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Help Planning Japan itineary

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Feb 23rd, 2016, 01:13 PM
  #1
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Help Planning Japan itineary

Hi Planning a trip to Japan for this April 2016 and have so far booked hotels for the following itinerary:

Day One: Arrive Tokyo 3:00 PM
Day Two: Tokyo
Day Three: Tokyo
Day Four: Tokyo
Day Five: Tokyo ( 5 nights in Tokyo)
Day Six: ???????? What should we do here????????
Day Seven : Kyoto
Day Eight: Kyoto
Day Nine: Kyoto (3 nights in Kyoto)
Day Ten: Get back to Tokyo for flight home at 5:00 PM

It is our first trip to Japan and wanted to see Tokyo and Kyoto the most, we have the one night on day six and had planned on perhaps spending the night in the Hokkaido area but when I search out ideal 10 Day trips to Japan that suggestion never comes up.

Please help! We are at a loss what to do on the sixth night. Our hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto are now fully booked to extending those portions is not an option.

Any suggestions are greatly welcome. Also please suggest if you think a 2 week JR pass is advisable for this trip? I am unsure if a two week pass would be worth it?

Thanks so much!
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Feb 23rd, 2016, 03:21 PM
  #2
 
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First of all, it's a good plan for a first visit to Japan

On day six you could try booking a ryokan+onsen experience! Ryokan is the traditional japanese hotel and onsen are the hot springs. It could be in the area of Tokyo or outside it. I can highly recommend this one: http://www.takaragawa.com/english.html
It takes some time to arrive but it's absolutely worth it, plus if you're a couple you'll enjoy bathing together. If you leave Tokyo in the morning you'll arrive in the afternoon there, spend the afternoon in warm water relaxing after some intense days in Tokyo and charging yourselves before heading to Kyoto. You'll spend the night (dinner and breakfast are included) and then you can go back to Tokyo and head to Kyoto.

You can always try to find one inside Tokyo to avoid the trip. Check the options here: http://www.japanican.com/en/hotel/li...FYkh0wodzJAGwg

Hokkaido will take up so much time for one day only.

2 weeks Japan Rail Pass not worth it. You won't pay off the amount with this travel plan. It's not really handy for Kyoto as the most useful routes are opperated by private railway companies, although you can use it to go visit Fushimi Inari. Inside Kyoto you can rent a bicycle and walk
I'd say 1 week Japan Rail Pass it's enough, on your 2 first days in Tokyo you could plan your visits by making use of the subway instead of the Yamanote line and buy one day passes for the subway, it's not expensive. Check it here: http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/index.html

I hope this helps and enjoy the cherry blossoms!
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Feb 23rd, 2016, 03:43 PM
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I'd suggest spending the night in Hakone on the way from Tokyo to Kyoto. It's a great place to try a ryokan/onsen hotel as Mayith suggests above, as well as see the iconic Mt Fuji and some of the countryside. Here is a link with more info:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5200.html

Unless you have something specific you are trying to see in 5 nights in Tokyo, I think most Fodorites would agree that you might want to take one of your nights from Tokyo and move it to Kyoto, if you can, depending on what you would like to see in each city. Have a great trip!
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Feb 23rd, 2016, 03:43 PM
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Vixer, for day 6 did you perhaps mean Hakone? That would make sense as a one day stop between Tokyo and Kyoto while Hokkaido would not.
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Feb 23rd, 2016, 03:46 PM
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Japan isn't that dang small - it's not like Rhode Island. You can't get to Hokkaido from Tokyo and back to Kyoto in 24 hours without internal flights, which will be a tremendous bother.

You can get a one-week pass, set it up to handle your last days in Japan, and take the train to Matsumoto. Wander about its Castle then hop the train from Matsumoto to Kyoto (change for the shinkansen at Nagoya) on your day 7.

Before your JR pass is active, use a Suica card - they're usable on both the JR lines and Tokyo Metro.
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Feb 23rd, 2016, 04:32 PM
  #6
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Yes! I meant Hakone! LOL, sorry!

Thanks everyone, great suggestions. We are spending 5 nights in Tokyo because we are coming from the East Coast of Canada and figured we will be jet lagged and don't want to push it to much the first few days.

I think BigRuss and Mayith's suggestion regarding the JR pass and do a one week only starting Day 4 till the end to cover off the cost of Tokyo- Hakone or Ryokan elsewhere?-Kyoto-Tokyo.

I am going to look at this some more, if anyone has any further suggestion, thank you in advance.
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Feb 23rd, 2016, 05:20 PM
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FYI, you will want to buy a 2-day Hakone free pass which will cover all your transportation from the JR Odawara station throughout the park that is not covered in the JR Pass. Here is a link with more info:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html
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Feb 23rd, 2016, 06:43 PM
  #8
kja
 
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First and foremost, I'm sure it will be a wonderful trip no matter what you decide. Just a few thoughts:

When thinking of how to balance time in Tokyo vs. time in Kyoto, many of us veer heavily toward Kyoto, and many of us think Kyoto and Nara, together, easily worth at least 6 full days on even a first visit to Japan. So one option would be to add your "free" time to Kyoto. And another, more radical idea, would be to just go ahead and shift time from Tokyo to Kyoto, even if you have already paid for your hotel in Tokyo. Google "sunk cost" before deciding.

If you are only visiting Tokyo and Kyoto, I agree with others that a 2-week JR pass would not be your best option, but it really depends on your final itinerary. Check hyperdia.com to get the price of your tickets (be sure to add the costs of both the train and the seat) and then compare the totals to the price of the pass.
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Feb 24th, 2016, 10:07 AM
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<>

The OP said the Kyoto hotel is fully booked so no extensions. But I agree Kyoto > Tokyo.

To the OP: your statement contains at least two latent ambiguities.

First, by "fully booked" do you mean that YOU have booked the nights or the hotels have no availability for the preceding or succeeding nights?

Second, does "fully booked" mean that you have paid for these hotels AND that such payments are not refundable?
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Feb 24th, 2016, 06:37 PM
  #10
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@ BigRuss -- good questions!
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Feb 25th, 2016, 10:28 AM
  #11
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Hi Big Russ,

I mean the hotels we are booked in for Tokyo and Kyoto are full for that 6th night so that takes away the possibility of extending the night in Tokyo or adding an extra night in Kyoto. And yes, we have paid in full so will lose if we do not stay as planned.

What I am considering is that we use that extra night in Kyoto, everyone here seems to thing Kyoto is the place to be. We would stay in one hotel for the first night in Kyoto and then change hotels for the final three nights in Kyoto. Giving us 5 nights Tokyo and Four nights Kyotot. What do you think of this?

Our hotel for our final three nights is the Westin Miyako Kyoto which is out of the city so perhaps this might be a good plan? We could find a place in the city center for the first night?

Does anyone have any Kyoto hotel suggestions?

Thanks again everyone, GREAT Feedback.
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Feb 25th, 2016, 12:23 PM
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OK, now we're clearer.

Well, if you over-egged the pudding on Tokyo, you can certainly take day trips to Nikko and Hakone to satiate any wanderlust. Tobu (a business conglomerate with its own railway) runs a special for Nikko trips. Odakyu does the same for Hakone, although for Hakone I'd probably ditch the special Odakyu trains from Shinjuku and take a shinkansen to Odawara (37 minutes v. about 70+ for the fastest Odakyu trains) and change to any private Odakyu trains from there.

For the missing day 6, if you're thinking of Kyoto then get a hotel that is convenient to some area you'd want to see but that your location at that Westin (curious choice) would dissuade you from visiting.

If you're thinking of not-Kyoto, I'd stick with the Matsumoto suggestion.
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Feb 25th, 2016, 02:37 PM
  #13
 
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If it were me in this situation, I would book the extra night in a different part of Kyoto, as per BigRuss' suggestion. Two possible options are Arashiyama, which is out of the way from the center, but worth a visit; or for more convenience, a hotel near the Tokyo Station, which will give you easy access to sights to the south and west of the Westin.

The Hotel Granvia is a good option, right at Kyoto Station. Note that Kyoto has a lot of ryokans, so you could also use this night to check the ryokan experience off your list, if that is something that interests you.
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Feb 25th, 2016, 05:17 PM
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Thanks, BussRig...I'm writing in anagrams today!
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Feb 25th, 2016, 06:18 PM
  #16
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Many Thanks Russ(s)

Urgh....what to do. So its either one night Hakone or one night Kyoto....decisions, decisions.... or... as per Big Russ' suggestions.. one night Matsumoto. Will sleep on it...

Thanks again everyone.
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Feb 25th, 2016, 08:24 PM
  #17
kja
 
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Or, as another option, stay in Nara.

I take it that you are unwilling to leave Tokyo a day early?
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Feb 26th, 2016, 06:34 AM
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On our first trip we deliberately split our 5 nights in Kyoto to 3 in one location, 2 in another. worked very well for us.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 10:16 AM
  #19
 
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When in April? Fly home from which Tokyo airport?

Day Six: somewhere not Kyoto and not Tokyo

Otherwise, your itinerary (still good) is all big city.

Hakone is the best idea, I think. Stay in a traditional ryokan (or not), have a kaiseki dinner, soak in an onsen. See some of the natural beauty of Japan, weather permitting.

Matsumoto is a much smaller city and has an easy to reach gem of a castle and more. You won't have a castle on your itin unless you count Nijo-jo as one or day trip to Himeji. And it is off the well-beaten path.

Takaragawa looks like a great place to stay. The location in northern Gunma-ken is not on the route.

Nara for that night is a good idea.

A night in Magome or Tsumago and walk the Nakasendo.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 12:23 PM
  #20
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We Fly into and out of Haneda.

After looking at all the options we have decided on our original plan of overnights in Hakone on Night 6 as we travel from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Kyoto is just so full at this time of year, every hotel we choose is sold out. I am afraid I was not thinking about how popular Kyoto is during the Cherry Blossom Season.

If anyone has any suggestions on Ryokans in Hakone, or suggestions for Hakone in general I would like to hear them. Our plan is to get up early and get to Hakone as early in the day as possible, spend the night and then make our way to Kyoto after breakfast.
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