I'm about to head to Japan (very soon!), and have some remaining questions. Thought i'd ask the experts out there that know Japan better than me. I'm travelling with my 9 year old son, so need to balance his inevitable exhaustion with too much travel, with wanting to see as much as we can. I feel like my itinerary is a lot of following a tourist trail, and a fair bit of cities, which may not be my real preference, but anyway...
We'll stay for four days in total around Kyoto, fly to Sapporo and Hokkaido over five days, and Tokyo for four days (13 days total).. I only have a 7 day JR pass, so wanted to wait a couple of days after my arrival to activate it to use to travel to Hiroshima and use it up by the time I get to Tokyo (day 8/9)..
1. Would you recommend an overnight in Hiroshima, Miyajima OR I had an idea of going to Shodo Shima on my way to or from Hiroshima, as I wanted to take my son on a boat, experience something more coastal - maybe a fishing village (but not always tourist places, like Miyajima imay be). Any ideas? Anyone been to Shodo Shima? Really thought that the soy sauce factory there would be best, plus the chance to do the boat trip (maybe not an overnight?), otherwise not sure. I did think of Matsuyama but I don't want to pay extra to cross the water (JR Pass doesn't cover it).
2. In Hokkaido, I thought a couple of nights and a day in Sapporo, then out to central Hokkaido (Sounkyo, Asahidake Onsen). Is it worth also travelling all the way over to Abashiri from Asahikawa, or would Kushiro be best? Bear in mind I have a 9 year old in tow, but want to make the most of my JR pass, as well as see some nature in Hokkaido.
3. In Tokyo, I wanted to stay in Ryogoku, but it doesn't look like there are many hotels in that area (that I can find or afford). I wanted a place that is not too central, but not too hard to get to places from, not just a commercial or shopping district. Any other ideas for accommodation places (prefer hostels or anything other than soul-less hotels) maybe near Ryogoku? Not got much idea! Asakusa maybe?
Thanks so much!