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ErikJW Jun 18th, 2010 10:43 PM

Japan - Help, behind the curve in planning.
My family (husband + 10 year old) will be traveling to Japan this August (9-27) and unfortunatelly are behind the ball in our plans. Would like to visit Kyoto, Nikko, Kanazawa and Tokyo. Please help by advising duration of stay in each and the route. Much much much appreciated.

kappa1 Jun 18th, 2010 11:41 PM

You can start by checking advices already posted on this board for similar questions. Have you uded the search function ? So many practical advices here.

Probably you will spend least of the days in Nikko, 1 or maximum 2 nights. Not becasue Nikko is not interesting (I like Nikko) but because the area is much smaller than other cities you mention.

kappa1 Jun 19th, 2010 12:11 AM

2 nights may be a lot. You would have time, after visting Nikko, to visit Chuzenji-ko lake area that's higher up the winding road from Nikko. When I did Nikko last time, I did the visit of Nikko then took a bus to Chuzenji-ko, stayed over night by the lake. My family was so happy to see, from our room window, the clear night sky full of stars above the lake. The next day we took a cable car to a nearby mountain, also visited Kegon-no-taki water fall. All that is 2 days (leaving Tokyo on Day1 in the morning). After Chuzenji, we moved to Kinugawa onsen area for another night also in the same Tochigi Prefecture.

lcuy Jun 19th, 2010 12:13 AM

Fly into Osaka. Stay in Kyoto 5 nights, with a day tip to Nara during that time.your child will love the deer. Take a train to Takayama for 3 nights( its cooler up there) visiting the folk village, float museum, and a merchant house. Go on to Kanazawa for 4 nights, then to Tokyo for your last week with with a one night trip to Nikko in the middle. Myabe substitute or add 1.5 day trip to Hakone too. Hakone is easy to visit, and with the trams and pirate boats is a very cool place for a 10 yr old.Fly home out of Narita.

ErikJW Jun 19th, 2010 07:24 PM

Thanks so much. Someone mentioned Kanazawa similar to Kyoto.
How is Hokaido? Too far?

KimJapan Jun 19th, 2010 09:35 PM

Kanazawa is much smaller than Kyoto, which is a huge city. Both, though, will be incredibly hot in August, so prepare yourselves for that. Get up early and take midday breaks to avoid the worst heat, which is between 1 and 4 or so every day. Wear light clothing and drink a lot. You'll find drink machines everywhere, and you may want to choose drinks like Pocari Sweat, Dakara, Aquarius to help rehydrate as they have salts and sugar and electrolyes in them much like Gatorade. On occasion you'll see Gatorade, but the others I mention are the most common.

Kanazawa has a lot to see and do both in the city and the surrounding area. It's quite different from Kyoto in my opinion. Highlights are the samurai district, Kenrokuen, Higashi and Nishi chaya districts, Omicho ichiba (market), Kanazawa castle park. You can experience making something with gold leaf, painting Kutani pottery, real tea ceremony, Kaga Yuzen dying for a small fee, very reasonable.

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are an hour away by car and well worth the trip not only because it will be cooler there but because the thatched roof houses and scenery are gorgeous, the local beer there delicious...just nice places. There is also the Noto Peninsula area that has an aquarium that has apparently just been redone (haven't been there in a while but saw news) that has a dolphin encounter program my daughter enjoyed when she was a bit younger.

Hokkaido will be a bit cooler. it isn't nearby, you'll have to fly unless you want to spend a good chunk of time on trains getting up there (or car and ferry). Discount air passes like you can get with Star Alliance are not valid during the time you will be here because of obon so to fly may well be cost prohibitive.

ErikJW Jun 20th, 2010 08:03 PM

Thank you KimJapan, Icuy and kappa1. Who would offer cheep flights to Hokaido (train not an option) and what's interesting in Hokaido?
Frankly, looking for a place to spend 4 days (down time) to slow down the pace becasue of 10-year-old and would not mind renting a car and being able to explore small quiant areas. So far, heart sold on Nikko, Kyoto and Tokyo. Looking for an extra spot. Thought of Kanazawa but could change if something better appars.

KimJapan Jun 20th, 2010 11:47 PM outlines all of your air options. Cheapest I've seen to Hokkaido for August is ¥30,000 round trip per person...over $1200 for 4 of you to go.

You could easily spend four days in the Kanazawa area doing what I described before. Or you could go to Magome/Tsumago/Matsumoto area. Or Nagano. Karuizawa is a popular short break spot for those living in the Tokyo area.

Or Nara. Mid-August is festival time with light up and fires on the 15th. It is the 1300th anniversary of Nara as capital. We've spent 4 days in a row there and enjoyed a lot.

ErikJW Jun 23rd, 2010 08:58 PM

What is good Kanazawa accomodation?

KimJapan Jun 23rd, 2010 09:37 PM

What is your good? Price range...faciltiies...ryokan or hotel?

Generally, I prefer the area around Kohrimbo over Kanazawa station for tourists.

ErikJW Jun 25th, 2010 08:50 PM

Reasonable price - will stay in ryokan in Nikko so either would work. What is Kohrimbo?

KimJapan Jun 25th, 2010 11:29 PM

Kohrimbo is the area of Kanazawa that is "downtown" near shops, restaurants and most sightseeing.

Reasonable price? My reasonable and your reasonable may differ greatly. You could look at Tokyu Excel, Toyoko Inn Kohrimbo, and APA Chuo. All have good location. There are a number of ryokan, too, may be helpful to you.

The more information you can provide about what you want the better the advice you will get I think.

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