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Planning a trip to Japan in May 2018/2/9 05:28

Me & my girlfriend are 29 years-old and we are coming to visit Japan for the first time (!) at 4th-26th in May. This is an expensive flight for us as we come from very far.
(We wanted to see the cherry blossom at first but we couldn't find reasonable hotel prices so we gave up on that... Hope it's not too bad and May is also very beautiful).
Our flight lands in Osaka and leaves Japan from Tokyo (Is that a good decision? Could still be changed).

We have the following rough plan but I would love to hear comments for improvements:
* Osaka (1 day).
* Kyoto (3 days).
* Hiroshima (1 day)
* Himeji Castle (1 day)
* Kyoto (1 day)
* Hakona (2 days)
* Tokyo (4 days)
* Niko (1 day)
* Matsumoto (1 day)
* Kamikuchi (1 day)
* Alpine Route (1 day)
* Tokyo (2 day)
(2 days buffer)

Will be glad for any recommendation.
Highlighting recommended interest points in every area and along the way will be best.
(No need to keep days as buffer. It's just our current plan isn't full yet).
Also be glad for insights on where we can see nice nature views on this month.

We are interested in Nature (that is why I am a bit worrying about vising at May),
Temples, Japan culture, and cool stuff in general :)


Is it better to change trip to visit Japan on November instead of May?
by Israel traveller (guest)  

Re: Planning a trip to Japan in May 2018/2/9 11:17
Hi there!

May is my favourite month to travel to Japan - it's not too hot or cold and the days are relatively long. You can head out early (it gets light early in the morning in May) and do a lot of walking/travelling before nightfall. I've been going in May every year for the past few years now.

November is also good, but depending on where you are it starts getting dark early, like maybe 5pm or even earlier.
by Guest (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Planning a trip to Japan in May 2018/2/9 13:01
Your itinerary is a bit jumbled. Here is what I would suggest:

Osaka (1 or 2 days)
Hiroshima (2 days - 1 for Hiroshima, 1 for daytrip to Miyajima)
Kyoto (4/5 days with half-day trip to Himeji and day trip to Nara)
Matsumoto (stay 3 days with day trips to Kamikochi and Alpine Route)
Tokyo (remainder of days; day trip to Nikko and overnight stay in Hakone somewhere in the middle)

Putting Hiroshima between Osaka and Kyoto avoids you returning to Kyoto twice. You could do Himeji as a stopover in between Hiroshima and Osaka or Kyoto (use the luggage transfer system - takkyubin - so you don't have to worry about taking suitcases with you).

Using Matsumoto as a base for Kamikochi and the Alpine Route means not moving accommodations too much. And it's between Kansai and Tokyo, so putting it directly after Kyoto avoids you being in Tokyo twice. You can take a shinkansen from Kyoto to Nagoya, and then an express train from there to Matsumoto. Tokyo and Matsumoto are connected by express train.

Miyajima and Nara are great day trips that you didn't have; they shouldn't be missed!

May should be good weather, but November has the autumn foliage. November will have increased crowds for the autumn colours, but in May you have to watch out for Golden Week (peak domestic travel season, lots of crowded transport). In November, you will also have to take care with the timing of your itinerary, as Kamikochi will close sometime in November for the winter season.
by / (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Planning a trip to Japan in May 2018/2/9 18:35

Thank you all for responding!!
Quick question, Are there more places in the alps we should visit?
Maybe somewhere else in Japan? (We have 5 days without spare)

Thank you
by Shir (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Planning a trip to Japan in May 2018/2/9 19:36
How about in between Kyoto and Matsumoto, visiting the Kiso Valley and doing the Nakasendo walk between Magome and Tsumago? You can stay overnight in traditional post towns.
by / (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Planning a trip to Japan in May 2018/2/10 04:00
Maybe get a decent map of Japan, and some low-adhesive stickers, and put your list of places on it. I think then youfll see that youfre planning to do a few double-backs, which you may want to change.
You can actually get laminated (?National Geographic, perhaps?) maps which you can write on with non-permanent marker pens and then wipe off if you change plans.
Might be helpful? Thatfs what we do for initial planning, and it works for us.
Happy planning...
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Planning a trip to Japan in May 2018/2/10 05:15
You actually could see the cherry blossoms if you want, if you are willing to fly up to Hokkaido. You could get up there on a JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass
or use something like ANA's Experience Japan Fare to Hakodate.

If not, there are still the shibazakura near Mt Fuji.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Planning a trip to Japan in May 2018/2/10 12:01
You asked: Are there more places in the alps we should visit?

Yes, there are plenty of excellent things to see and do!

Start here, where it says "Mountain Areas":

And if you like outdoor activities in any season, contact these folks:

They are just west of Matsumoto, up in the Alps, and can be reached by public transportation:

by Alps384 (guest) rate this post as useful

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