Another attempt at 3 week itinerary

Aug 12th, 2019, 10:35 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2019
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Another attempt at 3 week itinerary

My wife and I are flying into Tokyo (may) and out of Osaka (early June), we are active pensioners who enjoy culture, food, local traditions. We are both active and have no problems walking.

Arrive Tokyo and stay 5 nights
travel to Takayama stay for 2 nights
travel to Kanazawa stay 2 nights
travel to Kyoto stay for 6 nights maybe day trips to Himeji and/or Nara, Arashiyama
travel to Hiroshima stay 1 night
travel to Miyayama stay 2 nights
travel to Osaka stay 2 nights
Does this itinerary sound practical with regards getting to the different places?
What do you suggest re JR pass?
Pasmo or sucia card?
graham321 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 11:04 AM
  #2  
 
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I would spend longer in Kanazawa, and consider adding Matsumoto.

Why do you want three nights for Hiroshima and Miyajima (I assume that's what you meant by Miyayama)?

Ditto for Osaka, if you really want to visit Osaka do it from Kyoto.

I have never found a JR pass cost effective, but I travel slowly. You need to use hyperdia to price your individual trips to see if a pass is cheaper.
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 11:11 AM
  #3  
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The reason for three nights in Hiroshima is that I am travelling from Kyoto on one day and not sure I will have enough time to visit the sites and try some of the local food.The two nights on Miyajima have been booked ,just a bit of relaxation before fling home. We need to stay in Osaka because we have an early flight.
graham321 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 01:23 PM
  #4  
 
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How early is your flight? From KIX? I would have put all the Kyoto time at the end and stayed in or by the station. The first bus from Kyoto station to KIX leaves at 4:30 and gets to Terminal 1 at 5:55. The first bus from the Sheraton in Osaka leaves at 5:30 and gets to Terminal 1 at 6:30.

But if you are locked into your dates at Miyajima I am not sure why you are asking about your itinerary. For transport you need to consult Hyperdia.
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 05:22 PM
  #5  
 
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First, for the rail pass. For maximum value, if you can change the order and and go from Tokyo to Kansai and Hiroshima/Miyajima and back to Osaka within 7 days, you make a rail pass pay off handsomely. If you opt for a 14 day pass, you are close to breaking even, much more so if you add a half or full day trip to Nara. It might be worth getting just for the convenience and not needing to buy tickets - up to you. The alternative is just getting regular tickets from Tokyo to Kansai, and for Hiroshima use a JR Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass.
I do find it questionable about staying on Miyajima 2 nights - accommodations are nice but more pricey, and there is very little you'll get on the 2nd night that you won't get on the first. Unfortunately, your timing will be when the giant torii gate at Miyajima is still under renovation. But there are other sights as well, like the Daishoin Temple, which is very beautiful, and if you are up to it, climbing Mt Misen if the weather is clear (I saw lots of Japanese 60-somethings doing it, so if your knees and hips are up to the task, it can be quite rewarding). With that amount of time, you could also likely see Iwakuni just south of Miyajima - it has the loveliest old bridge in the country and a nice mountaintop castle.

If you plan to get a Pasmo or Suica card, either is fine - but you won't be able to refund any balance on either outside of Tokyo.

I highly recommend you see both Nara and Himeji, but the smart way for Himeji is to see it on the way (or back) from Kyoto to Hiroshima. As for Nara, take it off one day for Osaka - if you are already seeing Tokyo, there is less of a need to see Osaka during the day. You could spend half a day and concentrate it on Nara Park, or make it a full day and add a wider area, like Heijo Palace, Horyuji Temple etc. Arashiyama is part of Kyoto and I'd really like to know what erroneous source people are reading that suggests it is not part of the city. Don't miss the Otagi Nenbutsu-ji temple there - it is one of the very best.

The one place you did not mention is Shirakawago - it is between Takayama and Kanazawa and a very popular sight - you can see centuries old farmhouses and get an idea how people lived there long before modern appliances. It is flooded with day trippers during the day, but if you go to neighboring Gokayama there are a lot fewer people. There is also no rail access, so you'd need to pay for the bus from Takayama and onward to Kanazawa. For Kanazawa, you have some good time there, but no matter what be sure to see the beautiful Kenrokuen Garden.
Adastra2200 is online now  
Aug 12th, 2019, 06:33 PM
  #6  
 
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That itinerary will work. You could use a 14-day JR Pass starting on the day you leave Tokyo for Takayama and ending on the day you leave Miyajima for Osaka. Count the number of nights and add one. If you moved Kyoto after Miyajima you would have 7 nights, 8 days, so a 7-day pass would not work.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 06:37 PM
  #7  
kja
 
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I agree that adding a night to either Kanazawa or Takayama (so you have a total of 5 nights for those two cities) makes a lot of sense, and I, personally, would take it from Osaka.

Otherwise, sounds good!

I trust you've found japan-guide.com? Great resource, IMO.
kja is offline  
Aug 13th, 2019, 09:00 PM
  #8  
 
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This trip isn't until May, so there is no reason to build the trip around the reservation on Miyajima which, I assume, you could change or cancel.

You have 15 nights ex-Tokyo.

Fly from Tokyo to Hiroshima in the morning. Take the bus from the airport to Hiroshima station. Get the local to Miyajimaguchi and walk to the ferry to Miyajima. You could be there by 3PM or so. Spend 2 nights on Miyajima. Leave Miyajima in the morning and visit Hiroshima that day, then 1 night in Hiroshima.

Get your 7-day JR Pass validated for travel the next day. Travel about 4.5 hours to Kanazawa and spend 3 nights. Then take JR via Toyama to Takayama and spend 2 nights. From Takayama, travel to Kyoto or Osaka or Himeji and spend 1 night. On the final day of your JR Pass, take the shinkansen to Himeji and then to Kyoto. Spend 6 nights in Kyoto,.

Or from Hiroshima, stop in Himeji during the day and spend 1 night in Osaka. Then Kanazawa for 3 nights, Takayama for 2 nights. Next day go to Kyoto on your 7-day JR Pass. Then Kyoto for 6 nights
mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 13th, 2019, 09:58 PM
  #9  
tt7
 
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Originally Posted by Adastra2200 View Post
The one place you did not mention is Shirakawago - it is between Takayama and Kanazawa and a very popular sight - you can see centuries old farmhouses and get an idea how people lived there long before modern appliances. It is flooded with day trippers during the day, but if you go to neighboring Gokayama there are a lot fewer people. There is also no rail access, so you'd need to pay for the bus from Takayama and onward to Kanazawa.
As for Shirakawago, save yourself the hassle (and avoid the daytrippers) by just going to Hida no Sato when you’re in Takayama.
tt7 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2019, 10:21 PM
  #10  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by tt7 View Post
As for Shirakawago, save yourself the hassle (and avoid the daytrippers) by just going to Hida no Sato when you’re in Takayama.
I agree!
kja is offline  
Aug 16th, 2019, 12:55 PM
  #11  
 
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I've been to both the Hida no Sato and Shirakawago, and there are good arguments you can for both cases. I found the Hida no Sato almost empty, and a lot more educational with explanations in English which also help you appreciate the history, lifestyle, and culture of the people who lived in them. That said, for me it had a near ghost town look to many of the places not to mention going to an open air museum instead of an actual still existing settlement is a bit peculiar (kind of like choosing to see all your photos in monochrome instead of in color), plus you have to carefully coordinate your visit with the bus schedules (unless you drive) because transport is not that frequent. For Shirakawago the buildings are still active with people living there (many for generation after generation) and if you talk with them, you can get a lot of insights and questions answered. The view from the village overlook is also spectacular.








Of course on the downside there is the flood of people every day - like Beijing descended on the place. If you want the best of both aspects, go where a lot fewer people go - to Gokayama.
Adastra2200 is online now  
Aug 16th, 2019, 04:39 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Adastra2200 View Post
Hida no Sato ... you have to carefully coordinate your visit with the bus schedules (unless you drive) because transport is not that frequent.
I walked.
kja is offline  
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