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Japan - itinerary advice - takayama or kanazawa?

Japan - itinerary advice - takayama or kanazawa?

Feb 20th, 2015, 10:53 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 7
Japan - itinerary advice - takayama or kanazawa?

First trip to japan. a little nervous but it's coming together. I'm going in May this year. and the plan i have so far is like this:

8.5 - Tokyo (landing and orientation)

9.5 - Tokyo.

10.5 Tokyo - Takayama

11.5 Takayama

12.5 Takayama - Kanazawa

13.5 Kanazawa

14.5 Kanazawa- Kyoto.

15.5 Kyoto - Aoi Matsuri (in the morning)

16.5 - 19.5 Kyoto + day trip to Fuji (organized to save time)

20.5 Kyoto - Nara

21.5 Nara

22.5 Nara - Tokyo

23.5 - 28.5 Tokyo + one day to Hiroshima and Miyajima (organized tour probably)

Any comments will be welcome but the more i read here (amazing site!!) the more i come to think that Takayama and Kanazawa are pretty much smiler. both have house museums both are in the same area. both have little different atmosphere the Tokyo and Kyoto. (except for the famous garden in kanazawa). what would you advise? give up one? and if so which one?

Take into account that this will probably also be the last time i am in japan. (not that i would mind visiting again but the long long long flight and the expenses are a bit too much)

Asteriks
asteriks is offline  
Feb 20th, 2015, 11:07 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 196
Hi Asteriks,

It really depends on what you're looking for. Tokyo is different from Kyoto and you need a few days to explore Tokyo itself. I noticed that you don't plan to spend much time there at all. If I could get you to reconsider... But then again, it depends on what you're looking for.

I wrote a trip report for our trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara but we spent a majority of time in Tokyo:
http://fanofblank.blogspot.com/2014/...and-kyoto.html

Enjoy your trip!
lindygirl is offline  
Feb 20th, 2015, 05:55 PM
  #3  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,071
"i come to think that Takayama and Kanazawa are pretty much smiler."

I disagree!

Takayama is a city in which you can visit a number of things that were traditional in the Japanese Alps, along with a few other things.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5900.html

Kanazawa is a city known for its crafts and its glorious garden, Kenrokuen, among other things.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2167.html

Only you can decide whether to visit both or just one.

"Kyoto + day trip to Fuji (organized to save time)"

I'm no expert, but I would have thought it easier to visit Fuji from Tokyo than from Kyoto.

"Tokyo + one day to Hiroshima and Miyajima (organized tour probably)"

You might want to check some maps and good sources of information about Japan (e.g., the japan-guide website mentioned above or a good guidebook): Hiroshima and Miyajima are MUCH closer to Kyoto than to Tokyo.

Depending on what you want to see, you might want to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima on your own -- it is very easy to do so.

Do you already have your flights booked? If not, fly into Narita and out of Kansai or vice versa to save backtracking. If you do already have your reservations, consider putting ALL of your time in Tokyo in one block at the end of your trip.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Feb 20th, 2015, 09:23 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,484
Your plan for Fuji and for Hiroshima/Miyajima reveal a lack of knowledge about the geography of Japan. I'll get back to that after I give my thoughts on your question.

I've visited both places three time each for short but worthwhile visits. I'd like to go back to each of them. Last time in Kanazawa I recall thinking that there was even more to the area than I had realized. I suppose they are in the same region but they are quite different. Takayama is a small city and easily walkable or bike-able. Could take a bus or taxi to Hida no Sato or to the temple area in the hills to the east of town. Kanazawa is a larger city and a bit more complicated that Takayama (nothing like Tokyo, of course) and so it is less touristy. Kanazawa is a bit easier to access fron Tokyo and easiter to get to Kyoto than Takayama.

You can visit Shirakawago as a day trip from Kanazawa or Takayama.

You can visit both, per your in-work itinerary, or either one and you will have a fine time. The weather is good for either. Particularly good for Kanazawa (least monthly precipitation is May).

I would choose Kanazawa as the one. Kenrokuen in May being the deciding factor.

Fuji is a day trip from Tokyo, not Kyoto. Hiroshima (and arguably Miyajima) can be a day trip from Kyoto, but absolutely not from Tokyo. Both Hiroshima and Miyajima are worth at least a one-night stay each.

Here is an itinerary to consider: Tokyo- Kanazawa- Kyoto - Hiroshima/Miyajima- Nara- Tokyo (with day trip to Fuji).
mrwunrfl is online now  
Feb 20th, 2015, 09:26 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,484
>>lack of knowledge about the geography of Japan
no offense intended, just statement of fact
mrwunrfl is online now  
Feb 21st, 2015, 12:41 AM
  #6  
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Posts: 7
Thank you all for the replies. of course i mixed up the two day trips... i meant it the other way round. there's an organized day trip for both although the Hiroshima one does sound hectic. The purpose is to visit Miyajima and not Hiroshima as sacrilege as that may sound.so still thinking about that.

as for Takayama and Kanazawa. still not sure what to do although you did help in giving me your opinions of the two. specially the point Mrwunrfl made "Kenrokuen in May being the deciding factor."

if you have any more input i would be most appreciative. The start of the plan was to visit takayama as i was facinated by what i read but i really don't want to miss out on Kenrokuen nor do i want to skip shirkawa go....

ASTERIKS
asteriks is offline  
Feb 21st, 2015, 12:58 AM
  #7  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,071
"The purpose is to visit Miyajima and not Hiroshima as sacrilege as that may sound"

OK -- still easy to do on your own. Seeing Miyajima's "floating torii" at both low and high tides was, for me, quite memorable. Your call.

"nor do i want to skip shirkawa go"

I probably shouldn't comment, since I DID skip it, but since you have limited time, I feel compelled to at least note that the outdoor museum in Takayama covers much of what you would see in Shirakawa-go, and more. But of course, it can't offer the experience of staying there -- which you didn't initially propose.
kja is offline  
Feb 21st, 2015, 05:34 AM
  #8  
 
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If you're planning to stay in Shirakawa-go, I'd say go for it! I loved our stay at the minshuku last May (it was at Magoemon) and it was definitely a great experience. We rented bikes when we were there, which was very pleasant since the area itself is not too big to get lost in.

If you're just planning on a daytrip there, I'd echo kja's comment on just going to the outdoor museum at Takayama Depending on your timing you still might be able to fit Shirakawa-go in the itinerary but it's best enjoyed in 1 day with a minshuku stay imho.
msnaddie is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 09:18 AM
  #9  
 
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"Tokyo + one day to Hiroshima and Miyajima (organized tour probably)" this is going to be a very very long day with almost a quick drive by of Hiroshima and Miyajima both need more time than you are going to have on a day trip from Tokyo.
Re: Shirakawa-go read my comments on staying there so you don't make the mistake I did. Not all places are actually at Shirakawa-go proper but in Shirakawa-go region and its hard to tell which is which.
JoanneH is offline  
Feb 27th, 2015, 01:24 PM
  #10  
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thank you all for the info. so far i think i will try and give both takayama and kanazawa 2 nights each and be more flexible with the days (leave early or in the evening) as for Hiroshima i seem to have booked a hotel for one night short in Tokyo. mistake? maybe I'm just supposed to go to Hiroshima. maybe see Miyajima and a Hemji castle. still open to any suggestions and comments.
asteriks is offline  
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