My wife and I are spending seven days in Japan, the last week in October. We arrive at Tokyo Haneda early morning on 25 October and fly out of Fukuoka (to Seoul) on 1 or 2 November. In between we'd like to travel with a rail pass and visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima, but we'd also like to see some unspoilt and perhaps less visited parts of Japan's countryside, assuming we would have time. Any suggested itineraries?
We have both been to Tokyo before, separately and briefly, but have not seen anything of the rest of the country.
Seven days is a bit tight to do Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima and add in some extra spots. For a week I would normally suggest three days Tokyo and three in Kyoto (with a day in Nara), and you could visit Hiroshima in a day on the way to Fukuoka.
Less visited places also take some time to get to. Doing one of the trips Tokyo - Nagano-Kanazawa - Kyoto or Tokyo - Nagano - Matsumoto - Kyoto might be an option. I also recently visited Toba in Ise for the Grand Shrine and Mikimoto and that could be done as an over-night.
If you wanted to keep your general direction North to South you might consider staying somewhere like Okayama for the local castle and gardens (or Kurashiki for a ryokan stay.)
Try "Shikoku". An island in itself, it provides a closed circuit that is off the usual beaten path.
If you stay in Tokyo, try Sakura day trip near Narita.The city has nice museums as well as castle ruins and historical places.
Hello Patrick and others. Thank you very much for your replies which have been very useful, not least in making my wife and I realise that we had slightly different aims in planning this 7-day itinerary. I've been thinking of selecting a small number of destinations, spending a bit of time in each whereas my wife is planning for more rail travel, covering a greater number of destinations as a sort of overview. She is sure that we will be back - we have family and a base in Korea.- and can explore chosen places in more depth.