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experiencing Japan for the first time....

London, United...
posts: 103
reviews: 1
experiencing Japan for the first time....

Hello everyone,

I posted a message earlier this week saying my family and I will be visiting Japan in mid-Aug for approximately two weeks.

I have a rough idea of our itinerary but would appreciate some helpful advice on the best route to take and the following itinerary.

We will be flying into Tokyo, hiring a car, and thinking of going; Tokyo-Shirakawa-Kyoto-Osaka and then back to Tokyo. Is this the best/obvious route to take? I have been told there is a beautiful scenic route when going from Tokyo to Shirakawa Go so is it better to do Shirakawa Go first or on the way back from Osaka to Tokyo?

The draft itinerary we’re planning is roughly;

1. Tokyo – spend a few days visiting the city, Yokohama, Mt Fuji trip, Hakone

2. Shirakawa Go – Takayama – Kamikochi

3. Kyoto

4. Osaka

5. maybe Okayama?

It may sound like a lot to do but we do like to make the most of our holidays. Any opinions on anything I have obviously missed or suggestions on how to improve, anything to watch out for, and how to make best use of time would be helpful – thanks,

Jay

15 replies to this topic
.
posts: 1,665
reviews: 28
11. Re: experiencing Japan for the first time....

It just doesn't make any sense to hire a car on the well beaten tourist paths or to drive into cities.

Even if you had 5 in your party, it's not just a matter of ¥, it's the added time & stress factors, not to mention that some of the roads leading to popular tourist spots in peak season are at a standstill, jam-packed with bumper to bumper traffic, it'll add hours to your trip - I really do mean hours.

( Re: "Not really sure why overseas tourists say they find it hard to locate parking lots" - it's because most of them are already full! )

Nao & Shibuyakko's suggestions are sensible ones. You can still reach Kamikochi & Shirakawa go by bus from Takayama.

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,816
reviews: 1
12. Re: experiencing Japan for the first time....

<<( Re: "Not really sure why overseas tourists say they find it hard to locate parking lots" - it's because most of them are already full! )>>

With all due respect, that's not the case if we're talking about ones located in the center of the big cities OP mentions.

Edited: 2:36 am, July 26, 2014
London, United...
posts: 103
reviews: 1
13. Re: experiencing Japan for the first time....

thank you all for your comments.

Yes, I had a suspicion our arrival was going to coincide with a national holiday week but even if we were to know beforehand we would not be able to rearrange dates.

If Oban week finishes by 17 Aug we should still be exploring Tokyo and places near to Tokyo so hopefully by the time we head onto Shirakawa Go, Kyoto and Osaka traffic should be moderate?

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,816
reviews: 1
14. Re: experiencing Japan for the first time....

The traffic on toll roads leading to Osaka and Kyoto start to return *normal* soon after that week, so you won't drive on jammed-packed expressways when reaching either of the city from outside. No worries.

Tokyo, Japan
posts: 17,303
reviews: 103
15. Re: experiencing Japan for the first time....

If you're for the first time, who do not read Japanese to know the parking conditions, are not well informed of the geography of tourist sites inside cities like Kyoto and Osaka, and are used to free roads without heavy traffic (the "heaviest" being A4-M or M1 or M25 in and around London) in UK, should seriously consider the train (by the JR Pass, perhaps).

With that caution, if you still want to drive, you would need to plan seriously.

Edited: 9:49 am, July 27, 2014
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