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Japan - first draft itinerary for fall 2023 - feedback appreciated

Japan - first draft itinerary for fall 2023 - feedback appreciated

Old Mar 17th, 2023, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
Kamikochi can be a day trip from Matsumoto or a stop for a few hours on the way to Takayama. (I think someone was staying in Kamikochi, maybe ms_go, and I hope to see a trip report about it). There is a loop: bus from Kamikochi and then the ropeway up the mountain and then hike down to Kamikochi. I think it could be a day trip.
Yes, we'll be staying in Kamikochi in mid-May - but only one night between Matsumoto and Takayama. I have not been good about trip reports lately, but I will make a point of sharing this experience and the transportation involved (which I still need to work on)
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Old Mar 17th, 2023, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ms_go View Post
Yes, we'll be staying in Kamikochi in mid-May - but only one night between Matsumoto and Takayama. I have not been good about trip reports lately, but I will make a point of sharing this experience and the transportation involved (which I still need to work on)
Thanks, ms_go, itíll be very helpful to read about transportation. It does sound like weíll be following similar routes.
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Old Mar 17th, 2023, 02:25 PM
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It is that extra travel from the airport that made me gasp at the plan - but I was thinking Narita. But, ok, from Haneda it could be just a bus to Ofuna and then a train
There is a direct train from Narita airport to Ofuna, I used it myself on my last trip. (And stayed in Ofuna rather than Kamakura.) There doesn't seem to be a direct route from Haneda to Ofuna.
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Old Mar 17th, 2023, 02:50 PM
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oh yeah, the N'Ex goes there after, I think, splitting at Tokyo. Maybe I will stay in Kamakura next time

Luggage shipping is something you will want to do if you take the bus. It makes 1- or 2-night stays easier to manage. The bag is next to the front desk with a bunch of others.The last time, the bag was delivered to my room. It was still wrapped and I saw how they had my spinner standing on a cardboard platform with the wheels hanging through, safe.
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Old Mar 17th, 2023, 04:51 PM
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Thanks, I’m really trying to keep it as simple as possible so have gone back to starting in Tokyo at the beginning. I think we’ll just do a day trip to Kamakura.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 05:22 AM
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Okay, current draft, with currrent thoughts:
1) I’ve decided to skip Koyasan since we are not so young and energetic anymore and without a car, it’s a hassle to get there.
2) I’d like to keep the number of stops reasonable and avoid 1-nighters or too many 2-night stops
3) I’d like a balance between very urban and scenic vistas

so, itinerary draft (still work in progress)

Tokyo - 6 (includes 1-2 day trips)
Matsumoto - 3
Okuhida - 2/3
Takayama - 3/4
Kanazawa -3/4
Noto Peninsula - 2
Kyoto - 6

I have a total of 26 nights. I’m still trying to decide thr allocation of nights. If Okuhida is a good place to chill but also explore from, it might be nice to be there for 3 nights. It seems that Kanazawa has a lot to see but it also looks like a big enough city that it would feel very urban, and I like the sound of Takayama as a smaller place but also where we might do a day trip.

Current thoughts?
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 06:07 AM
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Kanazawa is a fair sized city but it never felt that way to me. Maybe because where we went was focused in an smaller area. Its a city and not nature like the Noto Peninsula. We used a free guide there that was recommended, Goodwill Guides. They are youngish people who want to practice English and we had a great day with ours. She did take us on a bus a short distance. We walked from the train station to our hotel and then walked everywhere in the city with the exception of the bus with the guide.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
Kanazawa is a fair sized city but it never felt that way to me. Maybe because where we went was focused in an smaller area. Its a city and not nature like the Noto Peninsula. We used a free guide there that was recommended, Goodwill Guides. They are youngish people who want to practice English and we had a great day with ours. She did take us on a bus a short distance. We walked from the train station to our hotel and then walked everywhere in the city with the exception of the bus with the guide.
Thanks, yestravel! Thatís helpful. Was 4 nights the right amount of time there? As you see, Iím trying to figure out where to put the ďextraĒ days.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 07:28 AM
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Went back and re-read my reports on Matsumoto and Takayama. Really liked the castle in Matsumoto, but I think Takayama has the edge: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...u-in-takayama/
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 08:21 AM
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>> we are not so young and energetic anymore and without a car, itís a hassle to get there.

What's that? What turned you off or made you think you needed a car?

Looking at your draft itineraries it is easy to imagine how you might spend your longer stays in Tokyo and Kyoto. Lots to see/do in a big cities, so when I see 6 nights, five full days, I think the poster will figure it out. Those two stays could be shorter, but ok, what you have is not too short.

Three nights in Kanazawa is good, you can see the sights. Another night? Sure. You would be getting a bit more depth, or going at a slower pace, or maybe a day trip to Shirakawago,

Am wondering how you plan to spend those days/nights at the other stops. Noto and Okuhida could be -0 or 1 night. Takayama would be a 2n, 1 full day, minimium just for that town.

I see Matsumoto on an itinerary and I understand the poster wants to see the castle. That requires several houra. You want to take the train from Shinjuku, see the castle, and then go on to another destination? ok To Kamikochi, sure. To Miyajima, not a great idea. I arrived there one night, saw the castle the next morning, then instead of taking the Azusa train to Tokyo, I went up to Nagano to see the stunning Zenkoji, and continued on to Tokyo that evening.


I think hawaiiantraveler posted about a multi-night stay in Matsumoto and they had a good time.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 10:04 AM
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Thanks guys!

Re:car - to me, the place to have a car is the Noto Peninsula, which for 2 nights, we could do. Otherwise, I don’t see the need. I was referring to getting to Koyasan - it’s either a hassle getting there by public transportation or needing a car, which is why I’ve decided not to include it in the plan.

mrwunrfl, Ok, I’ll probably go back to 2 nights in Matsumoto. I take it from you and thurdaysd that it doesn’t have a lot but I do want to see the castle. I don’t want to stop in the city and then take off again. Depending where we stay, Noto looks like it would be a nice place to enjoy coastal views and beautiful scenery. Kamikochi looks worthwhile and the more I look at it, a stop there looks possible.

I did see hawaiintraveler has stayed in Matsumoto and even noted the hotel they liked.

No worries, Miyajima isn’t on this itinerary.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 10:25 AM
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>> I take it from you and thurdaysd that it doesn’t have a lot

Don't do that. Go here and read this:
Matsumoto Travel Guide - What to do around Matsumoto City (japan-guide.com)
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 10:46 AM
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A third night in Matsumoto? Sure, you could day-trip to Kamikochi. That link had two other "side trip" suggestions (Alpine Route has two red gumballs like Kamikochi while Norikura has none). I was thinking also of Kiso Valley to the south but maybe too much train travel for most people for a day trip (walking the Nakasendo might be pushing it as a day-trip from Matsumoto)
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 10:59 AM
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Re:Kamikochi - would it be better to visit Kamikochi from Matsumoto or Okuhida? If the latter, it would allow us to be settled in a natural setting and explore the Japanese Alpine region without backtracking to Matsumoto.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by progol View Post
Re:Kamikochi - would it be better to visit Kamikochi from Matsumoto or Okuhida? If the latter, it would allow us to be settled in a natural setting and explore the Japanese Alpine region without backtracking to Matsumoto.
we really liked Matsumoto plus it has Yayoi Kusama museum. How can you not enjoy a town with polka dotted buses? We also found a fun jazz music place.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
we really liked Matsumoto plus it has Yayoi Kusama museum. How can you not enjoy a town with polka dotted buses? We also found a fun jazz music place.
Sounds like a fun town! And a Kusama museum as well! Thanks!
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by progol View Post
Sounds like a fun town! And a Kusama museum as well! Thanks!
As I recall there was another museum we went to. Nighttime and the gorgeous castle

museum we went to there. The castle was hands down my favorite -- it beautiful esp at night.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
As I recall there was another museum we went to. Nighttime and the gorgeous castle

museum we went to there. The castle was hands down my favorite -- it beautiful esp at night.
very cool! Matsumoto has always been and will remain in the plan!
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 12:09 PM
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You have been given so much excellent advice here. We especially loved Takayama and Kanazawa. The best travel feature in Japan is
the luggage forwarding! It takes a little strategy but once you do it, you are free! You do not see many travelers with luggage on trains. I wish other countries offered it. We had been to Asia several times but not to Japan. Once we traveled there, it became one of our favorite destinations. We will definitely return.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by progol View Post
Re:Kamikochi - would it be better to visit Kamikochi from Matsumoto or Okuhida? If the latter, it would allow us to be settled in a natural setting and explore the Japanese Alpine region without backtracking to Matsumoto.
Well, maybe. But what is your plan for Okuhida area? How are you going to get there, for starters?
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