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Itinerary for Japan - feedback please

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I've never really understood why Osaka features on so many itineraries in addition to Tokyo. While there are of course many differences once you get below the surface, there's hardly time for a first-time tourist to do that, and in the end they're basically just two big cities. I think I've spent less than ten nights in Osaka in a total of more than 12 years in Japan (partly because I tend to favor Kobe).

If tweaking the above itinerary I'd probably opt for another night in Kyoto and do USJ (if you really want to) from there. Then skip Osaka and visit Kanazawa instead. Many of the benefits of Kyoto with fewer crowds.

For a castle and a superb ryokan you could visit Karatsu in Saga, but that would give you less time in Hiroshima, I guess.

 

goldenhorn

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I've never really understood why Osaka features on so many itineraries in addition to Tokyo. While there are of course many differences once you get below the surface, there's hardly time for a first-time tourist to do that, and in the end they're basically just two big cities. I think I've spent less than ten nights in Osaka in a total of more than 12 years in Japan (partly because I tend to favor Kobe).

If tweaking the above itinerary I'd probably opt for another night in Kyoto and do USJ (if you really want to) from there. Then skip Osaka and visit Kanazawa instead. Many of the benefits of Kyoto with fewer crowds.

For a castle and a superb ryokan you could visit Karatsu in Saga, but that would give you less time in Hiroshima, I guess.

Thanks @zenyattamondatta - that's actually a great idea to have an extra night in Kyoto and visit USJ from there.

I have been hesitating on booking accommodation in Osaka and another friend said it was just OK on her recent trip, so I'll look into Kanazawa now. That sounds like it would be more my style than another big city.

Thanks again!
 

Ric

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rbjhan

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Note that Hakone was badly damaged during the recent Typhoon.
Especially the onsen water distribution system was damaged, as a result many hotels/ryokans are without onsen at the moment. So check very carefully if you want to go.
I would probably pick somewhere else TBH.
 

bpeteb

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Has anyone here been to the Sumo?

I’m definitely not a sporting fan/type but I see lots of people mention it’s good.

Trying to decide if we would enjoy it. What’s the appeal?
Just saw this thread.

Went to sumo last year in Tokyo with friends (in Tokyo) who booked the tickets for us. A terrific experience that we were very lucky that we had someone able to describe what was happening to us. Bizarre and terrific and so very Japanese. We have the schedule of the day we went framed and on the wall in our kitchen. Would we go again? Not likely. Once was enough.

We've had two two week trips now (about a 100th of the times Dr and Mrs Ron have been!). Trip reports of most recent - Sumo, Sake and Sapporo Beer

Also posted on travelark - 2011(Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Hakone, Tokyo) aussiepanda's Trip: Blow fish is not on the menu - Japan 2011 and 2018 (Tokyo, Hokkaido, Hakone) aussiepanda's Trip: Sumo, Sake and Sapporo beer
 
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goldenhorn

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Just saw this thread.

Went to sumo last year in Tokyo with friends (in Tokyo) who booked the tickets for us. A terrific experience that we were very lucky that we had someone able to describe what was happening to us. Bizarre and terrific and so very Japanese. We have the schedule of the day we went framed and on the wall in our kitchen. Would we go again? Not likely. Once was enough.

We've had two two week trips now (about a 100th of the times Dr and Mrs Ron have been!). Trip reports of most recent - Sumo, Sake and Sapporo Beer

Also posted on travelark - 2011(Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Hakone, Tokyo) aussiepanda's Trip: Blow fish is not on the menu - Japan 2011 and 2018 (Tokyo, Hokkaido, Hakone) aussiepanda's Trip: Sumo, Sake and Sapporo beer
Thanks for the feedback. Just read your TR and took notes of the gardens you went to in Tokyo. Thank you!
 
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Just had 3 weeks in Jpn for rugby world cup, so our itin was dictated by weekend games/venues, then finding our way elsewhere thru the weekdays.

I lived/worked in Tokyo in the 80's, and the difference then and now was staggering. So so much more complicated and busy for any form of public transport, Tokyo in particular. Places I remembered (used to catch Ginza line subway from Shibuya every day) were unrecognizable, so make sure you know your route/subway line/exit gate etc, and save yr directions to phone when moving around Tokyo.

Kyoto, however was a revelation - beautiful temples incl Inari, Philosopher's walk, Nishiki food market is a Must, streets around Kawaramachi, make yr restaurant booking in the morning for places like Itoh Dining, but probly stay near the station because that makes subway and shinkansen easier. Daiichi Royal Grande was quite new, smart, adjacent to station and well priced.

One week, in-between games, we went to the Art Islands - adjacent to Okayama - easy short ferry trips between 3-4 islands all with fantastically modern art galleries - look up Naoshima and Teshima Isls, or go here :
benesse-artsite.jp

Wish we stayed onite at Kanazawa after doing the Alpine Route (not encouraged in Jan I wud think..) and wish it wasnt a public holiday our last night in town when Tonki's Meguro had a queue out the door.. An old fave tonkatsu place

Last night in Tokyo at the Station Hotel - if you want to completely relax and waft out of town then this is the place to stay.. Bellhop will walk you down to the Narita Express platform.
 
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sjk

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Tonki's Meguro had a queue out the door.. An old fave tonkatsu place
Yum, Tonki... 80 years and going strong.

 

goldenhorn

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Does anyone know how to get Sumo tickets?

I set a reminder last week to book them once the ticket sales opened, and then I missed looking because I was so busy.

I've gone to look online 7 days later and it looks like every tournament online is sold out in January 2020.

I've read reviews and it seems people have bought tickets only a day or so out from tournaments.

Any ideas on how to do this without getting ripped off?

Here's my updated itinerary below.

I've booked accommodation for all locations except for 4 nights from Day 12 -15.

Mr Goldenhorn has been a bit reluctant to visit Hiroshima (he's worried about residue radiation lol).

Did you find visiting Hiroshima worth it, and if so, is 2 nights enough?

Any suggestions for day 14 and 15 would be appreciated!

EDIT: I have since booked day 15 in Hakone to stay in an onsen hotel and experience Kaiseki.

Day 1 - Singapore
Day 2 - Singapore
Day 3 - Tokyo
Day 4 - Tokyo
Day 5 - Tokyo
Day 6- Tokyo
Day 7 - Kyoto
Day 8 - Kyoto
Day 9 - Kyoto
Day 10 - Osaka
Day 11 - Osaka (visit USJ)
Day 12 - Hiroshima? - TBC
Day 13 - Hiroshima? - TBC
Day 14 - TBC
Day 15 - Hakone onsen
Day 16 - Tokyo
Day 17 - Tokyo
Day 18 - Singapore
Day 19 - Singapore
 
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exceladdict

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Why not stop in Hakone on your bullet train route (assumed) back to Tokyo? Stay in a Ryokan, do a private onsen, go to the art galleries, etc.

I have just spent a week in Japan (didn't do Hakone) and am working on TR over Christmas, will share as soon as I can :)
 

Hvr

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Did you find visiting Hiroshima worth it, and if so, is 2 nights enough?
Yes, well worth it. Maybe not quite enough if you visit:

Check tide times because at low tide you can walk out to the shrine.

If you have a JR Pass then consider staying in Kyoto and visiting Osaka. They're quite close if you catch the Shinkansen.

If you like trains then this is a must:
They have trains from steam to the Shinkansen. The turntable is huge.

I also loved the Go;den Temple in Kyoto:

Happy travelling.
 

goldenhorn

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Why not stop in Hakone on your bullet train route (assumed) back to Tokyo? Stay in a Ryokan, do a private onsen, go to the art galleries, etc.

I have just spent a week in Japan (didn't do Hakone) and am working on TR over Christmas, will share as soon as I can :)
I was considering this and think it's a great idea, but one of the earlier posters here said there was damage to water supplies to the onsens from the hurricane earlier. Not sure how to check what is operational now.
 

exceladdict

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I was considering this and think it's a great idea, but one of the earlier posters here said there was damage to water supplies to the onsens from the hurricane earlier. Not sure how to check what is operational now.
Ah true. Sorry I didn't go back through the thread. I did notice this on a couple of the accom places I was searching through - You'd probably be able to contact some of the accommodation providers directly?
 

goldenhorn

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Ah true. Sorry I didn't go back through the thread. I did notice this on a couple of the accom places I was searching through - You'd probably be able to contact some of the accommodation providers directly?
Yes good idea. I’ll do that. So would you recommend 2 nights in Hakone so we have a day to spend at the onsens?
 

exceladdict

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Yes good idea. I’ll do that. So would you recommend 2 nights in Hakone so we have a day to spend at the onsens?
When I went there over a decade ago, we stayed somewhere that had private onsens within the accommodation (esp if you don't like being in the buff with randoms). We used them in the evening, allowing daytime for activities. We only overnighted there, but if going back I'd probably do 2 nights and use the day to visit the art galleries, I think there's a cable car there, etc.
 

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