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Itinerary for Japan - feedback please

goldenhorn

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Apr 11, 2011
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Mr Goldenhorn and I are heading to Japan in the last 2 weeks of January 2020 (yes, it will
be cold but it’s a quiet time in my business so timing is good).

I've got JL J award flights booked in and out of NRT, (with 2 nights in Singapore on the way there and the way back) so we have a total of 15 nights in Japan.

I'd love feedback from those that have been to Japan. I've only been once way back in 1996, but I was on tour and working so I didn't see a lot from a tourist perspective. Just lots of concert halls, airports, and hotels. But I do remember how amazing Tokyo was!

So far I've only booked the first 4 nights accommodation in Tokyo at a ryokan.

Here' my proposed itinerary so far:

Day 1 - arrive Tokyo late in evening
Day 2 - Tokyo
Day 3 - Tokyo
Day 4 - Tokyo
Day 5 - Kyoto
Day 6 - Kyoto
Day 7 - Kyoto
Day 8 - Osaka
Day 9 - Osaka (visit USJ or Himeji Castle)
Day 10 - Hiroshima
Day 11 - Hiroshima
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15 - travel back to Tokyo

I'm not sure what to do for the final few days before heading back to Tokyo.

A friend said to consider heading on to Kyushu - Beppu, Fukuoka, or Nagasaki.

Any feedback and input appreciated!
 
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goldenhorn

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Apr 11, 2011
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497
Go back to Tokyo for a couple of days because I guarantee there will be something you didn't fit in!

Takayama is quite beautiful

You could also go find an onsen town in the snow
Yeah, I was thinking of a couple more nights in Tokyo on the way back.

Thanks for mentioning an onsen in the snow. I had wanted to do that a while back and forgot about it. Do you have a suggestion of where?
 

tizey

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Joined
Jul 28, 2016
Messages
448
Whilst its not a long travel time between cities in Japan, its still a lot of moving around (check out/transfer to JR Station/get subway to new accommodation/check in, etc). I personally would go max 4 cities (Osaka/Kyoto I see as one due to very close proximity) in that timeframe... ideally 3 cities.

I think you'll be very rushed in Osaka if you do USJ for one day. Osaka is great fun, and the abandoned JR railway hike is a great afternoon. Not sure how it will be in winter, but a month ago was pretty beautiful.

Miyajima is a nice day trip from Hiroshima too that I think is worth a look. Note that the picturesque gate is under repair and covered in scaffolding through.

Re Tokyo - in planning a trip, would you only spend 4 days in New York City? You could spend 2 weeks there and still be doing new things every day. Tokyo is very much the same in the sense its a huge city with so much to do and see, it could be a trip on its own.
 

Long_20

Junior Member
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Oct 1, 2019
Messages
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How are you planning to travel within Japan? Have you through about Japan Rail Pass? I purchased it when I went to Japan and it was great for public transport and travelling between cities.
 

goldenhorn

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Apr 11, 2011
Messages
497
How are you planning to travel within Japan? Have you through about Japan Rail Pass? I purchased it when I went to Japan and it was great for public transport and travelling between cities.
Yes, will travel on a JR pass.
 

goldenhorn

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Apr 11, 2011
Messages
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Whilst its not a long travel time between cities in Japan, its still a lot of moving around (check out/transfer to JR Station/get subway to new accommodation/check in, etc). I personally would go max 4 cities (Osaka/Kyoto I see as one due to very close proximity) in that timeframe... ideally 3 cities.

I think you'll be very rushed in Osaka if you do USJ for one day. Osaka is great fun, and the abandoned JR railway hike is a great afternoon. Not sure how it will be in winter, but a month ago was pretty beautiful.

Miyajima is a nice day trip from Hiroshima too that I think is worth a look. Note that the picturesque gate is under repair and covered in scaffolding through.

Re Tokyo - in planning a trip, would you only spend 4 days in New York City? You could spend 2 weeks there and still be doing new things every day. Tokyo is very much the same in the sense its a huge city with so much to do and see, it could be a trip on its own.
That's great feedback and a reminder - thank you.

Each trip we say we want to go slower and do less, so on reflection, I think the itinerary is looking a little rushed.

So perhaps 3 nights in Osaka and 3 in Hiroshima, then back to Tokyo for 2 nights. And we can do a day trip from Hiroshima to Miyajima.

Does that look more realistic?
 

MikaD

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2014
Messages
32
Personally I would take Tokyo to 5 nights, Osaka to 3 and spend a night at Hakone or around the fuji 5 lakes on the way back to Tokyo.
 

drron

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Jul 4, 2002
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It really depends what you like to do and interests.We love Japanese Gardens.If you do I would suggest Tokyo-Kanazawa-Osaka and back to Tokyo.The Kenrokuen gardens in Kanazawa are amazing and meant to be just as beautiful in winter.Your JR pass in Kanazawa gives you rides on 2 JR loop busses that go past the main tourist sites.
We have now visited Japan over 50 times.Probably about 30 occasions in Tokyo.We still find different things to do in Tokyo.
 

goldenhorn

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Apr 11, 2011
Messages
497
Hakone for sure. We spent a night there when we were in Japan. It was really nice. There will be some nice onsens in the area too.
Is one night on the way back to Tokyo enough to visit the onsens there?
 

Ausbt

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Apr 21, 2012
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Where are the snow monkeys?
Close to Shiga Kogen ski resort near Nagano. I've been a couple of times in winter and am planning to take my daughters there for a half-day trip this coming January. In winter, it's a very cold but scenic walk over a snowy forested trail to get to the little cafe and onsen. Lots of Macaques jumping around the area close to the onsen and of course 20-30 in there bathing. Pretty entertaining, there are always a few fighting with each other and carrying on. I believe only certain monkeys are allowed in the onsen bully the others to keep out, so some sort of caste system in operation. Keep in mind these are not caged animals, this is their natural home. They are not going to steal your camera like in Ubud's monkey forest but you wouldn't want to pat them on the head.

 
Last edited:

goldenhorn

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Apr 11, 2011
Messages
497
Close to Shiga Kogen ski resort near Nagano. I've been a couple of times in winter and am planning to take my daughter there for a half-day trip this coming January. In winter, it's a very cold but scenic walk over a snowy forested trail to get to the little cafe and onsen. Lots of Macaques jumping around the area close to the onsen and of course 20-30 in there bathing. Pretty entertaining, there are always a few fighting with each other and carrying on. I believe only certain monkeys are allowed in the onsen bully the others to keep out, so some sort of caste system in operation. Keep in mind these are not caged animals, this is their natural home. They are not going to steal your camera like in Ubud's monkey forest but you wouldn't want to pat them on the head.

Thank you. Looks amazing!
 

JFi

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Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
142
Based on what tizey said, if you find you're not too interested in looking at the repairs on the Torii gate at Miyajima but fending off hungry deers from grabbing anything in your hand is your thing, you can stop by Nara's Todai-ji.
Although if your next trip is in a while and you want to save a dollar or two, then Miyajima would be better because they are proposing to introduce a 'tourist tax' of 100 yen to enter the island from 2021 haha
 

tizey

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2016
Messages
448
We knew it was scaffolded before we got there... but not everyone did. The trip to the Torii gate at Miyajima was almost worthwhile solely for the 'oh my god how can it be closed my trip is ruined'-esque heated discussions that were happening with some people aboard the JR Ferry.

Mt Misen (sp?) on Miyajima is a great activity. We enjoyed the hike up for the lookout.

Oh, and the Miyajima sweet cakes. Take me back just for those! :p
 

bullerdude

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Dec 26, 2011
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1,130
I've done a trip out to kinosaki onsen from Osaka/Kyoto and it was a wonderfully relaxing traditional onsen town for a 1-night stay.
 

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