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Japan in 5 weeks with a baby

over 2 years ago
3 responses

Hi there,

My wife and I are travel lovers. We have traveled a lot in Asia together.

At the end of October we're going to Japan for 5 weeks. This will be the first time that will travel intercontinental with our baby girl (10 months old by the time we head to Japan). We have taken her (when she was 5 months old) along on a backpacking tour 2 weeks in Sicily which she, and we, did enjoy a lot!

We would love to get some feedback on our global itinerary from you guys.
Suggestions and feedback are more than welcome. The only booked dates are the ones in Tokyo (at the beginning). Apart from that everything is still open. We have a 21 day JR pass.

26-10 Flight
27-10 Tokyo
28-10 Tokyo
29-10 Tokyo
30-10 Kamakura
31-10 Tokyo
1-11 Nikko
2-11 Nikko
3-11 Nagano - Jigokudani (snow monkeys without snow)
4-11 Matsumoto
5-11 Kanazawa
6-11 Takayama
7-11 Kyoto
8-11 Kyoto
9-11 Kyoto
10-11 Kyoto
11-11 Nara
12-11 Koyasan
13-11 Osaka
14-11 Osaka
15-11 Himeji
16-11 Hiroshima
17-11 Hiroshima
18-11 Miyajima
19-11 Fukuoka (maybe)
20-11 Kunamoto (maybe)
21-11 Nagasaki (maybe)
22-11 Nagasaki (maybe)
23-11 Kawaguchiko
24-11 Kawaguchiko
25-11 ?
26-11 ?
27-11 ?
28-11 Tokyo
29-11 Tokyo
30-11 Back to home

All suggestions are welcome (also concerning accommodation, transport en weather). Thanks in advance.



12232 posts
over 2 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi Tim,

I do think that you've already made a very nice itinerary. So my suggestions are just small additions, to make the most of your trip.

I like the idea of spending a couple of days in each place before moving on, some places such as Kamakura and Nara are perfect for day trips. However I do think it would be nice to spend 1 night more in either Kanazawa and/or Takayama. Both places have much to offer and I think it would be nice to have a bit more time in either city.

From there all looks good and I see you plan to head to Kyushu too. Personally I think Kyushu is the best part of Japan and I would also recommend adding a visit there to Kagoshima and the Onsen Town of Yufuin. Though you may run out of the 21 day JR Pass here. So it is important to either plan a route back or look at other options, such as using an additional 7 day JR Pass or a flight back. Going from Kyushu to Tokyo is possible in a single day but takes a lot of time. It is smarter to plan in a stop or two on the way back. You could for instance leave Kyoto/Osaka for the way back or add in other nice stops. Also traveling to Kawaguchiko from a different direction other than from Tokyo is something I would not recommend. There's a lot of extra travel time involved and that is just a waste of time.

Hope this helps,

3 posts
over 2 years ago

Thanks for your reply Daniel!

I'm glad my itinerary makes sense. Does the order of places from Nikko make sense (from Nikko to Nagano, from Nagano to Matsumoto, from Matsumoto to Kanazawa, from Kanazawa to Takayama and from Takayama to Kyoto)?

We think your suggestion about staying an extra night in Kanazawa and Takayama is excellent. We'll add that to our itinerary.

We're still not completely sure about Kyushu (are there enough cultural highlights or stunning Japanese scenery). Why do you think Kyushu is the best part of Japan and we don't want to miss it (we're not into onsens).
We are also thinking about the way back to Tokyo. We're unsure about an extra JR pass or just take a flight back to Tokyo (probably from Kyushu). We could still visit Kawaguchiko from Tokyo at the end of our trip.

Could you give us some advice about clothing during autumn? When I look at the climate tables in Japan in November it seems that the temperatures fluctuate between 7 - 17 degrees Celcius. Is this correct? Do you think we (particularly our baby girl) need winter clothes?

Thanks again and suggestions are still very welcome!

12232 posts
over 2 years ago
Expert button 2

Hello again!

Starting with the weather, Japan is almost 3000km long from Hokkaido to Okinawa, that means there is a large difference in temperature. Not only that, parts closer to the sea are warmer while higher up (such as the alps are a lot colder). That makes it impossible to pack for one kind of weather. I think you should pack your cloths in a flexible way but also be ready to face possible cold.

The route indeed makes sense, there's no straight route in the Japanese alps because you'll be traveling around mountains but you will not be backtracking or adding unnecessary travel time with the current route. Although I would swap Matsumoto and Nagano, this will make the trip faster to Kanazawa. Also you can use the Azusa ltd express train from Nikko this way to Matsumoto. This is a very scenic route to make. So coming from Nikko, take the train to Shinjuku (Tokyo) and from there to Matsumoto.

Personally I think I like Kyushu the best because it is the most laid-back atmosphere in Japan, while there are still large cities such as Fukuoka. I guess it is more a preference for living somewhere than tourism. Still there are amazing places to visit, Nagasaki is among the top. Fukuoka is also a very nice city and you could add a day there, then two in Nagasaki and from there make your way back to Tokyo, with a stop in between. For instance at Himeji, Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka or Nagoya, before returning to Tokyo.

Does that help?

3 posts
over 2 years ago

Thanks for all the help Daniel!

I think the coldest part (of our itinerary) will be the Japanese Alps. After that it shouldn't get (very) colder. ;)
The rest of the time we are south of the alps. What is your experience with the weather in November in Kyoto / Hiroshima?

I'm not able to find the train connection between Nikko and Matsumoto that is faster than Nikko to Nagano (using Hyperdia). Am I missing something here?

Thanks for the thumbs up about Kyushu. What are your favorite places in Nagasaki and Fukuoka?


12232 posts
over 2 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi Tim,

Nagasaki is build around Nagasaki bay and going up the surrounding mountains gives an amazing view of the city and surrounding bay. There is also a lot of Japanese history to be found, such as the local Samurai Houses and Dejime island. In Fukuoka, the city center is just very nice to walk around in and for shopping (Tenjin). Then there is Dazaifu in Fukuoka, this is also a very nice traditional visit.

This is the route to Matsumoto that I was referring to.

Kyoto/Hiroshima are pretty nice in Nov. Not too cold yet :)

It's a bit late - so I hope I got everything :)

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