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16-days trip in August.. Hokkaido or Kerama? 2022/2/24 05:41
Hi everyone !

Let's be optimistic and imagine that next summer 2022 Japan will be open for tourism !
I have bought (cheap) refundable tickets, from August 10th to 26th. We are an Italian family of 4, with teens (17 and 15yo). We love to travel and have a mix of sightseeing, culture, nature and (active) relax.

We drafted an itinerary with the "traditional" places, but still have some days to be defined... here we are:
10 landing in Tokyo at 12.55
11-12 Tokyo
13 to Koyasan, visit and sleep there (Candle Festival)
14 to Nara, visit and sleep there (Lantern Festival)
15-18 four days in Kyoto
19 to Hiroshima, visit (including Miyajima) and sleep there
20 day trip biking the Shimanami Kaido, back and sleep in Hiroshima (feasible ? long day for sure..)
21-23 to be defined (see below)
24 sometime during the day, back to Tokyo (visit ?) and sleep there
25 Tokyo
26 Tokyo + take off at 17.45

Questions are:
1. any general comment and advice on the itinerary ?
2. in short list for 21 to 23/24 we have 2 alternative options:
a. Hokkaido (flight KIX to Kushiro, rent a car, tour/hiking in Akan and/or (?) Daisetsuzan parks, flight Kushiro to Tokyo) - we are used to hike.
b. Kerama islands (flight FUK to Okinawa, ferry to which island ?, rest, sea, sun etc..., flight back to Tokyo)
Both these internal flight options are reasonably cheap now, around 100 euros "roundtrip"... which one do you vote for ?

thank you in advance !
ciao
a

by adriano (guest)  

Re: 16-days trip in August.. Hokkaido or Kerama? 2022/2/24 15:42
I am a slow traveler so for me this itinerary is too fast. I am sure some faster travelers will comment as well, so you can get their input as well on the speed.

10 landing in Tokyo at 12.55
11-12 Tokyo
13 to Koyasan, visit and sleep there (Candle Festival)
did you check how long it takes to get from Tokyo to Koyasan? It already takes quite long from Osaka. You need some time on location. Koyasan is a nice place. Which deserves at least 24 h of staying there.
I donft know about the candle festival, Ifd assume it is in the evening, but as it gets dark early in Japan eben in sind it might not be as late in the day as you think.
14 to Nara, visit and sleep there (Lantern Festival)
Nara and Kyoto are very close. I would stay in Kyoto that night. Theoretically you should be able to leave your luggage in a locker at the station , however with a festival locked places might be harder to get. What I would do, send your luggage from Tokyo to Kyoto and only bring one small luggage for the entire family (or everyone a small backpack) for yes one night at Koyasan. Luggage shopping within Japan is very common.
Further on luggage, pack as small as possible. Hotel rooms are small and also in trains there isnfta lot of space for big luggage. Best is carbine size luggage. HOWEVER if you are going for the shipping option, packing 2 big suitcases for the entire family might also be an option. Shipment prices are per piece (and size).
Many hotels have washing machines (and dryers) so it is enough to have clothes for about 5 days.
15-18 four days in Kyoto
19 to Hiroshima, visit (including Miyajima) and sleep there
20 day trip biking the Shimanami Kaido, back and sleep in Hiroshima (feasible ? long day for sure..)
it depends how much of the Shimanami Kaido you want to bike and obviously your speed. I did it a few years ago and it is a wonderful place that deserves time. I took 2 days with a nice stop in between and sightseeing en route.

http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/2017/11/part-10-day-48-49-ridin...

You will need to reserve the bicycles. Also there are generally 2 types of bicycles for rent: racing bikes and gmamacharih . A mamachari type of bike can be fun but canNOT be fast. And they are quite uncomfortable. Not a problem if you only intend to cycle a small part, but a problem if you want to make km. And frankly the nicest part is in the middle.
As you have some extra days, I would add a day here. Potentially I would also do it before Hiroshima as it is slightly backtracking.

21-23 to be defined (see below)
I would stay in the region where you are already. Eg Naoshima, Teshima (there are some interesting museums in the countryside), Inushima. Or over to Takamatsu on Shikoku and see the splendid garden.
24 sometime during the day, back to Tokyo (visit ?) and sleep there
25 Tokyo
26 Tokyo + take off at 17.45


Being from Italy I am not going to want you of the humid heat. But in my experience Japan feel hotter in summer than Italy or Spain (I lived in both countries for several years), because of the humidity.

Enjoy planning your trip.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: 16-days trip in August.. Hokkaido or Kerama? 2022/2/24 16:03
Waste of time going to Okinawa or Hokkaido for 2 days.

Also, go straight to Kyoto first. With festivals in the Kyoto area. Trains will be super busy leading up to those festival dates. So spend your 4 Kyoto days on the days before the festivals.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 16-days trip in August.. Hokkaido or Kerama? 2022/2/25 04:51
How well do you like hot-and-humid weather? You are Italian, so maybe that's OK for you. But for me (I come from a northern, cool place), Japan in the summer is just too hot and humid for me - I was miserable in Tokyo. In August...I would just land in Tokyo, change planes and go to Hokkaido, and spend all my time there. Okinawa? In August? No thank you!!! Hokkaido is lovely in the summer.
by Jo Mama (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 16-days trip in August.. Hokkaido or Kerama? 2022/3/10 17:02
Hokkaido or Kerama? Which place do you prefer?
by Abouse rate this post as useful

Re: 16-days trip in August.. Hokkaido or Kerama? 2022/3/11 02:53
Hi!

I am generally more heat and humidity proof than most posters on this forum (and I do tend to go to Japan in Summer, for those with kids, it is the easiest time to go) but I will also say... when you are more than a single person traveling, you're only as capable as your weakest link and with a party of 4 that ups your chances someone is not keen on being overly active in heat and humidity. But even with my ability to withstand heat and humidity, I can't imagine wanting to make a day of biking. Would I bike for an hour of two in the Summer, sure? But not a full day. I find when it is hot and humid making sure to take breaks with lots of drinking of cold beverages and a little AC is super important.

In terms of the travel from Tokyo to Koya-san. I consider myself a medium traveler. I personally think it might be hard to get in a lot of sightseeing in at Koya-san. I just put in taking a Hikari train from Tokyo at 8:03 am into Hyperdia, and you won't get to Koya-san until after 2! (you arrive in Gokurakubashi at 13:50.) I'd also like to point out, that getting to Nara from Koya-san is a lot harder than it looks on a map. The reason being the JR lines you need to take to get from Hashimoto to Nara just don't run all that frequently. You are actually better off going all the way back to Osaka and then taking the train from there and at that point, it might make more sense to just stay in Kyoto. Via the faster Nozomi, you can leave Tokyo as late as 8:51 am, but you're still not going to get to Gokurakubashi before 13:50.

In terms of clothes washing, I find doing a lot of laundry on vacation, especially as it becomes more than 2 people, is time consuming and lot less fun. Japanese dryers are really pretty bad at drying compared to US dryers and just hanging up clothes to dry outside, is not going to go well with humidity. I love Takkyubin, the delivery service @LikeBike mentioned. In June/July 2019, it was around 1200 yen to send my large suitcase all over Japan.

Personally, if it were me, I would do:

10 landing in Tokyo at 12.55
11 Tokyo
12th Kyoto ---I would pay out of pocket and travel by Nozomi
13 to Koyasan, visit and sleep there (Candle Festival)
14 to Nara, visit and sleep there (Lantern Festival)
15-17 Kyoto --I would buy and at some point start a JR West Kansai-Hiroshima Pass. You will not be able to take a direct shinkansen from Kyoto to Hiroshima, but it will cover a limited express or special rapid to Shin-Osaka and from Shin-Osaka you can take any shinkansen train to Hiroshima. The last time I went West from Shin-Osaka, the Sakuras tended to be very full and having the option to take Nozomi as well will 100% increase your train options. The pass lasts 5 day and you want it to cover: Kyoto to Miyajima and Hiroshima back to KIX, since those are your most expensive trips.
18 Hiroshima, visit (including Miyajima) and sleep there
19-21 Hokkaido (do nature things there where it is less humid and where you will enjoy them more.
23 sometime during the day, back to Tokyo (visit ?) and sleep there
25 Tokyo
26 Tokyo + take off at 17.45

I didn't put day 22 in because you can add it to: Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima or Hokkaido depending on the interests of your specific family.

I would probably do Hokkaido over Okinawa just because it is cooler (temperature wise) and it might be nice to have a break from the heat. If you are really into beaches and beach activities instead, I would do Okinawa. I would also talk to your teens about their interests.

In terms of suitcases I would send a check-in sized bag from Narita directly to Kyoto. When you leave Kyoto to overnight in Koya-san and possibly Nara, I would ask at the place I am staying if they would just hold my bag. Many places will agree. I had the Tokyo Station Hotel hold my large suitcase for me, when I went to to the Nagano area for 2 nights and then Tokyo Disney for 1 night before checking in at the Tokyo Station Hotel. Depending on where you put night 22, I would either send the bag to Hokkaido if you are staying or to Tokyo. I would possibly do laundry one of your days in Kyoto. If you send the bag to Hokkaido, I'd just take it on the plane back to Tokyo and back to your hotel in Tokyo, unless you want to just forward it onwards to the airport directly. I don't tend to do that simply because I buy a lot of souvenirs.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

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