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19 days / 18 nights first time itinerary 2019/6/17 07:01
Hey all,

My wife and I are traveling to Japan for 19 days / 18 nights in July as first timers. We are in our mid 30's and are interested in japanese culture, food, history/temples, anime/video games, and onsen. We travel at a moderate pace and if possible try to avoid too many hotel and luggage transfers and single night stays. Flights are already booked and we can't change to open jaw tickets. Here is our proposed itinerary with overnight locations listed and daytrips:

Fri 5 Arrive Tokyo

Sat 6 Tokyo

Sun 7 Tokyo -have Ghibli tickets

Mon 8 Tokyo - Nikko day trip

Tues 9 Tokyo

Wed 10 Takayama

Thurs 11 Takayama / Kanazawa overnight

Friday 12 Kanazawa

Sat 13 Kyoto

Sun 14 Kyoto

Mon 15 Kyoto - Nara day trip

Tues 16 Kyoto overnight - Hiroshima day trip

Wed 17 Kyoto - Gion Matsuri festival in Kyoto

Thurs 18 Kyoto

Fri 19 Kyoto overnight - Himeji half day / Osaka in the evening for Dotonbori

Sat 20 Mt Koya overnight

Sun 21 Tokyo (6 hour transfer from Koya to Tokyo this day)

Mon 22 Tokyo

Tues 23 Leave Tokyo 2pm

The goal with the many day trips from Kyoto is to avoid changing hotels and moving luggage. The Hiroshima day trip will be long but the main thing we want to see is the peace park / atomic dome and this would avoid a single overnight stay. Miyajima Torii is under construction which is the reason why we are skipping it. We are thinking we will try and stay in an onsen in Takayama and ryokan in Kanazawa. I didn't realize how many great things there are to see in Japan and we are having a tough time deciding how to split our time. Thank you for the help!
by chirads  

Re: 19 days / 18 nights first time itinerary 2019/6/17 15:38
Sounds good to me.

Re onsen in Takayama other people on this forum will suggest the Asocia hotel in Takayama. I donft know it but apparently it has a lot of onsen but is a bit outside of the city.

Just be prepared for HEAT in Japan in July. For me it would be too hot to move for more than 15 minutes outside. But thatfs me.

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

Re: 19 days / 18 nights first time itinerary 2019/6/17 16:23
Good point. While your trip looks great, there are some places you can stay which are a lot cooler. If I was going in July I'd give Kyoto a miss altogether (hotter than satan's rectum) and limit time in Tokyo. I'd look to spend more time in Nikko (cooler), Kamakura and Enoshima (sea breezes), Karuizawa (cooler) maybe Kamikochi (very cool), and I would go to Miyajima notwithstanding the Tori (which actually is pretty underwhelming up close). Maybe Hakone too which tends to be cooler.

I really like Hotel Associa which has great onsens and is super cheap for what you are getting.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 19 days / 18 nights first time itinerary 2019/6/17 20:10
Hotel Associa looks like a great option.

We would prefer better weather but this is our only opportunity to take a vacation longer than one week. We are from the Southeastern USA (humid coastal south carolina) and are used to heat and humidity so hopefully we will be okay. Kyoto looks incredible from a historical perspective so we don't want to miss it or short change it despite the weather and our dates just happened to overlap with the Gion Matsuri. We have nice mountain scenery and hiking nearby home in North Carolina which we visit often so our main focus is doing things we can only do in japan (culture, history, food), but staying in an onsen resort or visiting temples in the mountains would be unique.

Thank you for the recommendations!
by chirads rate this post as useful

Re: 19 days / 18 nights first time itinerary 2019/6/17 23:39

I am getting ready for my trip so this will be short.

If you are use to South Carolina in the Summer without A/C you will be fine. I have noticed Europeans and Australians seen to have a lower heat tolerance than people from the East Coast of the United States.

Japan in the Summer is no worse than Orlando in the Summer.

I think your trip looks like a lot of fun. Take advantage of jet lag to get out early and I have done Hiroshima as a day trip from Kyoto multiple times.

by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: 19 days / 18 nights first time itinerary 2019/6/18 00:41
Kanazawa is a buzzing place, with loads of great restaurants and bars and lots of good English language info. You may well NOT want to stay in a ryokan there. In general, I'd say that ryokans (by which I mean full-service, lovely places where much of the charm and value comes from spending quite a lot of time relaxing in the ryokan itself) in big cities can be a waste. I'd go for a business hotel or a budget "ryokan" (basically a minshuku), and spend the difference on a really nice meal out in Kanazawa.

The Associa in Takayama looks like a laugh, and you're definitely getting variety of bathing. If you want a more rural onsen experience, you may want to look further afield (Oku Hida, maybe?).
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

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