Japan Itinerary - Comments Please

Mar 3rd, 2012, 12:06 PM
  #1  
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Japan Itinerary - Comments Please

We will be visiting Japan in ending May/beginning June 2013 for two weeks. Below is a tentative itinerary, which may be done in reverse (Tokyo first), depending on what flights are available using miles. Please comment or make suggestions about our itinerary.
Day 1 - Looking around Kyoto Station, Cooking class in Kyoto, Gion area, Pontocho
Day 2 - Kyoto - Kinkakuji, Ryoanji, Kyoto Botanical Gardens
Day 3 - Kyoto - Fushimi Inari, Tofukuji Temple
Day 4 - Kyoto - Nijo Castle, Manga Museum, Kyoto imperial Palace & Park
Day 5 - Kyoto - Ginkakuji, Philosophers Path, Nanzenji, Yasaka Shrine,Kiyomizu
Day 6 - Kokodera, Katsura Village, maybe Arashiyama
Day 7 - Deciding between the Tateyama Alpine Route or Hakone???
Day 8 - Hiking? then To Tokyo
Day 9 - Tokyo - Rikugien Garden, Ueno Park, Tokyo National Museum, Roppongi Hills, Midtown
Day 10 - Tokyo - Kaminarimon Gate, Nakamise-dori, Sensoji, Kappabashi
Day 11 - Tokyo - Tsukiji Fish Market, Akihabara, Imperial Palace & Gardens
Day 12 - Ghibli Museum, Shibuya
Day 13 - Odaiba - Natl Museum of Emerging Science, Decks Tokyo Beach
Day 14 - Shinjuku, Meiji Park, Harajuku,
Day 15 - Home
Does it make more sense to see Tsukiji Fish Market on the same day as Odaiba? We are a family of four (parents plus two college-age children) who are visiting Japan for the first time and would appreciate any feedback on our itinerary.
hawaiimom is offline  
Mar 5th, 2012, 08:09 AM
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Aloha Kakahiaka,

Your itinerary looks well thought out and a little busy in sections but all doable. I would make sure to make time for Arashiyama on day six and I would probably do Ueno Park on day 10 as it is in the same area as your other day 10 venues.

Yes it is a good idea to do Odaiba the same day as Tsukigi which is also close by.

I would go to Hakone instead of the Tateyama Alpine Route as it does take a while to complete the route and you want to be in at least Kanazawa or better Toyama to start the journey early in the morning.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7550.html

Plan your outdoor activities with options during the Tsuyu or rainy season which you will be in at your time there. See here for details:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2277.html

On day three when you are leaving the Inari shrine there are several old Japanese homes on the right side of the exit road that also serve as little restaurants. Try the inari sushi along with other homestyle Japanese cooked meals for lunch....an incredible experience and very tasty too!

If you click on my screen name, I have done a few trip reports about our travels through out Japan that you might find useful.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 5th, 2012, 04:28 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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I agree - sounds like a lovely, well researched trip!

I have a few suggestions for day 3, depending on how long you spend at Fushimi Inari. (I spent about an hour there, which felt right to me, but many people spend much longer.)

For one thing, you might consider moving your visit to Kiyomisodera to that day - in might make more sense transportation-wise, and it give you a bit more latitude on day 5. OR you could visit Sanjusangendo, with its very interesting display of 1001 Kannon statues. Or, you might even consider taking a short train ride to Uji to see the magnificent Byodoin Temple and to taste some of Japan's finest green tea.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3923.html

BTW, I had read several recommendations to visit Fushimi Inari at sunrise or sunset, and am glad I did. Glimpsing the changing light through the torii as sunset approached was truly wonderful. And the shrine is open 24/7, so unlike most temples, you won't need to worry about timing.

Enjoy!
kja is offline  
Mar 6th, 2012, 12:10 AM
  #4  
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Thank you so much for taking the time to look over our itinerary.

hawaiiantraveler: Would you still suggest Hakone for day 7 and 8 if we had intended to do the Tateyama Alpine Route over two days with an overnight at Hotel Tateyama? Our family is interested in hiking and I thought it may interest us more than Hakone, but we are still researching both options. Thank you for the link to Tsuyu...hopefully it'll be a typical year...we'll be leaving Japan on June 9th. I have moved Ueno Park to day 10 and will do Tsukiji before Odaiba. BTW I loved reading your informative trip reports and I even looked at some of your pictures, hoping that you were someone that I knew.

kja: Thank you for the suggestion of Sanjusangendo for day 3. We will probably spend a lot of time at Fushimi Inari, as all four of us love to take pictures. We will check the time of sunrise and sunset during our visit to get the best pictures. Maybe we will start at Sanjusangendo, go to Tofukuji Temple and end up at Fushimi Inari.
hawaiimom is offline  
Mar 6th, 2012, 08:02 AM
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Wow, I am really impressed that you have such a detailed itinerary for a trip well over a year from now - I'm leaving for Japan in about two weeks and still have a bit of planning to do.. ;-)
Anyway, my comment is about the Alpine Route - I did it in April 2010 shortly after its annual opening - to me, at least, it is not a hiking experience although you do get off the bus at Murodo where you can hike - when I was there it was solid snow, of course. Most of it is riding on the different modes of transport:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7550.html

For hiking I would recommend the Nakasendo in particular from Magome to Tsumago:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6078.html
I did that on the same trip - it was very enjoyable plus it is not quite as far away as the Alpine Route from the other areas of your stay.....

Another idea is Nikko - there is a lot of hiking available around there plus the historical area with the shrines is magnificent imo - was there last November:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3800.html

Have fun planning!
Mara is online now  
Mar 7th, 2012, 08:34 AM
  #6  
 
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You have done your research. Hotel Tatayama in Murodo would be nice for an overnight and if you are planning a visit to do the TAR then that would be the way to do it imho. We had that very plan a couple of years ago but got to Toyama and cancelled due to weather. Just couldn't see spending the money to do the TAR and hotel overnight. To me, unless you hit it in the right weather with the perfect season changes in the valleys leading up to Murodo, then its not worth the expense imho only of course. With four of you the expense would be doubled that of ours.

There are many hiking opportunities in Hakone, most virtually free. The views at the right times of year are impressive and the transport systems throughout Hakone can't be beat. I like Mara's suggestion of the Magome to Tsumago hike for your short visit too. Everywhere in Nikko is a hike uphill somewhere

Have you seen this site with Hakone info?

http://www.hakonenavi.jp/english/

Mara, what is your latest itinerary now?

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 7th, 2012, 12:47 PM
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ht - here's my itinerary as per your request:
Tokyo->Usuki->Yufuin->Kumamoto->Nagasaki->Fukuoka->Nara->Tokyo


Re: Nikko hiking - I didn't go there but what about the Senjogahara Marshland:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3811.html
Mara is online now  
Mar 7th, 2012, 03:35 PM
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Mara, that looks great! Try to post while you are there, so we can drool and be very jealous.
emd3 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2012, 03:51 PM
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lol, emd3 - I don't like to hurt my online friends' feelings.... ;-)
I have always thought of doing a blog and even once set it all up before I left home...that was three trips ago....still haven't made a post...
Mara is online now  
Mar 7th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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You would be a great blogger. DO IT. (but of course that comes from somene who doesn't even know how to put photos up online, lol)
emd3 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 05:52 AM
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Hello from Tokyo! Your itinerary looks good. Personally, I love Kyoto and could always spend a long time there. I like Mara's suggestion of the Nakasendo area. For Tokyo, to tell you the truth, there are far more interesting places to explore than what you are planning and I would suggest other ideas if you are open to adventure. How much do you want to see the standard tourist Tokyo vs. more interesting Tokyo?
Mealea is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 06:04 AM
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Mealea, hello and welcome back! We have missed you around here.
emd3 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 07:10 AM
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Mealea,
ひさしぶりですね。
If I started a new thread about 'more interesting Tokyo' would you give us ideas? I don't really want to piggyback on this thread....
Mara is online now  
Mar 9th, 2012, 05:24 AM
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on day 12, i would skip the museum and shibuya, and go to nikko for a day trip.
kuranosuke is offline  
Mar 9th, 2012, 06:03 AM
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kuranosuke you home yet? assagio,lol

On day 12 you can also go on a hike to Takaosan or Mitakesan. Both are out of Shinjuku on the Chuo line and about an hour out, Takaosan being a little closer. Never been to Mitakesan but have wanted to for a while. Takaosan is a nice retreat from Tokyo on a sunny spring day. It will be chilly so take a jacket. See these links for specific details on how to get there and whats there when you do.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3029.html

http://www.mitaketozan.co.jp/english/index.html

If Mealea were here she might recommend Happoen Gardens as a sight that is off the beaten tourist path. I took her suggestion of this a few years back and it was a highlight but now with the Peninsula....
There is also the Showa Kinen Gyoen which I write about and show pictures of in my most recent trip report. Hiking, biking, you have everything in this HUGE park in Tachikawa, a suburb of Tokyo. See here for details on how to get there strangely it is also on that same Chuo line out of Shinjuku station.

http://www.showakinenpark.go.jp/english/

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 12th, 2012, 08:36 PM
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Hi emd3, Mara, and hawaiiantraveler! Good to see you all. I haven't been writing much these days, but of course always thinking about traveling or traveling.

I'll look for the thread on "more interesting Tokyo" and add to it there or start a new one.

hawaiiantraveler, glad you like the Happoen Garden. I'm looking out my window right now and can just see the edge of it. Ume (plum blossoms)are blooming later that usual this year and sakura (cheery blossoms)are coming soon.
Mealea is offline  
Mar 12th, 2012, 09:11 PM
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HawaiianMom:

If like me, you grew up on tales of the Chushingura 47 Ronin, you might want to visit the site to see their graves and museum which contains artifacts and their actual suits of armor. I found it extremely moving and actually the highlight of my trip to Tokyo. I took one of the trains and walked a couple of blocks to the site, however no one seemed to know what I was talking about. It's at Shingaku-ji.
kuluk is offline  
Mar 12th, 2012, 09:13 PM
  #18  
 
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Sorry, I was wrong in the spelling. It's Sengakuji. Here is some information:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3000.html
kuluk is offline  

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