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Jul 31st, 2016, 12:22 PM
  #1
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Japan Family Trip Itinerary Suggestions

Our family (two adults, two children ages 8 and 10) will be traveling to Japan next summer (last two weeks of May). We have two weeks (Saturday to Saturday inclusive of flights to/from Atlanta) to travel.

We are planning on spending 3-4 days in Tokyo and 3-4 days in Kyoto, traveling by train.

We'd like to spend 2-3 days in another area, but we can't really decide where to go. We really love to hike. Any ideas of where we could go for 2-3 days of hiking (not camping, just day hikes with overnights in hotels/ryokan) that wouldn't be way out of the way from a general Tokyo-Kyoto itinerary?

Thanks!
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Jul 31st, 2016, 03:59 PM
  #2
kja
 
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Here is some information on hiking in Japan that might prove useful:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2427.html

In general, japan-guide.com is an excellent resource that I strongly encourage you to use extensively as you plan.

Note that many of us will say that your time in Kyoto is quite limited -- a stay of 5 or 6 nights for a first visit to Kyoto / Nara is more in line with what most of us found reasonable.

BTW, you may be there during the performance of Kyoto's Kamagawa Odori -- if so, consider making it a point to go!

Hope that helps!
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Jul 31st, 2016, 04:44 PM
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I suggest Miyajima. I had kids your age when we went last summer and the island is a wonder for kids and adults alike and there is good hiking. Staying in a traditional ryokan which is a lot of fun for all too. You can combine it with a day in Hiroshima and then take the ferry over. It's an easy train ride from Tokyo. We then went on to Kyoto by train. We had our luggage forwarded and went to Miyajima with backpacks or small bags. Try for more time in Kyoto. Not only is it chock full of the most beautiful temples and gardens, there are also a lot of other interesting fun cultural activities for kids too.

But Japan guide is a great resource for other hiking suggestions and to help tailor your entire trip.

Enjoy.
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Aug 1st, 2016, 08:35 AM
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I'd up the time in Kyoto.

You want to hike, go to the Inari shrine and take all the paths under the toriis. That'll keep you occupied for a while. And walk from the nearest JR station to the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaju-ji) - yeah, it's city streets, but it's all uphill and the only things to see other than the outside of the pav are turtles and carp in the lake by the shrine.

Learn to use the Hyperdia.com website and japan-guide.com. And make sure you have JR passes if you're going to bounce around between Kyoto and Hiroshima/Himeji, etc.
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Aug 3rd, 2016, 06:57 PM
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Thanks for the replies! I will check these out!
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Aug 4th, 2016, 10:47 AM
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the submit button isn't working on this thread
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Aug 4th, 2016, 10:48 AM
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The Kiso Valley, in particular the Nakasendo hike, might be just the thing for you. It is on your way. The Tokaido shinkansen that you will take from Tokyo to Kyoto will cross the Kiso River near Nagoya. The valley area you want to visit is within 1-2 hours from Nagoya.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6075.html

The Nakasendo is historic.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6078.html
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Aug 4th, 2016, 10:49 AM
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so, I split my post in two. that was the first part, but now can't submit the second part.
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Aug 4th, 2016, 11:11 AM
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Here is a woodblock print of the Kiso Kaido near Tsumago as part of a slide show that includes photos:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsumag...42_Tsumago.jpg

The village on the right in this one is probably Nakatsugawa:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ochiai...o44_Ochiai.jpg
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Aug 4th, 2016, 11:11 AM
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Another route would be to travel via Matsumoto and then down Kiso Valley. Matsumoto has a fine castle.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6050.html

Definitely look at the link that kja gave. Traveling Tokyo-Kyoto means traveling through Chubu Region, from Kanto Region, to Kansai Region. Kiso is in Chubu.
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Aug 4th, 2016, 11:12 AM
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Miyajima, except that it is out of the way from a general Tokyo-Kyoto itinerary and might add significant cost. Is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum appropriate for children that age?
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Aug 4th, 2016, 11:33 AM
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Ok, one more for fun. The two previous links were stations 42 and 44. Station 42 is one end of the Nakasendo walk described in the japan-guide link above.

Station 43 is Magome, at the other end of the walk:
http://www.picturesfromhistory.com/g...isen_1835-1838

Am not actually trying to push the Kiso Valley idea. I'm educating myself about the history more than anything.
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Aug 4th, 2016, 06:17 PM
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kja
 
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@ mrwunrfl: There are known problems with submitting on ALL Fodor's boards. Basically, you need to cut and paste from a word document until "preview" shows a problem, then tweak, try again, tweak again, etc. Painful! But it works. Here's a LONG thread with some of the issues....
http://www.fodors.com/community/foru...rope-forum.cfm

Some quick notes:
- if you have any URLS in your post, try removing the "http://" and "https://" from the front,
- watch for character sequences that look like computer code with associated punctuation (e.g., "eval" with certain punctuation marks),
- and note that sometimes just a pair of characters, far removed from each other in the post, can cause a failure.
I don't think any of us have identified the full list of problems....

I'd encourage you to add your comment(s) to the long thread I just linked in -- if Fodor's staff ever decide to take action, the more complete the list, the more quickly they might be able to identify the problem.
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Aug 4th, 2016, 06:18 PM
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@ knoxnicks: Sorry for the long aside!
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Aug 5th, 2016, 02:49 AM
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I would have thought 8 and 10 is old enough to visit Hiroshima, learn about what happened there, and focus on the peace park and positive lessons to be taken. But only Knoxnick can know whether his kids would handle it well or not. It's certainly a lovely pairing with an overnight on Miyajima which I'm sure children would enjoy too, especially feeding the deer and walking out on the sand at low tide to visit the "floating" torii gate. A traditional ryokan experience here would also be great.

Or, another thought might be to visit Koya-san for an overnight in a Buddhist temple - again only Knoxnick will know whether his children would appreciate that. It would certainly be a very different experience, an insight into a traditional cultural side of Japan, and the area itself is beautiful. There may well be hiking options in the area, I can't advise on that as have arthritis so always avoiding anything like that!
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Aug 8th, 2016, 06:50 PM
  #16
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Thanks for all these awesome replies and links! Extremely helpful.

All areas suggested seem very interesting and appropriate for our family. Will research some more and report back!
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