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Best places to visit in Japan

North West
Level Contributor
13 posts
3 reviews
Best places to visit in Japan


A friend is attending university in Japan for a year from September, based in Fukuoka. My husband & I will visit in November and want to make the most of our first trip to Asia. We will have 19 or 20 days in total, probably spending 5 or so in and around Fukuoka with our friend. We also want to see Tokyo, and we have been looking at Kyoto, Kyushu Island, Hiroshima and Osaka also. If there is an option to take in a few days in Hong Kong or Singapore en route, we would be interested in doing this also. Basically we are looking for advice on what is feasible in the time we have, and also if we are making good choices of places to visit.

I appreciate this is quite an open question but am grateful for any advice.

Many thanks


Nashville, TN
Destination Expert
for Himeji, Kobe, Osaka
Level Contributor
2,093 posts
36 reviews
1. Re: Best places to visit in Japan

You might consider combining South Korea and Japan. There is a nice ferry from Busan to Fukuoka, and there is even a joint rail pass that covers both countries (and the ferry):


I've never used this pass, so do your homework; but it seems to be a great deal.

If you stay in Japan, look into both Japan Rail passes and the discount "air passes" that some airlines offer:


Rail Passes


Air Passes

You can do some really good trips out of Kyushu, up through Honshu (main island), then returning via Shikoku (taking the ferry from Wakayama, after touring the Kii Peninsula).

John W.

Level Contributor
6,696 posts
27 reviews
2. Re: Best places to visit in Japan

Here are some favorites:

Hiroshima and Miyajima

Kurashiki (not on many lists, but I like to visit in the evening, then check out the little museums in the morning before the crowds arrive)

Kyoto, of course

Osaka is not high on my list. It's a half hour by frequent trains from Kyoto, so you can stay in one place and visit the other.


Check out these and others at http://www.japan-guide.com

To see how long it takes by rail to get from place to place, use http://www.hyperdia.com/ You won't be able to use your Railpass on the Nozomi, the fastest Shinkansen train, so uncheck it at the bottom of the page of your search results.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
61,804 posts
171 reviews
3. Re: Best places to visit in Japan

If you are going to be in Tokyo for several days, Osaka is optional but it could still worth a 1/2 day to 1 day of your time. Evenings around Dotonbori present a very lively atmosphere.

Level Contributor
144 posts
4. Re: Best places to visit in Japan

a day trip while based in tokyo to nikko

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
Level Contributor
7,479 posts
5. Re: Best places to visit in Japan

Japan has a lot to offer and for a first time visit, the Hiroshima to Tokyo route is very popular. Just note that Tokyo is a long way from Fukuoka. To save some travelling time, consider doing one way by rail with en-route stops/stays and the other by air.

Depending on the time of visit, try to go for some seasonal highlights. If you are going mid-late Nov, spend more time in Kansai and Kyoto area for the beautiful autumn foliage. Look up accommodation especially in Kyoto ASAP as that time of year is extremely popular and hotels got booked up months in advance.

If you are going in early Nov, in Kyushu go to Saga for the International Balloon Fiesta in Saga.


An onsen experience in Japan is also unique and should be considered a “must try”. Ideally pick an onsen destination with rotenburo to enjoy the outdoor while taking a dip. In the northern part of Kyushu, Kurokawa, Yufuin and Beppu are some options.


Edited: 27 July 2011, 12:25
Level Contributor
113 posts
123 reviews
6. Re: Best places to visit in Japan

If you really want to see Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan it is possible but you could spend all of your time in Japan too. It is possible to take in a brief overview of a major city in three days. I'd do that for Singapore and Hong Kong.

Southwest to Northeast - Visit your friend for a few days in Fukuoka.

Hiroshima and Miyajima can be done in a day. Spend 1/2 day at the a-bomb museum and the other half day on Miyajima Island.

Kyoto (cultural capital) and Nara for another minimum 3 days. Lots of historic sites as the city was not bombed in WW2. I stayed a month here. In Kyoto see Kiyomizu, Heian shrine, Kinkakuji, Ryoan-ji, and any temple or garden that reads interesting. Also see the Gion and Arashiyama area. In Nara - go to deer park and Todaiji for a day trip.

Try and squeeze in a day at an Onsen. Maybe Hakone. They will be booked in November for fall colors.

I skipped Osaka for Tokyo.

Tokyo - Interesting stops - Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku on a Sunday, Ginza, Akihabara electric town, Ueno Park and museums, Odaiba Island, Tsukiji Market, Asakusa. Sevelar in city onsens to try. Look at the travel book with the top 25 things to see in Tokyo.

Edited: 27 July 2011, 15:44
Level Contributor
39,684 posts
234 reviews
7. Re: Best places to visit in Japan

If you have 20 days and will spend 5 of these in Fukuoka I would spend the remainder only in Japan, there's so much to see that I wouldn't go anywhere else.

8. Re: Best places to visit in Japan

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