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Japan Itinerary Help for April 2017

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Hello Fodorites! After reading several of your extremely helpful trip reports and a couple guidebooks this is our tentative itinerary:

Day 1 April 6: Arrive Tokyo Narita 2:30pm, then train to Kyoto
Day 2: Kyoto
Day 3: Daytrip to Nara
Day 4: Kyoto
Day 5: Daytrip to Hiroshima
Day 6: Kyoto
Day 7: Train from Kyoto to Hakone
Day 8: Hakone
Day 9: Train from Hakone to Tokyo
Day 10: Tokyo
Day 11: Tokyo
Day 12: Tokyo
Day 13: Arrive at Narita by 8am for flight home

I want to begin the trip in Kyoto instead of Tokyo because A) I’m hoping to catch the end of Sakura and would rather see it in Kyoto and B) our flight time returning home is early and it will be easier to get to Narita if we’re already in Tokyo.

The idea with Hakone was to give ourselves a break from the big cities and relax for a couple of days in a beautiful place. But I’m now questioning a couple of things. First, there are so many amazing sites in Kyoto I think I need 4 full days there instead of 3. Second, I’m wondering if 2 nights in Hakone isn’t enough to really relax and the extra travel hassle to/from Hakone might cancel out any relaxation. So here are the alternatives I’m considering:

1) Skip Hakone and add 1 night in Kyoto and 1 night in Tokyo. The extra time in Tokyo could be used for a daytrip to Kamakura.

2) Keep the nights in each city as-is, but skip either the daytrip to Nara or Hiroshima to give more time to Kyoto.

3) Keep the nights in each city as-is, and keep the daytrips to Nara and Hiroshima, and just pare down the list of sites to see in Kyoto.

4) Instead of Hakone, go to Miyajima for 2 nights, seeing Hiroshima then rather than a daytrip from Kyoto.

What do you think??

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