>Japan draft itinerary Ver 2

>Looks like I can’t cram as much as I want to see in Japan in all of 13 days. With 5 kids, one senior citizen and another who swells up like a big red balloon in the cold, it might be safer to stick to a less ambitious itinerary. sigh.

Toss the dice.

Do I ditch the Kiso Valley? Do I forgo Shibu Onsen? Or Koyasan? Or Miyajima?

Logically when you look at a map and see the places I have earmarked, Miyajima and Hiroshima seem out of the general loop. We would have to make a trip all the way out there and then all the way back to Kyoto before heading back into the Central Honshu area. But to cut Miyajima and Hiroshima is painful.

KH, who has been to Hiroshima, say there is nothing much to see in the Peace Park. But I know my mother would be interested to see a different side of the war, get a different perspective. So would I. And Miyajima is widely touted to be Japan’s most beautiful spot for autumn foliage. Wouldn’t it be a shame to miss that? Problem also is that Miyajima’s accomodation is said to be pricey. With budgetary concerns, I would rather save up for a good one in Shibu Onsen.

Then there’s the Kiso Valley. Old post towns that have stood still in time. A picture that I hold in my heart is one of a street of wooden houses with soaring green hills behind. Taking a trip to the Kiso is taking a trip back in time – no cars, no streetlamps, no ugly wires and telephone poles. But then I worry – would the kids be antsy. The highlight of visiting the Kiso Valley is a three-hour walk between Tsumago and Magome. Can the kids do it? Would they be whiny?

And Shibu Onsen. Newly discovered for me – a tiny onsen village in the mountains, nine public baths and images of us clattering down narrow, winding empty streets in our yukatas and getas, aglow from our time in the onsen and heading towards the next. En route back to Nagano, we could stop at Zenko-ji.

To further distress me in the choices I have to make, to chop or not, see this pretty ryokan in Shibu Onsen I found online.

Kokuya Ryokan at Shibu Onsen: http://www.ichizaemon.com/en/2/rooms_rates.html (Check out the rooms with the outdoor baths!!) Pricey but so mouthwateringly tempting…

So to make things easier, let’s just stick to the facts:

Comparing Japan Guide user ratings, the highest rating went to Shibu Onsen. Lowest is Takayama. So the way I figure it, since we are heading to the highlands in Shibu already, kill Takayama?

One thing for sure, from the posted itinerary in my last post, I think I can safely kill Kobe and Arima Onsen and return to Kyoto as a base instead after Koyasan. From there, visit Himeiji and Hiroshima/Miyajima.

Okay, still a work in progress.

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