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japan itinerary april/may suggestions please

japan itinerary april/may suggestions please

Mar 27th, 2012, 12:37 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 152
japan itinerary april/may suggestions please

Here is our planned itinerary for April/ May this year. We'd love suggestions about less known places to go and things to see. This is our 5th trip so we've 'done' many of the main tourist sites. Also advice about transport passes etc... in fact any advice would be very appreciated. I;ve booked accommodation along the way but almost all of it is able to be cancelled/changed so we can be flexible...

Fly Brisbane / Fukuoka 24th April
25th - arrive morning – check out Fukuoka rest - Stay Fukuoka 3 nights 25th – 28th
26th - explore in and around Fukuoka without car
Ohori Garden, Fukuoka Rekishi No Machi, Shōfuku-ji, Hakata Traditional Craft Centermaybe flowers in Nokoshima island
27th - hire car from Budget Fukuoka for 3 days (13,095Y) – explore further afield Dazaifu, Kurume return to Fukuoka
28th - drive to and around Karatsu and Hirado - Stay Karatsu 1 night
29th - drive area including Arita (pottery fair), Mt Unzen and Shimabara – car ferryfrom Shimabara to Kumamoto to drop off car (5,250Y) Train to Kagoshima - stay there two nights at Tokyu Inn with view of volcano
30th - hire car for one day explore Kagoshima Samurai town of Chiran, Ebino Kogen in Kirishima National Park
1st - early train to Nobeoka 3 ½ hours - pick up hire car and drive to Takachiho or bus from Nobeoka - Stay Takachiho Ryokan
2nd – bus to Kumamoto then train to Fukuoka - stay 1 night
3rd – Fukuoka Matsuri – evening train to Shimonoseki to stay 2 nights
4th - Shimonoseki Festival
5th - hire car for one day from Shimonoseki to Yamaguchi Drive area including Hagi and stay in Yamaguchi 1 night.
6th - morning in Yamaguchi – afternoon train to Matsue to stay 2 nights
7th - in and around Matsue (boat ride, Izumo Taishi etc)
8th - hire car drive to Tottori – Mt Daisen, dunes, Kurayoshi, Misasa and Yurihama (on lake Togo) Drop car near station train to Himeji stay one night
9th - around Himeji - late afternoon to Kyoto for one night
10th - day trip to Ohara - end up in Nara to stay 2 nights at a Ryokan
11th - around Nara and Uji
12th - around Nara then afternoon to Osaka to stay 2 nights
13th - around Osaka ???
14th - get to airport by 9.00am
yeshekathy is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 07:06 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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Fantastic itinerary! Wish I could tag along. The only thing I might do different is to overnight in Kumamoto and keep the rental car. Drive to Takachiho from there. It would take you about three hours from Kumamoto to Takachiho without long stops but stop you will. Beautiful mountain scenery on your way up and over Mt. Aso on your way to Takachiho and a very easy drive. Then work your way down on the backside of Kyushu towards Kagoshima. Drop the car in Kagoshima and shinkansen to Hakata. You may get a better weekly rate on the car rather than multiple day rentals at different times.

We stayed at that very Tokyu Inn in Kagoshima a couple of years back with an ocean view of Sakurajima and the southern islands ferry terminal which also is adjacent to the hotel. Make sure you join their membership club online which will get you a few perks and discounts while you are there. It also got us an upgraded room ocean view upon check in gratis.

The main hall at Izumo Taisha is under major renovation and will be covered until 2013 but you probably already know that. Ditto for Himeji-jo. Love, love, love Matsuyama-jo in Bichi!

Around Osaka we love the Dotonbori and the surrounding blocks above and underground. Osaka-jo and its beautiful surrounding gardens are always a pleasant walk on a bright spring morning.

Looks like your in for a great time, let us know how it went when you get back.

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,632
Sign me up, I want to go too. Great itin.

What is the drive time on the 5th? Where are you staying in Shimonoseki? It doesn't look like you are spending any time seeing sights in Kumamoto.

You are taking the car on a ferry and then dropping it off. I assume that means that you can't leave it on the Shimabara side or have other reasons for taking it across.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Mar 27th, 2012, 01:59 PM
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Posts: 152
Wow so glad you both like the itinerary - it has taken a bit of time to get all together.
Yes I did think of that way through Takachiho but we drove that route a few years ago when we stayed for a few days in Yufuin(you're right it was a beautiful area to drive!) - unfortunately didn't get to Takachiho that time because there had been torrential rain and on bit of the road had slipped off the side of the hill... we still may change things around but it may be difficult to get the bookings we want now.
Thanks for the tip about joining up before we go to the Tokyu Inn. We usually stay in Toyoko Inns and are members there but haven't stayed with Tokyu Inns before - the talk of the view of the volcano was what got me!
Drive time on 5th is all day, we might even pick up the car the evening before so we can get off early in the morning. It's not far to Yamaguchi direct but we'll go out to the coast to Hagi and see what else we can fit in.
We are staying in Shimonoseki because they have their annual festival 3rd and 4th.... and because we actually got a reasonable room there for the busiest days of Golden Week. We'll see what we can of the Fukuoka Matsuri on 3rd (it's also 3rd and 4th) and then head over to Shimonoseki and have the 2nd day of their festival there.
Funny we had thought of just hanging out a lot - spending a bit of time in a few places rather than our usual rushing about - but then there are just so many wonderful places to see and things to do - and it got busier.
Thanks for your comments!
yeshekathy is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 02:02 PM
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ps - yes not much time for Kumamoto but we have been there before. We were staying there but (and this is embarrassing) I had worked out the itinerary on the basis of 31 days in April and when I realised one day had to be cut out!
A good idea to leave the car on the Shimabara side - will check with the car rental place. I think it should be the same drop off fee.
yeshekathy is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 03:51 PM
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Oh no! (imagine expletives here!) I checked out Tokyu membership on your advice hawaiiantraveller, and realised I had booked Tokyu Inn in Kagoshima and not Tokyu Hotel - who'd have thought they'd have two in the one town? So I have managed to get a booking at the Tokyu Hotel too (whew!). Question is: is the difference in price really worth it? The Inn is Y15,200 for two nights and the Hotel is Y28.800.
yeshekathy is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 05:04 PM
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I loved Ohara, Uji, and Nara - glad to see that you've included them!

I trust you've already been to Koyasan?

kja is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 05:42 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,343
Well we were faced with the same dilemma a few years back when we stayed in Kagoshima. I opted for the Hotel rather than the Inn because we were staying on Sakurajima right after Kagoshima and I wanted to have the view of the island to check her out before we landed
I also did not want to stay near the main JR station area which is where the Inn is located.

The hotel is also bigger with larger room sizes and a full service hotel not like the business rooms and lack of services of the Inn. You have a restaurant and bar onsite in the hotel but not at the Inn. The hotel is located on the waterfront away from everything but has easy access to the main shopping dori and attractions by either bus(stops are right in front and across the street)or a short taxi ride. The Inn is a whole lot cheaper though and would have been a very nice,clean place to stay just not what we wanted at that time.

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 06:55 PM
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hmmm think we will stick with the inn this time - we arrive quite late from Kumamoto and it will be good be close to the station. Next day we plan to take a car and be out all day so not much time to enjoy the lovely more expensive hotel. And then next day we should get the train up the coast pretty early so being near the station is good for that too.
and yes kja we stayed at Koyasan a couple of years ago - wonderful wonderful!! Highly recommended.
yeshekathy is offline  
Mar 28th, 2012, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 551
At Chiran don't forget to visit the Kamikaze Museum - I don't think I saw it mentioned. I always have mixed feelings visiting Japanese war memorials but it was quite moving. Such young boys.

I hope you have better luck with the weather for the Fukuoka festival than I did. I presume that's the Dontaku festival? I rained for two days solid for me - the day I left so I had wet clothes to transport ( and the sad after effects of yatei ramen )

And another vote for Ohara. I also had a very enjoyable visit to Uji; I'd save the extra you pay to go in the main building at Byodo-in though.
eigasuki is offline  
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