Need help with final plans to Japan

Dec 1st, 2009, 05:15 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 35
Need help with final plans to Japan

I think I finally have it down for our trip next week. We are leaving on 9 December arriving in Japan on 10 December. Here goes, please tell me if this works. I know this is last minute. Any sugguestions would be helpful.
3 nights in Tokyo ( arrive late on 10 December)
2 nights in Hakone
4nights in Kyoto
1 night in Hiroshima (staying in Miyajima)
2 nights in Osaka (have to be in Osaka on 20 December)
1 night to be decided (could go back to Kyoto)
3 nights in tokyo (visit to Nikko could spend the night)

Thanks, appreciate any help you can give me. Should I buy a one or two week rail pass?
morningstar is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 06:56 AM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,369
Sounds like a nice trip!

For your undecided night, you might consider a temple stay on Mount Koya (Koyasan). I don't know what it is like in winter, so check that out. I visited in spring and it was a highlight of a highlight-filled trip.

Another option for that night would be Nara. Although many people visit it as a day trip from Kyoto, I found more than enough to keep me busy there for about 2 days and was glad to see it after day-trippers had left.

I stayed overnight in Nikko and was glad I did because it gave me more time to see things that I wanted to see there - like Kegon no taki. Again, I was traveling in May and don't know what the area would be like in winter.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 07:15 AM
  #3  
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Thank you, I am also concerned about the weather.
morningstar is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 02:37 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 551
You didn't mention if you will have JR pass (did you in another post, may have missed that)

Is this undecided night the one between Osaka and Tokyo? Because if so, I'd just stay an extra night in one of those places to save moving hotels. It's so easy to do day trips from either of those places.

Another suggestion might be Nagoya. Not a highlight for most tourists but from there a quick jaunt in the Hida Wide View train to Gero or even Takayama might make an interesting side trip (I'd only do it with a JR pass - and I love the train trip and regard them as part of the trip rather than an interruption to it YMMV)
eigasuki is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 04:26 PM
  #5  
 
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A 7-day JR Pass won't work given that you have at least 7 nights away from Tokyo/Hakone.

I would get a 14-day pass.

Gero or Takayama wouldn't be much longer of a trip from Osaka or Kyoto.

If you wanted to save money and get a 7-day pass then you would need to cut a night from Kyoto and go straight to Nikko to spend that "1 night to be decided". But your original itin is better.

Have you considered visiting Shirakawago?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 04:56 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,343
See here for your current weather details.

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/week/

It is the beginning of an El Nino event here in the Pacific and that would normally mean a warmer upcoming winter throughout most of Japan though you are still a little early in the season for the very cold weather.

Hakone and Nikko will probably be your coldest destinations and even cooler if you opt to overnight in Nikko and take the very scenic bus ride up the winding Irohazaka Road to Lake Chuzenji which I totally recommend btw.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3806.html

December is actually the driest month to travel in Japan so hope you are lucky there.

I agree with mrwunrfl about the 14 day JR pass though we may disagree on the color.....

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 07:42 PM
  #7  
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Thank you all so very much. Yes, the 14 Jr Pass has been ordered. I thought about going to Koyasan but it seems that it is difficult to get to and is not on a JR line. It would also be very chilly visiting the sights. One of the reason to go would be a temple stay, but not sure it is worth the effort especially since most are not heated and don't have private baths. Also thought of adding an additional night to Hiroshima or spending a night in Kurashiki. Kurashiki has received rave reviews from some friends. I could also do both and spend one less night at the end of the trip in toyko. Then again, I could just add another night to Osaka and visit Kurashiki. Any suggestions are always appreciated.
morningstar is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2009, 04:13 AM
  #8  
kja
 
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> I thought about going to Koyasan but it seems that it is difficult to get to and is not on a JR line. It would also be very chilly visiting the sights. One of the reason to go would be a temple stay, but not sure it is worth the effort especially since most are not heated and don't have private baths.

I can't say whether it would be worth it to you, and again, I was there in May, so the circumstances would be quite different. Nonetheless, I'll say again that my temple stay (at Shojosho-in) was a wonderfully and delightfully memorable experience. My room did not have a private bath, but no one else was using the small shared wooden bath when I did, so it felt private. My room had a small alcove with a sink; a single-use toilet was a few steps down the hall. It was a bit chilly late at night, but I was pleasantly surprised at how warm I felt in the bedding. I've read reports from people who visited in winter, and have the impression that it might actually be quite wonderful then. I'd probably take a silk Tneck and maybe silk longjohns and socks just in case (they weigh next to nothing and take up very little space, while offering substantial retention of body heat), but that's just my inclination to overprepare. And as for the concern about visiting the sights, well, there are some wonderful things to see on Koyasan (especially Okunoin), but the main reason to go (IMHO) is for the temple stay - the setting, delectible cuisine, and privilege of observing monks in their prayers. Again, I recommend checking out what others say about the experience during winter. You might look it up on japan-quide.furom or japanese.questhouses:

http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/quedisplay.html

http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/index.htm


> Also thought of . . . spending a night in Kurashiki.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kurashiki, but some people seem disappointed with it. The historic core can be visited in just a few hours. It was my first stop in Japan (so it probably carries a special place in my heart); I used it as a base to visit Himeji and Okayama. As glad as I was to see Kurashiki, I found Koyasan and Nara even more delightful.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2009, 09:07 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I saw that you mentioned Matsue on another thread. It is too far to go for a day trip.
mrwunrfl is offline  
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