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September honeymoon itinerary 2019/4/3 21:51
Hello all,

We are a newly married couple planning our honeymoon and first trip to Japan in late September this year. for just over two weeks. Due to circumstances, this is the only time we are able to go, and although not ideal, we are hoping we won't be stuck in too many typhoons.

We love nature, the outdoors and would like to get a sense of Japanese culture with a balance of city/country. We would like to be able to enjoy the trip without the itinerary being too intense and rushed - possibly contradicted in my outline below. We have booked flights into Narita mid September and out of Kansai end of September. I am aware of the rugby world cup timing, and so am keep to lock in our accommodation soon. At the moment our thoughts are:

3 Nights - Tokyo stay Shinjuku (morning arrival Narita)
2 Nights - Nikko/lake chenzi area?
1 Night - Magome to Tsumago walk - stay in Tsumago
2 Nights - Takayama
1 night - Shirakawago farm stay
4 Nights - Kyoto
1 Night - Nara?
1 Night - Koyasan buddhist temple stay
1 Night - Kyoto
flight from Kansai Aiport

A couple of questions -
- Is this generally the correct order and would you suggest the rail pass for this sort of route or at any point should we rent a car?
- Thoughts on Nikko versus Fuji five lakes area - or not at all? Could replace with Kanazawa or longer in other areas?
- It seems like a lot of moving about and I'm wondering whether we are cramming in too much - thoughts on what we should omit or definitely include?
- Nakasendo and Hakusan trails were recommended - any thoughts?
- Thoughts on Hiroshima/Miyajima and Kanazawa - I love the look of the Kenrokuen gardens, also the idea of doing some good days of hiking etc. (I accept that we will need to do a return trip to see areas we may miss this time.)
- Any recommendation on a great ryoken or spa spot to stay as a treat in any of these areas?

Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated - thank you!
by Camilla (guest)  

Re: September honeymoon itinerary 2019/4/4 18:35

Hi, and congratulations!

September can be quite hot, especially around the cities. Kyoto can be feral. Getting into the mountains is better. North of Tokyo might be cooler and have less chance of typhoon, but we tend to work in the middle as well. I'd cut Kyoto back a couple of days and put that into Nara. It is much greener and nicer in Nara, IMO, great for a relax.

Generally Tsumago/Magome as a walk isnt that interesting. It is nice enough but dont expect magic (which I did). Magome in particular is pleasant. Another place with a decent Nakasendo walk is Karuizawa which is a cool town in both senses of the word, quite funky for Japan. We really like Tsuruya Ryokan there which is right near the start of the trail.

I'd go to Nikko over Fuji 5 Lakes although with the rest of your stops Kawaguchiko would fit nicely. It is just that I thought it was a bit meh and overpriced there.

I think your times are good, just pack light. With smaller towns there is not much to do after a full day, so these days using pretty much carry-on sized luggage, we stay no longer than 2 days each place. We dont drive, it is nicer to take trains which you can plot on hyperdia, and the occasional bus.

Our last trip (late October last year) was pretty much perfect for us and fits in most of what you have as well. It went:

Tokyo to Kawaguchiko;
Kawaguchiko to Matsumoto;
Matsumoto to Kamikochi (nice and cool with lots of trails, also stay at Onsen Hotel, very nice);
Kamikochi to Takayama (you might go to Shirakawa from there) Hotel Associa is a nice onsen resort there;
Takayama to Hikone (you might stay at Nagoya and then go the next day to Tsumago) If you go to Hikone, we stayed at the Hikone Castle View Spa resort which was great;
Hikone (Tsumago on your plan) to Nara (Kyoto on your plan)
Depart Kansai

But your current plan is good anyway, you really cant go wrong.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: September honeymoon itinerary 2019/4/8 05:42
Thanks for such a detailed response! Its great to have feedback from people who've been before and also to manage expectations in terms of heat etc. I'm hoping we'll manage in 'feral' Kyoto - we are South African, so used to heat but not so much humidity! I'm also curious that you suggest less time in Kyoto, as it is one of the spots I am most interested to see.

I'm going to do a bit of shuffling around and possibly add Kamikochi which sounds great! Still in two minds between Nikko/Fuji area and now maybe Hakone instead... Nikko seems to be rather out of the way for our direction of travel, though does sound lovely!

Thanks again for all the great tips!
by Milly1 rate this post as useful

Re: September honeymoon itinerary 2019/4/8 06:53
Hi, I'm not knocking Kyoto, we've spent probably 3 - 4 weeks there over the years but strewth a lot of the major sites are insanely crowded these days, so much so that we wont go back. It also is hemmed in by mountains on 3 sides so it gets super hot, though once we were there in September when it was a bit drizzly and it was pretty pleasant.

But if you go, I quite like the japanese style rooms at the Westin Miyako which give you a bit of privacy, have a look at them. While the Westin is a bit out of the main part of town, at least it isnt surrounded by concrete. But if you choose that hotel, be particular about the room. Some (including the japanese style) are very nice, others not so much.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: September honeymoon itinerary 2019/4/8 08:11
I'd just put in a word about the heat and humidity in Tokyo in September. We were there last year and it is really-great word-feral. We live in a sub-tropical city in Australia and the humidity in particular was like nothing I'd experienced before.

I'm also a big fan of Kanazawa, and like LP enjoy Kyoto but find it insanely crowded. If what you want to see is not on the train lines, getting to it can be very difficult. Buses and roads are packed.

We've been to Japan maybe seven times, and haven't got to Kawaguchiko, always finding something we'd rather see. I've seen Mt Fuji from the train a few times.

I think LP was recommending Hikone (on Lake Biwa, near Kyoto) for the end of your trip, not Hakone. Lake Biwa is great, we had a day at Enryakuji (around the lake from Hikone) several years ago and stayed on the lake last year. The castle at Hikone is quite lovely.

If you go to Matsumoto and Hikone you will see two very special castles.

Have a wonderful honeymoon trip in Japan!
by Who? (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: September honeymoon itinerary 2019/4/10 07:03
Thank you both - Ifll be considering all of the above! Wefll be prepared for humidity and try to stay on the outskirts in Kyoto closer to the greenery...

Another thought is Hiroshima/Miyajima and Naoshima. Any views on these?
Ifm thinking of skipping Fuji and Nikko, which frees a little space. Would you suggest itfs worth trying to see these - possibly at the expense of Kanazawa?

perhaps Ifm squeezing too much in now. I almost feel guilty going to japan and not seeing Hiroshima and have heard that the art gallery in Naoshima by todao ando is beautiful.

Apologies for all the queries and indecision... this will be my last call for tips! Thanks in advance.
by Milly1 rate this post as useful

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