a VirtualTourist member
I am trying to plan our honeymoon for July, we get married on July 11th in Ireland and hope to travel to Japan on the 14th. I understand that we are probably arriving during the tail end of the rainy season so I would love to possible start further south as to increase my chances of drier weather and then make my way up north.
We are only spending ten days in Japan as we will be stopping off in Dubai on our way home for 5 nights. I am a Geography teacher and have always wanted to go to Japan as it has been a topic of study in terms of volcanic activity, earthquakes, tsunami's, economic development, coral reefs so I would really love to try and visit as many different aspects to Japan as possible without putting to much pressure on myself on my honeymoon.
So I would really cherish some advice, is it possible to have a mt fuji/city/beach experience in japan in 10 days?
Ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
love from Ireland
Having been to Japna at the time of year you are going; it is not necessarily going to rain every day. It will be very hot and humid. If you can get to Kyoto, it the Gion Matsuri festival (the parade is on July 16), I would highly recommend you try to get there for it.
I shot some video (in the rain) during the festival (eating at street stalls on July 15 and watching the parade on July 16):
[original VT link]
Mount Fuji was totally cloud covered when we were in the area, so we never saw it. Trying to climb it in the rain, does not sound like a lot of fun to me.
Cities - yes lots of time to see those. Tokyo and Kyoto would be at the top of my list of places to visit, especially as you only have 10 days.
Beaches - we did not see any that we would have wanted to be on. We had looked at getting to Okinawa for a week, but that did not work out last time. I expect we will be going there on our next trip to Japan (likely this or next year).
You talk about starting further south. Kyushu is a wonderful island in my opinion. You have volcanoes at ASo and Kagoshima. I personally have not visited them. There is also lots of geothermal activity especially around Beppu.
The historical town of Nagasaki is also on Kyushu. Kyushu has its own rail pass just for use on Kyushu by the way.
10 days sounds a bit short for hitting Kyushu, especially if it's your first time in Japan. However, Kyushu has a lot of interesting geography. Sakurajima is the most active volcano in Japan and it is often seen with ash coming out. It is located in Kagoshima, but a long ways away from Tokyo. Takachiho is famous for kayaking/canoeing in a gorge. Photos I have seen look beautiful, and of course Mt. Aso is somewhat nearby. The only problem is timing as it might make your trip very rushed.
Kansai is the best place to start. As mentioned, head to Kyoto for history. Nara if you have time as well. Osaka is great for the atmosphere and shopping, but you can skip it if you want a more leisurely pace.
Mt. Fuji is possible to climb, without the rain. You just have to check the weather forecast every day. While it is most popular to travel overnight to experience the sunrise, I have hiked Mt. Fuji from the halfway point in a single day. It is not easy and you will have to rush a bit to catch the last bus to Tokyo. There are highway buses but because the ticket office closes early, you won't know if you can get onto that bus or not till it arrives. Otherwise, Hakone is a good area to see Mt. Fuji and still do things. The Fuji 5 Lakes region might be more interesting for you, in terms of geography, but not much to do.
Tokyo, lots to see and do. Not much to say. :)
Beaches? There are several beaches near Tokyo and they should be "open" by then. While beaches are never closed, the beach season sees a lot of amenities and shops added to the popular beaches. Zushi is pretty popular in the south. You could go a little farther south to Hayama too. Kujukuri is also a famous place (about 2 hours from Tokyo) and located on the east coast of Chiba Prefecture.
You might want to expolre the area south of Tokyo and Yokohama, near Kamakura. There are beaches in that area, and the Giant Bhudha statue in Kamakura is well worth the trip down from Tokyo (only about 1 hr by train). For a special experience for your honeymoon, think about staying at least one night in an authentic Ryokan in one of your stopovers, it could be the highlight of your trip. Congratulations on the upcoming wedding and enjoy your trip.
The "rainy season" manifests itself differently depending where you are. I found that daily rain is more frequent in the North of the country. Here in Osaka, it's often dry, only raining when a typhoon comes through. the further South you go the more chance you have of getting hit by a serious typhoon.
I think Tokyo and area is your best bet for 10 days. The city, Fuji, beaches like Enoshima, Kamakura, maybe the Izu penninsula. They are all within a short travel distance.
I personally don't enjoy the beaches around Kamakura. They aren't bad but they aren't good either. Just a little ways away from Kamakura, there are better beaches. Most of my friends will head a little farther, such as around Zushi, as it isn't much farther than Kamakura and the beaches are nicer there. If you just want to see a beach, Kamakura is a good place to go.
How far south are you starting? Kyushu? Hiroshima?
As mentioned, Kyushu actually is a good place for your geological interests. It could also be good for your beach interest, too.
Lots of volcanoes, especially in Kagoshima. Kagoshima also has the famous Ibusuki sand baths. I assume there are beaches there, too.
Further north in Kumamoto is Mount Aso, the largest caldera in the world.
Beppu has hot springs, which are not beaches, but they're a part of Japanese culture that might be of interest.
More on Kyushu:
Tottori Prefecture has some nice beaches, but it may be out-of-the-way, depending on how far east you plan to go (but it's very doable. There are direct connections to Osaka).
Shiraishi Island in Okayama is a famous beach with a villa. As an international villa, you have the advantage of English information and speakers available and you can book online yourself:
If you start from Kyushu and have only 10 days, I might not go all the way to Tokyo. Mount Fuji is a bit of a risk with so little time. You can go as far as Kansai and still enjoy city life in Osaka. Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture is a famous beach resort area:
If you choose a tentative route, it will be easier to make suggestions.