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Planning Japan Trip #2

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Many thanks on the previous thread that's gotten me at least this far.

And special shout-outs to kimjapan, lcuy, craig and mrwunrfl for their help so far.

To recap: planning 10 days in Japan in December (before heading to Thailand for about 5 days)

The following places have made it to our short list ... and I'm presenting them in a lame attempt of potential order of visit:

Fly into Tokyo (1-2 nights; assuming we fly in and out of here)
Shibu Onsen (1 night; to visit snow monkeys at Jigokudani; looking at Kanaguwa for lodging)
Kanazawa (3 nights, with 1 of those potentially at Beniya Mukayu)
Takayama (1 night; day trip to Shirakawa-go)
Kyoto or Osaka (1 night; while in transit to...)
Naoshima (2 nights); Fly out of Takamatsu/NRT)

The issue I keep coming into is that it feels with this itinerary we might get stuck in ryokan almost a little too much. It's not the accomodations that are a problem, but the overwhelming meals can be exactly that...overwhelming and I'm not sure we'd want that all that often (but would want it in the 'right' places). I'm sure we'll be in hotels in Tokyo or Kyoto/Osaka, and maybe in Kanazawa we can avoid by staying in a machiya.

The other issue is that perhaps we're biting off too much in 10 days. Don't want to be running around at an unreasonable pace.

So, need some additional critique here from the experts. Would you recommend re-ordering the cities? Or cut something out? I know that getting to the snow monkeys can be a pain (which is why we'd stay overnight nearby) -- and that it might be a bit touristy -- but we really do have our hearts set on the experience.

No real rush except I need to buy my award tickets soon so the only really important part it to try and nail down our entry and exit points in Japan.

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