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Itinerary for 7 days in Japan

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Apr 28th, 2009, 07:45 PM
  #1
Jam
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Itinerary for 7 days in Japan

My family of 5 will be traveling to Japan from July 1-8. This will be our first trip there and we will be traveling with my adult sons. It's unfortunate but our trip cannot be extended. We will be in Tokyo and I would like to see a bit of Kyoto. Would appreciate it if anyone could recommend an itinerary of what we should take in? From my readings it looks like getting a JR Rail Pass would not be advisable since our only long leg would be from Tokyo to Kyoto and you cannot use it on that route. Has anyone stayed at the Sheraton Tokyo? If so, is it convenient to the subways? With 5 of us landing in Narita, would you recommend we take the bus or railway into Tokyo? We will have luggage and I have some concerns on what to do with the luggage on the trains. It sounds like JR Rail doesn't have a luggage area like they do in Europe. One last question, can anyone recommend an English tour guide for Tokyo who would be able to take the boys directly to the sites and shops that they might want to see? We could probably find these places on our own but with limited time a guide would be faster. Thank-you in advance.
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Apr 28th, 2009, 09:42 PM
  #2
 
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If I had a family of five with luggage I would take the limosine bus straight to the Sheraton Miyako for 3000 yen each. They will load your luggage onto the bus for you and unload in front of your hotel. The service is door to door.

http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/tim...a_ebisu_h.html

Yes you can use a JR pass from Tokyo to Kyoto but you cannot catch the Nozomi shinkansen with it. You would likely take the Hikari shinkansen instead. The r/t fare would cost around 26,640 yen while the passes are around 28,300, so no passes needed unless you have more train travel in mind.

http://www.japanrail.com/

Junko Matsuda is the favorite local Tokyo guide of this site. Here is her contact info. She is not cheap. Here is her email

[email protected]

and here is a previous thread about her services

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...r-in-tokyo.cfm

Aloha!
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Apr 28th, 2009, 09:55 PM
  #3
Jam
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Thanks so much for the information. Is the Sheraton Miyako in a central location for sites? We are staying there because of cashing in Starwood points. Do you recommend staying in Tokyo for 4 nights and 2 nights in Kyoto or is an overnight in Kyoto enough with such limited time? Thanks
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Apr 28th, 2009, 10:16 PM
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HT gave you the best advices. We took it also, it is very confortable. We had Junko as a guide for 2 days in Tokyo. She helps us to see more, more than we could do without a guide. She is a very nice person and speak English very well.
I would stay 3 full days in each city.
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Apr 28th, 2009, 10:37 PM
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You can use the JR Pass for Tokyo-Kyoto. How much of an impact is there due to not using Nozomi? In a typical day, here is the rough idea of the number of shinkansen trains available per hour and the trip times:

6 Nozomi - ~2hr21min: can't use JR Pass
2 Hikari - ~2hr42min: JR pass ok
1 Kodama - ~3hr42min: JR pass ok

I have done a similar trip with my family. In order to make the best use of the short stay, I landed in KIX and returned from NRT.
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Apr 28th, 2009, 10:38 PM
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The Miyako is in a good location. Tokyo is a big city spread out over a large area so unless you are off the subway systems, most areas are ok. I don't like the area around the Conrad, no character and the Shinagawa area, but that's just me. Others love the Shinagawa area.

I guess if it were my first time in Japan, I would stay the first 3 nights in Tokyo, the next three in Kyoto and the last night somewhere nearer to Tokyo to leave on the 8th from Narita. What time is your flight on the 8th?
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Apr 28th, 2009, 11:36 PM
  #7
Jam
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HT we are only in Japan for 6 nights since we arrive on the 2nd. Departing at 11AM from Narita back to the states on the 8th. Perhaps 3 nights in Tokyo, 2 in Kyoto and 1 last night in Tokyo to be closer to Narita. It sounds like you know Japan very well. For the sake of the boys do you think they would enjoy Tokyo more? Do you also advise going to Nara or should I just stay in Kyoto and see sights there? Is it work going to see the Deers in Nara? I read the treads on Junko and she sounds great. Thanks again...
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Apr 29th, 2009, 12:23 AM
  #8
 
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Kyoto has Ninja related sites. Foremost (and also difficult to visit and requires a guide if you don't speak Japanese) is Nijo Jinya:
http://www.pref.kyoto.jp/visitkyoto/...il/nijo_jinya/

The Nijo castle also has anti-ninja measures:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nij%C5%8D_Castle

I did not care for the deers in Nara. They are quite aggressive to those who try to feed them. The Todaiji and its Buddha statue were impressive, but by the time I made to Nara, I was temple/shrined out by visiting so many temples in Kyoto.

I am not much of a Tokyo fan. It is a modern, fast paced city.
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Apr 29th, 2009, 02:46 AM
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I like the idea of 3 nights in each city. You can't possibly "see" all of Tokyo or all of Kyoto in 2 or 3 or 4 days, so splitting the time between the two very differently-natured places makes a great deal of sense.

If you decide to do that, you might consider going to Kyoto first. Instead of the train, you can take a flight from Narita to one of Osaka's airports (there are only a few flights from NRT to Osaka, but they are timed to connect with the flights from North America). Then, on the day you leave, you'll be able to leave Tokyo in the morning to get to Narita for your 11am flight.

nickn is absolutely right that Tokyo is a modern, fast-paced city. Frankly, if you don't like cities in general, you probably won'y enjoy Tokyo. But if you do like cities, Tokyo might be the ultimate: gigantic, yet clockworkingly efficient.
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