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Nikko and Hakone details

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Oct 16th, 2013, 12:24 PM
  #1
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Nikko and Hakone details

I've been spending so much time planning a Spring trip that I've been neglecting the one that's right around the corner.

My buddy and I will be heading to Tokyo for nine nights at the end of November. It will be the first trip for both of us. Our preference is to stay in the Kantō region, and minimize travel times. I'm looking for advice on how best to fit in both Hakone and Nikko without rushing around too much.

4 nights: Sawanoya Ryokan, Shitamachi, Tokyo (reservations set)
overnight: Hakone
2 nights: Shinjuku ni-chōme, Tokyo
overnight: Nikko
overnight: Tokyo again, or Narita

This gives us the weekend in Shinjuku, where we have a friend who can show us around. The drawback to this plan is that it involves four moves in nine days, which seems excessive.

The alternatives we are looking at are to either 1) reduce Nikko to a day trip, or 2 ) to go from Hakone > Nikko (3 hours) > Tokyo, like this:

overnight: Hakone
2 nights: Nikko
overnight: Shinjuku ni-chōme, Tokyo

We will miss the weekend in Shinjuku ni-chōme, though I don't know how important that is.

Any and all advice is appreciated!
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Oct 16th, 2013, 04:52 PM
  #2
kja
 
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I haven't been to Hakone yet, but I think Nikko is best seen with an overnight stay. You can see part of it as a day trip from Tokyo, but if you want to see Nikko and Lake Chuzenji and Kegon-no-Taki (which are well worth visiting IMO), then staying the night in Nikko would be a great advantage.

Enjoy!
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Oct 16th, 2013, 09:27 PM
  #3
 
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I was hoping to see Nikko at the beginning of your itinerary because you might have a small chance of seeing some fall colors there. But it might already be too late.

Your first itin has 9 days but the second one is only 8. I guess the second one means two nights in Shinjuku after the two in Nikko.

My general rule is to spend weekend days in the city and weekdays in the country, so the first plan sounds better for that reason. No school/work the next day for your Shinjuku friend on the weekend.
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Oct 17th, 2013, 07:15 PM
  #4
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That seems like a solid general rule!

I've been tracking the fall colors, but it's hard to imagine them lasting until the end of November. Still, I can hope.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 07:32 PM
  #5
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We actually have one more option we're debating:

4 nights: Shitamachi, Tokyo
overnight: Hakone
3 nights: Shinjuku ni-chōme, Tokyo (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
overnight: Nikko (Monday)
Tuesday: Nikko straight to Narita for flights home (3pm).

This would be my preferred option, but for two issues:

1. Nikko > Narita will take 3 hours, according to the online train charts. How reliable are these? I figure if we leave Nikko at 9 am we should be able to safely get to the airport for a 3 pm flight, and allow room for errors and delays.

2. My friend leaves at 3pm, but I don't leave until 7 pm. I will have a long day at the airport. It seems that there are a lot of nice places to just hang out and waste an afternoon - tru3?
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 07:45 PM
  #6
kja
 
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Why not put Tokyo at the end of your trip so neither issue is a problem?
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 08:37 PM
  #7
 
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I like it. A lot.

One of my half-formed plans is to one day fly to Narita and then take a bus from the airport to Utsunomiya or somewhere for a night before going to Nikko.

But the train would be more reliable for going to the airport (no traffic). JR to Ueno and then Keisei Skyliner, I think.

You have a few hours for a carefully planned visit to Narita.

This website is a classic: www.mgnewman.com/Naritax/

I stayed at the Narita Hilton one night and took the loop bus to a pretty decent bath-house that also has a restaurant. I don't think it was this place: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6409.html

But Newman's webpage will give you some options. I would have plenty of cash available for a taxi to the airport in case I dwelt in Narita too long

kja, the plan puts them in Shinjuku on the weekend.
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Oct 22nd, 2013, 09:08 PM
  #8
kja
 
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"kja, the plan puts them in Shinjuku on the weekend." Oh, I get it -- they'll need the full weekend to find their way out of Shinjuku station. ;-) Vive la différence!
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Oct 23rd, 2013, 09:07 PM
  #9
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I went ahead and locked down reservations! I think I got some good deals (this will cost about $1000 split between two of us), and we have a nice variety of ryokan, budget hotels, and one grand but fading resort.

Sunday-Wednesday: Shitamachi, Tokyo
Ryokan Sawanoya

Thursday: Hakone
Hotel Fujiya, Miyanoshita, Hakone

Friday - Sunday: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Hotel Listel Shinkuku, Shinkjuku-ku, Tokyo

Monday: Nikko
Nikko Tokanso Ryokan
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Oct 26th, 2013, 01:16 PM
  #10
 
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Your lodging choices look pretty good. I took a look at each, but briefly. Is the Nikko place near transportation? A bus stop nearby?
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