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Japan Itinerary

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1. Posted by aarantes (Respected Member, 165 posts) 1 Mar '07 08:42

aarantes has indicated that this thread is about Japan

Hi everyone. I think this time I'll really make it to Japan. Me and my husband will arrive in Tokio on april 18th and leave from there on May 2nd. I know we'll catch a little of tha Golden Week, and that is not so great, but my first worry is to make the hotel reservation for those dates. But I also want some help to buildd an itinerary. So far, I'm like that:

18/04 - Arrive in Tokio
19/04 - Tokio
20/04 - Tokio
21/04 - Bullet train to Kyoto. Is it included in the JR Pass?
22/04 - Kyoto
23/04 - Kyoto
24/04 - Mt Koya (would like to spend a night in a temple). Should I spend more time over here?
25/04 - Hakuna
26/04 - Mt Fuji
27/04 -???
28/04 - ???
29/04 - Go back to Tokio
30/04 - Tokio
01/05 - Tokio
02/05 - Say goodbye to Tokio

Does anyone have suggestions? It's only 2 weeks but I don't know when I'll come back to Japan, so I want to see the most I can. Any help is welcome!!!

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2. Posted by aarantes (Respected Member, 165 posts) 1 Mar '07 08:54

By Hakuna I meant Hakone. I'm sorry for the "Lion King" mistake.

3. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member, 611 posts) 1 Mar '07 08:56

Hi there,
Try www.sawanoya.com for a foreigner-friendly Ryokan in Tokyo. They speak a little English and facilities are good. Yet it's a very authentic experience.

I would also suggest a couple of days in Hiroshima if you can fit it in. The peace museum is excellent and just being in such a world-changing location makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck!
;)

4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru, 2457 posts) 1 Mar '07 11:17

Bullet train to Kyoto. Is it included in the JR Pass?

Yes, although not the superfast Nozomi. However the slightly slower Hikari runs twice an hour between Tokyo and Kyoto and only stops a couple fo extra times and is ok on your pass.

Hiroshima (even for a day trip from Kyoto) is a good and obvious suggestion. If you go and stay overnight, the nearby Island of Miyajima is a good trip as well.

Other sensible options in the Kyoto-Tokyo area include Himeji (for it's castle), about 30mins West of Osaka; Nara, and hour or so south from Kyoto is wonderful and is a large temple area spread across parkland and with lots of friendly deer; Osaka is ok for a day or two; Kobe isn't really a must see but is a friendly city, and has some bits about the Earthquake; Nikko, 2hours or so North of Tokyo is a major Temple complex and probably a must see. Kamakura, just south of Yokohama (hour from Tokyo) is also worth a day trip, and is another (spread out) temple complex with a huge Buddha.

If you have a JR pass, i'd be inclined to suggest staying in Kyoto for a night or two longer (because accom is cheapest there and in Tokyo) and use your pass to take daytrips to Nara and Hiroshima. And then on your second trip to Tokyo, use one day to visit Nikko

If you want more ideas, let me know.

5. Posted by aarantes (Respected Member, 165 posts) 1 Mar '07 12:06

Thank you for your suggestions, guys. I'm trying to buy only the 7 day pass that costs around 180€. The 14 days pass would cost 290€, and I don't know if it would be worhted, since I'm going to spend some time in Tokio without using it.

I decided to make this trip about right now, so I'm going to have lots of questions with time. Meanwhile, any more suggestions are welcome.

Thank you again.

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6. Posted by aarantes (Respected Member, 165 posts) 5 Mar '07 04:33

Here is me again. After some study, I have come to this itinerary. But I still have some doubts, so please help me.

18/04 - Arrive in Tokio
19/04 - Tokio
20/04 - Tokio
21/04 - Mt Fuji (actually the Fuji Lakes). My pass won't be valid here so if anyone has an idea of how much would it cost to go there I'll aprecciate.
22/04 - Mt Fuji-Kyoto. (Here I start using my JR pass. Does anyone know the best way to go and how long does it take?)
23/04 - Kyoto
24/04 - Kyoto
25/04 - Kyoto
26/04 - Nara - Mount Koya to sleep in a Temple
27/04 - Mount Koya - Hiroshima - Miyajima
28/04 - Hiroshima - Nikko (last travel on JR pass). Does anyone know how to do it and low long would it take?
29/04 - Nikko - Tokio. (Without pass). Does anyone how much is it?
30/04 - Tokio
01/05 - Tokio
02/05 - Say goodbye to Tokio

Does that sound like a good idea? Should I make anu changes? I was wondering if it would be best to spend one more night in Kyoto and make Hiroshima and Miyajima a daytrip. Then I'd go from Kyoto to Nikko...

Thank you.

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7. Posted by ghostdog (Full Member, 142 posts) 6 Mar '07 22:55

Hello,

Hakone gets crowded on the weekend and crowded in Japan is a little different from the usual idea of crowded. There are onsens everywhere is Japan so if that is a priority I would recommend
staying at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese Inn. Prices can be high but you can't beat the service and it is a definite Japanese experience. As there are hundreds of Ryokan throughout Japan you can do this somewhere close to Tokyo or Kyoto and save yourself travel time. Or you can do a nice ryokan in Kyoto for a birthday.
If you head to Fuji lakes you can generally catch a glimpse of the Mt. but may need to give yourself a couple days in case of bad weather. There are onsen with a view of Fuji in the Kawaguchi Lake area. Also there are many pension nearby that are cheap and great places to stay if you are looking to get into the local scene. With the big onsen you may find them used to foreigners the local ones not so much. I think the local ones are better and far less crowded which equals less staring locals. Also a little knowledge of the bathing etiquette goes a long way....
Day trips from Kyoto-Nara, Kobe, or a great castle(UNESCO site)in Himeji city. You can be back in Kyoto by nightfall and it's a good use of the JR pass. HIroshima as a day trip is pretty taxing. I think koya would work better as Kyoto-Koya-Kyoto(I think a bus may be involved but can't recall) then make your way to Tokyo and then Nikko. Nikko can be a day or 1 night from Tokyo, it's won't cost much. And it will be easier for you to get a shikansen from Kyoto to Tokyo then try to make the trip from Koya. If you like temples and shrines then 5 days will be too short for Kyoto. It is a sprawling city but you can take advantage of the bus system starting from JR Kyoto station to get around. Aim for a couple per day or you end of spending a long time from place to place. Cabs are a convenient but expensive option.
I can't help with Shuzen-ji or Miyama never been.

Bring a phrasebook as the language barrier is quite an obstacle. Study a train map if possible to gauge times as the trains are extremely efficient but a bit complex. www.japanrail.com/JR_hyperdia.html is a good website for train times.

Let me know if you need more help,

Chris

8. Posted by aarantes (Respected Member, 165 posts) 8 Mar '07 02:28

This site is saving my life. Thanks!

I kind of changed my mind again because I want to fit Takayama... It seems to have quite a different felling from the other places. From Tokyo and Kyoto I can do some daytrips, depending on if I want to spend more time in the cities or not. I have just one big doubt and it is about the 28th. It will be beggining of the Golden Week and I wanted to do something closer to Tokyo. Hakone came back to my mind. I know it's going to be crowded, but everywhere is going to be crowded, right?

What I need is a place at a resonable travel time from both Kyoto and Tokyo to spend one night. Any suggestions? Please help!

18/04 - Arrive in Tokio
19/04 - Tokio
20/04 - Tokio
21/04 - Takayama
22/04 - Takayama
23/04 - Kyoto
24/04 - Kyoto
25/04 - Kyoto
26/04 - Spend the night in a temple at Mont Koya
27/04 - Kyoto
28/04 - ???
29/04 - Tokio
30/04 - Tokio
01/05 - Tokio
02/05 - Say goodbye to Tokio

Thanks again!

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9. Posted by tsubaki (Budding Member, 36 posts) 8 Mar '07 07:03

HI
I wouldn't cut Hiroshima out of your plan - it's unique amongst other japanese cities (for obvious reasons!), has a wonderful relaxed feel, and Miyajima is beautiful. Also had a nice ryokan on it. Travelling from Kyoto to Hiroshima, Miyajima and back in one day would be rushed and exhausting, though.

Enjoy Japan, it's wonderful!