Help Planning Japan itineary

Old Feb 26th, 2016, 06:34 PM
  #21  
kja
 
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Try booking.com -- you can specify "ryokan"

Or try japaneseguesthouses.com
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 04:43 AM
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Hi Vixer,

Yes, Kyoto will be extremely crowded during the Cherry blossom season. Just be mentally prepared for the crowds and I think you'll enjoy the beauty of the whole area.

Regarding hotels in Hakone, there are plenty of good options around the area. Personally, I stayed at the Maille Coeur Shougetsu. It's kind of a French and Japanese fusion ryokan that provides excellent service and a convenient location. The dinner that is superb too, one of the best dinners throughout my whole trip. If don't mind something not fully Japanese, then I'd highly recommend it.
https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_...ecture_Ka.html
^ Check out some of the reviews of the hotel.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 06:23 AM
  #23  
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Thank you Everyone!
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 08:57 AM
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Spend Less time in Tokyo, maximum in Kyoto and try to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima, one night each. Miyajima was the highlight of a recent one month trip..please don't miss it. Kyoto and Arashiyama are so much more interesting than a few days ... Have a great trip
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 10:38 AM
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If day 6 is Hakone then a 7-day JR Pass makes sense. Use the pass to get to Odawara (gateway to Hakone area).

For Odawara to Kyoto you can use this timetable: http://tinyurl.com/hf5tleg and choose a Hikari shinkansen (2 hours) and not a Kodama shinkansen (3 hours). I'd get reserved seats for this leg in advance.

On day 10, take the shinkansen to Shinagawa and pay the ¥410 to take the Keikyu train to Haneda airport.

If day 6 was Kyoto or Nara then a discount shinkansen package would beat the JR Pass especially when flying from Haneda.
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 12:42 PM
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If you want economy, the e-voucher from Japanican will get you Tokyo-Kyoto return cheapest. If you add Hiroshima (or somewhere like Nagano/Kanazawa/Takayama) then a 7-day rail pass would be ok.

Hotels in Kyoto can be hard to get and while the Granvia Kyoto is nice, it is actually expensive for what it is and the last couple of years hard to get decent rooms. Kyoto will be busy, but not as over-blown as some people predict - it is a good sized city and there are lots of places to visit.
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Old Feb 28th, 2016, 10:07 AM
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>>If day 6 was Kyoto or Nara then a discount shinkansen package would beat the JR Pass especially when flying from Haneda.

The e-voucher could still save some money.

The "shinkansen package", referred to as "the e-voucher from Japanican" by PatrickHarnett requires you to board at Tokyo or Shinagawa stations. Yesterday, I considered that to be a deal-breaker. I got a confirmation e-mail from Japanican this morning that said that boarding the shinkansen at Odawara with one of those tickets is not permitted. No stopovers.

Here is the package: http://www.japanican.com/en/tour/list/?kw=E-Voucher

You can use any shinkansen, including Nozzomi. Seating is unreserved and can't be upgraded.

The e-voucher costs ¥21,600

Odawara to Shinagawa is ¥1,320 and around 75 minutes on a regular JR train.

The cost to get to Odawara depends on where you depart Tokyo. For example, it would be ¥880 from Shinjuku on an Odakyu regular train or ¥1,490 from Shibuya on JR.

So you really could save ¥5,000 per person if you use the e-voucher instead of a JR Pass and are willing to go from Odawara to Shinagawa to board the shinkansen to Kyoto.

You really don't have enough time in Kyoto to do a day trip from there. Nara is only around ¥1300 return from Kyoto. But Himeji would be ¥10,000 return on the shinkansen.
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 11:48 AM
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Yes, the discount shinkansen tickets are restrictive, that is why they are cheap. It wasn't clear if you were joining the network at Osawara or backtracking (briefly) to Tokyo - depends on how tight funds are and if you have the time. (like many things, it is a trade-off).
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Old Mar 1st, 2016, 12:37 AM
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You may well find Hakone equally sold out -- it's a prime spring beauty spot. Then again, there are many, many ryokan there, so worth a hunt. I used booking.com to hold a backup, but was eventually able to secure a room in Hakone Ginyu for our splurge of the trip.
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