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 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!