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Gilberto Oct 30th, 2004 03:11 PM

8 days in many in Tokyo/Kyoto?
I',m reorganizng my last year's postponed first trip to China and Japan. Will spend 8 days in Japan, then will leave to China, but need your advise of how to distribute the days in Tokyo and Kyoto. This is my tentative itineary:

April 2 - Arrive at Narita 3:30pm (Hotel Shiba Park?)

April 3 - Tokyo half day tour. Need your recommendations for the rest of the day.

April 4 - Hakone day trip (it is worth it even on cloudy or overcast days?)

April 5 - Nikko day trip or more Tokyo?

April 6 - Shinkansen to Kyoto. Half day tour and rest of day free (recommendations?)

April 7 - More Kyoro or Nara?

April 8 - Kyoto and evening train to Tokyo

April 9 - Tokyo to Beijing (plane leaves at 10:30 am). Which is the earliest Shuttle Bus to Narita?

What do you think of the itinerary? Will appreciate any advise of must see's in Tokyo and Kyoto. Can you leave the big luggage at the Tokyo hotel and leave to Kyoto with a small travel bag? Will appreciate any advice.


lcuy Oct 30th, 2004 05:57 PM

Well you really only have 6 days in Japan...Arriving at Narita at 3:30 gets you into Tokyo at 6:30 at the earliest.

If it were me, I'd head straight to Kyoto that evening...Take the train from Narita, then transfer to the shinkansen at Tokyo. You're already in the stations and can reserve the whole trip at the start. That way you are sure to end up in Tokyo on time to leave on the 9th.

I'd tour Kyoto April 3 & 4, (plenty of info at the TIC near the station)and visit Nara on the 5th, coming back to sleep in Kyoto.

Next morning (the 6th), I'd catch an early train to Tokyo. Sit on the left and maybe you'll see Fuji from the train if the weather is clear.

On the 7th and 8th, take a half day tour of the city from Tokyo station. Visit a museum at Ueno Park, see the temple in Asakusa and take a boat ride up the Sumida, shop/wander Shinjuku or ginza areas. You'll just barely have enough time to feel like you're in Tokyo, but you can always come back!

Some good Tokyo guides are Knopf, Time Out Tokyo, Little Adventures in Tokyo or Gateway to Japan.

mjs Oct 31st, 2004 10:05 AM

I very much agree with icuy. You really do not have much time in Japan. Consider that you will lose a a half day traveling in between Tokyo and kyoto. This actually gives you less than 6 full days to visit Japan. I do not know where you are coming from, but despite the fact you will probably be quite tired, I too would advise going straight to Kyoto on your first day to maximize your time.

Gilberto Oct 31st, 2004 03:59 PM

Thanks Icuy and mjs for your replies. I was considering staying at Tokyo the first days, precisely because I was coming from a long trip (from Puerto Rico to New York to Tokyo). Taking a train to Kyoto for another 2:30 hours the same day I thought It would be very tiresome. But your suggestions would be considered. Any of you have visited Hakone on an overcast day; is it worth it?

Kyoto_Boy Nov 5th, 2004 02:01 AM

For your Kyoto visit, below site might be useful. It include temple/shrine fees and opening hours.

Alec Nov 5th, 2004 03:48 AM

Cloudy Hakone
Well, you can still appreciate the hot spring (there are plenty of onsen open to the public for a fee, around 1,000 yen) and the sulpher springs at Jigokudani is still an awesome experience, though very touristy. You'll miss the view of Mt Fuji, but Hakone isn't the best vantage point for the peak because of nearby hills(it's from the northern slope at the Five Lakes - Fuji-Goko). The whole experience of the clasic Hakone tour using rack railway, cable car and 'pirate' ship on Ashino-ko is highly commercialised with big crowds, but it's a pleasant detour from Tokyo's urban sprawl and cultural overload in Kyoto. I wouldn't let the overcast day spoil my fun.

emd Nov 5th, 2004 04:05 AM

The Open Air Museum (outdoors, wonderful sculpture) in Hakone is a highlight, and we are looking forward to that, whether it is cloudy or not.

Mara Nov 5th, 2004 12:40 PM

Kyoto_Boy, terrific website. Thanks,
ps Any other good ones for Kyoto?

Kyoto_Boy Nov 17th, 2004 11:12 PM

Sorry for the late replay, here are some more useful sites.
Hope these helps.

Kyoto Local Map

Train fare and time checker.

whiteon Nov 18th, 2004 04:00 AM

Japan is pretty crappy as far as budget travel goes. You can check out or when you get here there are a ton of H.I.S. travel offices in any town. Pop in one and they can help.

Another company, IACE, has a English web site and a good design to help you find the cheapest flights. Only 2 native airlines though, JAL and ANA, so basically there is no Southwest or JetBlue out here to compete with them.

glorialf Nov 18th, 2004 07:59 AM

I'd do this:

April 4-- stay in Tokyo. Hakone not worth it. If what you want to see is Mt. Fuji you'll see it on the train to Kyoto.

April 5-- go to Kyoto and spend the rest of the time there. It is the heart of cultural japan and there is an enormous amount to see and do. I spent two weeks there a year ago and barely scratched the surface.

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