over 2 years ago
2 responses

In the planning stages of a 21 day trip to Japan in August and pretty much overwhelmed. I thought I had a rough itinerary that looked something like this:
Arrive in Fukuoka via Ferry from Korea (1 night)->
Hiroshima (4 nights one of which in Miyajimaguchi) ->
Kyoto (4 nights) ->
Kanazawa (1 night) ->
Takayama (1 night) ->
Sapporo (3 nights) ->
Mount Fuji (1 night) ->
Tokyo (5 nights)

The thing that is frustrating is I can't figure out if trains are an option on these routes (ie does this route make sense or is there something better). I can't cost compare to see if individual tickets would be better. I'm also worried that availability will be limited. I'd like to have some hotels booked but worried that seats won't be available resulting in missed hotel reservations.

What are peoples thoughts on this? I know people will say cut out the visit up north but the wife really wants to keep it. Anyone have a better 21 day itinerary that gets good variety?

2 posts
over 2 years ago

Just realized moving to Sapporo to the end of the trip doesn't add that much $ on the flight back to the USA but saves a long train ride.

So looking more at a line of travel from the south to the north.

12201 posts
over 2 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi there,

Adding Sapporo near the end of your itinerary does make more sense than a 3 day visit somewhere in the middle. This because it will add a significant amount of travel time, be it by rail or plane. There are generally plenty of seats available and you don't have to worry about them selling out, outside of holiday periods.

Before deciding on a JR Pass, I would recommend to moving more towards a more finished itinerary. Once you know what you wish it visit and when, then it's easier to find if a JR Pass would match.

Having said that, I do like the idea of going up all the way from Fukuoka to Sapporo a lot. Especially since you have 21 days to make a good amount of stops.

You could do something like Fukuoka - Hiroshima - Osaka - Kyoto/Nara - Japanese Alps (Kanazawa and Takayam) - Tokyo - Hirosaki (in Tohoku) - Hakodate (Hokkaido) and then finish in Sapporo. This will give you a good variety of stops, including the modern, traditional, mountain side and country side.

Hope this helps,

1318 posts
over 2 years ago

I agree that moving your visit to Sapporo to either the beginning or end makes more sense. You can cheaply fly there on a low cost carrier like Jet Star from either Fukuoka or Tokyo, saving you from over 12 hours straight of doing nothing on a train. The time allocation for several places also looks too long, but works well if you are considering each area as a base for several local excursions.
For Fukuoka, there are many open parks, shopping, seaside historical areas, and urban neon. See this site as a good guide. Look into a Fukuoka Tourist City Pass also.
You can also see a lot of previews on the best there is to see here. Be sure to see the Nanzoin Temple which is one of Japan's finest yet almost totally unknown to the outside world and just stunning.
Hiroshima also has a number of good places. Miyajima is the most famous, and aside from Hiroshima itself, Onomichi with its temple tour and Kosanji Temple is spectacular. Just beyond Miyajima also lies Iwakuni with its historical bridge and castle on top of the mountain. And if you really want something mind blowing, go see the Akiyoshido Limestone Cave in Yamaguchi - a 300 million year old marvel with an underground river going through.
Three nights for Sapporo is also a bit much, buy you can branch out and see some good sights nearby like Otaru. Tokyo also is rather long - take some day trips also to see Nikko, Hakone, and Kamakura.

In spite of your whole trip being 21 days, I think you will generally find that time flies by very quickly for your trip. Have a great time. Be ready for the extremely muggy and sticky heat of August (except in Hokkaido) - bring enough deodorant and sunblock - you will need both and they are expensive in Japan.

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