Beautiful pix!! That's Real Japan LOL
You can buy a special train ticket, ONLY outside of Japan, for 1 week, that is valid for all trains(and subways) belongs to Japan Railways I think, without distains limit. Good way to economize on tickets.
Yes, the JR pass. My wife used it last year to visit Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Yokohama and Tokyo. It's a great bargain.
To answer the original post, I would definitely prefer to visit the Shingu and Mt. Koya area, or the Nikko and Kamakura areas, than go to either Tanabe or Iwama. In terms of aikido, I have some specific shihan I would like to see--Nakao, Endo, Miyamoto, etc--and visits to their classes would be more than enough for me.