Revising our Japan itinerary 2

Old Mar 11th, 2024, 07:21 AM
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Revising our Japan itinerary 2

I hope youíre not all sick of me! Iím considering a change in our itinerary which will give us 2 more days in Japan but weíll arrive in Fukuoka instead of Osaka. That changes certain parts of my itinerary. One of the reasons Iím changing it is that my current plan would have us in Kurashiki and Himeji on the Culture Day weekend, and that would make 2 crowded places even more crowded. We were in Kanazawa over that weekend last year and the popular places were really busy.

IF I make this change, Iím thinking of the following:

Fukuoka-2
Hiroshima -1
Miyajima -2 (yes, Iím getting sold on the idea of staying over)
Matsuyama - 2
Takamatsu -3
Kurashiki -2 (I donít really want to stay in Okayama)
Himeji-1
Kinosaki-2
Kyoto -5

So the changes would be

1) staying 2 nights in Kurashiki, a place that seems to be both enjoyed for the atmospheric canals at night and cultural sites, particularly the OíHara Museum (which Iíd definitely want to see) but disliked for the crowds and commercialism.

2) staying the night in Himeji. I see no good option to otherwise visit the castle since I donít see doing a day trip from Kurashiki then having ti make a trip back there to take the train to Kinosaki. If we stopped over on the way to Kinosaki, I think weíd be rushed to try to make the fast train. So Iím okay with a night here. I also donít want to do too many 1 night stops and, with Hiroshima and Himeji, Iíve already made 2 1-night stops.

Of all the places, Iíd probably drop the stop in a Himeji, much as Iíd love to see the castle and add the day elsewhere, though the trip from Kurashiki to Kinosaki starts feeling a little more clunky.

Any other suggestions here. I havenít yet changed the tickets between Taiwan and Japan but I probably should do it soon if Iím going to do it.

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Old Mar 11th, 2024, 01:14 PM
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The deed is indeed done! We fly into Fukuoka instead of Osaka so now I’ll work on the itinerary from there. The one I posted above will be my working plan.

I’m thinking that we could do the day trip to Onomichi from Kurashiki since we probably won’t be doing it from Hiroshima since the current plan has us staying on Miyajima for 2 nights.

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Old Mar 11th, 2024, 06:58 PM
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Two nights on Miyajima seems like a lot, especially if you don't like crowds. You may be better off spending the extra time in Hiroshima, from where there are more options.

Also note that Kurashiki is not on a stop on the Shinkansen, which means it will be hard to take day trips without a long and slow train ride or a transfer from a slow train to a Shinkansen. For example, leaving Kyoto, we stopped in Himeji for a visit to the castle before going to our ryokan in Kurashiki. Our options from Himeji to Kurashiki was either almost three hours one way on the slow train or a 20-minute Shinkansen to Okayama followed by another 20 minutes on the slow train to Kurashiki. It will be the same for Onomichi. If you are keen on taking day trips, Okayama is a much more convenient options, although it was one of the cities I liked the least.
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 04:18 AM
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tripplanner,
Thanks so much for your suggestions. I’m absolutely aware that the days at Miyajima can be very busy but I also wonder if, in fact, because we’re already there, we can explore less-crowded areas during the day and enjoy the peacefulness at night. We wouldn’t arrive at the island till late on the first and then, first thing, enjoy the busiest spots early in the day. We could, of course, return to Hiroshima after that but I would first like to see if there are quieter places on the island that we could visit during the busier times of the day. If not, I’ll plan on 2 days in Hiroshima instead, but there are a number of people who’ve stayed 2 nights and I’ll try to get a better picture of their experiences.

From what I’ve seen, there is a train that goes from Kurashiki to Onomichi that takes around an hour, and that’s about the time frame that is “acceptable” for a day trip for us. I don’t mind multiple train stops. If I’m mistaken about that, I’ll definitely want to come up with an alternative, but I really don’t want to stay in Okayama. Of course, we might actually enjoy our time in Kurashiki, so we wouldn’t have to take a day trip!
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 06:45 AM
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what tripplanner001 said
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl
what tripplanner001 said
Thank you, as always. Having come up with a plan that I’ve now turned upside down, you must be wondering what the heck is she doing! Of course, this was all about adding an extra couple of days to Japan but it’s not making it any easier!

So…are you also recommending that we stay only 1 night on Miyajima and 2 in a Hiroshima? Would it be difficult to escape the crowds during the day?

If that is the case, and we stayed in Hiroshima for 2 nights, we could visit Onomichi from Hiroshima as originally planned, but I’m still curious about why you don’t recommend the day trip from Kurashiki, as it still looks doable to me.

Please clarify if I’m misunderstanding this, but it looks like the JR San’yō Main line (NOT the Sanyō Shinkansen) can go to Onomichi in about an hour. Yes, there are about 13 stops but there’s no transfer between trains. I live in NYC so 13 stops on a local train is no big deal.

Since I’m now traveling from the west, there’s no place to “stop” and see Himeji on the way so I’m inclined to stay there for the night. I think the additional visit to the temple on the hill might make it a worthwhile stop, anyway. In my original plan, we were stopping in Himeji on Culture day weekend which, I think, would be very busy. As I mentioned earlier, the crowds in Kanazawa that weekend on our trip last year were pretty significant in the popular places so I’d imagine it would be, too, in Himeji. And I just priced the cost of the hotel room for Nov 3 to Nov 4 in Kurashiki for this year - it was much higher than other days, even higher than the day before and the day after.

I really don’t want to stay in Okayama and I don’t want to do more 1-night stops, so is there another place you’d recommend other than Kurashiki?

I had also tried to work Tomonoura into the itinerary but if I go to Matsuyama and Takamatsu, that just doesn’t fit, much as it looks like a lovely spot to stay. But unless I eliminated Matsuyama and reworked the visit to Takamatsu, it just doesn’t seem to make sense.

So I “hear” you mrwunrfl and tripplanner, and I’m really trying to make sense of the plan, but I’m a little stuck now.

Last edited by progol; Mar 12th, 2024 at 10:35 AM.
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 11:45 AM
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>> I don’t really want to stay in Okayama
yes, you keep saying that.

>> wouldn’t arrive at the island till late
well, don't do that. It is easy enough to get to Miyajima in the morning or afternoon from Fukuoka.

24 hours on Miyajima get you all the time periods of the day

Hiroshima to Kurashiki is
60 minutes on Nozomi plus local train via Okayama
66 minutes on Sakura plus local train via Okayama
80 minutes on Kodama plus local via Shin Kurashiki

I visited Okayama-jo, Korakuen, and Kurashiki on a day trip from Hiroshima. Visiting both cities was a bit much - it was the local trains for Kurashiki that made it so. Or could say that the stop to visit the Okayama sites made it a bit much. But am glad I visited all three.


Up to you how you want to spend the two nights, the full day, in Kurashiki. But it sounds like your plan for that day in Kurashiki is to visit Onomichi. IDK why that would be better than staying in Onomichi or Hiroshima.

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Mar 12th, 2024 at 11:53 AM.
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 12:35 PM
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I probably need to take a break for a while and I do have some time. I’m sorry to drive you a bit nuts.

The reasons for Kurashiki was, originally, a place to stop after seeing Himeji and before going to Takamatsu. I’m still planning to go to Takamatsu so we’d stay in Kurashiki afterwards but before Himeji. But I think I need to start over and see what works better.

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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 02:01 PM
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Ok, your OP sounded like you were pretty well set with a plan. I don't/didn't see anything wrong with it it, so just agreed with what tp wrote based on my preference not to day trip from Kurashiki. But, if willing to spend an hour each way to Onomichi then day trip from Kurashiki to Himeji would certainly work. Anyway, this is tweaking and you do have time.
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 04:45 PM
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I'm a New Yorker like you, progol, so I don't mind trains either. My concern for you is getting from Kurashiki to Himeji, which will involve a transfer in Okayama. You would catch the Sanyo main line at Kurashiki, get off in Okayama, and then go on the Shinkansen to Himeji; otherwise, you're looking at almost three hours on the main line.

Aside from the main shrine and torii on Miyajima, Daisho-in is worth a visit, but if you visit the main shrine and torii early, you will hit crowds at Daisho-in. We didn't go up Mount Misen as the ropeway was closed due to winds and we didn't feel like hiking up, so that could be another thing to do on Miyajima. The island is quite small, so it's harder to escape crowds midday.
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by tripplanner001
I'm a New Yorker like you, progol, so I don't mind trains either. My concern for you is getting from Kurashiki to Himeji, which will involve a transfer in Okayama. You would catch the Sanyo main line at Kurashiki, get off in Okayama, and then go on the Shinkansen to Himeji; otherwise, you're looking at almost three hours on the main line.

Aside from the main shrine and torii on Miyajima, Daisho-in is worth a visit, but if you visit the main shrine and torii early, you will hit crowds at Daisho-in. We didn't go up Mount Misen as the ropeway was closed due to winds and we didn't feel like hiking up, so that could be another thing to do on Miyajima. The island is quite small, so it's harder to escape crowds midday.
Thanks, mrwunrfl and tripplanner.

tp, I get what youíre saying about going from Kurashiki to Himeji. And will definitely revisit the Miyajima plan. My whole idea of staying over was to minimize crowds and going mid-day, as mrwunrfl suggests, or even starting early as you suggest, may not necessarily be the answer.

I really need to sit with this and let it percolate for a while. I feel like Iím trying to force something with this itinerary and itís not working. And, we have a trip to Greece coming up next month and I better pay attention to that trip!
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Old Mar 13th, 2024, 04:41 AM
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Sooooo…. I think I’ve got it…sleeping seems to help! And it’s slightly revamped but not too much.

Arrive from Taiwan at Fukuoka

Fukuoka - 2
Hiroshima-2 (day trip to Onomichi)
Miyajima-1
Matsuyama -2
Takamatsu -3 (lots to do in this area)
Naoshima -2 (stay in/near Miyanoura port)
Himeji-1(ferry to Uno, train to Okayama, change for Himeji)
Kinosaki-2
Kyoto-5

While I don’t hit all the spots, this seems to be a nice mix of things and that’s what I strive for.

Thanks! I don’t plan to revamp much more! (Fingers crossed….)
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 05:29 AM
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Rethinking the revision:

The more I look at my current itinerary, the more I think we should focus a bit more in Kyushu. Iím very torn but my current itinerary looks like weíre going to all the most popular spots, and Iím trying to visit a few (slightly) less busy places. The more I look at Nagasaki, the more it appeals to me.

I donít think weíll have ANOTHER trip to Japan in the future so this is more of a sampler of places that are slightly different.

We will travel by public transportation only.

Iím rethinking a stop to Himeji and a visit to Kinosaki. Much as I want to visit Kinosaki, my itinerary has us there on a Wednesday and many places are closed that day. I havenít ruled it out but Iím (sadly) thinking it is a bit too far out of the way and I donít want to do 1 night there.

So, my most recent plan and a couple of new ideasÖ

Here is my most recent plan:
Fukuoka -2
Hiroshima/Miyajima-2/3
Matsuyama-2
Takamatsu-3
Naoshima-2
Himeji-1
Kinosaki-2.
Kyoto -5 (day trips to Uji, Nara)

And one of two variations Iím thinking about:

1)The first, keeping the Shikoku stops in and taking the ferry route from Beppu to Shikoku. A bit of a schlep, but I think doable. I would like to add a day to Kumamoto but hate reducing the Kurakowa stop to 1 night. This is instead of Kinosaki:
Fukuoka -2
Nagasaki-3
Kumamoto- 2
Kurakowa-2
Beppu -1
Matsuyama -2
Takamatsu -3
Kyoto -5

2) Or, not go to Shikoku and the stop before Kyoto is up for grabs. Iíll be honest, I like the one with Shikoku more since itís not quite on the beaten path:
Fukuoka-2 (day trip)
Beppu/Yufuin-2 (day trip to other)
Kurakowa-2
Kumamoto-3
Nagasaki-3
Hiroshima-1
Miyajima, Kurashiki, Onomichi, Kinosaki - 2
Kyoto -5

Thoughts?



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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 08:55 AM
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1)
Kumamoto- 3

Kurokowa Onsen-2
Beppu -1
or
Kumamoto- 2

Kurokowa Onsen-2
Beppu -1

Kumamoto-1

or, quite possibly,
Kurokowa Onsen-2

Beppu -1
Kumamoto- 3


(I think I like the 3rd option best as you can get to K.O. in the afternoon and have the full day to visit the town. Am pretty sure you are aware that K.O. is reached by bus or car, no train)

2) Day trips are something you can decide on the day, of course.
Fukuoka-2 (day trip) (aassuming you mean Dazaifu, which is optional imo)

Beppu/Yufuin-2 (day trip to other) (pretty sure you would have no issue on getting trains for that as most of the Yufuin visitors are traveling to/from Fukuoka. Yufuin Station area was a zoo at end of last Oct)

> like the one with Shikoku more
me too
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 10:31 AM
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Thanks so much, mrwunrfl. Iím now pretty likely going to do the Kyushu/Shikoku trip.

One of the reasons for Beppu, though, is to set us up for the ferry to Ehime. Itís the only direct connection I see between Kyushu and Shikoku. Is there any other way to do it? Otherwise, it seems like Beppu is necessary. I thought Beppu could be fun for a night.

Or am I better off ending the Kyushu portion in Kumamoto then taking the train to Hiroshima and ferry to Matsuyama? Hmm, except weíd more likely end in Nagasaki in Kyushu if weíre traveling clockwise and the trip would be a bit longer.

Last edited by progol; Apr 4th, 2024 at 11:02 AM.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 11:14 AM
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The obvious route to Matsuyama is to blast on up to Hiroshima on the shinkansen and then the fast boat, but there are other options:
Kumamoto to Matsuyama (rome2rio.com)
Kurokawa Onsen to Matsuyama (rome2rio.com)

>> I thought Beppu could be fun for a night.
Except that you don't like one-night stops.
(the ferry trip maybe sounds better than it actually is. looks like there is an Oita ferry to Matsuyama, but Beppu to Yawatahama then an hour train ride to Matsuyama)

Bus from K.O. directly to FUK and then fly is a real option.

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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 11:56 AM
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Many thanks again!

A single 1-night stop is fine - I just donít want to have a series of them or too many of them.

I lean toward the ferry from Beppu - it looks pretty doable. A bit of a schlep but fun.

if we end in Kumamoto (donít see how, tho) Iíd take the Shinkansen to Hiroshima and change for the ferry.

Iíd prefer not taking a flight.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 01:09 PM
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>> if we end in Kumamoto (don’t see how, tho)
I showed you how.

Beppu -1

Ok, K.O. to Beppu bus can be only 2h 36 min. Bus to Kumamoto eki would take about the same time.

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Apr 4th, 2024 at 01:20 PM.
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Old Apr 4th, 2024, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl
>> if we end in Kumamoto (donít see how, tho)
I showed you how.

Beppu -1

Ok, K.O. to Beppu bus can be only 2h 36 min. Bus to Kumamoto eki would take about the same time.
Good point. Iíll play it out both ways and see how it unfolds.
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Old Apr 10th, 2024, 01:49 PM
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I’m happy with my Kyushu/Shikoku plans and now trying to refine the itinerary. We will be arriving in Fukuoka after 2 weeks in Taiwan.

Kyushu plan # 1 (most recent itinerary above)
Fukuoka -2
Nagasaki -3
Kumamoto -2
Kurokawa -2
Beppu -1
Ferry to Yawatahama, train to Matsuyama
(Shikoku itinerary, etc)

1a) Variation of above itinerary: instead of going on to Beppu, we can bus to Kumamoto and train to Hiroshima for the night. This seems to be similar in terms of the amount of time it will take for the bus/train/ferry though I lean toward going to Beppu with this routing.

But I just saw that there is a direct bus from Fukuoka to Kurokawa which looks much easier, so, instead, we could do

Kyushu plan #2
Fukuoka -2
Kurokawa -2
Kumamototo -2
Nagasaki -3
Hiroshima -1
Ferry to Matsuyama

And this looks to me to be an even easier itinerary, though we would miss Beppu (reviews are very mixed).

I’m leaning toward #2 - it seems just cleaner and we’d see Hiroshima after all.

Thoughts?

Recommendations for hotels in above places and favorite ryokan in Kurokawa most appreciated. We are traveling by public transportation so accessibility is important.
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