Japan beyond Tokyo and Kyoto??

Jan 12th, 2004, 10:52 AM
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Japan beyond Tokyo and Kyoto??

Our tour will take us to Tokyo and Kyoto for 14 days. We plan to tour Japan for another 8 days. Where should we go? We would like to see "Old Japan" if it still exists. We really need suggestions. Takayama a good choice?? Shirakawago?? An island area?? We are still planning so we could arrange to train or fly to get around. Want to have 2(+) special experiences in our 8 days. Thanks.
Elainee is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 07:35 PM
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What time of year will you be there? The weather can make a big difference.
I highly recommend Takayama, and perhaps a jaunt thru the mountains to the north if you'll be travelling in the late spring.
lcuy is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 09:17 PM
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Hokkaido, best hot springs, best scenery, best seafood!
996tt is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 04:21 AM
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Leaving US Oct. 19 for Tokyo, tour begins Oct. 24. Tour ends Oct. 31 in Kyoto. We leave Japan Nov. 9 from Tokyo. We will be four experienced (but never before in Japan) travelers. Hokkaido sounds lovely, but I think too far if we go to Takayama after Kyoto. Planning a trip to Japan is almost like planning one to the US from Japan. Too much to do, to little time.
Elainee is offline  
Jan 14th, 2004, 05:45 AM
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rail - Himeji - rail - Okayama - boat - Hiroshima - rail - Beppu/Yufuin - rail - Kumamoto or Nagasaki - rail - Fukuoka - air to NRT.

Thing about Hokkaido is that you could fly from Sapporo to NRT the day of or night before your return flight. Same from Fukuoka and maybe another city or two (other domestic flights to/from Tokyo are via Haneda airport). Both ANA and Japan Airlines have one-way discount airfares for tourists.

Consider a ryokan near Tazawako
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jan 14th, 2004, 03:32 PM
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If you are in Kyoto also consider spending a day in Nara. It is 40-45min away by Express train.
bkitimat is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 06:00 AM
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Hokkaido off our list. Too far and want more historical stuff. Also might be getting too cold in early November.
Nara is now on our list. We will do it as a day trip either during our tour time in Kyoto or on our first independent day.
From Kyoto we will take the train to Takayama and then on to Shirakawago. Please, for those of you who have been there...is this the best use of our time??? We will do a walk along the old "highway" near Matsumoto. I still can't plan how to structure this. Anybody have the name of a Japanese travel agent (in Japan?) who can arrange this for us. I can't get the sequence. We have 8 days and then another day to return to Tokyo to stay overnight (probably at the airport) for our flight on the 9th. Also want one night in a ryokan. I do need a good map of this area of Japan. Using Frommers Japan and the maps are not very good.
Elainee is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 05:43 PM
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Wondering if the walk you are referring to is the one that Peter N-H described in the "Tsumago" thread. He gave us the following link in that thread.
Those guys might help. You might also search for the Tsumago thread.
Otherwise: ttt
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jan 15th, 2004, 06:59 PM
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Thank you for your recommendation. I did not see the Tsumago thread. Last year we did not have Japan in our plans.That is the area I am considering. Sounds lovely! I have looked at the walkjapan website and will contact them to see if they will do a short (1 or 2 day) walk with us or help us make arrangements. Never would have known about them without your help. Thanks!!
Elainee is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 07:06 PM
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Here is what I was referring to:

Author: Peter N-H
Date: 01/23/2003, 11:43 pm

Message: Tsumago has shops all the way down its main street, so there's no shortage of possibilities. Just wander along and see what you can find.

I've been twice and stayed at nearby O-Tsumago, a small cluster of old houses about ten minutes walk away and perhaps quieter. The first time was in a farmhouse set a little way up the hill, where I was the only guest. The second time was in a 100-year-old minshuku in the main village. But experiences were as echt Japanese as it gets--tatami floors, futons, furo, home-cooking, local river fish, etc.

These are notes I made on the second visit as part of a superb walking trip along the Nakasendo (see www.walkjapan.com):

'Of the original 69 post towns on the three week journey between the two capitals [Kyoto and Tokyo], Tsumago is one of the best-preserved, retaining both its honjin, the superior inn the authorities provided for senior personages passing through, and its waki-honjin for lesser lords. The Meiji emperor, newly restored to his throne after the collapse of the shogunate, passed through in 1880 and a special lavatory was built for him at the waki-honjin, which was then newer than the honjin, and in a better state of repair. He never used it, but it?s been preserved anyway.

'Other elements of the beautifully restored buildings are echoed in the traditional inn where we stay that night. All have tatami straw matting on their floors and square inset hearths containing sand, on which a fire is lit benearth a charred cauldron suspended from the ceiling on a fat chain. The chain also sports a large, blackened wooden fish intended both to guard against fire and remind of its dangers. None of the buildings have chimneys and the rising smoke is supposed just to percolate gently out through the roof. Nevertheless there was a pecking order around the fireplace: a smoke-free spot for father, a smokier one for wife and children, who also had to kneel on hard wood floor rather than tatami.

'Any guest sat in the middle, but this evening after dinner we sprawl around the hearth randomly, talking to a neighbour who has heard there?s a rare foreign group in town, and has dropped by to practise her English.'

Of the whole Nakasendo, the path from Magome to Tsumago is the most walked, and can easily be done in half a day (I went there and back in half a day the first time, but I missed some side turnings), and I highly recomment you do it. Even on this stretch I saw wild monkeys, one of whom plundered a persimmon tree in O-Tsumago while I was there. Most Japanese tours get dropped off at the top of Magome's hill, run down shopping for omiyage, and get on again. The rest of the route isn't crowded at all.

Would love to do it again, and couldn't recommend it more highly.

Sorry I can't be more help about the details of the accommodation, but there's a tourist office in Tsumago which will help you. And come of the O-Tsumago inns might be in the Welcome Inn programme. Ask JNTO.

Peter N-H

Author: Peter N-H
Date: 01/24/2003, 03:50 pm

Message: I forgot to mention that you can find further information about O-Tsumago and Tsumago at the following Web site:


Click on 'post towns' and go from there.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jan 15th, 2004, 11:51 PM
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I'd like to suggest Kanazawa (the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture), which can be reached quickly and easily by shinkansen from Kyoto. It too is a very old city, full of culture and with one of Japan's 'Top Three' gardens, Kenrokuen. I went there for a week during Summer, and couldn't resist going back when I had some free time. The people are said to be 'warm-hearted' and there is a lot to see and do. It boasts an impressive 'little Kyoto', with a long and authentic history. Hope this information helps.
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