Japan itinerary thoughts please!

Old Jun 24th, 2015, 02:09 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Japan itinerary thoughts please!

Hi all - There’s two of us and this is our first trip to Japan. We fly into Narita on July 4 late afternoon (next Saturday!) and depart from Osaka Kansai on Monday, July 13 (afternoon). I am hoping to get some inputs on our itinerary and some general travel tips:

Day 0: Arrive at Narita later afternoon. Check into the hotel, check-out the neighborhood, relax.

Days 1 – 3 (Sunday – Tuesday): Tokyo

- We plan 2 full days in Tokyo and 1 day trip. What day trip would you recommend given the hot weather? I would have liked Hakone or Nikko, but will it be too hot for onsen?

Days 4: Tokyo to Kyoto (Wednesday)
- Do we need to book a train in advance, or can we just land up at the station and find a train?
- What more can we achieve on this “transit day”? I hear that the train journey is only 2 hours, but door to door can be closer to 4/5 hours.

Days 5-8 (Thursday – Sunday): Kyoto
- Two full days in Kyoto and 1 day side trip.
- What side trip would you recommend? Nara? I’d love to stay at one of those Buddhist guesthouses which I believe are close to Kyoto. Do you know any?

Day 9: Take train to Osaka Kansai in the morning to catch our afternoon flight.

Some other relevant information: (1) One of us is a vegetarian and this may bring about some limitations on deciding side trips. Need vegetarian food! (2) We are traveling with 2 carry-ons and 1 check-in baggage. (3) We both enjoy the outdoors. (4) While we’d like to soak in as much culture as possible, we want this to be a relaxing trip so don't want to pack in too much.

Thanks in advance.
veggietraveler is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2015, 10:56 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,281
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You should be able to get vegetarian food everywhere. Look online for one of those cards you can print specifying what you cannot eat.

With your limited time in Japan, i'm not sure I'd recommend you take any day trips. Two days in Kyoto is barely enough to scratch the surface. Certainly you could do a day trip to Nara, but you could also spend that day in Kyoto. Indeed, if it were me - and it isn't - I'd take a day from Tokyo (so two full days there) and add it to Kyoto. So three full days in Kyoto plus a day trip to Nara or even 4 full days in Kyoto.

With your limited time, do plan the places you want to see most in Kyoto. We had 6 days in Kyoto and didn't see all we wanted to see.

Do you know about www.japan-guide.com ? Look there for ideas of which places you most want to see in Kyoto.

Enjoy Japan!
Kathie is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2015, 02:12 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,222
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Vegetarian food can be tricky depending on how strict a vegetarian you are -- a lot of the dishes that seem vegetarian include dashi stock which is traditionally made with dried fish flakes and seaweed. There are, of course, vegetarian versions, but these not widely used in regular restaurants, from what I understand.
Kavey is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2015, 06:03 PM
  #4  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,984
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"I’d love to stay at one of those Buddhist guesthouses which I believe are close to Kyoto."

If you are referring to Koyasan, I don't think you can manage it. The trip from Kyoto to the temples is stunningly beautiful IMO, but takes a while. Here's some info:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4904.html

For the rest of your proposed itinerary, I second Kathie's comments. And when it comes to food, I'll second Kavey's input.

Enjoy!
kja is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2015, 07:59 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, all.

Our Days 1- 3 in Tokyo (or around) are pretty well set.

What are your thoughts about us using Osaka as our base instead of Kyoto? Three main reasons - (1) Kyoto hotels are quite full and now getting expensive (we are looking for something around US$150); (2) We've heard Kyoto gets very "touristy"; and (3) we intend to spend one day at Universal Studios in Osaka. Also, my girlfriend is a "city girl" (while I'm a "country boy"), so she prefers Osaka since it may be more vibrant and a better night life.

If we set up base in Osaka, will the train trips to Kyoto (possibly for 2 days) and Nara (possibly for 1 day) get expensive/ inconvenient? From the japan-guide website, it seems that Osaka may be a better base for the Koyasan?

On the vegetarian front, I'm a pretty strict vegetarian. No meat or fish. I'll search through the internet for food options.
veggietraveler is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2015, 08:07 PM
  #6  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,984
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kyoto gets many tourists -- as it should, IMO: It is one of the most remarkable destinations anywhere in the world.

If you are looking for city life, rather than traditional Japanese culture, consider expanding your time in Tokyo.

You can base in Osaka if that's what makes most sense for the two of you.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4006.html

I still don't see how you would have time for Koyasan. As a rule, you would need to reach the temple by 4 or 5 p.m., so it really requires an investment of a chunk of time.
kja is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2015, 08:58 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,281
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you were trying to avoid "touristy" you would avoid Universal Studios - what could be more touristy than a theme park?

Kyoto does get many visitors, as kja says, for good reason. We spent 6 full days in Kyoto and would have enjoyed even more time. It's a remarkable place. You already don't have enough time to scratch the surface and now you want to stay in Osaka (making it harder to get to the places you want to see in Kyoto) and taking up your precious trip time with transport.

Kyoto is a large and vibrant city and there is plenty of nightlife if that's what your girlfriend wants.
Kathie is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2015, 09:53 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you. In terms on location for a hotel, for Kyoto, is a place close to Kyoto Station most convenient? What about for Osaka?
veggietraveler is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2015, 10:02 PM
  #9  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,984
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"In terms on location for a hotel, for Kyoto, is a place close to Kyoto Station most convenient?" -- well, that would depend on what you want to do while in Kyoto. The station is a bit removed from many of the temples, shrines, and other sites that many people go to Kyoto to see, and would not have been convenient for MY purposes in the area. But if your plans call for being near the trains -- and with only "Two full days in Kyoto and 1 day side trip", that could be the case! -- then the station might be a good idea. The station has restaurants, stores, etc.
kja is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2015, 11:03 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I see. If not near the Kyoto station, what other area would you recommend?

Also, do trains between Kyoto and Osaka run 24 hours? We're considering the practicality of staying in Kyoto, but going down to Osaka some evenings for dinner and the nightlife.
veggietraveler is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2015, 11:48 PM
  #11  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,984
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"If not near the Kyoto station, what other area would you recommend?" -- whatever makes most sense given YOUR plans. For MY interests, in / around Kawaramachi. YOUR interests appear to differ from mine.

To plan your train travel, try hyperdia:
http://www.hyperdia.com/en/
and jorudan:
http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/

Sounds like you might want to do a bit more research and then come back with questions that can help us hone your plans.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2015, 12:33 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,222
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For my first trip to Japan, we had 5 nights in Kyoto. We booked two of them in a splurge ryokan (we chose Shiraume, in the Gion area) and the other three staying inside Kyoto Station (in the Granvia hotel). This worked well for us as we explored Kyoto's traditional districts plus Nishiki Market and nearby shops from the Gion base and then from Granvia we used metro / local trains to visit Yamazaki (for the whisky distillery), Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari Taisha.

We lost some time because I was poorly for a couple of days but we went back the next year for another 6 days and based ourselves the entire time at the Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa. We got a ridiculously cheap deal through booking.com and the location suited us down to the ground, great for evening dining.
Kavey is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2015, 12:03 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>

Kyoto has a population near that of Philadelphia. You won't be in the dang sticks.

And Kyoto is FAR superior to Osaka as a place to stay. Geez, this isn't even a close call.

"Touristy" is a claim without meaning. Does Kyoto get more tourists than Osaka? Probably. It has more historical, cultural, artistic, and architectural sites than Osaka.

Dunno how a trip from Tokyo to Kyoto can take 4-5 hours unless you walk a lot of it. If you take a Nozomi, the ride is 2:10; a Hikari, and the ride is 2:30. Then using Kyoto's excellent buses or trains means you're at your lodging within 20 minutes in all likelihood.
BigRuss is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
misha2
Asia
30
Jun 24th, 2017 09:23 PM
MelMelieMelos
Asia
17
Feb 3rd, 2017 02:47 AM
michj
Asia
7
Feb 3rd, 2016 01:28 PM
kdd
Asia
15
Aug 13th, 2012 07:24 PM
mimi17
Asia
8
Mar 19th, 2005 06:07 AM

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


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:11 AM.