Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page > Japan Itinerary - honeymoon in December
Notices

Japan Itinerary - honeymoon in December

Reply

Oct 14th, 2015, 11:52 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 26
Japan Itinerary - honeymoon in December

Hi All,

I'm considering the following itinerary for my upcoming honeymoon: I'd love any additional thoughts. My partner and I want a good mix of city and temple exploration. His 'must' is Tsukiji Market, and my must is staying in a temple on Mt. Koya. I don't want to switch hotels every 2 nights, and was thinking we'll stay put in both Tokyo + Kyoto, with day trips from there. Addtl hotels would be one night at an onsen and one night at a temple. Is this too ambitious? First time in Japan (or Asia, for that matter) for both us. WE ARE SO EXCITED.


Flights are booked: NYC to Narita and back. 14 days total.

Friday, December 4th 2015: depart NYC

Saturday December 5th: land 9pm in Narita

Sunday December 6th: Tokyo: Open day, but sleepy day

Monday December 7th: Tokyo

Tuesday December 8th: Tokyo

Wednesday December 9th: Tokyo: Day trip to Monkey Park, Jigokudani?

Thursday December 10th: head to Takaragawa for Takaragawa Onsen

Friday December 11th: more Onsen, then head to Kyoto

Saturday December 12th: Kyoto: bamboo forest/ 1-2 temples/ Fushimi Inari

Sunday December 13th: Osaka: day trip (hotel in Kyoto)

Monday December 14th: Nara: day trip (hotel in Kyoto)

Tuesday December 15th: head to Mt. Koya

Wednesday December 16th: at end of day head back to Tokyo

Thursday December 17th: Tokyo

Friday December 18th: Tokyo
nicetrywilliams is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2015, 01:10 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,334
The Fushimi Inari shrine is on the other end of Kyoto from the Arashiyama area - SE v. NW. The Arashiyama area is where you're trying to go for the "bamboo forest." Reaching both AND 1-2 temples will be a bear. Better to take 1/2 your Osaka day for one or the other.

Unless access has improved immensely, the Monkey Park is a pain to reach - need a train to Nagano, bus to outskirts somewhere, and then a 2 mile hoof to the park.

Go to Nikko. You'll thank me later.
BigRuss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2015, 02:44 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 26
@BigRuss: Would you do Nikko over Nara? I know completely different areas, but I'm not wow'ed by thousands of deer begging for food. It could be a good addition to the more north part of the trip (Takaragawa onsen).

I've heard this about Monkey Park... I dont know if that's worth the photo op.
nicetrywilliams is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2015, 03:24 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,463
Just a heads up for your last days in Tokyo. We were there a bit later than you will be, but many businesses both large and small in Tokyo have year end company parties at restaurants.

If there are any particular restaurants you want to eat at, best to make advance reservations. We weren't aware of this practice so when we arrived and tried to reserve, none of the places we wanted to go had openings unless we wanted to eat dinner at 5:00 pm or earlier. We still managed to eat well, just not at any places we had planned on going to.
curiousgeo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2015, 06:11 PM
  #5
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,134
For my tastes, you are putting WAY too much time in Tokyo and WAY too little in Kyoto. FWIW, I spent 6 days in Kyoto and Nara; I spent 1.5 days in Tokyo. That worked for me; YMMV.

"His 'must' is Tsukiji Market"

You might aim to visit it on your first morning, before you begin to adjust to the difference in time zones.

"my must is staying in a temple on Mt. Kota"

My understanding is the choice of temple can make a huge difference to one's experience of Koya-san. I thoroughly enjoyed Shojoshin-in, which still gets great reviews. And don't miss Okuno-in once there!
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4901.html

As BigRuss has noted, putting Fushimi Inari and Arashiyama on the same day is not a good plan.

"Nikko over Nara? I know completely different areas, but I'm not wow'ed by thousands of deer begging for food. It could be a good addition to the more north part of the trip (Takaragawa onsen). "

Very different places! I spent two full days in Nara and saw the deer for all of about 10 minutes -- by the entry to Todai-ji, and no where else. There is SOooo much more to Nara, including two of the oldest temples in Japan (Todaiji and Horyuji), some of the most exquisite sculptures that I saw anywhere in Japan (at the Kufukuji treasure hall and the Nara National Museum), the lantern-lined paths through forests to Kasuga Taisha, and much much more!
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4901.html

I spent just over 24-hours in Nikko, and enjoyed it, too -- for very different reasons. Toshogu and Taiyuinbyo are in a very different style than anything else you are likely to see on your itinerary, and -- if you time it right -- you might be able to visit Kegon-no-taki, too, though that might be hard if you visit Nikko as a day trip (and I think most people do visit as a single day-trip from Tokyo).

Congrats and best wishes on your upcoming nuptials!
kja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2015, 06:44 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
My wife and I honeymooned in Japan as well in over New Year 2013, though in Kyushu. Others have already mentioned you're spending too much time in Tokyo. But I would also say, please stay 2 nights at the Takaragawa Onsen. It should be a highlight of your trip, and don't rush yourself.

We spent two nights at Kurokawa Onsen, and time flied by. Unfortunately, we booked late during very peak season, and had to switch to a nearby ryokan for 2nd night. Otherwise, staying at the same place would be even better.
rkkwan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2015, 07:24 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 26
@curiousgeo: wow, great to know. once i nail down the itinerary, I'll start trying to get reservations asap.

@kja: funny, I actually dropped one of the Tokyo days when I was typing this out because 5 full days in a row felt like too much. Because there's so many different districts to see and areas I want to explore, I'd love to spend a bunch of time there- that said, I will have another day there towards the end of the trip. WIll consider moving this down to 3 days at beg of trip.

I dig the idea of doing the fish market that following morning- we'll be in that good in between place of being completely wonky from flight sleep- might as well jump in before I get used to the time and have to wake up a different morning at 3:30a.

Yes- have been emailing with Shojoshin-in. Hoping to reserve tonight. Looks amazing.

@rkkwan: noted re: Tokyo. Relaxing in an onsen should be the highlight of this trip?? Okay, if I must... Will fiddle with the days a bit and see about 2 days there.

As for Kyoto: is it best to hire a car for half the day to get around? I heard it's very difficult to travel around. And that Nara is much more walkable when it comes to temples?

thank you for the congrats- we're 6 months in and taking a late honeymoon. looking forward to it even more because it's delayed a bit.
nicetrywilliams is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2015, 08:11 PM
  #8
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,134
"As for Kyoto: is it best to hire a car for half the day to get around? I heard it's very difficult to travel around."

The subway system in Kyoto is excellent -- very efficient and easy to use. Buses are also easy, if surface traffic isn't bad. Taxis are inexpensive (but more costly than buses) and reasonably convenient -- again, if surface traffic is not too bad. The ONLY reason I can think of to use a hired car is if you really are trying to smash Kyoto -- which some of us consider to be the highlight of Japan and which is easily worth a minimum of 4 days -- into a day or less. Your call.

I don't know where you are getting your information, as you seem to have come upon some inaccurate impressions. You might consider spending some time with japan-guide.com, easily the single best source of information on travel in Japan.
kja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2015, 08:18 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 31,778
"I heard it's very difficult to travel around"

I don't know where you heard that, but it isn't true. Kyoto is a large city, so you will need a number of modes of transport. Some areas you will want to walk, like the Philosopher's Path, the Bamboo forest. There are buses and a subway system and there are taxis. I wouldn't suggest you hire a car for a half day, taxis are easily available.

Like kJ, I think you have too much time in Tokyo and not nearly enough in Kyoto.
Kathie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 15th, 2015, 10:49 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,334
Uh, not hard to get around kyoto at all - buses are good, the local subway is quick but limited, the local JR lines are also quick and easy.

I don't think Nara and Nikko is an either/or - both are probably worthwhile (Nikko definitely is, haven't been to Nara - we went to Himeji instead). Different areas, different vibes.

Kyoto > Tokyo. Not really close.
BigRuss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2015, 09:17 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 716
A third vote for too much time in Tokyo/not enough in Kyoto. Fushimi Inari was my favorite site in Kyoto and one of my favorites on the trip. I would recommend moving one of your Tokyo days and your Osaka day to Kyoto, to give you 3 full days in Kyoto.

FWIWl, I was not very jet lagged at all heading over to Japan. (Coming home was another story-it took me 5 days to fully recover)

Tsukiji is fun but the only thing about it that was memorable for me was Sushidai restaurant. If you and your partner are sushi fans, you owe it to yourself to go here for a sushi breakfast. It only seats about 12 people per wave, so I'd recommend getting in line by 5:00 a.m. (yes, AM) your first morning in Tokyo. You'll probably get in on the second wave by about 6:30. It really is sushi to die for. I went twice on my trip.
MinnBeef is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2015, 11:48 AM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 26
@kathie: I was told this by someone who admitted they didn't learn the bus system. ah-ha! I'm going through japan-guide now.

@russ: yes, got that. I'm working with a map. This was more about squeezing in an additional day trip. That said, I think I'm able to get both to work.

@ minnbeef: breakfast- done! I figure if we're arriving in evening, and neither of us sleep well on planes- we'll be ready for bed like everyone else. But I do think its a good idea to jump into an early Tsukiji trip that following AM.

Okay- after hearing everyone's thoughts, this is where I've landed ATM. I'm feeling good about it- it's not too much jumping around and yet I still get to see a larger chunk with multiple cities/towns.

Thanks all for your thoughts-
-------------

Saturday: Tokyo: Land at 9pm

Sunday/: Tokyo: Open day. Potentially head to Tsukiji Market at 3:30a. Breakfast at Sushidai for 5am. Rest day

Monday: Tokyo: Open day: Yanesen/ Akihabara/

Tuesday: Tokyo: Open day

Wednesday: Nikko

Thursday: Leave early for Takaragawa. Onsen it up.

Friday: Morning Onsen, then travel to Kyoto

Saturday: Kyoto: Arashiyama / temple

Sunday: Kyoto: Fushimi Inari/ temple

Monday: Nara

Tuesday: leave early for Koyasan: monks and cemetary/ Mount Koya/ Okunion Temple

Wednesday: leave early to explore Osaka for a few hours then head to Tokyo in early evening

Thursday: Tokyo

Friday: FLIGHT AT 11AM
nicetrywilliams is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2015, 01:26 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,033
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3021.html

See above link for information about visiting Tsukiji, appears to be closed on Sunday.
Mara is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2015, 06:14 PM
  #14
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,134
@ Mara -- thanks for correcting my misguided guidance upthread!
kja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2015, 06:26 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,033
@kja, you had the right idea - probably you didn't notice OP's schedule.... ;-)
Mara is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2015, 09:03 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 26
@mara- thanks!!
nicetrywilliams is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 17th, 2015, 12:25 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,131
Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

The itinerary is shaping up nicely.

Personally I'm in the camp that would advise more time in Kyoto against less time in Tokyo, but of course it depends on your personal interests. It's just there's so much to see in Kyoto, and it offers a magical mix of old, traditional, cultural sights and modern Japan.

On our first trip we planned to visit Tsukiji on our first morning after landing and I even booked a hotel in the outer market area, but we discovered a week before departure that a national holiday described as first monday of the month had been moved to second monday of the month - as we arrived on Saturday night, that means the market would be closed both the next two days. I changed hotel bookings and we visited Tsukiji later in the trip instead, though by that point I'd finally got rid of the jet lag and didn't manage to get up in the wee hours to attend the auction itself. Then again, I keep reading that the queues form so early now that you really have to get there hours and hours ahead to be in with a chance of seeing the auction and I really hate queues! (Not very British of me!)
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:24 AM.