My husband and I are hoping to take a quick trip to Japan. This will be our third trip and we are somewhat limited in time and budget. In the past we have been everywhere (except Shikoku).
We are not going to do much sightseeing - we just like to wander around and soak in everyday culture there. So if you have been to the places we are planning to go to, we would love to hear your thoughts on ways to get lost in Osaka, Tokyo, Gunma prefecture.
Yes, we will be running around a little bit, but that is normal for us. We are parents to an 18 month old so it is not like we sleep much anyway and we can only leave him for 7 days. We love Japan and Japanese culture and are content just to breathe the air, wander the streets, watch people, and eat
So we have a reservation for flights from Boston -Narita-Itami, Itami to Haneda, then Narita -Chicago- Boston, through JTB USA. We need tobook by tomorrow.
Nov 15: leave Boston
Nov 16: Arrive Osaka Itami around 8 PM. Spend the night near Itami or in Osaka. Need recommendations for affordable places to stay in the Osaka area, near the train station and easy access to Itamo. We need basic accomodation - nothing fancy. We probably want to head out into Osaka for dinner if we get there in time. We land at 8 PM so our options may be limited we understand but even Department store tonkatsu or simple noodles can be such a treat.
Nov 17: We were thinking to check out Arima Onsen. Not sure if we wanted to do a daytrip or an overnight there. Probably day trip. I did some research in the forums and I saw Hawaiian traveler suggested Kinosaki over Arima but we have already done Kinosaki and I think it is more of a pain to get to.. Hang out in Osaka in the evening (Sat night!) Need advice on how to get to Arima, get around, where do go, what to eat, etc.
Sun 18: We are going to hang out with our friends, either in Osaka or Kyoto, depending on their schedule. Sleep in Osaka.
Mon 19: We have an early flight to Haneda airport (7:30 AM). We arrive in Haneda at 8:45 Am. Our plan was to either spend the day in Tokyo or just head straight to Gunma Prefecture.
We are debating between the 80,000 Y JR KANTO pass http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/kantoareapass/#category02
or the JR East pass for 20000Y
Both passes cover the trip back to Narita airport. We are trying to figure out if the Kanto pass gets us to Gunma prefecture.
If the JR Kanto pass covers the trip to Osenkaku Ryokan in Takaragawa onsen, then we will stay in Tokyo on the 19th and will go to the onsen on the 20th. If it doesn't, we will go to the onsen on the 19th and return to Tokyo on the 20th.
Nov 19/20 - Tokyo or Osenkaku onsen
Nov 21: Tokyo. We are hoping to meet up with our friend on that night. We are hoping to find a good rate to stay at the Tokyo Station Hotel as it seems very atmospheric. The expedia rate is $320 per night with my coupon. Seems like a lot but one of the things we like to do is pick one really nice hotel to relax in the night before we leave. A nice hotel is part of the fun of travelling so we like to try one. Our splurges will be Osenkaku ryokan and one night in Tokyo. We are going to try and save $ by staying cheaply in Osaka area.
Nov 22: Tokyo. Our flight leaves around 6:45 PM so we are planning to leave the area for Narita around 3 PM
Thoughts? Suggestions? Advice?
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Would love to hear thoughts about our draft Japan itinerary for 11/12