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3 week itinerary to Japan- some suggestion/ideas plz

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Sep 2nd, 2013, 05:50 AM
  #1
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3 week itinerary to Japan- some suggestion/ideas plz

Hi

I am going to Japan for 3 weeks, on Sept 26th. I'll fly in/out of Tokyo. I have never been to Japan, so would like some suggestions. I have a rough itinerary put together:

Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo Friday 27th Sept (3 nights)
Day 4 Takayama- (3 nights)
Day 7 Kanazawa - (2 nights)
Day 9, Osaka- (4 nights)
Day 13 Kyoto- (4 nights)
Day 17 Nara - (2 nights)
Day 19 Hiroshima (2 nights)
Day 21 Tokyo (2 nights)

Maybe do a trip to Matsumoto instead and skip Kanazawa?? . Or hop on the ferry to Matsuyma instead of Osaka.??

Any ideas on my itinerary? have I put enough time? I have a 21 days JR Rial pass so should take me to all those places, without the need to purchase additional rail tickets.

Thanks
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 09:49 AM
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You could take a night from Takayama and either stop for a night in Shirakawago or add the night to Kanazawa.

I don't think that skipping Kanazawa for Matsumoto is a good idea. Skipping part or all of Osaka is a better idea.

Matsuyama is a nice stop, for Dogo Onsen and the castle, among other interests. Take two routes to/from Matsuyama: by JR train over the Seto Ohashi bridge(s) and a hydrofoil (not covered by JR Pass) between Matsuyama and Hiroshima (can be quite scenic and quicker than backtracking by train).
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 04:25 PM
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kja
 
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Sounds good!

I agree with mrwunrfl that it would make sense to cut one night from Takayama and use it for either a night in Shirakawago or add a night to Kanazawa.

I love that you are planning on 4 nights in Kyoto and 2 night in Nara!

You might consider staying in Miyajima rather than Hiroshima. Which ever place you stay, do try to visit both.

Have you already committed to flying in and out of Tokyo? You might be able to save time if you fly open jaw, into Tokyo and out of Kansai or vice versa.

i didn't visit Osaka, so can't speak to it. Other places you might want to consider are Nikko (IMO, worth an overnight, rather than a day trip from Tokyo) and/or a one-night temple stay on Koyasan.

Enjoy!
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Sep 2nd, 2013, 11:41 PM
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You might consider splitting Osaka's nights between Osaka and Kobe, but would see what others suggest.

2 nights in Takayama is good, that was during the autumn festival for us, but is a nice place to wander around. Not sure would give it 3 nights.

If you have spare nights, give more to Kyoto, there's so much there and near there (such as Arashiyama).

You might also take a night from Osaka to do an overnight at Koya-san which was a great experience for us. Recommend Shojoshin-in).

Is one (or both) of your Hiroshima nights for Miyajima? If so, do consider it, it's a beautiful place to overnight and lovely place to explore.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 01:55 AM
  #5
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wow! thank you all for your replies.

I didnt consider those places suggested: Shirakawago, Miyajima, and Arashiyama. I'll read up about them. I'll post a revised schedule later

I have already booked my flights to/from Tokyo, since I was unsure on my schedule at the time of booking. I dont mind back tracking to Tokyo, since the shinkansen is very fast and efficient (I took one in China once). And get to see a friend before I leave, last minute shopping etc, so its fine for me.

Thanks again
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Sound like a good itinerary. We loved our overnight visit to Shirakawa-go. Took a bus there from Takayama, and then took the bus on to Kanazawa from there. Very easy!
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Sep 4th, 2013, 11:12 PM
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I just posted on the virtues of Osaka on another thread but on saying that with your itinerary I'd cut a night from Takayama and at least three if not all
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Sep 5th, 2013, 12:12 AM
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sorry for split post....
I just posted on the virtues of Osaka on another thread but on saying that with your itinerary I'd cut a night from Takayama and at least three if not all from Osaka.
Also maybe leave Tokyo one day earlier and add more days there at end of trip.
I'd suggest an onsen stay. Last year my wife and I had a two day trip to Shima Onsen on a package trip offered by Kashiwaya Ryokan that included meals and bus transport to and from Tokyo.

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...hima-onsen.cfm

Other forum members may have other onsen suggestions but with three weeks this would be a fun experience you could enjoy

Another idea would be to add two nights in Nikko . We stayed at the Kanaya hotel which is a historic property close to the entrance, good for early morning visits without crowds
Hope you have a great time
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Sep 16th, 2013, 02:11 PM
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Thanks to all! I have revised my itinerary a bit, taking into consideration the suggestions and other places I have been reading about, though I may change it again once I am there. I decided to skip Osaka completely, as it seems a bit of a waste having read the feedback here. I may go beyond Hiroshima and head over on to Matsuyama, (using rail and ferry as suggested), but this is what I aim for now. I hope I have enough time, please suggest if I have not or being a little too ambitious..My rail pass should cover all ground except the bus from Takayam->Shirakawago->Kanazawa.

Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo Friday 27th Sept (3 nights)
Day 4 Takayama- (2 nights)
Day 6 Shirakawa-go (1 night, take bus from Takayama)
Day 7 Kanazawa - (2 nights, take bus from Shirakawa-go)
Day 9, KoyaSan (maybe?),(2 nights)
Day 11 Kyoto- (5 nights, including day trip to Arashiyama)
Day 16 Nara - (2 nights)
Day 18 Hiroshima (2 nights)
Day 20 Nikko (1 night) or Miyajima (1 night)
Day 21 Tokyo (1 and final night)
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Sep 16th, 2013, 06:09 PM
  #10
kja
 
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You'll see some wonderful things! In general, I think it's a good plan. Just a couple of possible tweaks depending on your priorities:

Depending on the time of your arrival, you might want to consider going straight to your first destination so you don't have to stay in Tokyo at both the start and the end of your trip. (I don't mind changing hotels every night or so, but I try to avoid extra stays when I can!)

I thoroughly enjoyed Koyasan. I spent one night and was comfortable with what I was able to see in the time I had there (as I recall, I got there late one afternoon and left mid-afternoon the next day), but there was much more I could have seen. From what I've read, the temple you choose is crucial to your experience. I was very pleased with Shojoshin-in:
http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/r...n=Shojoshin-in
Do consider trying to see Okunu-in at either dawn or dusk or both!

And you might consider visiting Koyasan a bit later in your trip, since it seems a little out of place after Kanazawa. You might consider Kanazawa to Kyoto to Nara to Hiroshima/Miyajima to Koyasan or other variations. I didn't check the schedules and trust others will chime in, but I think there would be more efficient routes than the one you propose. (But I could easily be mistaken!) BTW, you might consider using a luggage forwarding service from your destination just before Koyasan to the one just after it, so you take only what you need while in Koyasan. It will be a long (if sometimes incredibly scenic) trip no matter where you start; no reason to carry unnecessary baggage!

I would allocate 2 nights for Hiroshima AND Miyajima and try to stay ON Miyajima. You might consider Momiji-so:
http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/r...yokan=Momijiso

I don't think it matters to your planning, but just in case, I trust you are aware that Arashiyama is really part of Kyoto -- the western part.

If you can fit in a night in Nikko, I think you will find it a nice contrast to your other experiences. It would seem that you could visit it by cutting your stay in Koyasan to 1 night, cutting your time in Kyoto to 4 nights, or combining Hiroshima and Miyajima for a total of 2 nights. (And if you do 2 of those things, you could add a day to Kanazawa.)

Hope that helps!
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Sep 16th, 2013, 06:21 PM
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I think I would swap the order of Kyoto and Koyasan. That is, just go from Kanazawa to Kyoto. Then Koyasan (one night, max) from Kyoto or Nara.

Day 20 is too much traveling to go to Nikko.

You could swap Nara and Hiroshima.

Another option: toss Koyasan from the itin. Add a night in Kanazawa. Then Kanazwa- Kyoto- Hiroshima/Miyajima- Nara- Nikko or Tokyo- Tokyo
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Sep 16th, 2013, 10:47 PM
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kja
 
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Oh, if you have any interest in Koyasan, don't skip it! It can be truly magical.

Traveling from Miyajima (or Hiroshima) to Nikko would, indeed, make for a long travel day - depending on when you start, probably 6.5 to 8 hours with a number of changes. But if you use a luggage forwarding service
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2278.html
it wouldn't be that difficult -- just a day to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Check your options out on hyperdia
http://www.hyperdia.com/en/
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Sep 17th, 2013, 03:19 AM
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Just a note, though probably too late to change, but Takayama autumn festival is Oct 9/ 10 so you could attend if you swapped your itinerary about.
x
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Sep 17th, 2013, 10:03 AM
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Well, we liked Matsumoto but we're castle geeks and it's certainly an interesting one.

Good decision on skipping Osaka - it's worth an afternoon to visit the castle (a museum) but not worth a long stay.
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Sep 17th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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Arashiyama is really part of Kyoto. You may be able to do Nara as a day trip from Kyoto instead of decamping. Plus, staying in Kyoto = better transport options than Nara to Hiroshima.
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Sep 17th, 2013, 03:43 PM
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We loved overnighting in Nara but that may have largely been down to our wonderful experience at our ryokan: http://www.kaveyeats.com/2013/01/kai...o-in-nara.html

But it was nice to have a night there, and for us, it was worth the packing and moving more often...
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Sep 17th, 2013, 06:10 PM
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Basically a great itinerary imo. I agree with mrwunrfl about switching Kyoto and Koyasan and Nara and Hiroshima. Nikko is not so bad from Nara - I did it from Kyoto but from Hiroshima it's too much....
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Sep 18th, 2013, 01:20 PM
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Wow thanks to all for suggestions.
I'm aware of the festival in takayama, and deliberately put it in before Oct 9, to avoid such crowds, but is it worth going anyway? If so, then ill swap the order around to get there on time.
I agree that Hiroshima to Nikko might be too much in a day, (think i was ambitious at the time) so ill stop in Khoysan or Nara for the night, then continue to Nikko, then Tokyo to finish. I think that's more manageable I think the plan suggested by mrwunrfl is better, thanks

Regarding luggage service: that wont be necessary as ill have a pack back and don't carry much. What I do want to ask if there are any lockers in the bus station at shirakawago, so rather than spending the night there, I can take the bus from takayama there, store my bags somewhere, look around then continue from shirakawago to Kanazawa . Is this possible? Or is an overnight better in shirakawago?

Thanks again

One thing: is there wifi on the trains. If so, did it work well? I think I'll post that as a separate topic elsewhere
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Sep 18th, 2013, 08:03 PM
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Yes, there are lockers at the Shirakawago bus station - no problem with that. I did the stop there on my way from Takayama to Kanazawa. It was very rainy that day and 3 hours there was plenty for me. I did not want to stay over as I was worried that the inns if they had the open fireplaces would be too smoky as I have a little asthma....
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Sep 18th, 2013, 08:26 PM
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You can leave your bag at the tourist office near the bus stop in Shirakawago. I loved spending the night there in the Koemon gassho zukuri. Accommodations are futons on the floor and bathroom down the hall.
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