Two week trip to Japan, recommendations?

Travel Forums Asia Two week trip to Japan, recommendations?

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1. Posted by KarlaG (Budding Member 3 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hello travelers :)

We're planning a two week trip to Japan around march 2018. This is our first time visiting this country so I was wondering if those who have already traveled there can share their experiences, tips, or maybe recommend us some must-see places? We're starting in Tokyo and probably moving towards Osaka, visiting some other cities on the way. We're a group of four, and although we're not going on a strict budget, it'd be nice to have some tips on how to save $$ as a tourist.

Thanks!

2. Posted by Tabithag (Respected Member 874 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

It really depends what you enjoy. If you're most interested in the Anime, cosplay, maid and cat cafes, then Tokyo is the place to be, and if the timing fits, Osaka for the Cosplay Festival. If what you want is temples and culture, the Kyoto and Nara are the key locations in the area, though of course Tokyo has some of that too. If you tell us what you are interested in, then you will likely get more detailed suggestion for those aspects.

If you are going in March, then bear in mind that you are heading into cherry blossom season. You may be a bit early for it, but accommodation in Kyoto in particular gets booked out very quickly, so it is worth booking well ahead there unless you speak/read Japanese and can use local booking sites rather than English language ones.

With only two weeks, if temples / history / culture are your prime interest, there are so many, that you could easily fill your time just in this area.

In terms of cost, accommodation can be high, especially in cherry blossom season, but entrances to tourist sites are generally cheap, and if you choose to, you can eat cheaply too. Local trains are well priced, but you will pay a lot more if you use the Shinkansen (bullet train). That is only worthwhile for longer distances though; we used it to go down to Hiroshima for example, but used local trains between Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo etc.

3. Posted by KarlaG (Budding Member 3 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Tabithag

It really depends what you enjoy. If you're most interested in the Anime, cosplay, maid and cat cafes, then Tokyo is the place to be, and if the timing fits, Osaka for the Cosplay Festival. If what you want is temples and culture, the Kyoto and Nara are the key locations in the area, though of course Tokyo has some of that too. If you tell us what you are interested in, then you will likely get more detailed suggestion for those aspects.

If you are going in March, then bear in mind that you are heading into cherry blossom season. You may be a bit early for it, but accommodation in Kyoto in particular gets booked out very quickly, so it is worth booking well ahead there unless you speak/read Japanese and can use local booking sites rather than English language ones.

With only two weeks, if temples / history / culture are your prime interest, there are so many, that you could easily fill your time just in this area.

In terms of cost, accommodation can be high, especially in cherry blossom season, but entrances to tourist sites are generally cheap, and if you choose to, you can eat cheaply too. Local trains are well priced, but you will pay a lot more if you use the Shinkansen (bullet train). That is only worthwhile for longer distances though; we used it to go down to Hiroshima for example, but used local trains between Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo etc.

Hi Tabithag, thanks for your feedback! there are some of us that are fans of anime so yeah it seems we'll have a good time in Tokyo :). Aside from Osaka, Kyoto and Nara would you recommend to visit other sites like Mt Fuji or Nagoya? We look for experimenting the things that make the Japanese culture so different from ours (we're Latinos), so you could say we'll go for the culture and traditions outside the modernity of Tokyo.

Do you think 3 days in Tokyo and 2 in Kyoto would be enough to cover all the most well lknown locations there? We want to do a side trip to Hong Kong on the second week so we really only have a bit more than one week to explore Japan, but we're not sure how to distribute the time between all the cities.

Also, have you used the JR Pass? If so, how was your experience with it?

Thank you again!

Post 4 was removed by a moderator
5. Posted by Tabithag (Respected Member 874 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Fuji is lovely, but can often be covered, so you may find you waste your time on a trip out there, and it sounds like you won't have much time. I didn't go to Nagoya. I loved Hiroshima, quite liked the big tori gate in Miyajima, and thought Koyasan was worth a visit for the old cemetery. I liked Kobe for the steak and sake breweries, and the earthquake museum, and I enjoyed tasting the craft beers in Yokohama, just outside Tokyo.

But in all honesty, if you will only have a week, and you want to see a lot of the traditional temples etc, then I would stick to just a few cities. Kyoto has loads to see, and even if you really dash about everywhere, you would be struggling to see it in two days. And nearby Nara is worth a visit too. But of course it is entirely up to you.

You may want to allow time to see a traditional tea ceremony, and see if there are any festivals during your stay, as these can be huge fun.

I didn't buy a JR pass, because we only used the shinkansen for the trips to Hiroshima and back, otherwise we just used the local trains which are much cheaper.

6. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1586 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

If you really want to save a bit of money in Japan, use the overnight buses between Tokyo and Kyoto and between Kyoto and Hiroshima. It is definitely possible to get a good six or seven hour's sleep on them and so save a night's accommodation bill. (The down side is that you won't get into your hotel room for the following night until at least midday on the day you arrive.)

As Tabithag suggests, Hiroshima was excellent and a trip to Miyajima and a hike up Mt Misen was a highlight for me. We also stayed in Tokyo and Kyoto which were brilliant. We bought a 3 day Hakone pass which allowed us to use any transport between Tokyo and Hakone/Kawaguchiko so we went on the buses, trains, cable cars and the Lake Ashi pirate boats and had a night overlooking Mt Fuji.

Off the top of my head, we had four nights in Tokyo, two in Hakone/Mt Fuji, overnight to Kyoto, three nights in Kyoto, overnight to Hiroshima, just two nights there and then on to Shimonoseki and away overnight on a ferry across to Busan in Korea.

It's a beautiful country - enjoy!

7. Posted by puppa17 (Budding Member 66 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

If you can get a JR pass is great, even dou some subway do not run as JR.
Tokyo is great and you can easily spend 4 5 days there. From see Asakusa, Tokyo Tower, Ueno park, You can wak fron Shinjuku to Shibuya. HArajuku is cool specially on weekeknds, and Yoyogi park on Sundays has old school rock n roll groups playing music and dancing around.

Osaka is nice, but I would focus more on Kyoto Nara, Hiroshima. If you have time check Koya-san temple mountain, not far from Osaka

8. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1377 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

If you're interested in the traditions and culture of Japan, then a side trip from Tokyo to Nikko is highly recommended - I would favour that over a trip to see Fuji, which as has already been pointed out can be hidden. Nikko has the most amazing temples (especially the Toshogu Shrine), and although best seen in an overnight trip can be done in a day if you're happy to leave early.

9. Posted by KarlaG (Budding Member 3 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Thank you all for your suggestions! :)

10. Posted by HaadRinGuide (Respected Member 550 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Osaka is okay, but Kyoto is much nicer imo. Kyoto has lots of old temples and feels like old traditional Japan.