Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sample Itineraries for Japan trip

Tips (will add more in time):
- Certain places are very crowded on weekends, see if you can re-arrange your itinerary to visit it on a weekday instead (like Disneyland/Disneysea, Universal Studios)

- Most hotels & ryokans charges a higher rate for weekend stays (Fri/Sat/Sun) so see if you can re-arrange your itinerary to fit that stay on a weekday on a cheaper rate (esp ryokans in popular places like Hakone, Miyajima, Noboribetsu, Nikko...etc). You would be surprised how much you can save on the difference.

- Many themeparks (except major ones like Disneyland/Disneysea/Universal Studios) & special trains (eg. Arashiyama Scenic Train, Asahiyama Zoo train...etc) do not operate every day, so it's best that you check their operation schedule on their respective websites before you go to ensure that it is available on the day of your visit.

- You can only purchase the nationwide JR Pass outside of Japan so remember to purchase it before you head for Japan.

- When using Hyperdia.com, there are some station with names that you might have problems searching for. Here's some examples: "SAGAARASHIYAMA" (JR Arashiyama station), "HAKATA" (Fukuoka's main station), "TOYA(JR-MURORAN)" (Lake Toya's station), "NEW CHITOSE AIRPORT" (Shin-Chitose Airport station), "KOBE(HYOGO)" (Kobe station).
Eg. In Osaka, Shinkansen only stops at Shin-Osaka station and not at Osaka station. In Yokohama, Shinkansen only stops at Shin-Yokohama station and not at Yokohama station. Therefore don't assume that Shin-Osaka and Osaka station is the same station because they are not.
(More info on how to use the Hyperdia website: here)


Sample Itineraries:
Places listed with " * " doesn't operate every day so check the operation schedule before you go
Nationwide JR Pass for 7 / 14 / 21 days: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html
Various other JR Passes: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html
Express Bus: http://willerexpress.com/bus/pc/3/top/
Train schedules: http://www.hyperdia.com/en/

Hokkaido:
(5 days)
Day 1: Singapore to Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Sapporo
Day 2: Sapporo (Shiroi Koibito Park/Odori Park/Susukino)
Day 3: Day trip to Otaru
Day 4: Sapporo to Lake Toya or Noboribetsu onsen town, stay for the night
Day 5: Head for Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Singapore

(7 days Winter) With 3 days JR Hokkaido Pass for Day 5 to Day 7
Day 1: Singapore to Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Sapporo
Day 2: Sapporo (Shiroi Koibito Park/Odori Park/Susukino)
Day 3: Day trip to Otaru
Day 4: Day trip to Sapporo Teine for skiing
Day 5: Sapporo to Asahikawa (Penguin march* in Zoo and take the Asahiyama Zoo train* from Sapporo to Asahikawa)
Day 6: Asahikawa to Lake Toya or Noboribetsu onsen town
Day 7: Lake Toya or Noboribetsu to Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Singapore

(7 days Summer) With 5 days JR Hokkaido Pass for Day 3 to Day 7
Day 1: Singapore to Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Sapporo
Day 2: Sapporo (Shiroi Koibito Park/Odori Park/Susukino)
Day 3: Day trip to Otaru
Day 4: Sapporo to Asahikawa
Day 5: Day trip to Furano/Biei (Lavender fields)
Day 6: Asahikawa to Lake Toya or Noboribetsu onsen town
Day 7: Lake Toya or Noboribetsu to Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Singapore

(9 days Winter) With 5 days JR Hokkaido Pass for Day 4 to Day 8, Fly in Shin-Chitose, Fly out Shin-Chitose
Day 1: Singapore to Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Sapporo
Day 2: Sapporo (Shiroi Koibito Park/Odori Park/Susukino)
Day 3: Day trip to Otaru
Day 4: Sapporo to Abashiri (Ice breaker cruise) Take Asahiyama Zoo train from Sapporo to Asahikawa, then transfer to another train to Abashira. If the Zoo train's tickets are sold out, then just take a direct train from Sapporo to Abashiri
Day 5: Abashiri to Asahikawa (Asahiyama Zoo)
Day 6: Asahikawa to Lake Toya or Noboribetsu
Day 7: Lake Toya or Noboribetsu to Hakodate (Goryokaku/Old Bricks Warehouse/Mt Hakodate)
Day 8: Hakodate to Sapporo
Day 9: Sapporo to Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Singapore

Hokkaido + Tokyo:
(8 days) 
Day 1: Singapore to Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Sapporo
Day 2: Sapporo (Shiroi Koibito Park/Odori Park/Susukino)
Day 3: Day trip to Otaru
Day 4: Sapporo to Lake Toya or Noboribetsu onsen town, stay for the night
Day 5: Head for Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Tokyo
Day 6: Tokyo (Harajuku/Shibuya) or (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower)
Day 7: Tokyo (Asakusa/Ueno/Akihabara) or (Imperial Palace/Ginza)
Day 8: Tokyo to Singapore

Tokyo:
(5 days)
Day 1: Singapore to Tokyo (Shinjuku if you have time)
Day 2: Tokyo (Disneyland or Disneysea or Sanrio Puroland*)
Day 3: Tokyo (Harajuku/Shibuya) or (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower)
Day 4: Tokyo (Asakusa/Ueno/Akihabara) or (Imperial Palace/Ginza)
Day 5: Tokyo to Singapore (Tsukiji market* in the morning if you have time)

(7 days)
Day 1: Singapore to Tokyo (Shinjuku if you have time)
Day 2: Tokyo (Harajuku/Shibuya)
Day 3: Tokyo (Asakusa/Ueno/Akihabara)
Day 4: Tokyo (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower)
Day 5: Tokyo (Disneyland or Disneysea or Sanrio Puroland*)
Day 6: Tokyo (Imperial Palace/Ginza)
Day 7: Tokyo to Singapore (Tsukiji market* in the morning if you have time)

Tokyo + Hakone:
(5 days. Get Hakone Free Pass for Day 2 and Day 3)
Day 1: Singapore to Tokyo (Shinjuku if you have time)
Day 2: Tokyo to Hakone, stay at Hakone
Day 3: Hakone to Tokyo (Asakusa/Akihabara) or (Imperial Palace/Ginza)
Day 4: Tokyo (Harajuku/Shibuya) or (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower)
Day 5: Tokyo to Singapore (Tsukiji market* in the morning if you have time)

(7 days. Get Hakone Free Pass for Day 2 and Day 3)
Day 1: Singapore to Tokyo (Shinjuku if you have time)
Day 2: Tokyo to Hakone, stay at Hakone
Day 3: Hakone to Tokyo (Asakusa/Akihabara) or (Imperial Palace/Ginza)
Day 4: Tokyo (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower)
Day 5: Tokyo (Disneyland or Disneysea or Sanrio Puroland*)
Day 6: Tokyo (Harajuku/Shibuya) or (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower)
Day 5: Tokyo to Singapore (Tsukiji market* in the morning if you have time)

Tokyo + Karuizawa + Kawaguchi-ko
(9 days with 3 days JR Kanto Area Pass for Day 2 to Day 4)
*The JR Kanto Area pass will be changed to JR Tokyo Wide pass from 19 Dec 2015 onwards.
Day 1: Singapore to Tokyo. Stay at Tokyo
Day 2: Tokyo to Kawaguchiko. Stay at Kawaguchiko
Day 3: Kawaguchiko to Tokyo. Stay at Tokyo.
Day 4: Day trip to Karuizawa. Stay at Tokyo
Day 5: Tokyo (Disneyland or Disneysea or Sanrio Puroland*). Stay at Tokyo
Day 6: Tokyo. Stay at Tokyo.
Day 7: Tokyo (Harajuku/Shibuya) or (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower). Stay at Tokyo.
Day 8: Daytrip to Kamakura + Yokohama. (Kamakura + Cup Noodle museum + Chinatown). Stay at Tokyo
Day 9: Tokyo to Singapore.


Tokyo + Hakone + Kamakura + Yokohama
(7 days. Get N'EX + SUICA package for day 1 and day 7 if you are using Narita Airport )
Day 1: Singapore to Tokyo (Shinjuku if you have time)
Day 2: Tokyo to Hakone, stay at Hakone
Day 3: Hakone to Tokyo (Asakusa/Akihabara) or (Imperial Palace/Ginza)
Day 4: Tokyo (Harajuku/Shibuya) or (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower)
Day 5: Tokyo (Disneyland or Disneysea or Sanrio Puroland*)
Day 6: Day trip to Kamakura + Yokohama
Day 7: Tokyo to Singapore  (Tsukiji market* in the morning if you have time)

Tokyo + Osaka + Kyoto 
(7 days with 7 days JR Pass, Fly in Tokyo, Fly out Tokyo)
Day 1: Singapore to Tokyo (Shinjuku if you have time)
Day 2: Tokyo to Osaka (Aquarium or Instant Ramen museum/Dotonbori in Namba)
Day 3: Day trip to Kyoto (Arashiyama scenic train*/Kiyomizudera/Gion)
Day 4: Osaka to Tokyo (Asakusa/Akihabara) or (Imperial Palace/Ginza)
Day 5: Tokyo (Disneyland or Disneysea or Sanrio Puroland*)
Day 6: Tokyo (Harajuku/Shibuya) or (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower)
Day 7: Tokyo to Singapore (Tsukuji market* in the morning if you have time)

Tokyo + Osaka + Kyoto + Nara + Hakone 
(10 days: with 7 days JR Pass for Day 1 to 7, Fly in Tokyo, Fly out Tokyo)
Day 1: Singapore to Tokyo (Shinjuku if you have time)
Day 2: Tokyo to Hakone
Day 3: Hakone to Kyoto (Kiyomizudera/Gion)
Day 4: Kyoto (Arashiyama Scenic train*/Fushimi Inari shrine/Kinkakuji)
Day 5: Kyoto to Osaka, day trip to Nara + Evening at Osaka's Dotonbori, stay at Osaka
Day 6: Osaka (Universal Studios)
Day 7: Osaka to Tokyo (Asakusa/Akihabara) or (Imperial Palace/Ginza)
Day 8: Tokyo (Disneyland or Disneysea or Sanrio Puroland*)
Day 9: Tokyo  (Harajuku/Shibuya) or (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower)
Day 10: Tokyo to Singapore (Tsukuji market* in the morning if you have time)

Kyoto + Osaka + Nara
(6 days. With Haruka + ICOCA package for Day 1 and Day 6)
Day 1: Singapore to Kansai Airport, Kansai to Osaka
Day 2: Osaka (Universal Studios)
Day 3: Day trip to Nara + Osaka (Dotonbori in the evening)
Day 4: Osaka to Kyoto (Kiyomizudera/Gion)
Day 5: Kyoto (Arashiyama Scenic train* and bamboo groves/Kinkakuji)
Day 6: Kyoto to Kansai Airport, Kansai Airport to Singapore (Nishiki market or Fushimi Inari if you have time)

(9 days: With Haruka + ICOCA package for Day 1 and Day 9)
Day 1: Singapore to Kansai Airport, Kansai to Osaka
Day 2: Osaka (Universal Studios)
Day 3: Osaka (Aquarium/Instant Ramen Museum/Umeda)
Day 4: Day trip to Nara + Osaka (Dotonbori in the evening)
Day 5: Osaka to Kyoto (Fushimi Inari/Kiyomizudera/Higashiyama street)
Day 6: Kyoto (Arashiyama Scenic train* and bamboo groves/Kinkakuji)
Day 7: Kyoto (Philosopher's Walk/Ginkakuji)
Day 8: Kyoto (Nijo Castle/Nishiki market/Gion)
Day 9: Kyoto to Kansai Airport, Kansai to Singapore (Fushimi Inari if you have time)

Kyoto + Osaka + Nara + Okayama + Hiroshima + Miyajima + Kyushu
(13 days: with 7 days JR Pass for Day 4 to Day 10, and Haruka + ICOCA package for Day 1 and Day 13)
Day 1: Singapore to Kansai Airport, Kansai to Osaka
Day 2: Osaka (Universal Studios)
Day 3: Day trip to Nara + Osaka (Dotonbori in the evening)
Day 4: Osaka to Okayama (Kurashiki)
Day 5: Okayama to Hiroshima (A-bomb/Peace Memorial Museum/Hondori Street)
Day 6: Hiroshima to Miyajima (stay at ryokan)
Day 7: Miyajima to Fukuoka (Canal City Hakata/Foodstalls)
Day 8: Day trip to Nagasaki or Huis Ten Bosch
Day 9: Day trip to Kagoshima
Day 10: Day trip to Yufuin, then Fukuoka to Kyoto. Take evening Shinkansen to Kyoto. 
Day 11: Kyoto (Kiyomizudera/Higashiyama street/Gion)
Day 12: Kyoto (Arashiyama Scenic train* and bamboo groves/Kinkakuji)
Day 13: Kyoto to Kansai Airport, Kansai to Singapore (Nishiki market or Fushimi Inari if you have time)

Kyoto + Osaka + Nara + Okayama + Himeji + Kobe + Kinosaki onsen
(10 days: with 4 days JR Kansai Area Wide Pass for Day 4 to Day 7, and Haruka + ICOCA package for Day 1 and Day 10)
Day 1: Singapore to Kansai Airport. Kansai to Osaka. Stay at Osaka.
Day 2: Osaka. Stay at Osaka.
Day 3: Daytrip to Nara. Stay at Osaka.
Day 4: Daytrip to Kurashiki and Okayama. Stay at Osaka.
Day 5: Daytrip to either Himeji + Kobe. Stay at Osaka.
Day 6: Osaka to Kinosaki onsen. Stay at Kinosaki onsen.
Day 7: Kinosaki onsen to Kyoto. Stay at Kyoto.
Day 8: Kyoto (Kiyomizudera/Higashiyama street/Gion). Stay at Kyoto.
Day 9: Kyoto (Arashiyama Scenic train* and bamboo groves/Kinkakuji). Stay at Kyoto.
Day 10: Kyoto to Kansai Airport. Kansai Airport to Singapore.

Kyushu
(7 days: with 5 days JR Northern Kyushu Rail Pass for Day 2 to Day 6)
Day 1: Singapore to Fukuoka
Day 2: Fukuoka to Huis Ten Bosch, Huis Ten Bosch to Nagasaki (take evening train to Nagasaki)
Day 3: Nagasaki to Fukuoka (spend the day at Nagasaki, then take evening train to Fukuoka)
Day 4: Fukuoka to Yufuin
Day 5: Yufuin to Beppu
Day 6: Beppu to Fukuoka
Day 7: Fukuoka to Singapore



28 comments:

  1. Thanks so much Sam, these suggested itineraries are so helpful! keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Sam
    I chanced upon your blog while planning my trip to Hokkaido in Oct for the koyo season and would really appreciate your advice here.
    I'm thinking of combining your 7 Summer & 9 day Winter route as follows:
    Day 1: Singapore to Shin-Chitose Airport, Shin-Chitose Airport to Sapporo
    Day 2: Sapporo (Shiroi Koibito Park/Odori Park/Susukino)
    Day 3: Day trip to Otaru
    Day 4: Sapporo to Asahikawa (actually i'm thinking of staying at Asahidake Onsen for 2 days)
    Day 5: Day trip to Sounkyo Onsen
    Day 6: Asahidake Onsen to Furano
    Day 7: Furano to Lake Toya
    Day 8: Lake Toya to Hakodate
    Day 9: Hakodate to Sapporo
    Day 10: Sapporo to Singapore
    1. Do you think the above itinerary is too tight?
    2. It seems you may not have been to Asahidake Onsen but so you know how long it takes from Sapporo to Asahidake?
    3. I have 1 more spare day - where do you think i should fit in the extra day?
    Looking forward to your expert advice
    Thanks so much!
    Mei Chen

    ReplyDelete
  3. One thing to note though, except for the most frequented train line which runs between New Chitose Airport to Sapporo and Otaru (about 1 train every 15mins), most of the other train lines (and buses) in Hokkaido have infrequent departure times. Usually about 1 departure every hourly, sometimes even longer. Same thing for buses. So when you are planning your Hokkaido trip, please do look up the train and bus timings so that you won't be stranded.

    For train timings, use hyperdia website:
    http://www.hyperdia.com/en/

    Bus schedules might change seasonally, here is the current bus timing for Sounkyo onsen:
    http://www.dohokubus.com/pdf/14s-kamikawa.pdf

    Your journey from Furano to Toya is going to be a long journey.
    About 300mins. (Lake Toya's nearest train station is known as "Toya (JR-Muroran)", not "Toya (JR-Kushiro)" on hyperdia website.

    More info on how to get to Asahidake onsen:
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6776.html

    1 way train (Ltd Exp train) between Sapporo station and Asahikawa station would take about 85mins and cost about 5010yen (reserved seat) if you are not using JR hokkaido railpass or the nationwide JR Pass.

    You might want to consider breaking up your journey somewhere between Furano to Lake Toya perhaps?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Sam,

    I came across your blog and found this itinerary interesting. I have 11-12 days to spare so wondering do you have the detailed itinerary in words or pdf format? So I can add in and edit accordingly. I am totally not familiar with Japan trips. Thanks.

    If you do, can you kindly e-mail a copy at leschua75@gmail.com?

    I will be travelling in end sept 2015.

    Tokyo + Osaka + Kyoto + Nara + Hakone
    (10 days: with 7 days JR Pass for Day 1 to 7, Fly in Tokyo, Fly out Tokyo)
    Day 1: Singapore to Tokyo (Shinjuku if you have time)
    Day 2: Tokyo to Hakone
    Day 3: Hakone to Kyoto (Kiyomizudera/Gion)
    Day 4: Kyoto (Arashiyama Scenic train*/Fushimi Inari shrine/Kinkakuji)
    Day 5: Kyoto to Osaka, day trip to Nara + Evening at Osaka's Dotonbori, stay at Osaka
    Day 6: Osaka (Universal Studios)
    Day 7: Osaka to Tokyo (Asakusa/Akihabara) or (Imperial Palace/Ginza)
    Day 8: Tokyo (Disneyland or Disneysea or Sanrio Puroland*)
    Day 9: Tokyo (Harajuku/Shibuya) or (Odaiba/Tokyo Tower)
    Day 10: Tokyo to Singapore (Tsukuji market* in the morning if you have time)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear Sam,

    I came across your blog and find it very useful & informative for my Japan planning.
    I am planning a last minute trip to Osaka, Kyoto in early Nov (5 -14 Nov). This will be my 2nd time, will revisit some places again and I would like to do some day trip to Nara, Himeji, etc
    I make reference to some of your sample itinerary but i wish to make Osaka my last stop before return to Singapore. Do you think below itinerary will work? Is just draft guide.
    5 Nov, Day 1: SG -> Hiroshima (via bullet from Osaka)
    Day 2: Hiroshima
    Day 3: Hiroshima -> Kyoto
    Day 4: Kyoto
    Day 5: Kyoto - Osaka
    Day 6: Osaka
    Day 7: Osaka - Universal Studio
    Day 8: Osaka - Nara day trip
    Day 9: Osaka - Himeji day trip
    14 Nov, Day 10: Osaka to SG
    I am afraid I cannot get hotel in Kyoto especially near Kyoto Station.

    Thanks,
    Renee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Renee,
      Don't forget to stop by Miyajima (if you can) when you are at Hiroshima. :)
      You can consider getting the JR Kansai Hiroshima area pass (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361_kansai_hiroshima.html) to be used in Day 1 to 5 of your trip.

      You should consider dropping by Kurashiki for a visit, since it's somewhat along the way between Hiroshima and Osaka. *the railpass should cover Haruka Express + Shinkansen (unreserved seat)

      Assuming that you don't intend to shift hotels much, it might be better if you do this:
      Day 1: SIN to KIX, Kansai Airport to Shin-Osaka via Haruka Express train, Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima via Shinkansen. Stay at Hiroshima.

      Day 2: Hiroshima (also visit Miyajima if you can). Stay Hiroshima. *if I'm not wrong, this railpass also covers the short ferry ride onboard the JR ferry between the ferry terminal opposite Miyajimaguchi station to Miyajima itself.

      Day 3: Hiroshima to Okayama via Shinkansen. Deposite luggage at lockers at Okayama station. Visit Kurashiki. Pick up luggage and then take Shinkansen from Okayama to Shin-Osaka. Stay Osaka.

      Day 4: Shin-Osaka to Himeji via Shinkansen. Visit Himeji. Return to Osaka. Stay Osaka.

      Day 5: Take JR train line from Osaka to JR Nara station. Visit Nara. Return back to Osaka. Stay Osaka. *End of railpass

      Day 6: Visit Universal Studios. Stay Osaka

      Day 7: Visit Osaka. Stay Osaka.

      Day 8: Visit Kyoto. Stay at Osaka or Kyoto.

      Day 9: Visit Kyoto. Stay Osaka or Kyoto.

      Day 10: Either Osaka or Kyoto to Kansai Airport.

      If you cannot get a hotel at Kyoto at all for the 2 days which you will be visiting Kyoto, then you can either continue staying at Osaka (which is just about 30mins by regular trains from either Osaka or Shin-Osaka station to Kyoto station and costs around 540yen for 1 way) or Otsu (about 10mins by regular train from Kyoto and 1 way costs around 190yen).

      If the last day of your trip is from Kyoto (assuming you will be staying at Kyoto on the last few days of your trip), then u can simply take the Haruka Express train to Kansai Airport from Kyoto station.

      Delete
  6. Thanks Sam. So many ideas to choose from. I actually found this page @ http://wherewouldyougo.com/destinations/asia/38-explore-japan-in-seven-days
    Question: is it really worth buying the Jpass for 7 days?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on where you fly in and fly out of in Japan.

      If you want to visit Osaka/Kyoto area + Tokyo, and that you are flying in and out using the same city (eg. Flying in and out via Tokyo, or Flying in and out via Osaka) and therefore, requiring a 2 way journey on Shinkansen between Osaka/Kyoto and Tokyo, then yes, the 7 days JR Pass is somewhat worth getting since it would also cover the airport trains Haruka Express (Osaka's Kansai airport to Osaka city) and Narita Express (Tokyo's Narita Airport to Tokyo city).

      But if you are using different cities for your flights in and out, eg flying in Tokyo and flying out Osaka (or flying in Osaka and flying out Tokyo), and therefore only requiring a 1 way Shinkansen journey between Osaka/Kyoto + Tokyo, then no, the 7 days JR Pass is not worth getting.

      Delete
  7. Hi Sam,
    I am amazed at your very extensive blogs.
    My husband and I are travelling to Japan in February,2016 and we would like to go see the ice sculptures in Sapporo,maybe 1 day there, then we want to go to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. We are planning on a 8-9 day trip. Do we need to book hotels in all 3 locations/-Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto? Or just stay in one place and travel by train.
    Thanks.
    Juliet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, I'm also travelling to Japan in Feb 2016 too!
      If you are going to visit Sapporo Snow Fest + Tokyo + Osaka + Kyoto, it's going to be way too rushed a trip to squeeze into just 8 days since it's a domestic flight from Tokyo to Sapporo, and also a Shinkansen bullet train ride from Tokyo to Osaka.

      Sapporo is located in Hokkaido, which is way up extreme north of Tokyo so it's pretty far from Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.

      Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto are about 3hrs Shinkansen bullet train ride away (which costs alot as well) so I'd not recommend that you only base yourselves in just 1 place.

      Considering you just have 8 days to spend, I'd strongly recommend that you skip Osaka/Kyoto on this trip (since Osaka/Kyoto's Kansai region has many other places to visit too so you won't be able to fit much into your current trip if you want to squeeze in Osaka/Kyoto on top of Tokyo and Sapporo) and just focus on Tokyo + Sapporo (and maybe a few other places in Hokkaido perhaps?)

      Something like this?:
      Day 1: Arrival at Tokyo. Stay at Tokyo
      Day 2: Visit Tokyo. Stay at Tokyo
      Day 3: Visit Tokyo. Stay Tokyo
      Day 4: Domestic flight from Tokyo to Hokkaido's New Chitose Airport (about 35mins train from Sapporo city). Visit Sapporo. Stay at Sapporo.
      Day 5: Visit Otaru in the day. then Sapporo in late afternoon onwards. Stay Sapporo.
      Day 6: Sapporo to Tomamu via early morning train (about 2-3hrs train). Stay at Tomamu resort. (There's usually some sort of Ice village event going on in the winter.
      Day 7: Take morning train from Tomamu to Noboribetsu station (transfer at Minami-Chitose station) Total train journey takes about 2-3hrs. Then either take 15mins bus ride or 10mins cab ride from Noboribetsu station to Noboribetsu hotspring town. Stay at 1 of the traditional hotspring ryokan hotels.
      Day 8: Noboribetsu to New Chitose Airport. Fly out from New Chitose Airport (you most probably would need to take domestic flight from New Chitose Airport to Tokyo, and then transfer to an international flight from there. Make sure that if your domestic flight lands at Tokyo Narita if your international flight departs from Tokyo Narita instead of Tokyo Haneda since both Tokyo airports are far from each other).

      Also, take note of 2016's Sapporo Snow Festival's dates so that your trip's Sapporo days will coincide with the festival which only last a few days.

      Most of Hokkaido's trains don't run frequently (about 1 train every hourly or 2 hours...etc) so best that you use hyperdia website to plan your train timings before you go on your trip if you don't want to waste time sitting around waiting for train to arrive.

      Delete
  8. Hi Sam,
    I am making plan for Sakura viewing in 2016, from 31 Mar to 9 Apr 2016. My target destinations are both Tokyo & Osaka (maybe a day trip to Kyoto). Do you think this is a safe period to go so that I can view Sakura? Not necessary to catch the 1st bloom.

    Rgs,
    Rach

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, if I were you, I'd probably shift the dates earlier by a couple of days, in case sakura blooms earlier than average.
      When I was at Tokyo in 2013, the sakura season started on 16 March, which was 2 weeks earlier than normal. It really depends on your luck, since it's actually still not that accurate to predict the actual sakura blooming period now since it's just Dec.

      If I were you, and I'm planning a trip to Osaka/Tokyo for sakura, I'd arrive somewhere on on 27th Mar, and depart around 5th April.

      Delete
    2. By the way, sakura blooming last for up to only about 1 week, which is a really short period of time. Although you probably might be able to catch some early blooms or late blooms depending on the type of sakura trees.

      Delete
  9. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for your feedback. I guess I should heed your advice and shift the dates. :)
    Does it make sense if I do the following:
    25 Mar - 31 Mar: Tokyo (25-26 Mar stay in Hakone, rest will be in Tokyo)
    31 Mar - 5 Apr: Osaka, Kyoto
    Or is it silly to stay some many nights in Tokyo? Hahaha...since 25Mar is PH.

    Rgds,
    Rach

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A couple of months ago, there were some signs of underground volcanic activity at Owakudani at Hakone, therefore, parts of the classic Hakone round course was closed.
      Although most parts of Hakone is still operating, but personally, I'd probably avoid Hakone for now, since parts of the ropeway is still not operating.

      If you want to stay at a hotspring town, maybe consider Lake KAwaguchi (kinda out of the way for u, but it's an easy direct 2-3hrs bus ride from Tokyo's Shinjuku): http://highway-buses.jp/fuji/

      Or there's also Atami onsen near the seaside, that's along the way between Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto.

      Or there's Gero onsen, about 1-2hr train from Nagoya, which is also along the way between Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto.

      Even though you are staying many nights at Tokyo, you don't need to spend every day at Tokyo itself. You can venture slightly out of Tokyo to places like Kawasaki, Yokohama, Kamakura, Kawagoe...etc....which isn't too far out of Tokyo.

      Delete
  10. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for the information/suggestion. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've recently read that the temperature is still pretty warm this winter, with less snow too.
      So I'm worried that Sakura blooming might be pushed back next year.
      Best that you monitor the situation and judge for yourself when is the best time to go for the sakura season.

      Delete
  11. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for the info. I have kinda 'reserved' my hotel stay first but can always change it. Have not book my air tickets yet.
    My rough plan is still:
    25-31Mar: Tokyo (is it worth to add 2 nights Lake Kawaguchiko? though is out of way for me plus I am going to Kinosaki)
    31-1Apr: Nagoya
    1-5Apr: Osaka, Kyoto, Himeji
    5-6Apr: Kinosaki before fly back Sin.

    Rgds,
    Rach

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, Kawaguchi-ko is kinda out of the way for your itinerary.
      Instead of 2 nights, maybe just stay 1 night?

      If you only want to go Kawaguchiko solely just to see Mt Fuji, you can actually see Mt Fuji onboard the Shinkansen some point in time between Tokyo to Nagoya.

      If you get bored of spending so many days at Tokyo, there's nearby Yokohama/Kawasaki/Kamakura/Kawagoe which you can also visit.

      Delete
  12. Hi Sam,

    This is my first visit to Tokyo with parents and planning for Sakura viewing in 2016 (28 Mar to 4 Apr 2016).

    Have already book AirBnB in Shinjuku first but can always change it. Have not book my air tickets yet.

    My rough plan is as follow and need some suggestions:

    Day 1: Arrival at Tokyo; check in AirBnB Shinjuku; visit Shibuya
    Day 2: AM - Visit Soka Gakai; PM - need suggestion
    Day 3: View sakura @Shinjuku Gyoen garden or Ueno Park; Tokyo Metropolitan Government Blding
    Day 4: Visit Tokyo Skytree, and Sensoji shrine in Asakusa in the morning. Then take water bus

    to Odaiba for the rest of the day (Divercity (with lifesized Gundam), VenusFort and Toyota

    Megaweb)
    Day 5: Yokohama's Chinatown, Cup Noodle Museum, Shinyokohama Ramen Museum, need suggestion

    after
    Day 6: Tsukiji Fish Market, Roppongi Hills complex, need suggestion
    Day 7: Visit Kawaguchiko or Mt Fuji (private tour?)
    Day 8: Departure from Tokyo

    Thanks
    Lim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your itinerary might have to change again, depending on the sakura blooming conditions during your trip.
      Eg, if Ueno park's sakuras already fully bloomed and wilting, then you probably can skip Ueno park and go Shinjuku Gyoen instead. You'd have to check the internet again nearer to your trip (maybe the day before you fly off) for a more accurate forecast of where is better to visit on your trip.

      Not sure how old are your parents, but don't overpack your itinerary with too many places within 1 day. It gets pretty tiring since lots of walking will probably be involved.

      For Day 5, maybe go Cup noodle museum in the morning, then Chinatown in the afternoon for lunch and stroll around, then ShinYokohama Ramen museum for dinner.

      You can take bus to Kawaguchiko from Shinjuku, since taking trains involves a few train transfers:
      http://highway-buses.jp/fuji/

      I have some suggested itineraries on an earlier post:
      http://goawaysam.blogspot.sg/p/my.html

      Delete
  13. Thanks for the Tips and suggestions Samantha,

    Yes will try not to overpack with too many places.

    Which one would you recommend? Visit Kawaguchiko or joining a one day tour for Mt. Fuji & Hakone?

    Would you be able to help comment on the revised itinerary in HWZ forums:
    http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/japan-271/itinerary-help-first-timer-tokyo-5271105.html

    Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Considering that part of the Hakone ropeway and Owakudani is currently closed due to an increase in volcanic activity in that area for the past few months, I'd probably choose to go Kawaguchiko.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Sam,

    I am planning to have my first japan trip on December for 16 days. I am planning to fly in Osaka and then fly out hokkaido. 7 days or 14 days JR Pass, which is more suitable for this trip? Is it possible to use only 7 days JR Pass from Day 7 to Day 13 and the other days will be using the other type of pass such as Haruka & ICOCA packages in Osaka region? My roughly itinerary is as below:
    Day 1 - Day 6: Osaka/Kyoto/Nara/Kobe
    Day 7 - Day 11: Tokyo
    Day 12 - Day 16: Hokkaido

    It would help me a lot if you can give me some suggestion as I have never been to Japan before.

    Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as you can fit your journey to make your way from Kansai region (Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe/Nara) to Tokyo and then to Hokkaido's Sapporo area within those 7 consecutive days.

      Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe are pretty close to each other, so you don't really need to use the 7 days JR pass to cover your travels within Kansai region. You can just use ICOCA card for that.

      Assuming you will travel from either Shin-Osaka or Kyoto station towards Tokyo on Day 7, and Tokyo to Hokkaido's Hakodate on Day 11, spend 1 night at Hakodate, then travel from Hakodate to Sapporo on Day 12, you still have 1 extra day of JR pass coverage on Day 13 to make a daytrip visit at Hokkaido. So your JR railpass will cover your Day 7 to Day 13 of your trip.

      Delete
  16. Hi

    Do you think this itinerary is feasible?

    Day 1: Singapore-Osaka
    Day 2: Osaka
    Day 3: Osaka (USJ)
    Day 4: Osaka-Kyoto
    Day 5: Kyoto
    Day 6: Kyoto-Kawaguchiko (Mt Fuji)
    Day 7: Kawaguchiko-Tokyo
    Day 8: Tokyo (DisneySea)
    Day 9: Tokyo
    Day 10: Tokyo-Hakodate
    Day 11: Hakodate
    Day 12: Hakodate-Sapporo
    Day 13: Sapporo-Asahikawa-Sapporo
    Day 14: Sapporo-Tokyo-Singapore

    Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kyoto to Kawaguchiko is going to be a long long journey. if you are taking trains, you will most probably have to take shinkansen to Tokyo first, then transfer trains a few more times to reach Kawaguchiko itself. Are you going to be using any railpass? How are u getting from Tokyo to Hakodate? By train or by domestic flight?

      Delete