Not sure how much time for each city

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Apr 21st, 2005, 10:39 AM
  #1
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Not sure how much time for each city

I've read through my guide book and browsed through this forum a lot. I plan on getting a JR pass since we will be traveling to quite a few places. We have 14 full days in Japan. I already have a list of the towns I want to visit. I just need to figure out if my itinerary is realistic in terms of train travel. My question is about my main city stops of Tokyo, Kyoto & Hiroshima. I'm planning on 3 full days in Tokyo, 3 full days in kyoto and 2 full days in Hiroshima. Does that sound right? I'm not into big cities but I'm traveling with my mom & aunt who want to do a lot of shopping. And they both like cities. I'd like to get away will more time in Kyoto or for traveling to smaller towns. Do I need 2 full days to see the main attractions in Hiroshima? Any advice would be very helpful as I'm the only one planning a trip for my family!
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Apr 21st, 2005, 11:24 AM
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One day in Hiroshima is enough. The only real sights there are the Peace Museum and the A-Bomb Dome, both worthwhile. The Dome is right near the Peace Museum and you probably won't spend that much time looking at it. The Peace Museum will take 2 or 3 hours. Hiroshima is obviously a pretty new city considering it was completely wiped out in WWII. You may want to take the ferry to Miyajima Island, a very short ride from Hiroshima and spend a night there in a Ryokan. It's a lovely island with the famous Floating Torii, and lots of tame deer wandering around. You say you have 14 full days but I only count 8 from your itinerary. I would spend at least four nights each in Tokyo and Kyoto, both great cities but very different from one another. You can also do day trips from each, such as to Nara from Kyoto and Nikko from Tokyo, or you can opt to spend a night in each. When in Kyoto, you should take the bus to the Miho Museum, a wonderful museum in the mountains, designed and built by I.M. Pei. Check out the website and see if it appeals to you. My husband and I absolutely loved it. http://www.miho.or.jp/english/
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Apr 21st, 2005, 12:04 PM
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One day in Horoshima is more than enough and 3 days in Kyoto is definitely NOT enough. I would spend at least 6 or 7 days in Kyoto. You can spend the entire time explroing it or can take some day trips to Nara, Himeji and Miho Museum. The latter was one of the high points of my trip.

If you have 14 full days I would do 3 days in Tokyo, 6 days in Kyoto, 1 day in Hiroshima and fill in with other places.
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Apr 21st, 2005, 06:55 PM
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Laurieco- You're very observant! We are also planning a day to see Mt. Fuji (not sure from where yet), a day in Takayama, a day to Himeji from Kyoto and a day to Nara from Kyoto. We also have Miyajima on the itinerary. If we don't need to be in Hiroshima for 2 days, that leave an extra day for Kyoto. I haven't heard of Miho Museum. Is it a day trip? I'll go check out the website. Thanks!
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Apr 22nd, 2005, 09:39 AM
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Hi. I could recomend you spend 2 more days in Tokyo for side trips.

1) To see Mt. Fuji, it is really easy for a day trip. I am not sure if you like independent travel or organized tours, but you have a choice of either. A bus tour all day will take you to Hakone and back. This is the easiest way to go. But if you are independent you can do it on your own by heading on the bullet train to Odawara. From there a bus up to Hakone. There are even tours from Odawara, I believe. (You can also go to Hakone via Romance Car from Shinjuku, but it is not JR and will cost.)

The other option to see Mt. Fuji is to go via JR to Lake Kawaguchi (Kawaguchi Ko) Station. There you can either walk to the lake (or take taxi), then ride a whale-shaped excursion boat on the lake to view the mountain, and then your next adventure is to ride the cable car up to the view point where the mountain in all its splendor is before your eyes. And before you leave, be sure to eat some grape ice cream. (The area's huge,purple grapes are famous.)

Finally, another day trip from Tokyo is Kamakura where the Great Buddha is, along with some very beautiful temples and picturesque spots and walks. The shopping street near the station is fun and there are lots of places to eat.
Depending on how much time you have, a short train ride away is a place called Enoshima (a picturesque island with nice walks, restaurants, views, and a new spa, if you're interested.

I'm doing this from memory, so for the actual logistics/sites you should check the Internet or guidebooks as to how to specifically go about it. Maybe other Fodorites have better memories. But this will give you an idea of 2 more days of things to do while basing yourself in Tokyo.

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Apr 22nd, 2005, 10:21 AM
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Boron- Do you have ESP? Those are the 2 other places I was going to go! But I was hesitating between doing a day trip to those places vs. spending the night. Tokyo lodging is quite expensive and I was thinking maybe it would be worthwhile to sleep in those places so we can spend more time there. I just have to check train schedules to see what is better logistically. Thanks for your suggestions!
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Apr 22nd, 2005, 03:03 PM
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emcninch, The Miho Museum is quite close to Kyoto, it takes about an hour to get there and you can do it as a half day trip. Their web site gives directions on how to get there from Kyoto.
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Apr 23rd, 2005, 02:27 AM
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Doing overnights would be more leisurely too. But you'll need to check the costs, as this idea might not end up being any savings, as many or almost all resort hotels in Enoshima, Hakone and Lake Kawaguchi charge per person (rather than per room), although they include Japanese style ryokan type bedding, dinner/breakfast, and hot springs baths. (I think Lake Kawaguchi is not hot spring water drawn from the earth, but they have the same style of baths.) This may be worth it just for the experience, though, as hot-spring stays are what make travel in Japan so fantasctic. You can get some good mid-week rates. Hakone hotels can be quite expensive, even more so on FRI, SAT nights.

A good option might be to do a combination Kamakura and Hakone trip. Either staying 1 night in Kamakura/Enoshima and 1 night in Hakone, or visiting Kamakura during the day and then in late afternoon travel via Odawara by JR and then bus to Hakone for the night. I did this with my sister when she came and it was a fun 1night/2-day trip.

Lake kawaguchi can be done on its own for a 1 night stay and tends to be less costly than Hakone.
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