July itinerary in Japan

Jan 24th, 2015, 06:23 PM
  #1  
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July itinerary in Japan

We are a family of four, with our 19 and 11 y/o children. Here is our itinerary:

July 7 - 11 Tokyo with possible one day trip to Kamakura
July 11 to Hakone to tour during the day
July 11 overnight in Nara
July 12 tour Nara
July 12 to 17th Kyoto
July 17 stay at ryokan in Hakone
July 18 back to tokyo to catch a flight back home at 6:30PM.

Is it advisable to buy JR pass on the 11th and just buy our ticket back to Narita airport on the 18th? Any suggestion for a ryokan in Hakone. My budget is USD 200 to 250 per person. I appreciate your suggestions.
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Jan 24th, 2015, 07:04 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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Are you committed to flying into and out of Narita? You might consider flying open jaw, Narita and Kansai.

You might want to consider putting all of your time in Hakone in one block to reduce the number of times you need to check-in and check-out, pack, etc.

I loved Nara and was glad I spent 2 nights there in addition to my 4 nights in Kyoto, but I was traveling solo. Traveling with young children, there might be reason to consider staying in Kyoto and day-tripping to Nara, even if you go there on two separate days. Just a thought.

Enjoy!
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Jan 24th, 2015, 07:19 PM
  #3  
 
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When you say "tour" Hakone do you mean that you would all be on a bus tour or are you traveling independently? I will assume the latter.

The plan for the 11th is kind of tough - to me at least - in terms of schedule pressure to get to Nara that night. If you spent the ryokan night in Hakone on the 11th then no pressure. You would have that day to enjoy Hakone as you like and next day have all day to get to Nara. You could spend more time in Hakone that day or get to Nara earlier. And your JR Pass could be from the 12th to the 18th - a worthy consideration if you are flying out of Tokyo Narita airport.

Otherwise, you figure out the travel time to Hakone + how much time to spend in Hakone + travel time to Nara (ballpark of 4 hours). Add that up then figure out how late you want to get to Nara and that tells you when to leave to Tokyo. Plus you have to figure out what to do with luggage.

It is do-able. You could get your JR Pass validated to start that day and leave your luggage at Odawara station before going into the park. Ship some/all luggage ahead.

But a non-JR train (an Odakyu Railways train) might be better than using JR to get to Hakone.

Between Hakone and Nara you would take the shinkansen from Odawara to Kyoto and then another train (robably a JR local) to Nara.

You would need to be careful about schedule for the Odawara to Kyoto leg of that trip (or Kyoto to Odawara on the 17th). That trip is 2 hours on a Hikari train. Or 3 hours on a Kodama train. Or some connecting itinery that could take longer.

Looks like your last-best option is departing Odawara at about 6PM and arriving Nara about 9:30 PM.

The rest of the trip looks ok, logistically. Sorry that this is a bit of a ramble. I can't recommend a ryokan in Hakone but your price range is good, I think.

There will be a grand sumo tournament in Nagoya while you are there. Nagoya is on your way. And it is baseball season.
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Jan 24th, 2015, 07:25 PM
  #4  
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Thanks kja . Already purchased airline ticket. We want to watch the Gion festival procession of floats on the 17th. Staying in a ryokan in Hakone will be relaxing before our flight back home.
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Jan 25th, 2015, 06:28 PM
  #5  
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Thanks for the tips mrwunrfl. We will probably stay in Hakone on the 11th and activate JR pass on the 12th.
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Jan 26th, 2015, 10:49 PM
  #6  
 
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Ok, then you should consider taking the Odakyu Railways train from Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto in conjunction with the Hakone Free Pass.

An option for Nara to consider is to visit there overnight from Kyoto and return to Kyoto the next day. You could leave luggage at your Kyoto hotel and travel extremely lightly to Nara for the overnight there. Nara overnight in the middle of the Kyoto time.

The 11th-12th is a weekend. You want to check calendars of events in Tokyo, Hakone, Nara, Kyoto, to see if you would miss something of interest because you are traveling on both of those days. I doubt it, but it is worth checking - maybe you will find out that you really want to head to Kyoto (or Nara) on the 10th or 11th for a festival. I think the JNTO website has a calendar like that: jnto.go.jp or maybe japan-guide.com This is just a suggestion, as I don't think there are any don't miss opportunities at that time of year. (other than the sumo tournament in Nagoya which I would not miss - only 37 minutes from Kyoto to Nagoya, so an easy day trip).
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Jan 27th, 2015, 06:52 PM
  #7  
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I'm thinking of shipping our luggage to Kyoto before we leave Tokyo. We were originally like to see Hiroshima and Miyajima but that would leave us a rushed Kyoto stay. My 11 y/o wants to see Disney but that is down our list for now Maybe a bunny cafe would just be fine! Thanks again.
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