The tour plan is set. I don’t have all the ryokans by now. But for all missing places there is a plan B available by bus within half an hour. And I think we have a winner or the first day: Wakayama. Castle and japanese garden win over old houses and Chinatown. The last thing is also better at night.
The tour can be splitted into 3 parts plus Tokyo, that is always not really a part ofthe journey but the bracket that surrounds the trip at the beginning and the end. A trip to Japan is not thinkable without Tokyo.
Part I .. ancient temple (shrines and castles)
lodging in Oosaka, Kyoto and Kanazawa
- 19 .. Flight with KLM via Amsterdam; incl. airport lounge
- 20 .. Arrival in Kansai; Wakayama
- 21 .. Koyasan
- 22 .. Amanohashidate
- 23 .. Yoshino and Asuka [move to Kyoto]
- 24 .. Kyoto
- 25 .. Hikone and Eihei-ji [move to Kanazawa]
- 26 .. Kanazawa
Part II .. lonesome valeys
lodging in Shirakawa and Tsumago
- 27 .. Shirakawa-go [with hotel change]
- 28 .. Inuyama [and hotel change to Tsumago]
- 29 .. Hiking along the Nakasendo thru the Kiso valley
- 30 .. Matsumoto [and hotel change to Tokyo]
Part III .. relaxing onsen
lodging in Bessho Onsen and Kusatsu Onsen
- 03 .. Bessho Onsen [and hotel change to Kusatsu Onsen]
- 04 .. Kusatsu Onsen
- 05 .. (Kawagoe) [and hotel change back to Tokyo]
Part IV .. Tokyo
lodging in Tokyo and Narita
- 31 .. visiting some temples; Sky Tree and than preparing from New Year
- 01 .. visiting a temple for New Year; Tokyo Jissha pilgramage
- 02 .. new year speach of the emperor in the inner palace area, [move to Bessho Onsen]
- 06 .. Tokyo Jissha, temple of the 47 ronin
- 07 .. Tokyo (no plan for now)
- 08 .. Narita [with hotel change]
- 09 .. flight back with KLM, with airport longe
I have put in some links to the japan-guide website. This site really is helpul. Koyasan and Einhei-ji were on my wish list for quiet a time (I think since 2004). But I never was able to visit. There was even the idea to spend a night at Koyasan, but I will save this for a summer vacation.
The Kiso Valley came onto the list in 2006. Peter put a hardcoy of a website on my desk one day. There was a report about old post towns not far away from Tokyo but in the middle of nowhere. The pictures looked like the time has stopped in this places. The best time to visit is during autumn colors but I don’t want to wait another 4 years. *)
If you compare this trip to all other before, you will recognize that this one is planned differently. This times there is nearly the twice as many hotels booked. In 2004 there were 7 hotels in 4 weeks. This time there are 10 in 3 weeks. My points of interest or on a line, there is no central place I can use as a base camp (except in Kansai).
Also the number of cities on the list is impressive. 14 cities plus Tokyo and Kyoto. In Kyoto I will try to visit the places I missed in 2004: Kiyomizudera, Higashiyama, Gion, Fushima Inari Shrine and Tofoku-ji. With a little bit of luck I can do a brief stop at the Kokedera or the big eastern and western temple. They were a construction site in 2004.
In Tokyo there are three big events on my list: (1) New Year. Maybe I can ring the temple bell. (2) The visit of the emperor palace. I wrote about it a few days ago. (3) The Dezome Shiki fire fighter parade. I wrote a post about this too.
*) The equation behind the 4 years is a journey every 4 years and the already planned trip for 2014, called “2004 reloaded”.