I'll be doing a solo 3 weeks backpacking trip through the Kansai region and Tokyo coming Nov-Dec. Some comments on whether the following itinerary is doable or areas to improve on will be really helpful.
Fri: 20Nov2015: Touchdown Osaka 10pm
Sat: 21Nov2015: Osaka sightseeing
Sun: 22Nov2015: Osaka sightseeing
Mon: 23Nov2015: Osaka sightseeing
Tue: 24Nov2015: Morning travel from Osaka to Koya San, one night temple stay
Wed: 25Nov2015: Afternoon travel from Koya San to Okayama, one night stay at Okayama
Thu: 26Nov2015: Afternoon travel from Okayama to Naoshima
Fri: 27Nov2015: Naoshima sightseeing
Sat: 28Nov2015: Afternoon travel to Hiroshima
Sun: 29Nov2015: Hiroshima day trip to Okunoshima
Mon: 30Nov2015: Hiroshima day trip to Miyajima
Tue: 01Dec2015: Afternoon travel from Hiroshima to Kyoto
Wed: 02Dec2015: Kyoto sightseeing
Thu: 03Dec2015: Kyoto day trip to Nara
Fri: 04Dec2015: Kyoto sightseeing
Sat: 05Dec2015: Kyoto sightseeing
Sun: 06Dec2015: Morning travel from Kyoto to Kanazawa, one night stay at Kanazawa
Mon: 07Dec2015: Afternoon travel to Takayama, one night stay at Takayama
Tue: 08Dec2015: From Takayama, take a tour bus to Shirakawa Go and Gokoyama, return to Takayama and travel to Tokyo
Wed: 09Dec2015: Tokyo sightseeing
Thu: 10Dec2015: Tokyo day trip to Hakone
Fri: 11Dec2015: Tokyo day trip to Mt Fuji
Sat: 12Dec2015: Tokyo day trip to Nikko
Sun: 13Dec2015: Tokyo sightseeing
Mon: 14Dec2015: Evening flight back home.
I have a couple of worries regarding the above itinerary
1: Is it too fast/pack to enjoy each location?
2: Is the 21 days JR pass required?
3: Will there be any issue with connecting to the trains and ferries (will do further research on this as well)?
3: Are thicker clothes required (would really like to travel light)?
Would really appreciate any guidance/help here.
Thanks so much!
over 1 year ago
I think that you've got your itinerary pretty much complete. I read your whole itinerary and don't see any troubles with the route, there's also no expressive travel time and difficult connections, although vising Shirakawago and traveling to Tokyo on the same day does seem busy,
You could either go for a 14 or 21 day JR Pass. From 25Nov2015 to 08Dec2015 is exactly 14 days and you would cover most of your travel with a 14 day JR Pass. At the same time, a 21 day JR Pass would also pay of quickly, as the upgrade for the 7 extra days is only 12,960yen. A side trip to Nikko will nearly pay for this alone.
The ferry to Naoshima and Miyajima are pretty frequently and you won't have any trouble getting to both islands.
As for clothing, Tokyo/Kyoto can have snow in December and it can get could. I would at least pack one set of warm clothing, or be open to buying them here in Japan.
Only you can decide if it is too fast paced for you - I think if you don't linger you can handle it though. That said, 3 whole days in Osaka is too much and you can see some other nearby sights that are worth visiting, like Himeji or even Hikone. It'll take 4 hours to get from Koyasan to Okayama, so start early that day. Okayama has some good places, including its castle, plus one of Japan's Top 3 Gardens, Korakuen, plus another beautiful garden, Handayama. You could even extend your trip a bit to Kurashiki, or a beautiful half-day hike up Konpirasan in Kotohira.
Lastly, both Hakone and the Fuji 5 Lakes are nice, although Fuji is the same though. You might consider picking one and using the other day to see Kamakura/Enoshima.