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Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

Singapore, Singapore
7 posts
Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

Hi, I would like some suggestions on my itineary for Japan next year around February.

Probably will land at Haneda during the morning around 8am. Would it be advisable to travel to Yamagata straightaway? My current plan is :- Yamagata > Tokyo > Takayama + Shirakawa Go > Kyoto > Osaka.

Would 12 days be suffice, or would it be too rushing? Is it any must dos in Yamagata and Takayama? I understand Ginzan Onsen is a must in Yamagata.

All suggestions are welcome!!

10 replies to this topic
New York City, New...
Level Contributor
1,128 posts
79 reviews
1. Re: Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

where in Yamagata?

Level Contributor
4,524 posts
9 reviews
2. Re: Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

Yamagata Prefecture is one of my favorites. Yamagata Risshakuji, Zao Onsen, Kaminoyama Onsen, etc. Ginzan Onsen is a bit away in the north in Obanazawa area.

February is in snow. Time for Juhyo, or snow monsters at Zao Onsen: http://zaoropeway.co.jp/zao/winter/

Edited: 15 May 2018, 22:35
Level Contributor
4,524 posts
9 reviews
3. Re: Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

Everyone differs in how then plan the trip, so I cannot really tell whether you "should" go to Yamagata Prefecture straight away or take a break and rest in and around Tokyo. There are several ways to get to Yamagata, including taking the Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa via Yonezawa, and the Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa and Senzan Line via Sendai. Both have nice landscape views going through mountains and Yamagata Valley.

Edited: 15 May 2018, 22:44
Singapore, Singapore
7 posts
4. Re: Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

How many days would you recommend to spend in Yamagata? Is Zao Onsen or Ginzan onsen nicer? I realised that both are about an hour and a half apart, so would it be alright it I were to stay at Zao Onsen and do a day trip to Ginzan?

Thank you in advance!

California
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4,305 posts
335 reviews
5. Re: Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

Don't forget Yamadera.

Level Contributor
4,524 posts
9 reviews
6. Re: Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

You are recommended to stay at both. Ginzan Onsen is not a day visit place, as it's quite away (bus access from Obanazawa).

Also, don't forget Yamadera, as Liar-san says.

Edited: 16 May 2018, 00:46
New York City, New...
Level Contributor
1,128 posts
79 reviews
7. Re: Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

and Yamagata city too...and Yonezawa and the others noted although I really wanted to get up to Sakata https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7990.html and also the famous shrines but that depends on the time of year.

So in Feb, that is out.

Tokyo Prefecture...
Level Contributor
444 posts
8. Re: Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

Just so you know, the snow monsters of Zao are worth seeing both by day and by night. I was there last winter and enjoyed riding a snow cat through a forest of snow monsters by day, and a ropeway ride up the colourfully-lit trees and snow slopes at night. Note that the two activities are on different sides of the mountain...

I posted pictures at https://medium.com/the-big-sushi/snow-monste… if you want to see what I mean...

Singapore, Singapore
7 posts
9. Re: Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

Thanks all! Just wondering if i could see the snow monster up close without the need to skii?

Also, any recommendation for Gifu, eg Takayama, Shirakawa go?

Tokyo Prefecture...
Level Contributor
444 posts
10. Re: Japan itinerary including Yamagata and Shirakawa Go

Oh, sure! The snow monsters are relatively accessible even to those who don't ski or snowboard. On our tour, we drove up and back in a snowcat, basically a tracked, cramped minibus if you see what I mean, and tramped around the snow-covered trees for 45 minutes or so wearing snowshoes on the fresh powder. At a quick look, this tour I just found looks similar to what we did https:/…

I've been to Shirakawago several times in the last few years, though never in winter. The "zassho" farmhouses covered in snow is a popular sight, I know. Here is a short guide and photo essay of Shirakawago in esrly autumn, if you're interested https://medium.com/the-big-sushi/shirakawago…

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