John Harvey Photo

A Fourth Trip to Japan



We knew we wanted go to Japan in winter and we wanted to see Japan in snow.  We didn't have enough time to make a Hokaido trip make sense so we decided to concentrate on the Japanese Alps region of Japan - Gunma, Nagano and Gifu prefectures.  We tried to emphasis the things we love about Japan - Hot Springs, traditional hotels and food!  We finished the trip with spring blossoms in Osaka.  This is my fourth to Japan - if you like this trip, you might want to look at my previous trips - A first trip Japan, Kyushu to Tokyo, and Kyushu and Shikoku.

Map of Japan
Tokyo Gunma Nagano Gifu Mt Koya Osaka Himeji Kyoto Tokyo Gunma Nagano Gifu Mt Koya Osaka Himeji Kyoto Tokyo Gunma Nagano Gifu Mt Koya Osaka Himeji Kyoto


Frozen Fish Lined Up

Tokyo

Tokyo is a starting point of many a trip to Japan.  We visited the Tsujiki Fish Market to see the morning Tuna Auction
Oigami Room

Gunma

Gunma prefecture is in Tokyo's back yard - a quick train ride and you are in snow covered mountains.  We visited three different hot springs (Onsens) in the region.

Grain Below Water

Nagano

Yes, it hosted the Olympics.  We visited three more onsens and the  Jigokudani Yaekoen monkey park.
Gassho Homes With Mountains

Gifu

Some of the highest mountains on Honshu (other than Mt. Fuji of course!).  We visited Shirakawa-go, a night snow festival and Takayama - a traditional carpenter town.
Stairs Lit By Sun

Kyoto

What trip to Japan would be complete with a trip to Kyoto?  We spent two days in the city - one day visiting temples (Helen has never been), the other shopping
Short Tree Growing In Space

Mt. Koya


Mt. Koya was established as a religious center in the nine th century and has with a cemetery of over two hundred thousand graves.  It's a solemn place, which makes it a contrast with much of our trip.
Giant Crab

Osaka


A fantastic city for shopping, and some sights to.  We visited the amazing Osaka Aquarium.
Lower Wall Of Castle

Himeji


It's the best castle in Japan and since it's an easy day trip from Osaka, we hopped on the Shinkansen for a visit.


Short Tree Growing In Space
Altitude: 798m (2618 feet)
Location: Go To...
Grain Below Water
Species: Macaca fuscata (Japanese macaque)
Tags: bathing, hot spring, Japan, safari
Gassho Homes With Mountains
Tags: field, house, Japan, snow, terrace
Lower Wall Of Castle
Altitude: 44m (144 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: castle, Japan
Stairs Lit By Sun
Tags: dappled light, Japan, torii
Giant Crab
Tags: crowd, Japan
Oigami Room
Frozen Fish Lined Up
Tags: fish, fish market, Japan, Tokyo
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Fourth Trip to Japan
From: John Harvey Photo > A Fourth Trip to Japan

hello, I have really enjoyed going through your pages. I am planning to go to Japan later this year (early October), hopefully for two weeks. As you have been to Japan several times, and seem to know what you are talking about, can you possibly suggest a good itinerary. Starting and finishing in Tokyo. Many thanks in advance, Ilyas
ilyas
Sunday, July 4th, 2010 at 03:22:30

Suggesting an itinerary for someone else is very hard - it's best to build one around what you are interested in. I usually start with a list of things I want to see (like "Kyoto" and "Hot Spring Bath") and then figure out how to connect the dots. Do you like Museums? Temples? Big cities? Small towns? Most people travel with the JR rail pass and use a book like the "Rough Guide" to help them find accommodations and restaurants. The real trick is knowing what you like and then finding it in advance.
John Harvey
Thursday, July 8th, 2010 at 10:11:09

We are travelling to Japan on Oct 4th returning on the 26th. Our itinerary is Tokyo/Kanazawa/ Takayama/Kyoto (Nara-Osaka-Koto)/ Gobo-Mio/ Hiroshima/ Kumamoto/ Kagoshima-Ibusuki I read your various travelogues and appreciate the commentary you provided. Looking at my itinerary,are there any must see short sidetrips along this route that you could recommend? We have a 21 day Railpass so wish to fully utilize this pass. I appreciate gardens and temples but I think after the first few temples, that that would be suffice. I would like to see how rural Japan lives and would enjoy seeing traditional crafts and customs. I am fortunate to be in Takayama during their Matsuri festival but will miss the Kyoto festival on the 22nd as we will be in Kagoshima.
Kelvin Higo
Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 at 11:06:53

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