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Review of 15 night Itinerary in March 2020 2019/8/19 21:35
Hi all,
My wife and I will be travelling to Japan leaving Sydney 1/3/2020 arriving Haneda 2/3/2020.
2 March-Arrive Haneda at 5.05am. Buy a Suicu Card to travel to accomodation at Shinjuku. Drop bags and sight see.
3 March- Activate JR Pass and travel to Odawara and purchase Hakone 2 day pass. Accom Shinjuku
4 March-Tokyo Sight seeing, Accomodation Shinjuku
5 March - Day trip to Nikko, Accomodation Shinjuku.
6 March - Leave Tokyo Early,Shinkasen to Nagano,visit Monkey Park. Accomodation Nagano.
7 March - Leave Nagano morning, Shinkasen to Kanazawa,sight seeing afternoon, Accomodation Kanazawa.
8 March - Daytrip to Takayama and Shirakawago, Accomodation Kanazawa.
9 March - Leave Kanazawa morning for Kyoto,sightseeing Fushimi Inari Shrine etc. Accom Kyoto
10 March - Daytrip to Nara Accomodation Kyoto
11 March - Kyoto Sightseeing,Arashiyama and Sagano Scenic railway and Hozugawa River Cruise, Accomodation Kyoto.
12 March - Kyoto to Osaka Sightseeing, Accomodation Kyoto.
13 March - Maybe Mt Koya or Osaka sightseeing, Accomodation Kyoto.
14 March - Leave Kyoto morning to Hiroshima,Ferry to Miyajama, Accomodation Hiroshima
15 March - Sightsee Hiroshima, Leave Hiroshima Lunchtime Shinkasen to Hakata, Sightsee afternoon. Accomodation Hakata.
16 March - Leave morning, Shinkasen from Hakata to Kumamoto. SL Hitoyoshi steam train day trip. Accomodation Hakata.
17 March - Sightsee Morning then flight 17.50 to Tokyo, Tokyo to Sydney
18 March - Arrive Sydney Australia.
Let me know if this is achievable and what needs to be tweaked.I am a healthy 62 and the wife is 54 years old and will be staying in Hotels.Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

by colin Lamond (guest)  

Re: Review of 15 night Itinerary in March 2020 2019/8/20 08:22
Hi Colin

To my taste, you've got a lot packed in there! Lots of time on the train, and a lot of days with lots of time on the train.

For instance, it's close to two hours to Nagano from Tokyo, then at least an hour, including a walk, to the monkeys. It might be nicer to stay nearby to the monkey park then move on the next day.

I'm a fan of Kanazawa as a destination, there's a lot to see and it's a lovely little city. But it's a long way to go to be a base for a trip to Shirakawago-a couple of hours each way. You might be better to go from the snow monkeys to Shirakawago via Nagano, and stay in Shirakawago overnight, then head to Kanazawa and overnight there, and go on to Kyoto after a night or two.

If you're not greatly interested in Kyoto, you can stay at Nara (which is lovely) or Osaka, both of which are likely to be cheaper than Kyoto. Getting between Kyoto and Osaka is quick and easy.

I am not a fan of Miyajima, and I understand the gate is under repair (and under wraps) until at least the middle of 2020. If you do want to go, bear in mind it's a long-ish local train trip from Hiroshima. It would be a whistle-stop event to come in after a trip down from Kyoto, then head back to the city in the evening.

And so on. You'd benefit I think from deciding exactly what it is you both want to see/experience, and not be too taken in by the 'should do' trips like Kyoto. I love Kyoto, but it is permanently packed with tourists at the moment, which makes getting around pretty slow and tedious.

Just a word on getting around. We're late fifties, and have been to Japan a lot over the last five years. I'd suggest travelling light, and being ready to walk a lot, carrying your luggage, around the big stations. Make it easy on yourselves to get the most out of your trip.

Also bear in mind that the JR pass is not a 100% coverage thing-for instance, I don't know if it works to get to Shirakawago.

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

Re: Review of 15 night Itinerary in March 2020 2019/8/20 14:13
Certainly an action-packed trip, with a lot of rushing about, hither and yon c. A few thoughts, for what theyfre worth -

Are you planning on getting a 14 day JR Pass? I assume youfve checked that itfs worthwhile?

March 3 - if this is a day trip to Hakone, why are you getting a 2 day pass?

March 6 - obviously personal preference but it has always been a complete mystery to me why people want to go and see monkeys (even snow monkeys) - seen the photos, seen the videos, donft ever need to go and see them in person (particularly given everything else to see and do in Japan) c. obviously YMMV.

March 7 - very little time in Kanazawa - itfs easily worth a couple of days. Donft miss the superb Kenrokuen Gardens, arguably one of the best (if not the best) in Japan.


March 8 - as I just commented in another thread, donft bother with Shirakawa-go \ save yourself the hassle and just go to Hida no Sato when youfre in Takayama.


March 11 - Arashiyama \ most people go to see the Bamboo Grove and Tenryu-ji and the generally-overlooked (fortunately for the rest of us) Okochi-sanso. Therefs also a monkey park c..


March 12 - what are you planning on doing in Osaka? I would do a day trip to Himeji and, on the way back to Kyoto, stop in Dotonbori in Osaka in the late afternoon/evening for dinner.


March 13 - Koyasan is rather time-consuming to get to, so is better suited to an overnight temple stay.

March 16 - The timetable says "The operation of SL Hitoyoshi will be suspended from November 5 until the middle of March.h It appears that it resumed on March 16 this year so will presumably be operating again by March 16 next year?

For my taste, you have way too much rushing around and not enough time to stop and enjoy where you're visiting but hopefully you'll have a good trip.
by tt7 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Review of 15 night Itinerary in March 2020 2019/8/20 14:27
I know it is rushed but this is the first itinerary we have put together and are relying on the knowledge of seasoned travelers to suggest adds or deletions. Yes we are getting a 14 day JR Pass. Looks like we might give Nagano a miss,we can see monkeys in Kyoto,and spend the extra night in Kanazawa. We may also just make Hiroshima a day trip if the Shrine renovations are still going to give us a bit of breathing space.
Appreciate your suggestions, Thanks
by Colin Lamond (guest) rate this post as useful

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