questions & answers: itinerary check

seeking advice on a rough itinerary (2+ weeks)

Seeking advice on a rough itinerary (2+ weeks)

Hello, everyone!

I'm happily returning to Japan next month for my first visit since 2008. And I'm hoping to solicit some expert advice on the viability (and advisability) of my rough draft itinerary.

I will be in the country for 16 full days, plus an evening in Tokyo at the beginning and a morning in Tokyo at the end. My travel companion and I will be backpacking light. I was not able to make it to Kyushu last time, so I'd like to see as much of it as I can while still hitting the highlights of western Honshu.

Here is what I have workshopped so far:

MAR 26: USA > Tokyo
MAR 27: Tokyo
MAR 28: Tokyo (Nikko day trip)
MAR 29: Tokyo > Nagano (may cut out Nagano this trip since it's a bit of an outlier)
MAR 30: Nagano (or Tokyo) > Hakone
MAR 31: Hakone > Nara > Osaka
APR 1: Osaka > Kyoto
APR 2: Kyoto
APR 3: Kyoto
APR 4: Kyoto
APR 5: Kyoto > Himeji > Miyajima > Hiroshima
APR 6: Hiroshima > Fukuoka > Oita (or possibly Beppu or Yufuin, still figuring out logistics of this travel day)
APR 7: Oita (Beppu/Yufuin) > Nagasaki
APR 8: Nagasaki > Kumamoto
APR 9: Kumamoto > Kagoshima
APR 10: Kagoshima > Yakushima
APR 11: Yakushima > Kagoshima > Tokyo (via domestic flight)
APR 12: Tokyo > USA

I would also love to see Takayama and/or Kanazawa, but I don't think I can work them in without cutting destinations or unwisely cramming (even more than it already is). I realize this itinerary is probably less idyllic than is optimal, but I'm really trying to see as much as possible this time around since I don't know when I'll be able to return again.

So if any experts have the time to weigh in, I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions or criticism to this tentative plan.



Hi there,

That does indeed sound very busy. I've made similar trips but I can also tell you that it sometimes is nice to linger somewhere longer longer and really get a feel of the atmosphere, locals and day dream away from everything.

On a bit more practical note, I do think removing Nagano makes sense. I am not sure why you would add a day trip there. You could (if you are a bit crazy) visit Kanazawa instead and travel via Takayama to Kyoto.

For travel in Kyushu, I think it would make most sense to travel via Yufuin. You could use the Yufuin no Mori train from Hakata to Yufuin and its a very nice route to travel..

Hope this helps,


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