Pls critisize my Japan itinerary

Old Aug 12th, 2007, 12:58 AM
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Pls critisize my Japan itinerary

Hi will spend 15 days in Japan. This is my first time so will be grateful if you could comment on my itinerary and advise whether i should get 7 days pass or i can get away with 7 days pass given the fact i will spend the first 4 days in Tokyo

Day 1-2 Tokyo
Day 3 Tokyo ( but will be doing Nara day tour)
Day 4 From Tokyo to Hakone, stay in Hakone
Day 5 From Hakone to Hida Takayama, stay in
Takayama
Day 6 From Takayama, day tour to Kanazawa
stay in Takayama
Day 7 From Takayama to Kyoto, stay in Kyoto
Day 8-9 Kyoto, stay in Kyoto
Day 10 From Kyoto to Mt Koya, stay in temple
Day 11 From Mt Koya take train to Miyajima Island, stay in Miyajima Island
Day 12 From Miyajima Island, quick tour of Hiroshima and go straight to Osaka, Stay in Osaka
Day 13 Go to himeji and Nara , stay in Osaka
Day 14 Osaka to Tokyo, stay in Tokyo
Day 15 Leaving tokyo to Melbourne

Thanks everyone



audrienne is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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4 days in Tokyo is probably too much given your total time. While there be sure to check out the Sony showroom in Giza. They have an awesome display of the latest technologies. I would only spend one day in Nara. Kanazawa is one of the best cities in Japan...don't miss Kenrokuen Garden. The Noto Peninsula is a beautiful area near Kanazawa on the Sea of Japan with fishing villages and a real traditional Japanese feel. The landscape there with the rocky shoreline is beautiful. Nearby is Mt. Tateyama in the Japan Alps which is beautiful with a great gondala lift to the top.

I would try to squeeze in going Shikoku for a little bit (and / or Kysushu though it is further away). It is much more sparcely populated and gives you a feel for more rural / small town Japan. Beppu in Kyushu has some of Japan's best hot springs. I would also definitely visit Kobe (be sure to take the skyway). Osaka is nice and a good centralized base, but not much to see. Don't miss the Peace museum in Hiroshima. Himeji Castle is a must see.

Things I would recommend:
- Staying in ryokan (traditional Japanese Inns) with Tatami matted rooms. Also, Staying in youth hostels is a great way to see Japan. Many are traditional Japanese style and suprisingly nice. They are also very cheap, really the best value. The best part is you get to meet other travelers..often times there is a group , family style breakfast. Many of the travelers are from other parts of Japan and they can give you the inside scoop on things to do / see off the beaten path. You may even find yourself invited to stay at someone's house as a guest.

- Hot springs / baths. Nothing more Japanese than this. Also a great way to meet people. In the mountains there are some outdoor ones that are awesome.

- Capsule hotel. Try it for a night. Truly Japanese and have to try it once.

- Karaoke. Fun thing to do with your new Japanese friends.

- Bars. Many buildings have bars in them. It can be a little intimidating (especially in the big cities) since they are often on higher floors and all the signage is in Japanese. Just pop in to some of them and you'll be surprised to find some that are quite small and cozy and friendly. There are also nightclub type bars (Gas Panic in Roppongi in Tokyo for example) and many dance clubs (though these can be expensive).

- Restaurants. Try different types of foods, even if you don't know what they are. The restaurants are fun. Many of the train stations have good noodle shops and bread shops. You have to try Okonomiyaki (an egg/noodle/ other stuff concotion) which is famous in Hiroshima. There is also Osaka style.

My number one piece of advice is to talk to people and make friends. The Japanese are extremely friendly and helpful, and it is through meeting people that your trip may take you in an unexpected direction or you may experience things not in the guide book.
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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Also, I would say your Day 3 Nara day trip and your day 13 Osaka / Nara Himeji trip can be modified. The day trip to Nara is more than enough and Hemeji really has nothing to see other than the castle. Assuming you are packing light, you can put your bags in a locker at the Hemeji station, walk to the castle, and come back to the station and off to your next destination. I wouldn't stay in Osaka unless you were basing yourself there to see the entire Kansai region as there is not much in Osaka itself to see that is unique to Japan.
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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it's all no good, you should of thought better, what's wrong with you, are you crazy or something.. ok Im done critisizing..

actually your itinuary looks like a really good blend of destinations. I like the combo of large and small cities and towns. you should have a good time.
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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Is there som eparticular reason you are going to Osaka, like for baseball or sumo? I'd spend more time in Kyoto instead.

You can go to Himeji castle on the way to or from Hiroshima/Miyajima. I did that, it's an easy stop, hop off the train, go to the castle (straight shot out of the train station, and go back to the station. Personally, I loved the castle and it was well worth the stop.

Is day 1 the day you arrive, or is it the 1st full day in Japan?
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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Day 3 you mean Nikko not Nara right? That would be a long day trip if not.

Day 6 stay the night in Kanazawa instead of Takayama and go to Kyoto from there

agree with emd when she advises stop in Himeji on way to Osaka

Can you fly home from Osaka KIX? You can save some travel time that way.

Aloha!
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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good catch in the nara thing, hawaii.

imo, Osaka is just a big city. You are already going to big city, Tokyo. Kyoto offers many more unique and special places, not only in the city but in the outlying areas like Arashiyama and Sagano, Kibune/Kurama, Ohara, etc. Unless there is some reason to visit Osaka, or you just really like the big cities, I'd skip it. And you could always do a day trip to Osaka from Kyoto very easily anyway.
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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I don't think a 7 day JR pass will help you much /this itinerary.

(paging mrwunrfl. where are you, at the racetrack? hope you are winning).

As you have it now, you'd already be in Kyoto on the day you'd want to activate your 7 day pass (on day 8), and you'd already have bought tickets from Tokyo to Hakone, and on to Takayama, and to Kyoto.

You need to add up the rail trips you have planned (see www.hyperdia.com to do so) and see if it is worth it to get a rail pass for 14 days or not. It might still be worth it since you have the trips to Takayama and Hiroshima planned. And you can always flash the pass and get free trips around Tokyo on the JR Yamonate loop, which goes all aroudn Tokyo, and also use it on the Narita Express to get form the airport to Tokyo at arrival.
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 05:43 PM
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orgy, lol.
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 05:55 PM
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I have been to Japan twice and love it. My only comment is that this is an awful lot to cover in this time. Some of your train connections such as getting from Mt Koya to Myajima will be quite complex. Tram to bus to train to another train to bus to ferry all in one day I am pretty sure. Maybe there's some other way I don't know about.
I happen to love Tokyo so I would not cut time there. Of the places on your list I would skip Hakone and Osaka and just stop in Himeji for a short time on the way or skip it altogether. You don't have to go all the way to Shikoku to experience small, rural town Japan. Some of the nicest little spa towns are only 2 hours from Tokyo. You have to either take small buses or hire a car to get to some of them, my favorite two being Chojukan Ryokan at Hoshi Onsen which has the most beautiful Ryokan and Osenkaku Ryokan at Takaragawa Onsen which has a stunning outdoor spa (onsen) by a running river and. Both are amazing cultural experiences only about 2 hours from Tokyo up in the mountains.
Here are some suggestions:

Day 1-2 Tokyo
Day 3 Tokyo (but will be doing Nara day tour)
Day 4 From Tokyo to Takayama, stay there
Day 5 From Takayama to Kanazawa, stay in
Kanazawa
Day 6 another day/night in Kanazawa as it will take at least half a day to get there
Day 7 From Kanazawa to Kyoto, stay in Kyoto
Day 8-9 Kyoto, stay in Kyoto
Day 10 From Kyoto to Mt Koya, stay in temple
Day 11 From Mt Koya take train to Miyajima Island, stay in Miyajima Island
Day 12 From Miyajima Island, quick tour of Hiroshima and then train back to Tokyo staying at Marounouchi hotel right over Tokyo Train station so you can get fast train to Jomo Kogen station the next morning
Day 13 Take Shinkansen to jomo kogen station then local bus to Osenkaku Ryokan at Takaragawa onsen or Chojukan and spend night
Day 14 Shinkansen Back to Tokyo to wander a bit and relax or shop, stay in Tokyo
Day 15 Leaving tokyo to Melbourne
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 07:44 PM
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audrienne,

If you start your 7 day JR pass when you leave Kyoto you would have to do this below

You can catch the Odyaku Romance train from Shinjuku station in Tokyo with the Hakone Free Pass explained in the link below. Cost 5500 yen

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5206.html

You can catch the train to Takayama from Odawara(hakone) Cost 12710 yen

Total is around 46510 yen while a 14 day JR pass cost 45100 yen so the 14 day seems the way to go that way you can start using it around Tokyo and to Nikko

Check rail prices on

hyperdia.com

and jr pass prices

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2007, 09:00 PM
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I agree, the 14-day pass is what you need. Use it on day 1 to get from the airport.

Kanazawa is not a day trip from Takayama. Maybe you mean Shirakawago? If you want to visit Kanazawa then go there by bus via Shirakawago, spending several hours there, and spend two nights in Kanazawa, like Paulo59 described.

You can do some things to smooth out your itinerary. Koyasan to Miyajima is over 5 and a half hours. Probably will be a good 6 hours by the time you get to your Miyajima lodging.

I'd go Kyoto to Miyajima to Nara to Koyasan to Tokyo.

10 - Kyoto, stop at Himeji, to Miyajima arriving about 3PM
11 - Miyajima departing noon or so- afternoon in Hiroshima, to Nara for the night
12 - Nara
13 - Nara to Koyasan
14 - Koyasan to Tokyo

Or leave Kyoto in the morning and go straight to Miyajima to spend most of the day. You could get there by 11AM. Next day stop at both Hiroshima and Himeji before getting to Nara that night.

But I recommend dropping Koyasan to spend a bit more time in Kyoto (or Kanazawa) and to visit Nara as a day trip from there.
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Old Aug 12th, 2007, 09:40 PM
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Nope, not today, emd. Try going to this website www.dmtc.com and click on where it says Play "Where the Turf meets the Surf".
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Old Aug 13th, 2007, 05:42 AM
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Hi everyone

Thanks for your kind and very helpful replies

I managed to change my plane so that i will leave Japan from Osaka instead of Tokyo.

Made few adjustments to my itinenary

Day 1-2 Arrive 7am in tokyo, stay in tokyo. Do Nikko tour on day 2
Day 3 From tokyo to Hakone, stay in Hakone
Day 4 From Hakone to Tokyo, stay in Tokyo
Day 5 Tokyo to Takayama. Stay Takayama. I assume it is faster to travel from Tokyo to Takayama then Hakone-Takayama?
Day 6 Takayama to Kanazawa

Still need to discuss Day 7 onwards with my travelling partner.

Will post my updated itinerary.

Thanks everyone




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Old Aug 13th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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>I assume it is faster to travel from
>Tokyo to Takayama then Hakone-Takayama?

Not really. You need to get to Nagoya to pick up the line to Takayama, and Odawara (where you change for the local trains to Hakone) is on the way from Tokyo to Nagoya. The nonstop Tokyo to Nagoya shinkansen trains are faster than those that stop at Odawara, but you cannot use the fastest (Nozomi) trains with a JR pass. Use hyperdia to get the exact times.
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Old Aug 13th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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Odawara to Nagoya is faster, only if you take a Hikari shinkansen from Odawara to Nagoya.

Tokyo to Nagoya on Hikari shinkansen is 119 minuts.
Odawara to Nagoya on Hikari shinkansen is 72 minutes
Odawara to Nagoya on Kodama shinkansen is 129 minutes

It would probably work out that going from Odawara to Shin Yokohama to Nagoya using Hikari shinkansen would be faster, than the Kodama train.
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Old Aug 14th, 2007, 01:40 AM
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Someother guy and mrwunrfl. You are correct about the train. Thanks for pointing it out to me

I was checking the Japanrail timetable and notice that if I depart from Odawara to takayama, the earliest that I can arrive in Takayama is 10.43am. If I take night train from Tokyo. I will arrive in Takayama on 10.43 am too. i checked this to hyperdia

Can I use my Japan Rail Pass for the night train?

Also I am a bit confused with Japanese rail timetable. There are number on each of column, I initially thought it is date of each month but the number goes beyond 31. Does the number refer to the train number?

Also, is the timetable pretty much the same each month (ie I can use August time table to plan my trip in Oct)

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Old Aug 14th, 2007, 02:22 PM
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The first train from Nagoya to Takayama departs at 8:43 and arrives at 10:52.

There are buses from Shinjuku that go to Takayama, I believe. At least they do go as far as Hirayu Onsen (after taking a bus there from Takayama I saw a bus with a Shinjuku destination on it). Maybe a bus would get you there earlier. But likely not a JR Bus so it would cost extra.

Am not sure about the night train. Your pass covers the travel between cities but not the berth fees. Almost 6 hours from Tokyo to Nagoya on that almost-midnight train.
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Old Aug 14th, 2007, 02:22 PM
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Yes, you can use the timetable now for your Oct. travel.
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