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Golden Week - when to visit Tokyo and Kyoto?

Golden Week - when to visit Tokyo and Kyoto?

Feb 18th, 2014, 05:18 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 13
Golden Week - when to visit Tokyo and Kyoto?

Thanks to everyone here who provides such great information on Japan! Your posts have been incredibly helpful in planning my trip.

I've searched, both here and elsewhere online, and can't seem to make a decision as to whether or not it makes sense (or whether it matters at all) to be in Tokyo or Kyoto on April 29 (Showa Day) and May 3 (Constitution Day). I arrive in Tokyo on Saturday, April 26th at around 4 PM, and depart Tokyo the following Sunday, May 4th, at around 6 PM. I realize that this is during Golden Week (or part of it anyway - I know Japan-Guide says travel activity is anticipated to peak on May 3rd, with people returning on the 5th and 6th) but I took advantage of an airfare sale, so I'm going to make the best of it.

My main question is how I should split up my time, given the holidays. Since I only have seven full days (not including the day I arrive and the day I depart) I'm just planning on going to Tokyo and Kyoto. Is there generally anything special/interesting going on in Tokyo or Kyoto on April 29 or May 3 where I should make sure I'm in town on those days? Or, on the flipside of that, should I avoid Tokyo or Kyoto on one of those days?

Based on what I know, it seems like it would make the most sense to go to Kyoto first, then Tokyo afterwards - that way, I avoid checking into two different hotels in Tokyo, plus I also avoid traveling on the train back to Tokyo on Saturday the 3rd, when travel is anticipated to peak. But if, for example, there are some really fun things going on in Tokyo on Tuesday the 29th that I would be crazy to miss, or if there's some kind of can't-miss activities going on in Kyoto on Saturday the 3rd, I could certainly go to Tokyo first.

Thanks for your help!
BLT83 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,561
The Miyako Odori ends in Kyoto on April 30.

The Kamogawa Odori begins in Kyoto on 1 May.

If you can get tickets for one of these, it would be something to consider!

kja is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,113
BLT83 - maybe it's a good idea to get your train ticket reservations as soon as possible just in case you are traveling on a particularly busy day.

I will be in Japan during Golden Week as well - I am staying in Kyoto and plan to lie low...from what I read a lot of folks travel to onsen resorts or their home towns, etc. so maybe I will do a day trip to Osaka during that time. ;-)

Enjoy your visit!
Mara is offline  
Feb 21st, 2014, 05:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 13
Thank you kja! That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

Mara, that's great advice - I haven't even bought a rail pass or train ticket reservations yet, as I bought this plane ticket on a whim, but you're right that since this is such a busy time of year, it makes sense to make reservations as soon as possible. Hope you enjoy your trip as well!
BLT83 is offline  
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