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Itinerary Help - 3 weeks in Japan with date constraints

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
303 posts
1 review
Itinerary Help - 3 weeks in Japan with date constraints

Hi all,

I am hoping to travel from Sydney to Seoul, Japan, Hong Kong and then back to Sydney.

I’m a little stuck with my itinerary for Japan.

My issue is, cherry blossom period for Osaka area is 27th March to 5th April. I’m hoping to stay in Osaka/Kyoto for about 6 days, ending on 5th April. However, I then want to travel east through the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, which only opens on 15th April. I would then head to Tokyo region for a week.

As such, my question is, what can I do from 5th April (i.e end of cherry blossom period) until 15th April (for opening of Tateyama Kurobe Route)? From Osaka I was hoping to stay a night in Mount Koya, a night in Nagoya, and a night in Kanazawa (via Takayama and Shirakawago Village) before starting the Tateyama Alpine Route. Are there any places I should stay at before doing the route?

I assume I’ll need to fill my itinerary with some other places. Should I perhaps travel south? What is good there – I know Okayama and Hiroshima, maybe Okinawa or Yakushima?

Thanks so much in advance for the advice!

4 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
5,105 posts
11 reviews
1. Re: Itinerary Help - 3 weeks in Japan with date constraints

There should be over 100 places that you might consider for cherry blossom around Kansai Region, including Mt Yoshino, which could be the most famed and known place for the Japanese. Okinawa and Yakushima are definitely south by geography and the different nature associated with the location and warmer temperature, but Okayama and Hiroshima are in the west of Osaka, and have peak cherry blossom time almost at the same time as in Osaka.

Edited: 02 October 2018, 07:26
Level Contributor
5,105 posts
11 reviews
2. Re: Itinerary Help - 3 weeks in Japan with date constraints

With the JR Pass (nationwide version), you might otherwise chase the cherry blossom by going inland (Matsumoto, Takayama) and to the north-east to Tohoku Region (Hanamiyama in Fukushima City, Aizu Wakamatsu Castle, Shiroishi River, Yamagata Kajo Park).

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
303 posts
1 review
3. Re: Itinerary Help - 3 weeks in Japan with date constraints

Thanks for the reply.

However, my question is more "what can I do between 5th April and 15th April, from Osaka, before heading to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route on the 15th"?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
Level Contributor
7,580 posts
4. Re: Itinerary Help - 3 weeks in Japan with date constraints

With extra time in the Kansai region there are quite a number of popular and interesting destinations. Do-able as day trips from Osaka/Kyoto are Nara, Kobe, Okayama, Kurashiki and the rabbit island of Okinoshima. Hiroshima and Miyajima are also possible but it is best to spend a night there to take in both in a less rush visit.

During cherry blossom season Yoshino is highly recommended as it is considered a pilgrimage place for sakura by the people of Japan. Even better if you can be there for its annual sakura festival with colourful parade on April 11-12. Himeji Castle is also beautiful with sakura in the foreground, just be prepared to meet with lots of visitors. Both Yoshino and Himeji Castle can easily be done as separate day trips from Osaka.

With direct bus connection from Osaka historic Arima Onsen is also nice, especially if you can spend a night there for a relaxing onsen experience.

Less frequented by foreign tourists is the beautiful Kii Peninsula which would be nice to allocate a few days to a week to explore. You can work down south from Osaka to Wakayama and Shirahama on the west coast and then going back up the east coast via Katsuura, Nachi, Ise and end in Nagoya. During cherry blossom season in Wakayama worth a climb is Kimii-dera with beautiful sakura and panoramic view.

Staying in Nagoya an evening excursion can be made to Nabana-no-sato for its spectacular winter illumination which will last till May in 2019.

From Nagoya you can take a scenic train ride to Takayama. Provided the Alpine Route can be done at a later date Takayama is having its spring festival on April 14-15 which is yet another worthwhile festive experience in Japan. From Takayama you can travel by bus to Kanazawa with a couple of hours stop-over in Shirakawago.

You can start the Alpine Route from west to east from Kanazawa going early in the morning. Toyama would be a closer jump off point for the Alpine Route and the town itself is also worth a brief visit. In case you can be in Toyama on or after April 22 you can even do a day trip to Tonami for the colourful Tulip Fair event.

Obviously you can’t go for all the above but hopefully there is enough for you to dwell on and take your pick. Happy planning!

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