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Third trip to Japan early or late 2020 2019/9/7 23:52
Hello!

I am planning for my 3rd trip to Japan in 2020 (either spring or fall depending on airfares).
The first time I was there was for university (10-day factory demonstration tour) and the second time was for sightseeing (as I did not have much time during my first trip). We focused mainly on Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Izu Peninsula. For my third trip, I would like to explore other regions and go a little off the beaten path. I would completely skip Kyoto and Osaka, but I would keep at least 4 nights in Tokyo.

I would like to go for 14 - 15 days, with the 4 last days in Tokyo (in order to catch my flight home). I'm hesitating between Kyushu region and Tohoku. I would also like to spend a night or 2 in an onsen. I have a bias towards Kyushu, as I've seen many pictures of Kagoshima and Kurozawa Onsen that really makes me want to go there. The main culprit is that it is very far from Tokyo, which could induce a lot of wasted time in trains and transportation. Tohoku on the other hand seems more toned down, rustic, and much closer to Tokyo.

Any help to help me choose would be great!
Thanks a lot :)
by Simon YUL  

Re: Third trip to Japan early or late 2020 2019/9/8 11:19
Hi!

I've not spent as much time on Kyushu as I would like, but if that is where you feel drawn, that is where you should go. If you want to bypass all of Kansai, the easiest way to get to Kyushu is flying. You can fly into Fukuoka or Kagoshima and be right there. You can then figure out if any of the Kyushu only passes make sense. I know my last trip, I actually paid less for my ticket flying JFK to NRT to Itami (near Osaka) and then Haneda back to JFK than I would have paid doing a round trip JFK to NRT or Haneda and then Narita/Haneda back to Tokyo. Since you don't have your airfare yet, you should look into whether flying into Fukuoka is a possibility. You can then pay out of pocket to fly Kagoshima (or Fukuoka) back to Tokyo for your last few days.

I have visited Tohoku several times and I love it. I think Tohoku is a little better in the Fall than Spring as depending on how you define Spring some areas in Tohoku are still under snow. (Though that could be a plus for you and places like Kakunodate and Hirosaki are beautiful (but insanely crowded) during sakura season. ) We're hoping to spend a week in Tohoku this Summer.

Good luck making your decision!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Third trip to Japan early or late 2020 2019/9/8 14:34
It has been 4 years since I went (for a 2 week trip), but I thought Kyushu wasnt so much geared for tourism as Honshu. While I liked some aspects of the trip, I wouldnt be rushing back or at least I wouldnt spend my whole trip there. I liked Kurokawa (overnight thing, we stayed 3 nights which was too long) and Yufuin and Karatsu, also probably overnight places. Apparently it is more rewarding if you drive. We stayed in other cities I didnt really see much attraction to other than the nice locals, but others love them so I wont mention which.

If you come in through Fukuoka, on a 2 week trip I'd probably spend 5 or 6 days in Kyushu then work my way back up toward Tokyo taking in some of the alps along the way.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Third trip to Japan early or late 2020 2019/9/8 22:30
Kyushu definitely rings a bell for me!!

I thought of the following:
- Canada to Fukuoka via Narita
- 2 nights in Fukuoka // Train + Bus to Kurokawa Onsen
- 2 nights in Kurokawa Onsen // Train + Bus to Kagoshima
- 2 nights in Kagoshima (day-trip to the islands and volcano) // Shinkansen to Hiroshima
- 2 nights in Hiroshima // Shinkansen to Tokyo
- 5 nights in Tokyo
- Depart from Tokyo-Narita to Canada

I plan on taking a 2 weeks Japan Rail Pass and do most of the travelling in Shinkansen / JR Train, with highway busses in Kyushu.

Also, is the Green Class on JR worth the difference? As you can see, I will have many long stretches of train to do in the itinerary...


Thanks again,
by Simon YUL rate this post as useful

Re: Third trip to Japan early or late 2020 2019/9/8 22:47
It would be a very short trip to Kyushu if you can fly there. You can either fly from abroad into Kyushu and fly out of Tokyo, or you can fly domestic from Tokyo.

Meanwhile, if air fare is an issue, the vast Tohoku region does have a lot of onsen resorts that are very accessible on Shinkansen from Tokyo, except that it would be much much colder than Kyushu.

How about visiting Tohoku on this trip, and doing Kyushu when you have more money or flight miles saved?
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Third trip to Japan early or late 2020 2019/9/9 02:19
Hi!

Personally, I don't think a 2 week pass is warranted with your proposed Kyushu itinerary.

I would do the bus entirely from Fukuoka to Kurokawa. I'm not sure you even save that much time by taking the train to Kumamoto first.

Start your 1 week pass, the day you go from Kumamoto to Kagoshima (Day 1 and day 2 are in Kagoshima, day 3 leave for Hiroshima and Day 3 and Day 4 are Hiroshima, Day 5 leave for Tokyo (Days 5-7 are in Tokyo allowing you to day trip on Day 6 and Day 7 if you so want.)

This is of course assuming you are flying from Narita to Fukuoka at the start of your Kyushu adventure. I would still get a 1 week pass and use the cost difference between a 1 week and a 2 week to fly. I like Japanese trains, they've very comfortable, but I've learned even I don't like going from Narita to Osaka via train on my arrival day and I prefer to fly. (In 2018 I trained it from Narita to USJ to stay at a hotel near USJ and arrived at 22:00! We did stop to eat but even so, 22:00! In 2019, we flew from Narita to Itami and then took an airport bus to Kyoto. We arrived before 20:00 and if we'd been smart we could have easily grabbed food in Narita before going through domestic security. We spent a long time waiting for our plane.

I've only used Green Class once, It was nice enough? I find the shinkansen in general is quite comfortable. I do tend to use takyuubin, I like to shop, probably more than most of the regular posters here.

Good luck!

by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Third trip to Japan early or late 2020 2019/9/9 06:24
I' d drop a night from Tokyo and Kurokawa and add in 2 of either Yufuin, Beppu or Nagasaki.

Yufuin and Beppu seem more to your interests judging by previous comments. And still allow easy bus access to Kurokawa.
by Hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Third trip to Japan early or late 2020 2019/9/9 10:41
- 2 nights in Fukuoka // Train + Bus to Kurokawa Onsen
- 2 nights in Kurokawa Onsen // Train + Bus to Kagoshima
- 2 nights in Kagoshima (day-trip to the islands and volcano) // Shinkansen to Hiroshima
- 2 nights in Hiroshima // Shinkansen to Tokyo
- 5 nights in Tokyo
- Depart from Tokyo-Narita to Canada

I plan on taking a 2 weeks Japan Rail Pass and do most of the travelling in Shinkansen / JR Train, with highway busses in Kyushu.


From Fukuoka to Kurokawa onsen, the most convenient is taking direct bus. So you don't need JR Pass for this leg.

https://kyushubusbooking.com/highway-bus/fukuoka-kurokawa/

From Kurokawa to Kagoshima, you might better take the round trip bus from Hakata to Kurokawa and back (5500 yen). From Hakata to Kagoshima-chuo, take the Shinkansen. If you will stay in an onsen ryokan, two nights might be better. Onsen ryokan is expensive, so you might better enjoy it from arrival to departure. If you stay for 2 nights, you will enjoy the whole second days in (and around) ryokan. Kurokawa is nice place so you will enjoy, say 48 hours stay there.

You will stop at Hiroshima on the way back to Tokyo which justifies the train travel: Kagoshima to Hiroshima and Hiroshima to Tokyo will be done most comfortably with Shinkansen.

So you will need 5 days of the pass (Day 1 for Hakata to Kagoshima-chuo, Day 3 for Kagoshima-chuo to Hiroshima and Day 5 for Hiroshima to Tokyo. Seven days pass is enough and you can have 2 additional days in Tokyo.

by frog1954 rate this post as useful

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