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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Early planning for yet another "second trip" to Japan

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DH and I are very lucky to have accumulated enough time and frequent flyer miles for two big trips this year. Australia and New Zealand are coming up soon (mid-October to late November, so that itinerary is 95% complete). When we got back from Borneo and Japan last June (4 days Tokyo, one night Hakone) we vowed to return to Japan soon. We had to use some FF miles on ANA before they expired, so we just booked tickets for 17 days on the ground in May 2016 (just after Golden Week). Although I feel I have time to plan details when we return from NZ, I realized there might be some special places we want to book asap (such as Mume Hotel in Kyoto). In order to do that, I first have to sketch an itinerary.

From reading recent TRs and planning posts as well as Japan Guide, I’ve come up with my top priorities. We travel slowly (don’t hike) and we will be flying into Tokyo and out of Osaka. I plan to include (at least) 2 days in Tokyo in the beginning, which would then give us about 2 weeks to cover the following highest priorities (at this stage, anyway, I know that your input sometimes changes those for me) - - please help with the order that you think works best and # nights in each place:

1)Snow Monkey park in Yamanouchi;
2)Lake Kawaguchiko (for the pink moss festival and Mt Fuji views - - we could not see Mt. Fuji from Hakone last June);
3)Takayama (especially for Kenrokuen gardens),
4)Shirakawa-go (probably not overnight so is this a full day side trip or “on the way” between two places);
5)Kanazawa;
6)Kyoto

As for other places to possibly fit in (obviously not all): Matsumoto, Koyasan, Nikko, Miyajima and Hiroshima. I’ve read so many of your wonderful reports, it is difficult to eliminate things but if you feel I am missing something major (been to Nara and Kamakura about 40 years ago) well, please advise. Also, I’ve seen very few reports that include Lake Kawaguchiko but since we will be missing sakura, I thought perhaps the pink moss might be nice.

Immediate bottom line: I am thinking about booking Mume for the last 4 nights of the trip since it is still available. Does it make sense to end in Kyoto (final night then to Osaka airport?). Would it be too much include Hiroshima and Miyajima and would it be crazy to back track to go to Kyoto at the end of the trip just to ensure reservations at Mume?

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