questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

3rd trip, looking for home base ideas please.

3rd trip, looking for home base ideas please.

l will travel to Japan with 2 others for 2 weeks in early July. Since we only have 2 weeks this trip and our first few days are in Tokyo, I'm looking for a home base for the second week that would be convenient for day trips. We will have the 14 day JR pass.

I have drafted numerous itineraries but all end up with almost daily travel and switching hotels each night. To avoid this, I think a home base would be ideal.

We have used Kyoto and Kanazawa as home bases in the past. This time I am considering Nagano, Nagasaki, Okahama, and Takamatsu. All feedback and recommendations most appreciated, thanks.

Sarahbench
Sarahbench

Hi there,

The first thing that comes in my mind is, have you considered Fukuoka? It makes for a great base to explore Kyushu and southern part of Honshu, especially with the JR Pass. Fukuoka pretty much has everything Tokyo has but at a smaller and more relaxed pace. You can use it to make day trips to places like Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Aso, Beppu, Yufuin, Kumamoto, Kita-Kyushu, Hiroshima, Himeji and more. Personally, I find the JR Kyushu trains some of the best in Japan.

Takamatsu could also be nice for 2-3 days with a site visit to places like Noashime, Teshima or any other of the Shikoku islands.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert button 2

Hi,
I think Kyushu would make an excellent pick, and it is easy to get from Fukuoka to many other parts of the island by bullet train. Many just use it as a jumping off point, but there are some very good places there in addition to great food. Nagasaki is also a must-see place, but more isolated and not the best choice as a base. From there you could see Unzen, as well as Sasebo for the nice island cruise as well as Huis Ten Bosch. Travel by bullet train is quick and easy, and Kumamoto is not far away. They are still rebuilding from the bad earthquake they had, but there is still lots to explore. A lot of the castle was damaged, but the Suizenji Garden is still there and picturesque. Down at the end of the line is Kagoshima with its beautiful and very active Sakurajima and Senganen Garden.

And if you like hot springs, you are in the hot spring capital of the country - there are so many good places - Unzen, Kurokawa, Beppu and Yufuin

Shikoku is an often bypassed place but it to has some good sights. Takamatsu, Kochi and Matsuyama are the more interesting cities, especially in Takamatsu there is the Ritsurin Garden which is one of the best in Japan, plus in Kotohira, climbing up to the Konpirasan Shrine is a spiritual pilgrimage and one of Japan's best half day hikes. Kochi has some gems as well, including one of Japan's best limestone caves to explore at Ryugado plus the tremendous view from Mt. Godaisan and its lovely castle. Matsuyama has its famous Dogo hot springs, original surviving castle and some beautiful coastline. Unfortunately though getting around the island can be very slow - there are no bullet trains and less people means fewer train trips.

I think you'll still find 3 trips to Japan are not enough!

Good luck.

Toraneko
Toraneko

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