Thinking of a revised itinerary, Japan

Old Jun 14th, 2017, 08:35 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 253
Thinking of a revised itinerary, Japan

Hello, we have 21 full days in Japan arriving 22nd October in Tokyo where we shall stay for 4 nights leaving on the 26 October:
26 Oct Masumoto (see the castle and 2 art galleries)
27 & 28 Oct Takayama ( we are staying in a Japanese house where the food is good so we want to keep
this booking although we could move it around as it is not yet fully confirmed (booking.com))
29, 30, 31 Oct Kanazawa (we haven't booked anything yet - fancy the famous garden there) - but now it
seems posters on here seem to think it is not worth staying at for too long - any advice?)
1st Nov Nara
2 - 6 Nov incl Kyoto - this is a confirmed and paid for booking so set in stone!
7 Nov Koyosan - still not sure I want to do this - expensive and uncomfortable for what one gets.
8 and 9 Nov Hiroshima and Miyajima (not sure if I want to do this, am not enamoured with the idea of
Hiroshima particularly and also it seems to be a bit far off)
10 and 11 Nov Tokyo where we fly out on the 12th (British Airways, can't change our booking)

So, we would be interested in advice on what to do if we do not stay in Kanazawa for 3 nights (we love nature, gorgeous scenery, culture, good food, sights), also if we don't do Koyasan, and Hiroshima and Miyajima what to do instead of that?
Finally, we fly out of Haneda Airport at 9,45 am on the Sunday 12 Nov and, as we don't know the airport (we will have printed out our boarding passes ahead of time) should get there at least 2 hours before - should we stay at Haneda Airport area?
Thanks.
patriciatbrogan is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2017, 11:20 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,077
We loved our time in Kanazawa, and wished we had more time there. We spent four nights, would have liked 5 nights (4 full days). The garden is stunning, but there are other attractions in Kanazawa as well.

If it was my trip, I'd add time to Kyoto, So if you decide not to do Koyosan, add that day to Kyoto. I'd also consider shortening your second stay in Tokyo so you can have more time in Kyoto. There is so much to do and see in and around Kyoto that I could spend endless amounts of time there.

Also, it looks like you haven't taken travel time into consideration, so you don't have as much time in each place as you think you do. For instance, you are in Kanazawa on Oct 31, but in Nara on Nov 1. So at most you might have half a day to see Nara.

I think you need to add time so that you have at least two nights in Nara, many people would recommend three nights there.

One other thing to consider is some time in Hakone. Beautiful views of Fuji-San, nice walks and hikes. You could use this as an opportunity to stay at a ryokan, I'd say stay a minimum of two nights.

No need to stay close to Haneda on your last night before your flight. Haneda is very close to Tokyo.
Kathie is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2017, 01:20 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,808
The Nara part is ok. You can get there from Kanazawa in the morning and leave late the next day.

Koya to Hiroshima is about 4.5 hours and another hour to Miyajima. Hiroshima is about 5 hours to Tokyo. So, you basically are traveling for 11-12 hours to have one full day, the 9th, for Hiroshima and Miyajima. For some people who are drawn to those locations the travel time is not a deal breaker.

I don't know why you keep having Koyasan on your itineraries when it seems clear that it is not for you. It is also not for me.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2017, 03:58 PM
  #4  
 
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There are a number of things that are making me scratch my head here. Starting with Koyasan.
Uncomfortable? What do you base that on? Do you think because you're staying at a monastery they're going to put you to bed on a concrete slab?
Have a look at one place at
http://www.daienin.com/e/shukubo.html
What about that is so uncomfortable? And you can see a lot of variety of places to stay at
http://eng.shukubo.net/temple-lodging.html
with some more expensive than others, but there are some quite reasonable places.
A Koyasan World Heritage Ticket is a good way to save money for transportation.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_012.html

And then Kenrokuen in Kanazawa. Some posters say not to stay too long? I'd say the same or more number would also say not to stay too short also. Stay as long as you want - 30, 60, 90 minutes - whatever satisfies you. Make a list of places that appeal to you, and see what you like. The loop bus or a rental bicycle is a great way to get around town. Will you see everything in the city? Maybe not, but that is not unusual for a great city for sightseeing.

And now Hiroshima. You may have some preconceptions that the only thing there is the A-Bomb museum. It's true it's not 'fun'; in fact it is quite sobering - yet very worth it to see what weapons do and the value of peace. But there are a LOT more places than that! The castle, the Shukkeien Garden, Okonomiyaki-mura, the Mitakidera Temple, Mazda museum, etc.

Miyajima is quite a popular place but still one of the jewels of the country. Sadly some people just see the Itsukushima Shrine and leave. But the Daishoin Temple is exquisite also, and if you don't mind the climb, the view from the top of Mt. Misen is called one of the best in Japan.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...KGUB-HPKNxP10Q

And if you want more, Iwakuni is just a bit past Miyajima and has perhaps the most beautiful traditional bridge in the country along with its mountaintop castle. The Akiyoshido Cave is also a natural wonder.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...1bURlDi2W89QDX
If you like natural scenery, in Kyoto you could try going to Kurama or Kibune, plus Mt. Hiei and Takao. For Himeji, there is Mt. Shosha with the big temple there. Kotohira in Kagawa will give you one of the best half day hikes you'll take in your life.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ley9rVIewoQ
Plus in some mountainous areas like Karuizawa you may be able to enjoy the start of the autumn colors or koyo.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2014.html

BTW if you're worried about some areas getting too touristy, Takayama is one of them. You might go up the tracks a bit to Furukawa to avoid the crowds but keep the old vibe. Also there is Shirakawago, but many go there so consider Gokayama or Ainokura or Suganuma.

Make the most of it!
Adastra2200 is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2017, 05:40 PM
  #5  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,806
I loved Kanazawa and thought it easily worth 3 days. I gave it 2, and seriously regret that.

I split my time in Kyoto and Nara as 4 nights / 2 nights (each with the same number of days). That worked very well for my interests (except that I would have like more time for the area).

IMO, Koya-san was a highlight of a highlight filled trip. And not just for the temple, its food, and Okuno-in, but also for some of Koya-san’s other gems. YMMV.

I’m very glad I visited Hiroshima – I found it extraordinarily powerful, but thought it wonderfully informative and thought-provoking and surprisingly focused on peace, rather than war. That said, it is, I think, a hard place to visit. If you don’t want to go, don’t. It’s YOUR trip. (And as Adastra2200 just noted, there are other things to see in Hiroshima, too.)

I enjoyed the peace of a night on Miyajima after the emotions of a day in Hiroshima, but I think I would have enjoyed Miyajima even if I had skipped Hiroshima. The Itsukushima Shrine is truly lovely; the views from Mt. Misen were stunning; and IMO, Daisho-in had some wonderful features. JMO.

Your trip, your call.
Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
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