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Japan in Autumn of 2022 - itinerary planning 2022/4/1 17:48
We are currently planning a 15+/- days trip to Japan for the Autumn season of this year. Naturally, it is subject to Japan being open to tourists by then.

So we welcome any and all help on thoughts about places/destinations/locations to visit for getting the most out of Autumn colours season.

We have had a look at the Japan-Guide "when" and "where" blogs and see that during November, the following regions should be of interest:

Fuji Five lakes region (Kawaguchiko)

Nikko (Irohazaka Winding Road)

Osaka - Itsukushima

Kyoto - and Nara and Arashiyama

Hiroshima

Our tentative dates are maybe from 10th to 26th and we are thinking definitely of Kyoto but are not sure of where else to go.

What we would like to know is which three cities/locations we definitely must visit to get the most out of our trip.

Most likely we will have to use Tokyo as our entry/exit points for international flights. So maybe we could be in Kyoto and Tokyo in the 2nd week of our trip.

Naturally, things like costs and ease of access of the specific locations are factors to consider.

I must mention that my wife and I have already spent about 2 weeks in the March Cherry Blossom season about 5 years ago in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Koyasan. And because my wife and I both loved the experience - and the people - so much that we had wished then to make another trip if life permitted. Covid has taken 2 years away and we are hoping/wishing it won't take away 2022 also.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and ideas.
by rajeev168  

Re: Japan in Autumn of 2022 - itinerary planning 2022/4/3 13:30
If ease of assess is your priority, then stick to Tokyo, Kansai, Hiroshima. Kawaguchiko and Nikko while not complex to access, can be ifficult to access and travel in peak times.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in Autumn of 2022 - itinerary planning 2022/4/3 14:16
Hi!

I would just make sure to use the estimates on this forum located here:
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2014_when.html

For trying to see the leaves. Tokyo and Kyoto both tend to be on the later side. Irohazaka near Nikko can get completely packed during koyo. If you want to do it, don't do it on a week end. During the Summer of 2019, I tried to go to a hydrangea festival at a temple outside of Kyoto. I spent several hours waiting in line for the shuttle service from the train station before we just gave up and left and we were not the only ones. I think sometimes it makes sense to go somewhere where you can leaf view by foot,

Itsukushima/Miyajima is waaaaaay closer to Hiroshima than Osaka, it seems weird to have it as a dash with Osaka.

Speaking as someone who only has direct flights to Tokyo from their home airport, while I get that, it is possible to change at Narita or Haneda for a flight to Osaka and fold that into your airline ticket. I think I did that in 2019 and did JFK to Narita to Itami and then did Haneda to JFK. While it's exhausting changing at Narita or Haneda, Itami seemed like a much smaller airport. I used the shuttle bus to get to Kyoto and stayed at a hotel very close to the bus stop. I am unsure the hotel is still in business, but there are still tons of hotels in Kyoto. I've only taken a few domestic flights in Japan, but I've really enjoyed them because they've been quite scenic. I have flown into (and out of) KIX and NGO, but both of those involved transfers within the US (and in the case of KIX catching a super early flight from JFK to SFO) and I find I prefer the transfer at Narita. It was just easier.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in Autumn of 2022 - itinerary planning 2022/4/3 16:01
Fall season is my favorite season in Japan. I went to Miyajima Island during Koyo and it was so beautiful. You won't regret visiting during fall. Btw, momiji manju is delicious, a delicacy famous during Koyo in Miyajima.

Why not check if you have flights to Kansai International KIX? Usually, countries with flights to Japan, not only have Tokyo Narita but also Osaka KIX. If not, have you thought about transfer at Narita? It would save you time and money if you arrive closer to your destinations.

As for hotels, Osaka has pretty decent and cheap hotels. Hiroshima as well. For me, Hiroshima was the perfect base to visit Myajima Island and Iwakuni. I stayed at Mitsui Garden Hiroshima, a chain of hotels that I'm fond of. It was extremely cheap, but very good too (it was close to the memorials and museum by foot).

Back then, I bought a regional pass since it was cheaper than the normal JR pass, and allowed me to use the Nozomi as well. It was the JR Sanyo Sanin Pass. I used it to go from Osaka - Himeji - Okayama - Kurashiki - Hiroshima - Miyajima Island - Iwakuni (the ferry is included in the pass). I recommend visiting Himeji Castle, Korakuen garden in Okayama, Kurashiki and the bridge in Iwakuni, all in same route.

I wish you the best of luck! I am waiting for borders to open too. For now, I've decided to visit Hokkaido in August 2023. But I'll go earlier if borders open this year. Let's not lose hope! :)
by Sophia (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in Autumn of 2022 - itinerary planning 2022/4/5 14:03
rkold,
Just curious, but which temple was it?
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in Autumn of 2022 - itinerary planning 2022/4/5 22:36
Hi!

I am 99% sure it was this one: https://yanagidani.jp/event/ajisai/ You can see that there is no regular bus access to this temple and you need to generally hike 40 minutes or take a taxi. The taxi line was horrifically long as well as the shuttle line. It was quite hot and humid, so walking was not much of an option. We eventually gave up, went back to Central Kyoto to Eggs'nThings and went shopping. My daughter did a traditional style craft at the Pokemon Center.

My daughter and I were the only obvious foreigners trying to go and it looked like most of the potential visitors were Japanese. (Many of whom gave up as well.) We'd gone the year before to Yoshiminedera on a week day (in the drizzle so it was quiet.) and Mimurotoji on a week end on what was considered, unbeknownst to us, the peak day for visiting. It was not an issue for Mimurotoji since it's only a 20 minute walk from Uji Station and we went a sort of scenic way from Byoudoin. Mimurotoji, though crowded was quite fun and quite festive. We got hydrangea themed shaved ice. On our way back we walked down larger streets with everyone else and one of the combini was giving out free tea to the visitors.

And this is why if you/OP want to do koyo, I would recommend somewhere you can get to by walking or train. I know even before foreign tourism to Japan picked up Irohazaka Road in Nikko could get clogged with buses during koyo and I don't personally enjoy waiting long periods for a bus or sitting in non-moving traffic on a bus vs even when packed with people Arashiyama or Nara or even Miyajima will still have regular and frequent transport to somewhere else. BTW don't try the momiji soft serve in Arashiyama for koyo. It's awful!

I like koyo, but I'm not quite as into it as many people here. I spent a good portion of my life living in New England, USA and use to be able to do spectacular leaf viewing just running daily errands. We had lots and lots and lots of maples and while I had the wrong sort, I use to drive by people sugar tapping the trees in their yard in the Spring.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in Autumn of 2022 - itinerary planning 2022/4/6 01:24
Oops! Thanks for pointing out my mistake rkold in putting Itsukushima with Osaka. Should have been Hiroshima.
by rajeev168 rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in Autumn of 2022 - itinerary planning 2022/4/6 06:22
You will need to plan carefully as the higher elevations peak a lot earlier. I would have thought Nikko would be well past peak by November, same with Kawaguchiko (which to be honest I wouldnt plan a trip around).

Takayama was at around peak at the end of October one year when we were there, but Kamikochi was well past (predictably), whereas from memory Nara a week later was just starting to get colour. Late October is actually a fantastic time to visit as you get colour in the higher elevations but the crowds arent as bad in the lower.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan in Autumn of 2022 - itinerary planning 2022/4/6 22:29
Cherry blossoms last a week, while autumn leaves last a month. Cherry blossoms are a city event, while autumn leaves are a mountain one.

Cherry blossom hunting is difficult. One of the easiest is to utilize the north-south stretch in the Tohoku area. Come to Japan in April, and use a Tohoku Shinkansen to get to the best site.

If you want to see Japanese cultural buildings in autumn leaves, you cannot enjoy autumn leaves in natural settings in a short trip. Autumn leaves peak in October in northern/higher mountains(such as Towada, Oku-Nikko, and Japan Alps), while in November in southern cities (such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima).
by Luisjp rate this post as useful

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