Advice on 9-day Japan trip please

Dec 6th, 2009, 12:57 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 7
Advice on 9-day Japan trip please

Hi. I'm just starting planning a c. 9-day trip to Japan with my wife next year. I'll be going out first to attend the F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka track near Nagoya, and my wife will probably fly out to join me there on 3rd October 2010.

From then we've got about 9 nights free before we fly to Hong Kong for another week, and we'll probably be leaving for HK from Nagoya airport.

This is our first trip to Japan, although we've travelled a lot in Asia before. We like traditional, historic, cultural & out-of-doors activities (especially hiking) although we'd like to spend a couple of nights in Tokyo at some stage. We'd prefer to stay in maybe a couple of other places only, and do day trips from these to good local sights. We like travelling by train. Some suggestions away from the common tourist sights would be nice.

We're told that visiting Japanese festivals is great fun: are there any web resources that list these?

Many thanks for any advice & experiences.
drmarkf is offline  
Dec 6th, 2009, 09:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 774
There's a list of festivals (matsuri) here:
I'm not sure this is customized for 2010, so I suggest Googling for
more details if anything looks promising.

Nagoya is an excellent base for exploring some interesting parts of
Japan. For hiking, you could take the train up the Kiso valley and
walk a section of the Nakasendo--the old road between Edo (present day
Tokyo) and Kyoto. The usual section is between Magome and Tsumago.
You need to stay overnight in Tsumago, I believe (I didn't, and regret it).

You can also take a different train and go further north through very
fine scenery to Takayama (an interesting old town), and can continue
(by bus) to Kamikochi, which is a national park in the alps with good
hikes of all standards. Check what the weather will be like in
October, though. You can continue by bus (really spectacular) and
train to Matsumoto, which has a splendid castle (and much more) and
then take the train back to Nagoya. That's a 2 or 3 day trip.
You can also get to Tokyo from Matsumoto.
is the search engine for trains in Japan. Many of the trains around
Nagoya (including the one to the airport) are run by the private
Meitetsu line, not Japan Railways.

North from Nagoya, you can go (via Meitetsu) to Inuyama, which has one
of the four "National Treasure" castles in Japan, cormorant fishing,
and Meiji Mura--this is a massive park where many buildings from the
Meiji and other eras have been transported (including the first couple
of floors of Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel). A bit further
brings you to Hikone on Lake Biwa (don't confuse this with Hakone),
which has another of the NT castles, and a famous tea hut and garden.
Continuing around the bottom of Biwa-ko brings you to Kyoto (via
Ishiyamadera, if that's of interest--the place where Murusaki Shikibu
is said to have written some of Gengi Monagatari).

South from Nagoya, you can go to the Ise shrines and, if you're into
kitsch, the Wedded Rocks (Meoto Iwa). There's a building claimed to
be similar to the Ise shrines in the Atsuta shrine in Nagoya itself
(part of the fun about Ise is you are not allowed to see the actual

Searching here or on Google for any of these placenames will get you
lots more information.

I've been to all these places and, if it were me, I'd trim several
days from Hong Kong and add them to the Japan portion of the tinerary.
someotherguy is offline  
Dec 16th, 2009, 06:18 AM
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Posts: 7
Great - many thanks!
drmarkf is offline  
Dec 16th, 2009, 05:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 235
If you are staying in Nagoya you can't beat the Marriott for location. Right on top of Nagoya Station. I just returned from there again yesterday. Train (Meitetsu line) from the airport takes about 35 minutes and costs about Y800 regular & Y1,200 for 1st class. I used to stay in the Hilton & Nagoya Tokyu before the Marriott was completed. They are all fine hotels, but I've would never stay anywhere but the Marriott now.
deptrai is offline  
Dec 16th, 2009, 09:22 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 774
There's an excellent trip report to many of the areas I mentioned here:
someotherguy is offline  
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