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Finally going to Japan -- need help planning (and need to book soon!)

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[I'll caveat this message with the fact that for those of you who couldn't follow along on Facebook, yes, I owe consolidated trip highlights from Burma. Once the jetlag nightmare of the past few days wears off, I'll begin that thread. A teaser: bar-none, one of the best, most eye-opening and fulfilling trips we've ever had. I'm still reeling from our Balloons Over Bagan experience. Truly religious.]

So I think we've narrowed down this year's trip (because you know I don't waste a precious second when it comes to trip planning!) Need to get our mileage tickets booked while the getting is good. And it's good right now.

We absolutely FELL IN LOVE with Japan during our 10 hour layover on the way home from Burma. We only saw Narita town and all we talked about on the plane ride home was how to get back to Japan and see more, eat more, experience more, etc.

But my question is: what kind of trip can one have in November in Japan? I feel like it's sort of a shoulder season -- just a little too late for the beauty of the fall foliage and early enough to avoid the bitter cold of December. But not really sure what to expect of or make of Japan in November.

The other thing is this'll be a "shorter" trip than normal. Work schedules will restrict us to about 11 days on the ground (which is still great, of course, but it certainly won't allow for a lot of stops.) That said: where would you go in 11 days? I'm thinking 3 nights Tokyo, 4 nights Kyoto (including day trip to Nara), 2 nights Miyajima or an extension to Kyoto and an overnight in Koyasan) and another night in Tokyo before heading home. Any suggestions and revisions to a first-time Japan trip in 10 nights would be supremely appreciated. Of course, of most interest to us is culture, FOOD, nature, etc.

I find myself in a bit of a pickle since United has apparently changed their policy and we must book the tickets ASAP (with no ability for a 72 hr hold -- as previously allowed.) They give us 24hrs to cancel with no penalties or redeposit fees. So I'm most likely going to book this by tomorrow -- but really don't want to be too hasty and do my due diligence to make sure we're not booking at the wrong time.

Thanks in advance, fellow Fodorites!

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