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Autumn Week 1 Trip Feedback 2020/6/6 22:57
Hi All,

I'm currently planning my officially last trip to Japan from November 9th - December 8th 2020. The ticket has been purchased - but I understand if it gets cancelled due to COVID-19 so I'm not really interested in warnings about that. The aim of this post is for people with knowledge of these areas to point out things I will miss and the like. I'm also quite interested in gardens and traditional buildings as well.

November 9th: Haneda arrival and stay in Tokyo
November 10th: Tokyo to Morioka + Pick Up JR-East Tohoku Pass
November 11th: Pick up car for a few days. Drive from Morioka to Ichinoseki. Planned visited locations: Michinoku Folk Village, Esashi Heritage Park, Samurai Residence Museum (Mizusawa), Ichinoseki City Museum, Japan Kokeshi Museum (I'm basically driving down South down central Tohoku)
November 12th: Ichinoseki to Kamaishi. Planned visited locations: Tome Town (6 Meiji Era Museums/Buildings as a combo ticket), Kessenuma Museum, Rias Ark Museum.
November 13th: Kamaishi to Hachimantai (probably change to closer to Morioka at later date). Planned visited locations: Iron Museum, Dai Kannon Temple, Tsunami Memorial Museum, Tsunami Memorial, Taro Kanko Hotel, Kitamazaki Coast, Ryusendo Cave.
November 14th: Morioka to Utsunomiya via train in morning. Locations in afternoon: Oya History Museum, Oya Temple, Shinohara Residence.
November 15th: Utsunomiya (hiring bike from Station): Futaara Shrine, Hachimanyama Park, Tochigi Fine Arts Museum, Tochigi Prefectural Museum, Utsunomiya Castle Ruins.
November 16th: Hire car and visit Tobu World Square + Edo Wonderland near Nikko (already visited Nikko on multiple occasions). Hiring a car seems to cost about the same as staying in Nikko compared to Utsunomiya. Short train ride to Saitama
November 17th: Saitama (walking or bike riding day): Railway Museum, Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Omiya Bonsai Village, Saitama History Museum, Hikawa Shrine, Saitama City Museum.

My next two stops will be Chuchibu and Enoshima - both places I've never visited even though I used to live in Yokohama. I've done Kamakura to death and surrounds. Any suggestions on these two locations (specifically Chuchibu) would be much appreciated.

For people who are scratching their heads, I've already visited Morioka, Tono, Hiraizumi, Ichinoseki. Matsushima, Sendai, Yamagata, Yonezawa, Yamadera, onsen towns in Iwate, Nikko, Kawagoe and other places I've probably forgotten. Thanks in advance
by mfedley  

Re: Autumn Week 1 Trip Feedback 2020/6/7 07:52
Looks busy, but interesting.
Getting a car for the Tobu World Square and Edomura looks like a good idea as it does not take long to drive there and gives you timing flexibility. I would do Edo Mura second as my visits there have always been quite long.
For the JREast Railway museum in Saitama try out the train simulators. If you've got enough Japanese to take a bit of instruction, the steam train is pretty cool (I had a friend do that years ago - one of his highlights of that trip) - but you need to reserve a time so make the reservation when you arrive, I simply tried out the Yamanote train sim - much easier.
Cannot help much with Chichibu as the only thing I've done in the area was hike up Mount Bukō.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Autumn Week 1 Trip Feedback 2020/6/7 14:08
On Enoshima, we did the walk around the island and into the caves, which I enjoyed. We paid for the escalator to the top, which felt like money well spent.

I'm looking forward to your report of this trip, we haven't been to Tohoku yet, perhaps in the next year or two.
by Who? (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Autumn Week 1 Trip Feedback 2020/6/7 15:45
Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

I'm happy to see the comments about hiring a car around Utsunomiya to visit the parks. Normally I avoid theme parks like the plague - but I do like tacky and strangeness which might be right up my alley.

Another problem I have is I'm visiting Saitama on a Tuesday which is when the train museum is closed. I might change the dates of this and visit as a day trip from Tokyo since it's so close. I'll also have a good think about the simulators at the train museum. They don't tend to be my thing in general as my Dad used to build the steam trains you ride on so have driven a real steam train which can pull up to 20 people on a couple of occasions. It's a bit tricky to get it started - but alas....

Good to hear that people enjoy Enoshima - which I'll be visiting mid week to miss possible crowds (along with the Nikko theme parks on a Monday).
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Autumn Week 1 Trip Feedback 2020/6/7 16:13
Good to see this trip taking form. I donft actually know a lot about the locations you mention.

So just a few comments:
- you mention Hachimantai. Do you mean the mountainous region with the onsen, eg Tamagawa onsen? This is a wonderful region, but Nov might be late. Not sure when the streets and hotels close in that area. And anyway youfd need at least 1 full day there because even by car it is slow traveling.
- if on your way from Uchinomiya to Saitama you come through Tochigi-Shi, it has some nice old houses along a river that can make a nice stop.
- you seem to have excluded the Kurita museum close to Asikaga flower park. The flower park in November/Dec probably isnft worthfs visit (I was there in Feb and it was NOT a highlight) but the pottery museum was interesting both for the pottery, the buildings and the park. You have the links in my previous post.
- On Enoshima and Chichibu I already commented on my previous post. 😇 but I trust you remember that.
- there is a fox village somewhere by Sendai. Havenft been, but is more or less on your route. And a cat island including a cat shaped building on the coast in that area too. Again, havenft been.

Are you already in quarantine in AUS?

Enjoy the planning!
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Autumn Week 1 Trip Feedback 2020/6/7 23:47
Hi Likebike,

You always seem to stuff up my plans with something left of centre.

I'm not in Quarantine (in Australia) yet - still 2 weeks in Singapore with everything closed and little to do.

Your comment talking around Tochigi was an interesting one. There seems to be around 1.5 days of stuff to do around that area. That includes (1) Tochigi canal area (2) Ashikaga Flower Park Light Up + Kurita Museum (Saturday/Sunday for the light up) and (3) Ashikaga School and area (oldest school in the country) plus stuff close by.

I've got some major re-jigging to do with my timing and places visiting. Saitama City looked a little bit of a bore so will probably end up being a half day trip when I'm in Tokyo so I can visit both the train museum and bonsai village.

Even if my flight is cancelled - these small rejigs which takes time is so much more interesting than watching only netflix series.....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Autumn Week 1 Trip Feedback 2020/6/8 09:49
A couple of follow-up comments:
- personally I would avoid the fox village near Senadai - one of the more miserable "attractions" I've visited in Japan. Not necessarily cruel, but not very pleasant. Also, takes a long time to get there, and doesn't take long to visit. There are other places I prefer in/around Sendai city.
- Edo Mura is/can be a bit tacky - but still fun. Last time I was there with friends and they did the whole dress-up/costume thing. It wasn't particularly busy by the end of the day do I was able to have some good sword training for about 30 minutes - that was good. Even without strong Japanese the performances were well worth attending/watching.
- Enoshima I like and visit a few times a year (and not just for work), although it's been six months since my last trip - took my daughter. The rocky coast line, cases, view of Fuiji (on a nice day), temples/shrines and delicious food makes it a nice day out.
- Just on Omiya, it's pretty accessible from Tokyo or Shinjuku. NP about the sims not being your thing, and if you have been to the rail museums at Nagoya or Kyoto you might find it a bit of a double-up, but can still be interesting to visit - it's not the cheapest of venues to visit though. The bonsai museum has been on my lost of places to check, but there are lots of options in/around Tokyo/Saitama/Kanagawa.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Autumn Week 1 Trip Feedback 2020/6/8 16:27
Maybe a few other considerations

for 11.11:
* near kitakami:
** Miyazawa Kenji Dowa Mura (Fairytale Village) {򌫎b (bizzare glas museum)
** Tannaisan Shrine OR_ (remote shrine, but maybe in winter not so nice?)
* near ichonoseki:
** Takkounoiwaya Bishamondo BJA哰 (but i guess you have already seen this in trips earlier?)
* on the way to naruku onsen:
** p + L (has some nice garden)

for 12:11:
* when next to the ark museum, maybe you want to go for some really excellent sushi:
** Kesennuma Matsuba Sushi C ti (i havnt been there since it was not on my route, but a lot of japanese people from this area recommended it to me)

for 13.11:
* Jodogahama Beach yl (i havnt been there also, but got it as recommendation and it seems on your way)

for 14.11:
* Oyakeikan Park Jiό (just next to the underground musueum)

as always: looking forward for your reports! enjoy your trip!
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Autumn Week 1 Trip Feedback 2020/6/10 01:00
Hi All,

Thanks for all of the suggestions. Likebike - I ended up seeing the strange dancing youtube video today.

Glimpigumpi - some of your suggestions were included. Your also right about the cave temple - I have already seen that near Hiraizumi!

JCT - Thanks for the suggestions. Omiya/Saitama is close to the only prefecture where I have kind of ignored - apart from Ibaraki which I've only visited Mito and Fukuroda Falls). Saitama will probably be for my last day in Japan (December 8th - when I leave Haneda at 10PM!). The big draw card is the Bonsai villages - but I also lived in Yokohama for 3 years and missed it as well - it was not a great enough pull to get me there.

Lots of rejigging has got me the following at the moment. I've also starred probably 5 or so other locations a day not on this list but have not included due to time):

November 9th: Tokyo
November 10th: Tokyo - Morioka
November 11th: Morioka - Osaki (driving): Michinoku Folk Village, Esashi Heritage Park, Samurai Residence Oshu, Ishinoseki City Museum, Chubachi Museum, Yubikan
November 12th: Osaki - Kamaishi (with visit to Tome Meiji Town - driving): Police Museum, Keikokam, Kencho, Education Museum, Preforming Arts Museum, Takakura Art Museum, Kessenuma City Museum, Rias Ark Museum
November 13th: Kamaishi - Morioka (I've already visited Nyuto/Tamagawa Onsen and a few others in the area - driving): Iron Museum, Dai-kannon Temple, Tsunami Memorial Hall, Earthquake Memorial, Taro Kanko Hotel, Ryusendo Cave (some parks have not been included but I will visit on the way).
November 14th: Sano (Tochigi): Kurita Museum, Ashikaga Flower Park (light up event on Friday/Saturday night)
November 15th: Tochigi + Ashikawa: Ashikaga Museum of Art, Matsumura Museum, Ashikaga School, Bannaji Temple, Tsukada Memorial Hall, Tochigi Reference Hall, Float Museum, Adachi Kokokan, Okada Residence, Yokoyama Memorial Hall
November 16th: Utsunomiya 1: Oya History Museum, Oya Temple
November 17th: Nikko (with car): Tobu World Square then Edo Wonderland (afternoon)
November 18th: Utsunomiya 2: Shinohana Residence, Futaara Yama Shrine, Hachmanyama Park, Fine Art Museum, Tochigi Prefectural Museum, Castle Ruins (then train to Chichibu in late afternoon)
November 19th: Chichibu (still to plan)
November 20 - December 2nd: Still to plan. Some time in Enoshima, Nagoya, Gujo Hachiman, Kyoto and potentially Seto Sea (Shodoshima?)
December 3-8: Tokyo
by mfedley rate this post as useful

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