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Should I cut Koyasan from trip?


Apr 23rd, 2013, 10:24 AM
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Should I cut Koyasan from trip?

My family (husband, 18 y.o. son, 83 y.o. Japanese mother) and I are coming to Japan in 2 weeks! First time for husband and son. Itinerary as follows:
3 nights Tokyo (near one Japanese aunt),
3 nights Yokohama (near rest of mom's family)
1 night Takayama
5 nights Kyoto
1 night Koyasan (maybe cut?)
1 night Hiroshima/Miyajima
1 night Tokyo
Fly home from Narita.

I'm thinking the last 3 days will be hectic and thinking of cutting out Koyasan, then spend last 2 nights in Tokyo. As much as I would like to see Koyasan, it's a lot of traveling in 3 days. I'm thinking my family will be 'templed-out' also. I don't want to cut Hiroshima since my son is a big WWII history buff and I feel it's an important place to visit.

We will have a 14 day rail pass. My mom is staying a couple of weeks after we leave.

Any thoughts appreciated! Thanks!
nanthompson2 is offline  
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 10:36 AM
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Koyasan is not like the other temples, as the experience is more about staying within the temple, (briefly) meeting the monks, trying their vegetarian cuisine, attending a morning prayer (observation only) and walking through the main graveyard, which is nothing whatsoever like any European ones I've ever encountered.

That said, whilst the journey is beautiful, it does involve a few changes of transport and is a little time-consuming for that reason.

The other night you could look at is Takayama. It's quite a long journey for just the one night. I did enjoy Takayama but you can find a well-preserved traditional district in Kyoto, you can find a lovely food market in Kyoto (not the same as the morning markets but equally fascinating) and you can of course, find temples in Kyoto. Obviously, Takayama has its own charm, and I am very glad we spent 2 nights there, but our visit coincided with the autumn festival with extra activities, which made the trip more worthwhile. Given that you're not combining with Kanazawa, I don't know that I'd go to Takayama for just that night.

So for me, I'd cut Takayama before Koyasan.

Of course, it depends entirely on your preferences.
Kavey is offline  
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 06:05 PM
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I agree with Kavey on all counts.
kja is offline  
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 06:20 PM
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I'll be the dissenting voice - but bear in mind we didn't go to Koyasan, for the same reason you voice concerns about - the time to get there.

We spent 2 nights in Takayama, which turned out to be one of our favourite places - because of Hido no Sato, and because we'd picked a hotel with a hot bath complex. Not just a hot springs bath, a whole slew of them (the Associa Takayama.)

If your trip is only 2 weeks away though, it may be tricky to do a lot of changing at this point.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 04:49 AM
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The only part of the trip locked in is the machiya in Kyoto. My relatives have made reservations in Tokyo and Yokohama. They assure us that we can get reservations for the other spots when we get to Japan and decide for sure we want to go. I am trusting them on this even though if it were up to me I would have res. for everything!

Sue_xx_yy: Which hotel did you stay at in Takayama?
nanthompson2 is offline  
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Apr 24th, 2013, 05:29 AM
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Also, what about the train ride to Takayama? Guidebooks say its a beautiful ride through the mountains.

If it was just me, I would do everything...my husband and son are not so adventurous, and not early risers. Depending on what time morning prayers are, they would probably sleep through them.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 05:57 AM
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Morning prayers will definitely be early. The train ride to Koya-san is also scenic, especially the leg from Hashimoto to the cable car. It is important to pick the right temple (I didn't). I enjoyed Takayama, especially the Art Nouveau museum, but really it is just another Japanese town while Koya-san is a quie different experience.
thursdaysd is offline  
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Apr 24th, 2013, 07:55 AM
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Another opinion.

Cut Takayama and add the night to one night in Hiroshima then one night on Miyajima(ryokan stay).

Then I would head to Koyasan then on to Kyoto and Tokyo.

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Apr 27th, 2013, 06:17 AM
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Sorry nan, I only just found this thread again.

'Associa' is the name of a Japanese hotel chain; it is often affiliated with Marriott. Hence, our hotel was the "Associa Takayama resort".

The train ride to Takayama was charming but from what I have read, the same applies to the trip to Koyasan, so that won't help you much.

I take it you haven't yet booked your air passage, if the only thing locked in is Kyoto (?)

If it is possible, one way to make things less hectic is to split Tokyo and Yokohama, rather than having them 'adjacent' to each other in your itinerary. I suggest this because the two cities are virtually next door to each other. This allows you to cut one night in Tokyo, given 15 nights total, thus:
Yokohama - 3 nights (sounds like you are visiting with relatives, so I'm assuming this length of time is in stone.)
Takayama - 2 nights/subtotal 5
Kyoto - 5 nights/subtotal 10
Hiroshima/Miyajima - 2/subtotal 12 (I agree with Hawaiian, if you're heading west of Kyoto, you might as well at least make it 2 nights.)
Tokyo - 3/subtotal 15
Leave from Narita.

An alternative is to chop Takayama, and add 1 night in Koyasan and a 6th night in Kyoto (this is NOT too much time in Kyoto.)

It really does come down to what your heart tells you. For many, Koyasan is a special place worth the roughly 6 hour round trip from Osaka/Kyoto, and most especially, it is worth it with an overnight. Since we didn't go, I cannot offer an opinion.
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