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Japan Itinerary for 16 days - need comments

Japan Itinerary for 16 days - need comments

Sep 24th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 5
Japan Itinerary for 16 days - need comments

Ok so going for a 14-night stay in Japan

day 1 - arrive narita and travel to tokyo (get in on later side of things)
day 2 - explore tokyo
day 3 - explore tokyo
day 4 - day trip nikko
day 5 - day trip kamakura
day 6 - travel to hakkone
day 7 - explore hakkone
day 8 - travel early to takayama
day 9 - explore takayama
day 10 - travel to kyoto
day 11 - explore kyoto
day 12 - explore kyoto
day 13 -day trip to nara
day 14 - explore kyoto
day 15 - Travel Kyoto to Tokyo to Narita - fly Narita to Newark Int’l Airport

My biggest issues are whether the travel to hakkone and takayama in the middle are the right choice. We both value nature/natural beauty so these places probably hold more interest than spending more time in tokyo per se. And as well, my wife and I are struggling with whether taking a day trip to Hiroshima from Kyoto is truly worthwhile or whether it shortens our time in Kyoto which is more important to really explore. Or should we even shorten further our time in tokyo?

Any/all comments welcomed! Thank you!!!!
mlief is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 11:17 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,344
Looks like a well thought out itinerary to me. You have done your homework. You are doing the trip in the right directions. I wouldn't worry too much about Hiroshima. That's the beauty of Japan, if you wake up one morning and want to go to Hiroshima, just hop on the shinkansen and your there pretty quickly.

When are you planning on going?

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 01:58 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,874
I agree that it looks like a good plan. One question: Can you fly out of Kansai (near Kyoto) instead of back-tracking to Narita?
kja is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 04:08 PM
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This is a nice itinerary. You can't do everything on one trip. As you've noticed, anything added will mean something cut at this point.

That said, I would do only two of the three day trips (Nikko, Kamakura, Nara) and use the extra day to go to Hiroshima. Although the three towns are different in many ways they are all all basically places ou go to look at temples and architechture. Hiroshima has significance of a different sort in world history, and seeing the Japanese interpretation of events is quite interesting.
lcuy is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 04:09 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Yes, I'm in agreement with the others. You are not pushing the pace too hard and giving yourselves enough time to appreciate those places to which you are going. I wouldn't be overly fussed about missing on Hiroshima/Miyajima. Yes, they are wonderful but think of it as a reason to return for another trip. If you could fly out from Kansai so much the better.
shandy is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 11:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,647
When are you traveling? What time is your flight home?

You can save an hour on the train from Odawara (near Hakone) to Nagoya (where you change to the train to Takayama) by getting a Hikari shinkansen nonstop. Departures are at 7:04, 8:09, and then every two hours after that. The more frequent Kodama trains take about an hour longer (8 stops).

I'm with lcuy, she explained it well, and recommend dropping a day trip (Kamakura or Nikko) and going to Hiroshima.

Are you traveling with a child/baby? I think I saw that on one of your other posts.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 12:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 263
I think you have some duplications.
Kamakura-big Buddha, Nara-big Buddha
Kyoto-old city with temples and shrines, Nara-old city with temples and shrines

Hiroshima/Miyajima combination gives something different - Peace park plus a small island and Seto Inland Sea.

If you start from Kyoto, Hiroshima/Miyajima combo is not something you can just decide to do after you wake up in the morning. You have to plan to catch the earliest Shinkansen train from Kyoto. It's a long day. I have done it as a 12hr trip.

I presume you are going to Hakone to see Mt. Fuji? Depending on the time of year, catching Mt. Fuji on a clear day can be elusive. The Mt. Fuji scene from the movie Kirschblüten http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0910559/ shows frustrations of being so close and yet not able to see the mountain.
nickn is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 06:12 PM
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Thanks to everyone for their great advice and commentary. We took the advice and booked the Century Southern Hotel.

We've stuck with our original itineray for now, although some of the comments about axing the two day trips from tokyo has us rethinking this and shortening our stay there so as to add an extra day to the kyoto portion so we could do the hiroshima/miyajima trip. But it would require a lot of shuffling of reservations now (as we've booked lodging in hakkone and tatayama already so probably won't be worth the effort. WE'll see.

If anyone has suggestions for hotels in kyoto let me know.

Thanks again!!!

P.S. To mrwunrfl - yes we are traveling with our 2-year old daughter
mlief is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 09:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,647
When I recommended Hiroshima and asked about your DD, I was thinking that the A-bomb museum might not be a good idea for a young child. But I think (surely don't know) that a 2 y.o. would be ok (too young to understand). ??
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 04:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 392
Last July, I stayed at the Palaceside in Kyoto for $US 92 per night. It was clean and conveniently located. A friend of mine scored the Westin Miyako for $112 per night in April - very luxurious.
puttakka is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 05:05 PM
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Again, thanks for all the replies to this thread. They have been extremely useful. After some debate we took the advice of many and axed Kamakura from our day trip plans from Tokyo. Instead, we are shortening our stay in Tokyo, and moving all travel up a day, adding that extra day to our stay in Kyoto. With that we plan on making a full day trip to Hiroshima and Myajima Island. I think that this adds a day trip that is much different from others that we have (Nikko, Nara - temples and shrines).
mlief is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 07:57 PM
Join Date: May 2008
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I liked Kamakura better than Nara, personally, but I'm sure you'll enjoy Nara just the same. Maybe I was so enchanted with Kamakura because it was one of the first places I went.

Miyajima is lovely. If you have a chance take the ropeway up to Mt. Misen - but with a day trip for Hiroshima and Miyajima both, this might be pushing it.

I love that you are spending a reasonable amount of time in Takayama. It was one of my favourite parts of Japan and the place where we spent the least time. It is the place I want most to return to. With a little over a full day there, you might try to see Shirakawa-Go, a really unique World Heritage site. I myself didn't have the time.
Mirachan is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 09:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 9
Since you'll be traveling with a little one, I recommend making a trip to one of the many UFO machines in Tokyo and trying your luck with the crane there. They have lots of adorable plushies in these machines(including lots of Disney dolls). I highly recommend going to the arcade at Nakano in Tokyo. It's right nearby the subway exit. There's lots of UFO machines there.
cutiebunny is offline  
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