Could anyone advise an 19 days trip starting in Osaka , ending in Tokyo taking in considration a 2 weeks JR pass.
You have to figure out what you want to see. Only you know what would be interesting to you. If you require someone to plan your entire trip for you, you should join a tour group instead.
A helpful site to get you started:
We have an idea what we want to see, only we are not sure about the order of places and which would be best using the JR pass:
Is this a logical order?
Sammy is right - if you're travelling independently you will be rewarded by doing stacks of research into places to visit, transport options, hotels, etc. But to get you started, check out some tour company sites - Inside Japan is one, JTBUSA is another, but there are many and you can see from their itineraries what is possible and get their descriptions of their destinations
In general, I'd spend your first 4-5 days in Kyoto/Osaka (the former is more subdued, the latter has more nightlife; personally suggest Kyoto for staying since you'll get a taste of a Japanese city in Tokyo). From there start a series of shorter overnight trips. Some suggestions:
Wakayama and the Kii Peninsula (wrapping around to Ise Shrine)
There are a lot of other possibilities, and you will be unable to get to all of the above places. But you can easily spend a week or two traveling around by train seeing some nice, obscure places nobody ever visits. For example, you could go to Hiroshima and then head to Matsue; take the train along the coast to Tottori and Kinosaki; continue on through north Kyoto Prefecture to Fukui, come back through Shirakawa or Matsumoto, and maybe even stop over in Atami and see some of the Izu Peninsula. A lot depends on how much you want to ride the trains, how much you want to walk (there are some excellent walks, particularly on the ancient highways that were used primarily by people walking). Another variable is time of year and budget.
If you follow the above you'd activate your 2-week pass at the end of your time in the Kansai (Kyoto/Osaka) area; you can get a variety of local rail passes for your time there; these are generally more cost effective.
I strongly suggest experiencing:
-- Temples/shrines in different areas and from different eras
-- At least one castle (unfortunately Himeji Castle is under renovation, but it's still cool and is an easy stop if you're going to Hiroshima; Hikone near Kyoto is a good substitute, as is Matsumoto)
-- An onsen; Kinosaki is my favorite, but there are literally hundreds to choose from
-- A Neon Sea, as I call them; Dotonbori in Osaka is a great example - I've never seen as much neon in my life (the Running Man is a must see if you're in the area), and there's great food there
-- An izakaya - this is a type of restaurant that is like a cross between a beer garden and Tapas
-- Japanese beef - Kobe beef is some of the best you'll ever have, but each region has their own 'specialty' beef; I suggest looking it up on Wikipedia to see what the fuss is about.
A few links that are helpful, in addition to this site:
www.hyperdia.com - great for planning rail travel
www.japan-guide.com - search for rail pass; they have a great section on the options
www.jnto.go.jp - the Japan National Tourist Organization has some excellent information.
www.google.com - most cities/prefectures in Japan have at least some information in English; it's a great way to find a local festival or event that might not make the national calendars at JNTO.
Thank you so much for your detailed information. It is of so much help. We are are quite experienced in planing and traveling , but it is the first time I feel at lost. There is so much information,Yours is best focused.
Thank you again.
Here is another question:
Is the list of places you mentioned the order in which you would suggest us to travel?
Judy - I suggest you look at the itinerary of the Israeli companies that have organized tours to Japan. Most have 10-14 days' tours. They have similar programs and include the tourist hightights. I took one last April. It was a last minute decision and had no time to plan an independed trip. Now I am planning a trip on my own with my partner in September 2010.
A good guidebook is Michelline Japan and the links provided on this forum.
You should make a priority list of what you want to see after reading, like Japanese culture as seen in shrines and but also add modern Japan. This was missing from the trip I took. When you have a draft put it on the forum for suggestions.
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