Which of Nara, Nikko and/or Kamakura?

Aug 25th, 2008, 12:35 PM
  #1  
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Which of Nara, Nikko and/or Kamakura?

I'm working on a three-four week itinerary for Japan for late Oct/Nov this year (I know, I know, I should already have done it). I'm thinking of starting in Tokyo and finishing in Kagoshima. I'm interested in religion, architecture, food, crafts (especially textiles, porcelain and netsuke) and scenery, and although I like visiting temples and shrines, I don't want to OD on them. If I spent two nights in Nara (and at least one in Koya-san), should I also add Nikko or Kamakura, or both or neither? Or should I visit Nikko and Kamakura instead of Nara? If I go to Nikko I'd probably overnight so I could also visit Chuzenji-ko.
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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kja
 
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Hi, thrusdaysd -

> If I spent two nights in Nara (and at least one in Koya-san), should I also add Nikko or Kamakura, or both or neither? Or should I visit Nikko and Kamakura instead of Nara?

I suspect its a matter of personal preference, but if you don't want to risk ODing on temples and shrines, I'd say skipping Kamakura would make most sense. As you say, visiting Nikko would let you also visit Chuzenji. I loved Nara and would not skip it - but then, I really enjoyed all the temples and shrines I saw!

You are, I trust, planning to visit Kyoto?

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Aug 25th, 2008, 01:08 PM
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Thanks, kja, yes - I'm definitely planning on visiting Kyoto! Haven't decided how many nights yet, although I'm realizing that putting it after Nikko and Takayama (if I go there) will mean I may need to pay full fare for the first part of the trip and activate my rail pass after Kyoto.
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Aug 25th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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Go for the longer 14 or 21 JR day pass

Lots of festivals in Japan at the time you will be traveling and the fall colors are something to consider in Koya san or Nikko at the time you will be traveling. The koya(colors) should be spectacular from the bus ride from Nikko to Lake Chuzenji.

Too early for colors in Kamakura I think. There is a festival in Nikko in Oct that may interest you

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/festivals/index.html

Kyoto had lots of porcelain and beautiful pottery....I just looked

Don't forget to visit Sakurajima Island right off Kagoshima....not to be missed imho. Kagoshima also has its own cottage industry and is famous for their pottery and of course that black pig dish called tonkotso.

You will be visiting Japan at a good time, have fun!

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 01:46 PM
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I had the same choice and chose an overnight in Nara and a short visit to Kamakura. The leaves were very colorful in the second half of November. Nikko might be bare at that time.

Depending on the rest of your itinerary, and when you are traveling, I would suggest skipping Takayama. The leaves would have fallen there before farther south. I don't know how extensive the netsuke museum is in Takayama (never heard of it before your other post).

Do you have Saga prefecture on your itinerary? You might be interested in visiting the pottery (porcelain) towns of Arita, Imari and Karatsu (you might actually see me there in Nov).

You might also want to stop at the store in Fukuoka that sells Hakata dolls. It is a small store in a main underground shopping area. There is/was a branch of the store in Hakata station.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 02:08 PM
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Thanks! I'm actually thinking of pushing this trip a bit later - I know I'm making reservations late, and I don't want to tangle with loads of locals in Kyoto for the fall color! On the other hand, I don't want to freeze.

Current thinking is to fly into Tokyo - I'm not that keen on really big cities, so I was thinking just two full days for Tokyo proper, plus either Nikko or Kamakura or both, then Kyoto, maybe via Takayama, followed by Koya-san.

Then I wanted to spend some time on Shikoku, likely followed by Matsue and Hagi on the way to Kyushu - Nagasaki (and Saga!) and Kagoshima (definitely want to try that black pig, ht!) - and then a flight from Fukuoka to Taipei. I had thought of adding the Okinawa islands and taking a ferry to Taiwan, but I'm not much of a beach person, and the ferries seem quite expensive and slow.

thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 02:14 PM
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Noticed this from mrwunrfl - "you might actually see me there in Nov" - maybe we should organize a fodors GTG in Kyushu! Do you collect porcelain?
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Aug 25th, 2008, 02:30 PM
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May be of no use to you but here are a few sites I had bookmarked for crafts and such in the Kagoshima area on my last trip there

http://tinyurl.com/5v39ka

http://tinyurl.com/5zyf34

http://tinyurl.com/5h8fhg

http://tinyurl.com/57fmm7

http://tinyurl.com/63hubb

Aloha!





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Aug 25th, 2008, 02:44 PM
  #9  
kja
 
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Hi again -

If your main reason for visiting Takayama is to see the inro museum, note that I was told some years ago that it had permanently closed.

Hope that helps!
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Aug 25th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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Thanks ht! Clearly I'll have to keep reminding myself that I don't buy breakable souvenirs...

Looks like there's lots to do in Kagoshima. I definitely have to visit the Furusato Onsen on Sakurajima! Have you been to the sand bath at Ibusuki?
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Aug 25th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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No, we did not go to Ibusuki mainly because of the mrwunrfl's lukewarm report on the hot sands, he may pop in with a retort and report

If you can get a room with an ocean view and private rotenburo at the Furusato Kanko you will really enjoy. The onsen water has a high salt content and leaves your skin feeling very soft and smooth. Don't worry about the mixed baths as everyone there has to wear the large white robes you see in the pictures

http://www.furukan.co.jp/planlist/group.html

Drinking the onsen water is said to be a cure all for digestion I also read somewhere..... either at the hotel or online. In old Japan people used to spend months at a time at the Furusato Kanko. Interesting history to that ryokan set on the side of a cliff over the Pacific....
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Aug 27th, 2008, 09:41 PM
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mrwunrfl,

Bill, what is your Nov Japan itinerary?

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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arr NRT 12/21, dep NRT 12/29

mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 11:19 AM
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Maybe a week in Kyushu: Fly to FUK and see next-to or last day of Kyushu Bassho, swing thru Saga, Unzen, Shimabara, then east to a Kyushu onsen town.



mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 06:27 PM
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mrw, it was a test right? you arr 11/21-11/29 to see the basho, lol

looks like a great time. the saga, arita ,karatsu triangle looks interesting. plz tell us of the hot water you get into when you return.

thursdaysd, sorry, didn't mean to hijack your thread, mrwunrfl is such a gem of japan information we have to catch him while we can
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 09:13 AM
  #16  
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Thanks so much for the info. Unfortunately, I've pretty much decided that the Japan-Taiwan trip I was planning is too much (in several senses) for this year, and am now thinking about a shorter trip to Morocco. Maybe next year.

hawaiiantraveler - no problem!
thursdaysd is offline  
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