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What is the most efficient order for this Japan itinerary?

What is the most efficient order for this Japan itinerary?

Feb 5th, 2013, 09:38 AM
  #21  
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mrwunrfl, we are leaving Boston Nov. 4 returning on Nov. 21 with 16 nights in Japan. I am trying to fit Shirakawago into the itinerary, I just haven't figured out how. Depending on KimJapan's answer to my question about a taxi, maybe that is the way to do it.

The only way I could go there from Takayama with the Nohi bus is to leave Takayama at 12:50 which would give me only the morning for sightseeing in Takayama, and I don't know whether that would be enough time. Alternatively, I could take time away from Kanazawa, as we will have almost 3 full days of sightseeing there before heading to Hiroshima.
shelleyk is offline  
Feb 5th, 2013, 02:26 PM
  #22  
 
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Car hire with driver for Kanazawa - Gokayama - S-go - Kanazawa will be from ¥45,000 for a day I think. Ana hour stop is likely not enlighten for S-go and the villages of Gokayama are spread out.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 03:27 PM
  #23  
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Thanks, Kim. That won't be an option for us. As I continue planning, I will try to work out getting to S-go by the Nohi bus.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 03:36 PM
  #24  
 
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Just going from Takayama to S-go to Kanazawa by bus is straightforward, as is a round-trip from either T or K to S-go. Here's the schedule. http://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/sh..._kanazawa.html
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Feb 5th, 2013, 03:57 PM
  #25  
 
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If you do finally get to S-Go by bus you'll be kicking yourself thinking how you should have driven to have more freedom/access also how easy it would have been and the time it would have saved......

My 2-cents FWIW would be to enjoy what you already have on your plate which is quite a bit right now and enjoy it l-e-i-s-u-r-e-l-y. Long days on the Nov 14 and 15.

Aloha!
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Feb 5th, 2013, 06:29 PM
  #26  
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HT-What you say has a lot of merit, but for a type A personality like myself, there is a great temptation to try to "get it right". I've never traveled in Japan, so I don't know if my assessment of Nov. 14 and 15 is correct, but I am thinking it can't be that difficult to do some sightseeing and then sit on a train for several hours. In Hiroshima we will be staying at a hotel in the train station to make things easier.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 08:20 PM
  #27  
 
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KimJapan, thanks for the bus schedule and the Gokayama input - stick with Shirakawago.

Nov 10 - you can get to Takayama by 12:13 and have the afternoon to see the sights.

Nov 11 - take two buses between Takayama and Kanazawa. One from Takayama to S-go, second bus from S-go to Kanazawa.

See the bus schedule link that KimJapan gave.

In the first table:
8:50 - depart Takayama Nohi Bus Center
9:40 - arrive Shirakawago

In the second table:
16:50 - depart Shirakawago
18:05 - arrive Kanazawa Ekimae (bus stop at JR Kanazawa station)

That is 7 hours in Shirakawa-go. Or am I missing something?

I think I saw the lady in the visitor center stash a bag behind the counter for a tourist (coulda been me, actually, on the day that I left S-go). But, yes, use takkyubin to ship stuff from Takayama and travel very light to S-go and on to Takayama - light enough that you can carry it around S-go in case that you can't stash it at the visitors center. That is, plan to stash the stuff at the visitors center in S-go, but just take as little as you need for the overnight in Kanazawa (a clean shirt, socks, underwear, whatever - if anything) until your bag arrives.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 5th, 2013, 08:46 PM
  #28  
 
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In your most recent itinerary you are "leaning toward" taking a bus or train from Takayama to Kanazawa.

This idea has merit, considering your interest in scenery. You can do it by train.

The route Takayama would involve traveling via Toyama to Kanazawa. The book Japan by Rail stated that the line between Takayama and Toyama is one of the most scenic rail trips in Japan. You can get limited express trains on both legs with your JR Pass - no bus fares to pay. But leave no later than 3:15PM or earlier (so that the Takayama-Toyama leg is in daylight). If you get your sightseeing done on Nov 10 or morning of the 11th, then you can get to Kanazawa much earlier (dep Takayama 11:00 arr Kanazawa 13:23).

Now, having written all that, I have to mention that my plan in November 2011 was to take that trip from Takayama to Toyama for the scenery but decided against it - figuring it to be cold in the mountains and trees bare in the mountains. That, plus I had more interesting things to do in Kanazawa.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 08:52 PM
  #29  
 
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Maybe someone can comment on fall colors in the Japan Alps (Takayama to Toyama, Takayama to S-go, in S-go) during the OP's planned travel time. My aborted plan might have been later in the month.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 08:58 PM
  #30  
 
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If you are an early bird, you can depart Tokyo at 6:26 and arrive Takayama at 10:55. That 6:26 is the first Hikari from Tokyo to Nagoya and has a good connection to the limited express, fastest option, to Takayama.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 09:51 PM
  #31  
 
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When I went to Shirakawa-go it was a nasty rainy day in April. but I had decided on my schedule before I knew the weather forecast. I took the bus from Takayama that arrived at 10:40, walked to the few historic homes/temple that can be visited and got a snack and then took the 1:50 bus on to Kanazawa. Because of the bad weather, I didn't go to the viewpoint but according to Japan-guide it is about a 15 to 20 minute walk so I'm sure I could have fit that in. I left my suitcase at the tourist info office. I think seven hours would be too much and would rather spend the time in Takayama or Kanazawa....
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Feb 5th, 2013, 10:18 PM
  #32  
kja
 
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> I think seven hours would be too much and would rather spend the time in Takayama or Kanazawa....

I agree with Mara, even though I didn't explore Shirakawa-go.

For example, you can see a gassho-zukuri - and everything else in Takayama's Hida Folk Park - in 3 or 4 hours. And if you take the bus, you are probably still going to have at least a little bit of time in Shirakawa-go, unless the departures now match the arrivals perfectly (which I doubt).

But of course, I don't know what I didn't see when I decided to not explore Shirakawa-go....
kja is offline  
Feb 5th, 2013, 10:21 PM
  #33  
 
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From Kanazawa on, you have a good plan.

You get to Kanazawa the night of 11/11. Two full days there plus a half-day leaving at 4PM the next day. Get to Hiroshima around 8:30 PM. An hour or so earlier arrival might be better, but yours is a good schedule that allows more time for Kanazawa.

The Nov 14-15 plan is good, IMHO. An overnight in Hiroshmia is better than doing it all as a day trip from Kyoto. More better is a second night, spent on Miyajima.

Your hotel is next to the shinkansen side of the station? The Granvia or Sheraton?

You have a lot of time in Kyoto. Are you planning to visit Nara?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 5th, 2013, 10:34 PM
  #34  
 
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Ok, four hours then, better than 10 minutes! Get to S-go at 9:40. Go from visitors center to the viewpoint, take the shuttle over to the museum area, walk back to the center of the village via the footbridge, visit some gassho zukuri, and back to the visitors center if that is where the Kanazawa bus would depart. Something like that. Travel on to Kanazawa during daylight arriving at 3:05 PM.
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Feb 6th, 2013, 03:08 PM
  #35  
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mrwunrfl-In answer to your questions/comments:

1-There is no way my DH could make a 6:26 train unless it were 6;26 PM. lol. So we probably will not arrive into Takayama until 2PM.

2-We are staying at the Hotel Granvia in Hiroshima.

3-In checking the train schedule from Takayama to Kanazawa, I see that the trip takes 2.5 hours. I still might do it rather than take the Nohi bus because of the scenery and because it is free. I will decide based on how much sightseeing I have accomplished in Takayama. If I could make the 12:50 Nohi bus and have a couple of hours in Shir-go, I would take the bus. But if I needed more time in Takayma, I would take the train, and make the trip to Shir-go by Nohi bus from Kanazawa.

4-We will do a day trip to Nara from Kyoto. I have just added an extra day to our itinerary to have more time in Kyoto. If we find we don't need the extra day in Kyoto we will take a trip to Hikone or Osaka.

Finally this trip is coming together. Thanks to everyone for all the help in planning this itinerary.
shelleyk is offline  
Feb 7th, 2013, 09:32 AM
  #36  
 
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Ok. If you leave Takayama by rail then keep in mind that sunset is at 4:46 PM and it will be full dark a half-hour later. The mountains probably would probably make it dark earlier.

If no stop in S-go then recommend you take a Takayama city bus UP to Hida no Sato. The walk back to town is downhill and then flat and not far.
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Feb 7th, 2013, 05:42 PM
  #37  
kja
 
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> If no stop in S-go then recommend you take a Takayama city bus UP to Hida no Sato. The walk back to town is downhill and then flat and not far.

Indeed! This is one place where it really does make a difference where and how you start! And depending on your timing, you might be able to visit the Hida Takayama Museum of Art on the way back into town - wonderful collection of glass and (oddly enough) Macintosh:

http://www.htm-museum.co.jp/info/english.html
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Feb 13th, 2013, 11:45 PM
  #38  
 
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More than enough advice up there... You won't be bored w. Kyoto & all the rest, but if you have the time to spare and will reach as far south as Kyushu island you'd want to consider Yanagawa (taste the black eel + take the canal boat trip) & Dezayfu, both quaint and less traveled by our tourist hordes.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 12:21 PM
  #39  
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I am now thinking of going Tokyo-Matsumoto-Takayama by JR trains in one day. That would have us arriving in Takayama at either 8PM or 10 PM, depending on which train we catch in Matsumoto. Our hotel is a 10 minute walk from the train station, but since it will be dark, I probably would not be able to find it. Are taxis available at the train station at that time of night. And is it acceptable for guests to arrive at a small B and B type hotel at 10 PM?
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