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Travel to Japan in the off-season - early spring or late fall?

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My DH and I like to travel in the off-season because it's somewhat quieter and less expensive. We're planning our first visit to Japan. We've got 3 weeks and would like to divide our time between the Kyoto area and the Japanese Alps. We originally wanted to travel either this Oct/Nov or in March/April of next year. But as I research the trip, mainly on this wonderful forum, it seems like we'll be caught in either fall foliage season or cherry blossoms and school vacation time. Are these months generally considered high, mediium or low season? Can anyone suggest an optimal 3 week period in the fall or spring? Of course, we're so excited to go that we we'll cope with crowds and expense and love every minute!

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