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Help please on Japan trip in June. Is this itinerary too ambitious?

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May 21st, 2011, 09:44 AM
  #1
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Help please on Japan trip in June. Is this itinerary too ambitious?

Hello,

Our trip is in a couple of weeks so finalizing our plans. Not sure if we're trying to do too much in 17 days and need to drop something from our itinerary.

If the itinerary is too ambitious, then which of the following should we skip? Hiroshima & Miyajima, Tsumago & Magome, Kanazawa or Koyasan.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Day 1 Friday - Arrive in Tokyo
Day 2 Saturday - Tokyo
Day 3 Sunday - Tokyo
Day 4 Monday - Tokyo
Day 5 Tuesday - Tokyo
Day 6 Wednesday - Tokyo to Hiroshima
Day 7 Thursday - Hiroshima & Miyajima
Day 8 Friday - Hiroshima to Kyoto
Day 9 Saturday - Kyoto
Day 10 Sunday - Kyoto (day trip to Nara)
Day 11 Monday - Kyoto to Koyasan
Day 12 Tuesday - Koyasan to Kanazawa
Day 13 Wednesday - Kanazawa
Day 14 Thursday - Kanazawa to Tsumago
Day 15 Friday - Tsumago & Magome
Day 16 Saturday - Tokyo
Day 17 Sunday - Fly home
Cynnerella is offline  
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May 21st, 2011, 01:09 PM
  #2
 
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I did a similar trip last year and I think this is doable. You will see the trains are so quick that you will be at your destination in good time for every connection. Make sure you take a Japan Rail Pass in advance so save you money though!

I would say one thing - are you able to spend one day less in Tokyo at the start and one more day in Kyoto and/or Myajima? I guess it depends where you stay in Hiroshima or Meyijima (I also spent just 1.5 days there but it felt a bit rushed to be honest).
But Kyoto is really fun and a nice change from Tokyo so I would recomend an additional day there if you are able to. I have been twice and the last time I was pushed for time so didnt go on any day trips. Nara is lovely so don't cut that out.
But I would say if you are pushed for time overall, then 3 full days in Tokyo and 2 full days in Kyoto would be nice. Depending on what you like to do, Kyoto has some lovely gardens and temples and also quirky shops - but you do have to walk a lot in the old town so be prepared for that. But it is smaller as a city.
Tokyo is amazing for everything, but like many big cities, is more spread out so things do take longer and it is more hectic and rushed.
Either way it looks like a great trip - have a great time and enjoy yourself. It is a beautiful amazing country and one which I intend to visit often again.
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May 21st, 2011, 01:11 PM
  #3
 
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by the way I went to Koyasan and spent the night in a temple - well worth the experience! So don't cut that out (although I have not been to Kanazawa to compare)
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May 21st, 2011, 02:10 PM
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I would recommend dropping a day in Tokyo and adding it to Kanazawa. there's lots to see/do in Kanazawa, and I didn't care so much for Tokyo - but then I'm not overfond of very big cities. I agree that you should not drop Koya-san, although I hope you picked a better temple than I did.
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May 21st, 2011, 02:32 PM
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To me Days 12 to 15 would involve an awful lot of traveling - I am assuming public transport - from Koyasan to Kanazawa is about 5 hours by train....from Kanazawa to Tsumago I really can't figure out how I'd do it - when I did that area I went from Tsumago to Gujo Hachiman to Takayama to Kanazawa over a several day period....
I think I would drop either the Kiso Valley area or Kanazawa and stay longer in Kyoto...
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May 21st, 2011, 10:19 PM
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If it were me I would stay one night less in Tokyo at the beginning and add that night to Hiroshima. I would spend two nights in Hiroshima and one night on Miyajima Island preferably in a ryokan, maybe even one of these.

http://japaneseguesthouses.com/db/miyajima/iwaso.htm

http://japaneseguesthouses.com/db/miyajima/momijiso.htm

http://japaneseguesthouses.com/db/mi.../kinsuikan.htm

Mara is right about your travel times. I would cut out the Kiso Valley this trip and add one night each to Kyoto and Kanazawa. Looks like you have a fun trip ahead of you! Be ready for the Tsuyu (rains) this June as someone is predicting wetter than normal season. There something very pleasant about sitting in an outdoor onsen (rontenburo) during a nice summer rain.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2277.html

Aloha!
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May 22nd, 2011, 04:03 PM
  #7
 
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Looks good to me. It does involve a good bit of traveling and you could drop a thing or two as others have suggested (I might drop Koyasan or Kanazawa).

Where are you staying on the night of Day 15?
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May 27th, 2011, 06:20 AM
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I agree with all the above posters - doable but there are a couple of big travel days.

Tokyo to Hiroshima is a long trip. When I did it, I stopped for about three hours in Himeji. I had sent my luggage ahead by takkyubin so shoved my day pack in the coin locker at Himeji and visited the Koko-en gardens and viewed the castle from the outside. It was sakura time and I'd been into the castle on a previous trip. I t was a good way to break up the trip.

On day 8 you can see quite a bit in Hiroshima before you have to head to Kyoto. Most people want to see the Peace Park and the castle and visit Miyajima so I think one and a half days is plenty for that.

At Koya I stayed at Shojoshin. I booked through http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/d...koya/index.htm. It's right next to the cemetery and I think I had a much better experience than thursdaysd! I'm glad I did it but I wouldn't rate it as highly as some others have done.

I personally wouldn't try to go from Koya to Kanazawa in one day but it's certainly possible. In fact, if I had to drop anything from your itinerary, it'd be Mt Koya. I'm also in the "drop a day from Tokyo and add it to Kyoto" camp but I'm a great fan of Kyoto.


I don't think anyone can tell you what to drop. What reason did you have for including them in your itinerary? Drop the place that you're least desperate to see. They are all great experiences - I'm jealous. Have a great trip.
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May 28th, 2011, 01:04 PM
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May 30th, 2011, 04:36 AM
  #10
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Thank you everyone for your very helpful feedback!

After much deliberation, we decided to skip Tsumago and Magone and changed our itinerary to the following:

5 nights in Tokyo (we're visiting friends there so not keen to reduce time there)
1 night in a ryokan in Miyajima
1 night in Hiroshima
3 nights in Kyoto
2 nights in Koyasan
3 nights in Kanazawa

As a follow-up, does anyone have a preference for Soujiin or Fukujiin at Koyasan?
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May 30th, 2011, 08:13 AM
  #11
 
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Hi Cynnerella! My son and I will be in Japan from June 6th-21st. We will spend 7 nights in Tokyo, 1 night in Miyajima, 5 nights in Kyoto, 1 night in Koyasan (we are staying at Shojoshin) and the last night in Narita. We will go to Nikko, Kamakura, and Nara for day trips from Tokyo and Kyoto. We are getting very excited! Enjoy your trip!
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May 30th, 2011, 08:26 AM
  #12
 
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My thoughts are that two nights in Koyasan is one night too many, but that just me. Have a fantastic trip!! Looks like you will.

Aloha!
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May 30th, 2011, 09:28 AM
  #13
 
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Depends on what time you get to Koya-san the first day and what time you leave whether two nights are overkill. I would want to be sure I had enough time for a good visit to the cemetery, but otherwise would agree with ht.
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May 30th, 2011, 09:32 AM
  #14
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Hi Kkukura, Thanks and enjoy your trip. We were debating whether we should go directly to Kyoto from Hiroshima rather than spend the night there. From what I've read in the Fodors' forum, the major sights of Hiroshima could be done in an afternoon.

Hi HT, Thank you. Yes I wondered if we would be 'templed' out spending 2 nights in Koyasan and having two 6 am wake up seem slightly hard work. However, I also didn't want to speed through the area and not get the full experience. It's a tricky one.
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May 30th, 2011, 02:06 PM
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I stayed two nights in Koyasan arriving mid to late in the afternoon, staying a full day and leaving early the following morning.
On my full day I spent the morning doing a walking tour:
http://www.koyasan-ccn.com/kccn/guide.html
To me there were plenty of places to visit in Koyasan.
Also I don't believe it is compulsory to get up for the 6 am service...
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