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Travel itinerary 2019/2/8 05:50
Hi,
I will be visiting Japan for the first time from May 2nd-22nd 2019 with my boyfriend (I know, it's during Golden Week, but we found quite cheap flights, so we went with it...). We will try to carry only backpacks. For us, it's important to get some good food and try not to stress too much, even if we miss out on Hiroshima. This is our current plan:

Summary:
First 5 nights in Tokyo. No side trips, just discovering Tokyo's different spots during the japanese holidays.
1 night around Kurobe.
2 nights in Takayama, daytrip to Okuhida Onsen.
2 nights in a farmhouse in Shirakawa-go, side trip to Kanazawa.
4 nights in Kyoto, including a side trip to Nara.
2 nights in Osaka.
last 4 nights in Tokyo, side trip to Nikko.
We want to start using the 14 days JR Pass from May 7th-20th and for the rest of the time the Suica Card.

In Detail:
Day 1 (Thu):
- Arrive 12.30 p.m. at Tokyo Haneda. check in at hotel in Asakusa in the early afternoon.
- visit Sensoji Temple, Kaminamiron Gate, Nakamise Street, Dempoin Street and have Dinner in Hoppy Street
Day 2 (Fri):
- get a view of Tokyo either on Mori Tower in Roppongi or the Tokyo Metropolitan Building in Shinjuku
- explore Shibuya and Harajuku, wander through Meiji-Shrine, Yoyogi Park: Would you avoid Meiji Shrine during the spring festival days? (https://www.japanistry.com/event/meiji-jingu-spring-grand-festival/)
- Shinjuku Golden Gai in the evening meeting a friend
Day 3 (Sat):
- either 1) Ueno neighbourhood and National Museum or 2) Odaiba and the Future Museum, maybe Oedo Onsen (in Odaiba there will be the Spring festival during those days)
- maybe take a look at the parade in Fuchu in the evening
Day 4 (Sun):
- look at the Sumo Training (Arashio-beya stables) in the early morning, if possible
- afterwards whole-day visit of the Ghibli museum, Tickets are already reserved
Day 5 (Mon, last day of japanese holidays):
- go to Tsukiji Fish Market in the early morning
- afterwards explore Ginza district
Day 6 (Tue):
- Start using JR Pass 14 days (days before only Suica Card)
- check out at hotel, travel from Tokyo to Kurobe Unazukionsen (stop at Itoigawa for lunch) and check in at the ryokan, take a ride with the Kurobe Gorge Railway
Day 7 (Wed):
- check out at the ryokan and drive to Keyakidaira, spend the day there
- travel to Takayama and check-in there until 7.30 p.m. for dinner
Day 8 (Thu):
- side trip to Okuhida Onsen
- look around Takayama Old Town in the evening
Day 9 (Fri):
- have breakfast at the Takayama Morning Market
- on our way to Shirakawa-go, arrive at the farmhouse until 4.30 p.m. for dinner, look around the village
Day 10 (Sat):
- side trip to Kanazawa to wander around Kenrokuen Garden, lunch break at Omicho Market
Day 11 (Sun):
- travel from Shirakawa-go to Kyoto (going to stop for lunch somewhere)
- visit Ginkakuji Temple, then walk along philosophers path to Higashiyama and Kiyomizudera
- maybe Sanjusangendo Temple, if there's time left
- visit Fushimi Inari Taisha Temple
- check in at our Hotel in Kyoto until 10 p.m.
Day 12 (Mon):
- visit Kinkakuji Temple, walk around Gion neighbourhood, see Nikishi Market (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), relax and eat Kyo-Kaiseki
Day 13 (Tue):
- see the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Tenryuji Temple
- Sagano Scenic Railway
Day 14 (Wed):
- get a glimpse of the Aoi Matsuri Festival in Kyoto
- Side trip to Nara (Todaiji Temple and walk around town)
- check in to Hostel in Osaka in the evening
Day 15 (Thu):
- visit Osaka castle
- spend the rest of the day eating and playing retro games in Dotonburi
Day 16 (Fri):
- after breakfast and check out, take the Shinkansen back to Tokyo
- check in at the hostel in Akihabara
- if there's time visit the Jazz Festival and/or Sanja Matsuri Parade in Asakusa
Day 17 (Sat):
- go to a Sumo fight, if we get tickets
- maybe see some more of Sanja Matsuri Festival
Day 18 (Sun):
- day trip to Nikko (Toshogu Shrine, Taiyuinbyo, maybe visite the Yumoto Onsen in Nikko)
Day 19 (Mon):
- explore Akihabara: Super Potato Retro Games Shop, Yarou Ramen, Gachapon Capsule Toys store
- have a drink at a nice bar in the evening, like Ben Fiddich in Shinjuku
Day 20 (Wed):
- relax and pack the luggage, leave to Haneda Airport where the flight leaves late in the evening

I would like to hear your feedback and suggestions. What do you think about the decision of not visiting Hiroshima and travelling along the Japanese alps? Should I make changes regarding the sequence of places we are visiting? Thank you!
by Anna (guest)  

Re: Travel itinerary 2019/2/8 08:45
The sequence overall looks fine.
It is your trip so itfs perfectly fine to decide not to go to Hiroshima

Day 2 : you will be around Meiji Shrine that day anyway. So look for yourself if you like the festive atmosphere or not.

Day 5: you know that Tsukiji has moved? You can still visit it, but it no longer is in ginza. But not too far either

Day6/7 : I donft understand. In order to get to Keyakidaira you need to take the Kurobe gorge railway. Are you going to take it twice???

Day 9: I found that market very disappointing. But it is in front of a nice old gofficeh building you can visit.

Day 11 seems a bit too full. But you have more days in Kyoto so you can shift things around

Day 15: many people will tell you that there is no need to change hotel between Kyoto and Osaka, as the cities are only 30 min apart (depending where though). But if you want to enjoy nightlife it would make totally sense.

Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Travel itinerary 2019/2/8 09:36
I think you can squeeze your Day19 (Akihabara/Shinjuku/Bar) activities into first five days in Tokyo. Then on Day16 you can go to Hiroshima, instead of going back to Tokyo. If you activate your JR Pass on Day6, you can still use it on Day19 to go for a day trip to Nikko. Two days of Hiroshima would be ideal, but one day is still better than nothing.
by O92 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Travel itinerary 2019/2/8 16:34
I actually overlooked a mistake while writing out the itinerary in detail, which actually makes it 21 days of travel... Day 14 we are still staying overnight in Kyoto, Day 15-17 Osaka (2 nights) and then travelling back to Tokyo, so Day 17-Day 21 we're staying another 4 nights in Tokyo.
After checking out in Kyoto on day 15, we could make a daytrip to Hiroshima and check in at our Osaka hostel in the evening. The problem with postponing our return to Tokyo is that I would like to spend 2 nights in Osaka and also the Sumo fight on Day 18 would start early in the morning, so we would like to be back in Tokyo the evening before.
by Anna (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Travel itinerary 2019/2/8 21:13
Thank you, LikeBike, that was very helpful!

Day 5: you know that Tsukiji has moved? You can still visit it, but it no longer is in ginza. But not too far either
Yes, I am aware it has moved since last year, but thank you for pointing it out.

Day6/7 : I donft understand. In order to get to Keyakidaira you need to take the Kurobe gorge railway. Are you going to take it twice???
Because the tickets are not overly expensive, we thought that we might just drive a short distance with the Kurobe Gorge Railway (e.g. up to Kuronagi) on the first day and head back. The next day, we will take our time and drive all the way to Keyakidaira to spend a few hours there.

Day 9: I found that market very disappointing. But it is in front of a nice old gofficeh building you can visit.
That's a shame...did you eat something there and if so, how was it?

Day 11 seems a bit too full. But you have more days in Kyoto so you can shift things around
You're probably right, I guess we will have to change it!

Day 15: many people will tell you that there is no need to change hotel between Kyoto and Osaka, as the cities are only 30 min apart (depending where though). But if you want to enjoy nightlife it would make totally sense.
We would indeed like to experience the nightlife in Osaka :-)
by Anna (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Travel itinerary 2019/2/8 21:44

Day 9: I found that market very disappointing. But it is in front of a nice old gofficeh building you can visit.
That's a shame...did you eat something there and if so, how was it?


No, I think they only sold like some vegetables, miso, pickles and things like that. Have a look at these pictures: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5907.html

Not sure where you are from, but if you envision a market like in France on a market square, you'll be disappointed. You can get breakfast somewhere else, have a stroll over the market (10 min maybe) and then start your sightseeing day.

This is the "office" building I was referring to: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5902.html

by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Travel itinerary 2019/2/8 21:54
Regarding your Kurobe gorge visit.

If on day 1 you only go until Kuronagi, you definitely should walk to the onsen. It's maybe a 20 min or so walk. You can use the onsen (paying a fee) as day guests (mixed gender, rotenburo) or, even better, you could stay in the ryokan. I did that 1.5 years ago and it was great:

http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/10/day-27-kurobe-gorge.htm...

This is their web page: https://www.kuronagi.jp/guide/
You can reserve by phone (Japanese only) or by internet (Japanese only):
https://kuronagi.yado6.net/book/

It comes with dinner and breakfast, because you are at the end of a valley.

There are also other ryokans further up along the railway.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Travel itinerary 2019/2/10 05:16
Thank you, Likebike! I have already looked at the website of the Kuronagi Ryokan, because it was my first choice to stay around Kurobe. Since I'm just beginning to learn Japanese I had to use Google translate to send them a request via their contact form a few days ago. The Ryokan will be closed until the end of April, so maybe they don't receive messages until then. A friend of a friend whose Japanese is very good offered to call at the Ryokan this weekend, so I will see what he says.
But even if we can't stay there overnight, we will still check out the Onsen!
by Anna (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Travel itinerary 2019/2/18 21:20
Takyama Old Town is definitely worth visiting unfortunately all shops close at 5pm or so so there is not much to see in the evening. Best time for visit is 9am-4pm I think. I can only recommend visiting sake breweries shops in Old Town, they have some interesting specialties (sake manjus, sake cheesecakes) which can make great souvenir presents. Also they offer free samples so you can taste it before buying. Other places I really enjoyed in Takayama are Takayama Jinya and Yatai Kaikan.

There are two morning markets in Takayama - one is at the river and is more tourist oriented and they also sell some streetfood. The other one is at Takayama Jinya and they sell especially fruits/vegetables/stuff for cooking.
by haens rate this post as useful

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