Itinerary review: Alpine Route

Old May 4th, 2016, 08:48 AM
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Itinerary review: Alpine Route

Hi everyone, could you please advise whether the following itinerary is feasible and please let me know if you have any tips or suggestions? I have only 5 days to travel and will be coming from and returning to Osaka. Also is there a pass that would cover most of these places? Thank you in advance for any feedback received.

Day 1: Travel through Nagoya to Matsumoto
Overnight in Matsumoto

Day 2: Alpine Route day-trip finishing in Toyama
Overnight in Toyama

Day 3: Kamikochi and Okuhida
Overnight in Okuhida

Day 4: Takayama and Shirakawago
Overnight in Takayama / Shirakawago (which is recommended?)

Day 5: Return to Osaka through Nagoya
scubagirl03 is offline  
Old May 4th, 2016, 01:02 PM
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It sounds exhausting to me as you'll be overnighting 4 different places on 4 different nights. Why not spend 2 nights in Matsumoto. Spend your first day seeing the castle, visiting the primary school and walking through the shopping district, then spend your second day bussing to Kamikochi to hike and returning to Matsumoto that same evening?
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Old May 4th, 2016, 06:36 PM
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I concur with MinnBeef--four different sleeping cities in four night is, well, ridiculous. You'll be spending way too much time moving around, rather than seeing sites.

I suggest two nights in Matsumoto, and two nights in Takayama. I like MinnBeef's suggestion about taking a day trip to Kamikochi from Matsumoto. Next, I would stay in Takayama, and do a day trip to Shirakawago from there.

We really enjoyed our three nights in Takayama. We found Shirakawago to be worth it--it was fun, and the cottages are quite interesting. You need some time to explore Takayama, there are some nice old houses there, and it's fun to visit the shops where the wood carvers work.
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Old May 4th, 2016, 06:44 PM
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When will you be taking this trip? I've done the Alpine route in April (the day after it opened for the season) and it was worthwhile for the snow canyon, but I wasn't impressed by the general scenery--Kamikochi is better in my opinion. If the snow canyon will be diminished at the time of your trip, I'd skip the Alpine Route (and the night in Toyama) in favor of more time elsewhere.

It's hard to do Shirakawago and Takayama in the same day. Shirakawago is a nightmare of crowds and tour buses; Gokayama is much nicer and less crowded, but harder to get to. There's a very good exhibit of gassho-zukuri houses (same as Shirakawago) in the open air museum at Takayama, which also has much else to offer.
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Old May 4th, 2016, 07:06 PM
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I don't mind moving frequently -- but only if it means I get to actually see and experience the things that are my highest priorities. I, personally, would have been very unhappy with an attempt to see both Takayama and Shirakawago in 1 day. Actually, I regretted that I gave Takayama only the better part of 2 days, and I didn't visit Shirakawago except as a transit point from Kanazawa to Takayama.

Good luck!
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Old May 5th, 2016, 10:04 AM
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You don't have enough time for Okuhida, Kamikochi, or Shirakawago.

Your first two days are ok. Then spend two nights in Takayama. You can choose Shirakawago or Okuhida if you want to rush through Takayama, but not both, and not Kamikochi.

You should look into this pass: http://touristpass.jp/en/alpine/
but it doesn't cover your Osaka-Nagoya legs.

Compare that with a 7-day JR Pass and with pay-as-you-go. http://www.hyperdia.com
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