{Japan: Plan} Our 2013 Japan/Hong Kong Travel Itinerary (The Bare Bones Version)


In a Nutshell:
Who’s Going: L and M
When: September 23 – October 21, 2013
Where: Hong Kong -> Fukuoka -> Nagasaki -> Kumamoto -> Yamaguchi -> Osaka/Wakayama -> Sapporo -> Hakodate -> Sendai -> Hakone -> Tokyo
*Notes: Delta Skymiles, Hilton Honors, Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards, 21-Day Japan Rail Pass (Green), oneworld Yokoso/Visit Japan Fare (2 sectors: Tokyo -> Fukuoka and Osaka -> Sapporo)

Full Report:
Well, even though we’ve known since early 2013 that we would most likely be taking a trip to Japan (with a quick jaunt to Hong Kong) in the fall, we didn’t actually put together a fairly solid itinerary until now.  It looks like we’ll be gone for almost a month and will be visiting three of Japan’s four main islands (Honshu, Hokkaido, and Kyushu) as well as spending 3 nights in Hong Kong.  While this is our 4th trip back to Japan, we are honestly as excited for it as we were for our very first Nippon trip back in 2007!
And, not to mention, this is our first time to Hong Kong!  M’s father took a lot of business trips there back in the day so he is especially excited for us.  He keeps mentioning all the good food there and I personally can’t wait to try some authentic Hong Kong dim sum and wonton noodle soup!  But to be perfectly honest, one of our main reasons for heading to Hong Kong is to see Disneyland!  Yes, we are Disney freaks —- or rather, I am and M is kind enough to come along on all my Disney adventures with me.  This will put me one step closer to achieving my bucket list goal of visiting all the Disney parks in the world (only Paris will be left after this trip but Shanghai Disneyland is coming in 2015!).
While our travel agent is handling many of the arrangements (Japan Rail Passes, airfare within Japan utilizing oneworld Yokoso/Visit Japan Fare, Ghibli/Skytree tickets, several of the hotel reservations), we have been able to book some things ourselves using Frequent Flier Miles and hotel points/free night awards.  We were able to redeem a large chunk of our Delta Skymiles to get round trip tickets from LAX to Tokyo as well as the round trip tickets from Tokyo to Hong Kong (we did have to spend an additional $650 or so to upgrade to Economy Comfort).  Our combined hotel points/free night awards netted us a total of 17 free nights (Hilton Honors, Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards).
I am still working on all the details of the trip and probably won’t be done for another month or so.  But for now, here is the bare bones version of the itinerary:

Day 1: Hong Kong
Day 2: Hong Kong (Disneyland, Victoria Peak, Temple Street Night Market)
Day 3: Hong Kong (Kowloon, Big Buddha & Po Lin Monastery)
Day 4: Fukuoka (Yatai Stalls)
Day 5: Nagasaki (Glover Garden, Oura Church)
Day 6: Nagasaki (Dutch Slope, Chinatown, Dejima, Peace Park)
Day 7: Nagasaki (Huis Ten Bosch)
Day 8: Yamaguchi (Yanai City where some of M’s ancestors lived)
Day 9: Osaka/Wakayama (Wakayama where my mother’s family is originally from)
Day 10: Sapporo (Odori Park, Nijo Market, Sapporo Beer Garden)
Day 11: Sapporo (Historical Village of Hokkaido, Moerenuma Park)
Day 12: Sapporo (Okurayama, Otaru)
Day 13: Hakodate (Fort Goryokaku, Red Brick Warehouses, Motomachi District, Mt. Hakodate)
Day 14: Sendai (explore city, specifics to come)
Day 15: Sendai (explore city, specifics to come)
Day 16: Tokyo (Ghibli Museum)
Day 17: Tokyo (Edo-Tokyo Museum, explore city, specifics to come)
Day 18: Tokyo (explore city, specifics to come)
Day 19: Tokyo (Skytree, explore city, specifics to come)
Day 20: Hakone (Hakone Open Air Museum)
Day 21: Hakone (Owakudani, Lake Ashi)
Day 22: Tokyo (Tokyo Disneyland)
Day 23: Tokyo (Tokyo Disney Sea)
Day 24: Tokyo (explore city, specifics to come)
Day 25: Tokyo (explore city, specifics to come)

Photo credit: scottnj / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND