Japan right after Christmas

Aug 11th, 2019, 05:11 PM
  #1  
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Japan right after Christmas

Second try

Anyone been at this time of year? Care to share your experiences or links to your TRís?

The only places ďfor sureĒ right now are Kyoto and Tokyo. Open to other suggestions. Iím not sure where to focus given the time of year.

Who: two ladies in their early thirties

why then: my friend is a school teacher. And I am never going in the summer again. (Well, never say never. But Iíd prefer cold over mosquitos and humidity).

interests: Japanese food, culture, history, anime. Seasonal
events? Japanese seemed to do that wellólast trip was in July for me. Friend has never been. But we are little girls at heartólove light displays, festivals, that sort of thing.

How long: 10-12 nights.

My friend is more of an art buff than me. She also tends to be a rather nervous traveler, so while sheís helping me plan, Iím hoping to make this go as smoothly as possible for her sake. I was considering staying at a ryokan somewhere, and possibly treating her to a kaiseki dinner if you have any suggestions there. Iím not sure of budget yet, but as she doesnít care for fancy, Iím mostly thinking somewhere traditional and friendly.

I love onsen, so onsen town suggestions would be welcome. Sheís unsure about the naked aspect, so thatís probably a ďmaybeĒ.

Thanks ahead of time!
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 12th, 2019, 08:52 AM
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We are visiting Japan for a similar period in mid January. After much deliberation I decided on 4 nights in Kyoto and 4 in Tokyo with two nights in Kinosaki Onsen - https://visitkinosaki.com/ . With the help of mrwunfl and a few other forum members I have narrowed down the choice of Ryokan to three. All of which offer the facility to book private sessions in their in house Onsens in addition to providing free passes to the numerous public Onsens in the town. The food looks excellent focusing on Tajiima beef and crab for which the region is famous.

On our last visit we spent some time in Takayama and really enjoyed it. May be worth considering. We stayed at Sumiyoshi Ryokan which was an excellent mid range Ryokan . Some photos and detail on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/2008/04...ans-miso-sake/ . It is up in the alps so could be a bit snowy in Dec.
crellston is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 09:00 AM
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crellston - loved those 'oddities' on your blog.
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 09:40 AM
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Iíd forgotten about Takayama! Yes, that would be fun.
sounds like a great trip, Crellston. Thatís when I would go if I could. Iím a bit concerned about closures over the New Years.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 12th, 2019, 12:07 PM
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Here is information concerning closings during the New Year's period.....I have never been at that time so no personal experience. If your friend is a museum buff, there may be a number of closings....
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2276.html
Mara is online now  
Aug 12th, 2019, 12:41 PM
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Thanks, Mara. I did find that page. No, my friend likes to shop, eat, soak in the sights. Iím just trying to get a feel for how closed down things are. Or alternatively, how crowded things are.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 12th, 2019, 04:55 PM
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Well, we talked about it. Putting off trip until we can figure out a better time. I suspect the better time is going to come with ďworse airfareĒ, but thatís a topic for later.

if someone comes across this, though, please do share your experience! Iím still curious about this time in Japan. Thereís tons on Sakura season but really a lot less on NY.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 12th, 2019, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
crellston - loved those 'oddities' on your blog.
I had forgotten about those. I have collected loads on our travel and keep meaning to sort through my photos and devote and entire post to them.

MM - if you do a search on Tripadvisor there is a lot of stuff on Japan over the new year period. When I was considering it the consensus seemed to be that it was ok with the proviso that train travel would be very busy on NYE and would require reservations. Coming of age day on 2 Jan, shrines and temple are v busy. NYD apparently is THE day for hitting the sales in Tokyo.
crellston is offline  
Aug 13th, 2019, 04:10 AM
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We are going to Japan in early December, not exactly the time of year you had considered, but perhaps close enough. We are going to Kanazawa for the winter foods and to see Kenroku-en, which is said to be one of the three best gardens in Japan, in its winter glory. In Shirakawa-go, we will miss the illuminations (too early), but you would be able to see them in your January timetable. We will visit Takayama, and while there will go to Okuhida, the onsen region, as well as take the double decker ropeway into the mountains. This might fit and fill your time between Kyoto and Tokyo.
burta is offline  
Aug 13th, 2019, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by burta View Post
We are going to Japan in early December, not exactly the time of year you had considered, but perhaps close enough. We are going to Kanazawa for the winter foods and to see Kenroku-en, which is said to be one of the three best gardens in Japan, in its winter glory. In Shirakawa-go, we will miss the illuminations (too early), but you would be able to see them in your January timetable. We will visit Takayama, and while there will go to Okuhida, the onsen region, as well as take the double decker ropeway into the mountains. This might fit and fill your time between Kyoto and Tokyo.
i would love to go to Japan in the winter for all the reasons youíre describing. Iíd also like to go to the Sapporo snow festival sometime. Really, itís just the specific timeframe that we have this year that wonít work out.

thanks, Iíll try TA again.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 16th, 2019, 01:41 PM
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Early December may be way too early to see the garden in its "winter glory". Actually in early December you are more likely to see the "autumn glory" of the fall colors.
Kenrokuen is definitely one of the very finest traditional gardens in Japan. As for one of the traditional Top 3 gardens it is true, though honestly, having been to a few dozen of them across Japan, the rest should be taken with a grain of salt. Korakuen in Okayama is also a very nice place, but Kairakuen in Mito is hardly worth mentioning among the gardens at all, with the exception of during the plum blossom season. There are really far better places, such as in Tokyo, Koishikawa Korakuen and Rikugien, in Yokohama there is Sankeien, and even in Aomori the Fujita Memorial Garden should be near the top of the list. In Kyoto the Heian Shrine garden is also jaw-dropping spectacular.
Adastra2200 is online now  
Aug 16th, 2019, 02:22 PM
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Adastra could be right regarding autumn glory as weather patterns have changed. We were in Japan mid November last year expecting full autumn colors. Unfortunately for us they were just peeking out. It was still a great trip though a bit disappointing for momiji.
curiousgeo is online now  
Aug 16th, 2019, 06:32 PM
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Adastra2200 - thanks for refreshing my memory of the Fujita Memorial Garden....I just looked at my photos - was there the end of April 2015 - as you said, so many wonderful gardens in Japan....could never pick a favorite or even a few.....;-)
Mara is online now  
Aug 21st, 2019, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Adastra2200 View Post
Early December may be way too early to see the garden in its "winter glory". Actually in early December you are more likely to see the "autumn glory" of the fall colors.
Kenrokuen is definitely one of the very finest traditional gardens in Japan. As for one of the traditional Top 3 gardens it is true, though honestly, having been to a few dozen of them across Japan, the rest should be taken with a grain of salt. Korakuen in Okayama is also a very nice place, but Kairakuen in Mito is hardly worth mentioning among the gardens at all, with the exception of during the plum blossom season. There are really far better places, such as in Tokyo, Koishikawa Korakuen and Rikugien, in Yokohama there is Sankeien, and even in Aomori the Fujita Memorial Garden should be near the top of the list. In Kyoto the Heian Shrine garden is also jaw-dropping spectacular.
Wouldn't mind that either. I earlier had feared that there would nothing to see in at Kenrokuen in the winter, but have found out differently.
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