Japan Trip 2014: Itinerary

After our last trip to Japan in 2013 we'd been to Japan in winter, autumn and spring.

So, what's missing?


Well, in actual fact, the real reason we scheduled another three week trip for July was because I have now started back at University.

I'm still working full time and July was the only time I could fit a holiday in before the end of the year.

Unfortunately the dates coincided with the Japanese School holidays so we were unable to get super cheap plane ticket prices and had to go via cairns (from Brisbane) instead of direct from the Gold Coast. Also we booked on the weekend- never do this! I later learned that Jetstar inflated the price by $100 during the weekend!

Our flight was booked to arrive into Tokyo (Narita) on Saturday, 5 July 2014 in the evening and a multi-city booking meant we'd be flying out of Osaka (Kansai) almost exactly three weeks later on Saturday night, 26 July 2014.

Since I was busy with University, Kate handled much of the itinerary and created almost all of the Japan book. The plan this time was similar to our last trip as we'd cut through the Alps and then travel down to explore Shikoku (instead of Kyushu), we also scheduled a number of days in Tokyo at the start.

One of the main reasons we settled on this plan was because we wanted to see two of the main festivals of Japan. We had yet to see any festivals yet but this time our dates included the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto and the Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka. They're a week apart but both in Kansai so the idea was we'd see one first, then loop around Shikoku and see the other.

Mt. Fuji in Summer
Another major plan was to climb Mt Fuji!

This is something you can really only do in July or August so we definitely had to make time for that.

As you can see it looks like I'm doing another travel report on our trip.

Unfortunately (fortunately?) as I've returned to both university and work my time is extremely limited so my entries are going to have to be quite short.

I might just upload some pictures are provide a couple of hundred word summary of our day.

We got a new camera (a Canon 600D) so thankfully the photos this time will not be ruined by a chipped lens, just by poor photography skills.

No rail pass this time as no combinations (of any type) were even close to paying off. We actually only had a few big train trips with the rest of the long distances covered by buses or a rental car.

As usual we pre-booked all our accommodation, which was mainly business hotels, though we stayed in some ryokan for a few nights as well.

Tokyo: Richmond Hotel Mejiro (Business Hotel)
Kanazawa: Dormy Inn (Business Hotel)
Minakami: Hotel Juraku (Ryokan with buffet dinner/breakfast)
Kaga Onsen: Shirasagi Yu Tawaraya (Ryokan with in room dinner/breakfast)
Kyoto: Daiwa Roynet Hachijoguchi (Business Hotel)
Takamatsu: Toyoko Inn (Business Hotel)
Saijo: Saijo Urban Hotel (Business Hotel)
Matsuyama: JAL City Matsuyama (Hotel)
Uwajima: Coral Hotel Uwajima (Business Hotel)
Kochi: Comfort Hotel (Business Hotel)
Iya Valley: Hotel Hikyonoyu (Ryokan)
Tokushima: Toyoko Hotel (Business Hotel)
Osaka: Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kitahama (Business Hotel)

And here is our rough itinerary, which may or may not differ from what actually happened.
Saturday 05 July 2014: Tokyo - arrival at 1900 into Narita

Sunday 06 July 2014: Tokyo – concert, various other things during these days: shopping, Karaoke, climb Mt. Fuji (going to keep an eye on the forecast and go on the best day.)

Monday 07 July 2014: Tokyo

Tuesday 08 July 2014: Tokyo

Wednesday 09 July 2014: Tokyo – Tsukuba for JAXA Astronaut Tour

Thursday 10 July 2014: Minakami – Takumi no Sato Craft village to make some food and handicraft things.

Friday 11 July 2014: Minakami – Doai station, maybe rafting or crayoning/bungy, Mount Tanigawa

Saturday 12 July 2014: Kanazawa – Attractions in Kanazawa apart from the Gardens and modern art museum (which we saw in 2011).

Sunday 13 July 2014: Kanazawa – Hiring a car to drive up to and around the Noto peninsula. Keeping the car for the next few days.

Monday 14 July 2014: Kaga Onsen – Super Rindo Forest Road, attractions around Kaga Onsen.

Tuesday 15 July 2014: Kaga Onsen – Mount Hakusan.

Wednesday 16 July 2014: Kyoto – (Drop off car this morning in Kaga, then a train to Kyoto. In the late afternoon we have a cooking class booked after which will be the night stalls of the Gion Matsuri!

Thursday 17 July 2014: Takamatsu – Gion Matsuri parade in the morning in Kyoto then we'll catch a bus to Takamatsu.

Friday 18 July 2014: Takamatsu – Takamatsu area sightseeing.

Saturday 19 July 2014: Saijo – Kotohira and surrounds on the way to Saijo

Sunday 20 July 2014: Matsuyama – Climb Mount Ishizuchi in the morning

Monday 21 July 2014: Uwajima – Matsuyama, Also hiring a car today until Tokushima.

Tuesday 22 July 2014: Kochi– Shikoku Karst

Wednesday 23 July 2014: Iya Valley – Ryugado Cave, Iya Valley.

Thursday 24 July 2014: Tokushima – Iya Valley, drop off car, then watch dance in Tokushima.

Friday 25 July 2014: Osaka – Visit Naruto whirlpool on way to Osaka (by bus), then Tenjin Matsuri that evening.

Saturday 26 July 2014: Plane – 20:25 from Kansai International Airport

Continue on to JTL4: Flight and Tokyo


  1. Hi, this must be a great trip and I'm excited to (eventually) find these posts because I was born in Uwajima and grown in Matsuyama (living in Osaka now)! I'm looking forward to seeing the latter part of your trip to Shikoku.

    1. Hi!

      Thank you very much for your comment and kind words :)

      Wow! It's really cool to hear from a local, how much time have you spent in Uwajima?

      I can't wait to write the latter part of the Shikoku; hopefully soon!

    2. Thank you for your reply!
      I have spent my childfood in Uwajima until only 3 or 4 years old, but my grandmother lives there and I often visit Uwajima to see her even now. She is over 80 now but she has her own small restaurant (Tempura and Unagi/eel) and also she still stands there as a chef.
      Though it is a very small city and there are only a few things to do, Uwajima (and Shikoku) is a special place for me so I'm very glad to see foreign travelers like you visit that region! Thank you!

  2. I'm really enjoying your blog, I'm also now just planning our 4th visit to Japan, a 3 week trip next winter. You seem to get around easily in the smaller towns and business hotels, are you fluent in Japanese? I've been hoping to learn a little more for our next trip but haven't found any good classes in Brissie.

    1. Thank you very much!

      We actually just got back from a three week trip this winter, we made the most of the season and ventured all the way up to Abashiri to see the drift ice, as well as the snow festival in Sapporo.

      I would definitely not say I'm fluent but I have been learning for a number of years now. I can read quite well but my speaking quite lacking and I'm ridiculously shy. I'm somewhere between JLPT N2 and JLPT N1. Knowing Japanese makes things easier, but I do know other people who manage to get around small towns without knowing Japanese just using their charisma.

      I took classes at university, but since then have self studied.

      There are free Japanese Language lessons at the Brisbane Library every Monday night that I go to: http://www.meetup.com/Japanese-Brisbane/about/

      The person who organises that group just opened a Japanese learning school at Alderly, though it seems like they don't have a website yet.

      Thank you very much once again for leaving a comment :)