How NOT to Plan your Trip to Japan

I’m preparing to leave on another exploratory trip to Japan – this time to Western Japan to see some areas where we’ve sent any number of travel parties but which I haven’t been to yet.   So airfares are cheap but time is constrained and I figure we could do this trip in two weeks.   (oh, other problem, as with most of the US, the best airfares are to Tokyo Narita – so it’s not fiscally practical to fly out to these western areas directly).

Here’s the crazy schedule (swear: I will NEVER suggest this for anyone who actually wants to experience Japan):  Arrive in Tokyo in late afternoon, go to downtown hotel for overnight, leave on morning train (9:00 -figure we’ll be awake?) and go to Himeji – stop to see the castle then back on the train to Hiroshima and to hotel.  Next day – see Peace Park, go to Miyajima, back to hotel to get luggage and then train/bus to Hagi for two nights at ryokan.   Tour Hagi with our local guide.   Next day, out of Hagi early to Fukuoka (on Kyushu Island), check into and tour hotel, then see some of Fukuoka.  Next day – train down to Kumamoto to see the castle and Reingando Cave (think Musashi), train back.  Next day – train to Yufuin, see town, visit ryokan for tour and dinner (alas, no stay here – WAY too out of my pocketbook).  Next day – train/ferry/train to Uchiko on Shikoku Island.  Tour town, overnight in special one-room hotel.  Next day – train to Kyoto in time for dinner with Steve Beimel.   Then – blessedly – TWO WHOLE DAYS with no train – but I do have appointments with the Hyatt Regency rep, Nancy Craft (who will be in town), and Kiyo, one of our local Kyoto guides.  Then back to Tokyo for a day – I’ve promised the boyfriend we’ll do sword shopping that day.   Then fly out.   I am hoping to get some new material for this blog and will be writing either while traveling (ha!) or when I get back.

As mentioned – do NOT try this at home (or away, in Japan).   Most of what you’ll see is the inside of a train.  Reports to follow…

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