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A Week in Japan

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1. Posted by aah2 (Budding Member 18 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Hi,

I'll be in Japan this Christmas and New Years. We're planning on visiting Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

What are some ideas for our Japan itinerary itinerary this winter? Some things we are interested in include the hot springs, nice sites, good food, and a lovely glimpse of Mount Fuji. If there are also any festive, Christmas, holiday lights or anything special during that time, please feel free to share :).

Thanks!

2. Posted by Muffintherabbit (Budding Member 30 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

If you get a spare hour or so, Nara is worth a quick visit. It's near Osaka and Kyoto. it's a pretty enough town in it's own right but the highlight are the deer which bow to you when you give them food. Definitely worth a stop.

[ Edit: Edited on 04-Aug-2017, at 06:44 by Muffintherabbit ]

3. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 841 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Suggest Miyajima, a short ferry ride from Hiroshima, which itself is a great place to visit; and easily accessible from Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Miyajima won't be crowded in winter; and there are hot springs, too. I'm currently in Japan for a long 26-day layover before going to Siberia; and Miyajima is one of the highlights. I enjoyed Hokkaido, too.

I'm currently in Kyoto and picked up a copy of "Kyoto Walks," a guide by JNTO, the Japan National Tourism Organization, http:// www.jnto.go.jp. The guide indicates that several sites, including museums, will be closed in late December-early January. For example, Nijo Castle in Kyoto will be shut Dec. 26-Jan. 4. Others may have reduced hours. So check before you go.

Japan remains one of my favorite destinations; and if you haven't been recently, it's also very affordable.

4. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 716 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

I'd second berner256's suggestion of Miyajima.

We did it as an hour-or-so's journey from central Hiroshima by tube, train and then a ferry. Deer wander about the town where the ferry docks. We hiked up Mt Misen which has monkeys (we saw them) and bears (missed them completely) and had a lovely day there. Hiroshima was probably my favourite city in Japan (well, of the four we went to) - the A-dome has been magnificently preserved and the Peace Park is a poignant reminder of the past. Definitely worth a visit if you have the opportunity.

For a view of Mt Fuji, it might be worth getting the Fuji-Hakone Three Day Pass (not the Hakone 3 day pass) which includes transport for three days (!!!) around the Hakone region - train, bus, cable car, pirate boat. The Hakone area was lovely in June although a little busy - December might be better. The transport network for this pass extends as far as Kawaguchigo and the lake with brilliant views of Mt Fuji, especially after a hike up Mt Tenjo.

5. Posted by puppa17 (Budding Member 18 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Tokyo and Kyoto for sure.
My concern is that 1 week is not that much of time for you to enjoy a lot, speacially if you add Osaka and other stuff. Remember that Tokyo stretches up to 23 million ppl! lol
Stick with Tokyo, Ueno, Shinjuku Kouen, Walk arounf Harajuku and Ikebukuro and eat some ramen and find som isakaya! You can squeeze Yokohama for half a day, Bggest chinatown outside of China! with incedible food! you can even go to Kamakura and see the Daibutsu for a day.

Kyouto same thing! There are millions of things to see in Kyoto! Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, Inari Jinja, okonomiyaki, takoyaki!

To less but deeper!

6. Posted by PatrickHarnett (Budding Member 12 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

If you are only in Japan a week (and at New Year) it will be a case of less is more. While some of the above comments are useful and include some nice places, your time is limited. (reason for my comments/advice below: I run a tour business for a living and spend my life taking people around Japan and helping them get the most out of their limited time in the country.)

1: Skip Osaka - you are going to Tokyo and it doesn't make sense to use valuable time doing two large cities. Nara can consume a half to whole day, and Hiroshima/Miyajima is a full day.
2: Hakone is over-rated, but in winter the skies are clearer so a good view is possible. Head into the mountains (lots of great onsen and ryokan around Nagano, and you still get great mountain views).
3: New Year is a super busy time of year for hotels and trains. Christmas is simply another day.
4: As it is winter, daylight hours will be short - expect to do a lot of things at night/in the dark. But, Japan does love festive lights so there will be lots.
5: A special event - try hatsumode at midnight on the 31st at one of the major shines/temples. Makes for a late night/early morning, but worth doing once.

Other things you should do (not too many temples and shrines) - depends what you like doing.

7. Posted by puppa17 (Budding Member 18 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Quoting PatrickHarnett

If you are only in Japan a week (and at New Year) it will be a case of less is more. While some of the above comments are useful and include some nice places, your time is limited. (reason for my comments/advice below: I run a tour business for a living and spend my life taking people around Japan and helping them get the most out of their limited time in the country.)

1: Skip Osaka - you are going to Tokyo and it doesn't make sense to use valuable time doing two large cities. Nara can consume a half to whole day, and Hiroshima/Miyajima is a full day.
2: Hakone is over-rated, but in winter the skies are clearer so a good view is possible. Head into the mountains (lots of great onsen and ryokan around Nagano, and you still get great mountain views).
3: New Year is a super busy time of year for hotels and trains. Christmas is simply another day.
4: As it is winter, daylight hours will be short - expect to do a lot of things at night/in the dark. But, Japan does love festive lights so there will be lots.
5: A special event - try hatsumode at midnight on the 31st at one of the major shines/temples. Makes for a late night/early morning, but worth doing once.

Other things you should do (not too many temples and shrines) - depends what you like doing.

How can you compare Tokyo to Osaka, just because are two big cities...??? SO if I go to New York I can skip LA??
The atmosphere in Kansai is completely different! so is the food and ppl?
Kansai has to be experienced and not just trough Kyoto...i think!

8. Posted by PatrickHarnett (Budding Member 12 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

How can you compare Tokyo to Osaka, just because are two big cities...??? SO if I go to New York I can skip LA??

I didn't (and I didn't do LA when I visited the USA for the same reason) - if time is short, see the variety go places for specific reasons. There is more than enough in Japan for years of travel, and given the choice - and based on a lot of guest feedback (not necessarily the eyes of someone local) - there are other places that would be higher on my list.