What to see and do in Japan in 5 Weeks

Travel Forums Asia What to see and do in Japan in 5 Weeks

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Japan
1. Posted by Matse (Budding Member 3 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Hey friends,
I'll be in Japan for about 5 weeks for the first time ever. I'm really excited. I can't put into words how much. Travelling Japan has been on my bucket list for about 10-15 years and I either never had the money or the time to realise this... dreamy scheme. Now I finally can.
I'll arrive in Osaka on the 28th of July and leave on the 2nd of September. Right now I don't really have a route or a greater plan in general. I just know that I have about five weeks to see this country I've always dreamed of visiting.
I'd really appreciate if you could give me some advice what to do, hints what to see and maybe even shared time to spend, so that maybe I can experience the country in more than just a touristic way.

I love nature, but I also love cities. I like architecture, wild life and gardens. I really do like people. I guess what I want to say is that I'm open for any advice.

Love,
Matse

2. Posted by SA-Tokyo (Budding Member 32 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Welcome to Japan.
I'm Japanese , live and work in Tokyo.
Summer in Japan is humid and really HOT season , so you had better always keep a big bottle of water. Not to heat stroke.

Will you travel alone or with kids ?
Depends on your travel company.

Anyway , this page may be useful.
Especially , JR PASS is good.

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html

:)

3. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 922 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

https://www.travellerspoint.com/guide/Japan/

4. Posted by PatrickHarnett (Budding Member 13 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Five weeks is a goo amount of time, but it depends what kind of traveller you are, what you want to see and your style of travel. I see a lot of people just stick way too much time in Tokyo and Osaka, and miss a lot of the country. I do travel planing for trips like this (over a month) and have done a couple of trips - one in the heat of summer, and one end of spring recently.

I normally divide the trip into two loops. the first once covers temples/shrines/castles and places like Hiroshima and Kyoto. The second half heads north and Tohoku and some Hokkaido, and hardly any templs and shrines - very different. If I was re-designing it today, I would probably build in some other coold places, but with only five weeks, there is not much time to fit in even 1/4 of what you could do.
Inspiration - check -snip-

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

5. Posted by Matse (Budding Member 3 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Thank you very much for you answers.

I think I should specify a bit: What I'm interested in the most are places that you don't usually visit when you just soak up information beforehand on the internet in the "big" guides. I've spent hours on www.japan-guide.com already and I think it's a really great website and very helpful, but I wanted to try your tap into your personal experiences a bit more. I'm sorry if that is asking a bit too much.

I'm really grateful for any adivce, really, but what I desire the most are maybe remote places, attractions that aren't madingly frequented by tourist because they're not in the Lonely Planet and stuff like that. I plan on staying with couchsurfers a lot on my trip through Japan, so that natives can show me around a bit and introduce me to the culture, but I'm also interested in places you've seen very much.

@PatrickHarnett thank you, I'll dig in and read your tour guides!

Thank you all!

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Jun-2019, at 08:49 by Matse ]

6. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 616 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Peace museum in Hiroshima.
And stay in a Ryokan somewhere for the authentic experience.
Try www.sawanoya.com in Tokyo.

7. Posted by sapporostan (Budding Member 17 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

i have gone to Hokkaido each year for the past 20 years-as early as May, as late as November- if you have 5 weeks in Japan and based on your request for out of the way, not touristy places, Hokkaido is for you- at least a week to 10 days--an onsen experience for 2 or 3 days at one place (hike, sight see from that location)- rent a car and drive around the island- Hokkaido is not as hot as the rest of Japan-very rural- something like 22 % of the land size with only 5 million people (2 million alone in spread out Sapporo) great park, food, much to see and do---do your research- get a map-you will love it

8. Posted by cecilecutblues (Full Member 45 posts) 3w 1 Star this if you like it!

Hello from Yokohama here.

I just wanted to let you know that we will have a massive summer holidays from Aug.10 to 18th and many people go back to their hometown to spend their time with families and relatives or go on travels etc.
Accommodation price will be higher and outbound trains/flights from cities on the first day and inbound trains/flights to cities on the last day will be fully booked. Many hosts on couchsurfing will go for their holidays and there may not be many hosts either.
I was on CS before but deleted my account about 5 yrs ago, and friends whom met there are not active anymore either (many of them hated the change of CS policies). I would recommend you to check out the backup plans in case you cannot find any hosts at all.
If you want a meetup, I'd recommend you to register yourself on meetup.com and join some group events on it.

You're coming the right time if you're a hiker. We have so many beautiful trails here regardless of the duration. If you're not keen on doing tourists traps, don't bother climbing Mt. Fuji but try other mountains such as Japanese Alps or Yatsugatake (or other mountains.) There's a book called "Hiking in Japan" issued by Lonely Planet and I'd recommend it in order to pick some trails. (People buy LP a lot but I have only a few people who ever read the book Hiking in Japan!)

For some unique experience, I'd also recommend you to visit Echigo Tsumari Art Field.
http://www.echigo-tsumari.jp/eng/
It's not a triennale year this year, but they open their artworks for the season. It's a depopulated area in Niigata Prefecture where there's deep snow in the winter, and there used to be lots of abandoned traditional houses and schools, but they invited contemporary artists to renovate the houses and schools into artworks, museums, cafes and hostels. Locals help a lot for the operation and you can see traditional life of rural area in the specific area during your stay.
There are so many different communities in the small areas and their cultures may vary depending on the community. Each community has bon-dance festivals during summer holiday period and you can join the festivals if you could find one.

There're really tons of stuff to recommend. If you could be more particular about your itinerary, I'd be happy to throw my insider tips in a bit further details.

9. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1121 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Check this TP blog by irenevt. This is the Table of Contents. Scroll down to the various places in Japan. She and her husband visit a lot of places that most tourist have never heard of . . . and all the places that have tourists so you have a good balance. Here's the link; just click on it. It has train information and other transport information too. Irenevt's Blog on Asia including Japan

10. Posted by Matse (Budding Member 3 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Thank you all so much for your suggestions and advice! All of it is really helpful and greatly appreciated. You really help me create a route that I want to take! Thank you!