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Thinking about Japan

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I haven't discussed this with Jeane yet, although we are thinking about our next trip. The weather in Japan for the month of October looks good and that is when we are thinking of travelling next (2013). Jeane needs a shopping fix and I think we have had our fill of off-the-beaten-track destinations for the time being. I am thinking Japan would be different enough to be worth the long flight and perhaps offer us a very satisfying vacation. We would plan on spending 12 days on the ground there, ideally split between 3 locations. In addition to some good upscale (but unique to Japan) shopping, we would like to hike, visit gardens and zoos, see cultural sites and generally be outdoors. I favor a more rural experience but I know that there is much to be seen around the cities, including Tokyo. Good food is important and we would prefer to stay in ryokans rather than western-style hotels. I do have a copy of the 2009 Fodors guide but it is a little overwhelming.

Can anyone suggest itineraries that might work?

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