I need help figuring out the best order for my itinerary. I am traveling with three elementary age children and my parents. It is the first trip to Japan for everyone except for me. We have a month to spend, And I am thinking about going mid September to mid October.
Tokyo - 5 nights (With optional day trips)
Day 6: Fly to Asahikawa in Hokkaido, pick up car, Visit the zoo, and continue on to
Sounkyo Onsen - 2 nights
Drive to Biei/Furano 2 nights
Drive to Sapporo 3 nights (Optional day trip to Otaru or Jozanken Onsen and/or Noboribetsu)
Does anyone Think any of these three day trips are essential or deserve an overnight? We could add an extra night in here if needed
Fly from New Chitose to EITHER Kyoto or Matsumoto to begin a week in Gifu/Nagano - thoughts?
Here is where I need some help sharpening this itinerary and taking into consideration the season etc.
Coming from Hokkaido, what is our best route if I want to hit Tsumango/Magome, Nagano, Jigukadani, Shirakawa-go, and Takayama? I would also like to see either Matsumoto castle or Himeji and I’m curious which one would be recommended most. We can spend anywhere from 5-8 days in the area. (I’m trying to avoid the Takayama area around Oct 9-10 because of the festival. I’m worried about the crowds with my parents).
I want to end up positioned in order to continue for the last week and a half of our trip between Kyoto, Hiroshima, Naoshima and Hakone. For this portion I was thinking of 4 nights in Kyoto (Nara day trip), Possibly Seeing Himeji castle on the way to Hiroshima If we ended up skipping Matsumoto castle, And spending the night in Hiroshima Then we would continue on to Naoshima/Teshima for 2 nights (Avoiding Mondays and Tuesdays when they close). Alternately, we could spend the second night in Okayama To visit the garden and to be better positioned for a train to Hakone in the morning. Then we will go to Hakone and spend two nights before flying out from Tokyo.
I would appreciate any input especially on how to arrange our time in the last half of the trip. I intentionally put Hokkaido early in the trip so we could get the leave changing at the national Park which happens early in the season. I started with five nights in Tokyo to give us time to get over jet lag meant to really explore the city. I would really like to be in a walkable neighborhood with character and restaurants. Suggestions?
We have a total of 30-31 days and I’m trying to consider the pace with a multi generational group. Having said that, they are all very experience travelers.