13 day itinerary - Japan

Jan 31st, 2017, 04:15 PM
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13 day itinerary - Japan

Hey everyone,

Planning 13 days in Japan and really need your help. We are two females from Canada and this will be our first time. Below I have a preliminary itinerary and would like your suggestions on whether it is feasible for 13 days. Also, should we purchase the JR pass - if so, for which routes on the itinerary and where (name of website) would you recommend us purchasing? Also, any reasonably priced (no more than $150/night) accommodations you would recommend? Lastly, any recommendations on where I can get information on sumo wrestling fights?
• Tokyo – 5 nights (include day trip to Takayama)
• Kyoto – 3 nights
• Hiroshima – 2 nights (include day trip to Miyajima island)
• Osaka – 3 nights (include day trip to Nara)
MelMelieMelos is offline  
Jan 31st, 2017, 04:19 PM
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Why are you going to Osaka when you have such a short time in Kyoto? Much better to add at least an overnight in Takayama and the rest to Kyoto.

Go to hyperdia.com to figure out wherher point to point tickets will be a better deal than a pass.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 31st, 2017, 04:53 PM
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Hi - I need to add Osaka because my flight departs from Osaka to head back to Toronto. Would you recommend shortening the time then in Osaka to 2 days, and to add the extra day to Kyoto?
MelMelieMelos is offline  
Jan 31st, 2017, 05:06 PM
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If you mean KIX it doesn't take that much longer to get there from Kyoto than from Osaka.

thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 31st, 2017, 05:12 PM
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A day trip to Takayama from Tokyo doesn't make much sense to me -- it is, I believe, about 4.5 hours each way AND Takayama easily merits at least a full day or two.

While it all depends on your interest, 5 nights in Tokyo seems high and 3 nights in Kyoto seems low. Your call.

Miyajima is delightful, perhaps especially after day trippers leave. You might explore your options for staying there rather than Hiroshima.

Like thursdaysd, I wonder about your time in Osaka. Depending on the time of your flight, you might be able to get to the airport easily from Kyoto. And even if you aren't comfortable with that, spending just the night before your flight in Osaka would be, I think, worth considering. You could add the time to Kyoto (from which you can visit Nara just as easily as you can from Osaka).

In general, I'd urge you to make japan-guide.com the first place you check. It isn't perfect, but IMO, it's the best single source of information on Japan.

Wait until you finalize your itinerary before deciding what pass you need.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jan 31st, 2017, 05:33 PM
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I agree, I would want fewer nights in Tokyo and more in Kyoto. A single night in Osaka before you fly out would make sense to me.
Kathie is offline  
Jan 31st, 2017, 07:07 PM
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Ditto to what all of the ladies above have said.
MinnBeef is offline  
Jan 31st, 2017, 08:31 PM
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We visited the same cities on our first trip, and here is how we allotted the time:

Tokyo - 4 nights (day trip to Nikko, then Mt. Fujii)
Takayama - 3 nights (day trip to Shirakawa-go)
Kyoto - 4 nights (day trip to Nara)
Hiroshima - 3 nights (day trip to Miyajima)
then you could add that last night here in Osaka

We liked Takayama the best on that trip. It's nice to be in a more rural setting for part of the trip. To me, that's what Japan is all about.

Sumo wrestling is seasonal, so you first need to find out if there are any tournaments. When we were there, it was the off-season (July), so the concierge in Tokyo arranged for us to watch the guys practicing.

You asked about hotels, and here is where we stayed:

Tokyo: Marriott Ginza (now a Marriott Courtyard)
Takayama: Best Western
Kyoto: Westin Miyako
Hiroshima: ANA hotel

Regarding the JR Pass, you are not moving around enough to make it worth it, but you should try adding up the segments just in case. I did exactly that for our trip, and it was not even close.
CaliforniaLady is offline  
Feb 1st, 2017, 12:34 AM
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. Here's a revised itinerary - please let me know your thoughts.

Tokyo - 5 nights (day trip to Kamakura/Mt. Fuji)
Takayama - 2 nights
Kyoto - 4 nights (day trip to Nara)
Hiroshima - 2 nights (day trip to Miyajima)

I've kept the same no. of days in Tokyo to accommodate the day trip to Kamakura/Mt. Fuji. Do you agree with this or should 4 nights in Tokyo including a day trip to either Kamakura/Mt Fuji suffice?

Speaking of Kamakura/Mt. Fuji - which one would you recommend - Kamakura or Mt. Fuji.

If you think 4 nights in Tokyo is best, where (new city or one currently existing on the itinerary) should I add the extra night to?

MelMelieMelos is offline  
Feb 1st, 2017, 01:33 AM
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I like the sound of Kamakura as day trip from Tokyo. A day-trip to Mt. Fuji would be a long day and you'd be spending a lot of it on bus. Kamakura is much more accessible but nonetheless a rewarding place to take a look around. Plus, on a clear day you can get some nice views to Mt. Fuji from the beaches around there (just watch out for the birds there - they'll swoop down and nab any food that you eat out in the open).

With the nights in Tokyo, I guess it depends on your tastes. If you like cities, then Tokyo could keep you occupied for much more than 4/5 nights. If I was to add an extra day somewhere else, it would be to Kyoto. Then you could fit in a day trip to Himeji Castle, which would be well worth it in my opinion.

Either way, looks like a great itinerary to me.
TTjpn is offline  
Feb 1st, 2017, 09:46 AM
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Whose $150/night? Is that 150 Loonies or 150 US? If it's 150 Loonies, your options are more restricted. There are a lot of airbnb and vrbo listings for Tokyo and Kyoto. Look there.

Why no Nikko?

You can do Hiroshima as a single night stopover and you may want to go to Miyajima for that night.

Sumo is not "seasonal." There are tournaments every other month - all the odd-numbered ones. Tokyo hosts in January, May and September. Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagoya are the other hosts.

You need to plot out your train rides on hyperdia.com to determine if a JR pass will be useful. Do NOT forget to include seat fees in your calculations from Hyperdia.

Note also (1) local JR trains are available in the various cities (Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto) that charge based upon your embarkation and exit stops- those are covered by the JR pass; (2) you cannot take the fastest trains (Nozomi, Mizuho) on the Tokyo-Osaka-Fukuoka shinkansen lines if you use a JR pass. If you try, you will be charged full freight.
BigRuss is offline  
Feb 1st, 2017, 08:33 PM
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BigRuss - The sumo tournaments are indeed seasonal. The definition from the Webster's dictionary is: happening during a particular time of year.

MelMelleMelos - Your itinerary looks better now. The adjustments you make on the time in each of the cities depends, in part, on the day trips. Do you plan to visit Mt. Fujii, and Nikko as day trips? If you are axing Nikko, then four nights would be enough. Much of the history in Tokyo was destroyed during the war. The subway can get you around pretty quickly, so you can see most of the highlights in one long day. I like Odaiba--did you consider going there, maybe for an afternoon and evening?

One way to help with your decision about how many nights is to plot out the train times that you plan to take. For example, if you take an early morning train from Kyoto to Hiroshima, for example, then you could have some time that day to visit the museum. The next day, you could then visit Miyajima.

I personally would take a night from Tokyo, and put it in Takayama, but I like the rural setting.
CaliforniaLady is offline  
Feb 1st, 2017, 10:31 PM
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Much better!

IMO, Kamakura makes better sense than Mt. Fuji as a day trip, in part because actually seeing Mt. Fuji is unpredictable. I also like the idea of skipping Kamakura to add time to either Kyoto or Takayama -- IMO, Kamakura was very enjoyable, Takayama more so, and Kyoto a place that I will treasure forever. But that's just me. (For that matter, I'd shift even one more day from Tokyo to Kyoto, but again, it's a matter of interests and preferences, and only you can decide on that.)

No bad choices, just difficult ones!
kja is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2017, 11:07 AM
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Uh, no. Seasonal does not mean scheduled for every other month. That's stretching the definition. Seasonal means relating to or occurring with a SEASON.

Geez. At least quote your own source correctly.

BigRuss is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2017, 02:04 PM
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If you look at the link, and you page down, you will see the line I quoted:

: happening or needed during a particular time of the year

Let's get back to the topic at hand, which is the OP's trip.
CaliforniaLady is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2017, 09:00 PM
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When is your trip?

If you want to use a JR Pass and save money then you could move Kyoto to the end. Right now you have 8 nights after leaving Tokyo, so really 9 days to get to Osaka.

Sumo tournaments:
Tokyo: Jan, May, Sep
Osaka; Mar
Nagoya - Jul
Fukuoka - Nov

(not seasonal, but regularly scheduled )
mrwunrfl is online now  
Feb 2nd, 2017, 09:12 PM
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Takayama - 2 nights
Nara - 1 night
Hiroshima - 2 nights (day trip to Miyajima
Kyoto - 3 nights

So, that would be 5 nights/6 days from Tokyo to Kyoto. You could use a 7-day pass for that and have an extra night/day.

You could add another night in Takayama. With that third night you could day trip to Shirakawao.

OTOH, a JR Pass won't save a whole lot of money.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2017, 01:47 AM
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I'm not sure why it's necessary to be quite so pedantic about the meaning of "seasonal", BigRuss, sometimes I think you just like to argue! Shall we focus on the topic in hand? ;-)

I would always advocate more time in Kyoto than Tokyo for first time visitors unless there are a lot of very specific things they have on their list for Tokyo.

I agree that Kamakura works well as a day trip from Tokyo. We didn't do Nikko as a day trip so can't comment on how well that would work. I think Hakone would make for a very long day trip though. I didn't fall for it as much as most people seem to, and not even because we didn't see Fuji). http://www.kaveyeats.com/place/kamakura

Nara can of course be visited as a day trip from Kyoto but is also a wonderful overnight. http://www.kaveyeats.com/2013/01/kai...o-in-nara.html

Loved Takayama, was a favourite from our first trip. http://www.kaveyeats.com/place/takayama
Kavey is offline  
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