Japan Planning

23 days in Japan…

And it doesn’t feel like enough time! There are so many beautiful, weird, historically significant, fun places to see in Japan – I need more time! To get around everywhere, and because I think it will be cheaper in the long run, I bought a Japan Rail Pass. These are only available for non-Japanese citizens of some countries, sold in different duration options. I bought the 21-day rail pass from jrpass.com for $487, and it will get me unlimited use on most public transit for 21 straight days. The way it works is that you purchase an exchange order online within 3 months of when you will be using the Pass, and they send you a voucher in the mail (along with a little Japan sightseeing booklet). When you arrive in Japan, you have to activate the Pass in order to use it – you turn in the voucher at one of the stations that processes them, and they give you the actual Rail Pass. Since I’ll be in country for 23 days and the Pass is only for 21 days, I’m going to activate mine on the second day I’m in Tokyo, so I’ll have one day at the beginning and one day at the end without the Pass available.

The Pass will allow me to do all of this:

Japan trip map

Japan trip map


  • 24 – 26 Nov:  Tokyo – couchsurfing
  • 26 – 28 Nov:  Shrines & Temples of Nikko and Hiraizumi

Temple in Nikko

  • 28 Nov – 1 Dec:  Sapporo
  • 1 – 4 Dec:  Akita – onsens
tsurunoyu onsen

Hot springs in Akita Prefecture

  • 4 – 9 Dec:  Kyoto / Nara area
The ancient streets of Kyoto are beautiful at night.

The ancient streets of Kyoto

  • 9 Dec:  Himeji Castle
  • 9 – 13 Dec:  Hiroshima
  • 13 – 14 Dec:  Mount Fuji
  • 14 – 15 Dec:  Tokyo

I am so ridiculously excited about all of these destinations! Since I’ll be there in winter, it will most likely be snowing in a lot of the places I’m going. But the onsens, in the snow?? Awesome.

Any suggestions on where to go, anything I’m missing?

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