Advice on Japan Itinerary

Feb 20th, 2002, 07:19 PM
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Advice on Japan Itinerary

Hello, I am planning my first trip to Japan and am looking for some comments on my itinerary. Please tell me if I am missing any must-sees, etc. Thank you!

Arrive Narita and transfer to JAL flight to Osaka...take bus into Kyoto

Hotel in Kyoto?? Thinking about Kyoto Brighton, Hiragiya, or Tamarava

Explore Kyoto the next day. Go to: Kinkaku-ji (eastern Tokyo); Path of Philosophy; Taxi to Kiyomizu-dera (Walk Maruyama Koen to Chion-in); Kyoto Craft Center; Taxi to Nijo-jo (central Kyoto); Nishiki-kohi Market; Ryoan-ji (western Kyoto); Kaiseki Dinner @ Heihachi-Jaya (northern Kyoto)

Either go to Nara the next day or Go to Nagoya and then on to Toba/Kashi on Ise Peninsula. Things not to miss? Place to stay?

Return to Tokyo for business committment

Take train to Nagano and see hot springs, stay at Hotel Fujiya

Return to Tokyo and take day trip to either Nikko or Kamakura/Enoshima or Hakone

I know it is ambitious but this might be my only trip to Japan so I want to see as much as possible. What do you think? Thank you very much for any advice.

Feb 20th, 2002, 09:46 PM
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This is a very ambitious itinerary, but doable. If it were me, I would take the shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, instead of the plane and bus. Or if the plane to Osaka is bought already, I'd take the train into Kyoto.
For your Kyoto you mean the Tawaraya and Hiiragiya? These are two of the finest inns in all of Japan. Brighton hotel is supposed to be very nice, but it is not as centrally located, or nearly as historic as the two inns. If you stay at the Tawaraya or Hiiragiya, don't make dinner plans... they both include a huge breakfast and even bigger (and wonderful!!) kaiseki dinner.
Other than that, you will spend a lot of time travelling, as the shinkansen to Nagano alone is 3 hours each way. If you you get a rail pass, you should be able to adjust your schedule as you go.
Feb 21st, 2002, 05:13 PM
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Thank you for your advice. Would you recommend going to Hakone over Nagano?

Also, do you have any tips on seeing Ise? (i.e. how to get there, what to see)
Thank you!
Feb 22nd, 2002, 04:13 AM
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You'll be busy! In Kyoto, I like the Ginkakuji (Silver Pavillion), as it is very peaceful. Plus, Heian Jingu Shrine. Unless you really want to buy something, I'd pass on the craft center and the park walk.(Sorry) You may not like the idea, but a bus tour is really what you may need to see a lot of places on your limited time. It will give you a taste of things with less hassle.

I suggest Nara for sure, and it is easy access from Kyoto. Ise shrine as I remember takes quite a while, and you'd be rushing yourself.
Nagano is either a city or prefecture. The "city" is just 1 hour 50 minutes by shinkansen from Tokyo, but I know of no hot springs in the city. The prefecture covers a wide area, so I have no idea where the Fujiya Hotel is.

I suggest Kamakura over Nikko and Hakone because it is within a reasonable distance from Tokyo so you can go at a more leisurely pace, plus the great Budha statue is impressive. Nikko makes for a long day trip. Hakone most likely needs to be an overnight, and needs to be seen on a bus tour to enjoy it and see Mt. Fuji too.

I am not sure how long you'll be in Tokyo, but it has a lot to offer and is my favorite place in Japan. No, I am not crazy. I like a lot of activity, like the basements of the department stores that must not be missed for the most spectacular displays of every kind of food imaginable.

Feb 22nd, 2002, 05:49 AM
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Bonjour Ron,

great advice to Kara. No, you're not crazy to love Tokyo, my favorite place too (or maybe we both are ;-)).

If you start from Asakusa Tobu station and then take a bus tour, 1 day is enough for Nikko. Fuji area can be visited starting from Shinjuku by Odakyu line "romance car". However, I agree it is best to spend a night in both place and that maybe Kamakura would be a better compromise.
Feb 27th, 2002, 07:48 PM
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Looks like a very busy schedule. In Kyoto, the Tawaraya and Hiiragiya are both excellent (but pricey).

The places listed on your itinerary are spread out and it will be hard to do them all. Kinkakuji and Nijo-jo are both very nice. But the main place is to take a taxi to Kiyomizu-zaka and then visit Kiyomizu temple, walk down Sannenzaka thru the eastern hills to Yasaka Shrine in Gion (next to Maruyama park). This is the best walk in the city. Be sure to do it from Kiyomizu to Yasaka and not backwards, as from Kiyomizu to Yasaka you will be going downhill. If you have time, you could even continue up thru Chion-in, Nanzenji, etc. But that is awfuly far.

Note that Kinkakuji and Ryoanji are very close to each other, not on separate sides of the city. If you are at a ryokan, you will have dinner there.

Try to visit Nara, which is much more worthwhile than Ise. Altho Kamakura is a nice town (like a small version of Kyoto) and is convenient, I would visit Nikko is you have the time. It is a full day. Unless you are a skier or a hiker, there is little to do in Nagano. If you like mountain scenery and are visiting after May, you can go to Kamikochi, near Matsumoto in the central Alps, for a one-night trip.

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