Japan - itinerary help needed!

Old Jun 20th, 2017, 01:07 AM
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Japan - itinerary help needed!

Hi all!

A little big of background - I've been to Japan once before, about 7 years ago - I spent two and a half weeks travelling through Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. Whilst I have no doubt there are bits and pieces we missed, I do feel like I got a good feel for the areas we saw. Now, I'm looking at going with my current partner and his Dad (who is a fairly fit and active 72yo), who haven't been to Japan before, and was struggling to come up with an itinerary that isn't TOO physically demanding (e.g. no hiking, diving, skiing), and that differs a little from what I've done previously. We're headed over in December. We'd love to see a castle or two, and spend some time in Tokyo to get our 'big city' hit. We don't have any desire to drive ourselves around, so we will be relying on the rail system. I think we'd like a little culture, a little scenery.. but overall, I think the other two I'm travelling with will be happy with almost anything I suggest, I just want to make sure I'm not leaving anything too iconic off!

This is what I've come up with so far - any feedback would be most welcome, especially with regards to how best to fit Mt Koya in. I initially was planning on doing it from Hiroshima, but it seems to make more sense to do it from Kyoto, even though it breaks up the stay.. I was hoping if we ask nicely, our hotel in Kyoto might hold our suitcases so that we can just travel with smaller overnight bags to Mt Koya. I had Matsumoto in as an overnight stay originally, but then we were going to have to leave Hiroshima off.. I still could technically do this as a day trip from Tokyo, but I suspect we'll have enough to do to keep us busy. The castle lover of the group is content with just seeing Himeji at this stage, I'm happy that I get to explore Mt Koya and Okayama for something new..

Day 1
Fly to Tokyo - arrive in evening, travel to hotel.

Day 2 - 4
Explore Tokyo

Day 5
Travel Tokyo to Kyoto

Day 6
Explore Kyoto

Day 7
Day trip to Nara

Day 8
Morning in Kyoto - on to Mt Koya for an overnight stay

Day 8
Morning in Mt Koya, back to Kyoto

Day 9
Day trip to Himeji

Day 10
Kyoto - Hiroshima (with stop in okayama to go to osafune)

Day 11
Explore Hiroshima

Day 12
Hiroshima - ferry to Miyajima. Stay in Miyajima

Day 13
Hiroshima to Osaka - fly home.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
diddles112230 is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2017, 07:46 AM
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Fit and active at 72 is not fit and active at your age. Your itinerary has a lot of hopping about for taking a pensioner with you.

Kyoto has more than one day's worth of exploration. If you've been before, you know it's not a small town.

You can do Himeji en route to Hiroshima. You can ship your bags ahead or take with and use the lockers at the train station.
BigRuss is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2017, 08:44 AM
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>>hotel in Kyoto might hold our suitcases

I would expect that service to be provided. Especially in Japan where luggage delivery is popular, hotels need to have luggage storage. Check the hotel website. Which hotel?

Day 14 - this would be a bit under 4 hours from Miyajima to Kansai Airport by rail or a bit less to Itami Airport, by rail and bus.

You could use this pass:
mrwunrfl is online now  
Old Jun 20th, 2017, 11:04 AM
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I think you don't have nearly enough time in Kyoto. I'd cut some other locations in order to have more time in Kyoto.
Kathie is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2017, 05:18 PM
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Thanks all for the feedback!

I do anticipate that the day travelling to and from Mt Koya will also allow for some time in Kyoto, nor do I anticipate Himeji to be a full day - however, I'll definitely look at slowing things down a little.

Thanks again for the suggestions!
diddles112230 is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2017, 06:19 PM
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"Fit and active at 72 is not fit and active at your age. Your itinerary has a lot of hopping about for taking a pensioner with you. "

Depends entirely on the "pensioner". I'm sure the OP knows the person's capabilities better than you do. Last year, at 69, I spent five weeks in Japan traveling on my own. (And I took early retirement and my company pension at 53.)

Have you looked at spending the night in Nara and leaving for Koya-san from there?
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 06:39 PM
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Do you know that your thread is not tagged for Japan? You might want to use the triangle to ask for the tag….

No need to ask your hotel to hold your luggage unless that’s your preference – train stations in Japan all have luggage lockers and many – including many in Kyoto – have manned desks. Go to this link, scroll down….
And when it suits, consider taking advantage of Japan’s excellent luggage forwarding option. It’s called takuhaibin; here's the info:

I loved Koya-san, but trust you know that it might be a tad cold in December. If you go, note that my impression is that the choice of temple makes an enormous difference. I stayed at Shojoshin-in, and was very pleased with it. I’ve seen a lot of positive comments for Eko-in, too. Do consider making time for Okuno-in and several of Koya-san’s other treasures, too! Getting to/from Koya-san can take a while, and leaving enough time for more than just your temple stay can make a huge difference to your experience!

I was not enamored of Okayama; I think one’s impression depends on when it is seen. I visited it in May.

Consider visiting Himeji-jo en route to one of your other destinations. And no, it should not take a full day, at least IME!

Depending on your interests, you might be able to skip a night in Hiroshima – see if the timing permits you to visit it before or after your overnight in Miyajima.

As others are noting, even if YOU have visited Kyoto, it really is a place that you might want to consider spending more time. You could always split off to see places that you haven’t already seen; there certainly are plenty of options!

And depending on your interests, thursdaysd’s suggestion of staying in Nara seems worth considering. I spent 2 full days / 2 nights there and felt that I skimped on its treasures.

Note that I have not been to Japan in December, and so can’t speak to how the time of year will affect your plans. You will, of course, have less day light than at some other times of year – you can get sunrise / sunset times at
and you can get historical climate data at

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
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