2 Weeks in Japan July 2016

Apr 30th, 2016, 05:01 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2016
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2 Weeks in Japan July 2016

HI, we are planning a 2 wk trip to Japan for July. We arrive in Tokyo on July 14th and leave from Tokyo on July 28th. We would like to be in Kyoto on July 16/17 for the Gion Festival and in Osaka on July 24/25 for the Tenjin Matsuri festival. We would love itinerary suggestions for balance of the trip. We don't plan on renting a car, but plan on buying a 14 day JR pass.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
dinesty is offline  
Apr 30th, 2016, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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While taking the train in Japan is always a good idea, you'll have to see whether a JR Pass makes sense for you. We found that buying the individual tickets was cheaper for us. You'll have to look at www.hyperdia.com/en and price it out.

Do you know about www.japan-guide.com ? The best info on Japan available, IMO. Indispensable for planning your trip.

It will be hot and humid and rainy in July, so do take that into consideration in your planning.
Kathie is offline  
May 1st, 2016, 04:54 PM
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Hard to give meaningful suggestions without knowing anything about your likes and interests. Having said that, I'd make a recommendation of a couple of days in Matsumoto. One day to see the castle (very cool) and the rest of the city. A second day to hike in Kamikochi, which may prove a welcome respite from the heat and humidity in Tokyo and Kyoto. I also would recommend not selling yourself short on time in Kyoto. 5 nights minimum would be what I would do, knowing what I know now. And depending on time, you could consider a couple of days for Hiroshima and Miyajima.
MinnBeef is offline  
May 1st, 2016, 08:48 PM
Join Date: Sep 2014
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The first thing that screams for attention is that your itinerary as you describe it does not make a 14 day JR Pass pay off. You'd need to add some more day trips or side trips. A day trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima for example would do the trick. Also if you start using the pass on July 14th, the last day you can use the pass is July 27 (a day starts and ends at midnight, so if you activate your pass at 6PM, your first "day" is just 6 hours). So you could take the Narita Express to or from Narita (if that is in fact where you land) but not both. A cheap alternative though is the 1000 yen bus.
Most of your time will be in the Kansai area, and there is no shortage of great places to see. The first must-see place aside from Kyoto is Nara, with some of Japan's top sights.
Himeji is another great pick, with Japan's best castle. Don't miss the Kokoen Garden next to it, and to make it a full day, see the huge temple complex on top of Mt. Shosha.
A night at Koyasan is also well worth it to experience the deeply spiritual side of Japan. You can stay at a temple lodging.
Since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka during the day. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5PM, you can zip over to Osaka for the evening. At night the city comes alive and has some great places to see, such as Dotonbori, plus the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg are wonderful.
There are many other possible trips for sightseeing - Kanazawa, Kobe, Hikone, Miyama, Amanohashidate, Okayama, Onomichi, Kurashiki, Kinosaki, Iwakuni, etc. You can get lots of ideas on
As said, July will be extremely muggy and uncomfortable. Bring enough deodorant and stay hydrated.
Adastra2200 is offline  
May 4th, 2016, 02:49 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. These do help formulate an agenda and also ideas for some places I had not considered.
dinesty is offline  
May 10th, 2016, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Carry coins and small bills - Japan has a rep for brutal humidity and heat indexes in the summer (and that's why our next trip will be in autumn). Luckily, there are TONS of vending machines all over the country at every conceivable place so you can water up (hence, the usefulness of coins and small bills).
BigRuss is offline  
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