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Kavey Jul 14th, 2015 10:53 PM

I agree, we went to Miyajima in 2012, just for one night, and it was a night we absolutely loved and are glad we included.

I do agree that your itinerary is very crammed, but you may well have a different travel style to me, and more stamina in terms of fitting more in per day. If it feels doable to do you, I think you could do it, but I'm not sure I'd recommend the days when you are fitting in multiple destinations plus travel into a single day.

mrwunrfl Jul 15th, 2015 09:42 AM

The November grand sumo tournament, Kyushu Basho, is held in Fukuoka and will run from Nov 8 to 22 this year. The tournament starts in the morning but you can arrive any time. If you attend then I suggest arriving around 1PM. The wrestling gets better as the day goes on, so no matter what time you arrive you want to stay to the end at 6PM. Fukuoka is worth a stop but the tournament would be an easy day trip from Hiroshima.

Two special points about Kyushu Basho: 1) in addition to typical souvenirs they also display/sell Hakata dolls including sumo-related dolls, 2) it is easy to get up close to the wrestlers when they enter(ed) the arena through the front doors and walk through the crowd, and then again when they cross the concourse on the way to the dohyo for their match

mrwunrfl Jul 15th, 2015 10:05 AM

Nov 6 is ambitious. You could save Nikko for a future trip. As an alternative, I suggest stopping at Nagano which is on your shinkansen route and spend a couple hours to see Zenkoji.

Nov 11 is a bad plan, imo. That is Takayama to Miyajima. I made that trip in the opposite direction and it was too much. You want to add a stop at Himeji.

Your day will be:
L'Ex train Takayama to Nagoya,
change to a shinkansen from Nagoya to (probably) Shin-Osaka,
shinkansen Shin-Osaka to Himeji,
walk several blocks to castle and visit castle ground sand tour the castle,
taxi back to Himeji station,
shinkansen Himeji to Hiroshima,
JR local from Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi,
walk a couple blocks to the JR ferry port,
ferry to Miyajima and make your way to your lodging

mrwunrfl Jul 15th, 2015 10:47 AM

A couple more points:

I think are shorting Hiroshima. Two nights in Miyajima is one night too long for me, especially if both nights would be on a futon and both dinners at your lodging. The place is dead at night. I like Hiroshima and it is worth more time than just the Peace Park and museum, even if it is just an evening strolling the shopping district and find a nice restaurant, maybe Hiroshima style okonomiyaki or Hiroshima oysters or Hiroshima beef, or ...

For Takayama, I also recommend the Best Western. Great location and comfortable.

I suggest:
Nov 11, Takayama to Hiroshima, maybe have some afternoon time in Hiroshima, evening and night in Hiroshima.
Nov 12, take your time to visit PP and museum, then go to Miyajima that afternoon, visit Itsukushima Shrine. Night on Miyajima.
Nov 13, Miyajima in the morning and then travel to Kyoto with a stop in Himeji to see the castle.

Another suggestion:
Save Takayama for a future trip. It might be good timing for fall colors as they will turn earlier in the month at that elevation, so you might not want to take this advice.

The future trip could include:
stop in Nagoya, visit Inuyama castle
Nagoya to Ise & Shima
The trip from Nagoya to Takayama is scenic and interesting. However, Japan by Rail says that the segment of the Takayama Line from Takayama to Toyama is one of the most scenic rides in Japan.
So, you go Nagoya to Takayama and visit there, then Takayama to Nikko via Toyama (which is a lot easier to do now with the new shinkansen line). Matsumoto, a day trip from there to Kamikochi, and or the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route could be added to that.

Lagom Jul 15th, 2015 03:57 PM

Thanks everyone! The consensus is that I need to redo the middle section of the plan. Instead of pushing ahead with the day to day plan I've been doing more reading and rethinking.

What if I take out Chubu entirely for now because I have a dream to go hiking in the region? Overnight hut to hut. Then again I don't want to assume there will be another trip. If we must choose, Takayama has priority over Kanazawa. Btw, I can't find Kanazawa accomodation for 7 Nov. Which started my thinking to drop it...

I started reading your Kyushu trip reports. Seems like a good choice for November but I'd prefer not to have to rent a car.

100% we will visit Tokyo, Nikko, Kyoto, Hiroshima (Miyajima and Himeji seem automatic here)...what should we do with the remaining third of the 21 nights? Help!

Lagom Jul 15th, 2015 03:59 PM

If money grew on trees then we'd do this 10 day cycling trip through Kyushu in a heartbeat:

kja Jul 15th, 2015 04:53 PM

Add more time for Kyoto and Nara! Consider Koyasan....

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