Planning a trip to Tokyo and Kyoto.

Sep 13th, 2009, 07:27 PM
Original Poster
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Posts: 204
Planning a trip to Tokyo and Kyoto.


I am planning to travel to Japan in late October and visit Tokyo and Kyoto. My flight will arrive and depart from Tokyo. Can anyone please tell me how many days do I need in each place and how long does it take to commute from Tokyo to Kyoto and Kyoto to Tokyo to catch the flight back to the States?

Also I would appreciate it if someone could recommend some reasonably prices, safe and convenient accommodation in these cities.

I am thinking of not only Tokyo and Kyoto sightseeing but a day trip to Nikko,
a day trip to Mt.Fuji and Hakone from Tokyo and a trip to Nara from Kyoto.

Can you recommend a tour operator in Tokyo and Kyoto that organize a city tours and a day trips out of these cities?

Thanks. Lev.
Lev is offline  
Sep 14th, 2009, 08:46 AM
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Hi, Lev -

How long to spend in each place depends on what you want to see and do. Tell us more!

For answers to your transportation questions, see Also, have you considered flying into Narita and out of Kansai (or vice versa)? It might save you time and money.

It is very easy to visit the places you mention on your own, rather than with an organized tour.

Hope this helps!
kja is offline  
Sep 14th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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I have to have a round trip to Tokyo since the open jaw flight cost about $300 more. I will stay 4 days in Tokyo and 3 days in Kyoto. Would you suggest a tour operator in Tokyo for a day trip to Nikko and a tour operator in Kyoto for a day trip to Mt. Fuji, Hakone, Lake Ashi?
Lev is offline  
Sep 14th, 2009, 11:07 AM
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Your days split sounds about right considering the day trips you plan to do from Tokyo. You don't need a tour guide. See here for details about doing it(Hakone day trip) yourself. Come back with any quetions:

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Sep 14th, 2009, 12:02 PM
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It seems that you recommend to take both side trips (to Nikko and Mt. Fuji, Hakone, Lake Ashi) from Tokyo. Correct?
It means that I will have 2 days for Tokyo. Will it be enough? How to plan these 2 days?
Also, how would you recommend to plan 3 days in Kyoto?
I was reommended to take a side trip to Nara. How to plan the remaining time?
Lev is offline  
Sep 14th, 2009, 03:13 PM
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Personally I don't think the time you have allotted gives you enough time for day trips.....have you researched what you want to see in each city? On my first trips to Tokyo and Kyoto I spent a week in each and barely touched the surface...

As the above posters advised, is a good place to see what sights are located in each city so you can see what interests you....
Mara is offline  
Sep 14th, 2009, 06:37 PM
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No, with 7 days I would recommend just Tokyo and Kyoto. I would pay the extra and do the open jaw out flight of Osaka so I would have another night in Kyoto, but that's me not you. The money saved from the not having to take the extra train trip would about even you out moneywise but I wouldn't care about that either but as I said, this is not my trip.

What do you want to do? If you really want to see Hakone, Fuji, Tokyo and Kyoto it is possible but not practical imo but may may ok for you. Mara is correct in suggesting finding out what you want to do first. Check out here where she has suggested for more info on the two cities:

and you only have a month before you get there so at this point you have to decide now on what you want to least that's what I would do.....

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Sep 14th, 2009, 10:26 PM
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I recommend that you drop Nikko and choose either Hakone or Nara as a day trip.

I can't reccomend tour operators, other than maybe JTB, because I don't take tours. But you can get that info and book your trips at your hotel or at a travel agent in one of the large train stations in Tokyo (like Shinjuku). Visit the tourist info center in Kyoto or an agent at the station.

A tour will save you some walking and save you from figuring out public transport, but it will cost more.

I assume this trip is an 8- or 9-day trip consisting of the 7 days you mentioned plus one, or both, of your international arrival and departure days. In that case, and arriving/departing Tokyo, you would pay to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo and then use a JR Pass for Tokyo-Kyoto-Tokyo/Narita Airport. You would also be able to use that pass to get to Nara, if you didn't take a tour. That JR Pass would be 28,300 yen.

If you flew out of Kansai airport then you would spend 17,000 to 19,000 to get from Tokyo-Kyoto-Kansai. Nara would be a bit more. You'd actually spend about 7,000 to 10,000 yen less that way. Sightseeing on your own, instead of on a tour, could save you 5,000 to 10,000 yen. You can make up about half of that open jaw fare and save yourself some precious time on a short trip.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 15th, 2009, 10:24 AM
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Another thing to consider is that airports are quite far (and in my opinion expensive to get to from) the respective city center. I am used to paying $2 to get from Logan to my home in Boston, so maybe I am spoiled, but Narita and Kansai airport both take more than an hour to get to.

Depending on what you feel like doing, you might consider doing is starting and ending your trip in Tokyo with Kyoto sandwiched in between. I think mrwunfrl is right though that you don't want to spend your whole trip zigzagging around on trains.

Also, if you fly with a oneworld carrier, look into the yokoso japan fares that get you from Tokyo to Kansai for $100. You can even fly from Osaka to Narita.

Haven't been to Mount Fuji or Hakone yet my sense is that they are kind of touristy and overrated. I'd pick Himeji over Hakone every time but again, that's me.

Further, I'd skip the group tours and get yourself a good guidebook (Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Fodors). I really like Time Out Tokyo too.
puttakka is offline  
Sep 15th, 2009, 12:59 PM
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We had a week in Japan about a year ago and split our time between Tokyo (2 days) and Kyoto (4 days) before flying out of Nagoya. We were planning on doing a daytrip from Kyoto but once we got there and realized how much there was to see and do we quickly scrapped this plan. I personally would just stay put in Kyoto, or play it by ear and decide on a possible daytrip once you arrive.

tcreath is offline  
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