Greetings fellow travelers. I am excited to report that I am finally fulfilling a dream of going to Japan next year and for 3 weeks. This will be the first time I am going overseas by myself so everything is a bit daunting when planning. My goal for this trip are to have a good mix of things while still having relaxing days. I have been trying to mix sight seeing and relaxing countryside areas with city entertainment and food. I would also like to experience some onsen and ryokan but not sure where the best place would be. I have come up with the following general idea. I am essentially wanting input on how my itinerary looks to somebody that has been before and if there are some other locations I should consider checking out as well. I will be in Japan in the early spring for sakura, fyi)
Tokyo (6 days): Plan on seeing the general touristy stuff in the city and see fuji-san at lake kawaguchi on a day trip.
I will be buying a 2 week JR Pass but not activating it until I leave Tokyo. I will be leaving Japan exactly 2 weeks from that day so I figured this was better than a 3 week pass as I've read you do not need one if you are just staying in Tokyo.
Hiroshima/Miyajima (2-3 days): I am torn on how long to stay here. Plan on taking JR train here and then slowly working my way back to Tokyo. I want to maybe stay at a Onsen Ryokan on Miyajima (unless there are better areas?) I feel Hakone would be too crowded and not allow single travelers. I want to climb Mt. Misen on Miyajima too.
Take the JR train to Osaka. I felt this would be best to use as a base. Being the "kitchen of Japan" I felt it was a good spot to stay at and I can easily take day trips to Himeji Castle, Nara and Kyoto.
Osaka as base to do the following (This is not necessarily in order):
Osaka (2 days): See Osaka Castle, Dontonbori and various other things in the area
Nara (1 day trip): Feed the deer, relax and sight see.
Kyoto (5 day trips): I hear there is lots to see here. Figure it best to not be rushed and be able to relax and enjoy seeing things. Is 5 days too long?
Himeji (1 day trip): Go see the castle here and see what else is nearby.
Kobe/Other location as a day trip:
Take JR back to Tokyo for 1 day and then fly out.
I would love to experience a Ryokan but I am not sure where would be a good place to go. I would prefer one with a scenic onsen and would also like to see scenic onsen outside of a ryokan. I know Hakone is very famous but are there some more unknown places that might not be so crowded? Or should hakone not be that bad?
Thank you in advance for your help. I apologize if my thoughts are all over the place. Take care.