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Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/18 15:00
Hi everyone,

Hoping for some advice on our draft Tohoku 7 night itinerary!

Itfs our first trip to Japan (we're a couple) and we were going to do the usual first-timers Golden Route but it turns out wefll be there during Golden Week, so wefve decided to head to Tohoku as it seems it will be slightly less busy (??).

We prefer to take things at a slower pace and enjoy where we are, rather than rush around trying to see everything. Wefd prefer a few bases so wefre not moving accommodation every night or two as well.

Would this itinerary work in terms of direction of travel and public transport? I am open to suggestions of other sights to see or not to see, also open to other regions. It was very hard to choose as there's so much I'd love to see in Tohoku and everywhere in Japan!

Our whole trip is 22 April - 7 May. We want to be in Tokyo for Pride on 25-26 April so can't flip the itinerary to be in Tokyo during Golden Week.

This is the intinerary so far:

Wednesday 22 April - Sun 26 April Tokyo

Mon 27 April - Sendai

Tues 28 April - Sendai - day trip to Yamadera

Wed 29 April - Sendai - day trip to Hiraizumi (including Geibeki Gorge, Chusonji Temple) OR Matsushima Bay (can you do both in one day?)

Thurs 30 April - I night at Ginzan Onsen (if we can afford it)

Fri 1 May - Akita - cherry blossom viewing if theyfre around

Sat 2 May - Akita - visit Kakunodate

Sun 3 May - Akita - visit Nyoto Onsen / Lake Tazawa (other recommendations for a day trip here?)

Mon 4 May - travel back to Tokyo (I read traveling on 5 May is a bad idea with Golden Week but should the 4th be ok?)

Tues 5 May - Tokyo

Wed 6 May - Tokyo (day trip to Nikko?)

Thurs 7 May - fly home

Some other questions:

- Can we get to all of these places via public transport? Wefd prefer not to rent a car if we can avoid it.

- Should we get a 7 day JR pass?

- This is our first trip to Japan, should we swap one of the nights in Tohoku for a night in Nikko instead?

- Any recommendations for where to stay in Akita and Sendai?

- Should any of these places be absolutely avoided during Golden Week?

Thank you SO much in advance for your advice!

Cheers

Jacki
by Jacki (guest)  

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/18 17:30
Hi!

Have you thought about perhaps doing Ginzen onsen first and then going from there to Sendai and then making your next base Morioka for the day trips you want to do to Kakunodate and Tazawako? I think getting from Ginzan onsen to Akita would take longer than you would think. If you don't have a rental car you need to go back to Oishida station. You're looking at close to 3.5 hours by train not including the 60-90 minutes via bus from Ginzan onsen to Oishida.

If you want to see sakura, you're most likely to see it in Hirosaki outside Aomori. Though Hirosaki (and Kakunodate should the sakura be in bloom) will both be super crowded because they're both very popular sakura viewing locations.

In terms of passes you might be able to make a JR East Pass work.

If it were me, assuming you want to start at Ginzan I would do:

Mon 27 April - Ginzan Onsen (Day 1 of my JR East Pass)

Tues 28 April - Travel to Sendai and visit Yamadera on the way

Wed 29 April - Sendai - Matsushima Bay

Thurs 30 April - Sightsee Sendai or anywhere it is not so expensive to travel to

Fri 1 May - Sendai -Hiraizumi on the way to Morioka (day 2 of Pass)

Sat 2 May - Visit Kakunodate (day 3 of Pass) don't do it on a week end.

Sun 3 May - Visit Nyuto onsen and Lake Tazawako (day 4 of Pass) You will be transferring to buses so I am unsure if you have the time, but if you do, I would recommend a trip to here: https://www.japanhoppers.com/en/tohoku/tazawako/kanko/1493/
I visited here and enjoyed it immensely.

Mon 4 May - travel back to Tokyo (day 5 of Pass)

Tues 5 May - Tokyo

Wed 6 May - Tokyo (day trip to Nikko?)

Thurs 7 May - fly home

You could also on your way back from Morioka head towards Nikko and spend one night there and take the private Tobu line back to Tokyo.

Your original itinerary didn't work with a 7 day pass and paying for 14 day pass makes no sense. The JR East Pass is flexible 5 days within a 2 week period and should cover most of your trip for a whole heck of a lot less.

The new itinerary has a lot less time in transit not going to someplace you actually want to see.

I've stayed at the Dormy and the Mitsui in Sendai. The Mitsui is a bit more upscale but neither is terribly expensive. I forgot where I stayed in Morioka it was a long time ago.

I hope this helps!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/18 17:35
And if seeing sakura is a high priority I would start in Morioka and do Kakunodate first and end in Ginzan. I know you can never predict exactly when sakura will be, but I find overall places like Hirosaki and Kakunodate are more consistent than Tokyo or Kyoto. Just go back to the '09 reports and look at the last decade. It's not perfect, but is good for getting some idea.

You can also spend some time thinking about options if you can't book Ginzan. It's quite popular. What makes a good alternative depends on what you are looking for in an onsen.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/18 17:43
No problems with public transports.

I would spend the night at Nyuto onsen and somewhere near Nikko to spare some train time.

I also agree with rkold about skipping Akita
by Ale345 rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/18 20:33
Thank you both so much for your replies, that is soooo incredibly helpful!! Rkold your proposed itinerary sounds much more efficient, I never would have known to do that, I really appreciate all of the details you provided.

The only thing I'm worried about with stopping at some sights along the way to the next destination (e.g. visiting Yamadera on the way to Sendai) is what to do with our luggage. Especially for Yamadera as we'd like to do the steps. What would you do in those cases?

Sashimaki Shitsugen looks amazing, I would love to go there! Thanks for the suggestion.

The other thing I'd love to see is the Oirase Stream, do you think I could squeeze that in anywhere?

If I can't book Ginza Onsen, Zao Onsen looks amazing, would that be a suitable alternative in this itinerary? I've also read they allow tattoos (which I have) and I'm not sure if Ginza Onsen does. If we stayed one night in Nyuto Onsen as Ale345 suggests we could skip Ginza or Zao perhaps. The town of Ginza Onsen looks like an incredible experience to visit though, would you recommend it as a must-see for this short itinerary?

Ale345, would you do two nights in Morioka, and then make the following changes to the next two days to include a night at Nyuto Onsen and Nikko? -

Sun 3 May - Visit Nyuto onsen and Lake Tazawako (day 4 of Pass) - stay in Nyuto Onsen this night instead of going back to Morioka?

Mon 4 May - travel back to Tokyo (day 5 of Pass) - stop and stay in Nikko this night instead of heading straight to Tokyo?

I can't thank you enough for your help with this, it's quite tricky planning travel in Tohoku so this is invaluable to me. Thank you!!!

Cheers
Jacki
by Jacki (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/18 22:00
Tues 28 April - Sendai - day trip to Yamadera

This is more of a half day unless you add other places to the trip, or you'll be starting late.


Wed 29 April - Sendai - day trip to Hiraizumi (including Geibeki Gorge, Chusonji Temple) OR Matsushima Bay (can you do both in one day?)

From Haraizumi to Geibeki via train it takes a decent amount of time as trains don't run that often. I took a taxi from Haraizumi to Geibeki and still took almost 25 minutes.

You cannot do both as they are not near one another.

by Ro (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/18 22:53
@Jacki
Ale345, would you do two nights in Morioka, and then make the following changes to the next two days to include a night at Nyuto Onsen and Nikko? -

Sun 3 May - Visit Nyuto onsen and Lake Tazawako (day 4 of Pass) - stay in Nyuto Onsen this night instead of going back to Morioka?

Mon 4 May - travel back to Tokyo (day 5 of Pass) - stop and stay in Nikko this night instead of heading straight to Tokyo?



2 nights in Morioka? that's good question. I have the same problem with my itinerary for October: I put 2 nights there to visit Kakunadate and to relax a bit, but Morioka doesn't seem to be an interesting city. Your options:

- spend a night in Tazawako where you may leave your luggage while at Nyuto and day trip to Kakunodate. Skip Morioka in this case.
- if you skip Ginzan you could: depart from Senday early on, leave your luggages at some station coin lockers (Ichinoseki probably), go to Geibikei and finally travel to Morioka. Sleep there, on 2nd day visit Kakunodate, sleep, leave Morioka

Also an updated itinerary could help us understand better
by Ale345 rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/19 02:34
Hi!

Some stations have a lot of lockers and if you are going to be at a hotel or ryokan for several nights you can also avail yourself of takyuubin. I personally like to shop in Japan (we collect Japanese fashion dolls) so I use it often. I know many people here like to do everything with just carry ons, but I expect they are not bringing home the same things as I do and I also only like doing laundry on vacation so much.

In terms of visiting some sights on the way, I went from Tokyo to Hiraizumi and then onwards to Morioka to meet a friend for dinner and I hit up most of the sights in Hiraizumi without a problem. I didn't make it to the gorge, but I was also starting from Tokyo not Sendai which makes a huge difference.

It takes about 100 minutes or less to get from Oishida to Yamadera. So you're looking at 160-190 minutes total. Most ryokan kick you out by 10:00 am, so even under worst case situations, you can reach there by 13:00 which should give you a good 3 hours to see everything.

BTW do you know about Hyperdia? It's a great site for figuring out trains. http://www.hyperdia.com/

I've not personally been to Ginzan, it doesn't really appeal to me, but that's OK, this trip is about what you want to do, not me. I have been to Zao, in '09 during GW. I loved Zao, the famous rotemboro there is fabulous, however, it's not really a "cute" traditional town and it is very vertical. I think I also visited Shinzaemon no Yu at Zao, along with the onsen in my low end ryokan and I rented a private bath as well. Tohoku has a lot of onsen. It really depends on what exactly you are looking for. Supposedly, they also have a famous skunk cabbage area in Zao, but I didn't make it, just to the one near Tazawako

But based on people posting here about Ginzan, I know it fills up because there are only so many facilities.

Here are some possible itinerary ideas:
Mon 27 April - Ginzan Onsen (Day 1 of my JR East Pass) (night Ginzan onsen or substitute Zao)

Tues 28 April - Travel to Sendai and visit Yamadera on the way (pay out of pocket it's 1860 yen for the entire JR portion Oishida to Yamadera to Sendai) I don't know what the bus to and from Ginzan costs but it's not covered by any pass. From Zao it would be even less and a shorter trip.

Wed 29 April - Sendai - Matsushima Bay (pay out of pocket it's 410 yen each way from JR Sendai to Matsushima Kaigan Station)

Thurs 30 April - Sendai - Hiraizumi on the way to a hotel near Tazawako (It's only 30 minutes longer to Tazawako and you may as well stay there since everything you want to do is near there) (Day 2 of Pass) There are hotels near Tazawako, I was looking into it last year, but stayed in Hanamaki 2 nights instead.

Fri 1 May - Tazawako to Kakunodate (1420 yen one way on the shinkansen and 15 minutes)

Sat 2 May - Take bus and overnight in Nyuto onsen and see the skunk cabbage first if there is time (night Nyuto onsen)

Sun 3 May - Long day Nyuto onsen back to Tazawako to Hachinohoe to bus to Lake Towadako (overnight there) and Day 3 of Pass

Mon 4 May - Work your way back to Tokyo, you could stop at Nikko on the way (day 4)

Tues 5 May - You can use the 5th day of pass to get from Nikko back to Tokyo or use it the day you go to Kakunodate.

Another option would be Sun May 3 go to Aomori and overnight there (day 3 of Pass)

On the 4th go to Oirase and either use the pass or pay out of pocket for the bus, but go round trip back to Aomori and overnight there again or take a late train back to Tokyo or Nikko, but make sure you can arrive late where ever you go or spend another night in Aomori.

In terms of GW travel, if you are traveling that day just book the ticket as soon as you get to Tokyo. In general, it is easier to book Tohoku trains than Tokkaido line trains. Any Japanese who are traveling to the north are more likely to take a plane from Aomori to Haneda because it is much cheaper than the 17,740 yen it would cost by train. So if you pick a train and book it the day you arrive in Japan or the next you should be fine unless you are a huge group.

You can get Oirase in, but its much further from Tazawako then you think and the fastest way is possibly rental car because some bus routes are just not that common. If you are staying overnight I would stay in Aomori over Hachinohoe because Hachinohoe is sort of small and quiet, unless that is what you want. When I went to Oirase a decade ago, I stayed in Aomori, though I admit, if I go back again, I will probably drive so I could hit up Oyu onsen again.

A lot of the regional passes are great deals as long as you are just staying in that one region. Just decide which days make the most sense to use your 5 days.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/22 16:16
Hello again everyone!

Thanks so much for all of your advice. I've taken it on board and come up with a new itinerary and would love your input on the new plan especially direction and ease of travel between locations, Golden Week issues, and any tips on where to stay in each spot! I'm still checking availability for accommodation in each destination so I might have to change some things if accommodation is booked.

I've switched the direction to start north in Tohoku to try and catch Sakura as you suggested rkhold, thanks! And I will check out Hyperdia too :)

Here is the new plan:

Wednesday 22 April - 27 April - Tokyo
Mon 27 April - Tokyo to Tazawa-ko
Tues 28 April - Tazawa-ko - day trip to Kakunodate - Sakura viewing
Wed 29 April - Tazawa-ko - day trip to Nyuto Onsen (or stay Nyuto Onsen if available/affordable) skunk cabbage + another sightseeing option?
Thursday 30 April - Nyuto Onsen/Tazawa-ko to Sendai (stop in Hiraizumi along the way?)
Friday 1 May - Sendai - day trip to Yamadera and Ginzan Onsen (both possible in one day?)
Sat 2 May - Sendai - day trip to Matsushima Bay
Sun 3 May - 1 night - Zao Onsen (if available/affordable)
Mon 4 May - Nikko
Tues 5 - 7 May - Tokyo

So in summary the whole trip would be:

5 nights Tokyo
3 nights Tazawa-ko
3 nights Sendai
1 night Zao Onsen
1 night Nikko
2 nights Tokyo

Thank you so much again for your invaluable help, much appreciated!
Jacki
by Jacki (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/22 17:11
Hi!

I think the trip from Sendai to Yamadera and Ginzan onsen might be a littler long. You're looking at over 200 minutes each way.

One thing to note, some places on your route will have lower rates closer to when you are booking and some will not. I would not book anything non-refundable. I was traveling "off season" aka July, but when I first looked at rates in the Hanamaki area they were 2x as much as I ended up paying. I also find some places have cheaper accommodations on their own websites and some do not. Despite being a member with Mitsui (it's free to join) The Sendai Mitsui was MUCH more expensive on their website than on Booking.com I also like using Rakuten for places less touristed, they tend to have more options and sometimes better prices. (which they did for both places I booked in Hanamaki)

Personally, if it were me, I would start my trip with the day to Kakunodate (it's only 15 minutes by shinkansen more) so do Tokyo to Kakunodate and sightsee there and then when you are done go to your hotel in Tazawako. Kakunodate should have lockers it's pretty popular. Though again, last time I went was a while ago and I was driven.

You could still probably fit in Oirase if it is important. It's late here but I can think about it tomorrow.

Kakunodate will be crowded, but it is really lovely even so. Another place you can consider is Kitakami (also on the way to Tazawako.) I've not been there, but they are one of the top 3 spots for sakura in Tohoku and it might be a little less popular. I was just flipping through pictures and there festival was the 4/15-5/6 last year. and I think is similar time periods every year. A lot depends on what you are looking for.

When you're in Tokyo there should be some great azaleas and wisteria. I seem to remember Big Sight actually had a wisteria area and I am sure there are others. Azaleas can be really pretty.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/22 18:23
Great thanks so much rkold! I was finding it difficult to fit oirase into the itinerary without constantly being on the go. I was considering Hirosaki and Oirase instead of Tazawa-ko and Kakunodate but it seemed like a lot further to travel from Tokyo then back to Sendai, and also accommodation is mostly booked out already in Hirosaki! (In my price range anyway). And Aomori doesn't seem like a great place to stay from what I'm finding online? I'd also consider the fukushima and yamagata prefectures instead of going all the way north.

The other place I left off but would really love to see is Geinbeki Gorge so I'm wondering if there's a way to fit it in. Maybe if I drop one night in Tazawa-ko and add a night in Ichinoseki to get to the Gorge. Would that be a good place to stay to get there?

Accommodation seems to be filling up in a lot of places already! It's making me nervous haha
Thanks again!
by Jacki (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/22 18:52
Regarding accommodation many places donft open reservation until maybe about 6 months before. So I wouldnft yet freak out on accommodation.

- Hiraizumi for me would be a must.
- did you say somewhere above that you have tattoos? If so, check out the onsen you want to visit. They might have a strict anti tattoo policy ( very likely) and you donft want to go all the way to eg Zao onsen just to be not allowed inside the onsen.
- for Hiraizumi and the gorge, you could maybe cut a night in Sendai and add a night around Hiraizumi or Ichinoseki, see those two places and then the next day go from ichinoseki to Matsushima (approx 1:20 h) and then on from there to Sendai.

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

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/26 15:23
Hi again!

I hope everyone had a happy christmas if you celebrate it :)

I think I am nearly there with my itinerary thanks to all your help!

Ifm still unsure how to fit a visit to Ginzan Onsen into the itinerary, it seems very difficult to get to even from Sendai (hyperdia shows lots of transfers and long travel time). Getting to and from Zao also seems difficult via public transport, also not sure I can afford to stay there overnight! So Ifm considering two nights in Nikko instead of 1 night Zao/1 night Nikko. Ifd love to hear if therefs a more efficient route available, or if you think it's definitely worth the extra effort for a night in Zao.

Here is my latest itinerary, any other tips or ways to make it more efficient?

Wednesday 22 April - 27 April - Tokyo

Mon 27 April - Tokyo -> Tazawa-ko - explore Lake Tazawa

~ Catch JR Akita Shinkansen Tokyo > Tazawa-ko ~ 3 hours - Day 1 JR East Tohoku Area Pass

Tues 28 April - Tazawa-ko - day trip to Dakigaeri Gorge and Kakunodate (Ifve scrapped Nyuto Onsen from here as I wonft be able to use the onsens because I have large tattoos, not sure itfs worth a visit if you canft use the onsens?)


~ Shinkansen JR Tazawako Station > JR Kakunodate ~ 22mins (purchase ticket separately so it doesnft use a day of the East Pass?) or Shuttle Bus ~ 19 mins > taxi or bus to Dakigaeri Gorge from Kakunodate > Shuttle bus back to Tazawa-ko station

Wed 29 April - Tazawa-ko -> Hiraizumi - Chusonji temple

~ Shinkansen Komachi 14 from Tazawa-ko station > Morioka station > JR Tohoku line to Hiraizumi station

Thursday 30 April - Hiraizumi > Geibi-kei Gorge > Sendai

~ JR Tohoku line to Ichinoseki > JR Ofunato line to Geibikei station > JR Ofunato line to Ichinoseki > Shinakansen Hayabusa 112 to Sendai

Friday 1 May - Sendai - day trip to Matsushima Bay

~ From JR Sendai Station take the JR Senseki Line to Matsushima Kaigan Station. One way trip is 40 minutes/ 410 yen.

Sat 2 May - Sendai - day trip to Yamadera and Ginzan Onsen (both possible in one day? Can you get there by public transport to Ginzan? It seems very difficult)

~ Catch JR Senzan Line Rapid for Yamagata - 55 mins/860 yen.

Sun 3 May - 1 night - Zao Onsen or Nikko - considering going straight to Nikko for 2 nights instead otherwise itfs a lot of traveling two days in a row

~ Take the JR Senzan Line from Sendai to Yamagata (70-90 minutes, 1140 yen, one train per hour) and transfer to a bus to Zao Onsen (40 minutes, 1000 yen, one bus per hour).

Mon 4 May - Nikko

~ From Zao take JR YAMAGATA LINE for YAMAGATA, then Shinkansen Tsubasa 140 to Utsunomiya then JR Nikko line to Nikko. 230mins/10,000 yen

Tues 5 - 7 May - Tokyo

That makes it:

5 nights Tokyo
2 nights Tazawa-ko
1 night Hiraizumi
3 nights Sendai
1 night Zao Onsen (or 2 nights Nikko)
1 night Nikko
2 nights Tokyo

Thanks so much again!
Jacki
by Jacki (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/26 15:49
Hi, I am Roman
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by romanji rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/26 16:31
Hi!

I think you underestimate how much a taxi might cost to get to Dakigaeri Gorge or how you will get from the gorge back to a JR Station since I don't think there will be taxis just waiting there. The shuttle bus only seems to run during the Fall for leaf viewing based on the info on the JNTO website. https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1821/ It's 8.6 kms from Kakunodate Station and I would be shocked if that works out to be anything less than 3000 yen each way by taxi and at that point a rental car might be more cost effective. I would not want a rental car in Kakunodate though because you will need to find parking which is limited and costs money. I went to visit Kakunodate during sakura season via rental car in '09 and parking was a PIA.

I know Mfedley, one of our most traveled Japan forum members (who I believe is currently in Japan) has been to Dakigaeri Gorge , but I believe he rented a car. I've actually though about going as well, but again would go via rental car, not a taxi.

I'm still not sure why you don't want to start by going straight to Kakunodate from Tokyo. If you were to leave at 10:04 from Tokyo Station you would be there by 13:07 giving you a good 3-4 hours to sightsee before needing to head back to Tazawako. It also lets you get more value out of your pass.

I get not wanting to go to Nyuto onsen if you're not going to use the onsen, the same for Zao and Ginzan. I do not have tattoos, but this is a list from a post on this forum a few years ago that lists onsen that allow tattoos: http://tattoo-spot.jp/ As I do not have tattoos I can not vouch for the veracity of the website but it should give you a good place to start.

Going from Sendai to Yamadera (sightsee) then Yamadera to Yamagata and change for a bus to Zao doesn't seem so complicated to me? Ginzan onsen is more complicated though and does involve a few more transfers, if you are staying overnight it's not a big deal, but trying to do it and Yamadera as a day trip I think would be really hard. I admit, despite having gone to Japan before, last trip was my first time renting a car. I've been driven around by friends who live in Japan, but I've not driven myself and it does limit you on certain places to visit. Again, this was '09, but I paid 7500 yen, no meals for the place I stayed in Zao onsen. I specifically picked it because I didn't want meals included (I have dietary restrictions) The place I stayed did have reservable baths so presumably someone with a tattoo could rent the private bath and it would be a non-issue, since just your party would be in the bath, but you might possibly want to check with any place you stay first. I stayed here: https://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/8411/8411.html I did book via the Japanese website specifically to get no meals and single occupancy which was not offered on the English website.

You can not visit Yamadera and Ginzan onsen (or Zao) and go back to Sendai in one day outside possibly Winter when there are direct buses between Sendai and Zao because of ski season. From Zao to go back towards Tokyo you can take a bus to Yamagata and catch a shinkansen. It's really not hard. I caught the bus back, took the shinkansen to Yonezawa, explored the town for a while and then caught another shinkansen to Tokyo.

It wasn't a holiday time, but I booked literally the last day in March for the end of June for the Mitsui in Sendai and paid under 10,000 yen double occupancy, no meals, because my kid is over 6 counted as an adult at that Mitsui location. To me, that is a good price? It's hard to know someone else's budget.

Good luck!

by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/26 16:47
Regarding Dakigaeri gorge, if there isnft public transport , you could also consider renting a bicycle in Kakunodate. Itfs 8 km one way and mainly flat. Also there are small countryside roads, so actually a nice ride.

Check out the map at the bottom of my post:

http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/10/day-18-nyuto-onsen-down...
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/27 21:48
Friday 1 May - Sendai - day trip to Matsushima Bay

~ From JR Sendai Station take the JR Senseki Line to Matsushima Kaigan Station. One way trip is 40 minutes/ 410 yen.


I suggest if you will be taking the sightseeing ferry one way from Shiogami to Matsushima, it will be less congested, i took it this year during GW and the Matsushima dock and boats were super crowded, while my boat was relatively empty. I took the first boat of the day which was 9am if i remember right.

I also upgraded to first class an additional fee, was i was able to move from side to side to see the rock formations easily. To upgrade, you just walk up the stairs and into the room, an attendant will charge you when they come around.
by Ro (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/28 18:26
Thanks Ro, great tip for the Matsushima Bay ferry. Did you visit other places in Tohoku during Golden Week? How did you find it?

LikeBike that is a great idea, I love cycling so that could be an interesting option. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for all your insight again Rkold! I was planning to take on your tip to do Kakunodate on the way to Tazawako from Tokyo, and then do Nyuto Onsen and the skunk cabbage the next day. But then I realised I can't use the onsens there and I was nearly going to drop Tazawako altogether because I wasn't sure it was worth staying without a visit to Nyuto, then I saw Dakigaeri Gorge and thought it could be worth making a day out of Dakigaeri and it seems the best way to get there is from Kakunodate (good point re taxis and shuttle bus, looks like cycling would be our best option as LikeBike mentioned), so it seemed to make sense to combine the two on the same day. But I definitely take your point and am still considering whether it's worth staying in Tazawako at all, or instead going Tokyo to Kakunodate, stay there the night and then go straight on to Hiraizumi. Would a whole day at Lake Tazawako be too much if you weren't day-tripping to somewhere else?

I might give Ginzan a miss and spend a night in Zao, I read there are tattoo-friendly onsens there too.

Thanks so much again all!
Cheers
Jacki
by Jacki (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/28 20:48
I liked Tazawako as such as well.

http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/10/day-17-once-around-taza...

If you like cycling a round of it is nice. By bus, I am not so sure as you get dropped if only on the mist giconich=touristy places.

by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tohoku 7 night itinerary - Golden Week 2020 2019/12/28 23:44
Jackie-


I visited Kakunodate, Sendai, Yonenzawa, Matsushima, Ichinoseki, Hiraizumi and Otaru

Didnt find most places very crowded at all, except for Hiraizumi's temples since it was the first day of the new era. Matsushima had a lot of people, but nothing too bad.
by Ro (guest) rate this post as useful

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