Length of stay: 17 nights
Month: February 2020

Our biggest Japan trip to date spanning 7 cities – Tokyo, Hakodate, Aomori, Kobe, Fukuoka, Lake Suwa and Mount Fuji – the planning involved meticulous timing and execution. As with last year’s trip, everything looked great on paper but executing the plan proved to be most challenging yet most rewarding. Having new tools at our disposal, it was time to level up my travel skills to the max.

With that in mind, I first planned Japan 2020 like 2019 – to fully experience snow by taking a north-south route, going through the Tohoku region and ending in Tokyo.

However once again, the plans changed when some in my group wanted to experience past destinations. In order to compromise Kobe was chosen due to its close proximity to Kyoto and south/west Japan.

Final city choices included:

⇒ Tokyo
⇒ Hakodate
⇒ Aomori (day trip)
⇒ Kobe
⇒ Fukuoka (day trip)
⇒ Lake Suwa
⇒ Mount Fuji (Fujikawaguchiko)

This trip we decided to stay in 2 Hot Spring Ryokan!

⇒ ICI Hotel Asakusabashi by RELIEF (3 nights)
⇒ Yunokawa Prince Hotel Nagisatei (1 night)
⇒ La’gent Stay Hakodate Ekimae (4 nights)
⇒ Sotetsu Fresa Inn Kobe-Sannomiya (4 nights)
⇒ Kamisuwa Onsen Shinyu Hotel (1 night)
⇒ TOCORO. Mt. Fuji Yayoi (1 night)
⇒ Oriental Express Tokyo Ginza (3 nights) [PERMANENTLY CLOSED]

Another ANA flight from Los Angeles at 12:05AM (Monday), landing in Tokyo Haneda around 4:30AM next day (Tuesday). ANA is definitely our airline of choice for Japan travel.

Domestic flights in Japan are a bargain at $50-100 one way. Most destinations take roughly 1.5 hours and saves time from sitting in the Shinkansen for hours.

Due to heavy luggage and multiple cities, we finally used the Yamato cat delivery service for the first time and I must admit it is AWESOME! All suitcases were packed with care and delivered promptly to our hotels. No problems whatsoever and most of all, it was extremely affordable costing roughly $20-25 USD each luggage approximately 27-28 inches under 50 pounds, depending on location.

However, there are a few things to consider using Yamato delivery service:

⇒ It takes roughly 2 days for luggage delivery. Some destinations could be quicker but plan to ship your luggage at least 2 days in advance. Pack your carry on/backpacks accordingly as your luggage may or may not arrive on the day you check in your next hotel.
⇒ Although most places speak English and are very helpful like the Hakodate Station and Tsukiji office, we did encounter an office in Kobe/Sannomiya which the worker did not understand English and wasn’t very nice or helpful, giving us the delivery forms in Japanese. We had to go to the website and read the English instructions to fill out the delivery forms.

Overall, the luggage delivery service is a life and time saver. We will probably use this service from now on!

For more information please visit the Yamato delivery website at https://www.global-yamato.com/en/hands-free-travel/scene02.html