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Itinerary Help - Japan 14 Days 14 Nights

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Feb 15th, 2014, 09:46 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Itinerary Help - Japan 14 Days 14 Nights

I have done a good deal of research and found Japan guide website to be very helpful (itineraries, deeper pages, info...), but not perfect itinerary for me. Need some help from real people though.

Trip Info - arrive Tokyo, Feb 27 - leave Tokyo, March 13 - out of Osaka does not look feasible based on price and logistics.

My interests for the trip:
- Tokyo - food, culture, take pictures (street photography), museums...
- Nature, something more relaxing (key) - onsen or beauty + some hot baths.
- Kyoto
- Hiroshima - would like to go but not sure if I'm pushing to much.

Itinerary - as it's formulated in my mind now
- Tokyo - 4 1/2 days - maybe a side trip up to Nikko
- Hakone - 2 or 3 nights
-- Fujiya Hotel maybe 2 nights
-- Onsen or Ryokan for 1 night.
** want this part to be a bit more zen like, taking walks, soaking in baths, seeing natural beauty and getting a bit rejuvenated.
** Really need help here.
- Kyoto - 5 nights - maybe a side trip

QUESTIONS
Good time of year to go to Hakone ? Are there better places to stay for 2 or 3 says for hot springs, natural beauty... that are on my way to Kyoto or close enough?

Would it be wiser to just go from Hakone onto Hiroshima for 1 night, then take train back to Kyoto?

I'm also interested in Buddhism, and seeing even a Sumo practice so any tips Sumo practice in Tokyo and best way to get a little deeper experience on Buddhism at above places. Any ideas?

I was going to fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka as many had recommended, but price and logistics are making it unlikely. I know this can be a wise way to do it, but don't think I can.

Thank you for any assistance you can offer. I have found these forums very helpful in planning and am thankful for them and the people that contribute.
mcdanielism is offline  
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Feb 15th, 2014, 10:09 PM
  #2
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,157
"Would it be wiser to just go from Hakone onto Hiroshima for 1 night, then take train back to Kyoto?" -- I personally wouldn't do that. Hiroshima is very well worth seeing, IMO, but it is very emotional, and I wouldn't want to see it right after spending a day or so "getting a bit rejuvenated." But I'm sure we all differ.

To "get a little deeper experience of Buddhism," you might want to spend a night on Koyasan, but I'm not sure you have time for that.

Definitely consider a visit to Nara from Kyoto.

I was glad a spent a night in Nikko. Doing so gave me enough time to see not only the temples and shrines of Nikko, but also to see Kegon-no-Taki and a bit of Lake Chuzenji. BTW, if you do go to Nikko and are interested in museums, consider making time (less than an hour) for the Toshogu Museum of Art, which has an exquisite collection of painted screens.
http://www.nikko-jp.org/english/toshogu/bijutsukan.html

Hope that helps!
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Feb 15th, 2014, 10:24 PM
  #3
 
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I don't know what it would be like in Hakone in Feb. Onsen ryokan typically have hours open to the public, so you would not have to change from Fujiya to another place in Hakone.

Going from Hakone to Hiroshima for one night would not be wise. It is a long haul (over 4 hours). Better would be to overnight there, or even day trip, traveling from Kyoto.

You are not pushing it at all, imo, other than that Hakone-Hiroshima idea.
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Feb 17th, 2014, 06:47 AM
  #4
 
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As Kja said, your interest in Buddhism would suggest a night on Koya-san - you can stay overnight in a temple, attend the (early) morning prayers with the priests (as an observer, not a participant) and take some time to walk around the beautiful Okunoin. I think some temples also offer guided walks of Okunoin as well as meditation sessions for visitors, though the temple I chose did neither. That said I was very happy with my choice. I stayed a night in Shojoshin-in.

Kyoto is often referred to as the city of temples and you're right to give yourself plenty of time there. All the temples are so different, so fascinating, it's definitely worth visiting many many of them.

I wrote this guide to understanding and visiting temples in Kyoto: http://www.kaveyeats.com/2013/12/kyo...-ema-tree.html
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Feb 17th, 2014, 11:42 AM
  #5
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Thanks all for the feedback.

Any thoughts on whether Hakone is a good place to go in early March (1st week) for nature, hot springs, relaxation? Or is there somewhere else i should consider.

Thanks for tip on temple stay, that was on my list but forgot to mention. I'm thinking Mt Koya for 1 night, but that's not enough nature and relaxation.
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Feb 17th, 2014, 12:26 PM
  #6
kja
 
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If you go to Koyasan, I second Kavey's recommendation for Shojoshinin and Okunoin. I was glad to be alone while in Okunoin and must admit thinking that being with others would be rather distracting there.
http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/r...n=Shojoshin-in
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