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Advice needed for April itinerary and rail pass

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Nov 30th, 2014, 02:06 AM
  #1
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Advice needed for April itinerary and rail pass

We will travel with our 7 year old daughter from 6th April through 16th. We will base in Kyoto for the first 6 nights, then 2 nights at Lake Kawaguchiko and last 2 nights at Tokyo.

Can someone provide some advice on the itinerary? Should I skip Hisroshima and spend more time in Kyoto? Should I get a JR west pass for the first 4 days and 7 days JR pass for the remaining days? Or a Kansai pass works better for the first 4 days, or the package for ICOCA & HARUKA? Refer to the itinerary below, taking out the rental car to Lake Kawaguchiko in Tokyo, because it's too many transfers between Kyoto and Kawaguchiko station and try to avoid the one way fee; also I think we can visit more lakes by driving around. Any advice about driving in Japan?

Many thanks in advance!

Day 1 Arrive Kansai airport around 5:30pm, heading to Kyoto and rest
Day 2 Kyoto Kiyomizudera, Higashiyama, Ginkakuji, Gion, Nishiki Market
Day 3 Kyoto Arashiyama,Fushimi Inari Shrine
Day 4 Osaka-Osaka Castel, Namba
Day 5 Nara
Day 6 Hiroshima
Day 7 Kyoto to Tokyo by train, then pick up rental car to Lake Kawaguchiko, staying at lake Kawaguchiko
Day 8 Fuji five lake area
Day 9 Driving back to Tokyo and return the rental car.
Day 10 Tokyo
Day 11 Tokyo to Kansai airport and fly back home
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Nov 30th, 2014, 11:12 AM
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For that itinerary, you would want a 7-day JR Pass activated for first day of travel on Day 5. The JR part of you Kyoto-Kawaguchiko-KIX is more than the cost of a 7-day pass.

I would not want to travel from Tokyo to Kansai airport. You could move your Osaka visit to Day 10

You could look into getting a rental car at Kawaguchiko, or Otsuki. Maybe Odawara would be better.
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Nov 30th, 2014, 11:24 AM
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It is 1 hr 22 min drive from Odawara to Kawaguchi-ko but only 25 min from Otsuki (Nissan rental car there). But there are rental car locations even closer.

Uji had advice for rental cars near Kawaguchi lake, tho it is 5 years old:

http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/que...y.html?0+64046
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Nov 30th, 2014, 06:23 PM
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We're spending about the same amount of time in Japan with a 7yo (and a 3yo!) in January.

We've included Hiroshima (and Miyajima) as I think it's an important place to visit while in Japan (and I've been myself many years ago, and loved the city, as well as appreciating the history).

Will your 7yo be ok to do that much temple hopping on your first full day in Kyoto? Mine is pretty energetic, but with jet lag etc, I'm wondering if it might be a bit much? We've intentionally got a travelling day on our first full day (staying the night in Narita on arrival, then getting the Shinkansen to Kyoto - where we will only see one or two things that day)

I'd also put Osaka at the end - with the amount of travel I've done over the past 7 years with the kids, one thing I have learnt is that it is much much easier to be in the "right" city the night before departure. We're skipping Osaka completely as I felt making time for Hiroshima and Miyajima was more important, but our priotities are probably different to yours (and different time of year too, so that probably impacts things too)
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Nov 30th, 2014, 06:55 PM
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kja
 
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Day 2 Kyoto Kiyomizudera, Higashiyama, Ginkakuji, Gion, Nishiki Market

I think this plan is extremely ambitious. I managed less than 1/2 that in a single day, and I'm a solo traveler who doesn't take breaks.

Day 3 Kyoto Arashiyama,Fushimi Inari Shrine

Potentially doable, assuming you limit your time in Arashiyama appropriately, but do note that these destinations are about as far apart geographically as possible in Kyoto, so you'll need to factor in time for transit. Be sure to check sunset times and plan your time at Fushimi Inari accordingly.


Overall, I think you might want to consider adding time to Kyoto, although that really depends on your interests. And FWIW, Nijojo -- which you don't mention -- was one of my favorite places in Japan.

I encourage you to consider using Japan's excellent public transportation system rather than renting a car.

Hope that helps!
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Nov 30th, 2014, 08:42 PM
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Remember that in Kyoto temples often mostly mean gardens--more room for kids to, if not run, move about freely.

I found Hiroshima one of the more moving experiences of my life, felt like it was important to bear witness to, found it sobering but not depressing and if you emerge from the museum to the outside Peace Park, there is wonderful children's art...and a real time picture of life and people using the space to be and to build (especially on a sunny day). I'd skip Osaka (and did).

If kja thinks your plan is ambitious (perhaps overambitious?), I'd listen. Her pace is much faster than mine and you want to be sure to allow space to take in what you see. In my one three weeks in Japan, it seemed to me to be a place which is as much about being as doing.
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Nov 30th, 2014, 10:08 PM
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Thanks mrwunrfl,

Is there any particular reason not to travel directly from Tokyo to Kansai airport? I have booked(it can be changed if needed) all the accommodations, since it's cherry blossom period, it's really hard to book a decent accommodation even as early as November.

Thanks for the car rental tips, I will definitely check it out again.
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Nov 30th, 2014, 10:45 PM
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Thanks jviola,

Sydney and Kyoto only has 3 hours difference, so Jet leg might not be a big issue. But I do agree it's a bit too aggressive; I am hoping, since our accommodation is near Gion area, we might be able to have some rest during the day, come back out again later the day.

I like the idea about "be in the "right" city the night before departure", thanks a lot! I will rework the itinerary, may be one more day in Kyoto, have to make the decision between Nara and Osaka tough.
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Nov 30th, 2014, 10:51 PM
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??Is there any particular reason ...

4+ hours of train travel with at least two changes of train just to get to the airport would not be my plan.
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Nov 30th, 2014, 10:54 PM
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It can be one change of trains but still 4 hours
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Nov 30th, 2014, 11:06 PM
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Thanks kja,

Will spend one more day in Kyoto, but need to drop Nara or Osaka though, I like food, so Osaka is a big attraction to me. I had been to Nara before, I think my daughter will love to visit those deers.

I am hoping to explore more places around Fuji five lake area by driving around. Any suggestions how to check out Fuji five lake area with public transportation?
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Nov 30th, 2014, 11:08 PM
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Thanks cmstraf,

Will definitely check out Hiroshima!
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Nov 30th, 2014, 11:12 PM
  #13
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"Any suggestions how to check out Fuji five lake area with public transportation?"

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6905.html
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Dec 1st, 2014, 01:42 AM
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Our jet lag shouldn't be too bad either (coming from Auckland - 5 hours maybe) but when combined with a 12 hour flight, I'm not taking any chances

In theory you could probably be ok with the travel from Tokyo to the airport on the last day given how incredibly reliable the trains are (I still remember with fondness my connection to get the last train home from the city when I lived in rural Japan - there was 2 minutes to transfer trains, and I never once missed the connection!) but it's probably safer not to take the risk
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Dec 1st, 2014, 05:19 AM
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What about taking that same plan late afternoon the day before--yes, still a long train ride, but you are safely at Kansai and could give yourself enough time to rest up the next day before your flight.

With the extra day in Kyoto, I would highly recommend going through the work of arranging to see the moss garden, if you haven't already done that. It is magical, your daughter will love it and involves a service where you copy (briefly) some sacred writing before you see the gardens. It costs about $30 and is a bargain. One of the single loveliest places I have ever been.
check Japan thread for descriptions of how to do this.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 06:02 AM
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The thread is called Japan--Visiting Saijogi (spelling)
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Dec 1st, 2014, 07:24 PM
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Many thanks to all of you; I have reworked the itinerary, and spend the last night at Osaka instead. A bit rush in Tokyo, but the main spot we need to go is Disney for my daughter, so I think we would be fine.

Thanks again for all the advices!
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Dec 1st, 2014, 09:10 PM
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Day 7 Kyoto to Kawaguchiko by train. This will involve a Fujikyu Railways train at a cost of ¥1,140. Pick up a rental car that afternoon or evening (if you want a car). Stay at Kawaguchi-ko (Kawaguchi lake) or elsewhere in the Fuji-go-ko (Fuji Five Lakes) area.

Day 8 Fuji five lake area. Return the car to Kawaguchiko station and take the train to Tokyo to spend the night there.

Day 9 Tokyo
Day 10 Tokyo to Osaka in the morning. Visit the castle and see the cherry blossoms. Night in Osaka.

Day 11 If your flight home is late enough then you have some time if you really want to go to Nara deer park. Train to Kansai airport and fly back home.

Or you could spend your last night in Nara.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 09:22 PM
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>>have to make the decision between Nara and Osaka tough.

You can still have both, as I suggested above. Kyoto to Osakajokoen (Osaka Castle Park) is only 40 minutes by JR. The castle is definitely worth visiting (the original castle played a key role in Japanese history). But also, I have read, the park is a very good spot to see cherry blossoms.

It is only 27 minutes by JR from Kyoto to Osaka so you could go there for dinner from Kyoto.

Nara-Kyoto can be 47 minutes on a JR Rapid train. Nara to Osaka in 50 minutes.

Of course, there is additional time and effort in getting to/from the stations.
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Dec 17th, 2014, 05:53 AM
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Do you plan to visit the A-bomb museum in Hiroshima? If so, please do great care to your child. I heard its excessive stress could cause psychological trauma and they have stopped to give a special class for the children with an age younger than roughly 10 year old in Hiroshima.

Cherry usually blossoms late March in the major part of Japan. If the coming season could rival with the slowest records, or you go up to high altitudes (Mt Fuji area??) or north (Tohoku), you could have chance to enjoy Sakura/Hanami.
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Front_d...erisiers#Dates
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