questions & answers: itinerary check

18 day itinerary: art, scenery + onsen

18 day itinerary: art, scenery + onsen


I will be visiting Japan for the first time next week and will be there for two and a half weeks. I am concerned my trip may be a little ambitious and don't want to be zooming around and not able to enjoy anything. I like hiking, outdoor scenery, onsen, and art/design. Please let me know what your thoughts are and if you have any suggestions for ways to make it easier.

Day 1: arrive Tokyo in PM, stay in Asakusa
Day 2: Tokyo - tour guide
Day 3: Tokyo - sumo match
Day 4: Tokyo
Day 5: Tokyo - possible trip to Hakone
Day 6: AM train to Matsumoto, buses to Fukuchi onsen, stay at Yumoto Cyouza
Day 7: Fukuchi Onsen to Takayama, Takayama to Yoro Park in Gifu, Yoro to Kyoto, stay in Kyoto
Day 8: Kyoto
Day 9: Kyoto
Day 10: Kyoto - Takeda Castle (day trip)
Day 11: Kyoto - Fukuoka
Day 12: Fukuoka to Kurokawa Onsen in AM, onsen day. Stay in Kurokawa Onsen.
Day 13: Kurokawa Onsen - Takachiho Gorge. Return to Fukuoka and stay for the night.
Day 14: Fukuoka - AM to Naoshima/Teshima. Stay in Okayama.
Day 15: Okayama - Mt Koya. Stay in temple.
Day 16: Mt. Koya - Osaka
Day 17: Free day (Osaka/Kyoto/Tokyo?) - Return to Tokyo in PM, stay in Asakusa
Day 18: Depart in AM

Do days 7, 13, and 14 look like too much? Is it possible to travel from Kurokawa Onsen to Takachiho Gorge and back to Fukuoka on the JR Pass?

Thank you in advance for your suggestions!


Hello and welcome to the Forums!

Looking at your itinerary I share your concern about things "being too busy". Especially day 7 and 14 seem a bit excessive to me. If possible consider staying in Takayama that night and then traveling on to Kyoto the next morning.
On day 14 I would do the same and stay the night at Naoshima (it's a great experience) then to Koya and spend day 17 maybe in Hakone to enjoy the view of Fuji before going home.

For travel to Kurokawa, for part of the route you will have to use the bus. Which unfortunately is not included in the JR Pass. You can however use the JR Pass to travel to Kamamoto and take the bus from there, this will help you save money on the bus fare.

I hope this helps you with your planning!

Expert button 2

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for your response. Good suggestions.

I guess the problem is that the places I want to go are somewhat inconvenient to get to. I wanted to go to Fukuchi Onsen because I would like to stay at a nice traditional ryokan in a remote mountainous place coming from Tokyo, though now I am realizing it may be too complicated. On day 7, I really want to get to Yoro Park in Gifu, but it seems like a very long trip with a bus and several trains from Fukuchi Onsen. Maybe I should consider staying in Gero Onsen or somewhere closer to Gifu on Day 6 and skipping Takayama/Fukuchi Onsen altogether.

Do you recommend staying overnight on Naoshima even if I can't swing a stay at the Benesse House?

Thanks for the tip on Kurokawa through Kamamoto.


Hi Again!

I've experienced the same problem numerous times. Looking at a map and thinking, I want to visit this, this, this, than and oh this is cool too. It's all pretty close, then when you look at travel routes it suddenly takes hours because you've got to travel around a mountain range or something. In the end it comes down to making a selection of what you really wish to visit and then plan it in well. For instance visiting a remote Onsen, you could for instance look for a more accessible onsen in Hakone (what could be more Japan than viewing Fuji, drinking sake whilst dreaming away in an onsen?) An other alternative could be Okuhida not too far from Takayama, it's a remote and very beautiful mountainous area.

Maybe I missed this, why don't you think that you can't see the Benesse House? Even so, there is a lot of art on the island and I think it would be something you'd like. In addition the Island itself is very beautiful and you could see the sunrise (or set) from the beach.

Expert button 2

Hi Daniel,

Ah yes, the "map is small" problem. Also it's hard to gauge the travel times in Japan because sometimes you can travel so far in such a short period of time on a Shinkansen, and other times it takes 6 hours to travel a third of the distance. Maps can definitely be deceiving!

Thanks for the tips, I will definitely consider staying in Hakone a night instead. Then I would probably skip Takayama - but I have to accept that I can't do everything in one short trip!

I would like to stay at the Benesse House, but it is booked the night I'm planning on being there, so I was going to go to Naoshima + Teshima during the day and then stay in Okayama that evening to get a little closer to Koyasan where I'll be heading the next day.


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