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Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/11 05:06
Hello kind people

My 4th trip initially started saying gI want to see Hokkaidoh and then became a full-Tohoku lol. I would like to share this and hear your comments/ideas.

This is for Fall 2020 so no big hurry.

Ifve got this big Tohoku part, currently 11 nights, but I still have 1-2 nights budget to put somewhere, and then 4-5 nights in Tokyo. Departure 15 October 2020. I travel with my cousin (another Japan trips veteran) and a friend which is a newbie.

This Tohoku itinerary has:
- 19h total trains/buses/taxi
- 4h in day trips
- moderate hiking
- 1 onsen, but Ifm looking for more
- autumn colors (hopefully)
- shukubo
- a castle
- samurai district
- lots of things to eat like Yamagata meat


<! ––
============
ITINERARY
here is the map https://imgur.com/a/rMSrUtP

Italy >> Narita/Haneda

Tokyo >> Tsuruoka

Stay in Tsuruoka 2 nights
(or split Tokyo/Tsuruoka, but we need to rest before hiking on Dewa Sanzan)

Stay Dewa Sanzan 1 night shukubo

Dewa Sanzan >> Yamagata

Stay Yamagata 1 night
- day trip to Yamadera

Yamagata >> Naruko Onsen

Stay Naruko onsen 1 night

Naruko >> Ichinoseki (or nearby)

Stay Ichinoseki (or nearby) 1 night
- day trip to Geibikei

Ichinoseki >> Morioka

Stay Morioka 2 nights
- day trip to Kakunodate

Morioka >> Aomori

Stay Aomori 2 nights
- day trip to Hirosaki

Aomori >> Lake Towada

Stay Lake Towada 1 night
- Oirase stream

Lake Towada >> Tokyo

Tokyo 5 nights
- the usual things... eating, evenings out drinking, a maid café, shopping
- day trips to lake Kawaguchi and maybe mt Takao

./ITINERARY
============
––>


Main issues:
- I would like one more onsen
- decide where to add the 1-2 nights that I have left


Thank you very much for reading this far.
by Ale345  

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/11 11:22
Nyuto Onsen is the obvious choice. There's also Zao Onsen and I hear that Ginzan Onsen is very nice.

How about visiting Aizu-Wakamatsu?
by Sal1980 rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/11 11:34
Hi!

There are also onsen not far from Ichinoseki, (not necessarily famous ones but still onsen) and some of the hotels near Towadako have onsen.

I loved Zao onsen. The rotemboro there is just amazing. If you add Aizu-Wakamatsu, there are onsen located nearby in Higashiyama. I've been to the Hanamaki onsen group. They really vary by price and quality. You couldn't pay me to go back to the big 3 hotels at Hanamaki onsen itself but I loved Shinnamari and would love to try some of the others:
https://www.kanko-hanamaki.ne.jp/en/spa/

Many of the ryokan have a free shuttle from Hanamaki or Shin-Hanamaki Station. We rented a car though.

Yamagata has a ton of onsen:
http://data.yamagatakanko.com/english/hotspring/

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/12 03:08
Thank you for your replies


@Sal1980
Ifve already been to Tsurunoyu in Nyuto Onsen, but there are many onsen in Nyuto area so it could be an option I forgot to consider.

Zao and Ginzan are in the maybe list because close to Naruko, but I guess we could do Ginzan/Zao at the beginning and Naruko on our way back to Tokyo.

Aizu-Wakamatsuc I will have a deep data mining session on Google and J-G about this!


@rkold
We found Osawa onsen near Ichinoseki area, maybe there are morec gotta have a look here

Thank you very much for the other links too


What about the pacec do you guys think it is too fast or too slow?
by Ale345 rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/12 04:41
Hi!

I've not been to any of these and some of these look more like they're for day trippers but:
https://onsen.oshushi.com/kai.php

I was having fun just using Google Maps and looking around at various areas in Northern Japan. I think the biggest issue is without a car, getting to various areas can be tricky in Tohoku.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/12 10:27
I think your pace is good.
by Sal1980 rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/12 18:14
I need some time to discuss the new places you two suggested with my buddies

@Sal1980 we always end up exhausted... you know "let's see this, let's do that, what about going there". I really hope we learned the lesson
by Ale345 rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/12 21:04
Haha yes, us too. But it's a good type of exhaustion where you have lived life to the fullest. Sleeping in is wasted when in Japan! I didn't even lounge around when I was severely hungover after my 31st birthday.... though I did move slowly that day.

Speaking of alcohol, the sake brewery tours in Aizu-Wakamatsu are great too.
by Sal1980 rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/13 03:07
Overall it is a good pace and good number of places to visit. Here are some thoughts:

Dewa Sanzan - Of the three, one or two might be closed for the season depending on when you are going. the one I hiked was Mt. Haguro. "Easy" hiking and if my friend can hike it, then you can do it too! I don't think you will need to rest. The hike up is almost 3 hours including the stop at the wooden hut. Make sure you stop at this hut and rest! They will give you a certificate.

Mt. Hakkoda - I am reading the map and it looks like you will go to Towadako from Aomori. I would make a one day stop at Mt Hakkoda. If you are taking the JR Bus you will pass by the mountain anyway. I've done the ropeway and hiking on the mountain and it is spectacular. You can see Aomori from the ropeway. There are different levels of difficulty for the hike. Next to the mountain is one hotel and one ryokan. I would see if you can stay at either one of them. I believe the ryokan has one of the last co-ed onsen facilities in Japan. I mean... it is a cultural thing and see how comfortable you are but it is a culture you will never see elsewhere. After a stay in Mt. Hakkoda then you can use the JR bus to continue to Towadako. And the advantage is you are already halfway there.

Hirosaki - I just came back from my Japan trip a few weeks ago which includes Hirosaki. Amazing little city and a day trip is more than enough. You must visit the Neputa Museum if it isn't on your list. And treat yourself to some apple juice and pastries they are worth it!

Aizu-Wakamatsu - Been there as well its not my favourite city but it has a lot of history. You can take the loop bus. One additional option near Aizu Wakamatsu which might take a few hours is Ouchi-Juku. Absolutely loved this place. It is a small post town with unique architecture.

Overall, really good pace and trip. Have fun!



by Villagemayor rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/13 17:01
i have had a similar route with main focus on onsen... maybe you find something interesting on it.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1bDqWMhiCT5YeQyTL34X8YyqTdkU&usp=shar...
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/13 19:00
@Villagemayor
Thanks for your time writing the long post.
Mid October, the paths on DwS should be open I think.
Mt. Hakkoda is exactly on our route, so we will probalby jump on the ropeway.
About Hirosaki, the Nebuta Museum in Aomori seems pretty similar. I guess we'll visit just one of them.
The name Aizu-Wakamatsu is present nearly in every post so I will dig in Google search.

@Glimpigumpi
Thank you, I'll have a look at your itinerary! How many days? I guess you rented a car
by Ale345 rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/13 19:32
this route is for 23 days, very slowly paced and yes, requires a car
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2019/12/14 00:53
@Glimpigumpi
I see, thank you. I bet I will find some parts that can be merged together with mine.
by Ale345 rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2020/1/12 04:02
================
Itinerary Updated
================

Hello my fellow guys, here I am again after digesting all your helpful advices.


Updated map and timetable: https://imgur.com/a/xFkWzCM
- red = train travel times (about 21 hours total)
- blue = flights
- purple = day trips travel times (about 4 hours)

International flight from Italy
Tokyo > Aizu 3h
Aizu Wakamatsu + Higashiyama Onsen 2+1 nights
Aizu > Yamagata 3h
Yamagata 1 night
- day trip to Yamadera 20m (x2)
Yamagata > Tsuruoka 2h
Tsuruoka 2 nights
Tsuruoka > Dewa Sanza 1h bus
Dewa Sanzan 1 night
Dewa Sanza > Naruko Onsen bus 1h + 3h
Naruko Onsen 1 night
Naruko > Morioka 2h
Morioka 1 night
- day trip to Kakunodate 50m (x2)
Morioka > Hachinohe 30m (this would be late afternoon to allow the day trip to Kakunodate)
Hachinohe 1 night
Hachinohe > Lake Towada 1h bus
Lake Towada 1 night
- stay at Yakeyama, Oirase stream in the morning, boat cruise, afternoon in town than back to the hotel
Lake Towada > Ichinoseki 1h bus + 1h30
Ichinoseki 1 night
- day trip to Geibikei 30m (x2)
Ichinoseki > Tokyo 2h
- Lunch at Utsunomiya's Gyoza Festival (hopefully)


I'm pretty happy about all this. The part I don't like that much is the 2+1 nights in Tsuruoka & Dewa Sanzan: based on the linked image, 3 nights are too much... 2 would be enough I think, but I can't figure out where to move the 3rd night.

I'm also a bit confused about how to manage the whole Tsuruoka/Dewa Sanzan area, but I'll probably open another thread about this later on.

Thank you very much
by Ale345 rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2020/1/12 05:36
Hi!

I guess my question is, how much luggage are you moving around with you and are you willing to take buses? Back in April '09 I got up early and did Sakata to Tsuruoka (Limited Express) bus to the bottom of Haguro-san, went to the top of Haguro-san via stairs and stopped at the wooden hut part way up (best water ever) walked around Haguro-san, took the bus back down, went to the Tsuruoka Expressway Station, caught a bus to Yamagata and then a bus from there to Zao. I made it to Zao around 18:00 I think? I didn't have a meal plan at my ryokan, but had time to use the onsen and walk around before it got dark. So I would think if you can pack light enough you could cut back on your nights in the Tsuruoka area. It depends on if you are also trying to make it to Gassan and Yudono-san. I'm given to understand the bus to Yudono-san only runs on week ends, so you would need to rent a car or plan for that to be a week end. Gassan has a short season and gets a lot of snow.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Yet another autumn itinerary 2020/1/12 06:30
@rkold

I'll bring a trolley and a little backpack or just a big backpack. I don't know about my 2 friends yet. Busses no problem when worthy.

About DwS:
As ever, you are very useful: I didn't notice the issue with busses to Yudonosan, but I checked and you are right! This could have been a big problem.
Our main reason to go to DwS is shukubo: we missed this kind of experience on Koyasan. We currently plan to stay at Saikan on the Hagurosan.

My issue is not decreasing the nights in that area, I've got "serious" problems deciding where to stay instead. My only guess would be Yamagata, because the other places in my itinerary are probably not worthy 2 nights (or they became too expensive, like a ryokan in Naruko Onsen for example).

by Ale345 rate this post as useful

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