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Itinerary set for Japan trip #2: working on some details

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Thanks to all for your comments on my previous planning posts for Japan trip #2, beginning just after Golden Week. It took a while to nail down accommodations, partly because of my waffling, but now everything is set. I’m now working on filling in the details - - looking for specific recommendations for places you especially enjoyed in each city, restaurant recommendations and a little help with the trains. Here goes:

May 9 (arrive late afternoon) – 12: Tokyo
May 13: Lake Kawaguchiko
May 14-15: Matsumoto/Asama Onsen
May 16-17: Takayama
May 18-20: Kanazawa
May 21: Ishikawa (The Kayotei)
May 22-25: Kyoto
May 26 evening: Osaka airport hotel (not sure if we will spend day in Kyoto or Osaka)
May 27: back to DC from Osaka to Tokyo to Dulles

First: maybe I’m missing something but it doesn’t look like either the 7 or 14 day JR pass is worth purchasing. From what I found on Hyperdia, individual ticket prices (including seat reservations) are as follows:
To Kawaguchiko, 4380; to Matsumoto, 6080, to Takayama take a bus (since this will be faster than the train), to Kanazawa, 4950, to Kayotei 2030, to Kyoto 6030. Have I not taken anything into consideration?

If it makes any difference, we will probably take the Narita Express to Tokyo Station (near our hotel) when we arrive on May 9, we will probably not do any day trips out of Tokyo while we are there. I can’t make head or tail of the regional passes - - one of those might make sense so this is where I can really use some help, especially for some of the combination passes and/or bus discounts.

Second, what are your personal “do not miss” spots or activities especially for Takayama, Kanazawa and Kyoto?

Finally, asking again, has anyone gone to the Fuji Shibazakura (Pink Moss) festival? This is why we are going to Lake Kawaguchiko and hoping to see Fuji-san, since the weather didn’t cooperate on our trip to Hakone. Looking for advice on logistics as there are special buses during festival time.

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