Length of stay: 17 nights
Month: February – March 2019

Japan 2018, although still a pleasant trip, had some issues that ruined the stress relief I expected.

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

Japan’s Tohoku region is known for cold winters and lots of snow including Aomori, Akita, Iwate and Sendai areas to name a few.

The goal was to visit these new areas while avoiding the tourist rush. However the plans changed after discovering Hirosaki Castle (one of the 12 original Japanese castles left in existence) in Aomori prefecture was closed for the winter 😥

After some brainstorming, I decided to take a different route – keeping Sapporo plans, fly to Nagoya, railing to Takayama then Toyama/Kanazawa and ending the trip in Tokyo – a more touristy way than first planned.

However, choosing this route risked the “winter” experience, but I had faith that Sapporo would not disappoint.

Final city choices included:

⇒ Sapporo
⇒ Nagoya
⇒ Takayama
⇒ Kanazawa
⇒ Tokyo

Traveling for 17 days and 5 cities with big luggage was perfect for staying in hotels not far from the main station. Some also had shuttle service to and from the station.

Tokyu Stay Sapporo (4 nights)
⇒ Via Inn Nagoya Station Tsubaki-cho (3 nights)
Hoshokaku (1 night)
⇒ Via Inn Kanazawa (3 nights)
⇒ ICI Hotel Asakusabashi by RELIEF (3 nights)

All Nippon Airways left from Los Angeles at 12:05AM (Sunday) and landed in Tokyo Haneda around 4:30AM next day (Monday).

This flight is best for maximizing your trip and layovers since you can fly to other cities in Japan without losing another day. On this trip I took a 8:30AM flight to Sapporo from Haneda.

There are some things to consider before heading to Sapporo or any other city in Japan from Tokyo (not a complete list)…
→ arrive in Tokyo from a long flight
→ go through customs
→ grab the luggage
→ head to the domestic terminal
→ wait another 2-3 hours layover
→ sit another 1.5 hours on the plane to Sapporo
→ grab luggage again
→ sit another hour on the bus to Sapporo
→ drag luggage to hotel for drop off
→ walk around town to kill time for several hours
→ return to hotel for check in at 3PM

As you can see, it looked great on paper, but not so great on stress 😅😵

In hindsight I would’ve stayed in Tokyo for 1-2 nights before heading to Sapporo. If you have unlimited energy then no problem here!

Also, I couldn’t complain too much since I was in Japan after all!