First stab at Japan itinerary

Old Sep 14th, 2006, 10:55 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,472
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My point was that you can move daily and still spend seven hours of daylight and a few hours at night in a place. You can, of course, slow this pace down. I assume that a person considering this kind of itinerary understands that parts of it won't be relaxing and you are right to advise not to underestimate it. Also I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that it goes without saying that you need to pack light for this kind of trip, or to ship or store baggage.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Old Sep 14th, 2006, 02:10 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 547
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I guess the reason I'm a bit persistent with my warning is because we just went through something similar during our trip to Japan.

In my itinerary, our plan was to check out of our Kyoto ryokan no later than 10a, go to Himeji (1 hr travel), spend a few hours touring the castle, then take the train back to Osaka (1 hr) and be in Osaka by mid to late afternoon. Our plan was to sightsee around Osaka the rest of that day and most of the next before taking the train back to Tokyo (maybe leave around mid to late afternoon if we wanted to get to Tokyo early enough to still be able to do something in Tokyo that night).

Now, what actually happened was that we got to that day and we had not had time to go and see Kiyomizudera yet. I absolutely wanted to go there, so we thought we'd just delay our departure for a couple of hours. This actually might have worked except that my dad had asked me to call a cousin I had never met while in Kyoto. Again, I had not had time to do this beforehand, so I called him on our way to Kiyomizudera (btw, it took us awhile to get to Kiyomizudera because the ryokan had recommended that we walk there through the park and along the shopping streets. Not only did we get a little lost, but we window shopped along the way). My cousin wanted to meet with us and met us at Kiyomizudera. Of course, because of this, we were unable to just rush through, look around and leave. But, on the other hand, he has friends who work at Kiyomizu and one of them took us into a place that the public is not allowed to go. It was absolutely amazing and I'll write about it when I get to my report! We ended up spending a bit more time at Kiyomizudera than if we had been on our own, then he wanted to show us the Skywalk at the Kyoto Station. He used to work for and retired from Japan Railway, so he saw us to the correct train and we were finally on our way by late afternoon. We didn't get to Himeji Castle at all that day and didn't get to Osaka until evening. We didn't want to skip Himeji Castle, so we went the next day. We didn't realize that we were supposed to make a train change, so we ended up going about 30-40 mins out of the way (with another 30-40 mins to get back). We finally got to Himeji, toured around and didn't get back to Osaka until around 7:30p with the last train leaving for Tokyo at around 8:30p. We still had to go back to our hotel to get our luggage and, well....I'll save the rest of this story for my report. At any rate, I realize that the OP probably may not have relatives to change their itinerary, but the point of my story and my warning is that there are always unexpected and unplanned for situations that can occur. For us, we had planned for 1-1.5 days in Osaka and ended up with just a few hours at night. With the OP's schedule, there's even less time for flexibility. Everything will have to run exactly according to plan.

jlaughs is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2006, 02:51 PM
  #23  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ok, now I am dying to know about the private part of Kiyomizudera you all got to do!!!
emd is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2006, 03:24 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 547
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
LOL. I realized as I was writing about what we did that it would be a real tease. Guess it'll just give me more motivation to get my report done so I won't have more guilt from keeping everyone in suspense.
jlaughs is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2006, 06:47 PM
  #25  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think this thread just comes down to travel styles. Some people can pack lightly, sort of live out of a smaller suitcase and not unpack every place they stay, and just get up and get moving and stay on schedule, staying in a different place every night or every other night. Some others need to be grounded and stay in one place and unpack everything and feel like they are going "home" at night to their hotel, and for those people staying in one place longer w/day trips to other places is better.

I think from what i have observed that mrw is probably in the first category generally. I am in the second category. It is best to know which one you are because it can be exhausting trying to be in the 1st category if it is not the right fit, and it can be boring being in the 2nd category if your style is really the first category.
emd is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2006, 09:58 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 547
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
emd, I agree that a lot depends on traveling style. I think I'm somewhere in the middle, but probably leaning heavily towards the first category (unfortunately, my BF leans more towards the second category - I'm not saying that it's bad, just not compatible with me). Because of my tendency towards the first category, even more so, I worry about the OP's schedule. It's exactly the kind of schedule that I probably would have thought we could have done too, but now know from experience that there's a good chance that things may happen to wreak havoc with those plans. And, like I said, if it were just a one-time, one-night plan, you could just deal with whatever happens. But, several nights in a row could cause problems.

But, like us, no matter what happens, it's all part of the trip and everything is an experience to be enjoyed whether it's what you had envisioned or not.
jlaughs is offline  
Old Sep 17th, 2006, 06:04 PM
  #27  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 47
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
All of your posts commenting on my route has proven to be extremely helpful and I thank everyone. After reviewing all with my husband and further researching I have made revision to the end of the trip. We are used to traveling to new hotel each day and have become quite efficient packing etc. But I think Japan shall prove otherwise as getting the train and connections need to be flawless otherwise will prove frustrating. How does the end of trip look now as I have removed Wakayama and Shirahama and added extra day in tokyo before our flight.


4/3 arrive from NY
4/3 until 4/9 Stay in Tokyo with day trip to Nikko
4/10 Tokyo to Hakone. Stay overnight Hakone.
4/11 Hakone to Kanazawa ( 4 hours) 2 nights in Kanazawa
4/13 Kanazawa to Hiroshima (4.5 hr) Night in Hiroshima
4/14 Hiroshima to Miyajima (short ferry) stay at Miyajima
4/15 Miyajima to Himeji to Kyoto(about 3 hrs train) Stay night in Kyoto several nights
4/20 Kyto to Nara. (1 hr) Spend night in Nara.
4/21 Nara to Ise (2 hr) spend night in Ise.
4/22 Ise to tokyo 3.5 hr . 2 nights in tokyo
4/24 flight at 4pm to NY


Let me know your thoughts and then I will begin researching accomadations.
Many thanks!!
jh0507 is offline  
Old Sep 17th, 2006, 09:47 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 511
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have to say that I am shocked that mrwunrfl suggested dropping Dogo!!
moxie is offline  
Old Sep 17th, 2006, 11:03 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,472
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
it is difficult to cut things out of a trip, isn't it!

The new itinerary is simpler. The Nara to Ise trip will be on Kintetsu trains, not covered by the JR Pass. Going on to Ise on the 20th is an option.

I do not agree that "getting the train and connections need to be flawless otherwise will prove frustrating".
mrwunrfl is online now  
Old Sep 18th, 2006, 03:11 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 547
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
jh0507,

Well, personally, I feel relieved that you've eliminated some of those one-night stays at the end of your trip. The trains and connections may not need to be flawless to prevent frustration, but I do know that on as tight a schedule as you had, any errors could result in frustration and disappointment. According to mrwunrfl's example of the day's schedule in Shirahama, you would have about 7 hours of "sightseeing" time. But throw in a possible error like the one we made of not realizing that we needed to change trains in Osaka and going 30 mins out of the way (and needing 30 mins to get back) and there went one hour of our sightseeing time at Himeji Castle. It was an interesting error, but obviously did disrupt our plans for that day. Then, it took us much longer to walk to the castle than the 5-10 mins that guide books say because we walked via the covered shopping street that runs parallel to the straight shot from train station to castle. I think it ended up taking us closer to an hour because we stopped and browsed on our way. This was not allowed for in our timetable, but was fun, interesting and what we wanted to do at the time. So, altogether, there went almost 2 hours of unplanned for time in our day's itinerary. On a day like your Shirahama day, similar situations would leave you with 5 hours of sightseeing time (per mrwunrfl), which seems like a long time, but can go by pretty quick if you're really enjoying a place and want to linger.

I guess a lot would also depend on how easily you catch onto the transportation systems in Japan. We did pretty well with the buses in Kyoto, but it took us awhile to catch onto the subways in Tokyo. We thought we knew what we were doing only to still get confused almost everytime we took the subway. Finding the right platforms and exits is what got us almost every time.

btw, I didn't mean to imply that luggage would need to be completely unpacked and repacked each night. But, as we picked up more gifts and souveniers each day, we did have to rearrange things in our suitcases. This took a bit longer than just taking out a set of clean clothes and putting the "dirties" back in.

No matter what, even your frustrations will be vacation experiences and will probably leave you with interesting (and maybe funny) memories. Have a great trip!

Judy
jlaughs is offline  
Old Sep 18th, 2006, 06:02 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,472
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I didn't say or mean that the 7 hours should be all planned time for sightseeing activities or other planned time. It is just the free time that you have in the place. The extra hour that you spent getting to the castle doesn't get subtracted from that time, it is part of that time.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Old Sep 18th, 2006, 06:47 PM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 547
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
mrwunrfl,

I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. My point was that I had planned for a certain amount of time at Himeji Castle (say, 7 hrs for example) and instead ended up with two hours less because of taking the wrong train and instead of only taking 5-10 minutes to walk there, we took an hour. Yes, that hour was part of our "sightseeing" for the day because it was what we chose to do, but it could have taken away from the time allotted to Himeji Castle if we'd had a set number of hours for that particular sight and had to leave by a set time. For example, if we got there at 12n and planned to leave by 4p, this would allow us 4 hrs to tour the castle. Instead, we got lost for 1 hour and shopped for 1 hour leaving us only 2 hours at the castle. Yes, the one hour of shopping was still sightseeing/vacation activity, but not necessarily what was planned. That is my point. Tight schedules don't leave much room for flexibility like being able to decide that you want to shop for one hour instead of walking 5-10 minutes directly to your destination.

As a matter of fact, our shopping really should have taken away from our time at Himeji Castle, but we were a bit ignorant and ill-prepared, so we proceeded blindly. Because we'd originally planned to go to Himeji Castle in the morning before going to Osaka and then tried to go to Himeji Castle in the morning again the next day, I didn't worry about what time it closed. I also had planned for us to leave Osaka for Tokyo either in the mid to late afternoon, so I had not checked the time of the last train back to Tokyo. Well, as a result of our error in not changing trains and then taking time to shop, we ended up still being at Himeji Castle as it was closing. We got back to Osaka at 7:30p and checked the time of the last train back to Tokyo and found out that we had one hour to get back to our hotel, pick up our luggage and get back to the station to catch our train. It was a crazy, mad, stressful dash to try to meet this schedule. We ended up missing our train and thought we were going to have to pay the extra $140/person (approx) to take the Nozomi train back to Tokyo, but because a station employee had directed us to the wrong platform (even though we'd probably already missed our train anyway), we were allowed to ride the Nozomi for no extra charge. Everything worked out okay (and, boy, what memories), but just wasn't what we had planned.

Judy
jlaughs is offline  
Old Sep 18th, 2006, 06:55 PM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 547
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
btw, emd and others, I know I failed to post my report this past weekend. Sorry!! I ended up driving my son to a basketball tournament all weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun) about an hour and a half away from home. But, little by little, I'm reporting about parts of our trip on this and other threads. At least the goofs we made. But, those goofs are what may prove to be the most helpful for others planning their trips (at least that's what I'm hoping). I promise, I WILL get to a report. I'm actually anxious to share a couple of things that I haven't seen anyone else ever mention (another tease).

Judy
jlaughs is offline  
Old Sep 19th, 2006, 05:48 AM
  #34  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
IMO, a son's basketball games trump everything. Everything.
emd is offline  
Old Sep 19th, 2006, 11:01 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 547
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi emd,

Being a mom with a son who plays sports too, I know that you're sincere. But, you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't be) at how many people don't understand why watching my son play is such a high priority to me. It's especially important this year because he's a senior and could possibly be going to college "back east", which would severely limit my ability to go to his games (or even just see him all the time). So far he's gotten some interest from a few schools in New York, UC San Diego (fingers crossed), CSU Dominguez Hills (close by, but not as good a school) and Northeastern Uni in Boston.

Anyway, sorry this isn't about travel...although I am talking about different states.

Judy
jlaughs is offline  
Old Sep 19th, 2006, 11:25 AM
  #36  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Very cool Judy! You must be awfully proud. And yes, I am 100% sincere. Nothing gets in my way when son is playing in a school football, basketball, or baseball game (yep, he plays all year). And for those who don't understand, screw 'em, he's my son, not theirs. We plan our TRAVEL time around the practices and the games too.

BTW, jh0507, have you thought of trying to see a baseball game while in Japan? It's a wonderful and very fun experience. (There, now it is Japan related too.)
emd is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2006, 11:07 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 511
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Beware jh of the opening times of Himeji castle. We visited in April too and it the opening hours were still the winter ones: closed around 4pm (double check the times).

Have a wonderful trip!
moxie is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2006, 11:28 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
JH: I'm following your post to incorporate ideas for my planned trip to China and Japan (first visit to Japan since being stationed there in 1946 (Beppu, Kyushu).

emd and Judy (Jlaughs)..I got a kick out of your comments regarding your kids in athletics. I'm a former high school coach (Massachusetts and Colorado..both several decades ago!)..baseball, basketball.....sure wish those parents were as dedicated as you two!!) BTW, Grandson is fomer captain of Cleveland High baseball in SFV..now playing at Pierce...was at CalPoly Pomona and got badly injured.

Stu T. (sorry to get off topic)
tower is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2006, 11:33 AM
  #39  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Stu, definitely go to a baseball game in Japan if you are there either preseason (even better) or inseason. If you haven't been, it is great. Talk about fans, wait til you see them in Japan.

http://www.japanesebaseball.com/index.jsp

emd is offline  
Old May 29th, 2007, 06:55 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,357
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
jh0507,

Just researching Japan for our upcoming trip and rediscovered this post.

Did you do a trip report about this trip? I searched but did not find one.

How did you enjoy Shikoku, Matsuyama also Hiroshima and Miyajima? Anything special you can recommend about these areas? Any suggestions appreciated!

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -