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Dec/Jan 12 day trip to Japan and skip Tokyo

Dec/Jan 12 day trip to Japan and skip Tokyo

Old Sep 6th, 2019, 07:50 PM
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Dec/Jan 12 day trip to Japan and skip Tokyo

Title says it all...we are contemplating a trip to japan for late Dec/early Jan for about 12-14 days total. neither of us has a deep interest in seeing Tokyo and would prefer to fly into Osaka and d day trips/overnight rips. We are slow travelers but not "slow travel" - we don't like to tush from place to place but like to spend 2-3 even 4 days in each location.
So We've only gotten as far as the above - any suggestions for places to visit if we fly in and out of Osaka?
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Old Sep 6th, 2019, 09:04 PM
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Could be great!
I would urge you to spend time -- a LOT of it -- with japan-guide.com
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Old Sep 7th, 2019, 05:34 AM
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I am in the midst of planning, or rather re-planning a similar length trip at the same time of year. The original plan was for 4 nights each in Kyoto and Tokyo and 2 nights in Kinosaki Onsen.

After reading comments here re the crowds and mass tourism in Kyoto, I am in the process of a re-evaluation, possibly in favour of a more "rural" trip. We have been to both Tokyo and Kyoto before and both have a huge amount to see and do, probably more than enough for our entire time there.

Like you we are slow travellers and prefer to spend longer in each places although, given the efficiency of the transportation systems, Japan is the one place where I would break that habit, especially on a short trip, especially with the rigidity of check in/out times in accommodation.

From Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima are all easy journeys.

I am currently considering Kanzanawa, a return to Takayama, maybe the Kiso Valley, Matsumoto, Shirakawago & Gokayama and possibly Nikko, probably using a 7 day JR pass which will mean top and tailing the trip with stays in Tokyo.

Like you we weren’t that bothered about Tokyo but after chatting with our son and DIL who have spent a fair amount of time there, we realised that there was lots we hadn’t seen/done so I am actually now quite enthused about the prospect.

In addition to japan guide mentioned by KJA, I have just found this site which I have found quite inspiring and has some useful stuff https://boutiquejapan.com/best-destinations-in-japan/
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Old Sep 8th, 2019, 01:17 PM
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I do agree that there are many interesting places in Japan, and you have a valid point about avoiding the crowds in Tokyo and Kyoto. However, if I may be so bold, I believe you are making an erroneous assumption by concluding that it will be best to fly in and out of Osaka, simply to "avoid" Tokyo. You may find, for example, that the places you want to visit have connecting flights from either airport in Tokyo. So, you do need to research where you want to go, and then figure out the logistics. Putting the cart before the horse never works out.

You didn't mention your interests in your posts. Much of Japan is rural and beautiful. Are you nature folks, city folks, or do you want a mix? Do you like history, temples, or are you foodies? Some introspection is in order.

On my most recent trip to Japan, I visited the San'in coast of Honshu, and enjoyed it immensely. Matsue is the largest city there, and you can use it as a base for radiating around for day trips. I stayed four nights, and I was busy every moment. You could also visit Hiroshima and see the wonderful peace museum there. Regarding logistics, I flew home by catching a flight near Matsue to Haneda, then I took the bus to Narita. It all worked out well.

Also, besides Japan Guide, check out the JNTO website. They are also a great resource.
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Old Sep 9th, 2019, 07:27 AM
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If you intend to travel by rail, check the coverage of rail passes. Maybe that can guide your choices?

Food for thought

JR Kansai wide pass valid for 5 days gives you very wide geographical coverage for 9000. Unlimited rides on Shinkansen between Osaka and Okayama.

Don't overlook the private rail passes. Nankai 2 day passes for 2000 is a good bargain, covering many attractions.
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Old Sep 10th, 2019, 12:49 AM
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I will be spending a short amount of time in December in Kanazawa and Takayama, with 1/2 day trips to Shirakawa-Go and the mountains near Okuhida. Kanazawa is said to have the most wonderful foods in the winter, and Kenrokuen Gardens (one of the three best in Japan) is magical in winter. Shirakawa-Go has an illuminations program in January, if you are able to visit or stay over in the evening. If I had more time, I would spend at least one night in a ryokan in Okuhida to enjoy a private onsen overlooking the Alps.
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