JR service there. You can take a bullet train from Mishima to Nagoya, then continue to Takayama.
The following info can help:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5200.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5206.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5210.html

Unfortunately I sorely doubt you can fit in the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine and then do a lot of travel down to Kyoto - just too hectic. Your 2nd idea is better by skipping Osaka - since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can skip it during the daytime anyway. After the temples close in Kyoto around 5 PM, it is easy to zip over to Osaka to spend the evening. Dotonbori in Osaka is a must see place at night:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COJ_MeXbeow

Seeing the city from the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg are also spectacular:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb1wuyAGgyQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AyUZmGbW8g

Going to see the wisteria is very ambitious and I wouldn't recommend doing it unless you can overnight in Kitakyushu - hopefully your flight on Day 18 is not in the morning. First off, you are never going to get there looking for "Wisteria Lane".
It might not be worth the trouble if it's not in bloom, so you should call first.
The place you want to go to is Kawachi Fujien, and it is very time consuming to get to. You can take the bullet train to Kokura, switch trains to go to Yahata, then catch a taxi (pricey) or sneak on a shuttle bus going to a nearby hot spring place, Ajisai no Yu (1X/hour at 25 min after the hour, exc. 2PM). The garden is 400m uphill from the spring. It'd be very hard to squeeze in Rabbit Is. together in one day. But if you overnight in Kitakyushu, nearby Sarakurayama gives a splendid view over the city:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hl1pCW9Ibbk

Kokura Castle is also nice to visit, and going down to Hakata to see the Nanzoin Temple is also marvelous:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT4VQFmHFyM

Good luck.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Thank you for all the advice! Much appreciated!

I will try calling before I go to Kitakyushu but I will be staying overnight in Hiroshima the night before. So the journey there won't probably be too bad I hope. It's the travel back to Kyoto that's going to be long. You're right, I can't fit rabbit island.

Sarakurayama and Nanzoin temple looks wonderful but I won't be able to stay overnight in Kitakyushu. My flight the next day is at noon.

When I am in Tokyo, do I just purchase a Suica card?

Thanks!

zrach
zrach

A Suica card saves you from carrying a bunch of change, but there is no real savings in it. If you are doing some sightseeing in Tokyo, a 3 day subway pass is very economical, though. See:

http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/travel/index.html#anc03

A day trip to Nikko or Kamakura would also be well worth it. There are some regional passes you can use:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3800.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2166.html

Toraneko
Toraneko

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