Japan Itinerary feedback please

Sep 16th, 2004, 04:15 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Since you've got the pass, then stay in Kyoto and take the Haruka. From Kyoto station, you don't change trains at all. You'd have to leave Kyoto around 11:30 or so to be at Kansai airport for a 3:00 pm flight. If you have lots of stuff, you can arrange for your bags to be shipped ahead to the airport. Allow 2 days to be safe. The hotel concierge will be able to arrange the delivery for you and give you boxes if you need them. Cost is around 2000 yen per bag or large box. You pick your things up at the airport at the baggage counter on the check-in floor...really convenient. If you don't need to send stuff ahead, you can easily take a taxi to Kyoto station if you aren't staying in the Granvia hotel in the station.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 09:01 PM
  #22  
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Thanks! We're traveling light (1 carry-on roller each) so no need to send bags ahead. An extra evening & morning in Kyoto sounds great! We'll contact the Hirota Guest House where we're booked earlier in our trip. The other option is to stay at a temple, if anyone has a suggestion of a place where we could stay and attend morning meditation.
alan64 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 03:48 AM
  #23  
 
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I'm sorry, alan64, I may have given you some bum advice on Matsumoto considering the dates of your travel. If you do a search on this forum for "Elainee" you will see my post titled "Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa bus schedule for Elainee". The schedules say the buses run "from April 21". So, I am doubtful that you would be able to take the (non-JR) buses over the mountains via Kamikochi.

KimJapan, the OP is travelling at the end of March - beginning of April (not sure if you're caught up on his plan; also, at one point he was considering visiting Kumamoto to go river rafting and to see the garden and castle). I don't remember if we covered it on emd's posts, but is Shirakawago even accessible at that time? Considering that Takayama's cherry blossom festival is at the end of April, I'm guessing that Takayama is not going to be very green.

Tokyo- Hakone- Matsumoto- Takayama would be the best route, weather permitting, that is.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Sep 17th, 2004, 04:33 AM
  #24  
 
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Alan-you didn't mention that you were planning a trip to Koyasan, Japan's Buddhist monastery town on the mountains, but Koyasan is where most of the accomodation to be found is at Buddhist temples. You might want to consider going there, if you want to experience an overnight in a monastery, which would include getting up at dawn to sit with the monks and listen to their morning chants-I considered this myself once, long ago, and don't remember now why I didn't do it- but I did get up up very early one time to sit and observe Buddhist rituals in honor of Buddha's birthday in a Kyoto temple-and I can vividly recall that experience many years after the fact, so if you can manage to do this while in Japan I think it would be a most worthwhile experience.
Spygirl is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 02:13 PM
  #25  
 
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Shirakawa-go is accessible year round, usually...unless there is a big snowstorm, which though not unheard of for the area is highly unusual. Access end of March/early April, no problem. It may involve a rental car...there are buses in the off season, but they are few and far between.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 02:40 PM
  #26  
emd
 
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Spygirl: I wanted to let you know that I have been following up on your post here w/the suggestion to visit Ohara, adn I foudn out that the nunnery, Jakko-in, was destroyed by arson, and it will not be rebuilt til 2005 at the earliest, at a cost of several billion yen. See http://dp.iam.com/index/jsp?cid=6928...cationId=29068
I am wondering if it will be open when we go in March.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 02:47 PM
  #27  
emd
 
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Well this is really weird. I foudn another site that says the people of Ohara rallied and raise denough to get the nunnery rebuilt and that it opened back up in Nov. 2000!
http://www.city.kyoto.jp/sankan/kank...-6/may_04.html
I guess I won't know til we get there and see.
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 12:48 PM
  #28  
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Well our trip is almost ready to begin, and I wanted to thank everyone for their helpful suggestions. Our final itinerary is:

Day 1 - Tokyo (arrive 5 pm), staying at the Ryokan Shigetsu in Asakusa
Day 2 - Tokyo
Day 3 - Tokyo
Day 4 - Hakone, Ichinoyo ryokan
Day 5 - Hankone
Day 6 - Matsumoto, Marumo ryokan
Day 7 - Takayama, Sumiyoshi ryokan
Day 8 - Kyoto, Hirota Guest House
Day 9 - Kyoto
Day 10 - Kyoto
Day 11 - Kyoto
Day 12 - Matsuyama, Minshuko Miyoshi
Day 13 - Matsuyama
Day 14 - Takamatsu, Takamatsu City Hotel
Day 15 - Nara, Seikan-so ryokan
Day 16 - Fly home out of Osaka (3 pm flight)
alan64 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 03:15 PM
  #29  
emd
 
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Oh wow, so your trip is just starting! And this whole time while I was pouring over your posts to plan my March trip I thought you had gone and come back. Your trip looks great. I really look forward to hearing about your experiences, esp. the ryokan' you've chosen, Maysuyama and Tkayama (both on our future trip itineraries already), as well as Matsumoto and Takamatsu. Bon Voyage! We leave march 12 for Tokyo and Kyoto w/lots of side trips.
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 03:39 PM
  #30  
 
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Have a great trip alan64, you've got a great itinerary. Will you be travelling via Kamikochi to Takayama? I see that your ryokan in Matsuyama is in the Dogo Onsen area. Please tell me that you will visit the onsen! And buy the extra ticket to go upstairs to the relax room after bath.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2005, 05:59 AM
  #31  
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emd, I'll be sure to report back after I return in April. We leave out of San Francisco on 3/25/05.

mrwunrfl, you've been a big help in my planning. We definitely are going to visit the Dogo Onsen, and we'll be sure to relax upstairs. I'm also looking forward to renting bikes in Matsuyama to bike around parts of the inland sea.

Regarding travel between Matsumoto and Takayama, we'll have to see what we can do. We'll have a JR rail pass, so we'll probably want to use that if possible. However, if the scenic bus is running and it's not too expensive, we'll certainly consider that. I'd love to view the Kamikochi basin area.
alan64 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2005, 06:37 AM
  #32  
 
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Bonjour Alan,

I see you'll be staying at the Takamatsu City Hotel. I've stayed there twice (2003 March and 2004 May). It's clean, cheap, but breakfast is only so-so. However, its location is fantastic for visiting around, since it is almost in the middle of the main shopping arcade, surrounded by good inexpensive restaurants (the noodle shop next door, yum), a couple greengrocers with delicious fruits, nice kimono and antiques stores, 3 min on foot from the Kotoden train station from where you can go to Yashima plateau and Shikoku village and 15 min on foot from Ritsurin Park.

Do stop by at the tourist office in front of the JR station for some free maps and leaflets.
Florence is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 06:54 PM
  #33  
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I wanted to thank everyone whose helped me plan my first trip to Japan. We'll be leaving SF on Friday morning and we're very excited.
alan64 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 02:08 PM
  #34  
 
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Bon voyage, alan64. Pack some extra patience and have a wonderful time!
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jun 27th, 2005, 01:04 AM
  #35  
 
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A reply to Spygirl's post of 9/10/2004
Spygirl: I have to strongly second the recommendation for Ohara-it is quite simply one of the most beautiful and interesting places in all of Japan-I always tell people who are going to Kyoto to also go to Ohara, and those who've gone have never been disappointed.

The road in Ohara splits and at one end of the road lies the Buddhist nunnery of Jakko-in ... Recently, I was shocked to read that the nunnery buildings burned to the ground in 1999-however, it was being rebuilt, and was supposed to re-open in 2004. It would be great if someone could go there and report if the nunnery bldgs. have in fact been rebuilt.

Rotenburo's response: my family and I stayed at the Chaya minshuku in Ohara 6/23-26 and used Ohara as our base for seeing Kyoto - we drove, so staying out of the center of Kyoto was do-able. My wife and I walked up to Jakkoin early on Saturday morning, but the gates were closed, as were all the fascinating pottery shops along the way (we looked in the windows, though). The inn-keeper's wife answered your question. According to her, Jakkoin's buildings were all finished and reopened on June 1. I would recommend Ohara to all who are mobile (car or bike) and looking for a place to stay in Kyoto. With eight people, we were glad to stay at a minshuku with two meals for Y6300 a person a day. Ohara has about ten minshuku listed on the internet and it is about a 25 minute drive from the sights in eastern Kyoto.
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