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Seoul, Tokyo, Kyoto, Naoshima...and ????

Seoul, Tokyo, Kyoto, Naoshima...and ????

Old Nov 16th, 2018, 10:51 AM
  #1  
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Seoul, Tokyo, Kyoto, Naoshima...and ????

Hello everyone, Haven't posted in a while and need some help. In late March I will be accompanying Mr. Crosscheck on a work trip. Our two adult sons will be joining us for part of the time in Seoul, Tokyo & Kyoto. After the boys leave, Mr. C and I will head to Naoshima, and then we have two free days at the end when we'd like to do something relaxing, but cultural. We have each been to Japan many times, but recently just to Tokyo and Hakone. As of now, this is what we're planning:

Seoul - 4 nights (Mr. C will be there for 8)
Tokyo - 3 nights (Mr. C will be there for 4)
Kyoto - 3 nights w/ sons - 2 with Mr. C
Naoshima - 2 nights w/ Mr. C
One more destination before flying home from HND - 2 nights

Ideally we'd like somewhere on the way back to Tokyo (or with easy-ish travel logistics), good for sakura viewing, with an onsen on site. Nature/culture appeals more than an urban area - we love hiking and also strolling around picturesque towns, and won't need to do a lot of formal sightseeing at that point. We originally planned 5 nights/4 days in Kyoto, but had to change that because of limited availability at the Benesse House in Naoshima (everyone has said it's essential to stay there). We don't have our return tickets to LAX yet - there don't seem to be flights available with miles from Osaka, but if necessary we're willing to fly to Haneda or Narita from wherever we go. Looking forward to any and all suggestions!

Last edited by crosscheck; Nov 16th, 2018 at 11:18 AM.
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Old Nov 16th, 2018, 06:38 PM
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kja
 
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Have you been to Miyajima?
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Old Nov 16th, 2018, 10:55 PM
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No - Would love to go there, but seems like a trek in the wrong direction.
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Old Nov 16th, 2018, 11:21 PM
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Fair point (but perhaps worth going even so).
Ohara, just outside Kyoto? It could meet your desire to be outside an urban area and I thought it very picturesque.
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Old Nov 17th, 2018, 08:00 AM
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How about keep going and take the ferry to Takamatsu on Shikoku? It has an airport so you could fly to Tokyo or take the train to KIX.
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Old Nov 17th, 2018, 07:12 PM
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Thanks, thursdaysed and kja - I spoke to some people who said it's not 'essential' to stay in Benesse. Have you been to Naoshima? What do you think? If we spend one night at Benesse and one in a guest house, then we can stay in Kyoto an extra day and skip the added destination. Another idea is to go to Karashiki near Okayama. Have either of you been there?
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Old Nov 17th, 2018, 07:48 PM
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Do you mean Kurashiki? I visited it and enjoyed it -- but it is urban, not a rural hiking destination.
You have very, very little time in Kyoto, but maybe you feel that you've seen enough of Kyoto and Nara on your previous trips?
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Old Nov 17th, 2018, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by crosscheck View Post
I spoke to some people who said it's not 'essential' to stay in Benesse. Have you been to Naoshima? What do you think? If we spend one night at Benesse and one in a guest house, then we can stay in Kyoto an extra day and skip the added destination.
Itís about as essential as having a hole in the head. In other words, itís not. Iím sure itís a very nice place to stay but to characterise it as Ďessentialí is nonsense. In contrast, we spent three nights at the Uno Port Inn, on the mainland, which is probably the antithesis of Benesse House. A simple inn, round the corner from the JR Uno station, we enjoyed our stay and the staff were great. We ate at the local restaurants, including the excellent ramen place round the corner where the English menu is scribbled on a piece of cardboard... The Inn is directly opposite the ferry terminal - day two we took the ferry and spent the day on Naoshima and day three we took the ferry to Teshima. Sure, the Benesse House is nice (as it should be for the price) but itís by no means essential to enjoying Naoshima.
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Old Nov 17th, 2018, 08:59 PM
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Not being into modern art I chose not to go to Naoshima. I did go to Kurashiki, charming but touristy.
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Old Nov 18th, 2018, 01:32 AM
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Even though it's in the wrong direction I was also going to suggest Miyajima.
The shinkansen makes it so easy to travel that even the longer journeys aren't a challenge, and we enjoy the down time to enjoy the views and read...
Miyajima has some natural hot springs, so you could choose a hotel with onsen if you wish.



Another possible suggestion is Hikone by Lake Biwa. We spent just one night there on our last trip and timed it perfectly for peak sakura. We adored Hikone castle, and would have liked more time to explore the coastline and visit a recommended garden there. We travelled by train from Hakone, and left with a rental car which we drove to Miyama (north of Kyoto) via Shigaraki.

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Old Nov 18th, 2018, 11:36 PM
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Wow, thanks for the incredible photos, Kavey. Just when I started leaning toward adding an extra day in Kyoto (extending toward the peak of sakura days) and skipping an added stop, now I'm thinking Miyajima might be perfect....and Hikone looks amazing as well.

tt7, Appreciate your thoughts about Benesse. I've done some reading and it seems as if Uno Port might be more convenient for the second night (athough there seems to be great ramen - and some famous udon - in the small town on Naoshima as well)....so we'll definitely plan at least one night without the formal Benesse dinner. Will report back when I get things booked.
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Old Nov 19th, 2018, 12:21 AM
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You are welcome! I don't think you will be disappointed, whatever you do -- whether you choose Miyajima, Hikone, or give that extra day to Kyoto (you can never have enough time in Kyoto, we spent 5 nights there on our first visit, 6 on our second and 7 on our last!) -- you will have a wonderful time!
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Old Nov 19th, 2018, 09:26 PM
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Best (probably) would be to fly this on a round-trip award instead of one-ways. LAX-ICN-NRT-LAX One airport is your destination and the other is an enroute stopover. Or, LAX-ICN-NRT stopover at ICN an NRT is your outbound destination. Then an open jaw returning from anywhere Japan to HND to LAX. You could fly from Hiroshima or Fukuoka via NRT (or ICN)
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Old Nov 20th, 2018, 06:17 AM
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Thanks mrwunrfl, This is a work trip for Mr. Crosscheck, so he's traveling with his colleagues from LAX-ICN-NRT (great flights, all arranged as separate legs). We're traveling with the group for the ICN-NRT portion. He's taking off time at the end, cashing in his return ticket, and we're probably using miles to return. Depending on the airline, we might be able to include an internal flight to HND or NRT..but wish there were a direct from KIX or HIJ.
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Old Nov 20th, 2018, 09:03 AM
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I hope he knows what he is doing.
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Old Nov 20th, 2018, 10:00 AM
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Japan Airlines flies direct KIX-LAX. Not that it is an airline I favor.
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Old Nov 20th, 2018, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
I hope he knows what he is doing.
He doesn't have to do a thing. He works in the performing arts and we're going with 150 of his colleagues, trustees, donors, guests, etc. I went on their last Asia tour (4 cities) and it was seamless. Expert travel team puts it together. Lots of handlers to assist, no need to touch luggage ever, special line at customs, charter flights, private transfers, etc. Spoils independent travelers like us
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 03:32 PM
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Update: We added Kotohira Kadan (near Takamatsu - an easy ferry/train from Naoshima) as the final stop. Not super stylish like the onsen places in Hakon, but it was perfect for us - hot springs, a pilgrimage to a shrine of good luck and happiness, cherry blossoms blooming, plus it's the udon capital of the world. I will post a trip report because it was a great end to our journal and also a nice break from usual tourist trail.
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