>So we’re heading to Japan. Plane tickets bought so no turning back.
We’re heading for 14 days in the peak of autumn. Question is, where to go? I feel like a kid in a candy shop – and my head is swirling with questions and possibilities. I’ve decided to use this blog to document an itinerary that is slowly taking shape.
For now, the itinerary looks like this:
Day 1 Arrive in Narita at 0740am. Spend the rest of the day in Tokyo city after checking in. If we’re staying at the Family Fifties again, then we’ll just stow luggage in the lockers at the train stations (either Ueno or Tokyo) and then start the sightseeing buzz. But if we’re staying in town, then its not a problem to offload the luggage and head out.
Day 2 Tokyo Disney Resort – Disneyland
Day 3 Tokyo Disney Resort – DisneySea
Day 4 Run for the earliest shinkansen to Kyoto again. Arrive Kyoto in the mid-morning. Stow bags in hotel and head out to northern Kyoto to Kinkakuji, Ryoanji and then cross over to Higashiyama to check out Eikando by night. It gets dark by 4pm in autumn, and since its peak time, Eikando and several other temples in Kyoto have night light-ups. Which should be very pretty!
Day 5 Nara. Which means, the world’s largest wooden structure/temple, the big Buddha, the gap to eternity and lots of voracious deer. And deer biscuits!
Day 6 Koyasan. Overnight in a temple. Wandering through the vastness of Okunoin in the dark and mist with several thousand lanterns lit to guide the way to Kobo Daishi’s mausoleum is an unforgettable experience.
Day 7 Off to Kobe. If time permits, visit Arima Onsen for a soak in the hotsprings there.
Day 8 Himeji in the morning, Hiroshima and the Peace Park in the afternoon. Miyajima for the night. In the morning, visit the Itsukushima shrine and Momijidani-koen, widely known as one of the most beautiful autumn foliage spots in Japan. Leave Miyajima by noon and travel across Honshu by train, stopping over in Kyoto to change trains. A total journey time of 4 hours, to reach the Japan Sea and the city of Kanazawa.
Day 9 Kenroku-en – Japan’s most beautiful garden. 21st century museum of modern art. Wander through the old preserved streets of the samurai district, laced with old houses, running streams and tea houses. Myoryu-ji – the ninja temple.
Day 10 Leave Kanazawa and arrive in Takayama by the afternoon. Overnight in Takayama
Day 11 Early morning market in Takayama, Hida folk village. Visit Furukawa, a pretty canal town nearby.
Day 12 Leave Takayama to Nagoya (2hrs) and then up to the Kiso Valley (1hr). Forward baggage from Magome to Tsumago. Walk the old road from Magome to Tsumago. Overnight in atmospheric Tsumago, old wooden houses, lanterns and nary a streetlamp, cars or electric wires in sight.
Day 13 Depart Kiso Valley to Tokyo via Nagano. Stop in Nagano to visit Zenko-ji. Shinkansen to Tokyo. Arrive Tokyo’s Ueno station at night.
Day 14 Keisei skyliner at 1000am, reach Narita at 1100am and depart Tokyo at 1330pm.
Likely to buy the 7D JR Pass (28,300yen) as well as the 3D Kansai Area Thru Pass (5000yen) as well as the JapanICan shinkansen package that we took the last time.
Well, for now, that seems to be it. Will revisit and finetune this as I go along.