China and Japan Itinerary (59 Days)

This itinerary was sort of a homecoming for Julie and I as we covered both China and Japan over a two month period. It was an epic trip given its longevity as we spent five weeks in China on a fully escorted tour and three weeks self-touring in Japan. And it was a homecoming of sorts since China was our ethnic homeland even though we don't have direct ties to the mainland. The Japan part of the trip was sort of seizing the moment since we were already practically there. So this wound up being one of the most diverse trips we had ever been on as we definitely saw waterfalls (though many of the ones in China were struggling to flow as apparently April and May weren't the best months to see them) as well as numerous temples, natural arches and bridges, charming heritage towns, and many more. And since we were covering lots of real-estate, we had to do quite a bit of flying (especially in China) in order to get that mix of nature and famous sights in one go.

In China, Julie had to book through one of the government-sponsored travel agencies. Our tour was fully customized so there was a great deal of communication and coordination going on to even make that part of the trip possible. Moreover, we had to go through a fairly involved Visa process so we were without our passports for a few weeks, and it wasn't cheap either. When we were finally in China, Julie and I spoke enough Mandarin Chinese to let some of the tour guides communicate with us in that language when they weren't comfortable with English. During the Hong Kong portion of the trip, Julie knew Cantonese so that also helped out over there, but she had an auntie who lived there who took the trouble to show us around as well.

Meanwhile in Japan, there was definitely a language barrier since neither of us knew the language. However, when it came to signs (some places had no written English) we were able to recognize some of the kanji words since many of them were borrowed from Chinese. As you can imagine since we were totally on our own in this part of our epic trip, the language barrier made some of the situations a bit scary though we ultimately managed to pull through. And speaking of being on our own, we used the excellent JR Pass and rail system along with a few local buses for just about the entire time we were in Japan except for Hokkaido, where we hired a rental car.

Day Overnight Activity
1-3 Hong Kong, China
Lan Kwai Fong Hotel
Travel, Victoria Peak, Stanley Harbor, Avenue of the Stars
4 Hong Kong, China
Lan Kwai Fong Hotel
Tian Tan Big Buddha, Ngong Ping Village, Sogo District
5-5 Guilin, Guangxi, China
Universal Guilin Hotel
Travel, Guilin City Center
6 Guilin, Guangxi, China
Universal Guilin Hotel
Crown Jewel Cave, Crown Cave Waterfall, Gudong Waterfall, Fubo Hill, Reed Flute Cave, Elephant Trunk Hill, Guilin City Center
7 Yangshuo, Guangxi, China
New Century Hotel
Lijiang River Cruise, Moon Hill, Yangshuo, Li River Light and Dance Show
8-8 Nanning, Guangxi, China
Nanning Hotel
Seven Stars Park, Camel Hill, Travel
9 Detian Waterfall, Guangxi, China
Detian Mountain Retreat
Shatundie Waterfall, Detian Waterfall, 53rd Mere Stone Border Market
10 Nanning, Guangxi, China
Nanning Hotel
Detian Waterfall, Travel
11 Guiyang, Guizhou, China
Regal Hotel Guiyang
Travel
12 Huangguoshu Waterfall, Guizhou, China
Huangguoshu Hotel
Dragon Palace Caves, Longmen Waterfall, Huangguoshu Waterfall
13 Guiyang, Guizhou, China
Regal Hotel Guiyang
Doupotang Waterfall, Tianlong, Qingyan
14 Leshan, Sichuan, China
Private Condo
Travel, Panda Research and Breeding Center
15 Leshan, Sichuan, China
Private Condo
Grand Buddha, Thousand Buddha Cliffs (Qianfoyan), Leshan
16 Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan, China
Sheraton Jiuzhaigou
Travel
17 Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan, China
Sheraton Jiuzhaigou
Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve (Arrow Bamboo Lake, Five Flower Ponds, Long Lake, Five-Colored Lake, Tiger Lake, Shuzheng Village, Sparkling Lake), Pearl Shoal Waterfall, Nuorilang Waterfall, Shuzheng Waterfall
18 Songpan County, Sichuan, China
Minjiangyuan Hotel Chuanzhusi
Huanglong Waterfallls, Huanglong
19-19 Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
Melody Hotel
Travel, Xi'an Muslim Quarter
20 Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
Melody Hotel
Hukou Waterfall
21 Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
Melody Hotel
Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Terracota Warriors Museum, Xi'an City Center
22-22 Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Pipaxi Hotel
Xi'an City Center, Travel
23 Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Pipaxi Hotel
Yellow Stone Village Park (Huangshizhai), Wulingyuan Scenic Area,
24 Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
Pingjiang Lodge
Baofeng Lake, Zhangiajie Waterfalls, Tianmen Arch, Travel
25 Tongli, Jiangsu, China
Zhengfu Caotong
Humble Administrator's Garden, Tongli
26 Shanghai, Jiangsu, China
Manhattan Bund Business Hotel
Tongli Sexual Cultural Exhibit, Zhouchuang, Shanghai (Bund, Nanjing Road)
27 Shanghai, Jiangsu, China
Manhattan Bund Business Hotel
Yu Garden (Yuyuan), Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai (World Financial Center Tower, Bund)
28 Haerbin, Heilongjiang, China
Holiday Inn City Center Harbin
Travel, Siberian Tiger Park, Church of St Sofia
29 Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang, China
Mudanjiang Hotel
Travel
30 Dunhua, Jilin, China
Golden Eastern Business Hotel
Travel, Jingpo Hu, Diaoshuilou Waterfall
31 Changbaishan, Jilin, China
Changbai Hotel
Heaven Lake, Changbai Waterfall
32 Changbaishan, Jilin, China
Changbai Hotel
Julong Pool, Changbai Waterfall, Little Heaven Lake, Green Deep Pool, Dongtian Waterfall and Underground Forest Waterfall
33 Yanji, Jilin, China
Yanbian Fayin Hotel
34-34 Beijing, China
Emperor's Guards Station Courtyard Hotel
Travel, Wangfujian Pedestrian Street, Temple of Heaven, Silk Street Market
35 Beijing, China
Emperor's Guards Station Courtyard Hotel
Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, The Great Wall (Juyongguan, Badaling)
36 Beijing, China
Emperor's Guards Station Courtyard Hotel
Forbidden City, Tian'anmen Square, Wangfujian
37 Tokyo, Japan
Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku Hotel
Travel, Shinjuku
38 Tokyo, Japan
Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku Hotel
Tsukiji Fish Market, Sensho-ji, Ueno Park, Akihabara Electronic City, Shibuya, Harajuku
39 Sendai, Japan
Akiu Grand Hotel
Travel, Rairaikyo Gorge, Akiu Waterfall
40 Nikko, Japan
Annex Turtle Hotori An
Travel, Rinnoji Temple, Toshogu Shrine, Taiyuin Mausoleum, Shinkyo Bridge
41 Nikko, Japan
Annex Turtle Hotori An
Kegon Waterfall, Yunoko Lake, Yu Waterfall, Ryuzu Waterfall, Urami Waterfall, Kirifuri Waterfall, Bake Jizo
42 Kawaguchiko, Japan
Kawaguchi-ko Station Inn
Travel, Views of Mt Fuji, Kawaguchiko Cable Car
43 Kawaguchiko, Japan
Kawaguchi-ko Station Inn
Lake Kawaguchiko, Shiraito Waterfall and Otodome Waterfall, Lake Saiko
44 Matsumoto, Japan
Marumo Ryokan
Travel, Matsumoto Castle, Matsumoto (Nakamachi-dori)
45 Matsumoto, Japan
Marumo Ryokan
Travel, Bandokoro Waterfall, Matsumoto (Nakamachi-dori)
46 Toyama, Japan
Meitetsu Toyama Hotel
Travel, Shomyo Waterfall and Hannoki Waterfall
47 Kyoto, Japan
APA Hotel Kyoto Eki Horikawadori
Travel, Nara (Nara Park, Todai-ji), Kyoto (Nijo Castle, Fushimi Shrine)
48 Kyoto, Japan
APA Hotel Kyoto Eki Horikawadori
Kyoto (Gion District, Kiyomizu-dera, Ishibei-koji, willow tree, Yasaka-jinja, Kennin-ji, Kinkakuji Temple)
49 Nachi, Japan
Hotel Urashima
Travel, Nachi Waterfall, Kii-Katsuura (Hotel Urashima Complex)
50 Osaka, Japan
Ramada Osaka
Travel, Osaka (Osaka Castle, Dontonburi)
51 Kobe, Japan
Holiday Inn Express Shin-Kobe
Travel, Himeiji Castle, Nunobiki Waterfall, Kobe Overlook, Higashimon Street
52 Asahikawa, Japan
Asahikawa Terminal Hotel
Travel, Asahikawa City Center
53 Asahikawa, Japan
Asahikawa Terminal Hotel
Car Rental Pickup, Ginga Waterfall and Ryusei Waterfall, Hagoromo Waterfall, Asahikawa City Center
54 Utoro, Japan
Iruka Hotel
Oshinkoshin Waterfall
55 Utoro, Japan
Iruka Hotel
Kamuiwakka Waterfall, Furepe Waterfall, Shiretoko Waterfalls, Shiretoko Five Lakes
56 Kushiro, Japan
Kushiro Royal Inn
Lake Mashu, Wakoto-hanto, Kushiro Shitsugen
57 Sapporo, Japan
Chisun Inn Sapporo
Akankohan (Eco Museum, Ainu Village), Car Rental Return, Travel
58 Sapporo, Japan
Chisun Inn Sapporo
Sapporo (TV Tower, Nijo Fish Market, Hokkaido University Botanical Garden, Ainu Museum, Susukino District)
59 Home Travel



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