Still need some help with Itinerary

Old Jan 8th, 2020, 01:44 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 93
Still need some help with Itinerary

So we are headed to Japan in May with a group of 11 adults and 1 toddler (my daughter who will be 3 yo at the time). You may have seen my previous posts about deciding between Okinawa and mainland Japan. After hearing all the ideas here and another group (thank you to everyone who replied) about this, we have decided to stick with mainland Japan only.



A little background on our group --> we tend to move around fast, we like a change of pace/scenery and would not want to do temples all day. Trying to keep it balanced between "city" and "shopping" and "temples" and "scenery" as much as possible.

We will be taking the Shinkansen whenever possible and will invest in the JR pass in advance. When we are in Kyoto, we plan to hire a private van with driver to take us around to the places we want to go to avoid walking so that we can cover more ground while we are there.



We will definitely be visiting Tokyo (3 full days and 1/2 day), Osaka (1/2 day but hope to keep this as our base when we are in the Kyoto area as I hear food and night life is better here), and Kyoto (2 full days). We still have a few days to spare and are stuck between the following destinations:



1. KOYASAN

2. NIKKO

3. NARA

4. TAKAYAMA (along with a visit to SHIRAKAWAGO)



If you could add 2 or more of these places, which one would you add? I would love to hear from people who have been to most or all of these places to give me a comparison.



Koyasan but I am not sure if it is possible with a toddler - especially staying in a Buddhist temple. My daughter is average in terms of "well-behaved"…she's not hyper but she's also not "quiet" and I have no idea how she will be in 5 months as their temperament continues to change like the size of their shoes.

Thanks in advance!
viranpooja is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2020, 06:48 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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If you've researched all these places, including studying japan-guide.com in some depth, and still can't decide, then I not sure how I can help, but FWIW:

I think you are right to be cautious about Koyasan, and not just because of the temple stay, but because getting there is not easy.

I adore Nara, but am not sure it would add substantially to the diversity of your experiences.

Takayama would add somewhat to the diversity of your experiences. But it's a LONG way to go for just a couple of days. And didn't we already advise you to Shirakawago, visiting Hida no Sato instead?

IMO, Nikko would make sense for the amount of time you are discussing and includes a range of options -- temples, a nearby lake and waterfall (Lake Chuzenji and Kegon-no-Taki), a pleasant hike (the Kanmangafuchi Abyss), etc.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2020, 07:31 PM
  #3  
 
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how many days is a few days?
how many days, not counting the two days you travel?

Takayama and Nikko.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2020, 04:24 AM
  #4  
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Proposal 1 includes - Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Takayama, Shirakawago
Day 1 - Arrive Tokyo at 2:45pm, evening in Tokyo
Day 2 - Tokyo
Day 3 - Tokyo
Day 4 - Transfer to KYOTO (4 hours)
Day 5 - KYOTO
Day 6 - KYOTO
Day 7 - Day trip to NARA + Osaka
Day 8 - Takayama + Shirakawago (3 hour 30 minute one way to Takayama)
Day 9 - Takayama + Day trip to Kamikochi (45 minute bus ride)
Day 10 - Takayama in morning/afternoon, evening train back to Tokyo (4 hour 45 min)
Day 11 - Tokyo
Day 12 - Flight back to USA



Proposal 2 includes - Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Nikko, Kobe, Koyasan
Day 1 - Arrive Tokyo at 2:45pm, evening in Tokyo
Day 2 - Tokyo
Day 3 - Tokyo
Day 4- Tokyo
Day 5 - Transfer to KYOTO (4 hours)
Day 6 - KYOTO
Day 7 - KYOTO
Day 8 - Nara + Osaka - spend night in Osaka
Day 9 - Day trip to Kobe (or can replace with Nikko at Day 5 and take this out)
Day 10 - KOYASAN (2 hour journey one way)
Day 11 - KOYASAN in morning and evening in Tokyo
Day 12 - Flight back to USA
viranpooja is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2020, 10:23 AM
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There is a limited express train from Kyoto to Takayama. It takes 3 hr 49 min but there is no change of trains. The other routes require a change at Nagoya from the shinkansen to the limited express. It departs around 8:30 AM and has a 15-minute stop at Gifu (at the boundary between JR West and JR Central; I assume there is a crew change).

Here is the timetable for that train HyperDia | SearchResult

mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2020, 10:37 AM
  #6  
 
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to be clear, that train takes ~20 longer but you get on in Kyoto and get off in Takayama, unlike the other options which require a train change.

The day trip to Kamikochi is not a good idea. A better idea would be to continue on from Kamikochi to Matsumoto where you can get a train bound for Shinjuku and Tokyo. You could visit the excellent castle in Matsumoto.

Like this:
Day 8: Takayama
Day 9: Takayama & Shirakawago
Day 10: Kamikochi, Matsumoto, Tokyo
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2020, 08:52 PM
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>>Day 9 - Takayama + Day trip to Kamikochi (45 minute bus ride)

How is that? I only know of the Nohi bus.

From Takayama you take a bus to Hirayu Onsen. That takes 50 or 58 minutes. Then you get another bus to Kamikochi. That takes 25 minutes.

If you take the 7 AM bus from Takayama then you would have 2 minutes to connect to the 8 AM bus from Hirayu Onsen to Kamikochi. Other connect times are 20 or 22 minutes.

That one-way trip would be 1 hr 25 min to 1 hr 45 min. The Nohi timetables:
https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/route_bus/kamikochi-line-en/
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