We are now planning our Japan trip for a family of 2 adults with 3 young kids (aged 3 to 8) in June 2019 for 12 days. We will be arriving and leaving Japan on the 12th day morning at 10.25am via Hiroshima Airport.
It is our first time visiting these places and driving in Japan too.
We gathered 2 groups of transportation passes for our trip. However being first timer, we really need helps to decide which group has better coverage for our itinerary?
Here are the 2 groups:
Group 1 passes combination:
“7 days Sanyo-Sanin Area Pass” plus
“Visit Hiroshima Tourist Pass” - both the small and wide area (we are not sure if the wide area pass will be made available by June 2019 or not).
Group 2 passes combination:
“5 days Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass” plus
“5 days Hiroshima Yamaguchi area pass” plus
“Visit Hiroshima Tourist Pass” the small area.
Also, appreciate if you could share thoughts on our itinerary? Any thoughts of suggestion better deals and places not to be missed to replace what we have planned will be much appreciated. Thank you very much.
Here is our planned itinerary:
Day 1 – Arrive at Hiroshima Airport morning 9am. Activate the Sanyo-Sanin Area pass. Leave for Wakayama for 2 nights. Visit Marina City, Kuroshio Ichiba Market and the Tama train (Wakayama Electric Railway). If time and energy permit we will have a quick view of Wakayama castle and Ohashi Roka Bridge.
Day 2 – Day trip to Kyoto from Wakayama. Visit the Kyoto Railway Museum and Amanohashidate area.
=> Question: will skip Amanohashidate if we are not getting the “5 days Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass” that covers this area. Is there any 1 day deal that we can consider if we like to visit Amanohashidate, please suggest?
Day 3 – Leaving Wakayama city for Kumano. Staying 1 night at Katsuura. Driving from Wakayama station to visit Yunomine Onsen district, Kawayu Onsen, *Maruyama Senmai Rice Field and Nachi Falls.
=> Question: *will skip Maruyama Senmai if it is not advisable for first timer driving in Japan mountain area. Appreciate anyone could share their driving trip to Maruyama Senmai with us?
=> Anyone could share their driving trip in Kumano? Did you take the inland route or the coastal route towards Kii-Katsuura?
Day 4 – Leaving Katsuura for Shirahama sightseeing then to Okayama for 2 nights. Visit Scannbeki Cavern, Senjojiki, Shirahama Beach, Engetsuto. Return car at Shirahama station. Leaving Shirahama for Okayama via Ltd Ex *Kuroshio train before 18:00.
=> Question: *Last Ltd Ex Kuroshio train leaving Shirahama and Wakayama station is 18:19 and 19:49 respectively. Hyperdia shows it will takes 1.5 hour longer if it is not via Ltd Ex Kuroshio? Please share if there are shorter alternative route like Kuroshio from Wakayama to Okayama in the evening?
Day 5 – Day trip from Okayama to Kobe.
We have 2 plans. Please share your thoughts which is less hassles and much interesting for the kids? Is it possible to do some of plan A and plan B combination?
Plan A: Visit Arima Onsen town via Rokko cable car ride.
=> Question: Do we need to get the 1 day Arima & Rokko 1 Day Pass @2360
yen as we are not doing any onsen?
Plan B: Go for Shin Kobe Ropeway, Kobe Habourland and Chinatown. Is there any tourist day pass we should be getting?
Day 6 – Visit Grand Seto Bridge via the Seto-Ohashi Line. Is Mt Washuzan Observatory worth a visit? Leaving Okayama for Hiroshima. Staying 6 nights until we leave Japan. Try not having to change accommodations too much.
=> Question: Is it possible to visit Akiyoshio cave in the late afternoon after check in Hiroshima hotel? What would you suggest we could do/go if Akiyoshio cave is not advisable on this day?
Day 7 – Last day of Sanyo-Sanin Area Pass usage. Day trip from Hiroshima to Yamaguchi. Driving from Shin Yamaguchi station to Motonosumi Inari Shrine and Tsuenoshima Ohashi Bridge. Will visit Akiyoshio cave too if Day 6 not possible.
=> Question: Can anyone share the best route to drive for these 3 places?
=> Question: Are these places worth visiting? Please share.
Day 8 to Day 11 – Activate Visit Hiroshima Tourist Pass – Small and Wide Area Pass
Wide Area Pass: uses it to go out of Hiroshima city. Visit Shimanami Kaido via Flower Line b/w Onomichi and Imabari, Tomonoura and Takehara town preserved district.
=> Question: If the Wide Area Pass is not available, what is the economical route to visit Shimanami Kaido and Onomichi from Hiroshima city? Any 1 day pass we could get?
Small Area Pass: uses it to explore Hiroshima city sightseeing tourist spots / Miyajima / Iwakuni bridge.
Day 12 – Leaving for Hiroshima Airport. Our flight leaving at 10.25am
Lastly, do we need a ICOCA card?
Thank you in advance for any suggestion and advise which we greatly need and appreciate.