Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Japan - first draft itinerary for fall 2023 - feedback appreciated

Japan - first draft itinerary for fall 2023 - feedback appreciated

Old Mar 18th, 2023, 01:02 PM
  #41  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
Well, maybe. But what is your plan for Okuhida area? How are you going to get there, for starters?
I think that we could take a bus from Matsumoto, no?

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5941....FROM=5940_6050
progol is offline  
Old Mar 18th, 2023, 01:03 PM
  #42  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
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.
thanks, Happy! Iím starting to sort it out now and hope Iím getting somewhere!
progol is offline  
Old Mar 18th, 2023, 06:11 PM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,812
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by progol View Post
I think that we could take a bus from Matsumoto, no?

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5941....FROM=5940_6050
Yes. t will be bus not car and from Matsumoto not Takayama. Will you stop in Kamikochi on the way, overnight there? You can go on to Okuhida from there. Or you could go straight to Okuhda. On a following day,, go up the ropeway and then hike down to Kamikochi and bus back to Okuhida or go on to Takayama

There are five onsen towns in Okuhida area. Which one(s) will you visitl? Where will you stay?

So, you find a town and a place to stay and you figure out how to get there (including walk from bus stop or they pick you up there). You make it there some time before dinner and you have a soak and relax. Next day are going to go hiking up/down the ropeway or what? You've got one or two more nights to spend.

Am asking you what you will do for that time. Not that much to do up there in the country, not like Tokyo where there is another museum or owl cafe or restaurant to go to. I noticed that two of the three passes on the page you linked are two day passes, so made for a tourist spending one night.

Along with info, this page shows the tranport network with bothTakayama and Matsomoto on it: Kamikochi Travel Guide (japan-guide.com)

It mentions that it is 90 min from Matsumoto to Kamikoch. Three hours roundtrip travel on a day trip would be a bit much.

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Mar 18th, 2023 at 06:15 PM.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Mar 18th, 2023, 07:59 PM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Welcome home, progol. I see that you are busy planning again. I'm following closely as I'm considering a trip in November. My version will include less of the Japanese Alps as we would be there roughly one month later than you and understand that the area may receive more inclement weather by then. As such, we're looking to go further west than Kansai. Will this be your first trip to Japan?
tripplanner001 is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 03:35 AM
  #45  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
mrwunrfl,

What I envision for the stay in Okuhida is, as follows: we’d travel from Matsumoto and have full day for the onsen towns. It looks like Hirayu would be the most convenient for the bus. Then one day to Kamikochi, where we would take an easy hike.

I get what you’re saying that there isn’t much to do, but does the above sound reasonable for 2 people who like to go slowly and not rush around?
progol is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 05:36 AM
  #46  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
Welcome home, progol. I see that you are busy planning again. I'm following closely as I'm considering a trip in November. My version will include less of the Japanese Alps as we would be there roughly one month later than you and understand that the area may receive more inclement weather by then. As such, we're looking to go further west than Kansai. Will this be your first trip to Japan?
Hi, tripplanner,
Welcome aboard this planning thread! Any thoughts you might have, feel free to share, too. This is our first and likely only trip to Japan.

As Iím seeing, we do well when we slow our trips down and try not to rush to places, so Iíve added more time to places that many people might visit in less time, but I guess I also risk being in places that donít warrant as long a stay. Itís still very much a work in progress.
progol is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 06:15 AM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,233
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think I mentioned on FB that Kamikochi closes for the winter on November 15 - so it may be a game-day decision in early November depending on weather. This link that I've been using for planning advises to "Dress like it is the middle of winter" for late Oct/early Nov. We'll going duly prepared for a cold evening/morning in May (and I hadn't thought about a bear bell, but maybe that, too!).
ms_go is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 06:32 AM
  #48  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ms_go View Post
I think I mentioned on FB that Kamikochi closes for the winter on November 15 - so it may be a game-day decision in early November depending on weather. This link that I've been using for planning advises to "Dress like it is the middle of winter" for late Oct/early Nov. We'll going duly prepared for a cold evening/morning in May (and I hadn't thought about a bear bell, but maybe that, too!).
Thanks, ms_go. I had seen that site and we would be fine - my current plan would have us in the area around the end of October. We wouldnít be doing serious hiking - we prefer the easy walks so probably wouldnít be running around with a bear bell!

Still, going through constant revisions. Itís challenging!
progol is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 06:46 AM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think you have a very good itinerary. Six nights in Tokyo and Kyoto each are good, especially since it's your first time. You won't run out of things to do in either city; if you get bored and / or want a change of scenery, there are plenty with an hour or two train ride away. Given when you're going, you should see some beautiful fall colors in the mountains. I like the suggestions of Nikko and Nara from others. You could also look at Okayama and Himeji, but it would take you west of where you would be. Are you looking at festivals when you will be there as well?
tripplanner001 is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 07:01 AM
  #50  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
tripplanner,
I’m thinking about adding Nara as a place for a few nights but can’t figure out how to work it in. After Kanazawa? It would be easier to end in Nara but then getting to Itami is either a very expensive taxi ride or a bus and train. Probably doable but I try to keep it simple.

Where would you place Nikko? It just is a little too far for a day trip, I think.
progol is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 07:23 AM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nikko is north of Tokyo, so before and after that. Going straight to Nikko when you land may be too much travel time, but perhaps you want to just get it done and settle down. I believe there is a bus that goes to Nikko direct from Haneda. If you go after Tokyo, then you'll wind up coming back to Tokyo to connect trains or buses, but I find connecting trains in Tokyo to be fairly straightforward if the two trains come and go from the same station.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 07:34 AM
  #52  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
Nikko is north of Tokyo, so before and after that. Going straight to Nikko when you land may be too much travel time, but perhaps you want to just get it done and settle down. I believe there is a bus that goes to Nikko direct from Haneda. If you go after Tokyo, then you'll wind up coming back to Tokyo to connect trains or buses, but I find connecting trains in Tokyo to be fairly straightforward if the two trains come and go from the same station.
Much as Iíd love to go everywhere (!), Nikko is a 2 hour trip from Haneda. I donít see going there from the airport. Iíll consider it for after Tokyo. Iíll need to research more about Nikko. I just remember reading about it as a beautiful and popular town within range of Tokyo.
progol is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 08:44 AM
  #53  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,812
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ms_go, thanks for the link. Are you going camping up there?

Originally Posted by progol View Post
mrwunrfl,

What I envision for the stay in Okuhida is, as follows: weíd travel from Matsumoto and have full day for the onsen towns. It looks like Hirayu would be the most convenient for the bus. Then one day to Kamikochi, where we would take an easy hike.

I get what youíre saying that there isnít much to do, but does the above sound reasonable for 2 people who like to go slowly and not rush around?
It does. You will have some down time, so good idea to take some reading material or post reports to fodors or something.

Matsumoto to Hirayu Onsen 90 min by bus. What kind of lodging and food up there? With a multi-night stay, am not sure I would want to do it in a traditional ryokan with kaiseki dinner for more than one night if meals were not optional.

Afternoon arrival in H.O. and chill? Next day, ropeway and onsen towns (bus up to the ropeway and onsen stops on the return, or something like that; I wonder if there are taxis up there). Second night in Hirayu Onsen,

HO to Kamikochi is only 25 min by bus (10m by taxi, maybe 4000 yen). You go there for the day. You can go on from there to Takayama to have a nice Hida beef dinner and spend the night.

I liked staying at the Best Western in Takayama. It is close to the statiion, comfortable, English spoken. One option would be to stay for a couple of nights and then stay at a traditional ryokan for a night a few blocks away (though you may have experienced that in Okuhida).
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 09:05 AM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,812
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Maybe there is more to Okuhida than I think. The people in those five towns would be interested in keeping people there, in that local area. IDK, an onsen day pass and maybe a shuttle between the towns, something. Have been thinking about my stay at Momijiso on Miyajima - wonderful place, great meals, nice room, secluded among the trees and lovely during the day, but at night is was me and a 9-inch black & white TV with four or five hours to blow before going to sleep.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 09:49 AM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,812
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by progol View Post
Much as I’d love to go everywhere (!), Nikko is a 2 hour trip from Haneda. I don’t see going there from the airport. I’ll consider it for after Tokyo. I’ll need to research more about Nikko. I just remember reading about it as a beautiful and popular town within range of Tokyo.
You were considering staying in Asakusa. That would be particularly convenient for visiting Nikko because of the Tobu Railway.

Nikko is a very popular day trip from Tokyo. Or should I say "very, very" popular. It is not 3*very popular like Philosopher's Path in Kyoto during cherry blossoms.

I stayed in Nikko for two nights, so I saw more than the daytrippers did. I could have spent four or five days in the region, between Nikko, Kinugawa Onsen, Yumoto Onsen, and elsewhere. I think it would be easy enough to take the Okuhida time and plop it into Nikko area and the timing might be better, peak time vs past-peak in the Alps. A bit more lively in Nikko, maybe, as it is near to the largest city in the world. Not saying Nikko would be better. Peak means more tourists and close to Tokyo is a world away from a mountain/countryside location that is outside of the Tokyo megalopolis footprint. Nikko might need some moving about though on a lengthy stay. Different vibes.

Nikko Pass: Nikko World Heritage Area Pass and Nikko All Area Pass (japan-guide.com)
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 10:03 AM
  #56  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,368
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Nara is only about 45 minutes by train from Kyoto - no reason not to go straight there after Kanazawa.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 10:07 AM
  #57  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
You were considering staying in Asakusa. That would be particularly convenient for visiting Nikko because of the Tobu Railway.

Nikko is a very popular day trip from Tokyo. Or should I say "very, very" popular. It is not 3*very popular like Philosopher's Path in Kyoto during cherry blossoms.

I stayed in Nikko for two nights, so I saw more than the daytrippers did. I could have spent four or five days in the region, between Nikko, Kinugawa Onsen, Yumoto Onsen, and elsewhere. I think it would be easy enough to take the Okuhida time and plop it into Nikko area and the timing might be better, peak time vs past-peak in the Alps. A bit more lively in Nikko, maybe, as it is near to the largest city in the world. Not saying Nikko would be better. Peak means more tourists and close to Tokyo is a world away from a mountain/countryside location that is outside of the Tokyo megalopolis footprint. Nikko might need some moving about though on a lengthy stay. Different vibes.

Nikko Pass: Nikko World Heritage Area Pass and Nikko All Area Pass (japan-guide.com)
Thanks so much, tripplanner. Iíll need to think about it and see if this can work for us.
progol is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 11:29 AM
  #58  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
Nara is only about 45 minutes by train from Kyoto - no reason not to go straight there after Kanazawa.
yeah, Iím thinking that would work.
progol is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 11:40 AM
  #59  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
ms_go, thanks for the link. Are you going camping up there?



It does. You will have some down time, so good idea to take some reading material or post reports to fodors or something.

Matsumoto to Hirayu Onsen 90 min by bus. What kind of lodging and food up there? With a multi-night stay, am not sure I would want to do it in a traditional ryokan with kaiseki dinner for more than one night if meals were not optional.

Afternoon arrival in H.O. and chill? Next day, ropeway and onsen towns (bus up to the ropeway and onsen stops on the return, or something like that; I wonder if there are taxis up there). Second night in Hirayu Onsen,

HO to Kamikochi is only 25 min by bus (10m by taxi, maybe 4000 yen). You go there for the day. You can go on from there to Takayama to have a nice Hida beef dinner and spend the night.

I liked staying at the Best Western in Takayama. It is close to the statiion, comfortable, English spoken. One option would be to stay for a couple of nights and then stay at a traditional ryokan for a night a few blocks away (though you may have experienced that in Okuhida).
I really like your idea of going to Takayama from Kamikochi. That seems a good use of time and Iíll bet thatís when we can effectively use luggage forwarding.
progol is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2023, 12:10 PM
  #60  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,812
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>> we can effectively use luggage forwarding

Exactly.
Ship from Matsumoto to Hirayu Onsen and/or Takayama. From H.O. to Takayama. If you had a bag on that last day then I am almost certain there is (there was) a place to leave it in Kamikochi. Might be a place to leave it at H.O. bus stop or you could leave it at your lodging if it is not far from the bus stop (this assuming you have to change buses there).

You will want to go to Nara. It is a day trip from Kyoto. That might mean going to Kyoto station that day. But connecting in Kyoto from Kanazawa to Nara means you don't have to make that trip to the station because you already be there. There is another railway company that can get you from Kyoto, at a station in the city, maybe near your ,lodging, making a day trip easier.
mrwunrfl is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -