At this point in life, it’s been decided Japan is a country that we won’t stop visiting. This time the end goal is Fukuoka. For this “Mapping Down” series we’ll go over some key moments, points and must know for any other “Land of the Rising Sun” travelers. Covering things such as transportation, food, attractions, sightseeing, culture, you know the general stuff. While sprinkling some tips from the occasional mistakes we made.
To begin the trip, let’s first map it out. Now the start point is going to be Tokyo. Why? You may ask. Well, because it’s Tokyo! TOKYO! And also because our last trip was focused here. It’s an area we’re familiar with and there are some additional attractions we’d like to check out that we didn’t on our last trip.
So we have our starting point “Tokyo” and our end point “Fukuoka”. What next? Figuring out the in between. We’re about to travel roughly 883 kilometers, that’s like 549 miles. So we gotta make it worthwhile. Let’s see what are between those two cities?
First, there are eight regions in Japan: Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, Kinki/Kansai (what we’ve heard it most commonly as), Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa. Since we’re doing Tokyo to Fukuoka we’ve eliminated Hokkaido, Tohoku, and technically Okinawa through we’ll be in Kyushu. As the tears roll down while we say farewell to these choices we know it’s not the end all as we remember I’LL BE BACK. Now, what are our options from here? Well, there’s Yokohama, Kanazawa, Nagoya, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Hiroshima and a bunch more.
Okay, Narrowing down the options wasn’t exactly easy. What mainly helped was our timeframe for being in Japan. Last trip we were there well over a month. This time it’s going to be 11 days, not including the travel time in and out of Japan. And five of those days have to be spent in Tokyo. So this needs to count and it needs to be logical. And by logically we thought it’d be best to go a “straight line” down (we’re using “straight line” in quotes as that is not geographically possible but a figurative idea).
Additional constraints aside from time included transportation and funds. That’s “polite talk” for money ain’t always right (we’re making dreams happen with what we could), getting places cost and staying somewhere cost. I wouldn’t classify the JR Rail Pass as a constraint, it was useful, but it was also a factor when making decisions.
Next, what is it we actually want to do? We’re not going to go through the meat of where we went as this post is the appetizer so we need to save the best for the main course. Essentially destinations like Universal Osaka came to mind, that one shrine with the many red gates in Kyoto (we’re being very real and honest with you all, that’s how we thought of it prior to researching its actual name), and a few other ideas came to mind. We also sought out advice from within our community. That included asking friends who had visited Japan, wanted to visit and had a jaw-dropping list of options, the language exchange meetup we attend and of course the Japanese language exchange meetup we’re both a member and committee leader in. This, in turn, gave use suggestions like the deers in Nara.
If you’re going on your own trip ask around for suggestions. Seek out information and ideas. You don’t want to fall into the “ahh I wish I knew” trap or miss out on info that goes beyond the “touristy” usual. Starting with our articles here on Honey and Fox is one good method, so thanks for giving us a chance. 😘 People who’ve traveled there or know a lot on the topic can be useful. And even the ‘I don’t know them real-life” sources like YouTube videos, Pinterest infographic, Instagram photos, tweets, and Facebook posts help.
Well then, where shall we go while traveling from Point A to Point B?
We could do Tokyo → Hokone → Kyoto → Osaka → Fukuoka
Or Tokyo → Kyoto → Nara → Hiroshima → Osaka → Fukuoka
Maybe, Tokyo → Hokone → Kyoto → Nara → Hiroshima → Osaka → Fukuoka
Possibly, Tokyo → Hokone → Nara → Kyoto → Himeji → Fukuoka
Or Tokyo → Kyoto → Osaka → Himeji → Hiroshima → Miyajima → Fukuoka
What to choose? Well, dump in the time allotted for Tokyo to Fukuoka. Mix in some transportation time with a dash of living accommodation. Stir that JR Rail Pass in there with drizzles of what we wanted to do and see and pretty much this route came into existence.
Our final winner was:
Tokyo → Kyoto → Nara → Osaka → Fukuoka
This meant some suggestions couldn’t be done. 😢 And even if we couldn’t get these opportunities it’d be nice if it were apart of your own agenda. We’ll list a few to give you ideas but also as a reminder for ourselves of places to visit.
- The Odawara Castle in Hokane
- Hakone Hot Springs (though other regions have hot springs too)
- Catching a glance of Mt. Fuji from Hokane
- Hiroshima Castle in you guessed it Hiroshima
- Peace Park in Hiroshima, it’s a nice memorial for when the drop of the atomic bomb.
Even with some “can no longer do” this trip was happening and still going to be fun.
Now we have our plane tickets, destinations and road map. What’s next on the to-do list? Follow us during our “Mapping Down to Fukuoka” adventures and antics in Japan to find out.
Mapping Through Japan
Planning a trip to Japan? Or are you just having fun enjoying this one? Follow more with “Mapping Through Japan”
Tiny disclaimer: While planning our trip we heavily used resources like japan-guide.com to learn about each destination in detail. When traveling, ideally we’d like to be well informed. We don’t want to come across as the “know all” of Japanese travel. Though after a few more trips we’ll get there. Plus, why not give credit where credit is due. Thanks, japan-guide.com!
Enjoy more Japan-related escapades and travel tips from articles like To Japan on White Day, With Love. Plus 7 Key Phrases You Should Know When Traveling Abroad.