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overwhelmed with month trip in winter...please help!!! :)

overwhelmed with month trip in winter...please help!!! :)

Jul 7th, 2010, 05:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 19
overwhelmed with month trip in winter...please help!!! :)

Hi there
my boyfriend and I (both 23yo) are planning a month to a month a half trip to japan. this will be our first overseas trip and first trip on our own, We orginally wanted to cover all japan but have been advised by other forum sites maybe that isnt the right idea. We will be heading to Japan mid jan -early feb to start of march.

There is sooo much in japan we want to see but so little time and little money to do so.
At the moment we have a list of activities and places we want to see, and have a rough estimate of how long we are going to stay at each city.

some interests: samurais, ninjas, manga, anime, gaming etc, history

Ok will start from the top of Japan: Hokkaido
We are thinking about staying in Sapporo for about 5-7 days for the snow festival, so this will be about two weeks into our trip. In sapporo we were thinking about seeing the beer museum, going to susukino, obviously some snow festival events. Apart from that not too sure what else to do there.
We want to travel to Otaru, maybe to Asahikawa to go to Asahiyama Zoo, to Hakodate for a stop either before sapporo or before leaving hokkaido, might go to the Tomamu resort to go to the ice bar. I think thats all we had on our list for now.
Not sure about going to Niseko ski resort.
Is there anywhere we SHOULDNT leave out in our trip in hokkaido? are we missing something important?

Ok next region down: Tohoku
Maybe staying here for 3-4days. Not too sure where to find accommodation yet.
We are planning to go to Aizu and seeing Aizu Bukeyashiki, tsuruga castle, fukushima prefectural museum, oyakuen garden, suehiro sake brewery, aizu sake museum. All these places seem to be in the same area. Any that we should miss? See something else?
Maybe Kakunodate? Akita? Not to sure. Were thinking about going to see the samuari and merchant district, but is that a waste of time? since places are closed in the winter. or would it still be a great experience?
Yamagata? Zao Onsen? would like to see the snow monsters lol but is it really worth the trip?
Again is there something we are missing? that we SHOULD go to?see?

Now to Chubu region
Thinking about just doing day trips into some cities from kyoto or tokyo. we did plan on 3-4 days there if to stay in the region.
Like to go to Aichi, Yamanouchi, and Mt Fuji. Was planning to go to Toyama to do the alpine hike route but i think its closed in winter.
Question about Mt Fuji - what is the best way to see it since we cant climb it in winter. how can we get the best experience in winter.
Again is there something we are missing? that we SHOULD go to?see?

Kansai/ Kinki:
Planning on staying in osaka 7-9 days and kyoto 5-7 days (might extend day depending on what we do for the chubu region).
Kyoto - ok there is alot here we would love to see. some are: nijo castle, pontocho, international manga museum, nanzenji temple, kinkakuji, toei uzumasa eigamura.
Is there anywhere we SHOULDNT leave out in our trip in kyoto? are we missing something important?
osaka - maybe the aquarium, minami, shitennoji temple, osaka castle, national bunraku theatre. Not sure what else to do? Suggestions?
universal studios - a must see? is it worth it?
ok in kansai, thinking about a day trip to himeji, asuka, must go to ise shima to the edo wonderland and to iga veno to the ninja museum.
Is there anywhere we SHOULDNT leave out in our trip in kansai/kinki? are we missing something important?

and then lastly Kanto:
Havent really researched this region alot. I know we want to obviosuly go to tokyo which we are thinking about 7-10days. Attractions we have on the list so far are the sword museum, tokyo tower, disney land and sea, edo castle, maybe either ninja school or samurai school (but sooo expensive), imperial palace, ginza.
maybe go to akihabara, shibuya, shinjuko, asakuso
thinking about going to some of the pubs mentioned in the pub crawl.
I know we are missing so much here, what should we see and not miss?

We DID have Kyushu, Shikoku, Chugoku and maybe Okinawa in our orginal plans but thought maybe to cut these regions out for another time. Might make a trip down to Hiroshima though, but not sure.

Wow alot of questions there, sorry about that. Im so overwhelmed in trying to plan this trip.

JR rail pass? best way? or individual region passes?

Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated!!! Any questions you have please ask


p.s sorry if this makes no sense at all
jade_damien is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,680
Jade, have you looked at any of the Japan trip reports here? Go to the drop-down menu at the top of the page and choose Japan. A list of Japan posts will appear.

In particular, look for trip reports by HawaiianTraveller, as he has a series of most informative reports.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 05:52 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,342
At that time of year be ready for snow and cold weather especially on Hokkaido. You have a few questions, lets start with Hokkaido.

You seem to have a grasp on where you want to go and what you want to see so I'll try to make a few suggestions. As I mentioned earlier it will be winter especially on Hokkaido. Driving long distances is not recommended at this time of year so the train is the way to go. When you finalize your itinerary you should know what type of rail pass (or passes) you may need. The JR Hokkaido flexi 4 day pass lets you stagger your days of travel within a certain time frame.


Since you are traveling great distances you may want to fly to a destination or two to save time and money. You may be able to utilize one of the discount domestic air passes offered to tourists only called a Yokoso fare or the Star Alliance Pass, etc. It depends on the airline you fly into Japan on but you can get a one way fare for around 11,000 yen. See here for details:


I don't know what your budget is but an overnight or two in Noboribetsu http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6750.html
will keep you both warm on those cold winter nights. Noboribetsu is an onsen town with a plethora of ryokan with hot springs to stay in. Stay here if you can afford it http://japaneseguesthouses.com/db/no...su/daiichi.htm
or across the street at their sister property if you are on a budget

Either way you would get to enjoy the 30 or so hot spring baths that the Daiichi Takimoto-kan affords. The place is amazing to say the least. I have stayed at Takimoto Inn and did a trip report about it. Just click on my screen name and look up my trip reports if you are interested.

Hakodate is a good idea at this time of year as you may escape the snow there(notice the may). Hakodate has an interesting morning fish market and a beautiful view of the city on top of Mt Hakodate. You can reach the top by taking the ropeway. If taking the train to and from the south, you will have to change trains both ways at Hakodate station.

Northern Tohoku

Hirosaki has a beautiful castle and is a cute little town but the winter is not the best time to visit.

Kakunodate is a favorite of mine and I would visit any time of year. The samurai houses would be closed but the village is walkable and the people very friendly. Again it will be cold at that time. Tazawa-ko is worth a visit and you can do a minshuku in Nyuto Onsen that is a gem. Tsurunoyu Onsen is over 400 years old and if you stay there your mind will be taken back in time if you let it. It's another one of my favorite places in Japan. Sitting in the main rotenburo, with the snow all around and the stars at night, it doesn't get any better.

Spending a half day at Hiraizumi may interest you. See here for info

We just visited Kawaguchiko this past spring.It is one of the gateways to Mt Fuji.http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6905.html
Remember if you travel in Chubu that the Japan Alps are there and it will probably be deep in snow everywhere so.....

I love Osaka! Lots to do there. Stay in Namba if you can.
Universal Studios is worth it imho. We did it in April and loved it.The park is very spread out and done very nicely. Osaka Castle and the adjacent gardens are worth half a day.

Of course Kyoto has so much to see, you will enjoy your time there. Walk the Philosophers Path. I hear it is very serene in the winter months.....


You have a lot mentioned there already and you really need to sort it all out and come up with what you want to see and do here. Disney Land and Sea are fantastic imho. Tokyo Tower isn't all that imho. Shinjuku is my favorite area of Tokyo but you may like Shibuya better and the Roppongi Hills area for the night life. I always recommend Ameyoko Market in Ueno but not everyone likes it.
And of course you don't want to miss the Ginza at night. Feel free to ask questions.
Hope this helps!

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 03:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 449
You haven't mentioned your budget but Hokkaido can be very expensive (compared to other parts of Japan). Unless you are a winter sports enthusiast, I would spend a few days in Sapporo (if your intent is to see the snow festival), and definitely do some relaxing in Noboribetsu,and then head south.

I might spend some time in Kyushu - it's more relaxed and the weather will be milder.
usernameistaken is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 03:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 449
If you are into manga and anime, Princess Monooke Or whatever was set in Yakushima! That may be of some interest to you...
usernameistaken is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 06:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 19
thanks for the quick replies
our budget is limited, we are trying to do things as cheap as we can.
I know its going to be freezing there, thats one of the reasons we are going in the winter as we are from australia and at that time it is bloody hot!

What are some places, attractions we should miss due to it being winter? we do plan to go back to japan in the future probably during japans spring.
There is soo much information out there, its just so hard to get my head around it all.

jade_damien is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 215
Seeing that you said you are otaku may I make the following suggestions:

Kansai: all manga fans must make a pilgrimage to the Osamu Tezuka International Museum in Takarazuka. This institution, devoted to the works of the God of Manga, is an invaluable destination. And while you are there you might see if there is a winter season of a takarazuka show going as well.

Kanto: you say you like anime but you did not mention the Ghibli museum? For shame! It makes me wonder about your credentials. Also, the Tokyo Anime Centre in the UDX building in Akihabara has ideas about other places to see relatd to anime and manga. And of course, do the Akihabara otaku tour.
Sydney2K is offline  

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