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pearpuff Jun 27th, 2012 10:18 AM

Crazy 7-day itinerary in it doable?
My husband and I are headed to Japan for a last minute 7 day adventure. We love food and exploring towns/people/places, and a contrast of big city and small walkable towns. We don't necessarily need nature or hikes when traveling.

I've made up a 7 day itinerary that's crazy, but wanted to see if it's too insane to try or whether anyone else has done something similar. When traveling, we tend to like to cover a lot of ground, and not spend too many days in one city (unless it's a big metropolis like Tokyo). In this case, we've been to Tokyo already, so would like to spend more time in other areas of Japan.


Day 1 afternoon: Get into NRT
Day 1 evening: Tokyo
Day 2 morning/afternoon: Tokyo
Day 2 evening: travel to Takayama
Day 3 morning: Takayama morning market
Day 3 evening: Takayama
Day 4 morning: travel to Shirakawa-go
Day 4 afternoon: travel to Kyoto
Day 4 evening: Kyoto
Day 5: Kyoto
Day 6 afternoon: travel to Osaka
Day 7 afternoon: fly out of KIX

Tokyo: 1 day, 1 night
Takayama: 1 day, 2 nights
Shirakawa-go: .5 day
Kyoto: 2 days, 2 nights
Osaka: 1 day, 1 night

Also, if there are recommendations on the fastest way of transportation between all these cities, it would be much appreciated. Right now I'm assuming trains between all cities except for Shirakawa-go, which I think requires a bus.

hawaiiantraveler Jun 27th, 2012 12:15 PM

No it doesn't look crazy to me.

The fastest transport between places would be the train and the bus from Takayama to S-Go and back to take the train to Kyoto as you've already found out. Here is the bus schedule from Takayama to S-Go if you haven't seen already.

I would leave Tokyo on the train nlt 2:00 pm to make it to Takayama at a reasonable hour. Use for your train times and routes.

Since your not giving much time to Tokyo is it possible to fly in and out of KIX possibly saving some money on the air and train fare?


DonTopaz Jun 27th, 2012 02:55 PM

I agree -- perfectly doable trip for people who prefer not to linger in one spot.

That said, I might consider not changing hotels on your last night, and, instead of going to Osaka for the afternoon, go to Nara instead. Osaka is more or less another big city, while Nara is more appealing to me.

hawaiiantraveler Jun 27th, 2012 03:07 PM

But Osaka has all those food venues on the Dotombori and the OP mentioned they loved food :)

If you skip Tokyo and fly in and out of KIX you will have time to do Nara too......or maybe have time for an overnight at Arima Onsen in a ryokan......


mrwunrfl Jun 28th, 2012 07:54 AM

Looks good. When I read "small walkable towns" I thought of Takayama.

"Last minute" means different things to different people. What days are you traveling?

I would not bother with staying a night in Osaka and would just take the train from Kyoto to Kansai Airport. Second choice would be to spend a night in Nara.

Your trip to/from Takayama would be via Nagoya. Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya transfer to a limited express train (Wide View Hida) to Takayama. Bus to/from S-go. The Hida train back to Nagoya and then shinkansen to Kyoto.

An alternative to look into and consider is a bus from Shirakawago to Nagoya. The route is shown on the practical travel guide at JNTO:

There are some Wide View Hida l'ex trains that go from Takayama throught to Kyoto. Same train, I think, so you wouldn't have to change in Nagoya.

Day 2: I would leave for Takayama earlier, in the afternoon if not in the morning. Do it in the daytime and have more time in Takayama.

What time do you arrive at NRT (probably around 4:30 PM)? I would consider just taking the train from NRT to Nagoya and spend the night there then Takayama the next morning - then maybe one night in Takayama and one in S-go. Or Nagoya to Shirakawaogo, night there, then next day to Takayama. Something like that.

You could get a 7-day JR Pass for this trip as you could use it for both airport transfers.

mrwunrfl Jun 28th, 2012 08:00 AM

On arrival at JR Takayama station, I would look into buying the bus tickets for Shirakawago. The bus station is adjacent to the JR station.

Unless you are staying at a traditional ryokan, I suggest staying at the Best Western in Takayama.

mrwunrfl Jun 28th, 2012 08:03 AM

There is an onsen bath at the Green Hotel in Takayama.

Hida no Sato is optional because you are visiting S-go.

DonTopaz Jun 28th, 2012 10:19 AM

<i>Unless you are staying at a traditional ryokan, I suggest staying at the Best Western in Takayama.</i>

Why? Other hotels are more central and/or have onsen in the hotel -- e.g., City Hotel Four Seasons or Spa Hotel Alpina.

[This is a pet peeve, when people recommend a hotel/restaurant/etc. without saying why. How can I possibly know if the features that appealed to you would also appeal to me?]

pearpuff Jun 28th, 2012 11:09 AM

Thanks so much for the great suggestions! I think we'll take some time out of Tokyo and put it towards more time at Takayama, and probably skip Osaka in the hopes that we'll be able to visit that city another time.

mrwunrfl Jun 28th, 2012 06:53 PM

DonTopaz, I will explain why I suggested the BW - because you asked.

It is very convenient to the station. It is comfortable and clean as one might expect from a BW. The price is good. It can be booked, changed, cancelled online or by a toll free number in the USA. Staff spoke English.

DonTopaz, I have time now to address your pet peeve. There are a few reasons why I suggested the BW without explanation.

1) OP did not ask for lodging information. There was no need for me to post any lodging info.

2) I had just taken the time to post some info that addressed the OP's questions and to offer alternatives. My first post took some time and I was already late.

3) I left it up to the OP to figure it out. Do the research herself or just ask. The qualities that I liked are basic things that you might expect from a hotel with the BW brand name.

4) My suggestion actually has two parts. The first part was to plant the idea that Takayama might be a good place to experience a tradition ryokan. For all I know, the OP could ask: what is a ryokan? Or the OP might say respond saying that they are booked at Sumiyoshi. I was actually planning to come back this evening and mention that, and more but my dinner is getting cold.

hawaiiantraveler Jun 29th, 2012 06:39 AM

pearpuff, when is your vacation taking place?

mrwunrfl Jun 29th, 2012 03:47 PM

Good question, ht. Maybe pearpuff really meant last minute.

DonTopaz, I could have added a couple of :) in my last post to indicate that it was good natured. :) I offered some things to consider next time you get peeved - you did ask why I did what I did that peeved you! :)

mrwunrfl Jun 29th, 2012 03:56 PM

pearpuff, more time in Takayama could also mean more time in Shirakawago. You could spend the whole day there and then return to Takayama in the evening.

Better yet would be to spend a night in an Ogi-machi, Shirakawa-go, gassho zukuri farmhouse. Koemon would be a good choice.

Here is lodging info for Takayama (I've stayed at Sumiyoshi, Sosuke, and of course the Best Western):
The fodors page for Takayama has two listings.

mrwunrfl Jun 29th, 2012 03:58 PM

I finally found the review for Koemon:

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