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2 week plan -Tokyo - Alps - Osaka - Kobe - Hiroshima - Kyoto

over 2 years ago
3 responses

Hi there. Me and my partner ( both in our late 20s ) will be traveling to Japan for the first time in November for 2 weeks. I've started planning our route to experience both the bright lights and modern side of Japan as well as the more traditional and scenic side.

I have a rough itinerary but any extra input / ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Because of a great deal we got on the flights we are fixed on our arrival and departure dates. Nothing but the flights have been booked but we would like to start confirming accommodation shortly.

31st Oct - Arrive Narita 19.30pm transfer to Tokyo.
1st Nov - Tokyo full day
2nd - Tokyo full day
3rd - Tokyo full day
4th -Tokyo full day / possible day trip ( Nikko / Disney )
5th - Tokyo to Alpen route ( Shinjuku - Shinano omachi ) Night in Alps?
6th - Finish Alpen route then head to Takayama ( via Toyama or Kanazawa?)
7th - Takayama to Osaka
8th - Osaka to Koyasan
9th - Koyasan to Kobe
10th - Kobe - Himeji - Hiroshima
11th - Hiroshima - Miyajima - Kyoto
12th - Kyoto full day / possible day trip (Nara?)
13th - Kyoto
14th - Kyoto to Tokyo - Depart Narita 22.00pm

We are not novice travelers but are aware that Japanese travel can sometimes be confusing given the language barrier and the complexity of the whole travel system so any hints or tips would be helpful.

Is this itinerary pushing things too far in regards to travel time between places and time spent in location? Especially from the 7th til 11th?

Is the 14 day JR pass the best option here, not activating it until day 2 in Tokyo ( Narita express to Tokyo to begin then use JR pass to return ) or would a 7 day JR pass with maybe an area pass work better? I am aware that the Alpen route and Koyasan route are not covered by the JR pass but everything else should be fine?

I have tried to do as much research into things to see and do but its a never ending challenge. Japan has so much to offer and we can't wait.

Many regards, Shayn.

12267 posts
over 2 years ago
Expert button 2

Hello Shayn,

Visiting Japan can indeed take a fair amount of research beforehand, I am glad to see that you are taking your time for it.

Given the amount of travel, I would recommend using a 14 day JR Pass and use it for the last 14 days of the itinerary (include travel back to Narita Airport) this would give you the best savings and pretty much everything would be covered.
If you are planning to do the Alpine route, consider making a stopover at Wiki Voyage, the castle if beautiful and there are amazing hikes to be made, especially if you visit the close by Kamikochi.

As for travel to Takayama, you'll finish the route near Tateyama. The route would look something like this.

The rest looks very good, love the inclusion of Hiroshima and Miyajima, also the added visit to Koyasan is nice. Staying the night is especially good. Travel between the 7th - 11 is indeed somewhat busy and you won't get too see much of Osaka but you get to see a lot of other good stuff in return.

Is there any specific part you'd like feedback on?

Hope this helps!

1318 posts
over 2 years ago

I think it is doable if a lot of your long distance travel is done at night after the sun goes down. Days 10-11 is pushing it but it is up to your interests and travel pace. A 14 day pass for covering such distances would serve you pretty well over all. You could not use it to go both to/from Narita, but a 1000 yen bus for one of the ways is not costly. For Koyasan, look into a Koyasan World Heritage Ticket . For Tokyo, IMHO 3 days is quite enough. Definitely go see Nikko, and you can use the Pass to enhance your savings further. A day trip to Hakone, the Fuji 5 Lakes, or Kamakura would also be really good.
And definitely don't miss Nara on your 12th day - you could do a half or full day. Nara Park has most of the best places - the Todaiji Temple is magnificent, and Kofukuji Temple and Kasuga Shrines are also worth seeing. Two gems often bypassed are the Isuien and Yoshikien Gardens.
You may not be able to see all that is in Hiroshima City, but most people see the Peace Park, Castle, and Shukkeien Garden. If you have a bit of time, try the okonomiyaki at Okonomiyaki Mura by the downtown shopping arcade. You can fit in a lot if you start very early that day.
Your final day, you can still see some places in Kyoto in the morning or early afternoon, but you should be on the train to Tokyo between 3:30 or 4 at the very latest to get your flight.

Best of luck!

3 posts
over 2 years ago

Hey! Thanks for the feedback, really is appreciated.

Yeah I had thought about a stop in Matsumoto to view the castle but due to quite a busy schedule I thought it might be too rushed, do you think it is possible to view in a few hours then continue into the Alps?

Yes that's the route I'd researched from Tateyama mountain to Takeyama, great!

And we'll be sure to check what Nara has to offer.

And I am now thinking of maybe a day less in Tokyo or Kyoto to spend longer in an other location ( either Osaka or Kobe? ) but this might change when I do more research on sights and things to do. And the best nightlife?

Hiroshima wasn't really a must but given we will probably have the 14day JR pass and it's proximity to Miyajima then seems a waste to not do at least do a quick visit.

I'm so glad our initial itinerary works out fairly well, just a few tweaks needed.

Many thanks, Shayn

12267 posts
over 2 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi Shayn,

The nightlife in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka is all good. I haven't seen much of it in Kobe but it may just be a blast as well.

Also think it would not be practical to just head a couple of hours to Matsumoto, in that case it is better to skip it and travel on right into the Alps.

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