Introduction: Japan Spring Vacation
When going through our travel bucket list, we settled on Japan for a two week trip. It has been on our mind for quite some time and so far my Japan experience had been limited to two eight hour layovers (don’t ask) and a weekend in Kyoto. Late March seemed like a good time to go, even though it could still be cold. We had our fingers crossed to see the cherry blossom (Sakura) and, spoiler alert, got lucky in Tokyo.
In order to avoid starting our trip in one of the mega gateways of Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya), we set off in Hiroshima. From there we made our way overland through the tourist hotspots of Osaka, Kyoto, the Mount Fuji area and on to Tokyo. Since pretty much any Spring vacation needs a bit of beach time, we extended for a few days and flew down to the Yaeyama Islands to soak in the Okinawan spirit on Ishigaki.
It has been a fun two weeks and thanks to Japan’s great public transportation system not too hectic despite the few stops along the way.
Below is our itinerary:
|Day||Place / Activities||Transport||Accomodation|
|1||Arrival in Hiroshima, Peace Dome||via Beijing/Dalian||Hotel Granvia Hiroshima|
|2||Day trip to Itsukushima/Miyajima||Local train / ferry||Hotel Granvia Hiroshima|
|3||Himeji Castle, Osaka||Shinkansen||Residential Hotel Hare Shin-Osaka|
|4||Nara, Kyoto||Shinkansen, local rain||Cross Hotel Kyoto|
|5||Kyoto||On foot||Cross Hotel Kyoto|
|6||Fuji Five Lakes||Shinkansen / bus||Kawaguchiko Lakeside Hotel|
|7||Fuji Five Lakes||By Foot||Kawaguchiko Lakeside Hotel|
|8||Tokyo||Shinkansen||Super Hotel Lohas Akasaka|
|9||Tokyo||Subway||Super Hotel Lohas Akasaka|
|10||Tokyo||Subway||Super Hotel Lohas Akasaka|
|11||Ishigaki||Plane / rental car||Cafe & Stay Moana|
|12||Explore Ishigaki||rental car||Cafe & Stay Moana|
|13||Day trip to Taketomi||ferry||Cafe & Stay Moana|
|14||Return via Hong Kong||plane||-|
Looking back, we’re pretty happy with the itinerary. Two weeks is way to short to see such a densely populated country with rich history and obviously only scratched the surface. However, given the time, we were happy with our choices. After last year’s spring vacation to Chengdu/Thailand/Singapore, we wanted to pace things a bit slower, especially since we covered most of the trip with public transport. Having multiple nights at all stops except Osaka was nice and we never felt that we spent too much time in a location. The only exception might be the Mount Fuji area where we got very unlucky with the weather and it actually snowed on the day we intended to go hiking.
Being end of March, it was still chilly apart from Ishigaki. We had to wear a jacket on most days and it was still too cold for wearing shorts. Just something to keep in mind should it matter to you.