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Koya-san to Kamakura

Old Sep 26th, 2017, 05:28 PM
  #1  
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Koya-san to Kamakura

I am looking for suggestions for a sensible but interesting overnight stop between Koya-san and Kamakura. I will be leaving Koya-san mid-to-late afternoon after spending one night there - and the next stop will be Kamakura to meet up with a friend. I think it is just too long a trip to get from Koya-san to Kamakura at the end of that day. I should arrive in Kamakura by the middle of the next afternoon - so I will just have the evening and morning in whatever location I head to after Koya-san. Would anyone recommend Wakayama or elsewhere, or should I just head to Kyoto for the evening, knowing it will be a good connection point and lovely place to spend the morning? I will have a rail pass - and will have been in Tokyo, Kanazawa, and Nara before Koya-san. All suggestions for a good route appreciated.
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Old Sep 26th, 2017, 07:03 PM
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Not Wakayama. Kyoto, sure. Or Nara. Or Hikone, Gifu, Nagoya.

You could go to Gifu and enjoy the night cormorant fishing if in season. See the castle in the morning before heading to Kamakura. It is not far off the Tokaido shinkansen line.
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Old Sep 26th, 2017, 07:12 PM
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Or Osaka, though "lovely" might be harder to find. Your route goes through that city to the shinkanen at Shin Osaka or Kyoto. You will end the shinkansen trip at Shin Yokohama, probably because all the trains will stop there, but you could go to Odawara. Either one works for Kamakura.
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Old Sep 26th, 2017, 07:16 PM
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>>you could go to Odawara
not all shinkansen go there, and it would be an option only if the train you board at Shin Osaka or Kyoto goes there, i.e. no change of trains.
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Old Sep 27th, 2017, 04:45 PM
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Thank you mrwunfl, your "not Wakayama" was enough to steer me in another direction. Odawara is worth looking into, but perhaps too distant a destination after a day at Koya-san. It would be a 5.5 hour train ride from Koya-san but only another 45 minutes onward to Kamakura. A few more hours in Kyoto might be the best plan.

After two weeks of work in the Tokyo area (short side work-trips to Nagano and Kyoto) I have seven days on my own.

Friday - Sunday AM - Kanazawa (food and crafts interest)
Sunday AM head to Nara (enjoyed Nara on last trip and easy route to Koya-san)
Monday late AM head to Koya-san
Monday night in Koya-san (only date that week when able to get reservation)
Tuesday spent mostly in Koya-san
Tuesday afternoon possibly head to Kyoto or ?
Wednesday noon head to Kamakura/Enoshima (meet up with friends)
Thursday Kamakura/Enoshima
Friday AM - Narita and home

After two weeks of the city - I am trying to see the mountains and coast a bit to balance the trip. I know the possibilities are endless - this is my third trip and there is never enough time to do even 10% of the wish list.
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Old Sep 27th, 2017, 08:39 PM
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Oh, I only mentioned Odawara and Shin Yokohama in answer to your question about your route. Was trying to point out that going via Odawara would not be good if you had to change trains to go that route.

To your "Kyoto or ?" question, I am suggesting Hikone, Gifu, Nagoya. Those are more/less on your route.

Gifu, in particular, might fit your timing well. You might find the night cormorant fishing to have some measure of "lovely". You can leave Koyasan in the afternoon and still get the full experience of it in a few hours (as opposed to getting to a Kyoto site before it closed). The overnight could be in Gifu with something to see in the morning or it could be in Nagoya (the only lovely spot that I know of there is for cherry blossoms).

I could add Inuyama to the list for Tue/Wed. Sounds like you are zeroing in on Kyoto where you certainly can enjoy a late afternoon, evening, night, and morning.
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Old Sep 27th, 2017, 08:53 PM
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My mention of Hikone and Gifu and Inuyama is that you can get about half of what those places may offer with the time you have. But you would barely put a scratch in the surface of Kyoto, tho it would be more lively at night.

Another way to put it: you would have a right to say "I visited Gifu." but you would have to say "I visited Kyoto but it was only for one night".
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Old Sep 27th, 2017, 09:04 PM
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If you are visiting Nagano city then yes, if your workday permits it, you do want to visit here:
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6001.html
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Old Sep 27th, 2017, 09:40 PM
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kja
 
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IMO, Kanazawa is a great destination if you have an interest in Japanese crafts!

I'm glad to see that you are giving yourself time to actually see Koya-san, not just stay there.

If you can get from Koyasan to Gifu in time for ukai (cormorant fishing), it could be well worth doing. There is a LOT to see in Koya-san, though, so I would urge you to consider your options and think through your priorities before deciding. And if you can't do that, I agree that Inuyama might be a good alternative -- but check opening and closing times carefully.

Did I miss a mention of when you would be there? Ukai is seasonal....
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Old Sep 28th, 2017, 07:14 AM
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Thank you both - I know from reading Fodors for years that you are both so knowledgable about Japan. The cormorant fishing would have been totally perfect for me - but it seems I will miss it. Trip is coming up shortly - Oct 22 - Nov 10th. Inuyama is a good option - but also wondering if I can squeeze in a short morning visit to the bamboo groves at Arashiyama if I spend the night in Kyoto after the day at Koya-san. I will have had 2 work days in Kyoto earlier in the trip, but what I see during those days will be work (craft) related (also good). I love Japan, so I am like a kid in a candy store, wanting to taste it all....with future trips in mind for a more leisurely pace.
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Old Sep 28th, 2017, 03:35 PM
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kja
 
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Thanks for the kind words, but unlike mrwunrfl and several other regular posters on Japan, I’m no expert.

You probably would have time for a visit to the bamboo groves of Arashiyama. FWIW, I spent all of about 10 or 15 minutes in them – enough for me! I walked through them on my way to Okochi Sanso Villa, which I enjoyed.
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Old Sep 28th, 2017, 05:58 PM
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I think Arashiyama would work as a piece of Kyoto candy for the morning. Just plan it out.

I did not visit the bamboo forest as I was more interested in the scenic train. The trains going one way were sold out. I got a ticket in the opposite direction and had to get back on JR to get to the station near the other end. That was busy high season.

To do it, I would want to stay at the Granvia. Leave my bag there and return for it after Arashiyama. Or stay near the station and use a coin locker at Kyoto station.

I visited Inuyama on a day trip from Nagoya and decided that I want to return some day and spend the night, even if it was country. I think that was the day that I also made a stop in Gifu. When I got to Nagoya station at the end of it I realized that I had time to go to a baseball game at Tokyo Dome. I decided to do that even though I didn't know how to get there. My Japanese seatmate on the shinkansen spoke English well and he walked me through the station to the gate for the train to get to the dome. Getting back to Nagoya that night was easy easy enough.
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Old Sep 28th, 2017, 06:12 PM
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kja
 
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I took the scenic train, too, and perhaps in the same direction mrwunrfl did: I took a regular train to Kameoka, and then the Sagano Romantic Train back to Arashiyama. If not a highlight, it was pleasant, and a nice contrast to other things I did in Japan.
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Old Sep 29th, 2017, 03:51 PM
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Thank you. I am zeroing in on the plan for Koya-san to Kyoto (day in Kyoto with possible Arashiyama visit) and onward to Odawara. There is a fast train straight to Odawara, and then one change of train to Fujisawa, where I can get the local little train to Enoshima. Staying near the Kyoto station is a good plan. I stayed at the Granvia for one night on an earlier trip and enjoyed it. Prices have increased though! Thanks for the great suggestions.
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Old Sep 30th, 2017, 04:49 AM
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Kyoto or Nagoya, of course.
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Old Oct 1st, 2017, 04:54 AM
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I visited Arashiyama Oct 13 last year, and the bamboo walk was packed with people - wall to wall, effectively. The very reverse of tranquil. However, the beautiful grounds of Okochi Sanso were virtually deserted, and once off the main drag the streets of the town and two minor temples were empty too.

I used the Keifuku train to get there, as a day pass also got me to within walking distance of Kinkaku-ji - which was also slammed. It will be closer to the fall color season when you are there so I would expect the crowds to be worse.
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