5 Week Itinerary - Feedback appreciated!
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Oct 9, 2012 1:00 AM Last Post By: bamse
Sep 26, 2012 11:33 AM
5 Week Itinerary - Feedback appreciated!Hi there,
I scored an awesome round trip flight to Japan (thankfully due to a system error ^^) so I thought I would have a longer stay/splurge a little on some day trips. I'd like to post my itinerary here and hear what others think about this trip and possibly give me some feedback & suggestions.
First off, I'd like to say it is HARD to plan with a group of friends. They have their own views of the trips and we all have different priorities so communication amongst friends is very important. This trip is sort of a late "grad trip" that we've always talked about. We love everything from traditional to contemporary/modern stuff, food, shopping, tech, anime, architecture, music, design, museums, site-seeing/hiking...which can prove to a time problem and money issue for us on this trip >_< ha!
I haven't planned a lot yet for my last 2 weeks in Japan. You'll notice how packed the first 2.5~3 weeks are so I'm hoping to make my last 2 weeks a little bit more slowed down/chill to just soak up as much as I can at a reasonable pace/price.
- Oct 14-Nov 16th 2012 - 5 Weeks.*
Travelling with 2-3 friends/others joining in and out throughout the trip. My friends' first time in Japan.
I'm going to try to keep this whole trip under $4000 CDN. hopefully
I will be buying a 21 Day JR Pass + N'EX SUICA Round trip package + an econnect mobile data sim card 1 GB
WK 01 Kantō Region
OCT 14 - VANCOUVER-SEATTLE - SUNDAY 6 AM Depart
OCT 15 - TOKYO - MONDAY Arrives in Narita at 3:05 PM ~
Buy N’EX + SUICA Package (use SUICA while in Tokyo)
Check-in couchsurfing place, go out for dinner
OCT 16 - TOKYO - **still planning what we want to see as a group so it might seem all over the city right now as they want to cram a few things.
I will be in Tokyo by myself in Week 5 so I can go at my own pace then and stroll the city by areas instead of zipping here and there.
Tsukiji Fish Market (wake up super early to set our sleep schedule right),
Akiba (anime/old games/electronics) ? Ueno (ameyoko town/shopping)?
Odaiba (big Gundam)
OCT 17 - TOKYO - YOKOHAMA (ramen museum, port, famous Hikawa-Maru Ship, Red Brick Warehouse)
OCT 18 - TOKYO - Studio Ghibli & Kichijoji area - night time concert gig
OCT 19 - TOKYO - **still planning again** Goemon restaurant (recommended by Japanese friend for jpn-pasta)
OCT 20 - TOKYO (7:33 AM Depart) to SHIRAKAWA-GO 白川郷 (1:50 PM Arrival)
Reservation Hisamatsu, gassho style house (1 night stay, dinner & breakfast)
Transportation: Tokyo -> Nagoya -> Takayama -> bus to Shirakawa-go
Activate JR PASS 21 days
WK 02 Kansai Region
OCT 21 - KYOTO/NARA -
10:20 AM Depart Shirakawa-go
2:09 PM Arrive Kyoto
Transportation: Shirakawa-go bus to Kanazawa -> train to Kyoto
- Hostel Check-in → Visit Nara
OCT 22 - KYOTO - Jidai Matsuri (Festival of Ages) & Kurama Hi Matsuri (Fire Festival)
** this day is going to be crazy packed with people but i think it'd be nice to participate in a big local festival while in Japan
OCT 23 - KYOTO - Southern Higashiyama Nishiki Market
Kiyomizudera (“Water Temple”) & Ishibei-koji
Tea Ceremony in area-ish / 2,000 JPY per person / @ 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm
OCT 24 - KYOTO - 9:30 AM Ryoan-ji (zen garden ¥500) then Kinkaku-ji temple?
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Fushimi Inari Taisha → torii gates
OCT 25 - OSAKA - still planning but we want to eat: a Kobe beef lunch! Okonomiyaki/takoyaki...open for ideas here
OCT 26 - OSAKA - Universal Studio Japan (special Resident Evil! theme)
6400¥ Admission + 2500¥ pre-order Biohazard Express pass via credit card
OCT 27 - OSAKA to NAOSHIMA ISLAND - still planning Dotonbori street and what else..skip the aquarium
4 PM Depart OSAKA
7:00 PM Arrive NAOSHIMA ISLAND - Oyaji no ume Guesthouse http://yopopo.moo.jp/
WK 03 Shikoku/Chūgoku/Kyushu/Chūbu Regions
OCT 28 - NAOSHIMA ISLAND - all day Leave NAOSHIMA ISLAND evening
Friends → evening go to Osaka to catch flight to Okinawa
Me → evening go to Hiroshima (2 nights); meet my friend (japanese student)
OCT 29 - MIYAJIMA (full day?) back to HIROSHIMA at night
Itsukushima Shrine .... what else? I'd like to catch pictures with the tide in/out. How long of a day is it visiting Miyajima?
OCT 30 - HIROSHIMA (most of the day) then go to FUKUOKA (night, with my homestay friend)
OCT 31 -FUKUOKA - no plans yet....ichi-ran ramen!
NOV 01 - KAGOSHIMA to YAKUSHIMA (DAY 1)
From FUKUOKA to YAKUSHIMA
NOV 02 - YAKUSHIMA (DAY 2) - Return to FUKUOKA at night to homestay family
NOV 03 - FUKUOKA
WK 04 Chūbu/Kantō
This is the last week of my JR Pass, I know i'll be exhausted so staying at a friend/student's home will be a nice change of pace. What's in Nagoya that would be fun to do on my own? Should I make an effort and head up to Hokkaido/Sapporo with my JR Pass? My budget at this point will probably be a bit tight so staying at a friends will save me some money.
NOV 04 - NAGOYA (stay at a Japanese's students place)
NOV 05 - NAGOYA http://www.tofugu.com/2011/11/17/yoro-park-the-site-of-reversible-destiny/
NOV 06 - NAGOYA
NOV 07 - NAGOYA
NOV 08 - ?????
NOV 09 - TOKYO - return to Tokyo *JR PASS 21 Day Expires, use SUICA
NOV 10 - TOKYO - Design Festa Vol 36 www.designfesta.com/index_en.html
WK 05 Kantō Region
I'm planning to get a Grutt Pass and just visit a bunch of museums in Tokyo cos we never really planned for many on this trip other than the ones on Naoshima Island.
NOV 11 - TOKYO - Design Festa Vol 36
NOV 12 - TOKYO -
NOV 13 - TOKYO - Kamakura/Enoshima?/Hakone
NOV 14 - TOKYO -
NOV 15 - TOKYO -
NOV 16 - TOKYO - FRIDAY 2:55 PM Departure
Thanks for reading this huge chunk of text. ^^ Definitely appreciate any feedback or suggestions for me on this overall trip and especially in my last 2 weeks of Japan.
Sep 26, 2012 1:34 PM
1Looks like a good plan, though you have some long distance transport in there to see a remote place for a very short amount of time, see below...
I like Shirakawago a lot, but it is a long way there and back, so I'd certainly combine it with other places in the area, such as Takayama and Kanazawa which deserve more than a look at the train station. With your present plan you are travelling 8 hours to see a tiny village.
Visiting Nara on Oct 21 does not make sense as you'd have only an hour or two before the sites close and it gets dark.
Oct 24: Fushimi Inari is at the opposite end of Kyoto, perhaps better to do it on another day.
Oct 25: Not sure why you have to go to Osaka to have Kobe beef....
Oct 27: Oyaji no ume says checkin at 5pm. Make sure that it is ok to check in later
Oct 28: Not sure what time your friends' flight depart, but it would likely not be a full day on the island
Oct 29: If you want the tide in/out you'd need to stay for a full day which would allow you to see basically all there is on the island.
Nov 01/02: One night on Yakushima is very little time. I'd recommend at least three, or perhaps two full days if you are in a rush. It is well worth to see not only the famous trees there. You also need to figure out how to get around the island as public transport is sparse. If you want to rent a car make sure you have all the required papers (which will depend on your "driving licence's nationality"). Also be aware that access to Yakushima will take some time.
Nov 13: I was not too impressed by Enoshima, so I'd skip it. If you want to see both Kamakura and Hakone, do it on two different days.
Sep 26, 2012 2:57 PM
Oct 20 Shirakawa-go
Yeah, I really would've loved to have squeezed in Takayama/Kanazawa in. Unfortunately, with my two friends their trip in total is only 4 weeks (2.5ish weeks in Japan, 1.5 Thailland/Cambodia. Mine is 5 weeks (in Japan only).
They plan on going to Thailand/Cambodia in the last 1.5 weeks so we've been cramming things that we wanna do/see in the first 2.5 weeks. This factor kinda squeezes my trip where I could've had a few extra days in some new areas. This is also the reason why, i can only stay one night over on a lot of these day trips to Naoshima Island & Yakushima. I just hope we'll be able to see enough to appreciate it.
Hmmm~~ But since I do have some time in Week 4 ....do you think it's worth traveling from Nagoya back to Takayama or Kanazawa? I'm in Nagoya to visit a student and they've offered me a place to stay so I would love to save a few nights (budget wise)....
Oct 21 Nara - Yeah I wasn't sure what time the temples would close at that time. I might just scratch that out and just roam around Kyoto depending on timing. I've been to Nara before so we were thinking of just a quick in and out of the park/temples there so that my friends could experience the deer and the park.
Oct 24 Fushimi Inari looks awesome so I think we're just gonna have to push ourselves to do it since we're limited in time there. The festivals on the 22nd really take up a huge chunk of a day.
Any one attended Jidai Matsuri / Kurama (Fire Festival) hi Matsuri? Any tips?
Oct 25 Ha that just ended up being on the list of foods to eat...might even try a quick trip to Kobe? heard it might be cheaper there? In any case , seems like it'll be more of a food feast that day for us
Oct 28 Naoshima Island - yeah most museums and things are closed around 4-5pm anyway so we'd probably leave right after dinner. We're hoping to get an early start and plow through as much as art/museums as we can
Nov 01/02 - Yakushima will be tricky but we're gonna go fo the "jet foil" 13,000 round trip to save more time versus the cheaper and slower ferry. Which gives us extra time.
Nov 13 - Oh definitely! Yeah, my last week is still up in the air. And Hakone seems like an overnight trip...I'll have to judge/assess my budget at this point of the trip.
Edited by: gogogotchi
Sep 26, 2012 6:13 PM
3Gosh!!! such a detailed plan.
Not good if you go with friends. they always tend to do different things for different reasons than yours. It's five weeks. Be prepared to do stuff on your own, just not to get stuck in disagreement. Have plan B for you and friends.
and... who can afford 5 weeks in Japan?
Sep 26, 2012 10:15 PM
4Actually maybe I'll swap my Kyoto days around a bit.
Oct 21 - Kyoto arrival 2 PM so maybe just head to Fushimi Inari and catch the sunset. Chill in the downtown area for a meal at night and prep for the crazy Oct 22 festival day
Would love some tips about this, I've read how crazy it gets there!
Oct 24 Ryoan-ji Templ morning then Arashiyama bamboo go back to Central Kyoto for lunch then head over to Nara for the afternoon.
yea 5 weeeks is so costly! Luckily, I've managed my first 5 nights couchsurfing in Tokyo, then few nights in Fukuoka for free, and free in Nagoya as well.
There was a super price deal on my flight $415 USD round trip from seattle...the agent made a ticketing error and my friends caught it just in time before they fixed it. Though, I had to fight for mine back. They had cancelled it/refunded my ticket AFTER already confirming and giving me a ticket number.
Edited by: gogogotchi
Edited by: gogogotchi
Sep 26, 2012 11:54 PM
5+Any one attended Jidai Matsuri / Kurama (Fire Festival) hi Matsuri? Any tips? +
Jidai Matsuri is fine, but very slow moving and after an hour or so I got bored. So perhaps you have more time than you think on that day.
Liked the Kurama festival much more. Try to get there early to secure a good spot and to avoid queues on transport. We had to wait about an hour to get on the tiny train to Kurama.
Oct 24 Ryoan-ji Templ morning then Arashiyama bamboo go back to Central Kyoto for lunch then head over to Nara for the afternoon.
Sounds hyperfast to me. Take into account the time you need on transport.
Sep 27, 2012 6:25 AM
Sep 27, 2012 5:17 PM
7Cool thanks for the tips on the festivals.
Since our group is skipping out on some historic museums, I just thought the Jidai Matsuri would be perfect....a walking museum ! lol...but yeah maybe I'll use the time between the festivals to stock up on like bentos and snacks in case of long waits and whatnot during the Kurama event.
Oct 24 - Yeah, that's the tricky part. And depends how long we plan to stay. I think we could do it...plus if we really wanna do Nara, it seems like this afternoon option may be the best since our other Kyoto days are pretty much planned out. Or just go directly after the morning Ryoan-ji/Arashiyama bamboo forest and have lunch in Nara ....
My friends and I know we're gonna be super tired from the go go go pace...but...i think we'll pull through.
Yeah, I'd like to visit Korea as its own trip maybe tied in with Taiwan in the future. I've got a friend's place i could stay in in Tokyo in my last week so I'm saving some money there....it's really the food/transportations costs in the last week that'll get me...
Sep 27, 2012 5:30 PM
Food, as opposed to transportation and accommodation, isn't that expensive. Meat (beef and pork), fresh vegs and fruit are very pricey though. A practical tip - they discount fresh dishes at supermarkets 7-7.30pm. You can get excellent sushi and sashimi cheaper by 30-50-70 pct, depending on supermarket.
Sep 27, 2012 10:23 PM
9Regarding your NEX SUICA package, you can use your SUICA pass basically all over Japan, not just in the Kanto area (as long as you have enough money in the pass of course). Any place that has the SUICA logo at the cashier, you can use it to shop too, eg. at convenience stores.
Also, if you know that you are going to get on and off at various stations in the Tokyo area within a day, you might want to ask the station staff for a one-day ticket (they have several types). Depending on how many times you are getting on and off it might be cheaper than paying your standard fee on your SUICA.
(If you tell a station staff where you plan to go that day, they would be able to advise you if it is cheaper to get a one-day pass)
Sep 29, 2012 7:00 PM
10A few points of places NOT to go
Skip Ramen Museum in Shin-Yokohama unless you want to eat bad ramen.
The place is empty and is just a tourist trap... plus it's hard to get to and there is nothing else around that area.
There are plenty of good ramen places around. Probably any place you pick that you see on the street is better.
This place is excellent
So is this one:
Make use of your weekend days in Tokyo. There is a great atmosphere in places on the weekend.
Ginza, Akihabara and Shinjuku close streets on the weekend for pedestrians.
Getting up early for Tsukiji? Not worth it.
Just go there and look around sometime in the morning.
Also, waiting for 2 hours to eat at one of those small sushi restaurants isnt worth it either.
Nearby Ginza (and other places) have plenty of top sushi restaurants which are much better (though more expensive - but you save your 2 hours queueing up)
I know you're visiting someone in Nagoya, but seriously there isn't much interesting there.
Even friends of mine who are from Nagoya say it's not worth going to!
Oct 5, 2012 5:31 PM
11On our trip a few years ago we went to place Aya Valley on Shikoku island & stayed there at an amazing ryokan perched on edge of a cliff. It was one of the highlights of our trip. Amasingly beautiful!
Another place we went to was Tsumago where we did a great hike along old Edo road to near by historic town of Magome
Oct 6, 2012 11:19 PM
12RE: Shirakawa-go. Do you need to spend every second of every day with your friends? Why don't they go up there (10 hours on the train there and back) for a few hours of daylight in a small village (it's dead at night). You could go straight to Kyoto and meet up with them the next day. Then, when you have more free time after they're gone you could spend more time up in that area, as others have suggested, without feeling like you're backtracking.
RE: Miyajima. There's an easy tide predictor that will tell you when the tides will be. I checked it out for the 29th when you'll be there and it looks like high tide will be in the morning and evening (9 am. and 9 pm) with low tide in the mid-afternoon. I find that the best time to photograph the gate (low or high tide) is at dusk when there is still a little light in the sky but with the gate all lit up. Most day-trippers are gone by that point, and people who are staying on the island are probably eating dinner, so it definitely won't be crowded at that time. Also, if your friends want to see deer, Miyajima has plenty, so in theory you could skip Nara since you'll experience them elsewhere (unless there's a specific temple you want to see).
RE: Yakushima -- like the other poster above, I would highly recommend either skipping this altogether, or finding a way to spend more time there. At the very least, have one full day there, with travel to and from on either side of that day. Two would be better though. How do you expect to get around? What do you plan to do there? Most of the hikes to see the big old trees are full day hikes. Limited public transportation literally means that: in small places that means the buses run once (if that) every hour and are usually finished by 8 or 9 o'clock at night (at best). As you said, you're not even sure if you'll be able to do the place right due to limited time. If you can't do it right, then why bother? Spend more time on the places you can do right.
Also, just an idea -- there will be a huge hot air balloon festival in Saga that weekend (ends on Nov. 3rd) which is not that far from Fukuoka. I believe it's the largest one in Asia, and you'll get some nice festival atmosphere without the massive crowds that accompany festivals in places like Kyoto and Tokyo. Just a thought.
Oct 8, 2012 6:04 PM
13Again, thank you for the additional feedback and suggestions ^^
@ecobee Oh, I didn't know there were different 1 day passes in Tokyo...i knew there was one but didn't know there was more than one kind. Good to know.
@osajant ichiran! So goood! I had it in my first visit to Fukuoka. Definitely gonna bring my friends to try this. It was my favorite! Yeah, perhaps, I can make it a Yokohama/Kamakura day instead? I'll skip the ramen museum...
As for the tsukiji fish market, my friends never been and yea they wanna check it out so I'm cool with getting up early like the typical tourist kind of thing. We're thinking of going to Daiwa Sushi seems like most people said the lines kinda die down around 7:30-8 AM (maybe most locals/jpn go to work at that time?)
Nagoya--I'll be visiting 2-3 friends so it will be nice to just slow down and catch up anyway. I do not think I'll be there for more than 3 days. I'll probably leave in the morning to head back to Tokyo...except I'm now thinking of making a trip to Hakone before returning to Tokyo....
So question: is there a convenient route to travel from Nagoya to Hakone ? And I've heard about the free pass option for Hakone too
@Dvmoid I think I'm gonna have to add that to another future trip to Japan =) I've kinda anchored myself to meeting some old friends/homestay families from before on my weekends so that made it a bit tricky.
@rrm6225 This trip was kinda planned out as a "group grad trip" and I will be on my own in the last 2 weeks. Though because they decided to go to Thailand in Week 3, it's made the visits to all the places in the beginning of the trip sooo cramppped. (sigh anyway not gonna talk further about issues with grop trips, we've settled on this so yeah)
Yakushima - we are renting a car. the guesthouse we're staying in was very kind and helpful with some tips of what we'll be able to do. Again i know short time = almost not worth the $ spent....
you have no idea how bad i want to drill this into my group of friends -> " If you can't do it right, then why bother? Spend more time on the places you can do right." Its probably because it's their first time traveling to Asia so they want to hit everything...though i told them i didnt think it'd be worth it flying down to Thailand/Cambodia (cos i'd just make this a whole new trip on its own)....
Awesome hot air balloons! I'll see what I can do about those days instead of going all way back to Fukuoka then....maybe from Yakushima to Saga?
arigatou gozaimasu minna-san~
Edited by: gogogotchi
Oct 9, 2012 1:00 AM
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