First Trip to Japan

Old Jan 15th, 2015, 04:18 PM
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First Trip to Japan

Hello everybody!

I am planning a trip to Japan and was wondering how I should go about allocating my time in the country/region over 14 nights.

I am considering the following:

6 nights-Tokyo ( I would like to visit Nikko as well as Kamakura )
4 nights- Kansai Base ( i.e. Kyoto, Nara and what not )
4 nights- ?

Part of me is tempted to take things to Shanghai in my remaining 4 nights as all other major Asian cities are quite a jaunt and Beijing/Xi’An apparently requires more than 4 nights. That being said, reviews of Shanghai seem to be less than stellar and i want to really get a grasp on Japan.

Any help regarding night allocation/places to visit would be fantastic. I want to emphasize that i’m certainly more of a cultural/social/culinary traveller than a historical one, however, i think all realms are rather incremental. i.e. the prospect of massaging a cow in Kobe is the kind of odd ball activity I would prefer to seeing another Japanese castle haha.

Shanghai / Sapporo / Kyushu / Hiroshima / Okinawa? Any advice on where to go/what to do?

Sorry for this rant of a post and thank you!
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Old Jan 15th, 2015, 08:07 PM
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Have you seen japan-guide.com? It's an excellent resource.

Many of us would reverse your time allocation -- 6 nights in Kyoto / Nara and 4 in Tokyo. Of course it depends on what YOU want to see and experience.

Other "typical" destinations for a 1st day trip include Hiroshima / Miyajima, a night on Koyasan, Nikko, Hakone....
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Old Jan 15th, 2015, 09:37 PM
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Either way around, If you stay more than 3 weeks.. The routes would still be the same. Enjoy your trip to Japan
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Old Jan 15th, 2015, 10:15 PM
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Beijing for four nights.
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Old Jan 15th, 2015, 10:32 PM
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kja
 
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Sorry, mrwunrfl, but I have to disagree with you on this one -- my recommendation is to wait until the OP can give Beijing at least a week. Instead, I urge maximizing the use of the OP's time in Japan.
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Old Jan 16th, 2015, 02:42 AM
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I recommend a day trip to Hakone from Tokyo. I didn't make it to Kyoto on my trip, but I wouldn't drastically cut down your time in Tokyo. We spent 5 full days in Tokyo (6 nights) and did day trips to Kamakura and Hakone, and felt very satisfied with the amount of time we spent in Tokyo.

I think 4 nights in Beijing is enough, and I would go there over Shanghai. I recently spent 2 days/2 nights in Shanghai, and while I didn't necessarily see everything, partially because I was a bit sick at the time, I didn't feel like I was cutting my time too short. I spent 3 full days/3 nights in Beijing and was satisfied with that amount of time. Sure, we didn't see EVERYTHING, but I felt it was well worth it and there are a lot more cultural and interesting things to see and do there compared to Shanghai. If you have more like 4 days there, then you'll be able to see even more than we did! Trying to do Beijing and Xi'an with only 4 nights is probably pushing it, and while we really enjoyed Xi'an, I'd probably save that and Shanghai for another trip and only tack on Beijing to your Japan trip.

Alternatively, you could also consider Seoul, which we went to for about 3 days after Tokyo and enjoyed, but our main reason for choosing Seoul at the time was to visit a friend who was living there and I'm honestly not sure we would have gone there otherwise.
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Old Jan 16th, 2015, 07:26 AM
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I would spend all of my time in Japan. We loved Kyoto, liked Tokyo less. Our trip was 4 nights in Tokyo, 3 nights in Kanazawa, 6 nights in Kyoto, 2 nights in Hakone. I have a trip report here if that might help: http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...s-of-japan.cfm
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Old Jan 16th, 2015, 11:54 AM
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I think you should devote another trip to China, particularly if you need to get a visa to go there. The visa is expensive and Shanghai is still pretty far from Japan so it would kill a day getting there.
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Old Jan 17th, 2015, 03:08 AM
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I have not been to Beijing but agree that you would do well to give all your time to Japan, maximise the experiences you have there and save other countries for another time, when you can dedicate more time and focus to those places.

Based on my personal preferences from our 2 trips, I too would reverse the number of nights, 6 in Kyoto and 4 in Tokyo.

That said, you could easily do 8 nights in and near Kyoto (to include overnight trips to any of Koya-san, Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima/Miyajima plus day trips to Uji, Yamazaki if you're into whisky, and so on) and 6 in Tokyo area (to include Nikko, Kamakura or wherever takes your fancy).
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Old Jan 17th, 2015, 11:45 AM
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Great responses thus far, i really appreciate the advice! I have decided to most definitely stick to Japan. Being Canadian, I don't have much of a thirst for the wilderness or mountainous regions so it's more a matter of navigating the Japanese urban jungles that appeals to me.
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 12:38 AM
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Raiford, that's great, so you'll be able to really see a magical slice of Japan.

Give Kyoto more nights than you might initially consider, you won't regret it! Also in the area, as I mentioned above, you can visit Osaka, Nara, Kobe, Yamazaki, Uji. Slightly further afield but easy to do an overnight from Kyoto, are Hiroshima & Miyajima and Koya-san.

From Tokyo, you can do various day trips or overnights too.

Definitely start reading more and more of Japan Guide and try and narrow down which sights/ places appeal most and then I'm sure folks here can input on a sensible itinerary/ order for your chosen places, and contribute thoughts on logistics and so on?
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