I was officially in Japan for 90 days/89 nights (13 weeks) for my WESN Epic Hana Chase which took me across all 8 regions and a total of 33 prefectures. Including day of departure from and day of arrival in Singapore, the whole trip was 92 days. If I had kept it at 90 days total, my travel insurance would have been a lot cheaper and I could have bought an annual plan. But I just had to max out the days allowable on visa free travel (found out later the 90 days visa is counted by the number of nights).
WESN Epic Hana Chase Places Visited
A quick summary of the prefectures and places visited on this trip, grouped by region. I’ve also indicated the number of days I spent in each region.
Kyushu – 23 days
Okinawa Prefecture – Yaeyama Islands (Ishigaki, Yonaguni, Iriomote, Taketomi, Hateruma), Okinawa Main Island (Naha, Nago)
Kagoshima Prefecture – Kagoshima, Yakushima
Kumamoto Prefecture – Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto
Saga Prefecture – Saga, Imari
Nagasaki Prefecture – Sasebo (just to get the Sasebo Burger)
North Hokkaido – Rebun Island, Rishiri Island, Wakkanai
Central Hokkaido – Asahikawa, Biei, Furano, Sounkyo Onsen
East Hokkaido – Shari, Utoro, Rausu, Nemuro, Kushiro
Kanto – 14 days
Gunma Prefecture – Takasaki
Saitama Prefecture – Chichibu
Tochigi Prefecture – Nikko, Lake Chuzenji
Tokyo Prefecture – Ikebukuro, Yanesan, Odaiba, Shinagawa, Ginza
I wanted to visit 6 castles during this WESN Epic Hana Chase to complete my visit of all 12 original castles. However, I had to leave out Inuyama Castle as I didn’t have enough time. The 5 castles that I managed to visit were Bichu Matsuyama Castle, Matsue Castle, Hikone Castle, Maruoka Castle and Hirosaki Castle.
Together with Himeji Castle, Kochi Castle, Marugame Castle, Matsumoto Castle, Matsuyama Castle and Uwajima Castle which I had previously visited, they made up the 12 Original Castles in Japan. These castles were termed “Original” as their main keep/towers were built before or during the Edo period.
I also considered myself lucky to have visited Shuri Castle in Okinawa on this trip before it burnt down in 2019.