Japan in September

Nov 18th, 2013, 01:15 AM
  #1  
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Japan in September

Hi, everybody!


I'm planning a trip to Japan. I dreamed about it a lot, and always wanted to make it slowly. Next year I hope I'll have an opportunity of spending 4 weeks for my holiday (2 last weeks of September + 2 in October). I want to see autumn colors and I know that I'll have to include Hokkaido. The rough plan for now is to spend 3-4 days in Tokyo, 5 days Kyoto and near, spend a night in the monastery on Koya, visit Nikko (maybe 2), Hakone (2), Miajima . Still nothing is settled, tickets not booked and I have a lot of holes in my plan, so I'm free in planning. What can be the best order of all the places to catch more color? Now I'm afraid it will be too rainy. Is it possible to stick to this plan or we must try to move the vacation for October or later? I'm thinking about JR pass and going north with one-two stops for a day-two, something off the beaten track. Can you recommend anything special?
tasta is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 08:07 AM
  #2  
 
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Here is how we captured koyo in Hokkaido

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...japan-2009.cfm

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 04:52 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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For planning your experience with koto:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2014_when.html
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Nov 18th, 2013, 06:20 PM
  #4  
 
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I would (and did) plan to fly into Tokyo and connect there to Hokkaido, fly non-stop from Sapporo to Hiroshima, and then work your way back to Tokyo. You should be able to connect at Tokyo Narita to Sapporo. If you fly into Tokyo Haneda then I think there would be more connections to other Hokkaido destinations.

There are a a few ways to arrange the air travel. There are special fares for visitors.

I highly recommend a visit to Noboribetsu Onsen, if you are interested in onsen. From there, I took a tourist bus across to the Lake Toya area. It stopped at the Toyako caldera and at a volcano-in-the-making nearby.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Nov 18th, 2013, 11:09 PM
  #5  
 
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We travelled in early October last year (for 2.5 weeks) and then in late October/ early November this year (for just under 3 weeks). We found the weather beautiful, mostly sunny, usually high teens to low twenties (degrees C) and just a couple of days of rain.

As well as your 5 nights in Kyoto and one visiting the temples of Koya-san, can I also suggest a night in Nara? You could also look at spending a night or two in Osaka and/ or Kobe though you could also visit them from Kyoto if you prefer. However, if you want to do that, I'd add more nights to your Kyoto time.

Last time, we also took a trip from Kyoto region down to Hiroshima, where we spent a few hours, before crossing to Miyajima where we spent the afternoon, evening and overnight. Lovely!

I haven't been North, so can't commment on that, but hawaiiantraveler has been to Japan several times and is absolute font of advice, and mrwunrfl also!
Kavey is offline  
Nov 20th, 2013, 08:51 PM
  #6  
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Hi, again! I was waiting for a message about having replies in my mail,and nothing came. And then surprise, surprise! They are waiting for me, and they are great! Thank you all for answering.
Kavey, you think 5 nights in Kyoto is not enough for Kyoto only? Or is it with some travelling around? Because I'll devinetely travel around, but thought about changing a stay there, simply not to grow roots
I'll look into Nara info, we definetely need some places more for stay.
About going North I'm still not sure - I think about going there after 5 days in Tokyo, straight, and on the way back make stops . I've read about Asahidake and Kamakura. Have anybody been there?
What about Hakodate? Niigata?
Then I'll begin the "classical" route - Nara, Nikko, Kioto and south.
I'm interested in onsens, but my husband hates saunas-spa etc. So I'm afraid, it will be only one, and I want something autentic,small and not touristic, but with the possibility for him to escape and relax. Do you know the "must see" place where onsen is the only possibility to stay? I have my tricks, it's time to use some.

mrwunrfl , you think special airfare is better than JR travel to Hokkaido? I'd like to check one-way flight option. Where can I check?
tasta is offline  
Nov 21st, 2013, 04:54 AM
  #7  
 
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It all depends on your interests and your travel style.

We love to take it easy, to linger over breakfast in a local cafe, head off to a place we want to see, linger again over lunch, go and see something else, perhaps come back to the hotel for a nap and then wonder out again for a walk and explore before dinner...

So we do 1-3 sites a day, depending on how long they merit (for us), how close to each other they are, how much time we spend just pootling around.

But some travellers love to be busier so could do twice as much in a day as we do.

That said, there is SO MUCH to see and do in Kyoto that yes, you could easily spend way more than 5 nights there, if you have the luxury of 4 weeks to play with.

With that time frame, I'd probably suggest 5-6 nights in Kyoto plus dividing another 4 or 5 between Nara, Koyasan, Osaka and Kobe (which was on our itinerary this trip but we dropped it for more time in Kyoto and Osaka, and we'll try and visit it next time).

It's also easy to get to Hiroshima from this area. We spent a few hours at the peace park and museum before heading to Miyajima in the afternoon, and spent the night there. We left mid-morning the next day. That was on our previous trip.

On this trip we spent 8 days in Kyushu but would have extended the itinerary there if we could, to about 12 days, so we could include Kagoshima and somewhere near Miyazaki.

It really depends on what you like seeing!

BTW Thanks to advice here, we used the discounted flight to travel from Fukuoka back to Tokyo which was cheaper and far quicker than the train, but do take into account the costs of training from Tokyo airport into Tokyo centre when comparing.
Kavey is offline  
Nov 21st, 2013, 07:29 AM
  #8  
 
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Hakodate is somewhat interesting A stop there if you take the train, ok, but not worth going out of your way, imo. I will mention Noboribetsu Onsen again as it seems to fit the bill for you - it is an onsen town (so the name).

Another place would be Nyuto Onsen. And a stop in Kakunodate.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Nov 21st, 2013, 11:27 AM
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I will address flying later. Noboribetsu Onsen is a bit touristic, several ryokans and a couple of tourist hotels. It is a true onsen town. One or two other attractions but the main thing is the onsen and the type of place where the Japanese (didn't see any other non-Japanese there) stroll about the small town in their yukata provided by their hotel/ryokan. Daiichi Takimotokan has a great onsen bath area and is open to the public.

But, I am not sure you will be able to sell it. To be honest, it would be: we are going to an onsen town ... and stay at a ryokan.

Nyuto Onsen in Tohoku is getting away from it all, not touristic. I took a bus from the station that went up and up and up, nice scenery and several attractive ryokan on the way, to a ryokan at the end of the line. It was a nice small ryokan and I think the bath was mixed gender (fairly sure that it could be reserved for private use). The folks were in the bath wondered if I was one of the soccer players in Japan for the World Cup.

Nyuto Onsen (or a nearby place that hawaiiantraveler went to) could be billed as a nice relaxing getaway in the country at a lovely traditional ryokan, not frequented by foreign tourists and oh, look, it has a hot springs.

You can find the same, nice ryokan with hot springs, in Hakone with easier transport options, not as remote as Nyuto or Nobo.

Will you be flying to Japan on frequent flier awards? If so, keep in mind that you can extend the award to fly on from Narita or Kansai to other locations in Japan on the same ticket. e.g. connect at Narita to get to Sapporo. Otherwise, it is easy enough to get to Hokkaido from Tokyo Haneda.

Google for "Welcome to Japan Fare" and for "Yokoso Fare". Frequent flier awards for flying domestic Japan routes are cheap, e.g. 6,000 miles for a one-way with United Mileage Plus miles.

Am suggesting flying to save time, vs train to Hokkaido. But, of course, you can use a JR Pass.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2013, 11:47 AM
  #10  
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Thanks a lot guys! What I like to see? Hmm,anything and everything, I'd say. But this trip I'm going to make slowly, and maybe seeing less places but more in the same place. So to Kyushu we are not going for sure. But your plan Kavey, looks pretty the same I'm thinking about, except not sure about Osaka and Kobe in the south and the places in the North. And of cause, still didn't think about the details. About discounted flight - I checked those two sites on google, but I still didn't figure out how it works. I've already bought my tickets, we'll be flying KLM on 18.9-17.10, it's too early for Japan inland booking.
I think all the booking must start 2-3 months before?
Or are there places that even this may be late? Like Koya monastery? Is hotel reservation necessary all over the country?
tasta is offline  
Nov 25th, 2013, 08:28 AM
  #11  
 
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Generally, hotel reservations are not necessary. Exceptions are some locations during holidays and during festivals in smaller cities and towns (e.g. Takayama during one of the festivals - the fall festival is Oct 9-10).

There are travel agents at JR stations where you can book lodging. I prefer to book before departing and a day or two in advance. For example, I traveled Miyazaki to Takachiho to Aso. Had pre-booked 2 nights in Takachiho, but booked the Aso ryokan hotel before leaving Miyazaki. OTOH, I went to an agent at Sendai station after arriving there and got a room that night for a business hotel two blocks from the station.
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Nov 27th, 2013, 07:46 AM
  #12  
 
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For Koya san, I'd book in advance as September is a popular time of year for travel to Japan. Not all temples are created equal so do some googling and decide which will suit you best. I've read reviews of people who were hugely disappointed with the one they chose as well as positive reviews, of course. We chose Shojoshin-in and were happy with our choice. There's no option to meditate with the monks (as in some temples) or any guided activity/ walk into the graveyard (as in some temples) but the location next door to the graveyard is very good, the food was very enjoyable and we enjoyed observing the early morning prayers.
Kavey is offline  
Dec 1st, 2013, 05:01 AM
  #13  
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Kavey, you know, I've already decided to go to Shojoshin-in and asked about the booking,and they are ready to book even almost a year in advance. But I'm still not sure about the dates, so I don't kno what to do. Will it be possible to change the arrival date, let's say,a month before without charges? They didn't answer this question, so I'm still hesitating.
tasta is offline  
Dec 1st, 2013, 06:44 AM
  #14  
 
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I booked via japaneseguesthouses and Vincent was always good at answering my questions. They really are just a translation/ booking service so sometimes it took time for him to send the question back to the individual place and hear back from them.

Whether or not they'd charge for changes should be a straightforward question, but whether or not there would be availability is impossible to know.

Japaneseguesthouses are basically the intermediary, so cancellation terms are down to the individual places you book. Last trip, we booked a ryokan through them and needed to switch our itinerary around a little (a couple of months before departure). He checked and as they had availability, they were happy to change our booking without any penalty / admin charges.

But I couldn't tell you what the shojoshin-in terms might be.
Kavey is offline  
Jun 29th, 2014, 02:19 AM
  #15  
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My vacation is coming closer and I'd like to ask some more questions.
Does anybody know how to see one-act-only kabuki performance?
Do I need to book in advance? Is it better to do in Tokyo or Kyoto?
tasta is offline  
Jun 29th, 2014, 07:13 AM
  #17  
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This information Is too general for me, I'd like some recomendations... What to see and where
tasta is offline  
Jun 29th, 2014, 09:30 PM
  #18  
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Nobody went to Kabuki? Maybe other theater or performance recommendations for Tokyo?
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Jun 29th, 2014, 09:52 PM
  #19  
kja
 
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The link I gave you lists Japan's kabuki theaters and provides links to their websites, which you can access to ascertain the times and dates of performances, etc.
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Jun 29th, 2014, 11:25 PM
  #20  
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I know this link, and even a better one -
http://www.kabuki-bito.jp/eng/top.html
But I'm asking about personal impressions and recommendations. Have you been personally?
Where? Did you like it? Not a lot of info on this topic, and I don't want to be caught in touristic trap.
tasta is offline  

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