questions & answers: itinerary check

need help with itinerary for 7.5 weeks

Need help with itinerary for 7.5 weeks

I've got my trip for the first part in a good shape already I think, since I was suppose to go this year, but ended up I couldn't. I don't know that much about the area around Tokyo, which makes me feel I can't come up with an itinerary for that area too.
I also don't know if I should get two JR passes, if that's even possible... And for how long time .....
I am pondering about whether to do a trip to Hokkaido for a couple of days by the end as well... I want to visit Kamokochi, but not really sure when to do it, it's not open til 20th April what I know of, so can't fit it in during the Takayama visit (which is during the Takayama festival)...

25-26/3 Tokyo
26-30/3 Okinawa
30/3-2/4 Fukuoka (activate JR pass 2/4)
2-5/4 Hiroshima/Miyajima
5-9/4 Kobe/Osaka (go to see the Japanese 1000 guineas around the 8 April)
9-13/ Kyoto (Nara as a side trip maybe)
13-18/4 Takayama/Shirakawago
18-20/4 Kanazawa
20-24/4 Gujo Hachiman (side trip to Gero)
24-30/4 Nagoya/Gifu/Kyoto (Kamikochi?) (see Tenno Sho in Kyoto 28th April, unless it's a week later)
30/4-16/5 Tokyo (travel to Kamakura, Nikko, Minakami, Hakone? Trip to Hokkaido?)

And does around 800 000 yen sounds like an alright sum of money for 7,5 weeks? After hostels, flights and JR passes is payed.

lillajapan
lillajapan

H there!

It is possible to purchase as many rail passes as you need, but bear in mind that 2x7days costs around the same as 1x21 day pass. That said, lets take a look at your travel in blocks of rail pass validity:

Part 1 - Fukuoka to Tokyo

  1. Hakata > Hiroshima: ¥8900, (69mins, 280km)
  2. Hiroshima > Kobe(hyogo): ¥9210, (119mins, 304km)
  3. Kobe(hyogo) > Osaka: ¥390, (25mins, 33km)
  4. Osaka > Kyoto: ¥540, (29mins, 42km)
  5. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690, (45mins, 41km)
  6. Nara > Kyoto: ¥690, (44mins, 41km)
  7. Kyoto > Kanazawa: ¥6910, (124mins, 224km)
  8. Kanazawa > Takayama: ¥4380, (161mins, 148km)
  9. Takayama > Minoota: ¥4380, (101mins, 109km)
  10. Minoota > Gero: ¥2970, (50mins, 61km)
  11. Gero > Minoota: ¥2970, (52mins, 61km)
  12. Minoota > Nagoya: ¥950, (68mins, 54km)
  13. Nagoya > Tokyo: ¥10780, (106mins, 366km)

TOTAL: ¥53760 for 13 legs

  • 07 day rail pass (¥28,300) saving: ¥25460
  • 14 day rail pass (¥45,100) saving: ¥8660

As you can see, you only do enough travel during the period of 2/4-30/4 to warrant a 14 day pass and must do an extra ¥3940 of JR travel to warrant a 21 day pass. This means that if you are set on this as your itinerary I recommend you should purchase JR tickets for this part of your journey unless you think you'll be doing more travel or need the flexibility to change your plans.

Part 2 - Around Tokyo

Assuming you do a return to Sapporo and fly out of Narita during this period, here are your costs:

  1. Tokyo > Kamakura: ¥2100, (48mins, 51km)
  2. Kamakura > Tokyo: ¥890, (58mins, 53km)
  3. Tokyo > Nikko: ¥5630, (121mins, 150km)
  4. Nikko > Tokyo: ¥5630, (117mins, 150km)
  5. Tokyo > Minakami: ¥6050, (135mins, 164km)
  6. Minakami > Tokyo: ¥6050, (135mins, 164km)
  7. Tokyo > Odawara: ¥3840, (35mins, 83km)
  8. Odawara > Tokyo: ¥1450, (36mins, 83km)
  9. Tokyo > Sapporo(jr): ¥23570, (593mins, 1196km)
  10. Sapporo(jr) > Tokyo: ¥23570, (551mins, 1196km)
  11. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥3140, (58mins, 79km)

TOTAL: ¥81920 for 11 legs

  • 07 day rail pass (¥28,300) saving: ¥53620
  • 14 day rail pass (¥45,100) saving: ¥36820

As you can see you will make significant savings with a 7 or 14 day rail pass during this period. I can certainly recommend a 14 day pass, especially if you do the journey up to Hokkaido.

General Analysis

I think you have a good trip forming. Take care that your itinerary makes sense in terms of transfers (for example it makes more sense to visit Kanazawa before Takayama I think), and also be aware that unless you have specific things to do in both Gujo and Takayama you may be spending too much time in these locations. Overall I think you still have a huge amount of scope for adding more locations to your trip, such as exploring Kyushu, Shikoku and the sea of Japan coast in much more detail. Keep me posted with your plans as you develop them!

Costings

800,000 yen for 7.5 weeks roughly translates to ¥15,000 per day. Assuming that hotels, flights and internal transfers are paid for that will be a good sum of money to spend on sightseeing, and in many areas will be too much. You should expect to spend anything between 1000-2000 per daytime meal, spending around 1000-3000 in the evening for good value to normal restaurants. Of course, it is possible to eat for a lot more than this if you want to, especially if you like sake :). This leaves you with a decent budget of around 10,000 per day for sightseeing, entrance fees and miscellaneous transport, which I think is a very healthy budget and will not be needed most days. To give you an idea of range, on a shoestring you could aim to spend around 2000-5000 per day and still get a lot out of your trip.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

25-26/3 Tokyo
26-30/3 Okinawa
30/3-1/4 Fukuoka
1-4/4 Kagoshima/Nagasaki/Miyazaki
4-7/4 Hiroshima
7-9/4 Kobe/Osaka
9-11/4 Matsuyama/Takamatsu
11-13/4 Kanazawa
13-15/4 Takayama/Shirakawago
15-18/4 Gujo Hachiman (maybe Gero)
18-22/4 Nagoya/Gifu (maybe Kamikochi)
22-28/4 Kyoto (Tenno Sho in Kyoto 28th April, visit to Nara, Koyasan?)
28-29/4 Nagoya
29/4-30/4 Shizuoka
30/4-16/5 Tokyo (Hakone, Kamakura, Nikko, Minakami, Hokkaido?)

I want to fit Takayama in the 14th and 15th April, but I shortened the time there and shortened the time I'll spend in Gujo with one day. I also added Kagoshima/Nagasaki and Shikoku before I go to Takayama and moved Kanazawa to before Takayama. To fit Takayama in 14-15 April I moved Kyoto to 22-28 April, which gives me a lot of time to explore, maybe too much? Might go to both Nara and Koyasan during that time too though. Is there any other recommended side trips close to Kyoto?
On the way back to Tokyo, I'll have a stop in Nagoya, then I'll have one night in Shizuoka.
Is there alright time everywhere? Would 2 days be enough time to spend in Sapporo?
Do all the transfer look sensible?

lillajapan
lillajapan

Hi there,

This is certainly turning into a great great looking trip. Here are some thoughts

Additional stops

  • Ibusuki for hot sand baths
  • Aso for some amazing volcano watching
  • Kurokawa onsen for a fantastic hotspring experience (though more on hotsprings later)
  • Consider staying on Naoshima Art Island. You can get there by ferry from Takamatsu, which after naoshima continues onto Uno on Honshu under Okayama.
  • Kurashiki town
  • Kinosaki onsen - another quaint onsen town easily accessible by rail pass
  • Breathtaking shrines and coastlines of Kumano and Ise
  • Yudanaka while in the Nagano area
  • Towadako, the largest volcanic crater lake in Japan

I've also put these recommendations on a map to give you more of an idea where they are.

Timing

You will spend a long time in Kyoto, but at the same time the Kyoto area can be a good base for exploring Kumano and Ise. You can also spend a nights at Kinosaki onsen which is 2hrs by train on the Japan coast. Of course, you can also visit Nara and Koyasan at this time and I think you'll find all your time is used up :)

From Hiroshima I recommend getting the ferry to Matsuyama on Shikoku, and then travelling round to Takamatsu and back onto Honshu via Naoshima for the most efficient use of your time. After you get back onto Honshu you could head over to Kurashiki or on to Kobe/Osaka as planned.

You could blend your time in Kansai (Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and so on) into one block if you need a break from travelling. Although this means you'll be near enough in one place for close to one week, as I mention above Kansai is a great kicking off point for day trips and it'll stop you needing to move luggage around every few days whilst seeing a lot of the country.

Regarding Sapporo, bear in mind that you'll spend 1 day getting there and 1 day getting back, so would need to allocate at least 4-5 days for this I think.

Hope this helps - am extremely envious!

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mari
Expert_button_2

25-26/3 Tokyo
26-27/3 Shizuoka
27-31/3 Hiroshima/Miyajima
31/3-3/4 Kagoshima/Nagasaki (Asosan and/or Ibusuki)
3-5/4 Fukuoka
5-9/4 Kobe/Osaka (Oka Sho prob 7th April)
9-12/4 Shikoku
12-14/4 Kanazawa
14-16/4 Takayama/Shirakawago
16-19/4 Gujo Hachiman (Gero)
19-23/4 Nagoya/Gifu (Kamokochi?)
23-29/4 Kyoto (Tenno Sho 28th April, visit to Nara, Kumano, Koyasan?)
29/4-3/5 Okinawa
3-16/5 Tokyo (Hakone, Kamakura, Nikko, Minakami)

I think I will skip Sapporo this time, gives me a bit time to relax and really explore Tokyo the last 2 weeks. I'm thinking I might stay on Miyajima instead of Hiroshima while in that area.

I remade it pretty much, I want to fit in Kobe/Osaka around 6-8 April (for Oka Sho, horse racing) and then Kyoto the 28th April (for Tenno Sho) so to fit in Shikoku and Kyushu I moved Okinawa til after I've been to Kyoto. Is it maybe easier to do the trip for Kamikochi from Tokyo?
Does this look alright or would it be easier to go for the earlier itinerary I made and maybe add Shikoku after Takayama? Which trips would not covered by the JR pass?

I'm gonna leave my luggage with my brother who lives in Nagoya, so I might just have a bag for the necessary stuff I need on the way.

lillajapan
lillajapan

Hi there,

Overall the new itinerary looks like a good base. Although you'll go over a 21 day period for the first part of your trip from Shizuoka to Kyoto, travelling the full length of the country will really allow you to dig into the country. For reference, here are the JR ticket costs for this first phase:

  1. Tokyo > Shizuoka: ¥6380, (63mins, 180km)
  2. Shizuoka > Hiroshima: ¥16240, (242mins, 714km)
  3. Hiroshima > Kagoshima: ¥17400, (168mins, 572km)
  4. Kagoshima > Ibusuki: ¥2980, (83mins, 48km)
  5. Ibusuki > Aso(kumamoto): ¥8850, (265mins, 266km)
  6. Aso(kumamoto) > Nagasaki(nagasaki): ¥10230, (234mins, 262km)
  7. Nagasaki(nagasaki) > Hakata: ¥4580, (112mins, 153km)
  8. Hakata > Kobe(hyogo): ¥14470, (189mins, 585km)
  9. Kobe(hyogo) > Osaka: ¥390, (25mins, 33km)
  10. Osaka > Takamatsu(kagawa): ¥8130, (131mins, 255km)
  11. Takamatsu(kagawa) > Matsuyama(ehime): ¥6210, (150mins, 194km)
  12. Matsuyama(ehime) > Kanazawa: ¥17450, (429mins, 658km)
  13. Kanazawa > Takayama: ¥4380, (161mins, 148km)
  14. Takayama > Gero: ¥2390, (47mins, 48km)
  15. Gero > Nagoya: ¥4700, (96mins, 118km)
  16. Nagoya > Kyoto: ¥5640, (37mins, 147km)
  17. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690, (45mins, 41km)
  18. Nara > Kyoto: ¥690, (44mins, 41km)
  19. Kyoto > Shingu: ¥7840, (265mins, 315km)
  20. Shingu > Kyoto: ¥11210, (261mins, 378km)
  21. Kyoto > Kansai airport: ¥3690, (79mins, 99km)

TOTAL: ¥154540 for 21 legs

  • 07 day rail pass (¥28,300) saving: ¥126240**
  • 14 day rail pass (¥45,100) saving: ¥109440**
  • 21 day rail pass (¥57,700) saving: ¥96840**

As you can see there is a lot of scope for saving money with rail passes during this period, even if you were to use 2x21 day passes on your trip. Here are some notes on your route:

  1. Kamikochi is easy to get to from either Takayama or Nagano on the other side of the alps. As you're going to be in Takayama how about using the Nohi buses to get there?
  2. Perhaps spend another day or so in the Kagoshima/Ibusuki/Aso/Nagasaki block
  3. I chose some classic locations in Shikoku for you as you didn't specify exact locations - you should alter these as needed.
  4. Certainly try and stay on Miyajima over Hiroshima. Hiroshima is great in the day but perhaps not as exciting as other Japanese cities such as Fukuoka/Osaka/Kyoto/Tokyo at night.
  5. The main things not included in the JR Pass will be trips to Koyasan from Osaka, and Hakone (from Odawara onwards). You'll need to purchase individual tickets for Metro or non-JR bus travel in many of the locations you visit. For Kyoto be sure to check out the municipal tickets that are available to you.
  6. It is a busy schedule, but you're getting an awful lot out of your trip.

Hope this helps!

Af705d2483ca769d2753af956a5d149b?s=50&d=mm
mari
Expert_button_2

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