Japan Itinerary Oct. 2007 Questions

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Jan 13th, 2007, 05:49 PM
  #1
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Japan Itinerary Oct. 2007 Questions

We're considering a trip to Japan in October of 2007.
We're looking into flying into Nagoya, staying the first night in Nagoya to rest from the long flight, and then moving on to Matsumoto and using that as our home base.
From there, we would like to explore Tsumago and Magome in the Kiso Valley and also Nagano, and Jigokudani Monkey Onsen. Are those things all possible as day trips from Matsumoto? It looks like they're all on the same train line.
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Jan 14th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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That is reasonable. Those Nakasendo towns are the same distance from Matsumoto as from Nagoya. You would be backtracking if you went there from Matsumoto.

Nagano is less than an hour away on the limted express train. I recall that it was fairly scenic, from the right side, as the train goes along the side of a ridge the valley and Nagano come into view. Getting to the famous shrine in Nagano is very easy and quick (by bus).

I don't know about the monkey park but am dubious of it's value. I think there were a couple of reports of visiting there, so you could search this forum.

Are you planning to head into the mountains west of Matsumoto?
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Jan 14th, 2007, 04:24 PM
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Yes, I'm actually torn between staying in Nagano city or staying in one of the nearby mountain towns such as Hakuba. I'm not sure if Hakuba is west of Nagano. I'm still in the early stages of research.
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Jan 14th, 2007, 04:26 PM
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I should clarify my reply. Originally I was thinking of staying in Matsumoto but now I'm thinking of staying a couple of nights in Nagoya. While there, we'll check out Kiso valley. Then we'll move up to Nagano and stay there and explore that area more in depth.
Less overall travelling on trains/buses that way.
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Jan 15th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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Have you seen the good report here on CleoB's trip to Kisa Valley and Magome and the walk? PUt "kiso" in the search box and it comes up close to the top.
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Jan 15th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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You would be doing some backtracking by visiting Magome/Tsumago as a day trip from either Nagoya or Matsumoto. You could ship luggage from Nagoya to Nagano then go the Nakasendo way. Or there is a (sometimes) luggage service between Magome and Tsumago. Am pretty sure it is mentioned on the JNTO "Practical Travel Guide" for the Kiso Valley.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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another activity by nagoya is the cormorant fishing, which goes until mid October - u should find out about that.

we stayed 2 nights in matsumoto - i was not too impressed with the city - just the castle there pretty much, and that's all. we did haul our butts all the way to the monkey park - let's see, u take a 1 hour train from matsumoto to nagano i believe, then another train which is not that frequent takes over an hour to the monkey town (include a switch over to a 3rd train by the way) ... then it was raining so we splurged on a taxi for 1600 yen for a BEAUTIFUL 15 minute ride ... was it worth it? we are glad we went .... if we had known it would take that long, we would not have bothered. we missed out on the wasabi plantation for the monkeys
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Jan 16th, 2007, 03:29 PM
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The more I read about the whole area, the more I realize that we can't see everything. I'm also looking into Takayama. It looks like it has the history and a bit of nature, so we might spend some time there too.
Once I get things narrowed down a little more, I post another message with an itinerary.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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Takayama would be a good place to visit. You could reach there by heading into the mountains west of Matsumoto. Travel by bus to Kamikochi for a stroll (or a hike), maybe stop there or at Hirayu Onsen for a soak. Then continue on to Takayama.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 04:32 PM
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The link for the Practical Travel Guides at the JNTO website is below. Take a look at the guide for "Takayama & Shirakawago". At the top of page 3 you will see the transportation network, including travel times, for much of the Chubu region including Nagoya, Matsumoto, Takayama, and even Kanazawa and Kyoto.

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/rtg/index.html
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Jan 17th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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Okay, I think we're going to stay 4 nights in Takayama and explore the town and the sights that are nearby. Then, we'll go to Nagano and stay 4 nights there an explore that region. I've got to see that Monkey Onsen!
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Jan 17th, 2007, 08:30 PM
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Four nights in Takayama is a long time.
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Jan 17th, 2007, 08:40 PM
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Don't be confused about Takayama...it's a fine place, but it's a city. It is not a quaint mountain town at all. It looks and acts like any other small city in Japan, apart from the small area of preserved old buildings. A day or two is sufficient.

If you want to see areas outside of the city, small towns and villages, you might want to consider a car rental to enable you to get off the beaten path without having to rely on infrequent buses.
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