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Japan, finally, help with plan pretty please :-)

Japan, finally, help with plan pretty please :-)

Old Nov 27th, 2022, 05:29 AM
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Japan, finally, help with plan pretty please :-)

Hello fellow travelers,

I have always had great recommendations and tips from this forum, so here I am again

We finally get to go and visit Japan, for the first time! We are a family of 4 with two boys who will be 18 and 14 in august, this is the time we will go and is the only time we can go.

Here is our plan:

4 nights in Tokyo
1 night in Hakone
5 nights in Kyoto (with side trips)
1 night in a ryokan in Kyoto
3 nights in Osaka (side trips to Nora and possibly Hiroshima)
1 night in Kyosan in a temple
1 night in Tokyo (then fly back)

Questions: Is Hakone worth the night's stay (ryokans are so expensive there! And any suggestions on which ones? Or can we just do a day visit from Tokyo (we have points with IGH)
Do you think we should do one less night in Kyoto or Osaka and add an extra one in Tokyo? In Osaka, one day would be Nora, and also planning to do side trips when in Kyoto.
Any comments will be very welcome!

Thank you.
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Old Nov 27th, 2022, 05:14 PM
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One possible suggestion to your plans. Instead of a ryokan stay in both Hakone and Kyoto, skip Hakone (which is a fine destination) and visit Kinosaki instead for one day between Kyoto and Osaka.

It’s 2+ hours from either city by train and a picturesque onsen town with dozens of ryokan at every price point. Part of the charm and fun of visiting is dressing up in yukata and walking from onsen to onsen, sampling the various baths. Unlike many places in Japan tattoo’s are allowed in many of the establishments there.
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Old Nov 28th, 2022, 08:11 AM
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answer is yes to all questions

you could just fly home from Osaka, use OSA in fare search to get both Osaka Itami (ITM) airport and Kansai international airport (KIX)

A good reason for a ryokan stay in Hakone is that there are several onsen ryokan. Are you interested in visiting an onsen? Onsen baths are almost always gender segregated and nude (that is to say that I have never seen guys wear swimsuits). An onsen ryokan will probably offer private family time to guests who spend the night and swimsuits or not would then be up to you. Am sure you could find a ryokan in Hakone that doesn't feature its own onsen bath (tho it kind of is a reason to choose Hakone for a ryokan experience).

Hakone does have Yunessun which is a family-oriented (swimsuits) onsen theme park. I haven't been there but a few posters over the years said it was great, tho maybe that was for younger children.

And Hakone has the Hakone Loop (use Hakone Free Pass) with great views of Fuji-san and other natural beauty (lake, geothermal features, forest - it is in Fuji-Hakone national park after all), modes of transport Definitely worthwhile and recommended.

Figure that 40-50% of a ryokan stay goes to the meals: kaiseki dinner and Japanese breakfast. That still makes for an expensive meal but it is a great experience and very Japanese. It would be a trip if they served all four of you dinner at the same time in your room (I assume they would do that).

The Kyoto ryokans that I have learned about are very expensive. This is partly due to location, being in the tourist magnet of the city of Kyoto. Another difference would be in the furnishings, like antiques and better futons. You might find a ryokan outside of the city that is more economical, but just off-hand I would say that I expect Hakone to be less expensive than Kyoto.

Above, I corrected "ryokan stay" to "ryokan experience" because it is not just lodging or lodging plus meals. It is traditional - at least at a "traditional ryokan" with certain room features and traditions that you can follow. I think that japaneseguesthouses dot com has a good description, probably japan-guide too. Read up so that you can understand and fully enjoy expertience.

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Nov 28th, 2022 at 08:19 AM.
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Old Nov 28th, 2022, 08:27 AM
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I would expect that Yunessun would be verry popular in the heat/hum of August. I think there is a school break in August.

I have a general rule: go to country during the week and to city on the weekend. A lot of city people head to the country on the weekend while at the same time there are weekend festivals, events, and attractions to attract people to the city. (so Hakone mid-week, not weekend)

Obon is in August. You need to learn about that. Very busy travel time.
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Old Nov 28th, 2022, 03:10 PM
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There are quite a few Japanese inns that are not what you typically think of as a ryokan, but a nice experience still. Inexpensive is relative though, as you are always paying per person. These smaller inns will likely be in concrete buildings with a western style lobby. They have Japanese rooms, and meals are included. Some have a small bath with a soaking tub in your room, but will also have a nice communal furo elsewhere in the building.
We did a super fast trip to Hakone a few years ago...Stayed at the Suimeisou, about a half block from Hakone-Yumoto station. It was very convenient to the start of the Hakone loop, and our room overlooked a pretty little river, despite being in the heart of town! We got into town early, left our bags with the hotel, then took off! Spent quite a bit of time at the outdoor art museum, all the various trams, trains, boats and a bus, and still got back in time for dinner. ( and in time for the typhoon that arrived that evening!)

http://www.suimeisou.com/english/index.htm
http://english.ichinoyu.co.jp/index.html - a booking list of other hakone inns
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Old Nov 28th, 2022, 05:31 PM
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Suimeisou looks nice. I had trouble with the links, maybe these work better:
【Hakone Suimeisou】 Official site

HAKONE ICHINOYU GROUP | Japanese Valuable Onsen Ryokan Ichinoyu around Tokyo Ichinoyu group official site

I used japanican to book a ryokan recently. The website for Showaen in Beppu showed no availability for 1 guest, but japanican did, so I booked there. It was Western-Japanese style, basically a cottage. One room was traditional Japanese ryokan room, with space for at least two futons (after removing the Japanese dining table) and the little table and chairs by the window, tokonoma and stuff. It also had a room with twin beds.Little toilet room, room with shower and hinoki tub fed by the hot spring.

When I was searching for ryokan it seemed that there many offered W-J style (or J-W style) and not just J-style. I don't recall seeing as much availability of the type 3+ years ago.
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