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Fly into Osaka instead of Tokyo for Koyosan to Nikko trip?

Fly into Osaka instead of Tokyo for Koyosan to Nikko trip?

Old Oct 8th, 2014, 01:26 AM
  #21  
 
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Takayama to Nakatsugawa can be a 3 hour trip.
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Old Oct 8th, 2014, 11:45 AM
  #22  
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The most difficult part of the trip is getting from Takayama to Tsumago/Magome. mrwunrful's suggestion of Nakatsugawa made a big difference...it cut the travel time from over 5 hrs to only 3! I just plugged that into the HyperDia site.

Also, have read someotherguy's descriptions of the hike and agree that taking a taxi to the pass makes sense now. No reason to trudge up a steep road that's not all that interesting.

Am still fiddling around with the sequence of the stops. Trying to avoid Takayama on April 14 when the huge festival occurs makes it a little more difficult.

Now worried that 4 nights in Kyoto might not be enough...that makes for only 2 1/2 days I think as getting there and leaving take up part of the days. Might now do the original 5 nights I planned. If we take a late flight out of Hineda Airport think we could get an extra day in Kamakura by spending the afternoon there and then getting to the airport. One option was a flight that left close to 11 pm.

If we could do that, we'd get an extra night in Kyoto, stay in Tsumago April 13-14, then two nights Takayama, Hakone and Kamakura.

Whew. This sure is daunting trying to plan everything via public transportation. We've always rented a car in Europe, but we could always count on reading the road signs!

Super helpful, thanks so much for taking your time to respond.
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Old Oct 8th, 2014, 04:30 PM
  #23  
 
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leslieq. I laughed to hear about the warning of the grade of the Nakasendo hike. It wasn't that bad out of Magome, although someone in my household begs to differ. If you read my trip report on Japan, you will get the joke.

Anyway, the stretch we did (Magome to Tsumago) only took a little over 3 hours, and that included a stop for a picnic and photo snaps along the way. Tsumago was indeed more charming than Magome, but it can be toured in about an hour or two. We did it as a day trip out of Nagoya. Tsumago sounded like a charming place to spend the night...until I thought through the logistics. It usually takes about an hour (including wait time) to bus from Nakatsugawa to Magome (it was longer for us, because it happened to be a Saturday when buses are slightly less frequent.)

http://www.japan-guide.com/bus/kiso.ht

And it's of course about the same amount of time back from Tsumago to Nagiso station. If one's next stop is Hakone - or Tokyo, or for that matter a second brief look at Kyoto - one will pass through Nagoya anyway. This was why I elected to have us stay in Nagoya. Hike into Tsumago for romance, have a meal there even, but stay in Nagoya so that we could exploit that city's advantages as a transit hub, and avoid luggage issues. It would also give us options in case it poured on our desired hiking day (one could even do a daytrip from Nagoya to Matsumoto in that instance, or go back to Kyoto for a day.) Just a thought.
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Old Oct 12th, 2014, 06:29 PM
  #24  
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Sue, your trip report was fantastic...you're such a great writer! Had many chuckles and got so good information.

Have made steady progress on the trip. I booked Eko-in for Koyasan, reserved a beautiful traditional house (Salon Haraguchi Tenseian) in Kyoto (owner is a local traditional ceramic potter who sounds like a fantastic host). Have written to Fujioto ryokan in Tsumago for availability.

New glitch is that no matter WHAT I do, seems we can't avoid April 14 or 15 in Takayama, which are the festival days.

Thinking of giving up on Takayama.

If we leave out Takayama, we have some days to spend between Kyoto and Hakone. We would like to have a two day stay somewhere. Would Matsumoto be a good choice?

I also saw something about Karuizawa that tweaked my interest for hiking. We would only be able to do one of these if we stayed two days.

Any suggestions? Thanks!
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Old Oct 13th, 2014, 09:34 PM
  #25  
 
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Kanazawa is a good idea. 3 nights or more, tho, considering that the trip to Hakone would be over 5 hours, or maybe 6. I think you have two nights to play with if you skip Takayama. Get a 3rd night from Kyoto by leaving Kyoto late afternoon or later.

Sue_xx_yy brought up Nagoya earlier. I stayed there a few nights before heading to Takayama for the festival. My interests were Ise Jingu and the castles at Inuyama and Gifu.

I definitely visited those two castles in one day (and maybe Ise Jingu same day). Inuyama-jo was really nice. Small, nice location. There is a tea house and garden to visit on the way. Also stopped at the hotel for a soak tho it was not something special. It is all an easy walk from the station (a Meitetsu line, IIRC). I went on to Gifu and the castle. It was pouring rain. It was a cool ropeway ride up, and then a bit of a hike up to the castle. It is tiny and a reconstruction. Would be a great view up at the top if the weather was clear. After that I visited a park with faded cherry blossoms.

Ise was worth more time than I gave it. From Nagoya I also visited Hoshino. Like Gifu, the cherry blossoms were past prime but it was still pretty and a bit crazy busy. Nagoya castle is interesting as a museum, if you are in Nagoya and have time. It would be the castle to visit if you were in a wheelchair. I stayed at the Hilton which has a shuttle to Nagoya station.
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Old Oct 15th, 2014, 10:40 PM
  #26  
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mrwunrfl - great idea of Kanazawa. I had forgotten that Takayama and Kanazawa are often seen together.

Will also give Nagoya another look. When I looked it up on the Japan Guide, it looked more commercial than we were interested in.

We're off on a short trip to Washington D.C so will pick up the Japan planning when we get back.

We finally booked flights (in Kansei, out Hineda) and small places to stay in Nara, Koyasan, Kyoto (an apartment over a potter's studio and including a nice ryokan Tamaha as I remember).
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Old Oct 15th, 2014, 10:51 PM
  #27  
kja
 
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I loved Kanazawa, and thought the combination of Kanazawa and Takayama deserved about 5 days (total) for my interests. (Actually, I gave each only 1.5 days and felt that I had seriously shortchanged both.)
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Old Oct 16th, 2014, 10:26 PM
  #28  
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kja and mrwunrfl - just looked at Kanazawa on the Japan Guide...wow! Had forgotten that it had that renowned garden and the incredible castle.

Need to think about the time to get there from Tsumago...just put a quick search in on Google maps and it's about 5 hours. Would then be another 5-6 hours to Hakone. Hmmm...lots of travel time taken out of our short trip.

More later. thanks for the help.
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Old Oct 16th, 2014, 10:44 PM
  #29  
kja
 
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Kenrokuen was the Japanese landscape garden that I most enjoyed, but I'm sure preferences depend on season. Kanazawa also has a small, exquisite garden in which you can experience a surprisingly affordable tea service - Nomurake. WELL worth considering IMHO.
http://www.nomurake.com
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