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Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

Braintree, England...
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Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

Hello,

I'm visiting Japan for 2 and a half weeks between April - May.

I've included the areas that I'm visiting below, but please feel free to provide you opinion on the areas that I've selected, and offer any alternatives for must see places. Also, would like some advice on the best places to do a single day of snorkeling near one of these locations. I'm really finding it hard to find any areas besides small islands (e.g. Nara) that are hours away.

Plan:

Tokyo 3 nights

Takayama 2 nights

Kanazawa 1 night

Hiroshima 2 nights

Kyoto 2 nights

Osaka 3 nights

Hamamatsu 1 night

Tokyo 3 nights

Thanks,

Dan.

Kanazawa, Japan
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1. Re: Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

Hey Daniel,

Just out of curiosity, what's the attraction to Hamamatsu? Do you have friends there?

I lived in Hamamatsu for 2 years and while it's a pleasant city, there's not a huge amount to see as a tourist -- especially compared to other cities.

I currently live in Kanazawa and can recommend it as a travel destination.

What kind of things are you interested in seeing while in Japan? Your itinerary is mostly cities, and it can be a pretty great experience to stay a night or two out in the countryside. If you think you might want to do some hiking/countryside stuff, Wakayama is relatively close to Osaka/Kyoto and has lots of great hiking (Nachi Falls, Kumano Kodo, etc.). Alternatively, an overnight in Shirakawago might be cool -- it's near Takayama.

Also, while in Tokyo, Kamakura is a good day trip with lots of great cultural sites. But it depends on your interests.

Unfortunately, I don't know much about snorkelling in Japan, so can't help you there.

You might check out the travel guide feature on this website to find out which places have what: http://www.japan-guide.com/

Hope that helps!

Mike

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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2. Re: Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

If you are going to move between Osaka and Kyoto (you have enough days to justify moving to avoid the commute), I suggest you sandwich the two with Hiroshima in between. You can then avoid the long train ride all the way from Kanazawa to Hiroshima at one go. In other words, you can plan Kanazawa, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and then back to Osaka.

Queenstown, New...
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3. Re: Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

I second Mikes advice,

Why Hamamatsu?

Shirakawago is a great place to stay in and experience a Gassho Zukkuri house. Have a look on japanguesthouse.com for booking

snorkelling... definitely NOT doable in Nara, Nara is quite a way inland. Perhaps you meant Naha on Okinawa? if youre looking for tropical reef snorkelling, then going to Okinawa is your only option; 'mainland' Japan doesnt have reefs like that.

You've quite a few days in Tokyo, I'd recommend looking at day trips to Kamakura/ Yokohama, Nikko...

Braintree, England...
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4. Re: Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

Hello everyone!

Thank you so much for your responses.

Sorry, my latest plan is as follows:

Tokyo (night 1, 2, 3)

Takayama (night 4 and 5) Is a two night trip advised here?

Kanazawa (night 6)

Hiroshima (night 7 and 8)

Kyoto (night 9 and 10)

Osaka (night 11, 12 and 13)

Okinawa (night 14) Not sure to visit mainland or smaller islands? I will get a flight from Osaka, returning in Tokyo.

Tokyo (night 15, 16 and 17)

In response to the above messages, the four main things are, immersing myself in the Japanese way of life, experience the cities/nightlife, visiting the best attractions in each area above and visiting the most amazing island in Okinawa (not yet decided which one).

Additionally, I'm presuming that Takayama, Kanazawa and Kyoto will give me a good experience of the countryside? I guess these areas aren't as built-up nor as commercialised as the cities?

In terms of my time in tokyo, I do plan on visiting all of the key attractions, do you feel I have long enough there? (5 nights in total), or do you think this is actually too long.. If so, would you suggest spending an additional night in the Okinawa islands or Kamakura/ Yokohama, Nikko?

Sammy, with the current plan can I get away with using a 7 day rail pass? If not, could you post up a suggested plan please. I must enter and exit into Tokyo.

Thanks everyone.

Dan.

Edited: 24 February 2014, 21:51
Braintree, England...
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5. Re: Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

Very sorry, Okinawa is currently 2 nights with the final leg of Tokyo being 2 nights.

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

That sounds better!

Takayama, Kanazawa and Kyoto are obviously more relaxed than Tokyo but not that rural (Takayama is the smallest, Kyoto has a vibrant downtown area).

If I were trying to visit someplace rural, I'd go to Shirakawa-go - http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5950.html - and cut one day from Osaka if necessary.

Braintree, England...
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7. Re: Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

Brilliant, thank you very much.

Mike, have you been, or know much about, okinawa and it's sourrounding Islands? I'm trying to figure out which would be better:

1. Staying in Ishikgaki for 2 nights

2. Staying on okinawa mainland for 2 nights and visiting nearby Tokashiki island for a day

Ishikgaki looks more stunning, but lacks attractions etc. (aquarium etc.) and okinawa has multiple beach activities and access to the stunning tokashiki island..

On a side note, are you aware of any island that often attracts young travellers like myself?

Thanks.

Edinburgh, United...
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8. Re: Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

Hi Daniel! Note that early May is Golden Week in Japan so it could be busier because Japanese people have holidays then. Oh, if you're in Tokyo and want to see something a bit nuts, check out the Robot Restaurant:

…blogspot.jp/2013/10/robot-restaurant.html

Takayama and Kanazawa are more rural for sure - some Japanese tourists but not as many foreigners and not as busy as the very touristy Kyoto. I went to Kanazawa for the famous Kenroku-en garden - it was nice enough, but since I'm not an expert on gardens, I didn't find it particularly more beautiful than others. As for Takayama, it's got beautiful and dramatic scenery. I've been there a few times on road trips but didn't stay overnight - it's very quiet there.

You should definitely time your trip to be in Kyoto during cherry blossom, and do miss the chance to go clubbing in Osaka. There are some all-you-can drink clubs where you pay a flat fee. It's super crazy fun!

If you're in Kyoto or Osaka already, you might want to consider squeezing in Himeji Castle (easy to get to by Shinkasen especially if you've got the rail pass) - it's a very impressive original castle (unlike many other ones that have been burnt and rebuilt).

I've lived in Tokyo and travelled to Kyoto 13 times, so personally I prefer Kyoto and think it's better to spend more time there. If you take a short train ride out of Kyoto, you will see the country-side (do you just mean rice farms and more traditional buildings?) so you don't really need to get out of your way for that. My favorites in Kyoto are Fushimi Inari Taisha [mountain of red tori gates] and Arashiyama [beautiful bamboo forest]. Most tourists also go to Kingakuji (the Golden Pavilion) and Kiyomizu-dera Temple. If you want to get away from people in Kyoto, you can go hiking by Kurama-dera. It's quieter there and got nice trails.

Both Nikko and Kamakura have very beautiful shiny temples & both can be done as a day trip from Tokyo.

Edited: 25 February 2014, 02:31
Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

I have family in Okinawa mainland. I know some things, but not necessarily from a typical tourist's point of view. Never gone snorkeling but I have seen "amateurs" in large tide pool type places.

Basically, the biggest problem with Okinawa is public transportation. Without a car, the 2 easiest places I can think of are:

- Ishigaki - Taketomi - Iriomote. When I did this I didn't see a good snorkeling spot though. Ishigaki must have some, but outside of Ishigaki city.

- Kerama Islands - Never been, but I've read good things. I believe it's possible to get around on foot or bicycle.

I wish I could give more information.

Braintree, England...
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10. Re: Help with Japan traveling plan. 22 year old.

Thanks for the feedback everyone :)