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s9frey Mar 28th, 2007 07:33 AM

First trip to Japan in May- Itinerary help!
I'm going on my first trip to Japan to visit a friend who is living in Nagahama - from what I understand about an hour South of Kyoto. I'm trying to construct an itinerary which follows from flying into Tokyo on Thursday, May 3 and taking the bullet train to Nagahama that day. I know I want to see Nara and Kyoto and spend a couple of days in Tokyo before the return flight on Sunday, May 13, but was looking for any recommendations on length to stay in Kyoto and Tokyo as well as a possible day in Osaka. I'm a bit of a "see as much as possible" kind of traveller, but was wondering if my time is already full of places to visit or if there was anywhere else in the area that I should add to my itinerary. Thanks all!!

mrwunrfl Mar 28th, 2007 09:26 AM

You ought to just fly into and/or out of Osaka. You have 9 full days in Japan, and you can spend it in the Kyoto/Osaka area (the Kansai area). You'll need to do some research on what interests you in Tokyo. There is a sumo tournament there in May.

Transport from Tokyo to Kyoto and return costs about 27,000 yen. You would probably want to get a 7-day JR Pass at 28,300. If you did that then you would return to Tokyo on May 9, day 7 of the pass (given that you are going to Nagahama on the 3rd).

s9frey Mar 28th, 2007 10:02 AM

Unfortunately frequent flier miles have gotten in the way of airport selection, but as for the JR pass - thanks for the great idea. I was looking at their web site, but I didn't see options on extending a day to an 8 or 9 nine day pass. Is this the most cost effective way to travel the pass rather than paying for individual trips? i think if I pushed buying the pass until the 4th, it might work out better with the amount of days I want to be in Tokyo. And yes, i am very interested in sumo - do you know how to go about seeing the training sessions in the event that tickets are sold out or too expensive?

mrwunrfl Mar 28th, 2007 12:42 PM

No, you can't extend the pass. That is why I was pointing out the return date.

Nagahama is 9 minutes by JR local train from Maibara. Closer to Tokyo than Kyoto. So it's about 12000 yen. You could pay as you go instead of the pass, if you are just planning to go to Nagahama, Kyoto, and Tokyo (or other points along that line). Might break even vs the pass or might cost you an extra 5000 yen that way, but probably worth it. Just would be expensive if you decided at the last minute that you wanted to go to Hiroshima.

I don't know about the sumo stable visits in Tokyo, just the tournament at Ryogoku.

s9frey Mar 29th, 2007 05:56 AM

Funny you say Hiroshima because that is now part of the plan :)

How do you feel about Osaka? I'm undecided whether to spend a day there or use that day in other ways (basically to get in a few days in Kyoto and Tokyo, and a day in Nara and Hiroshima.

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