Itinerary advice please
Hi, I'm now drafting my itinerary.
ALSO: should I make reservations for the train? Are there bits that are not covered by my railpass?
22/7 FIXED DATE arrive in Narita in the late evening, sleep in Tokyo
23/7 Go from Tokyo to Kyoto. I have already visitid Nijo Castle, the golden pavilion, the temple with the thousend torii, Tenjuri Temple, Monkey Park and bamboo grove. This time I would like to explore Gion and the philisophers path and some temples or markets. Maybe visit the Gion Corner performances. Other suggestions are welcome. I suppose I best look for a place to stay near Gion.
24/7: FIXED DATE Kyoto: Ato Matsuri Latter Festival Yama & Hoko procession or Hanagasa Flower Hat Procession. I thinks the last one might be most fun?
Later go to Osaka for Tenmangu Jinja festival. In what area should I sleep?
25/7 FIXED DATE Osaka: I would like to visit the castle, Namba Yasaka shrine, the aquarium and Dotonburi. Maybe do the caste and the aquarium during the day, Dotonburi in the evening and the Namba shrine the next morning?
26/7 leave Osaka and go to Himeji
27/7 FIXED DATE: Tokyo
28/7 Tokyo to Mount Koyasan
29/7 Koyasan to Hida Takayama, Kyoto or ???
30/7 Kyoto or Hida Takayama or ???
31/7 Kyoto or Hida Takayama or ???
2/8 FIXED DATE Tokyo: maybe a daytrip? Cool suggestions for Tokyo are welcome. I've done a lot of the touristy thingies already.
3/8 Leave from Narita
Should I add another day in Kyoto? I want to go to Hida Takayama for two days but don't know when is best to plan it. Maybe I should add another town? Here is what I've already visited that I did not mention before: Nara, Nikko, Mt Fuji, Hakone. I would have loved to visit an onsen town but I not allowed due to health problems. I leave the country from Narita.
Advice is very much appreciated!
Since there's so much in your itinerary. let's go trough it all step by step.
Starting in Kyoto, you could pretty much stay anywhere in the center of Kyoto for easy access to Gion, Nishiki market and buses to anywhere else in the city. The parades you plan to see are all part of the greater Gion Matsuri and they are all well worth seeing. Then going on to Osaka, you could either stay in Kyoto as both cities are only 30 minutes apart by rail. At the same time, I see you plan to stay a couple of days in Osaka. In that case it is also nice to stay in the Namba area of Osaka. This is also within walkable distance of Shinsai Bashi/Dotonbori and the area is also amazing to visit in the evening.
Then on to Tokyo, for a quick visit. This does add a good amount of extra travel since you'll be going back to Kansai later on but I understand the fixed dates. It does not matter that much where you stay but I would recommend staying somewhere near the Yamanote line for easy access to Akihabara and Shinjuku. Shinjuku is also a good place to stay, although I would avoid the Kabukicho area.
From Koya-san I think going to the Japanese Alps would be nice, you could for instance do Takayama - Shirakawago - Kanazawa or just Takayama and Kanazawa. These are both great places to visit and traveling to them is also nice. I would advise traveling to Takayama via Nagoya as this is a very beautiful train ride. You can then also use the newly opened Hokuriku Shinkansen to Tokyo later on.
For day trips from Tokyo, there's a lot you could do.One day trip that comes to mind is Yokohama and see the local Chinatown, a bit further but also amazing is the Izu Peninsula, it has an amazing coast line. A bit north of Tokyo, near Sendai is Matsushima which is also amazing to see. Something completely different you could consider is just take a couple of random trains within or outside of Tokyo and see what you encounter. This is a great way to just see daily life in Japan.
Hope you find this useful,
Order your Japan Rail Pass Online
Starting from $254.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel