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Help with Japan itinerary for second half of April

Help with Japan itinerary for second half of April

Jan 9th, 2012, 03:57 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 32
Help with Japan itinerary for second half of April

My husband and I will be spending almost 2 weeks in Japan in the second half of April. For the first 4 nights, we will be staying with friends in Tokyo. I have a rough idea of what I think will work, but need help in fleshing it out, making sure distances are reasonable and getting any advice on hotels, restaurants, guides or anything that would help us. Having never been to Asia, I'm a little overwhelmed with planning this trip.

Please tell me what you think.
Nights 1-4 Tokyo
Nights 5 and maybe 6 Hakone
Nights 6/7 - 10 Kyoto with day trips to Nara and ??
Night 11 and maybe 12 Staying at Monjuso Inn in Amanohashidate (friends stayed there and highly recommended)
Night 12/13 Back to Tokyo to finish anything we missed
Day 14 Afternoon flight out of Narita

We are good travelers and enjoy walking, hiking, and biking. We'd like to see a combination of cultural sites as well as natural beauty.

Do you think it's better to stay in one place in Kyoto and take side trips or to stay in several places? Is it important to see Osaka, and if so can it be done in a day trip or is it better to stay overnight?

I realize that my questions are all over the place, but with a little help, I can refine this and get to more specific questions.

Thanks for any and all help!!!
peebness is offline  
Jan 9th, 2012, 05:07 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,379
I'm sure you'll have a wonderful trip! I thought Japan much easier to visit than I expected. Have you seen http://www.japan-guide.com/? It has a lot of very helpful information.
kja is offline  
Jan 9th, 2012, 07:21 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 56
If you're in Kyoto and want to see Osaka, I'd recommend a stay in each place--I think it's about an hour apart by train, but Osaka is huge, and Kyoto is fairly large as well. Lots to explore. You can probably just keep Osaka as a day trip if you want, but I don't think you'll feel like you were able to experience as much as you'd like.

You'll love Hakone--it's very quaint and has the most incredible onsens (hot springs).

My last trip to Japan was 9 days, and we did Tokyo - Kyoto - Hiroshima - Hakone - Tokyo. It felt a bit rushed, to be honest, so I think your itinerary looks pretty good if you want to feel like you can take your time exploring each place.
ellstah is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 08:30 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,343
Your itinerary looks well thought out. Your schedule and distances look fine. One thing I see is that if you travel by train you might want to utilize a 7 day JR pass explained here.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html

If you do,you might want to schedule being back or near Tokyo around night 11 if you activate your pass on day 5 when you would leave for Kyoto from Tokyo. You could save Hakone for last and head straight to Kyoto/Amanohashidate then at least get back to Hakone on the 11th day before your 7 day pass would expire. The fare from Hakone to Tokyo is fairly reasonable. See here for train times and fares.

www.hyperdia.com

The train station for the Hakone region is Odawara so you would check Odawara to Tokyo.

Or you could use the Hakone Free Pass with a one-way fare for the Romance Car which would take you back into Tokyo(Shinjuku). You would need a Hakone Free Pass anyway to get around the Hakone region. See here for details:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html

You can buy this pass in Tokyo or when you arrive at Odawara station.

And see here for the tons of things to do in Hakone:

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

http://www.hakonenavi.jp/english/

Day trips to Nara and Osaka are a good idea using Kyoto as your base. You can also use your pass for these train rides. Shin-Osaka is as close as 14 minutes away from Kyoto on the shinkansen. You can catch a direct train from Kyoto to Osaka in 29 minutes. Look here for ideas on what to do with your Kyoto time and look for trip reports done here recently.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2158.html

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 11:00 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 32
Thanks so much, hawaiiantraveler. Your response was really helpful and I am trying to rearrange the trip to take into account travel times and dates of the train segments.

I'll have more questions soon...
peebness is offline  
Jan 11th, 2012, 01:09 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 56
Agree with hawaiiantraveler...the JR pass is really handy and ultimately saves you a lot of money for all the long distance travel you will be doing. It's also valid for trains within Tokyo, so it can really save you a hefty amount of money (and time, since for the most part you just need to show your pass and go)
ellstah is offline  
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