Rerouting My Itinerary/April 2016

Old Oct 1st, 2015, 08:11 AM
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Rerouting My Itinerary/April 2016

Hello-

I am trying to get a logical order to this trip in April 2016. Would love your input about which place and when. We arrive 1st April (Tokyo), depart 15th (6pm flight out of Tokyo). Could leave from Osaka, but doesn't change price and train looks just as easy.

Please comment/switch for ease of travel/geography:

Tokyo - 4 nights
Takayama - 1 or 2 nights
Kyoto - 5 nights
Miyajima - 1 night
Koyasan - 1 night
Hakone - 1 or 2 nights

This is a mother-daughter trip. Looking to see as much as we can without feeling rushed. Thanks.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 07:57 AM
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I think you arrive into Tokyo the evening we head out on our itinerary that morning!

The order looks good to me.

On our first trip in 2012 we also went from Tokyo to Takayama, we spent two nights there and I really think you need to - otherwise the travel time there and then on the departure day will mean you have hardly any time to see it at all.

From there we went to Nara for a night and then Kyoto, so yes, your five nights in Kyoto sounds perfect and is definitely easy and doable from Takayama.

We decided to go from Kyoto to Koyasan for 1 night, then back to Osaka for 1 night and then onwards to Hiroshima - because we were able to arrive in Hiroshima early morning we spent the morning and lunch in Hiroshima and then made our way to Miyajima straight after lunch so we arrived early afternoon. We left late the next morning all the way back to Tokyo -- not much different to your trip to Hakone, so that should work.

My only question really is whether it'll work well for you to go from Koyasan to Miyajima, as that's quite a journey and won't give you much time, unless you're skipping Hiroshima completely and just doing Miyajima?



If nothing were booked yet, I'd probably swap the itinerary around a touch, maybe along these lines:

Land Tokyo and go straight to Hakone 2 nights (depending on time your flight lands)
Tokyo 4 nights
Takayama 2 nights
Kyoto 2 nights
Koyasan 1 night
Kyoto 3 nights
Fly home from Osaka
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 04:14 PM
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Kavey raises a good point about Hiroshima.

Beyond that, I urge you to check hyperdia to see whether the routing makes most sense for YOUR interests and whether you would have the time you want in each location.

Whether you will feel rushed depends on what YOU want to see and experience. I would have wanted more time in Takayama (not to mention Kanazawa) and more time in Kyoto / Nara. BTW, what happened to the idea of stopping in Nara en route to Koyasan and then moving on to Kyoto? I thought mrwunrfl's suggestion to do that was great.
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Enjoy!
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 05:21 PM
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IMHO, unless one of your 4 nights in Tokyo includes a day trip to either Nikko or Kamakura, I think you have too much time allocated to Tokyo. I just didn't find it that interesting, as much of it was destroyed in the war and so what you see for the most part was created over the past 70 years. Being a moderately skilled home cook, I loved shopping in Kappabashi, while Asakura and Tsukiji were both cool. But for me, two full days in Tokyo would have been plenty. Again, unless you have a day trip planned in there, I would consider giving an extra night to either Hakone (to make 2 nights), to Hiroshima (the Peace Memorial Museum is extremely well done and the A-Bomb dome at twighlight is haunting) or to Kyoto. I had 4 nights in Kyoto and it was at least one night too short, as I never made it to Arashiyama or to Gion. Those will both be on my Japan for Sakura 2017 agenda.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 05:32 PM
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@ MinnBeef -- I agree with you! But we've already provided these comments to the OP on other threads, now....
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 05:53 PM
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Since Boston has a Kamakura day trip and a soba noodle class planned, I think the 4 nights in Tokyo is a good plan. My only suggestion, based on having done this myself would be a slight variation on Kavey's suggested itinerary:

Tokyo 4 nights
Hakone 1 or 2 nights
Takayama 2 nights
Nara 1 night
Koyasan 1 night
Kyoto 4 nights
Fly home from Osaka

We did this exact itinerary on our first trip (with 1 night in Hakone) and were very happy with it. It appears like it cuts off one of your days in Kyoto, but since you had mentioned a day trip in your previous thread, that would no longer be necessary, since Nara would be your most likely candidate. I also found that this also broke up the long trip from Takayama to Koyasan nicely. If you decide to only stay one night in Hakone (which was enough for me) then you could either add back in Miyajima, or an additional night in Kyoto.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 06:06 PM
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Russ has given you a great option. Personally, I would go for Hiroshima / Miyajima rather than Takayama because I think it would offer greater diversity. JMO. And even with those Tokyo plans, I'd likely cut a night from either Tokyo or Hakone and add a night to either Nara or Kyoto. Again, JMO.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 06:27 PM
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OK, so in the spirit of compromise, and because it is very important that both kja and I are happy with YOUR itinerary ;-), I will propose the following:

Tokyo 4 nights
Hakone 1 night
Takayama 2 nights
Nara 1 night
Hiroshima/Miyajima 1 night
Kyoto 4 nights (send bags ahead to KIX to pick up later for flight home)
Koyasan 1 night (easy trip to KIX from there)
Fly home from Osaka

I say this because I agree with kja that Miyajima is pretty special, but Takayama (along with Koyasan) was the highlight of my first trip, so I'd try not to skip it if I were me...which I am.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 06:51 PM
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I know I'm late to the game here but I am curious if you have actually timed some of these trips on hyperdia. Hakone to Takayama for one is almost five hours unless I am completely reading hyperdia wrong or using a time frame that doesn't have a faster train connection. And Takayama to Nara is four plus hours.

It seems to me that you are spending a lot of time traveling and won't have time to sightsee once you get where you are going.....

Sorry to be a troublemaker. ;-)
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 07:35 PM
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Oh, there is always a trouble maker, isn't there ;-).

Seriously though, of course, you are correct with your time estimates. I think we all were working from the premise of taking the destinations given, and coming up with a logical (to us) order.

In the case of our first trip to Japan, which matched my suggested itinerary, we arrived at Hakone about 10:30 a.m., spent about 4.5 hours doing the loop, and then relaxed our our ryokan, departing the next day about 10:30am, after having visited the Open Air Museum. We didn't feel at all rushed and saw all we intended to see.

We broke up the trip to Takayama with lunch in Odawara, and arrived in late afternoon to Takayama. We found the train ride, on both the Shinkansen and the wide windowed Ltd Express, to be a relaxing and and enjoyable break from all the walking in Tokyo and Hakone. Since were in Takayama for two nights, we fit everything into one busy full day.

Leaving Takayama. we broke up the trip to Nara by having lunch at the station in Osaka (Namba, I think), which was fun. We arrived in Nara about 2pm and spent about 4 hours taking in the temples and shrines in Central Nara, which are in or near the deer park. Again, we didn't feel rushed.

The next day we did Western Nara in the morning, before proceeding to Koyasan, where we arrived about 3pm. We had time to walk through Okuno-in before dinner, and again after dinner, and the next day did the rest of the town and it's temples. We took our time and felt it was a highlight of the trip.

I think we all agree that there are 1000 ways to skin this cat. Any of the above suggestions will work, but there is no avoiding a couple 4 - 5 hour trips with these destinations.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 07:45 PM
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Sorry, I missed the OP's OP.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 07:55 PM
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Another perspective:

I had 1.5 days in Takayama itself. I did not make ANY attempt to either rush or relax beyond starting as soon as I could each morning and proceeding -- without lunch -- until there was literally nothing else that I could see or do that day. I did NOT see everything I would have liked to have seen. I noted the opportunity cost (based on travel time) of trying to fit Takayama into this trip on one of the OP's earlier threads.

I spent 2 full days in Nara and nearby Ikaruga. I did not make ANY attempt to either rush or relax beyond starting as soon as I could each morning and proceeding -- without lunch -- until there was literally nothing else that I could see or do that day. I did NOT see everything I would have liked to have seen.

I'm sure russ knows that he didn't see ALL of the temples atop Koyasan; I'm also sure that he saw a delightful selection -- and I agree that it makes sense to give Koyasan just one night.

So I'm back to my most basic advice: The OP needs to make sure they've done the necessary research, decide what THEY most want to see and do, plot it out with specific info about opening times and transit options, and then make some hard decisions. The good news is that they will see some wonderful things no matter what they decide. The bad news is, unfortunately, they can't see and do it all.

Again, JMO.
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 08:05 PM
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kja, you make an excellent point! I saw all I INTENDED to see, not all that there IS to see. By researching ahead of time, I was able to decide how much time to devote to each place, and if I thought that would be enough time. In these cases, for me it was. Only the OP can determine what she wants to see, and what will be enough time for her .
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 08:25 PM
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Isn't it wonderful that we all travel for different reasons and interests? Life would otherwise seem SO boring!
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Old Oct 4th, 2015, 09:55 PM
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BTW, like russ, I did a TON of research in advance of my trip (6 different guidebooks plus online resources, but NOT Fodor's -- I hadn't yet begun using this source). I saw everything I INTENDED to see in each of the locations I visited, but I had a list of things that I would have liked like to see if time permitted for each destination; I didn't manage any of them.
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