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Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/7 07:59
Hi guys,
I'm back to get some tips. As recommended in a earlier thread I waited as long as possible to make sure that I won't miss Hanami, yet it seems to be in vain ;)

Arrival 22 March in Fukuoka
Return 13 April from Tokyo

Everything was perfect,10 and 13 April are public holidays in Germany. Winter was warm, so the sakura is a little early. It would be the perfect trip if there wasn't that virus >.<
It is likely that I might not go since I am supposed to transfer in Seoul. Maybe I can reroute my flight. But never the less, I can use this plan for next year if it doesn't work out this year.

I prefer little hostel changes, so my bases are Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Okayama, Kyoto (or Osaka) and Tokyo. It's better for meeting people if I stay in the same hostel for more nights and I don't have to drag my suitcase every day. Plus, I simply love riding public transportation in Japan. I usually even choose Sakura Shinkansen over Mizuho even if Mizuho is covered just to experience the train ride for a few more minutes ;)

22.03 Fukuoka
23.03 Fukuoka
24.03 Hiroshima
25.03 Hiroshima (Miyajima)
26.03 Hiroshima (Iwakuni)
27. 03 Okayama (Onomichi)
28.03 Okayama (Fukuyama/Tomonoura)
29.03 Okayama (Kurashiki/Bitchu Takahashi)
30.03 Okayama (Takamatsu or something else)
31.03 Okayama (Okayama/Himeji)
01.04 Kyoto (Kobe)
02.04 Kyoto (Osaka)
03.04 Kyoto (Osaka)
04.04 Kyoto (Kyoto/Uji)
05.04 Kyoto (Yamanobe no Michi)
06.04 Kyoto (Kyoto)
07.04 Tokyo (Fuji 5 lake area)
08.04 Tokyo (Izu Peninsula)
09.04 Tokyo (Yokohama)
10.04 Tokyo
11. 04 Tokyo
12.04 Tokyo

I don't know if Okayama and Himeji in one day is a good thing. I like to go slow. I read about people visiting Himeji, Okayama and Kurashik in one day. But I think they actually didn't experience the cities, they just rushed from Hemeji castle, to Okayama castle/garden and finally to Kurashiki. But I don't like hopping from one major sight to another. I like to see and experience the "boring" and ordinary daily life why I always try to walk every possible distance.

I did the Kibi Plain cycling route last year which was awesome. Are there similar 1 day routes in Okayama or Kyoto/Osaka region worth it? Maybe going from Fukuyama to Tomonoura by bike? Or from Kyoto to lake Biwa? Cycling deserves more attention on japan-guide. ;)

How do I behave on a train ride when the rail pass expires in the middle of my train ride. I go from Okayama to Bitchu Takahashi, the rail pass cover Soja but not any further. If I want to pay by IC card, do I have to leave the train in Soja and reenter? Do I have to buy the ticket for Soja - Bitchu Takahashi in advance in Okayama at the vending machine to avoid leaving the train?

The best/cheapest options for transport I could find are:
Okayama Hiroshima Yamaguchi Pass (Covers Fukuoka to Okayama, 5 days, 13 700 Yen) - activation on 24.03
Kansai Wide Pass (Covers Okayama to Kyoto, 5 days, 9200 Yen)
Single ticket for Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo 13 300 Yen
And eventually Tokyo Wide pass
I think I can't get it cheaper (buses excluded)
by TomMunich  

Re: Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/7 19:38
Hi Tom

Cycling deserves more attention on japan-guide. ;)

Totally in agreement. In the meantime you can have a look at my blog 😇

http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com

Now need to hop back in the bicycle... but if I have time later Ifll send you some specific ideas.

Youfll be in a lot of good cycling spots. And cycling with the Coronavirus potentially is safer. Well, at least thatfs what I am ginventingh as an excuse for continuing to enjoy myself in Japan.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/7 23:14
I am likely to switch the Hanami trip to 2021. Too much uncertainty about the flights. Yesterday my flight was partially cancelled. I could switch to a direct flight from Europe to Haneda but still, I don't want to waste 14 days in quarantine. What happens if I get a slight cold, will I be quarantined in Tokyo because authorities suspect me of having corona?

Your latest entry looks interesting already.
Wanted to go to Izu anyway. Will miss the cherry blossoms but that's not too bad.
by TomMunich rate this post as useful

Re: Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/8 01:15
Just an alternative idea:

http://www.deutsche-weinstrasse-pfalz.info/fruehling.php

;-)

Ifll provide more info in the upcoming days for potential cycling trips in Kansai and Okayama.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/8 05:28
Hi!

If you want to do Yamanobe no Michi, I would recommend starting from Nara and walking all the way to Sakurai Station and then catching Kintetsu from Sakurai. The JR line between Nara and JR Sakurai doesn't run all that often. We just barely managed to make the JR line from Miwa Station back to Sakurai and if we'd missed it would have been a long wait.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/10 04:20
Thanks. It maybe smarter go from north to south because their are some things to explore in Sakurai/Asuka region. Smarter to walk first and then use the time left instead of spending too much time in the Asuka/Sakurai and then having to run to Nara ;)

Another thing that bothers my right now - right now I am leaning towards taking the flight next week - many public facilities are closed until mid-March. Is there any information yet if this will be extended?
by TomMunich rate this post as useful

Re: Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/10 04:33
And what about the public toilets. I read that public toilets like in Shinjuku Gyoen Park are closed. Does that mean it's ok to pee behind a tree?
by TomMunich rate this post as useful

Re: Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/10 06:26
No! Go to a department store or a train station. Peeing in public might get you arrested.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/10 06:39
Another thing that bothers my right now - right now I am leaning towards taking the flight next week - many public facilities are closed until mid-March. Is there any information yet if this will be extended?

I donft think there is such information yet. But I also have a gut feeling that yes, these measures will be extended and possibly can become more severe. You need to check for each place , each day , if it is open. Museums are generally closed, even some outdoor venues, eg the Tokyo Edo Tatemono Museum is closed. Also some private places are closed, eg some super sento in Tokyo where I wanted to go on the weekend were closed, other es were open. So if you decide to come now, be prepared to be flexible and to check online if places are open. Information might be available in Japanese only.

Regarding public toilets, peeing in public isnft okay. But from what I could tell this weekend the measure in Shinjuku gyoen might be exceptional. I have found all public toilets along my 40 km from Shinjuku to Sayama lake open. (Not that I used them all, ...)

I still need to write you more info for cycling. Ifll try when I am at my computer instead of iPhone.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/10 22:25
Hi Tom,
regardless when you go, here some suggestions for cycling in Japan (Kansai mainly, as it seems this will be your main target area).

For general planning, please have a look here: http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/search/label/Planning/ you can select each region.

For Kansai specifically last time I was in Osaka I came across a cycling route map and added all the links here: http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2019/11/cycling-routes-in-kansa...

The pages are in Japanese, but just click on the links inside and maps will open (note there are multiple links in there, some will actually lead you to Questionnaires or other useless stuff... but it just takes a little bit of clicking around and you'll find all the maps)

From my own experience, I would say riding around Lake Biwa (I haven't done the full circle though) and riding in Nara prefecture were the absolute highlights of cycling in Japan. (well, maybe the ABSOLUTE highlight is the Shimanami Kaido. http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/11/part-10-day-48-49-ridin... But that is kind of an "isolated" pleasure. While Otsu - Kyoto - Nara - Nara prefecture can all be easily connected.

I know that around lake Otsu there are bicycle rental shops. E.g. one at Maibara station, renting out more high end bicycles. In other areas, e.g. Nara at the station there are mamachari rental stations. But it seems that in this region cycling gets more and more common, so more and more cycling rental shops open. Just search for "]ԁ@^@@Name of the city" and you should find some suggestions. Have a look at their pics and you can see if it is Mamacharis or better bikes.

Under this link you can see cycling tours I already did in Nara prefecture: http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/search/label/Nara

Here in Shiga: http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/search/label/Shiga

If you decide to visit now, Miho museum with the sakura blooming was stunning. Per their web page, they plan to open on 14th March... however I would be somewhat surprised if they really open. I guess that if they are closed, you cannot see the sakura either. http://www.miho.or.jp/news/%e2%89%aa%e9%87%8d%e8%a6%81%e3%81%aa%e3%81%...

and here in Kyoto: http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/search/label/Kyoto

I have made a good number of rides in these regions already, so just click through them to find something that inspires you.

If you have some specific questions about cycling in Japan or routes, let me know.

I cannot advise you if it currently is a good idea to come to Japan or not. Actually everything here is very quiet and orderly. So I do not feel threatened. It kind of "helps" that the government doesn't do a lot of testing... so numbers are low. However also the number of deaths so far is very low (compared to e.g. Italy). If you come now, however be prepared that most museums, indoor events (Kabuki...) will be closed. Outdoor sightseeing in general should be fine, and even much less crowded than normally as there are just so much less tourists around. I would advise however to check for each place you plan to visit on their web page if they are really open, as even some outdoor places have closed.

If you decide now, registering in the list of Germans in Japan (https://japan.diplo.de/ja-de/service/15-Elefand) might be a good idea... well, at least that's what a friend of mine who works at the embassy told me... so I dutifully registered and now get relatively useless emails from the embassy...

You should make sure you have health insurance for Japan. It does not cost a lot... but would really help (financially).

Enjoy your trip to Japan, whenever it will be.


by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Fukuoka to Tokyo - Cherry Blossom / Hanami 2020/3/10 22:52
tDo I have to buy the ticket for Soja - Bitchu Takahashi in advance in Okayama at the vending machine to avoid leaving the train?

I made a similar trip from Okayama to Bitchu-Takahashi last year using JR Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass which Soja being the limit. What I did was I showed my pass to the counter staff at Okayama Station explaining I wanted to go to Bitchu-Takahashi using the local service. She just issued two tickets ie one Soja - Bitchu-Takahashi and the other for the reverse trip.
by CDY (guest) rate this post as useful

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