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Tokyo Mt Fuji Kyoto HImeji castle Cherry Blossom

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Jan 25th, 2016, 07:37 PM
  #1
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Tokyo Mt Fuji Kyoto HImeji castle Cherry Blossom

HI

We are planning our first trip to Japan in March 2016 and wanted some guidance for our itinerary and transportation. We are a family of 4, myself, DH and 2 kids ( 11,6).

Tentative itinerary

21st March Arrival Tokyo
22nd - Day and night Tokyo
23rd - Day and night Tokyo
24th - Travel to Mt Fuji, overnight @ Fuji
25th - Depart for Kyoto, [email protected] Kyoto
26th - Day and Night Kyoto
27th - Day trip to Himeji castle OR day trip to NARA
28th - Day and night @ Kyoto
29th- Day and Night @ Kyoto OR day trip to Nara OR Himeji Castle
30th - Train to tokyo, fly out.

Questions:
1) Need help with transportation from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji to Kyoto...we are thinking of buying the Japan Rail pass since we have to do Tokyo Kyoto and back and also get to experience Shinkansen.
Want to avoid coming back from MT. Fuji to Tokyo and rather head to Kyoto straight to save time.
2) Also, want to experience Ryokan stay for one night. Any recommendations where Fuji? or Kyoto? or Tokyo? looking for something reasonable.
3) We do not intend to climb, We just want to go upto the 5th Station, enjoy the views, do the boat cruise and enjoy the place. are there any short trails that we can walk with kids?
4) Thoughts on car rentals in Tokyo, Kyoto and MT Fuji? Is it an absolute must? I am think definitely for Kyoto since we are looking to go to Nara and HImeji Castle. What about Mt Fuji....Do we need to rent? Tokyo?

I am still researching on what to do/ see etc ...but any tips and recos are welcome. We do not want to do Disney, thats for sure. Some things we would like to do - Cherry Blossom if our timing is right, Tea ceremony, ryokan experience, Geisha dance, Shinkansen, a few shrines and gardens, dome, Imperial palace, sumo wrestling, photography, & nature walks, dining and shopping. Certianly we will not be able to do all or even half of what Japan has to offer given our time constraint and we understand that. Will try to make the best of our time.

Would appreciate yor help esp with the transportation bit.
Thank you,
asmama is offline  
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Jan 25th, 2016, 09:02 PM
  #2
kja
 
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"Thoughts on car rentals in Tokyo, Kyoto and MT Fuji? Is it an absolute must? I am think definitely for Kyoto since we are looking to go to Nara and HImeji Castle."

Trains in Japan are VERY easy and convenient. I cannot imagine renting a car for these destinations.

If you haven't already seen them,
japan-guide.com is probably the best single resource available for planning time in Japan
hyperdia.com is your go-to source for planning rail travel while there.

For the 2016 cherry blossom forecasts:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2011.html

You can find some ryokan by specifying that as your preferred type of lodging on booking.com; also look at japaneseguesthouses.com

Dance: Consider the show at Gion Corner in Kyoto. It's touristy, but you'll get to see several traditional performing arts
http://www.kyoto-gioncorner.com/global/en.html

Remember that the imperial palace, and the Katsura Rikyu, generally require advance reservations. You can get the info on japan-guide

No problem with shrines, temples, and gardens -- except that you will have to be very selective, given your time frames.

Hope that helps!
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Jan 25th, 2016, 11:09 PM
  #3
 
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1) you can get a 7-day JR Pass starting on the 24th if you are planning to take the Narita Express train to the airport (assuming the airport you will use is Narita).

You can use JR to get to "Mt Fuji". Do a bit more research to answer the question: do you mean the Fuji Five Lakes area or Hakone.

To get to Kyoto you won't have to return to Tokyo, but how you get there depends on the answer to the question above.

2) Nara or the "Mt Fuji" area probably. There are many ryokan in the Hakone area.

4) You won't need a car rental at all. Maybe if you go to Fuji Five Lakes it might help. Definitely don't need/want a car for Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, or Himeji - just use JR.

Sumo Grand Tournament is in Osaka, March 13th to 27th.
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Jan 25th, 2016, 11:13 PM
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>> do you mean the Fuji Five Lakes area or Hakone?

Most people go to Hakone, but to go up the mountain I think you want Fujigoko http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6900.html
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Jan 26th, 2016, 04:36 AM
  #5
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Thankyou folks.

We are looking to to stay in Fuji five lakes area. Did find a Ryokan here. Researching the transport from here to Kyoto, but looks complicated. Anyone have any suggestions for this for a simple hassle free route where we could use the JR pass?

Also Kyoto hotels seems to be sold out, any neighboring areas where we could base, enjoy Kyoto, the cherry blossoms if there and do the day trips as well?
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Jan 26th, 2016, 09:17 AM
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>>looks complicated

Yes, and it would be at least a 5-hour trip from Kawaguchiko to Kyoto. Some of the routes do go via Tokyo station. Part of the trip is on a Fujikyu train (not JR) and would cost extra.

Another option would be to go by bus from Kawaguchiko to Odawara in the Hakone area to get a Hikari shinkansen to Kyoto. It could save time, cost more (not JR bus), and would require two connections (at Gotemba and Sengoku). http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5206.html?aFROM=5200_6900

Odawara to Kyoto would be a 2-hour trip on a Hikari shinkansen (get seat reservations in advance).
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Jan 26th, 2016, 12:39 PM
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Perhaps if you start your trip in Kyoto, then go to Fuji area, then Tokyo, you might have better luck getting rooms in Kyoto.

Try some of the more local hotels in Kyoto as well. Many of the no-name places will be quite simple, but will be clean. If you book a Japanese style room, you'll likely get more space and your kids will feel like they are in Japan! We stayed at the Kyoto Central Inn several times. It is right on top of a subway station, in what I feel is a very convenient part of town, walking distance to the Gion and many sights. I haven't stayed here in a few years, but for a basic place, the room was good for a family.
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