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Please help with my Japan Itinerary - leaving next month

Please help with my Japan Itinerary - leaving next month

Feb 22nd, 2009, 10:33 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 66
Please help with my Japan Itinerary - leaving next month

My husband and I are headed to Japan next month and have just started to put things together, short notice I know. Anyways we are targeting 3 weeks, using budget accommodation wherever feasible and also indulging ourselves in a couple of places so as to get a good mix. Anticipate using the 14 day JR Pass.
As of now the itinerary looks like this :

Day 1 : Tokyo
Day 2: Tokyo
Day 3 : Tokyo - Nikko (day trip or overnight?)
Day 4 : Tokyo
Day 5 : Tokyo
Day 6 : Tokyo - Kyoto
Day 7 : Kyoto. Maybe evening visit to Osaka to meet friends.
Day 8 :Kyoto (Fushimi, Arashimaya, etc day trip)
Day 9 : Kyoto
Day 10 : Kyoto - Uji - Nara
Day 11 : Nara - Koyasan
Day 12: Koyasan - Kyoto
Day 13 : Kyoto - Himeji - Hiroshima - Miyajima
Day 14 : Miyajima - Okayama - Kurashiki
Day 15 : Kurashiki - Takayama
Day 16 : Takayama - Shirigawa-go (day trip or overnight ?)
Day 17 : Shirigawa - Takayama - Yamamotsu - Tokyo
Day 18 : Tokyo - Hakone
Day 19 : Hakone
Day 20 : Hakone - Tokyo
Day 21 : Depart

Need to know if any obvious flaws in the above as well as the option regarding the two daytrips versus overnighters. Once that is nailed down, I can proceed with the hotels (on a hope and a prayer, esp for Kyoto).
Thank you for all your help in advance.
dyscover is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 11:21 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,117
Looks pretty nice to me....two comments - Day 12 - does that mean you are spending one night back in Kyoto after visiting Koyasan? If so, what about going directly to Miyajima - I'm going to be doing it in the opposite direction - it's a five or so hour trip but you wouldn't have to pack and unpack again. As far as Himeji - it is being renovated and might be covered up... see
http://www.city.himeji.lg.jp/var/rev...ep_surface.pdf

Enjoy!
Mara is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 01:58 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,343
Looks like a solid plan if you are used to being on the move. Your 14 day pass will run out in Hakone if you activate it on the day you leave Tokyo for Kyoto. Pick up the Hakone Free Pass which includes your fare back to Tokyo.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html

You will thank yourself if you overnight in Nikko. This will give you more time to see sights in Nikko and Lake Chuzenji. Nikko is a great place for a ryokan stay, maybe even the Turtle Inn if you are on a strict budget.

http://www.turtle-nikko.com/turtle/index_en.html

Or the Senhime Monogatari Ryokan if your not

http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/db/nikko/senhime.htm

We really enjoyed our stay at Senhime and I can highly recommend the place.

If you can I would also overnight in S-Go. Do a search here for places to stay. Better hurry making hotel reservations especially in Kyoto at this late date. Have fun!

Aloha!

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 04:32 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 585

You could consider a day trip to Kamakura out of Tokyo as well.

As for Nikko, can consider an overnight stay to visit the Lake Chuzenji area as suggested by hawaiiantraveler. I think a day trip will restrict you to Nikko itself.


KMLoke is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 08:07 PM
  #5  
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Thanks guys, all good stuff. Mara, I thought Koyasan to Miyajima in one fell swoop might be too much travel, but will relook. Hawaiian Traveller, I am going to use the JR Pass from Day 6 to Day 17, ie 12 days and then add on the Hakone Pass, it still makes sense. And thks for the overnight recos, I think we will stay overnight both in Nikko and Shirigawa-go as suggested by both you and KM Loke.
Right, so I'd better get cracking on the acco now. Will be back for more great advice in the one place I know I always definitely find it, no matter what the format !
dyscover is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 08:26 PM
  #6  
 
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if you are doing that then you might want to move Nikko to day 6 so you can travel to Nikko from Tokyo and then Nikko to Kyoto using the JR pass saving the Tokyo/Nikko r/t fare
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 04:08 AM
  #7  
 
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No suggestions for how to re-jig it, but notice that on the last half of the trip you'll be in a different bed almost every night.
WillJame is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 09:05 AM
  #8  
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I know WillJame, its the consequences of trying to plan keeping in mind JR Pass, cherry blossom viewing, etc. Am hoping the last two days at Hakone will help recuperate.
dyscover is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 01:46 PM
  #9  
 
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Another comment, your last few days - you're going back to Tokyo, then Hakone for a couple of nights, then back to Tokyo? You can go from Hakone Yumoto or Odawara to Narita in around two and a half hours or less by train....just a thought.....
Mara is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 04:22 PM
  #10  
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Hey Mara, did think about that, the thing is my flight out of Narita is at something around 10 am which means way too much stress to get there on time for me that early in the morning.
dyscover is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 04:52 PM
  #11  
 
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dyscover - Yes, then you should leave from Tokyo for sure....or possibly even stay at an airport hotel....My plane doesn't leave til 6 PM. Gives me a whole day almost in Tokyo...at the end of my trip.
Mara is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 01:20 AM
  #12  
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Have nailed the itinerary and this is what its looking like. Have tried to mix in budget stays as well as some treats to make it practical.

Days 1-4 : Tokyo, we are taking a bit of a chance and staying at the just launched Citadines Apartment Hotel at Shinjuku, its quite close to the Shinjuku Gyoemmae Park. Got a great introductory rate, and the kitchenette will be really useful given that I am totally vegetarian.

Day 5 : Tokyo to Nikko. Start of the 14 day JR Pass. Overnight at Nikko Kanaya Hotel. Could not find any other decent value proposition for Nikko somehow.

Day 6 : Nikko to Kyoto. Overnight at the Monterey Hotel. Given how uncharacteristically last minute our planning has been, most other places were full. This does have good reviews on Trip Advisor, so lets see.

Days 7-10 : Kyoto with trips to Fushimi, Arashiyama, an evening in Osaka, etc. Stay at the Monterey Hotel.

Day 11 : Kyoto to Nara. Overnight at the Nara Toyoko Inn. Actually have two single rooms but thats ok its just one night.

Day 12 : Nara to Koya-san. Overnight at Eko-in. Did not get our first choice Shojoshin-in, so hope we are not disappointed. Not sure if our room at Eko-in has ensuite facilities and if the lack thereof will be a problem.

Day 13 : Koya-san to Kyoto. Overnight at Monterey Hotel.

Day 14 : Kyoto to Himeji, then to Hiroshima,, and then to Miyajima. Quite a bit of travel, but may drop Himeji if since the castle is under renovation and covered,may not make sense to stop here. Treating ourselves to overnight at Kinsuikan.

Day 15 : Miyajima to Okayama, then Kurashiki. Overnight at Kurashiki Toyoko Inn.

Day 16: Kurashiki to Takayama. Overnight at The Rickshaw Inn. Have their western twin room as all the Japanese ones are taken.

Day 17 : Takayama to Shirakawa-go. Awaiting response from Japanese Guest House. We wanted to stay at Magoemon, they have offered Kanga, but we have asked for another choice, lets see. Any recommendations ?

Day 18 : Shirakawa-go to Tokyo. Possible to go via Matsumoto ? Overnight at Citadines Shinjuku. End of JR Pass.

Day 19 : Tokyo to Hakone using Hakone Free Pass. Overnight at Taiseikan Ryokan. Were very keen on Hakone Ginyu, but they are full, and cannot find anything else suitable. Taiseikan has good reviews on Trip Advisor but not sure. Will try again for Ginyu closer to date from Japan locally.

Day 20 : Hakone. Taiseikan Ryokan.

Day 21 ; Hakone to Tokyo. Overnight Citadines Shinjuku

Day 22 : Depart.

Any major bugs in the above, especially if we are making any gaffes regarding where we plan to stay, please yell.

Thanks again everyone.
dyscover is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 07:14 AM
  #13  
 
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If Hakone Ginyu is taken then this place is probably gone too but well worth the try, probably better than Ginyu

http://www.gorakadan.com/

KimJapan, a member on this site,did a tr on a place they liked in the Gora area called Lalaca. Here is the website

http://www.lalaca-hakone.com/hotel-overview.html

I had reservations at Kinsuikan on Miyajima but changed for Iwaso at last minute. Kinsuikan is well located right on the water and had lots of people eating there when we passed by one evening on a stroll

As I said before, it looks like a busy schedule but one you will enjoy

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 07:25 AM
  #14  
 
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Oh and please do a trip report when you return. I am very curious to have firsthand knowledge on some of the places you are staying at. Have Fun!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 08:31 AM
  #15  
 
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Just want to add something regarding Hakone, I would also do this as a day visit from Tokyo because imo Hakone should be visited when it's sunny so I wouldn't book it before checking on the weather first.
Clark55 is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 08:39 AM
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From what I've read about Himeji, the interior renovations begin in June 2009, and the exterior won't be covered until March 2010. I pieced together this info from the JNTO site and a few others. Can anyone confirm? We're also planning a stop at Himeji in mid-April and want to be able to see both the inside and outside without scaffolding.
LMGSONIC is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 10:23 AM
  #17  
 
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http://www.city.himeji.lg.jp/var/rev...ep_surface.pdf

According to the above link, it looks like the exterior may be covered now....but once you're in Japan I would think you could get updated info.
Mara is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 11:12 AM
  #18  
 
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Thanks, Mara. I had my DH do some searching, too, and he found this site that says renovation starts in October 2009...http://www.visitkansai.com/lets_go/item.php?no=30
Another site says the scaffolding goes up in June 2009. :igh:: It would be nice to get a firm answer. We're hoping to see it without scaffolding since it will be our first visit. I think I may have to email someone at the Himeji city or castle or tourist organization to get the information. We just want to be prepared...so if it is covered or partially covered, we expect it and won't be disappointed.
LMGSONIC is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 12:03 PM
  #19  
 
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http://www.himeji-kanko.jp/en/spot/ss089.html

LMGSONIC - Yes, the info is a bit contradictory. I just found the above website and it has an email address - it seems to be the tourist info center near the castle itself. Maybe they can give you a definitive answer - hope so. I saw it a few years ago and would be disappointed if it was covered in scaffolding if I were going for the first time....
Mara is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 03:53 PM
  #20  
 
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Well,dyscover, it's an aggressive itinerary! I just hope you will have some time in each location to do a bit of sightseeing. ;-) I am doing a fairly aggressive one myself next month but only for 10 nights - maybe I will run into you at the Kurashiki Toyoko Inn or possibly Koyasan although I'm staying at a different temple.
Enjoy and please let us know how it all went!
Mara is offline  

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