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17 days itinerary 2018/10/8 04:43
Hello everyone! I am planning an itinerary for a first visit with my husband for next spring. I would very much like some help, please. For now, it looks like this:
March 30 (arrive at night) - April 4 > Tokyo. Day trips to Nikko and Kamakura.
4 - 5 > Hakone
5 - 9 > Kyoto
9 - 10 > Nara
10 - 11 > Koyasan
11 - 12 > Osaka
12 - 13 > Takayama (or Kanazawa)
13 - 14 > Shirakawago
14 - 15 > Kanazawa (or Takayama)
15 - 16 > Fuji 5 Lakes
17 > Tokyo (leave at night)

The questions:
- How does it look? Does the order make sense?
- Is there someplace we should really go and is not there?
- Kanazawa and Takayama: which day is best?
- JR Pass: worth it? If I buy the 14-day, when is it the best time to activate it?
- From the 16 to the 17, is there anywhere I could visit to enjoy this last day, instead of spending the night in Tokyo again?

Thank you so much in advance!
by lolabnana  

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/9 03:47
Your day time (?) itinerary looks very reasonable. The question is: where are you staying the night? If stated destinations are also where you are spending the night, then I think you are moving too much. For example: For the Nara day, you don't have to check out of your hotel in Kyoto and make the Nara a day-trip from Kyoto. Likewise for your Kanazawa/Shirakawa-go/Takayama segment, pick one place as a base (Kanazawa makes sense to me, for the transportation convenience) and make day-trips to other 2 places.

by O92 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/9 04:03
Thank you for the reply! I was thinking of spending the night as well as the day in each of these cities... Didn't think it would be complicated, I thought it might be better because we wouldn't spend more time and money on the jouney back to base. You say that because of luggage transport each time we leave for the next city?
by lolabnana rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/9 06:57
March 30 (arrive at night) - April 4 > Tokyo. Day trips to Nikko and Kamakura.
4 - 5 > Hakone
5 - 10 > Kyoto (with days trips to Nara and Osaka)
10 - 11 > Koyasan
11 - 13 > Kanazawa
13 - 15 > Takayama (Shirakawago on the way from Kanazawa as day trip)
15 - 16 > Fuji 5 Lakes
17 > Tokyo (leave at night)

I rejigged your itinerary to remove so many hotel changes.

You don't need a JR pass. Hakone (Odawara) to Kyoto, and Osaka to Kanazawa are the only trips you'd use JR. Otherwise it is non JR services like buses and private railways.

Personal opinion though is that you are trying to see too much and travel around to too many locations for just 17 days. I think that is why you are finding it complicated to organize. It is a lot of traveling, so it limits you time at each location.

Even just taking out Koyasan frees up 1.5 days due to long travel times etc. And you only need 1 night in Kanazawa due to reduced travel time on arrival day.

I would omit some of the locations that take up huge chunks of travel time to make you stay are other locations more enjoyable.
by hakata14 rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/9 10:49
Great, this really looks a lot better! I usually travel at a fast pace, but I will surely consider your suggestion and will think about removing a destination. I could maybe skip Osaka as I tend to enjoy small cities more. I really want to visit Koyasan and spend a night at a temple there. And I wanted to stay the night at a gassho in Shirakawago. But I will rethink my priorities. Thanks a lot!
by lolabnana rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/9 16:17
But it's ok if you are a fast traveller. I am a fast traveller myself, and unlike my brother who likes to relax on visits aboard, I like to see as much as I could, and I get so excited that I don't get tired easily. So it depends on what kind of person you are. If you like to see lots of things and don't mind travelling a fast-paced itinerary, then don't change it!
by catiasmteixeira rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/10 01:19
I agree with the last poster.
As long as youfre fine with travelling light, your itinerary looks fine to me.
Staying a night in Shirakawa is a lovely thing to do. You have it to yourself when the day tourists have gone home. I also think Nara is nice in the evening for the same reason.
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/10 05:57
Thank you so much for offering different perspectives! I had read in blogs about staying the night at these cities where people usually go to day trip, because it lets you enjoy them without huge crowds... I will change my luggage planning, though, as I've seen that in the trains there is not much space for large bags.

As to the JR Pass is it not worth it then, for the original itinerary?
by lolabnana rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/10 07:32
Not sure if using the JR pass will benefit your itinerary, because, for example, the JR Pass doesn't cover your way into Mt. Koya (you must buy tickets or buy the Koyasan World Heritage Pass). Also, the JR Pass doesn't cover the transport to Shirakawago, but the Hokuriku Pass does. You also have the Hakone pass (you depart from Tokyo Shinjuku to Hakone). Therefore, you need to check the prices and see what's worth, but seeing that the JR pass doesn't work for some of the locations, I would recommend the JR regional passes. You could buy the ones I mentioned (where JR pass doesn't work), and buy the Kansai Area Pass (you can choose 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days) to travel between Kyoto, Osaka, Nara...
I hope it helps you. Enjoy your trip!!!
by catiasmteixeira rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/10 07:40
Sorry, I forgot to say that it's better for days 12-13 to start with Kanazawa, since it's closer and faster to reach from Osaka instead of Takayama. Because if you start to Takayama, you'll only go backwards if you know what I mean. And the journey from Kanawaza to Fuji 5 lakes will take longer than from Takayama, which you can catch fast trains to Nagoya.
Enjoy!!!
by catiasmteixeira rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/10 08:05
Original itinerary doesn't require a nation wide JR pass. As still the only long distance JR travels are Odawara to Kyoto and Osaka to Kanazawa/Takayama.

The rest is non JR buses or private railways.
by hakata14 rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/11 22:07
Great, thanks everyone for the help! I'll do some research on the regional passes and find out what is best.
So, back to the original itinerary. I've got one day in which I can't decide on what to do. I don't really want to go back to Tokyo and spend another day there... I could extend my stay on one of the cities in the middle of the itinerary (for exemple Takayama, which I think I'll love). Or I could go someplace else. Any suggestions?
The itinerary:
March 30: Tokyo (arrive at night)
April 1 - 4 > Tokyo. Day trips to Nikko and Kamakura.
4 - 5 > Hakone
5 - 9 > Kyoto
9 - 10 > Nara
10 - 11 > Koyasan
11 - 12 > Osaka
12 - 13 > Takayama (or Kanazawa)
13 - 14 > Shirakawago
14 - 15 > Kanazawa (or Takayama)
15 - 16 > Fuji 5 Lakes
16 - 17 > ?
17 > Tokyo (leave at 19:30 from Haneda)
by lolabnana rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/11 22:28
I will suggest something, but it's up to you to decide. Since you're going almost the full month of April, why not going to Toyama to the Alpine route? There is one place I would love to go (I'm going to Japan next month but I won't be able to go because it's closed), is the Tateyama Snow Corridor. It looks so magestic!!! And since it's not far from Kanazawa and it opens around April 15th, it could be a lovely day trip.
Other suggestion would be going to Nagoya after visiting Takayama, it would be a lovely day trip as well.
by catiasmteixeira rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/11 23:35
I forgot to say that there is a festival in Takayama in mid-April. You need to search for information, I heard hotels get booked early, and transport is quite crowded since many people stay in Kanazawa or Nagoya and make Takayama day trip. I would suggest to sleep in Takayama while the festival is going on.
by catiasmteixeira rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/12 21:29
Wow, I just saw that the spring festival in Takayama is being held at the same exact days I had planned on staying there! From April 14-15. This is so amazing! I even have pre-made reservations... I still can't believe my luck ˆˆ
Thank you so much for all of the suggestions, I will research about the Alpine Route. I started to try to include someplace accessible from Kyoto, like a trip to Himeji, or even to Miyajima Island, but this one seems so far away, it may be unwise to lose all that time traveling. I also think I'm going to make Osaka a side trip from Kyoto, rather than spending the night there.
by lolabnana rate this post as useful

Re: 17 days itinerary 2018/10/12 23:10
A good day trip from Kyoto (besides Nara of course) is Uji. Uji is famous for the matcha tea and the perfect place to try matcha noodles and lots of matcha food, including dessert. I'm going there next month and I can't wait to buy matcha goods. It's a very peaceful town, with a beautiful temple and history/museum about The Tale of Genji (if you're familiar with).

And I'm glad about your days at Takayama will be when the festival is on. You're lucky!!! And I hope you enjoy your trip!!! Have lots of fun!!!
by catiasmteixeira rate this post as useful

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