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Opinions on Osaka? And other burning questions...

Opinions on Osaka? And other burning questions...

Jun 17th, 2017, 08:36 PM
  #1  
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Opinions on Osaka? And other burning questions...

I could keep 4 nights in Tokyo at the beginning of the trip, or I could potentially split them between Okayama and Osaka (or somewhere else) on the way from Hakone to Hiroshima. (I have 6 nights in Tokyo at the end of my trip, so I don't know if I need the earlier 4 nights).

I haven't seen a lot of enthusiasm for Osaka online but I was considering visiting for the aquarium. I don't know if the city is worth two nights though. And perhaps there is a more interesting place in the area to spend that time? I don't know if I want to add another city; one of the reasons I'm considering dropping nights in Tokyo is because I think I may be a bit burned out city wise.

Another question: does anyone have any favorite walking or biking tour companies in Kyoto? I was hoping one of Context's tours would line up with my dates, but no luck as of yet. I really enjoy great neighborhood/cultural/history tours.

Lastly: how many nights is too many for Kanazawa? I have 4, and I have three that I could put towards Kanazawa or elsewhere. Those nights are a gap between Kanazawa and Tokyo towards the end of my trip.

Thanks!
marvelousmouse is offline  
Jun 17th, 2017, 08:53 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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I didn't visit Osaka, and so can't really comment. And in the absence of information about what you WILL visit, it is REALLY hard to comment. But...

I was disappointed with Okayama, but glad I stayed a night in nearby Kurashiki.

Are you pairing Kanazawa with Takayama? IMO, the ideal split is 3 nights Kanazawa, 2 nights Takayama -- but it really depends on your interests, how it fits in with the rest of your plan, etc.

Are you saying that you have 4 nights in Tokyo at the start of your trip AND 6 nights there at the end of your trip? That's a LOT of time in Tokyo. You might want that time -- it really is a personal decision. FWIW, I was satisfied with 1.5 days in Tokyo itself. JMO.
kja is offline  
Jun 17th, 2017, 09:17 PM
  #3  
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To clarify:
2 nights Tokyo Disney
2 nights Tokyo
2 nights hakone
(4 nights somewhere)
1 night hiroshima
1 night Miyajima
5 nights kyoto
2 nights Nara
2 nights Takayama
4 nights kanazawa
(3 nights somewhere)
6 nights Tokyo

I wasn't really intending on that long in Tokyo, it's just what happened after I built in the other places. But yes, others have said the same, Kja. That's why I'm wondering if there's something else I can fit in.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Jun 17th, 2017, 09:43 PM
  #4  
kja
 
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You will likely see more than I did, and I’m envious!

FWIW, I spent 2 nights in Kurashiki, which I enjoyed, and which I used as a base for Okayama and Himeji (which you mght want to visit).

I thought a night on Koya-san a highlight of a highlight-filled trip. YMMV.

I spent a night in Nikko, which many people visit as a day trip from Tokyo. I used the extra time to visit Kegon-no-taki, a bit of Lake Chuzenji, part of the Kanmangafuchi Abyss, and a bit more of Nikko’s treasures than many people vsiit.

I also visited Inuyama, for all sorts of reasons that matched my personal interests.

You have SOOOooooo many options, and I know you know japan-guide.com

Enjoy!
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Jun 17th, 2017, 10:11 PM
  #5  
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Kurashiki does look interesting, thanks!

Where would you fit in Koyasan? It sounds like something I'd enjoy, I'm just unsure of where to put it. I don't want to move Kyoto or Miyajima.
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Jun 17th, 2017, 10:18 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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I visited Koya-san between Nara and Kyoto, but IIRC, that's because I had some very specific reasons for being in Nara and Kyoto on particular dates.

Play around with your travel options and see what works for you!
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Jun 17th, 2017, 10:46 PM
  #7  
 
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We gave Kanazawa 4 nights recently, and could possibly have done with 3 but were happy enough to take it easy during 4.

The main highlight for us was Kenrokuen, which we loved. The castle reconstruction was of less interest, so we spent little time there. The two chai districts were not hugely appealing to me, we visited and walked around, but didn't feel they held the charm of older districts in Takayama or Kyoto. We did like the Samurai district as we'd not seen such before. One of my favourite places was the food market, which I just adored.

I can also recommend the Ono Karakuri Museum in Kanazawa Port. The museum commemorates the life and work of Benkichi Ohno, a famous karakuri (puppet) craftsman who lived in the local area from 1831. The museum displays many pieces of his work plus other key karakuri examples. But it's also a place to see and play with clockwork toys and wooden puzzles and puzzle boxes, which was fun. The building itself was also a reason I wanted to visit, designed by Syozo Uchii, one of Japan's top modern architects. It's a gloriously modern interpretation of traditional wooden constructions and latticework.

If you drive, you could do the 3 nights after Kanazawa driving up and around the Noto Peninsula. We particularly loved Hyakurakuso near Ogi, a beautiful place to stay with stunning views.
Kavey is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 05:18 AM
  #8  
 
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Contrary to popular opinion, we really enjoyed Osaka. As we arrived in the evening, we spent 3 nights there. We had 1 1/2 days to explore Osaka and did a day trip to Koya-san. Perhaps an overnight would have been better at Koya-San, but my husband did not want to sleep on a Japanese style bed and has dietary restrictions, so he nixed that idea. We were satisfied with the long day trip. We recommended staying I. Osakato a friend, who also told us how much she enjoyed it.

While you are in Tokyo, take a day trip out to Yokohama We were also extremely surprised by how much we enjoyed our time in Yokahama. I fought my husband who wanted to go there as I had read negative reviews. We were really surprised at how much we enjoyed the China town (much cleaner than others we had visited, but so is everything in Japan). The waterfront was also lovely and we were surprised to find a Statue of Liberty there.

I personally think 4 days in Kanazawa is too long. We enjoyed our time more in takayama so I would recommend splitting them equally.
dgunbug is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 07:56 AM
  #9  
 
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We are all different. I would have loved to have 4 days in Kanazawa. But I would have gone crazy with all that time in Tokyo!

Friends of ours loved the Noto Peninsula. So you might want to look into that. Also, you might want to extend your time In Hakone, though at the time of year you are traveling, you may well not get a view of Fuji-San.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 04:13 PM
  #10  
 
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Discounting Disney, you have 2 nights for Tokyo. I'd recommend adding 1 or perhaps 2 more but that would be it.

I had 4 night for Kanzawa this past April. Like Kabey said, I could have made do with 3 but it was nice to explore it at a slower pace. And as it turned out, it was the one place i bit at peak cherry blossom time, so that was an advantage.

My gosh but you have a lot of "nights somewhere" along with too many nights allocated to Tokyo. Both Matsumoto and Himeji have awesome castles that I loved. Depending on your time of year, hiking in Kamikochi could be an option. And while I have not been there, you probably have enough time to put a dent into a Kyushu visit.

I think you need to do some more research of your own and come back with an updated itinerary for all of those blank spaces.
MinnBeef is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 05:07 PM
  #11  
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I was going to do the whole new itinerary thing, Minnbeef, but Kyoto is complicating things. At this point, hostel availability is definitely an issue- I leave in less than a month.

So I have tons of research but I'm stumped on what would work best with what I've got so far.

Perhaps a better question to ask:

Who has been to Gion Matsuri? Would you go again? Is it worth arranging your itinerary around it? I really enjoy festivals and I wanted to experience at least one good one, since there's so many going on in July/August.

That and my reservation in Miyajima are the sticking points. If it weren't for Kyoto and Gion Matsuri, I could probably start from scratch fairly easily.

I thought about going to Kyushu or Hokkaido, but both are expensive and time consuming to reach. And I found that on my Europe trip, I really didn't enjoy short stops. 3 nights is about my sweet spot. But of course that may have also been because I got sick and that meant I was moving slower. I'm not sure.

I think I may be overthinking this...
marvelousmouse is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 05:26 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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I have not attended the Gion Matsuri, but I did attend the Aoi Matsuri, and was glad I did. For me, it was not an A+++ experience, but it was at least an A and probably an A+ or A++. (Sorry, but I really don't like trying to rank order experiences that were all awesome, IMO.) I arranged my itinerary around that festival -- and several other events -- and have no regrets, but then, I wasn't facing your dilemmas.

You might want to reconsider your 3-night goal. Transportation is SOOoooo very easy in Japan, and with luggage forwarding, I found it incredibly easy to move around. If you aren't already familiar with it, Japan's excellent luggage-forwarding is called takuhaibin; here's the info:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2278.html

Your trip, your call, but I personally would give up the 3-night goal and see the places that most call to you. JMO.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 05:37 PM
  #13  
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Thanks, kja. I haven't managed to figure out if hostels forward luggage as well. If they do, I would definitely utilize it- it sounds great!
marvelousmouse is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 05:45 PM
  #14  
kja
 
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Check that link -- you don't need to work through your hostels! Even the equivalent of a 7-11 can and will forward luggage, and will do so with absolute reliability.
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Jun 18th, 2017, 06:33 PM
  #15  
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Thanks! Is it generally same day delivery?

I guess I'm nervous that it'll go astray on the way. I don't like to check my luggage on planes because even that would be a hassle but I'm a lot more worried about tracking down lost luggage in a country I don't speak the language.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 06:34 PM
  #16  
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Ah. Read the link. Largely next day delivery, which means I'd have to carry a daypack anyway. May not be worth the money. Thanks though! Super useful to know if I go back with family some day.
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Jun 18th, 2017, 07:16 PM
  #17  
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Kja-

If you don't mind me asking...were you solo when you went to koyasan? If so, who did you book with and where did you stay? I was inquiring through Japanese guest houses and I got an email asking for my flight information. They said that temples are often reluctant to take solo travelers because their plans tend to change more and they cancel more frequently. Scratching my head over that one but of it's true, I may have some difficulty finding lodging.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 07:19 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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Yes, exactly, you would need only a day pack or overnight bag if you use takuhaibin.

You might want to explore japan-guide.com a bit more fully. I could be mistaken, but you seem to be floundering....
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Jun 18th, 2017, 07:39 PM
  #19  
 
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I just booked with Cycle Kyoto for a half day tour (they get great reviews). Also booked with Tokyo Miracle Cycling for a full day tour there (also great reviews.) We leave in two weeks so i will give my review upon return!
Nicolemp is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 07:48 PM
  #20  
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I think it's more scatterbrainedness due to panic at this point. I've got so much crammed into my head and I've got a lot of real life stuff going on that I haven't had a chance to sit down and plan as much as usual.

Thanks, nicolemp! Looking forward to reading your trip report! Sounds like we're kindred spirits in terms of biking
marvelousmouse is offline  

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