questions & answers: general japan travel

kumano sanzan, kanazawa or other place?

Kumano Sanzan, Kanazawa or other place?


I'm planning a 3-weeks trip to Japan, with most of the attentions turned to Kanto and Kansai areas, and i would like to have a second opinion (can't have too many) about Kumano Sanzan. I think it's beautiful but it's kinda time consuming to get to it, and i'm wondering if Kanazawa, Shirakawa-go or Takayama aren't more worth it.
I'll leave a basic plan below to help you analyze what i got going on:

  1. Tokyo (5 days)
  2. Nikko (1 day)
  3. Disneyland (1 day)
  4. Kamakura (1 day)
  5. Fuji sightseeing from Lake Kawaguchiko (1 day)
  6. Kyoto (3 days)
  7. Nara (2 days)
  8. Hiroshima and Miyajima (1 day)
  9. Osaka (2 days)
  10. Koyasan (1 day)
  11. Kumano Sanzan or other (1 day)
  12. Getting back to Tokyo through Narai village (1 day)
  13. Tokyo (final day)

Thank you for you attention!


Hi there,

I have not been to Kumano Sanzan so it is hard to judge if it would be ''more worth it'' than a different place. I must say though that it looks very beautiful from what I read online but do see what you mean with time consuming to get there. It may not be too much however, as you come from Koyasan, which is close in the area.

Otherwise, Kanazawa is also a great visit and easy to access, you can take the Thunderbird Express directly from Osaka to Kanazawa and visit Shirakawa-go from there if you wish.

Your plans works really well for the rest, your longest route will probably be Kawaguchiko to Kyoto so bring a good book for the ride :)

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

A few pieces of advice:

1) For Nara, you're probably better off doing 1 day trip out of Kyoto, unless you really want to see the outlying old temples (Yakushi-ji, Horyuji, etc). It's not too hard to see all of the 'core' stuff in Nara in one day, and then you don't have to move again.

2) I don't quite see how 10, 11, 12, fit together, unless there's a different Narai village. The only Narai I know is the one in the Kiso valley region. It's well worth the stop, but your #2 involves more than 8 hours just of travel time, with lots of transfers! That's an exhausting day; Narai's not worth that, unless you can make more time for it. Matsumoto is nearby, and staying overnight in Matsumoto is well worth it.

3) Hiroshima /and/ Miyajima as an overnight out of Kyoto/Osaka is very tight timing. I've done just Miyajima overnight out of Kyoto, and that was reasonable and satisfying. I would suggest picking one or the other, or adding another day there.

Albert A
Albert A

Thank you for the advice Albert,

i've actually changed the plan to make it more light, by changing Nachi Taisha for Nagoya (and avoiding the long trip around Kii peninsula), and by changing the trip to Narai and then to Tokyo, by going from Nagoya to Magome/Tsumago and then going to Tokyo.

As to Hiroshima and Miyajima i'm not going for everything, i'm inclined to the Torii, the A-Bomb memorial and Peace Park area and probably do a little bit of sightseeing of the castle by night.
It's more doable this way right?


Order your Japan Rail Pass Online

Starting from $255.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel

Please note: we are only able to handle order related enquiries via our online direct support. Commercial advertising is prohibited as per our website terms.