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Questions on Japan Trip in May (15 nights)

Questions on Japan Trip in May (15 nights)

Feb 28th, 2015, 11:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 19
Questions on Japan Trip in May (15 nights)


We are a couple in our mid 30’s, planning our first trip to Japan from May 8 to May 24. (arriving and departing from Tokyo because the flights from Osaka are not convenient).
We usually like to take our time while traveling and don't like to rent a car and move frequently between base cities.
We've been doing a lot of research on the trip but have a few questions before booking :

We will stay :
Tokyo (8 nights including first night when will be jet-lagged) with 2 side-trips to Kamakura and Nikko.
Japanese Alps (2 nights) possibly Kanazawa with side-trip to Shirakawago
Kyoto (5 nights) includng side-trips to Nara and Himeji

Does it make sense? Are we planning too many side-trips?

We also have a few questions :
Should we avoid travelling between cities during the week-end?
Which 2 neighborhoods for the 2 hotels in Tokyo? (Ginza and Shibuya or Shinjuku?)
We would like to sleep in some Ryokans ? In which cities? Kanazawa and Kyoto?
My wife is a huge Disney fan and we've been a few times to Orlando. Should DisneySea be our list?

Finally, we will fly from New York economy. JAL price is $250 less per ticket than ANA but it seems that their seat pitch is 3" less. Which one do you recommend.

Thank you in advance,
al998 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2015, 10:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,350
"the flights from Osaka are not convenient"

Even less convenient than traveling back to (and paying for the return to) Tokyo?

"don't like to rent a car"

No need to rent a car -- public transportation to the places you mention is VERY convenient.

"Tokyo (8 nights"

That's on the long side for a first visit to Japan, but if that's your primary interest, go for it! I wasn't that interested in Tokyo -- my interests much more focused on traditional Japan. YMMV.

"with 2 side-trips to Kamakura and Nikko"

Depending on your interests, you might want to consider an overnight stay in Nikko. For example, if you have any interest in seeing Kegon-no-Taki or Lake Chuzenji, an overnight would suit MUCH better.

"Japanese Alps (2 nights) possibly Kanazawa with side-trip to Shirakawago"

That would give you basically 1 day in Kanazawa, which is, IMO, the absolute minimum for that city. You might want to consider extending your time there.

"Kyoto (5 nights) includng side-trips to Nara and Himeji"

Your time here is also, IMO, on the scanty side. You might want to consider adding at least a day. But, of course, it really depends on your interests. FWIW, this is the part of Japan that I personally, found most interesting. Again, YMMV>

kja is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 07:17 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 19
Thank you so much!

We will remove one night in Tokyo, should we add one night in Kanazawa or Kyoto?

We really dislike going overnight for 1 night only somewhere.

The only convenient flight we found departing from Osaka is at 7:50 a.m. I looked up the trains and it seems to me that we would have to move to Osaka the night before?
al998 is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I can't comment on Kanazawa as I've not been but I'd certainly weight more to Kyoto than Tokyo, though both are amazing places to visit and have plenty plenty plenty to do.

In Kyoto, as well as the city itself you're within easy reach of Nara, Osaka, Kobe, Uji and you could also consider an overnight trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima, though if you do that, I'd definitely increase the number of nights you've allocated to Kyoto and environs.
Kavey is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 09:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,978
We love big cities but found that Tokyo was a much less compelling destination for us than Kyoto or Kanazawa. It all depends on your interests, but, personally, I'd take at least 2 nights from Tokyo and add one to Kanazawa and one to Kyoto.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 600
I agree with the other comments. I enjoyed Tokyo but found that 3 full days allowed me to cover the major sites I wanted to see, whereas 3 full days in Kyoto left me wanting more. Since you don't want to move frequently, I think your bases for day trips are good. We did Nikko as a day trip and found it well worth it. In your place I would structure it as follows:

Tokyo for 6 nights - day trips to Nikko and Kamakura
Kanazawa 2 nights - this leaves you only one full day to explore, so I'd add a 3rd night if you are planning to go to S-go as a day trip.
Kyoto for 7 nights - day trips to Nara and Himeji (Could could do Himeji in half a day and have more time in Kyoto).

Although you didn't ask about it, the highlight of our trip was Koyasan, where we spent the night in a temple. This could be your traditional overnight if you decide to do it. I would not bother as a day trip, as it is about 2.5 hrs away and the overnight experience is much of the appeal.

One thing I personally would consider (which I am sure some will like and others will not) would be to stay in Kyoto for 3 nights, then go to Koyasan, arriving about 10:30 - see the sights, overnight in the temple. The next morning travel to Nara as a day trip - arriving about 10:30am. This will give you all day to see the major sites, if a bit rushed. Then return to Kyoto for another 3 nights (or break it up however it makes sense for you).

If you skip Koyasan, then you might split your time in Kyoto between a ryokan and a hotel for the traditional experience.

By the way, we went in May last year and felt that it was a fantastic time of the year to be there.

Have fun!
russ_in_LA is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,585
>>Should we avoid travelling between cities during the week-end?

mrwunrfl is online now  
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