With each passing day I gain a little more knowledge about where I’ll be traveling in Japan and Korea, and at this point I think I have a rough idea of the route I’ll be taking. Of course, it’s still very early, so a lot can change between now and my departure in September, but I thought I’d share where my mind is at currently.

After landing in Tokyo, I’ll spend about five or six days there and then start moving westwards through Japan. Kyoto and Nara will definitely be on the path, and Osaka seems very likely. Kanazawa might also make the cut, though I’d have to detour north to get to it. After finishing the area in central Honshu, I’ll keep moving west to around Hiroshima, and then I’m thinking I’ll do a short loop around Shikoku before going back into Honshu and continuing west. I’ll definitely get to Kyushu, but I don’t know which places I’ll be in before I fly to South Korea. If I’m doing ok on time I could go all the way down to around Kagoshima, but if time is short I might just do Fukuoka and then fly from there.

My time in South Korea is still hazy right now because I haven’t done as much research on it as I have on Japan, but I’m hoping to dedicate at least a week to it. At minimum I’ll spend a few days in Seoul. With more time I’d like to hit some other cities, maybe even going down to Busan. Actually, now that I think of it, maybe it would make more sense to fly into Busan and then go north to Seoul. Or maybe going to Seoul first makes more sense since I could by flying to Okinawa after my time in Korea, and I could maybe start in Seoul and then work south to Busan and fly out of there.

Okinawa is a part of the trip that’s currently up in the air and I really don’t know yet if it will happen. The whole reason I’d like to go there is that a friend of mine is stationed on Okinawa with the Marines and his birthday will be around the time of my visit, so I’d like to pay him a birthday visit. If I’m not able to get to him then I could add another two or three days to Korea. In either case, I’ll be flying back to Tokyo at the end of the trip to spend a few final days there before flying back to the USA.

To help visualize the journey as it potentially might look, below is a map of the region with some poorly drawn arrows I edited onto it so you can see a possible route as it stands now. You might need to enlarge the image to see it clearly.

One thing you might notice is that I’m currently not planning on getting to northern Japan. As much as I’d like to do all four of Japan’s main islands, I suspect I may not have time to route myself north. That said, it’s still early and maybe after some more research I can plan a path that lets me go north, even if only for a few days. Maybe I could do a quick visit to Sapporo and then fly to somewhere else in the country. Whatever the case, later this summer I’ll probably give another update with a revised travel plan.

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