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Kyoto/Osaka/Nara/Kobe - potential itinerary

Kyoto/Osaka/Nara/Kobe - potential itinerary

Old May 7th, 2016, 10:59 AM
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Kyoto/Osaka/Nara/Kobe - potential itinerary

Hello all,

We will have approximately one week in the Kyoto area, likely in late August/early September. We were in Kyoto a few years ago, but just for about 1.5 days and we'd like to have the opportunity to really see it this time. We've also been told that Nara is a place we shouldn't miss, and that Osaka is worth visiting, at least for the nightlife. Does anyone have any suggestions about how much time we should spend in each place and whether it is worth trying to squeeze Kobe in (or perhaps visiting Kobe instead of one of the other cities)? Any help/suggestions greatly appreciated.
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Old May 7th, 2016, 11:16 AM
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What sort of things do you like doing? Unless there is something specific in Kobe, It's one I'd skip. You say 1.5 days in Kyoto was not enough your last time; If you spend a day each in Osaka, Nara and Kobe, you won't have much more that that this time!
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Old May 7th, 2016, 11:44 AM
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We spent 6 nights in Kyoto, so we had 5 full days. That was a good amount of time for Kyoto alone. I'd add a full day or two for Nara.

I don't think you have enough time for Kobe, and you'll have to squeeze Osaka in.
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Old May 7th, 2016, 04:11 PM
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It really depends on what YOU want to see and experience, but FWIW, I had 2 full days in Nara (which worked well for me) and 4 full days in Kyoto (but I would have loved more time there).

Have you seen japan-guide.com? It is, IMO, the single best on-line resource for planning a visit to Japan. Unfortunately, its one BIG weakness -- IMO -- is that it drastically underestimates how much time it will take to see things.

Enjoy!
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Old May 7th, 2016, 06:45 PM
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If I were you, I'd concentrate on seeing Kyoto, but spend a full day for Nara
https://goo.gl/Aw1y2o
and a full day to see Himeji, which has Japan's finest surviving castle, plus garden and temple mountain complex
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3500.html
You can save some money getting to Himeji using a Kansai Area Pass.
https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/kansai/
And contrary to what others have said, you do have some time to see Kobe - since you'll be there in summer when sunset is much later, and the temples/shrines in Kyoto mainly close around 5 PM, you can easily go there and spend an evening. The Chinatown is quite nice, there is a hot spring there (which you should experience in Japan at least once), and the night views from atop Mt Rokko are famous. Likewise at Meriken Park, the 100m Kobe Port Tower gives a commanding view, and you can even eat at the revolving restaurant at the top there.
On another night, go to Osaka and enjoy Dotonbori - the ambiance is great and you can try some takoyaki (octopus dumplings) there which are famous. There are also great views from on top of the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg.
https://goo.gl/glc1A9
In Kyoto, try to avoid backtracking as much as possible to avoid wasting time, and for places like the Fushimi Inari Shrine which are open 24/7, going in the early morning or evening is a great way to avoid the crowds.
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Old May 8th, 2016, 01:51 AM
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Our overnight in Nara (on our first trip in 2012) was a highlight, but we did also have 5 nights in Kyoto, 2 in Osaka, another in Koya-san and a side trip / overnight to Hiroshima / Miyajima.

In Nara we stayed in a ryokan called Kankaso, in the best room in the house, and it was gorgeous. Also a superb location for sightseeing. http://www.kaveyeats.com/2013/01/kai...o-in-nara.html

For me, Osaka was underwhelming, though I enjoyed the food market there as it was far less crowded than Nishiki in Kyoto. I am not really into nightlife, so I can't comment on that, but we'd have been happy to do just a day trip there rather than the overnights. That's just us, your mileage may vary.

I like the look of Kobe, and I am sure we will make it there eventually, and when we do, I'll do at least one night. But for us, there's been so much in Kyoto, and we enjoy just chilling there too, that we've not made it to Kobe even after 3 trips (and 18 nights) in Kyoto so far!

If you can stretch your week to 9 nights, you could add in Hiroshima-Miyajima or Koya-san, probably not both if you also want to do Nara and Osaka.
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Old May 9th, 2016, 08:34 AM
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Osaka is 15-20 minutes by shinkansen from Kyoto (15 minutes from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka; another 5 to central Osaka). Can't get an easier connection than that . . .

Kyoto has the population of Philadelphia. You could probably find nightlife . . . we did.
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