takayama or kamakura?

Jun 20th, 2003, 10:40 AM
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takayama or kamakura?

We have 12 days for our first trip to Japan. Our goal is to see "old" Japan as much as possible. I was wondering which should we rather do: Takayama or Kamakura? With an eye on the limited time,I don't think we want to do both.

So far the itinerary goes as such:
Tokyo - 3 days (1 is an arrival day, Narita)
Kamakura? - 1 day
Hakone - 2 day
Takayama? - 1 day
Kyoto - 3 days (1 day in Nara)
Osaka - 1 day
departure day (Kansai)

Are we leaving something out? Spending too much time in Tokyo? Thanks for your suggestions.

HunyBadger is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 04:53 PM
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Have never been to Takayama, but Kamakura is one of my all-time favorite cities. To me, it was breathtaking at cherry-blossom time, with it's wide tree-lined promenade through the center of town. We even were lucky enough to see a wedding party leave a hotel in traditional dress, and get into rickshaws to go to the temple to be blessed. It was something I will never forget, and I'd love to go back! And 3 days is just about right for Tokyo, which is a fascinating large city. Much to see! Of course, Kyoto is fabulous. Hope this helps. Have a fantastic trip! Joyce
Hagan is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 01:08 AM
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I love both Kamakura and Takayama, but I would do one or the other, not both. Takayama involves a bit more travel, but will be cooler if you're going in the summer. I would also not waste a day in Osaka...you can take the train directly from Kyoto to Kansai on your departure date.
lcuy is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 03:17 AM
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One day in Hakone would be enough for the basic tour. It is a day trip from Tokyo. I spent the night there and took the tour the next day. After the tour, I visited the Buddha in Kamakura and an onsen in Atami before returning to Tokyo that night.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2003, 12:09 PM
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Hi HB. I agree w/ earlier posters. I'd even substitute Matsumotq and / or Nakasendo( old post towns w/ portions of old road as walking path between) for Hakone. I'd recommend 2 days in Takayama: merchanys quarters/market/other old buildings/ museum of festival floats and greta museum of old rural buildings. Or meiji mura between Nakasendo and Nagoya greta collection of Meiji period architecture ( including remains of Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial hotel). Skip Osaka for old Japan. You might want to check out Okayama just down the Shinkansen from Osaka for fabulous stroll garden. In Kyoto you might want to reserve for a visit to Shugaku-in one of the imperial villas in the NE. You can walk from there to Manshu-in oand another temple/garden. If you haven't seen it Kodansha's Gateway to Japan is an excellent guidebook.

AndrewDavPS Kamakura can be done as a day trip from Tokyo if you don't want to change hotels
AndrewDavid is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2003, 09:36 PM
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I would skip Hakone and Osaka for old Japan. From Tokyo, I would go to Matsumoto (1 day), Takayama (1 day) and Kanazawa (1 day) in this order, then Kyoto. There is a bus from Matsumoto to Takayama. Kanazawa is a good old city having a castle, beautiful garden (Kenrokuen), and old town district.
As suggested in previous post, Kyoto's Shugaku-in Imperial villa is really good.
seahopper is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2003, 05:10 AM
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what season are u going? my most vivid memories of kamakura are of summer, esp when the hydrangea are blooming and the area is green and lush.

takayama, on the other hand, i enjoyed in the snow more than i did in the summer (which was a rushed trip anyway). aside from being beautiful, there were fewer tourists, which added to the atmosphere.

if castles are on ur list, skip osaka and go to matsumoto (or, if u choose takayama, to himeji). osaka castle burned in the war and has been rebuilt w/ elevators, concrete and 3d video displays.
mari808 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2003, 07:29 PM
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I find it easier to count "nights" rather than days. This is what I'd recommend:

4 nights Tokyo(day trip to Kamakura 1 day)
1 night Hakone
2 nights Takayama
5 nights Kyoto (day trip to Nara 1 day)

Comments: One night in Hakone leaves the better part of one day for the circuit tour, including the Open Air Sculpture Museum but not many other stops - don't make it a day trip from Tokyo, that's too much for one day.

Takayama has alot of old streets and shopping on one side of the river plus the Hida Folk Village. But it's a long train trip so it's really only worth it if you spend two nights.

There is so much to see in Kyoto and it's very spread out, so you need to allow time to get to the many sights dotted around the city. If you arrive there after coming from Takayama or Hakone, you'll have lost most of a day.
LeslieC is offline  
Jun 24th, 2003, 09:33 AM
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thanks everyone for your replies. LeslieC ~ you make a good point about counting nights rather than days. I'll do that from now on.

mari808 ~ we plan to visit the 2nd week of sept, arriving around Sept 9.

It seems like 2 nights in Takayama might be the ticket.

AndrewDavid and seahopper ~ what is this about Kyoto's Shugaku-in Imperial villa? Is this a place to stay or a place to visit?

HunyBadger is offline  
Jun 24th, 2003, 05:08 PM
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seahopper is offline  
Jul 4th, 2003, 06:53 PM
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Shugaku-in is one of the imperial villas in NE Kyoto. Its a place to see unless the emperor inviteds you to stay.

AndrewDavid is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 12:26 AM
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I have not been to Takayama (what did I miss?)so cannot comment on that half of the original post, but Kamakura was great. We tried to do it in one day but did not have nearly enough time. Saw a couple of temples, the tree lined walk down the centre of the main street and Daibutsu (watch for the squirrels). Went by train from Ueno, got off at the station before Kamakura (something like North Kamakura) and walked seeing temples on the way, easy trip. Got to say that Kamakura was absolutely crowded the day we were there, reminiscent of Shinjuku (I exaggerate of course - nothing is like Shinjuku!!)

My favourite temple/historic site was actually Nikko, another easy train journey from Tokyo. We took a twenty minute walk from the station to the temple and back. Enjoyed a snack in a tiny Yakitori Bar on the way back - look out for the foreign currency pinned to the wall. I was inspired by Nikko so much that I spent a large part of the following year researching the life and times of Tokugawa Ieyasu - truly incredible!!! The day we were there it was fairly quiet.

Also must say I found Tokyo absolutely fascinating.

Agree with others re. Osaka - no; Okayama - if possible. Any chance of fitting in Hiroshima?

We actually stayed with family in a place called Ichinowari, which is in Kasukabe, which is in Saitama, which is part of the Tokyo connurbation (is that spelt right?) Even though it was part of the suburban spread it was like living in a "village". Sharing the daily life of the people of Ichinowari was one of the all time highlights of our travels. Loved it; loved it; loved it.

If, like me, you are at all a lover of food (not to say a glutton) you must go to the food basements in the major department stores. My son and I spent ages sampling free chocolate and other confectionery in a store above the Ginza railway station. The staff do not pressure you to buy and are so polite. If you give them an "arigato gozaimasu" they blush and giggle in the most delightful way.

I hope your journey is as enjoyable as was ours
Samwise is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 08:40 AM
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If you go to Takayama, be sure to check out the open air Hida Folk Village (bus, taxi, or bike from stn). I can also recommend the Yamashita Minshuku for a very traditional accommodation with wonderful meals (they'll pick you up from the stn).

If you go to Kamakura, the "must sees" are Hachimangu temple and the Buddha along with Hasedera (near Buddha).

For "old" Japan, you don't need Osaka but if you're in that area, you definitely should go to Himeji Castle (about one hour from Osaka by express). But for the record, I love the city of Osaka, it just doesn't have much of historical interest.

Have a great trip!
slick8421 is offline  

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