Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

14N/13D Japan Itinerary suggestions - first trip tips needed

14N/13D Japan Itinerary suggestions - first trip tips needed

Oct 6th, 2014, 01:17 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19
14N/13D Japan Itinerary suggestions - first trip tips needed

My boyfriend and I are planning our first trip to Japan from Nov. 16-29th, give or take a day. We are trying to see if we can shave a day or two and/or is the current itinerary good? Should we add day to Kyoto or Takayama, skip Takayama, shave a day in Tokyo. No option but to fly in/out Narita. Tx.

Arrive late evening 16th Narita (Marriott Courtyard Ginza)
Day 1: Tokyo
Day 2: Tokyo
Day 3: maybe day trip Hakone
Day 4: maybe day trip to Nikko or Kamakura
Day 5: depart Tokyo AM for Takayama (1/2 day Takayama)
Day 6: Partial day in Takayama, visit Shirakawa, possible overnight stay in Shirikawa

The other option is NOT stay overnight in shirakawago, just visit and then make our way to Osaka for a night so we will be closer to Koyasan.

Day 7: depart Shirikawa early AM to Koyasan (overnight)
Day 8: leave Koyasan late morning, arrive Kyoto 1/2 day Kyoto
Day 9: Kyoto full day
Day 10: Kyoto full day
Day 11: day trip to Nara
Day 12: Kyoto to Tokyo (take late train to Tokyo allowing for mostly full day in Kyoto)
Day 13: 6:50PM flight departure Narita

Lots of questions:

Is 4 days in Tokyo with two side trips too many days, should we knock it down to 3 full days in Tokyo with one day trip? We are using hotel points, is staying in Ginza preferred to the Hotel near the Shinagawa subway station?

Open to suggestions for side trips. Hakone, Kamakura and Nikko are considerations.

Are we overdoing it with a stay in Takayama, stay in Shirakawa and Mt. Koya?

Is our time in Kyoto to long?
jofreed is offline  
Oct 6th, 2014, 04:12 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,831
I would find this trip unpleasantly rushed, but it really depends on what you want to see and experience. As examples, I thought Kyoto and Nara (together) worth at least 6 full days and I thought my 1.5 days in Takayama too little; your preferences might differ.

From what I've read, the specific temple one selects for Koyasan makes a big difference. I was very pleased with Shojoshin-in:
https://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/...n=Shojoshin-in

I trust you are familiar with the incomparable japan-guide website:
http://www.japan-guide.com

Have you already booked your flights? If not, try to book into Narita and out of Kansai (or vice versa) to avoid backtracking.

Also, you might want to ask the editors to add a tag for Japan to this thread.

Enjoy!
kja is offline  
Oct 6th, 2014, 07:38 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,013
Hakone is fabulous, Nikko we had a bad experience in, Kyoto as you have it is spending too little time not too much. See my 2008 trip report for many more details AND pictures of the beautiful autumn weather you can hope for.

Buon viaggio!
cmstraf is offline  
Oct 6th, 2014, 07:54 PM
  #4  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,831
My experience in Nikko was wonderful. I was glad to have an overnight there.
kja is offline  
Oct 7th, 2014, 11:56 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,642
Would be better if you could arrive the 15th, for Shichi-Go-San at Meiji Jingu on the 16th. You could put Meiji Jingu on the plan for the 17th, tho.

Your Day 7 is not a good plan. It is over 6 hours from Takayama to Koyasan, which is too much for me, and add to that a bus from Shirakawago and it is just longer and more complicated. Or are you planning to drive to Shirakawago? Not that it makes much difference.

I think you would do well to go from Tokyo directly to Kyoto. That would get you in Kyoto around the peak of the fall colors.

Just looking at that day 7 is enough to convince me that your plan is "broken".
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 8th, 2014, 08:23 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19
The more I research the more I want to add. I have cut a day out of Tokyo on the front end to add Hakone overnight on the back end. The other option I am considering is changing my flight to add one more day. Is this just too much? Are we cutting ourselves short but limiting days in Tokyo/Kyoto. Is it worth it to change flight for additional day added to the current itinerary?

Arrive late evening 16th Narita
Day 1: Tokyo
Day 2: Tokyo
Day 3: Tokyo side trip somewhere Kamakura
Day 4: depart Tokyo AM for Takayama 1/2 day Takayama (overnight Takayama)
Day 5: Partial day in Takayama, Takayama to Osaka (overnight Osaka)
Day 6: Osaka AM to Koyasan (overnight in Koyasan)
Day 7: leave Koyasan late morning, arrive Kyoto 1/2 day Kyoto
Day 8: Kyoto full day
Day 9: Kyoto full day
Day 10: Kyoto (day trip to Nara)
Day 11: Kyoto to Hakone (overnight Hakone)
Day 12: Hakone to Tokyo (take late train to Tokyo allowing longer day in Hakone)
Day 13: 6:50PM flight departure Narita
jofreed is offline  
Oct 8th, 2014, 05:17 PM
  #7  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,831
"Is this just too much? Are we cutting ourselves short but limiting days in Tokyo/Kyoto. "

Again, IMO, yes -- you are trying to do too much and are shortchanging yourselves but spending time traveling when you could be spending your time seeing amazing things. JMO.

I recommend that you identify the things you most want to see in each location, note their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from the train/bus station or whatever, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together. You might end up deciding to cut a destination or two....
kja is offline  
Oct 9th, 2014, 09:30 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19
Thanks Kja. If you had to skip one portion of the trip, would you go to Hakone or Takayama? We are really eager to go to Koyasan so not willing to give up on that one just yet.

If I drop Takayama, I can consider leaving first thing in the AM from Tokyo to arrive at Koyasan by early afternoon. I would also eliminate the night in Osaka, which was only meant to be a stop over anyway. This would give me two extra days to play with in Tokyo, Hakone or Kyoto.

Or elminate Hakone and flip it the other way. Intersted to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
jofreed is offline  
Oct 9th, 2014, 11:02 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,997
You have a nice late afternoon flight out of Narita. There is really no reason to go back to Tokyo for a night before your departure. We went directly from Hakone to Narita for our afternoon flight out. That would give you an extra day you could add to Kyoto or spend two nights at Hakone.

I also think days 4, 5, 6 & 7 look not fun. Too much "to-ing and fro-ing." All of those one-night stays get exhausting.Choose fewer destinations and spend not fewer than two or three nights each place is my guideline.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 9th, 2014, 03:59 PM
  #10  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,831
Personally -- and it is a personal choice -- I would skip Takayama this time around. Wait until you can give Takayama and Kanazawa (together) at least 4 or 5 days. Your plan calls for spending a LOT of time getting there, all for extremely little time there.

I haven't been to Hakone yet. I like Kathie's idea of going straight from Hakone to Narita.

I'd add ALL the extra time to Kyoto/Nara.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Oct 13th, 2014, 07:52 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,642
You latest itinerary is better. You can just travel from Hakone to Narita Airport. Give that extra night to Takayama or skip Takayama. IMHO
mrwunrfl is offline  
Nov 1st, 2014, 08:31 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,013
We had a similar choice and were very glad to have chosen Hakone over Takayama. Not only is there Mt Fujii and lakes, but the outdoor sculpture museum in Hakone in autumn is not to be missed.
Have a wonderful trip. We spent 8 nights in Kyoto with a day trip to Nara, could have happily been there longer.
And yes, an extra day (or two) is worth it!
cmstraf is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
GingerKiwi
Asia
12
Sep 22nd, 2015 05:52 PM
veggietraveler
Asia
12
Jun 26th, 2015 11:03 AM
BonnieN
Asia
4
Feb 11th, 2013 07:05 AM
spasari
Asia
5
Jun 25th, 2011 11:10 PM
rachelanneb
Asia
8
Nov 10th, 2008 01:50 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:39 AM.