March 2007 - Japan itinerary

Old Sep 9th, 2006, 11:35 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
March 2007 - Japan itinerary

Hello,
I'm planning our first trip to Japan for my family (me, husband, and (will be) 18-month old toddler) in March 2007. Below is the current itinerary:

Day 1 - arrive Narita, stay in Tokyo
2 V (start 14 day JR Rail Pass) Tokyo to Komaki (Hounen Matsuri) to Inuyama (?)
3 - Inuyama to Takayama
4 - Takayama to Shirakawa-go
5 - Shirakawa-go to Kanazawa
6 - Kanazawa to Miyajima
7 V Miyajima to Hiroshima to Himeji to Kyoto
8 to 12 V 5 more days Kyoto (including Toji Temple market, Kitano Tenmagu Temple market)
13 V Kyoto to Matsumoto to Yudanaka (stay near monkey park)
14 V Yudanaka to Nikko to Tokyo
15 V Tokyo/Kamakura daytrip (end JR Rail Pass)
16-18 V 3 more days Tokyo (including Studio Ghibli museum, Tsukiji Market)
19 V Narita for flight to Canada

Does this look doable, or is it too rushed? I havent yet picked out what were going to see in most areas. Kyoto/Tokyo will have lots of sightseeing/shopping though

What is the weather like in mid to late March in those areas? Well be en route from a tropical country back to Canada, so our clothing may not be entirely suitable (especially for the baby).

Our baby has done well so far on car trips (up to 6 hours), but she had ended up sleeping most of the time in her carseat. Weve never been on a train before, is it harder/easier (no carseat)? Most of the JR trips will be 3 hours or less, with one 4 hour trip and one 5.5 hour trip.

I was looking at the Kyoto Johnnie Hillwalker tour, is the 5 hours too much for a baby that age? Weve got a backpack carrier/stroller, she has napped in it before. I also really want to go to Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, but not sure if thats advisable with a baby, stroller or not.

Also, we would also welcome recommendations for baby-friendly budget accommodations JPY 15,000 or less (for all 3 of us) per night. I have lots of webpages bookmarked (mostly hostels) but would appreciate any anecdotal accounts. Were hoping to splurge on a ryokan a few times during the trip.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me! Sorry for the long post!
LMNOP is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2006, 12:19 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We've travelled a lot with our now 8 year old...we've lived in Japan (Kanazawa) for 11 years, so she was born here.

Your itinerary is was too rushed, with lots of time going from place to place and little time in any one place. Plus you are coming from Canada. Don't underestimate the impact of the long trip and jet lag. Even after doing the trip between Japan and the US dozens of times, we all suffer from serious jet lag each and every trip. Come evening, you will all be sleepy, and you will all likely wake very early in the morning.

When our daughter was about 18 months old, my parents visited us here. We visited Takayams, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka plus time at home in Kanazawa over 3 weeks in March. We had the convenience of a van, and our daughter did sleep a lot of the travel time. You won't have that luxury.

Trains are efficient and comfortable, but more difficult in terms of small children on long trips as there is no way to keep them seated. While in the car, kids are accustomed to being in their carseat, they have no such notion on trains. We always ended up walking around a fair bit and buying lots of snacks from the wagons.

My advice would be to slow down a lot. Having a JR Pass seems to encourage people to be on the move all the time to get the most value...but if you don't stop to see a place you've done little more than see scenery outside the train window, stations and hotel rooms.

Your first week is killer. You are changing location every single day, which would make my head spin even after living here for so long. I would eliminate either Takayama/Shirakawa-go/Kanazawa or Miyajima/Hiroshima and spend more time in the places you keep.

5 days in Kyoto will be nice. From Kyoto, pick one place to go for the day/night before going to Tokyo rather than three...your heads will be spinning again.

Also, allow for cold and rainy weather. March has a way of being all over the map weatherwise...it can be warm and sunny, or bitterly cold and sleety/rainy. There is snowfall every year in Kanazawa in March. When we were in Kyoto in March with my parents, it was cold and rainy for the full 5 days we were there. I'm not saying this will be the case for you...but be prepared for the possibity. You may have to buy suitable clothes if you don't have them with you because tropical weather clothes will certainly not be enough for any of you.

Leave the stroller at home, or at the very least get a very lightweight one that has largish wheels and can be folded with one hand. For any country in Asia. Sidewalks aren't what you expect...they are rough, uneven or nonexistent in most places. Japan might have the best I've seen in Asia, but we reserved the stroller for shopping. There are just too many stairs in stations.

The backpack carrier is what you will find works best. We had one and used it all the time. Beats a stroller except for shopping and neighborhood walks.

You'll find Japan baby friendly. One thing you may find, too, though, is that many places don't have baby beds...that's because most of the time, babies sleep with parents. At 18 months, she'll be free everywhere you stay...but if you need a baby bed you might have to pay for it, and you might have to stay in more upscale places.

If you decide to stay in Kanazawa I'd be happy to recommend some places for you and to also make a reservation for you, as most places are more expensive in English than in Japanese. Nationwide, there are many chain hotels, like APA, Washington, Tokyu, and Sunroute, that offer decent accommodation for a reasonable price.

If you thought your post was long...
KimJapan is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2006, 01:14 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,070
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It is not doable. It is too rushed.

If you could, you would be better off flying into Nagoya.

Getting to/from Inuyama would involve taking a Meitetsu train. This will cost an extra 1200Y or so and the connections to JR trains before/and after your visit will be a bit tricky. At Gifu it is a couple of blocks from the Meitetsu to JR station and it is not obvious where to go (I have 1st hand experience with that). The station transfers at Nagoya enroute to Inuyama or at Unuma enroute to Takayama are a few minutes walk. Doing that on days 2 and 3 could be difficult. And you could end up on a local train to Takayama not realizing that another change of trains would be necessary (e.g. from Unuma change at Mino Ota).

I see, you want to go to Komaki and have a ? for Inuyama. To answer the ? I will recommend skipping Inuyama.

It's late, I am going to wrap this up by saying that a "rushed but reasonable" itinerary (or at least more reasonable) would be to alternate 1 nite stays with 2-nite stays. Your trip, for the first 5 days consists of relatively short travel on any one day, but changing places every day is just too much.

Note that your travel to/from Komaki and Inuyama would be on non-JR trains and would cost extra. Takayama-Shirakawago-Kanazawa is on non-JR buses. Getting to Yudanaka from Nagano involves non-JR trains (at a cost of 1200Y or so each way). And I think your (proposted) travel to Nikko would likely involve non-JR trains by the best route.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2006, 01:24 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,070
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Day 2 is March 15.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2006, 06:53 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,836
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
LMNOP,

Looks like you're criss-crossing the island during your trip. I would recommend skipping some areas (Matsumoto, Komaki, Inuyama, Yudanaka for example), and move from east to west.
General direction would be to make a large loop, starting from Tokyo, (possibly Matsuyama), Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Miyajima/Hiroshima, back to Tokyo. Nikko and Kamakura can be covered as day-trips.

Kanazawa to Miyajima is a rather long distance skipping Kyoto. It's rather inconvenient to travel from Kyoto to Matsumoto (going via Nagoya is possible, but not as fast as two shinkansen connections via Tokyo).

Agree that you'll need to be concerned about the jet lag--it took my kids (similar age) two three days to get back to the local schedule. Until then, we were up playing at 2-4am!
If you're already using a back-carrier, that'll be a good suggestion.

Also, I found some ryokan use heavy quilts instead of central heating to keep warm. March nights can be still quite cold, esp in Takayama, Kyoto, and Kanazawa.
W9London is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2006, 10:48 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,070
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
W9, did you really mean "possibly Matsuyama"? or did you mean Matsumoto.

Kyoto to Matsumoto would be shinkansen to Nagoya and a limited express (Shinano, I think). There is no shinkansen to Matsumoto. You must mean Nagano, which could be reached from Kyoto by shinkansen with a change in Tokyo. That would save just a bit of travel time.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2006, 06:18 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,836
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Correctamundo. Meant Matsumoto of Nagoya, not Matsuyama of Shikoku.

My recollection is that Shinjuku-Matsumoto has more frequent service via limited express Azusa. Haven't tried Nagoya-Matsumoto, but thought it was slightly longer rides and less frequent services.
W9London is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2006, 01:57 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks everyone for your replies (thanks for your offer KimJapan)! It's so hard to pick a place to cut out, maybe we'll get a 21 day pass and try to spread things out a bit. Or split up the time in Kyoto into 2 parts, with an overnight trip to Miyajima in between.

Is the hyperdia site pretty accurate for departure times? I've been playing around with it to figure out how much time we would have in each city.
LMNOP is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2006, 02:34 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hyyperdia is accurate. From October the train schedule will be modified...it is updated every year in April and October. There are usually very few, if any changes, to most routes.
KimJapan is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2006, 10:33 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,070
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nagoya->Matsumoto L'Ex service is hourly and takes 2 hgurs. Nagoya->Shinjuku is about 2 hours. Shinjuku->Matsumoto on the Azusa is about 2 hours 40 minutes.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
cindyjo
Asia
5
Aug 11th, 2019 02:16 PM
nygvic0326
Asia
7
Oct 23rd, 2016 12:24 PM
aletheap
Asia
4
Mar 14th, 2007 11:42 PM
gammy
Asia
4
Feb 4th, 2006 12:57 PM
Linda05
Asia
9
Mar 30th, 2005 06:21 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:37 PM.