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Views on 16-night itinerary in November 2019/1/19 03:10

I will be coming to Japan with my wife in November 2019 and have put together the below potential itinerary, on which I would love your feedback:

Sat 9 Nov - Tokyo - arrive c. midday after long flight
Sun 10 Nov - Tokyo - explore Tokyo
Mon 11 Nov - Tokyo - explore Tokyo
Tue 12 Nov - Tokyo - explore Tokyo / potential day trip to Nikko or Hakone
Wed 13 Nov - Takayama - arrive c. 1pm, explore the town in afternoon.
Thu 14 Nov - Kanazawa - visit Shirakawa-go in morning then on to Kanazawa and being exploring
Fri 15 Nov - Kanazaawa - explore Kanazawa
Sat 16 Nov - Miyajima - travel to Miyajima and relax in afternoon to enjoy ryokan.
Sun 17 Nov - Okayama - get up early to see Miyajima (Mount Misen, Shrine), then visit Hiroshima in afternoon before going on to Okayama
Mon 18 Nov - Osaka - visit Korakuen garden in morning, then to Himeji Castle, then to Osaka and Dotonbori area in evening
Tue 19 Nov - Mount Koya - visit Mount Koya / Okunoin
Wed 20 Nov - Kyoto - return to Kyoto via Nara
Thu 21 Nov - Kyoto - explore Kyoto
Fri 22 Nov - Kyoto - explore Kyoto
Sat 23 Nov - Kyoto - explore Kyoto
Sun 24 Nov - Tokyo - return to Tokyo
Mon 25 Nov - fly home

General questions
- are there any parts which feel too rushed to you?
- is there anything you would include / leave out instead?
- is there anything you would re-order to have better chance of seeing peak autumn leaves?

Specific questions
- 17 Nov - should I stay in Okayama or Kurashiki ... or Hiroshima to give me extra time to see Miyajima/peace memorial during the day?
- 20 Nov - is it feasible to visit Nara on the way back to Kyoto from Mount Koya?
- I considered going to Tsumago. The way I would do this would be to go there straight after Tokyo (before Takayama) but would probably mean leaving the nights in Miyajima/Okayama out and having extra day in Kyoto instead (otherwise I think it would be too rushed?) - which route option would you do?

Any other comments / tips very gratefully received!

Many thanks in advance,

by GDL (guest)  

Re: Views on 16-night itinerary in November 2019/1/19 11:43
Go straight from Tokyo to Kanazawa, and visit Takayama as a day trip from Kanazawa. Tokyo and Kanazawa are directly connected by the Hokuriku shinkansen. This will also save you moving hotels once.

Kanazawa to Miyajima will be a long journey, and difficult with luggage. It is also very expensive to stay on Miyajima, especially during the autumn colour season. I would stay in Kyoto or Osaka first, then stay two nights in Hiroshima (one day for the city, one day for Miyajima). Then visit Okayama as a stopover on your way back to Kyoto or Osaka.

Koyasan to Nara is also a long trip, again difficult with luggage. Visit Nara as a day trip from Osaka or Kyoto.

Make use of the luggage forwarding system. When you are spending only a few nights in places, send your luggage ahead of you and just take a small bag. E.g. When travelling to Koyasan, send your luggage ahead to your next hotel, and take an overnight bag to Koyasan. Your hotel/hostel can help with the forms and delivery.

Tsumago is out of the way compared to your other destinations. If you did visit it, I would advise stopping in Nagoya (between Tokyo and Kansai) or Matsumoto (between Tokyo and Kanazawa), and walking the Nakasendo route between Magome and Tsumago, and staying overnight in one of the two post towns. This will require at least two days, however.
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Re: Views on 16-night itinerary in November 2019/1/19 16:41

Many thanks for your reply, thatfs very much appreciated.

Thatfs an interesting point about staying in Kanazawa and doing Takayama as a day trip - not a bad idea! There were 3 reasons I put a night in Takayama: (1) i read it is one of the best places for onsen ryokans and in fact i found one that i think looks beautiful (Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama). This would be 1 of only 3 ryokan nights in the trip (Takayama, Miyajima, koya) so I would prefer not to lose it. (2) I read the Hida Wide View train ride from Nagoya to Takayama is beautiful and well worth it. (3) I want to try Hida beef (although I guess I could have it for lunch on a day trip). What do you think - are my reasons strong enough or should I go straight to Kanazawa?

On luggage forwarding I was planning on using this extensively and having my big bags transferred from Tokyo -> Kanazawa -> Osaka -> Kyoto -> Tokyo.

Given the above, I would travel to Miyajima only with day bags. On Miyajima again I found a beautiful ryokan (the Iwaso) so I was planning on staying there. Maybe I should do first night on Miyajima and second night in Hiroshima to give me a bit more time, then Okayama and Himeji on route back to Osaka. I want to sleep on Miyajima because then I can beat the tourist crowds both in the morning/at night.

Ok I will probably do Nara as a day trip from Kyoto then.

*** if anyone has any more views on my original itinerary/plan then please let me know - I would love to hear any feedback! ***

Many thanks
by GDL rate this post as useful

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