Japan 10 days

Dec 13th, 2016, 07:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2016
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Japan 10 days

hello! we're going to Japan for like 10 days in late march.

we are thinking:
day 0- arrive at tokyo at night. sleep.
day 1- tokyo
day 2- tokyo - kamukara day trip
day 3- tokyo
day 4- hakone
day 5- kyoto - arishyama day trip
day 6- kyoto - hiroshima day trip
day 7- kyoto - nara day trip
day 8- ?
day 9 - tokyo
day 10- fly out

i think we probably need time in kyoto proper, right? is there something we should cut? we are staying in a ryokan in kyoto with a curfew- is there nightlife we will want to explore?
ljoooo is offline  
Dec 13th, 2016, 02:55 PM
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What's Arishyama? Is it Arashiyama? That is an area of Kyoto, not another city.


Who knows? You don't say what kind of nightlife you normally would want to explore.

Hiroshima is a haul for a day trip.
BigRuss is offline  
Dec 13th, 2016, 04:40 PM
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You will want more time in Kyoto for sure. I'd cut he Hiroshima day trip - you don't really have time for this.

Spend some time on www.japan-guide.com to help you decide. If it was me - and it is not - I'd cut Kamukara (and therefore one of your Tokyo days) to get more time in Kyoto.

If you have the flexibility to add some more days to your trip, please do.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 13th, 2016, 05:13 PM
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I second Kathie’s recommendation to explore japan-guide.com – it isn’t perfect, but it is the best single source of information on travel in Japan of which I am aware.

Have you already booked your flights? If not, try to fly into Tokyo (Narita or Haneda) and out of Kyoto (Kansai or Osaka) or vice versa.

How to allocate your time really depends on your preferences, but I am among those who was glad to have spent 6 full days in Kyoto / Nara, even though it meant (for me) only 2.5 days in Tokyo. You might shift a night or two from your arrival time in Tokyo to Kyoto. Just a thought.

Whether you will want to experience nightlife in Kyoto is also your call. One option you might consider is limiting your time in a ryokan to just a night or two, staying elsewhere (without curfews) for your other nights. And one thing you might want to do in the evening is to go to a show at Gion Corner – it is, without doubt, tourist-y, but it would give you a chance to see some of Japanese performing arts.

Arashiyama is, indeed, part of Kyoto – the western part. Many people mistake it for a separate place. There must be a source that many of you consult that makes it sound separate? I’ve always wondered where that misconception arises….

As BigRuss notes, Hiroshima is a LONG daytrip from Kyoto – at least 2 hours each way, as I recall. But it is potentially do-able. Or you could try to add a night or two and include Miyajima – but then you would, I think, need to cut Hakone and maybe Kamakura….

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Dec 13th, 2016, 11:53 PM
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At the moment you have 5 nights in Kyoto and only 3 possibly 4 in Kyoto. I'd swap that to give 3 or 4 nights in Kyoto and 5 or 6 in Kyoto, especially if you want to do both Hiroshima and Nara day trips.

Personally (and it's just a matter of taste and experiences) I far preferred our night in Miyajima to our two nights in Hakone - I wasn't even vaguely as awed by Hakone as many people seem to be.

You could do Hiroshima as a day trip but I'd suggest that you go there from Kyoto (at the end of your Kyoto days) early morning, use the morning to visit the peace memorial, park, museum and then head across to Miyajima for an overnight there. You can leave there late morning to take the shinkansen back to Tokyo, I think it was approximately 5 hours when we did the same on our first trip in 2012 and a very pleasant and relaxing journey.

Check Hyperdia for current train times and timetables.

If I were planning this for a first-time visitor friend, I'd suggest:

day 0- Arrive at Tokyo at night. Sleep.
day 1- Tokyo - Tokyo sightseeing
day 2- Tokyo - More Tokyo sightseeing OR Kamukara OR Nikko day trip
day 3- Tokyo to Kyoto - travel day
day 4- Kyoto - Kyoto sightseeing
day 5- Kyoto - Kyoto sightseeing including Arashiyama
day 6- Kyoto - Kyoto sightseeing
day 7- Kyoto - Visit Nara or more Kyoto sightseeing
day 8- Kyoto to Hiroshima and Miyajima (sleep Miyajima)
day 9- Miyajima to Tokyo - travel day
day 10- fly out

That's my two pence, anyway.
Kavey is offline  
Dec 14th, 2016, 07:46 AM
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I dig Kavey's agenda.
MinnBeef is offline  
Dec 14th, 2016, 10:21 AM
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Thanks, Minn, excuse my Kamakura typo! Didn't notice it in the OP and copied pasted as a starting point...
Kavey is offline  
Dec 14th, 2016, 12:45 PM
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I think Kavey makes a good itinerary. You should by all means give at least half a day for Nara. You might consider the trip to Miyajima in the middle instead of the end to break things up a bit - from there to Tokyo in one day is one very long train ride.
If you're going to see Kamakura, you should include Enoshima too, and the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass is a great way to do it.
Likewise, for Nikko there is the Tobu Nikko Free Pass.
And if you go to Hakone, there's the Hakone Free Pass.
As I've said, Japan Guide is one of the best, and I use it too, but don't rely on just one site. Look at the official city tourist info for places listed nowhere else. Even JG misses some good places.
As far as night goes, in Kyoto you can try Gion and Pontocho to (maybe) catch a glimpse of a maiko or geisha going to her appointment. You can also try the Kyoto Tower at night for a good view, or better yet try wandering through Kyoto Station - yes, it's a train station, but so much more at night!

And since in late March sunset is close to 6PM, you can easily go to Osaka for the evening. The views from the top of the Umeda Sky Bldg and Aberno Harukas are magnificent, and Dotonbori is a great place with wonderful food.

On another evening, you can also go see Kobe.
If you're going to go down to Hiroshima or Himeji, then a 7 day rail pass will pay off very handsomely. If not, look into the japanican discount ticket. It's faster and overall much cheaper.
Adastra2200 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2016, 01:25 PM
Original Poster
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Thank you guys so much! Apologies for the typos!
ljoooo is offline  
Dec 15th, 2016, 01:46 PM
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You can also add Osaka because it's a lovely city with yummy food.
You can check this article :

Enjoy !
ArwaKassir is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2017, 10:30 PM
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Being able to speak Japanese would, of course, be an advantage, but it is not necessary. That said, knowing the basic civilities -- "hello," "thank you," "excuse me," maybe even "delicious" -- will go a very long way.
kja is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2017, 07:28 AM
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Knowing Japanese is irrelevant. We've been twice and cannot read or understand a bloody thing other than biru, arigato and some food types. Kavey's suggested itinerary would take you to the most touristed places in Japan, where the second language would be English.
BigRuss is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2017, 09:54 AM
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Yomuzoku is promoting a Japanese-learning app of that name.
someotherguy is offline  
Jan 4th, 2017, 06:32 AM
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Yep, very spammy posting from Y*******, not at all the Fodors spirit.

I concur with Kja that taking a tourist phrase book and learning by heart the very very basics - greetings, please, thank you, delicious, and how to tell people your name / country of origin if you like - would be sufficient.

As Russ says, the places you are looking at are all big tourist destinations (for good reason) and although many Japanese are reticent about speaking English, for fear their English isn't good enough (though it's always waaaay better than my Japanese!), most are also very focused on helping visitors in need, and that is enough to ensure you can communicate. I also took a phone app that allowed for voice translation - if someone spoke Japanese into it, it would either show that in text or speak the translation aloud in English, and vice versa. This was super helpful on one or two occasions.
Kavey is offline  
Jan 4th, 2017, 07:27 AM
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<< although many Japanese are reticent about speaking English, for fear their English isn't good enough (though it's always waaaay better than my Japanese!), most are also very focused on helping visitors in need>>

And others will come up to you and start chatting you up just because you're speaking English, they can practice theirs and they like seeing visitors. We had that happen a bunch of times - probably because the kids are cute and the Japanese can't tell from a quick look that they're really the antichrist and a sibling (depends upon time of day which is which).
BigRuss is offline  
Jan 6th, 2017, 12:00 AM
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Russ, yes we found that teenage groups would often come up to practice their English, particularly in tourist spots.

When we were out and about, say on the street, or at a bus station, or in a shopping centre, that was less frequent. My Japanese friend gave me a tip that I have actually found very helpful and used a few times. He said that there is often a worry about losing face, and that if we do need to ask for help, to approach someone on their own. If you approach a couple of group, it may well be that no one is willing to embarass themselves in front of the others by revealing that their English isn't perfect, so none may say much. But approaching someone who is on their own means that is not an issue, and the natural propensity to help others comes to the fore more readily. I did also learn some very basic stuff such as being able to say hello and ask if they could help me and if they spoke English, in Japanese, by way of introduction.
Kavey is offline  

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