Japan rough itinerary

May 8th, 2017, 06:48 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
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Thanks MinnBeef. I hadn't focused on it and am excited to explore now.
misha2 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2017, 08:15 PM
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Thanks to all for your help I have a plan that is more fleshed out but would love feedback.

Tokyo- Prince Gallery,Sheraton Collection -open to suggestions but would like to take advantage of points/mile throught Marriott/SPG/Hilton

Fish Market
Food Tour or Cooking Class (will choose and do the other in Kyoto)
Pop culture (?) exploration maid cafe/cosplay/robot(?)
Gardens/museum/Imperial Palace (mixed reviews)

I have to decide whether to stay in Tokyo 3 nights or 4. Staying 3 nights will allow for a day trip to Takayama from Kanazawa or an extra day in Kanazawa. Thoughts?

Hakone-(possibly Gora Hanougi)
Open Air Museum
Cable Car etc

Overnight in Ryokan to celebrate my husband's birthday or could just do a day trip and experience a Ryokan en route to Kanazawa.

Three nights or four (depending on Tokyo decision).

Kyoto--possible splurge (points etc.) for the Ritz Carlton) or Solaria Nishitetsu-- four nights

Bamboo Forest
Geisha experience
Fushimi Inari
Nishiki Market
Crafts tour?

Return to Tokyo for an evening flight.

What do you think? I would be so grateful for any input. Thanks!
misha2 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2017, 03:15 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I'm partial to Takayama and you could stay at a ryokan there. As far as the hotels in Kyoto, look at their locations and see whether they're convenient. I know some of the more upscale hotels (I'm thinking of the Hyatt) are not in locations that I'd want to stay, but maybe others could weigh in on that.

For Kyoto, there is a Goodwill Guide group that focuses on crafts. We went with our guide to a place where they hand wove material for obis to be used in the Noh plays. We also visited a place that did Japanese style batik (I forget the name of the craft). We also went to a textile place to see a kimono fashion show. It was really a special experience.
internetwiz is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2017, 05:43 AM
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What a great tip! I'll look into the Goodwill Guide Group. Any particular ryokan in Takayama that you loved?

misha2 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2017, 02:32 PM
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I loved Takayama, but thought 1.5 days there insufficient. I think that I, personally, would find a day trip there very frustrating. I think it's difficult to fit Kanazawa and Takayama into just 4 days (I think 5 days is more reasonable for that pair). Perhaps it depends on whether you think you will return to any of these cities. If returning to Japan, Tokyo and Kyoto are among the easiest to reach and so, from my perspective, the ones that I would consider giving a bit of a short shift. JMO.
kja is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2017, 05:32 PM
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Kja, that's a really good point. Thanks.
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Jun 23rd, 2017, 03:38 AM
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Internetwiz, thanks again for the information. I had read several posts on TA that the guides are very kind but that very often, as volunteers, may be less than engaging or knowledgeable. Goodness knows that I couldn't do what a professional in my home town could manage. Sounds like your experience was excellent though. Correct?
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Jun 23rd, 2017, 03:41 AM
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Oops. Sorry internetwiz. I posted a question here that was inspire3d by your comment on my other post. Kja, to clarify--you think it would be better to cut off one night in Tokyo (good point about being more likely to return there), skip Takayama all together and add a night in Kanazawa?
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Jun 23rd, 2017, 05:32 AM
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Goodwill guides are luck of the draw, but I have always found them knowledgeable. I have had two in Japan. One, an elderly man, was unwilling to make allowances for my sprained ankle. The other, a young woman, went out of her way to do so. She took me to a moon-viewing ceremony, which was a highlight of my visit.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2017, 03:53 PM
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Re: your schedule: First and foremost, there are no right or wrong answers, IMO, just choices that YOU have to make, without all the facts you might like, based on your best estimate of what will suit you best. With that context, here are my thoughts:

• Some people like, and even prefer, “sampling” or “tasting” visits for a first trip – just enough time, say a day or two in each location, to learn enough to decide whether to return for a more extended visit at a later date. I am NOT one of those people. If I’m going to make time to visit something, then I want to give myself sufficient time to see / experience the things that I want to see / experience in those locations. At this point in my life, I know myself well enough, and do enough research, that I can ususually (with Fodorites’ help) come up with a plan that approximates my desires. I also know myself well enough to know that I am unlikely to return to a place to “sweep up” what I missed the first time. I’m not saying that my approach is the RIGHT one – it might be the one that suits me best, but we all travel for different reasons and with different preferences, and thank goodness for that, as the world would be pretty boring, IMO, without individual differences! There are LOTS of good reasons for different approaches.

• I think many people prefer an approach that’s between the two extremes I just outlined: Plan on enough time for the highlights, then return as possible depending on what one learns the first time around. From this perspective, IMO – and it is just an opinion – a first visit to Tokyo calls for at least 3 or 4 nights, more if you want to add a day trip or two, and MUCH more if you have a sincere interest in exploring Tokyo’s modern venues. A first visit to Kanazawa and Takayama calls for 5 nights, probably split 3 K and 2 T, but arrival and departure times matter. A first visit to Kyoto calls for at least 6 or 7 nights and includes Nara, whether as a day trip or 2nd location.

• So IMO, you don’t have enough time to visit what I would consider the highlights of Tokyo, Kanazawa, and Kyoto, whether you add Takayama or not.

• As I understand it, you MUST be in Kanazawa. If I were planning such a trip, I would make sure to have sufficient time to visit Kanazawa and Takayama (and Shirakawa-go) while in that area and I would shortchange either Tokyo or Kyoto (or both) to make that possible. As already noted, when I must shortchange something, I try to make it one of the places that is easiest to reach and most likely to work with a future trip. Again, that’s just my preference; YMMV.

• NONE of us can say what YOU want to see and experience; you have to make a best guess. I’m not sure that asking all of us what we think is the best way to do that. A better way, IME, is to do enough research to identify what YOU want to see and experience and plot those things on a calendar, with attention to when you can actually see and experience them (e.g., opening hours, sunset/sunrise, etc.), how long it will likely take you to meet these goals, and how long it will take to get from place to place. When planning for a change in city, remember to leave to time for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting lost/oriented, etc.

Again, no right or wrong decisions here, just difficult ones. Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jun 24th, 2017, 08:23 PM
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Kja--thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I know I need to figure out what we want to focus on. It's just so hard when there's so much stuff. The research continues. Thanks!
misha2 is offline  
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