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Tokyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Itinerary help!

Toronto, Canada
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Tokyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Itinerary help!

Hey all! So my friends and I are planning our trip to Japan this year and we desperately seek your aid! Any help is appreciated!

So to start our trip, our rough outline looks something like:

Sept 22-24: Tokyo

Sept 25-26: Dewa Sanzan (sleep haguro first night, hike Gassan)

Sept 26- 27: Kanazawa (Basically a stopover for a night before Kyoto)

Sept 27- 29: Kyoto

Sept 29-Oct 2: Shikoku (self-drive)

Oct 3-6: Kyushu

Oct 7-11: Yakushima Island

Oct 11-12: Tokyo, Fly home

Our trip is a bit hectic, but we're alright with constantly moving as I've done it before.

Some of my questions are, for Shikoku, taking 4 days to travel by car, does that give us a good amount of time to drive from Okayama through to the Iya Valley, then to Kochi where we'd drive along the coast to Yawatahama to grab our ferry to Kyushu? Is that a preferred route by the way? or are we missing anything significant in or around Ehime? We love nature, hiking, exploring, hence the rental car for our time there, but we want to experience the best possible areas Shikoku has to offer. OH, also, has anyone tried surfing in the area? How feasible is it for foreigners to stay at Shukubo lodgings along the 88 temple pilgrimage? I've stayed at Shukubo before, but I know some can be strict about letting foreigners in without having japanese companions along.

Also, for Kyushu, if we have another 4 days before needing to be in Kagoshima to set off for Yakushima, would you recommend we rent a car for this time? I hear the non-toll roads are quite slow, but we'd like to see places like Aso and maybe Kurokawa Onsen. Maybe check out the Satsuma peninsula before heading over to Kagoshima to end? Our rail pass would be out here anyway so maybe we should just rent another car in Beppu perhaps...

Phew, sorry for the doozy guys, we're just desperate for a final bit of guidance before locking in our plans and lodging. We really appreciate any and all help!

Thanks guys!

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7 replies to this topic
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1. Re: Tokyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Itinerary help!

Do visit Yamadera Risshakuji when you're going to Yamagata Prefecture.

More advice should follow :- I need to go to the gym then have breakfast.

Kanazawa is fine but I think you'd enjoy more if you visit Shirakawago and Takayama as well.

Edited: 12 May 2018, 08:22
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2. Re: Tokyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Itinerary help!

I don't think you'd have problems in staying at Shukubos. Reservation might be the larger issue - drop by at a local tourist information center for help in finding a shukubo or minshuku if it's hard to find for the night.

Edited: 12 May 2018, 08:29
Fukuoka, Japan
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3. Re: Tokyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Itinerary help!

We drive conventional regular road at about 20 km/h, sometimes 30 - 35 km/h in rural Kyushu. Newly built road, such as R 57 between Inukai, Oita and Asaji, Taketa has speed limit at 80 km/h without toll. Kyushu expressway Pass often pays if you drive expressway in Kyushu. Don't cross the strait between Shikoku and Kyushu. You have additional ferry return charge to the rental car company. Drop off your car at a port in Ehime (or Kochi) and hire again in Oita Prefecture.

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Tokyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Itinerary help!

Much appreciated guys! Thanks for the tips!

ShibaInuGuide- I've been to Shirakawago and Takayama before, kanazawa is more of a stop off point between Tohoku and Kyoto, but maybe if we have time we can check those places out! It's tough to squeeze in everything in just 3 weeks but maybe we can shuffle things around. Yamadera was definitely on the list, but it might be a bit far from Dewa Sanzan? We're pretty much planning on being there for the one night, then hike Gassan and head out. How far is Yamadera from Gassan would you say? Thanks!

ETflyer- Thank you! Noted about dropping off the car before hopping on the ferry. And for the expressway pass. I think we want to go as rural as possible with the option of expressways, so we might pick one up regardless. As for the Shikoku area, would you say Going along the southern coast from Kochi is a better route than up the northern side at Ehime? (starting point is Kotohira area, and we want to hit the Iya Valley). Would a route in Kyushu from Oita to Aso/ Kurokawa, then down through Takachiho/ Miyazaki to the Satsuma Peninsula be a good idea?

But yeah, thanks again guys!

Fukuoka, Japan
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5. Re: Tokyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Itinerary help!

Currently, ferry connection between Shikoku and Kyushu is as follows;

1. Sukumo - Saiki

2. Yawatahama - Usuki

3. Misaki - Saganoseki (OIta)

4. Yawatahama - Beppu

5. Matsuyama - Kokura (Kitakyushu)

Matsuyama - Kokura should be excluded since your interest is in central and southern Kyushu. Misaki - Saganoseki is also out. This ferry is mainly used by driving travelers.

Your option is other 3 ferry lines. Sukumo - Saiki is less frequent than others, but reaching Takachiho-cho via Nobeoka is easier. It's been long since I was on board this ferry last, and I'm not sure for the port access situation in Sukumo.

Port access is similar for Usuki and Beppu, I don't think it's difficult to hire a car at both of two.

Reaching Kagoshima (Satsuma Peninsula) really takes time from Oita Area. I would drop Yakushima, or redraw the whole itinerary from the scratch, instead.

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Tokyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Itinerary help!

Thank you so much ETflyer! This helps a ton for the ferry schedules.

Would you say it's worth spending more time in Kyushu than Shikoku?

I think we might consider going from Yawatahama to Beppu, then Beppu to Aso/ Takachiho. From there we'll move either down through miyazaki or go Kumamoto- Kagoshima. Is Kumamoto more interesting than MIyazaki area? We were interested in potentially surfing in Miyazaki, but might do that in Shikoku instead.

And thanks for the tips, we might shuffle around some days, but we definitely want to keep Yakushima. We're pretty sold on there- we've been wanting to go for years.. We're totally alright with 2+ hr car rides on toll/ non toll roads for the self-driving too. Maybe we'll have to skip Satsuma, but that's alright with us!

Thanks so much for your help!

Fukuoka, Japan
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7. Re: Tokyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Itinerary help!

The time duration I mentioned is focused on the distance comparison between Shikoku and Kyushu, not about the preference.

If I land in Beppu, I would drive to Aso. Takachiho-cho might be optional for me. Although I haven't tried, there're some rental surf gear shops in Takanabe in Miyazaki Prefecture.

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