Planning for Japan

Old Sep 17th, 2012, 04:16 PM
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Planning for Japan

I will be in Japan for the first time for a week in February and I'm trying to put a short itinerary together. With 7 full days I don't want to try to do too much.

5 days : Tokyo and its surrounding area - should be enough time to hit the major sites and not feel too rushed.

2 days : Kyoto - see some of the temples and experience the culture.

Does this seem like a good breakdown or do you think 4 in Tokyo and 3 in Kyoto would work out better? If Kyoto is mostly about the temples I don't want to get "temple overload".

Thanks in advance!
bdt13 is offline  
Old Sep 17th, 2012, 05:26 PM
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I like the 4 & 3 days better. There are more than just temples in Kyoto. Where are you flying into and out of? Have you seen this site yet on things to do in both cities?

if you are only going to those two cities it might behoove you to take advantage of the shinkansen special with train tickets and room included.

hawaiiantraveler is online now  
Old Sep 17th, 2012, 07:39 PM
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I prefer the 4-3 split as well.

Even if you don't crave visiting Kyoto temples, I imagine that you will enjoy seeing some of them in addition to visiting Nijo castle, wandering around the Gion district, perhaps attending a tea ceremony, etc. There are some lovely traditional areas of Kyoto that are sure to delight you. My first trip to Japan was a 5 day-5 day split between Tokyo and Kyoto which was satisfactory to me.

I love Kyoto though. You may feel differently. The two factors I haven't taken account of because I don't know the answers are
1) what the weather feels like in February, and
2) what your main interests are.
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 04:19 AM
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I find Kyoto to be much more approachable than Tokyo for a first-time visit: There's a relatively compact area of sites that you can walk around and see (Ponto-cho, Teramachi-dori, Nishiki, Gion), and the temples, as ht and marya explained, are wonderful. And Kyoto is indeed much, much more than just the temples. Gion and Ponto-cho are terrific places to see traditional Japan, the Teramachi and Nishiki areas are great pedestrian shopping zones (and they're covered, in case of foul weather).

Tokyo. by contrast, for me is an enormous (and fabulous) collection of neighborhoods, each with its own character, spread out over a huge area. You can have a great time in Tokyo if you spend 2 or 3 days; you can also not see it all if you stay for 3 months.

So the point of this gasbaggering is to suggest more time in Kyoto than Tokyo. Best of all, whichever choice you make is going to be a good one.
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 09:45 AM
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I add my vote to the 4 and 3. Kyoto has so much to see and expereince your 3 days will be packed. I recommend a good guide company to help you sift through the tourist attractions and go for the sites that, well to use a non Japanese word, soul. We just came back from spending 6 days in Tokyo and 5 in Kyoto. Our guide in kyoto took us into a very high end kimono weaving business, a business of fashionable and contemporary batik masters and some fantastic gardens we would have never seen on our own. The moss temple and gardens is a fantastic epxereince in Kyoto. You need to send them a letter to reserve a spot on the day you would like to tour and enjoy the chanting there. if you choose a guide ask them if theyc an get you into the restuarants in the Gion that are open only my invitation. The chefs are most concerend with pleasng the customers, so they dont open to just anyone. The quality of cooking, and the level of attention to service are remarkable and quite an expereince.
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