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Japan 28-Day Itinerary Help 2007/10/11 14:40
I will be traveling to Japan on Jan 21 and departing Feb 19, my plane landing in Tokyo on the 22nd, effectively giving myself and my companion 28 days to stay within Japan on somewhat of a budget trip. This is my first time out of the country (not hers) and neither of us have ever been to Japan and want to see as much as we possibly can of all that Japan has to offer, whilst still pacing ourselves and allowing for ample time and exploring to be spent in our major destinations.

Below is the basic itinerary we have come up with thus far, however with regards as to how long should be spent in each destination is up for debate.

Jan 21
Jan 22-26 5 days
Jan 27-28 2 days
Jan 29-Feb 05 8 days
Feb 06 Entire Day
Feb 07-10 4 days
Feb 11 Entire Day
Feb 12-18 7 days
Feb 19

We are willing to allow to either spend more or less time in Tokyo/Kyoto respectively slightly, as well as perhaps shorten our Sapporo trip by one day only. We are hoping to catch the end of the Sumo Wrestling Tournament in Tokyo on either the 24th or 25th, as well as the Sapporo Snow Festival (5th-11th). I was hoping to be in Sapporo for my birthday on the Feb 7 but that should not get in the way of our time best spent elsewhere. We would also love to be in Kyoto for Setsubun festival (Feb 3rd or 4th... can someone clarify for 2008?).

However, it is granted that most people on this forum who can give us answers will have more traveling experience in Japan than either of us and we have only the most basic of ideas of what to see and how to spend our time in each destination. It should also be noted that Tokyo and Kyoto on this current basic itinerary refers to the areas surrounding as well (Kanto and Kinki) and we would like to spend maybe a day or two in Osaka / Mt Fuji area.

Other areas we have been thinking of visiting include Kanazawa, Nikko, Takayama, Hakone, Yokohama, Nara, Kobe, Ise Shrines and surrounding areas of the peninsula, Okayama, Miyajima Island... Basically a too many places and too little time to experience.

So I ask for your help. What is the best Japan has to offer in your opinion, and the best way to experience these, whether they be day trips or overnight stays basing ourselves in Tokyo, Kyoto and Sapporo respectively. Taking into consideration the time of year also, how would you organize an itinerary over this kind of time frame, and where would you go on what days giving us ample time to spend enjoying the sites of Kyoto and Tokyo? Your help is very much appreciated as we must begin booking accommodation and whatnot soon.

One extra footnote. What kind of JR Rail Pass would you recommend getting hold of, or combination of passes for this kind of a trip? We were thinking either just a 21 day or a 21 / 7 day. Thank you.
by Tom  

tokyo 2007/10/11 19:39
You have a LOT of time in Tokyo - is there any reason for spending so much time in Tokyo? Any particular interest, I mean?
by M rate this post as useful

28 days for Japan 2007/10/11 19:52
Some thoughts about your itinerary: you spend 12 days in Tokyo and 8 days in Kyoto, the sights you can see in a shorter time. Sapporo: You are right by trains it is leave Kyoto 08.00 arrive Sapporo 21.30 h with four different trains. Same return. Why not to make the journey in a more geographic way, for example from Tokyo to the east/north with a ( overnight ) stopover in Nikko, Sendai with Matsushima coast and / or on the way back an overnight stay in an onsen, then from Tokyo to the west/south via Hakone for Fuji san view, Kyoto from there Nara and Koya san ( if you want to experience temple lodging ) then further to Himeji and Hiroshima with Miyajima. As you have so many days available even a visit to Beppu, Aso san ( volcanic mountain ) and Nagasaki is possible. Of course I am aware this may cause problems with the fixes dates you mentioned. For Kyoto ( airport Osaka-Itami ) to Sendai and Sendai to Tokyo I recommend to fly, if you do not like the above mentioned stopovers.
by Peter rate this post as useful

do not overplan 2007/10/11 22:01
I just got back from the 17 day trip to Japan. I had a 14 day JR pass. I had planned my itinerary with so much detail--hotels booked and what to see, etc. In a way, that was great because I was prepared and knew what to expect. But as it turned out it was really not what I had expected. I had short changed myself with some of the city visits, I wish I had more time in those cities like Kanazawa. I did not like Hakata and I had booked 3 days there. Skip Hakata, Nagasaki. I liked Kagoshima--it smells like oranges there because of the orange trees all over the city.

I was delighted with Shin-Yamaguchi as a hub. Close to Hiroshima, Yudaonsen (20 mins try the sushi there--so fresh--"Big eight" restaurant,, spa town with free foot baths ashiyu)... Hotel was also cheaper in Kagoshima (Hotel Gastof), Shin-Yamaguchi (Hotel Active-- new hotel 10 steps away from JR, no need to cross the street, great free cafe mocha.)

I would just do research and not over book yourself with Hotel bookings because you may want to change it at a spur moment. 28 days is a long time to be stuck with a "scheduled itinerary" just go with the flow and talk to other travellers you meet in Japan to give your new ideas.

Tokyo hotels are so expensive I would stay in a smaller hub like Shin-Yamaguchi. Just drop by and there are lots of new hotels at each station near JR.
by canadian rate this post as useful

Itinerary v2.0 2007/10/11 22:05
Thanks for the replies. Not sure exactly why we spend so long in Tokyo. Although we did want to see some of the surrounding areas and were accounting for that. Perhaps we best not. Would love to see Beppu but I dont think we have the time, nor the money to be considering air over train.

Here's a revised basic outline of an itinerary. Tell me what you'd do different or what you're recommend changing if anything. Keep in mind that the final stay in Tokyo, we would probably do a Hakone visit, Kanazawa or both.

Jan 22-25
Tokyo (4d)

Jan 26
Travel to Hiroshima/Stay (1d)

Jan 27
Hiroshima (1d)

Jan 28
Ferry to Miyamija Island. Stay night.

Jan 29
To: Kyoto

Jan 30-Feb02
Kyoto (4d)

Feb 03
Travel to Nara. Stay the night.

Feb 04
Day trip to Ise, then off to Shirahama to spend the night. (1d)

Feb 05
To: Wakayama. See the sites. Travel to Koya-san during evening to stay the night at a temple. (1d)

Feb 06-07
Travelto:Osaka/Osaka (2d)

Feb 08
Travel to Sapporo (1d)

Feb 09-11
Sapporo (3d)

Feb 12
Travel to: Nikko. Spend night.

Feb 13-18
Travel to / stay Tokyo. (6d) Do some day trips also here to who knows where. Hakone/Kanazawa?

Feb 19
Fly home

Is this -too- hectic now or looking on the right track? Any places not really worth the visit and best spent elsewhere?
by Tom rate this post as useful

time 2007/10/11 22:09
spend less time in Tokyo, more time in a resort town like Gero --free foot baths.
by abc rate this post as useful

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