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18 day Japan itinerary help November 2018

Hello fellow travelers and Japan travel authorities...

Currently in the initial planning stages of a return trip to Japan for some koyo this coming November 2018.

This will be my second trip to Japan the first was during the spring of 2014 during Sakura time.

That trip was about 15 days long and took me to Tokyo, Nikko, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Nara, Koyasan and Osaka.

This next trip will be a few days longer as well at 18 days/nights.

Here’s the itinerary I put together of the places I’m planning to visit with a rough idea of the number of nights planned to stay next to each corresponding name.

Any and all route help (is the order of this itinerary logical and or efficient?) transportation guidance as well as other suggestions and recommendations from fellow Japanese travel enthusiasts would be greatly appreciated.

Also taken into consideration the length of trip and places planned for I’m thinking a 14 day Japan rail pass will hopefully be sufficient.

Leave NYC Thurs 11/1 landing in Tokyo on the evening of Fri 11/2 and returning home the afternoon of Tues 11/20...The trip begins and ends in Tokyo

Tokyo 11/2-11/4 (3 nights)
Nikko 11/5-11/6 (2 nights)
Karuizawa 11/7 (1 night)
Kanazawa 11/8-11/9 (2 nights)
Shirakawa-go 11/10 (1 night)
Takayama 11/11-11/12 (2 nights)
Kyoto 11/13-11/15 (3 nights)
Nara 11/16 (1 night)
Osaka 11/17 (1 night)
Tokyo 11/18-11/19 (2 nights-5 nights total in Tokyo)

was also wondering about possibly
Fuji five lakes?
as alternate choices for any of the above.

Thanks a million in advance for any and all help with this itinerary planning.

Posted by
5333 posts

You can see Nikko in one day. We did a day trip from Tokyo.

Haven't been to these places:
Karuizawa 11/7 (1 night)
Kanazawa 11/8-11/9 (2 nights)
Shirakawa-go 11/10 (1 night)
Takayama 11/11-11/12 (2 nights)

Nara is near Kyoto and I would recommend staying in Kyoto and taking a day trip to Nara. Yes, you need to see Mt. Fuji.

We loved Himeji Castle south of Kobe.

Posted by
1841 posts

I can’t comment on much except to suggest Nara is easily done as a day trip from Kyoto and would wonder if moving hotels etc. for one night is worth the time, but you may have other plans as well. Be prepared for deer. We visited Himeji Castle from Kobe; it is closer to Osaka and could be something to consider. We also enjoyed Fushimi Inari from Kyoto, home to thousands of brilliant red torii. A “must see” in my book and very easily accessed by metro from Kyoto. Very popular with the Japanese, tons of shops and eating options that you’ll walk through from the station to the shrine. Safe travels.

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks again to all who contributed input into the configuration of this 18 day itinerary of Japan for this coming November. After another tweak or two I finally have the finalized itinerary scratching a night in Karuizawa for a day and night in Matsumoto before heading out on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

Tokyo 11/2-11/4 (3 nights)

Matsumoto 11/5 (1 night)

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route 11/6 (1 night in Tateyama)

Takayama 11/7-11/8 (2 nights)

Shirakawa-go 11/9 (1 night)

Kanazawa 11/10-11/11 (2 nights)

Kyoto 11/12-11/16 (5 nights)

Osaka day/nite trip from Kyoto*
Nara day trip from Kyoto?

Tokyo 11/17-11/19 (3 nights-6 nights total in Tokyo)

Lake Kawaguchi and Lake Sai at Fuji five lakes day trip from Tokyo*
Kamakura side trip from Tokyo*?