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9 days itinerary during new year 2019/11/30 21:43
i will be in japan during new year (land on 30th of dec and leaving on 8th of jan) and i would like to visit something new after the new year. I have two itineraries in mind, help me to decide which one should i choose.

a) tokyo + japanese alps
- stay in tokyo until 1st of january and leave in the afternoon for the alps
- 4/5 days in the alps visiting Jigokudani, Takayama, Kanazawa. Maybe i could add Shirakawago and Matsumoto (is it easy accesible?). I don't know in which order could i visit these cities, i'm opened to suggestions.
- 5th/6th of january back in tokyo, to spend last days before leaving on january 8th

b) tokyo + west honshu
- stay in tokyo until 1st of january and leave in the afternoon to reach Osaka
- spend 5 days in the region visiting places between Osaka and Hiroshima. There are too many wonderful places to visit here, i would visit for sure Himeji (half day should be enough), Hiroshima/Miyajima, Osaka (at least 1 night when i move from tokyo). Other pleaces i would like to visit are: Arashiyama/Fushimi Inari (i've been in kyoto but missed these 2 great spots), Okayama/Kurashiki (is it worth?), Kinosaki (looks great but maybe too far), Kobe (is it worth ? kobe beef isn't a priority)

What do you think of these 2 itineraries ?
- option a) looks great for the weather, i love snow and i think takayama covered by snow will be amazing; i'm only scared there are too few spots for 4/5 days and the trains take long to reach the alps (takayama-tokyo are 4hrs)
- options b) is full of wonderful spots, something off the beaten path too. Maybe too many spots for 5 days (help me to decide what should i pick and what should i skip from the list), but i won't find snow for sure.

please help me to decide, i'm open to any suggestion :-)
THanks a lot
by ncaf08  

Re: 9 days itinerary during new year 2019/12/2 05:50
No help ? :(
by ncaf08 rate this post as useful

Re: 9 days itinerary during new year 2019/12/2 06:16
a) tokyo + japanese alps
- stay in tokyo until 1st of january and leave in the afternoon for the alps

OK, I really love Takayama and it is nice that time of year although the squirrel park is closed. You will usually get some snow there and a lot at Shirakawa-go. I wouldnt really recommend Kanazawa at that time of year - it is very slushy with rain which is a bit of a drama getting clothes wet. It depends on the year I suppose but I understand it does tend to be rainy late December early January and it can make for a nuisance. That said, it is pretty and I liked Kenrokuen under snow. If I was doing this plan, I would probably get a night or so in at Karuizawa as well. Karuizawa is a great, fun town and likely to have snow. Kusatsu Onsen is about 2 hours from Karuizawa by bus, now that is a great onsen town.

b) tokyo + west honshu
- I'm not an Osaka lover. I wouldnt go all the way to Kinosaki either. Nara is really nice that time of year, and I'd also consider stopping at Izu peninsula - Shuzenji is a nice onsen town there which might be easier to get to than Kinosaki.

What do you think of these 2 itineraries ?

Personally if you want to see snow I'd go option A but I'd go Tokyo - Karuizawa - 1 night - maybe Kusatsu Onsen (one night) - Kanazawa (one night) - Takayama (2 nights).
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 9 days itinerary during new year 2019/12/3 04:09
thanks for your reply. just couple more of questions : is takayama really worth ? considering you are suggesting me to skip kanazawa for the weather... and for karuizawa : i've never really considered this city, i'll do some research about.

for options b) : i can skip osaka for sure and go straight to hiroshima from tokyo. What do you think of the other cities ?
for izu peninsula : what can i visit there ?

by ncaf08 rate this post as useful

Re: 9 days itinerary during new year 2019/12/3 04:47
Hi, I really like Takayama but maybe more as a place to hang about for a few days and relax rather than a place to zap about from here to there looking at things. Kanazawa I didnt like as much especially at new year when a lot of things were closed, and it was slushy. But a lot of people dont really like Takayama as much as Kanazawa.

I'm not wild on Hiroshima as a city as it was very smoggy when we were there, I am not sure whether that is typical.

Izu peninsula is pretty in a slow kind of way - so far I have only seen Atami (not crazy on it) and Ito as main sections with the smaller towns between, and Shuzenji. I liked it as it is a bit more relaxed amd we really liked Ito Shaboten - the zoo. I'll be going back for sure.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 9 days itinerary during new year 2019/12/3 15:53

I hope this answer doesn't come off as rude, but I would partially base my decision on where I could book the accommodations I want since your trip is coming up quite soon. Since you are traveling around New Years, it can affect pricing and availability.

I am one of the people who likes Kanazawa. I do like cities though. I just liked the vibe and I find it quite attractive. I just also felt like it had plenty to do for a few days. I think Takayama is pretty, but I personally find it somewhat dull. I don't usually enjoy slow paced vacations of just sitting and relaxing for a few days. If you do enjoy that, Takayama might be a great destination. I went in February 2010 and June 2017. I really enjoyed Hida no Sato (2017) and I imagine it looks lovely under a blanket of a snow. I have never been to Kanazawa in the Winter. I have been to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Wakayama-ken in January, that's also when I finally went to Hikone. I forget all the places I went in February but I know that is when I went to Takayama for my first time alone with Hirayu, Shirakawa Go and one of the other villages. I would go back to Hirayu, but I have no interest in going back to Shirakawa Go.

My daughter liked Miyajima a lot. I liked Okayama and we both liked Takamatsu. I think Arima onsen looks nice but I've yet to figure out the appeal of Kobe outside of it. It has nice shopping and stores, but they're not all that different than the ones in Osaka or Kyoto or Tokyo.

Are you looking for a slow paced stop and relax and see some nature trip or are you looking for a faster paced trip?

Personally, since you're looking at 9 days, I would partially figure out how much you want to travel. Some people really love taking trains and that is part of the fun. I would also try to figure out availability and look at the sort of travel you have planned for the 4th and 5th since I imagine those will be popular travel times for the Japanese.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: 9 days itinerary during new year 2019/12/3 20:25
i think this will be my definitive itinerary :

30/01/2019 Tokyo (land at 11:15)
31/01/2019 Tokyo
01/01/2020 Tokyo -> Osaka (leaving after launch)
02/01/2020 Osaka (morning) -> Himeji (leaving afternoon) -> ???
03/01/2020 ??? -> Hiroshima
04/01/2020 Hiroshime -> Miyajima -> Hiroshima
05/01/2020 Hiroshima -> ??? -> Tokyo (evening)
06/01/2020 Tokyo
07/01/2020 Tokyo
08/01/2020 Tokyo (flight at 14:00)

the question marks can be replaced with 2 of these :
- takamatsu
- onomichi
- kurashiki
- kobe
- tomonoura
- chureito pagoda (too much effort for a quick stop just to see fujisan?)

what do you think ? could it be good or too rushed ?

for the shinkansen : can i book it now without activating the jrp ?
by ncaf08 rate this post as useful

Re: 9 days itinerary during new year 2019/12/3 20:41
Only JR East allows shinkansen reservations online using a JR Pass (activated or not), and none of those routes are operated by JR East. So unfortunately, you cannot yet make bookings. You could pay out of pocket instead and make bookings via the SmartEX app, and forgo the JRP.
by / (guest) rate this post as useful

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