Seeking Help with First Trip to Japan

Old Jan 21st, 2016, 11:26 AM
  #41  
 
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I'm sure this will be a wonderful trip, Robbie!
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Old Jan 21st, 2016, 03:09 PM
  #42  
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As many of you noted, places like Iwaso won't accept booking so far in advance so I'll have to wait. Any hotel ideas for our first stay in Tokyo? Different part of town from later stay at Park Hyatt.
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Old Jan 21st, 2016, 08:04 PM
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"still unsure about why you all rec two nights in Hiroshima, before 1 night Miyajima"

Hmmm ... I think only one of us made that recommendation. Given that you have travel days before and after your time there, I would think it makes sense to have TWO nights in the area, either one in each place or both in Miyajima, with a day trip to Miyajima. JMO.

If you cut a night from Hiroshima, you might consider adding it to Kanazawa.

Should be great no matter what you choose!
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Old Jan 21st, 2016, 11:53 PM
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I would certainly not suggest two nights in Hiroshima and 1 in Miyajima! I would move it's position in the itinerary so it's not directly after Koyasan but after Kyoto. I'd then leave Kyoto first thing in the morning, spend the morning / early lunch in Hiroshima, then head to Miyajima, arriving there early to mid afternoon. Overnight there, spend some of the next morning there and then head to next place, perhaps Nara. You could certainly appreciate two nights there if you have the time, but I did it with the one night, arriving to Miyajima around 3.30 and leaving around 10 or 11 the next morning. There was more we could have seen but we enjoyed what we saw tremendously and didn't feel rushed.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 04:43 AM
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Is there a reason you want to break up the Tokyo portion? you could stay in Tokyo for 4 nights at the beginning, then go to Takayama if those are the festival dates, then to Kanazawa, then to Kyoto, etc. You could fly out of Osaka ( or maybe even Hiroshima) and make the connection home through Tokyo (we are doing this in May using miles on ANA, the return flight is a short domestic flight from Osaka to Tokyo for no extra miles). Would save you from additional dreaded airport time.

If you keep this basic itinerary and return to Tokyo, we really liked being next to Tokyo Station and will stay in the same area (same hotel) for this trip. Convenient transportation, near Ginza and Imperial Gardens and IMHO Tokyo Station itself is a destination.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 10:28 AM
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>> You could fly out of Osaka ( or maybe even Hiroshima)

or Fukuoka. From Hiroshima station to the Hiroshima airport (HIJ) is a bus ride. From Hiroshima station to Fukuoka airport (FUK) it would be a shinkansen to Hakata and then a subway.

>>and make the connection home through Tokyo

or with *A miles connect via Seoul on Asiana (if you can get their newer BC seats for the transpac)

I can recommend the Best Western in Takayama. Great location near the station. English is spoken.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2016, 02:30 PM
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A couple of reasons on splitting up Tokyo, not necessarily compelling ones. I get overwhelmed by big cities so 3 days at a time is plenty for me. I also wanted to experience the Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo (overrated?)but three night is already a budget stretch. So where would you stay in Tokyo FromDC? For complex reasons we need to keep our return flight departing at 12:05 am.

Kavey why do you suggest changing the Kyoto,Koyasan, Nara oreder?
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 02:26 AM
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Hi Robbie

I think the trip from Koya-san to Miyajima would be too convoluted for my liking, as you have quite a few changes involved. On our first trip we did a somewhat similar itinerary, but we came straight from Takayama to Nara, which worked very well.

If you do prefer to keep 1 night in Hiroshima plus the 2 on Miyajima, I'd probably do something like this, below. If you're happy to drop Hiroshima as an overnight, I'd put that extra night in Kyoto. It may seem a long stretch for Kyoto but there's so much to see and you could do additional day trips such as Yamazaki for whisky, Uji for tea, Kobe for beef etc.

10/11-12 train from Takayama to Nara, 2 nights
10/13-18 Kyoto
10/19 Koyasan
10/20-22 1 night Hiroshima and 2 nights Miyajima
10/23 Night in Osaka
10/24 Return to Tokyo

Purely suggestion, though!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 02:31 AM
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Oops, sorry that's my bad, wasn't concentrating as I typed that, let's try properly:

10/11-12 train from Takayama to Nara, 2 nights
10/13-18 Kyoto
10/19 Koyasan
10/20 Osaka
10/21-23 1 night Hiroshima and 2 nights Miyajima
10/24 Return to Tokyo

(We took the train back from Hiroshima to Tokyo too, and it worked very well. About 5 hours or so I seem to recall but a very easy journey).
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 02:58 AM
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I went from Miyajima to Koyasan. I did not find it overly difficult, but of course, I was prepared for numerous changes of transit and had taken advantage of a takuhaibin service.

I was glad to route directly from Nara to Kyoto, as it made it easy to see Uji and Fushimi Inari en route.

Given your interest in seeing the festival in Takayama, I thought your proposed routing worked well. The ONLY change I would suggest, as noted above, would be to shift one night from Hiroshima (1 night is plenty) to Kanazawa (where you could, IMO, use it).

And if you don't think you can shift you times in ways that allow you to add a day to Kanazawa, then you might consider stopping in Kurashiki on your way to or back from Hiroshima / Miyajima, or add in time to visit Nikko from Tokyo....

IMO, 8 days for Kyoto and Nara is generous. And I'm envious! But with so much else that Japan offers, I would not ADD to that time when there are other ways that you could tweak your options. JMO.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 03:11 AM
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And just to be clear ... I'm still suggesting that there is NO need to spend 1 night in Hiroshima AND 2 nights in Miyajima. 1 night in each, or 2 in Miyajima with a day trip to Hiroshima should work just fine. Again, JMO.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 04:48 AM
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Robbie, we stayed at the Shangri-la. One benefit of the hotel is that they meet you just as you step off the train at Tokyo Station. When you buy your ticket for the train from Narita to Tokyo Station, it has a car and seat number. I called the hotel (or texted, can't remember) with all the info as soon as I got the train tickets and someone from the hotel was waiting for us right there at the platform. He took our bags and walked us through the station to the hotel. This was really important to me because I knew it would be very confusing when we arrived at the station and it really helped us get oriented - - he explained all about the station as we walked through. Others take the airport bus just for the reason that they don't have to worry about initially finding their hotel but that takes longer and I was anxious to get to the hotel. Obviously, it is an expensive hotel to get that kind of service but for us it was worth it.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 11:33 AM
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Nara to Hiroshima is less than 3 hours. Koyasan to Hiroshima is almost 4.5 hours.

You could visit Himeji Castle on the way to Hiroshima. Or visit Korakuen garden and Okayama Castle. Night in Hiroshima. Next day, visit the Peace Park and go to Miyajima for one night. Next day have all day on Miyajima and return to Hiroshima for the night.

The ANA Crowne Plaza is a good location for visiting the Peace Park and there is a boat that goes to Miyajima from the PP.

The Rihga Royal Hotel is nice. Hiroshima castle is a short walk away and worth visit because of that. It is a short walk to the Hiroshima Bus Center where you can get the airport bus. It is less convenient to the PP and Hiroshima station.

The Sheraton at Hiroshima station is a good choice. It is steps away from the shinkansen side of the station, so it would be convenient for your arrival in Hiroshima. From Miyajima, you could return via JR ferry + local train or via boat to Ofuna + street car (then you walk across the station to the shinkansen exit to get to the hotel). A bonus to this is that there is an airport bus that departs from the shinkansen exit, so it would be very convenient.

The Hiroshima Granvia is also on the shinkansen side and might be a few steps closer to the shinkansen and airport bus. The room I had at the Sheraton (points + cash) was very nice. The one I had at the Granvia was just ok. YMMV
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 05:54 PM
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Thank you for all this helpful input. It was never my plan to spend two nights in Miyajima, not sure how that got conveyed. If Nara to Hiroshima is less than 3 hours, then when would we go to Koyasan with shortest train ride?
And yes, I can and will add 1/2 day to Kanazawa.
We are a bit concerned about the influx of people coming to Takayama for the festival. How can we be sure to get train tickets from Kanazawa to Takayama? How far in advance are they sold?
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 07:19 PM
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Your rail route from Kanazawa to Takayama would be via Toyama. From Toyama the trains are mostly unreserved locals. But there are four limited express trains that day and they have reserved seats. The schedule is at the link below. Back out an hour and a half from the Toyama departure times to find shinkansen that connect.

I would probably get that reserved seat in Tokyo. Not much worry, I think, as most people would be getting to Takayama from/via Nagoya.

Same for the day you leave Takayama, get the tix in advance. I was at the spring festival a few years ago. It ended on Saturday. I went out at about 10 or 11AM on Sunday and everybody was gone. Most must have left the night before, after that days's festival.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 07:20 PM
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Oh, yeah, the link:

http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi/en/inter...chday=20151009
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Old Jan 23rd, 2016, 07:22 PM
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Toyama to Takayama is supposed to be very scenic, so definitely do it in daylight.
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Old Jan 25th, 2016, 05:36 AM
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mrwunrfl, How do you access the interval time table for other routes? I couldn't find it myself on hyperdia, thanks.
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Old Jan 25th, 2016, 07:32 AM
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And seek hotel suggestions in Tokyo in area different from Park Hyatt. The Tokyo city map is making me dizzy!
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Old Jan 25th, 2016, 10:52 AM
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FromDC, the link to the interval timetable for each train is under the train name.

For example, in the link below the first result shows the shinkansen to take to Toyama to connect to the 8AM L'Ex to Takayama.

SHINKANSEN KAGAYAKI 536

Train timetable | Interval timetable

You can see the whole day's shinkansen schedule at that link for that segment. The train timetable shows the details for that particular train, from origin to destination with all stops along with turak numbahs.

http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi/en/searc...d&sum_target=7
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