Japan in 8 days

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Mar 2nd, 2016, 12:22 AM
  #1
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Japan in 8 days

We certainly are ambitious I think, going by all the reports fellow travellers have kindly shared. Will anyways share it. If anyone can come up with any suggestion of improving it to ensure a balanced good trip,most welcome. Our interests are essentially to get a good week of experiencing sights and sounds of Japan and being able to enjoy it. At this point I know we have crammed it a bit but we have to now look at logistics and come up with a practical ,doable itinerary. Please help.

We are planning to arrive in Tokyo on 29th APR.
30th and 01 Tokyo
01 May we head to Hakone, stay the night there
02 May back in Tyo and evening head to Osaka,
03 May early set out to Koyasan..spend the night
04 May mid morning reach Nara.and night arrive in Kyoto
05, 06 Kyoto
07 th early morning reach hiroshima, stay the night in miyajima and come back to Osaka on 8th mid morning.and catch the flight at 4 pm to Miyazaki where my son lives.

Some of this is booked. Like our arrival in Tyo and our flight out of Osaka. We plan to buy a JRP for a week 1st to 8th.
Rest of the accomadation we need to book still.And of course fine tune our travelling times and modes.
Another problem is that we are travelling from Dubai and plan to stay another week with my son. So we will have at least a suitcase and a skybag for each of us. Dont really know how to manage that through all this travel. Any light on that??
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 02:59 AM
  #2
 
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Have you looked at the travel times involved?

I fear you will spend more time travelling and very little time seeing...
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 03:02 AM
  #3
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Thats what I am worried about. Will be looking into that.Thanks.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 06:19 AM
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That sounds like a lot of traveling for 8 days. I'd limit myself to 3 places, or 2 places and do some daytrips (Osaka, for example, is an easy day-trip from Kyoto). But I really enjoyed my stay in a Hakone ryokan even though it was for just one night between Tokyo and Kyoto.

Now about your luggage. That's not a problem at all. Japan has an efficient system to ship luggage cheaply from one destination to another. It takes 24 hours to go from Tokyo to Kyoto. It's called Takkyubin, and every hotel or main train station can arrange it for you. When I visited Japan, I shipped my main bags for about US$20 each from Tokyo to Kyoto and took a small bag for the stopover in Hakone. Then I shipped my bags from Kyoto back to a Tokyo airport hotel, where they sat for 5 days while I visited the Philippines. The bags were waiting on our arrival at the airport hotel, we repacked, and took our flight back to the US the next morning. Very easy, efficient, and reasonably priced.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 07:28 AM
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Hi Hira,

In case you are not aware, your dates coincide exactly with Golden Week, which is one of the three busiest travel periods of the year in Japan. You might want to consider that into your planning, since trains will likely be packed and you might not be able to travel at your preferred times, which would have a large impact on a tight schedule. This is likely to increase that feeling of being always on the road, and detract from the enjoyment of the trip. Here is a link with more info:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2282.html

Note: Osaka is on the way to Hakone from Tokyo, so I'm not clear on your overnight in Hakone, followed by back in Tokyo, and then on to Osaka same day. If you don't need to be back in Tokyo, then go directly to your next destination. If you do need to be in Tokyo, then I'd suggest Hakone as a day trip instead and stay in Tokyo one more night.

This seems overly packed to me, and somewhat stressful this time of the year. If I were going to make any changes to this, while still visiting the same places I would skip the overnight in Osaka and add it to Kyoto. I'd also onsider elimating one other destination entirely. Here is what this might look like, but there are a lot of other possibilities.

Tokyo 3 nights - possible day trip to Hakone
Kyoto 3 nights - You could spend all 8 days here and not see everything.
Koyasan 1 night - Nara warrants more than a half day in my opinion, so you might consider cutting it for this trip
Miyajima 1 night

If you are flying out of KIX then put Miyajima at the end. If you are flying out of Itami, then put Miyajima at the end. I personally still think this is too busy, but I was trying to impact your destinations as little as possible.

As for your luggage, here is a link to the delivery service that Doug mentioned above.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2278.html

Your hotel can fill out the paperwork. Note that it will deliver the next day, so you will want to take an overnight back for your travel days. Good luck!
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 07:29 AM
  #6
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Thanks Doug. Will definitely look into shipping bags. I have been reading that in some of the earlier blogs. Sounds like the best thing to do.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 07:30 AM
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CORRECTION: I meant to say that Hakone is on the way to Osaka from Tokyo in the second paragraph above. Oops!
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 08:43 AM
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More to that: if you go from Hakone to the Odawara station, which services both the JR lines and the Odakyu railway that goes to Hakone, you can catch a shinkansen to Kyoto (just do Kyoto and day trip to Osaka). If you're on a JR pass, make sure you take the Hikari because the Kodama will take too bloody long. If you're not, take the fastest train you can.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 08:55 AM
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YET ANOTHER CORRECTION TO MY POST ABOVE:

Sorry for my sloppiness. Here is how my 5th paragraph should have read:

If you are flying out of KIX then put KOYASAN at the end. If you are flying out of Itami, then put Miyajima at the end. I personally still think this is too busy, but I was trying to impact your destinations as little as possible.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:34 AM
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>>We plan to buy a JRP for a week 1st to 8th.

I just scanned this thread and noticed that. JR Pass validity is based on calendar days. You would have it validated to start on the 2nd if you wanted it to be valid on the 8th.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 11:32 AM
  #11
 
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It's not a problem to start your JR Pass the day after arrival. I actually found it cheaper to take the airport bus from Narita to my hotel. But there is also an express train that's not too expensive. Either way, it's more cost-effective to use some kind of airport transport in Tokyo if you need to use your JR pass on the last day in Japan.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 08:00 PM
  #12
kja
 
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Yes, quite rushed for my tastes -- and I travel hard! But I'm sure you will make it work in a way that will allow you some wonderfully memorable moments!

Some comments:
- Unless you have an extraordinary interest in Osaka, you might consider skipping it in favor of time in Kyoto / Nara.

- I'm honestly not convinced that spending a night on Koya-san makes sense given your timeframe, but I admit that it was a highlight of my highlight-filled 3-week trip to Japan, so I understand the urge to include it. FWIW, my understanding is that one's experience of Koya-san varies with the temple you select. I was very pleased with Shojoshin-in, which still gets great reviews:
http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/r...n=Shojoshin-in
I've also seen good reviews of Eko-in:
http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/r...?ryokan=Eko-in
Wherever you stay, do consider making time for Okuno-in at either dusk or dawn or both:
okunoin hotel tokugawa

With only a part of a day in Nara, you will need to be very selective in what you see, so I recommend that you think through your priorities in advance.

With only 2 days in Kyoto, ditto.

While I was very glad to visit Hiroshima and then spend a night on Miyajima, I wonder if that will give you sufficient time to visit either Hiroshima or Miyajima? Maybe so! But FWIW, I didn't feel ready to leave Hiroshima until late afternoon, and I didn't feel ready to leave Miyajima until late afternoon the next day. YMMV.

I also recommend Japan's luggage forwarding option, takuhaibin -- just make sure you know the requisite drop-off times to ensure timely delivery.

I think that russ_in_LA has given you good information about the potential ramifications of being in Japan during Golden Week -- I think you would be wise to come prepared with backup plans!

Hope that helps!
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 09:55 PM
  #13
 
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During Golden Week not only are many Japanese traveling and visiting popular sites, shops and restaurants may be closed as well. I'm not saying everything shuts down because it doesn't, but some places will be closed as people take advantage of the holiday season to travel. If there are any specific restaurants you want to eat at, best to check whether they will be open and reserve ahead.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:15 PM
  #14
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Thanks ALL for the good advice and suggestions. Will surely take it on board. Unfortunately cannot avoid golden week. Guess that will be part of Japan experience.

After posting this was looking into logstics and did consider changing our order of visits starting in Kyoto,avoiding Osaka, and perhaps ending off at Koyasan. Thanks Russ.

Yes now will rethink on Hakone being a day trip or maybe like you suggested make it a stopover between TYO and KYO.

I know it will be a bit hurried but need to fit in as much as possible. Watch this space for more and then finally what transpires.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:22 PM
  #15
kja
 
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"I know it will be a bit hurried but need to fit in as much as possible"

FWIW, rather than trying to cram it all in (my take on your itinerary), I try to maximize the time I have to actually see and experience the places that I choose to see, while minimizing the time spent traveling between places. I’ve realized that if I can return to a region, the LAST thing that I am likely to want to do is spend my time re-tracing routes already travelled just so that I can go back and finally see the things I skipped the first time. In fact, I might end up not returning specifically because it would mean wasting so much time going from place to place! JMO.
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