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Help me plan my honeymoon! 7.5 days in Japan

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Nov 29th, 2017, 11:03 AM
  #1
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Help me plan my honeymoon! 7.5 days in Japan

Very excited to spend our honeymoon in Japan in mid-May! Sadly, we have such little time that I had to let go of my dreams of visiting Okinawa, Hokkaido, etc. Nevertheless, Tokyo and Kyoto seem so wonderful and full of things to see and do, so I don't want to do too much running around! What do you guys think of my rough plan so far?

Fly out of LAX and land in Narita at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Saturday to Monday - Tokyo
Monday afternoon to Tuesday AM - Stay in ryokan in Hakone
Tuesday to Thursday - Fukuoka
Thursday to Saturday evening - Kyoto (possible day trip to Osaka)
Saturday to Sunday - Tokyo

Fly out of Tokyo on Sunday at 6:15 a.m. (ugh)

What do you guys think? Is it enough time for each spot? Any advice? Any must-sees I missed?

Also, I'm thinking one of those capsule hotels in Narita for our final night in Tokyo, since we are leaving so early? My husband and I are both 6'1 so I hope this won't be a crazy idea!

Thanks in advance!!!
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Nov 29th, 2017, 02:43 PM
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I think you have planned too many destinations for your very limited time... and this is supposed to be a honeymoon! I'm not sure where you think you have 7.5 days, you seem to have forgotten that it takes time to get from place to place.

You land at Narita at 1:30 on Saturday. It's at least two hours into Tokyo... You are likely to have no sightseeing time that first day. You will have jet lag, which further limits your time to see/do/experience.

I'd suggest you limit yourselves to two locations: Tokyo and Kyoto. And all of your Tokyo time should be together. So if it was me (and I know it isn't) I'd get on the train to Kyoto as soon as possible after arriving at Narita. You would get to Kyoto Saturday evening, and could spend Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in Kyoto. While three full days in Kyoto isn't a lot, I think you could get a feel for the place in that time. Then, get on the train back to Tokyo early Wednesday morning, and you could have the rest of Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Tokyo. That would give you three full days in Tokyo - again, not a lot, but you would get a sense of the city. Frankly, you don't have time for any day trips, which would eat up more of your time in transit.

If you want to be closer to the airport, you could spend your last night in Narita then. I think the capsule hotels would ensure that neither of you are comfortable or get much sleep.

There is no way you can visit all of the must-see places in Japan in that time, so don't even try. Decide what places are most important to you and visit those in your limited time.
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Nov 29th, 2017, 04:16 PM
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You have seven full days on the ground in Japan which is enough for a taster. I assume there is some personal reason for spending three days in Fukuoka? If not, Kathie's suggestion of limiting yourself to Tokyo and Kyoto is wise. Same with Hakone - if you want a big splurge stay in a ryokan, could you not have a night in a Kyoto ryokan? If it is 'nature,' your overnight in Hakone will not allow time for hikes. If it's to 'see Fuji-san', visibility in May is poor anyway and if the mountain is out, the view from the Shinkansen going from Tokyo to Kansai is one of the best (sit on right side of train!). Of course more time would be great but the reality is not all of us can take the time we'd like. But your seven days will provide an introduction to a fascinating country that will most likely draw you back again. Oh and for what it's worth, yes, I think staying at a capsule hotel in Narita IS a crazy idea for two 6'1" honeymooners but it might just be the right note to end what i expect will be an unforgettable trip. Have a wonderful time and happy planning.
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Nov 29th, 2017, 05:58 PM
  #4
kja
 
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Are you sure you can see / experience what you want with this time frame? FWIW, I wanted 6 full days just for Kyoto / Nara.

If you haven’t already done so, please spend a LOT of time with japan-guide.com

Good luck!
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Nov 29th, 2017, 07:43 PM
  #5
 
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If you have not bought your plane tickets look for a multi-city itinerary, flying into Narita and out of KIX, or vice versa.

You have time for two cities, not three cities and an overnight in Hakone. Why did you want to include Fukuoka? Nothing against it, but it isn't usually picked for a first visit.

You don't need a capsule hotel for Narita. There are perfectly good hotels in Narita itself, and it is only one stop on the train to get to the airport. Narita has a castle with extensive gardens.
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Nov 29th, 2017, 07:56 PM
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I agree with all said above. Pick two cities, and divide the time between them based on your interests. Most people go to Kyoto and Tokyo for their first trip. You can have some day trips tentatively planned from both cities, with the stipulation that you can ax them if you don't feel like going.

Jeez, this is your honeymoon, you need to relax and enjoy yourselves. However, if you are like me and you want to be active while travelling, I assure you that there is tons to see in Tokyo and Kyoto, and their surrounding areas.
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Nov 29th, 2017, 11:56 PM
  #7
mjs
 
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I very much agree with everyone above. I would do Kathie's itinerary exactly if you had to fly in/out of NRT. Better yet to one jaw it and arrive in Tokyo and leave out of Osaka or vice versa.
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Nov 30th, 2017, 03:16 AM
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If you are travelling to and from Philadelphia, a major airport, explore the possibility of flying into Tokyo and home from Kyoto/Osaka airport (KIX). Or reverse the circuit, flying into KIX to start. You will save time and probably for no extra cost, but you must find the itinerary through a multi-destination search function. These are not a pair of one-way tickets.
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Nov 30th, 2017, 05:02 AM
  #9
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Thank you everyone! Oh dear. As usual I got too ambitious.

Yes we cannot spare any more time. Our tickets are firm, flying in and out of LA via Singapore Air, so I will take your advice and limit the trip to Kyoto and Tokyo. Going straight to Kyoto sounds wise. I will find a ryokan in Kyoto, despite (as Boveney suspected) I wanted to get a bit of natural splendor in this way and indulge in a hot spring. Anyone suggest a lovely ryokan in Kyoto?

Oh and my motivation for hitting Fukuoka -- apart from reading that it was Japan's most underrated city -- was getting some of that tonkatsu ramen We are crazy about food. But I can easily let it go, since I'm sure we can easily find mind-blowing ramen in Tokyo.
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Nov 30th, 2017, 06:03 AM
  #10
 
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I totally agree with only doing Kyoto and Tokyo in your short amount of time. I'd spend 5 nights in Kyoto and 2 nights in Tokyo.

I was gone for 2 weeks (Aug 2017) and didn't get everything done and was only in Kyoto and Tokyo.

In summer 2018, I have booked 10 nights in Tokyo (instead of 5) and then again with 9 nights in Kyoto.

I also fly out of LAX as I'm from the area and I fly on Singapore Air as I'm a frequent flyer with them. I flew into Narita as that's where Singapore Air flies.

Before leaving home, I went on Expedia and booked a flight, on ANA, from Narita to Osaka-Itami airport and then on to Kyoto with MK shuttle service. Kyoto is closer to Osaka-Itami airport than to Osaka-Kansai airport. One saves about 30 minutes of travel time.

Initially, I had booked a flight to leave about 4 hours after I had landed in Narita, just in case my Singapore Air flight was delayed out of LAX (very unusual for Singapore Air). But, the flight was right on time as usual.

I didn't want to wait 4 hours on Narita and thus went over to ANA and asked if I could fly out earlier. I was the only person in line.

ANA told me, "No problem" and put me on an earlier flight and off I went. I mentioned to them that I was just coming off my Singapore Air international flight for LAX and that Singapore Air was not able to link my flights together as I was told by them that they didn't have the authority to book flights on ANA. That is why my luggage couldn't be sent through. But, it wasn't a problem at all as I just collected it, went through immigrations, and then took it over to ANA and they checked it in for their flight.

I had originally bought an Economy Class ticket, on ANA, but when I got to the ANA counter I asked if there was Premium Economy class and was told that there was. So, I went in Premium Economy class for $75. more. I had flown to Narita in Premium Economy.

I was served a really delicious lunch, on ANA, which was the best meal that I have ever had on an airplane and I've been doing overseas flights regularly for 44 years; since I was a young teen. Both the food and the service were excellent. And the passenger sitting next to me was Japanese from Osaka, but mentioned that his sister has lived in San Diego for decades and he had just been there. He and I had been on the same flight from LAX, but didn't know it. So, as we were flying, he pointed out Mt.Fuji which was great and also some other things.

When I got to Osaka-Itami airport, I was a couple hours early, but had made my MK Shuttle reservation, online, before having left home. It didn't need to be prepaid or anything. I was hoping that the shuttle seats hadn't been sold out for an earlier departure.

As soon as I had collected my luggage and exited baggage claim, I saw two MK Shuttle staff members standing and looking for their passengers. I went over to them and explained that I was about 2 hours early. They saw my name on their list and said, "No problem." I was told to have a seat and wait. They came back in about 15-20 minutes and said to follow them and they put me on an earlier shuttle. It was a very comfortable, 10-seater shuttle bus. The shuttle drove me directly to the front door of my hotel in Kyoto. Easy.

Before you leave Kyoto, you can have your luggage sent to your hotel in Tokyo. I had it done as I sent one suitcase ahead of me and only had my small, international-sized, carry-on suitcase when I left Kyoto.

I took my suitcase down to my hotel reception, and paid around the equivalent of $15. and when I got to my hotel in Tokyo, I was informed that my luggage had arrived that morning and had been sent to my room. No schlepping large luggage around as in Japan it can be sent from place to place. It can even be sent to the airport for one's departure home.

I have discussed some of the above in the link listed below.

https://www.fodors.com/community/asi...n-in-april.cfm

Happy Travels!
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Nov 30th, 2017, 06:11 AM
  #11
 
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I just noticed that you are flying out of Tokyo and back to L.A. at 6:15AM. Yikes!

My flight, SQ 12, left out of Narita at 7:15PM and then back to LAX.

To Narita, I was on SQ11, which is the same one that you are on as it arrives at 1:30PM.

99% of the time I'm on SQ 11 and SQ12.

Happy Travels!
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Nov 30th, 2017, 12:39 PM
  #12
 
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I too was interested in your selection of Fukuoka - most use it as a jumping off point, and others spew misinformation about there being little to see there. If you were to go, flying would be the only sensible choice - you could be there in 90 minutes by plane, and the airport is right in the city.
At any rate, since you are mentioning the ramen, you can eat tonkotsu ramen in Tokyo as well. And a lot more.
https://hubjapan.io/articles/10-best...rants-in-ginza

The other point that springs up is that if you have a flight leaving so early for your return, you really have no choice but to stay by the airport the night before. There are lots of moderately priced hotels.

If you want to explore the food of Japan a lot, then have a look through www.bento.com
In Kyoto, you can also try kaiseki ryori, obanzai ryori, as well as shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian).

And if you really want a Japanese experience, and since it's your honeymoon, forget the capsule hotels - try going to some Love Hotels. There is Love Hotel Hill in Tokyo near Shibuya plus countless others and they are not expensive.
https://goo.gl/E9iaCZ

The cheapest way from/to Narita would be the 1000 yen bus. But if you want a faster way, you could get a Narita Express round trip ticket.
http://accessnarita.jp/en/home/
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/nex_round.html
Strictly speaking, it does *not* take 2 hours to go from Narita to Tokyo. In fact, you can take the Keisei Skyliner in around 40 minutes. But adding in Customs/Immigration, it will add another 45+ minutes.
The most expensive way is the orange limousine bus - but if you're staying at one of the big tourist hotels it goes to, it can be quite convenient.
http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/inf...sitor_tickets/
To save money going around Tokyo, there is also a good 2-3 day subway pass.
http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/v...dex.html#anc03

I'd say you can largely skip Osaka during the day. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5 PM, you can go over to Osaka for the evening. At night Osaka comes alive and has some great places to see like Dotonbori, plus the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg are stunning.
On another evening, you could also go and see Kobe.
Since you are concentrating on Tokyo & Kyoto, the most efficient ways there and back is the japanican ticket.
http://www.japanican.com/en/tour/detail/VJOPENTK1/
Each way is less than 2½ hours by the Nozomi bullet train.
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Nov 30th, 2017, 04:11 PM
  #13
kja
 
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Before you decide that there's nothing to do in Kyoto in the evenings, be sure you check on what interests you. For example, many shrines are open 24/7.
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Nov 30th, 2017, 05:16 PM
  #14
 
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Well, nobody said there's nothing to do in Kyoto in the evening. Actually, Kyoto Station puts on a nice show, and the view from Kyoto Tower is nice, although the lights from Osaka skyscrapers as well as Mt Rokko or Maya in Kobe are nicer.
Fushimi Inari might be nice to run through at night (perhaps really exotic, or for others, creepy), but I can't think of other shrines at night worth seeing, except during special lit up times like the cherry blossoms or autumn leaves.
The whole point though is seeing more than just Kyoto in the area.
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Nov 30th, 2017, 07:03 PM
  #15
 
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I am glad that you are paring down your trip to Kyoto and Tokyo. How you divide the time between the two is a personal decision. As I mentioned before, there are several great day trips from each city, so do your research and make a plan. You could also post your detailed itinerary here or ask for suggestions, but after you have laid the groundwork.

Regarding Fukuoka, there is a reason that it is "underrated." I spent three nights there going on two day trips in opposite directions, but the city itself? Meh. I did have that special ramen, and some other regional dishes, but you can find great food in Tokyo and Kyoto.

You will have lots of time to return to Japan. It's a great destination, and so pleasant for travelling.
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Dec 1st, 2017, 07:44 AM
  #16
 
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The Fushimi Inari shrine is open 24/7.

I'm entirely certain there's stuff to do in Kyoto in the evening considering I've been there in the evening and the city has the population of Philadelphia. It's not a bloody village.

For a newlywed couple, I'd consider going straight to Kyoto for four nights and back to Tokyo for three. You're going to need to be thisclose to the airport for a 6:15 flight home (seriously, why'd you pick that?).
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Dec 1st, 2017, 12:43 PM
  #17
 
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If you want to get to Narita Airport before 5AM then you will be taking a taxi from an airport hotel.

You can get Hakata ramen in Fountain Valley.
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Dec 3rd, 2017, 03:24 AM
  #18
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Everyone, thank you for your advice! We will stick to Kyoto and Tokyo, in that order. We haven’t even gone yet and I already feel excited to return a second time and cover more ground!
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Dec 3rd, 2017, 10:20 AM
  #19
 
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You probably will want to return to Japan so why rush it? Two days after I got back home to L.A. in August 2017, I went on Expedia and booked part of my accommodations for summer 2018 and added a week to make it a 3-week vacation instead of a 2-week vacation. So, I think Japan might be an annual trip now; Asia twice a year as I've been going to S.E. Asia, regularly for 19 years, but now can also throw in Japan on a separate, Asia trip at a different time of year. I do 6-weeks straight in S.E. Asia during winter months.

In the past, I always just changed planes in Narita and then flew on to Singapore where I start and end my S.E. Asia trips. This past summer was the first time actually making Narita my final stop.

Have a great time and slow down in order to absorb it all. Smiles.

Happy Travels!
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Dec 3rd, 2017, 10:26 AM
  #20
 
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Oh, I forgot to add, if you're into Starbucks, you might be interested in the new one that opened in Kyoto last summer. I didn't know about it until I returned home. The building that houses it seems quite interesting. I'm not into Starbucks, but on the next trip I plan to visit both the building and the surrounding area.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9PFLqyEEyU

Happy Travels!
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