Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > Japan
Reload this Page >

First time Japan - Tokyo and Kyoto - 4/1 thru 4/11

First time Japan - Tokyo and Kyoto - 4/1 thru 4/11

Old Jun 15, 18, 3:54 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 5
First time Japan - Tokyo and Kyoto - 4/1 thru 4/11

Hey All,

Have read a bunch of threads on here and done a bunch of research, but looking for more input... I'm kinda a knowledge whore...

Found Saver First Class ANA tickets from LAX to NRT right at blossom time. so I transferred my UR to VA and got two round trip first class tickets for 220k points and $500.
-Land on 4/1 @4 depart 5pm 4/11

We will be purchasing the 7 day JR Pass.
- Would like to keep this as a 4/4-4/11 pass and avoid having to pay for 14 day.

Two different bases of operation:
Tokyo 4/1 depart 4/5 for Kyoto
Kyoto 4/5 depart 4/11 to NRT

For Tokyo we will be staying in Hyatt Regency.

For Kyodo, planning on 4/10 to stay at Tawaraya for the night as a "silence and reflection" night with the experience involved.
- Have prices, know availability, just need to fax in the info.

In terms of trips, Tokyo we would like to do the city experience, Yokohama, etc. as the cherry blossom festivals.
For Kyoto, we would like to make it a more rural feel, as well as a trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima

What suggestions can you offer for the multi experiences in each area?
What Machiya is highly recommended in the Kyoto area? (Preferably not >200 a night, which I know is limited during this season)

I'm looking for any and all suggestions. From casual food, to must do bar experience, to how to experience Tsukiji.

Greatly appreciate it.
1Barn1 is offline  
Old Jun 18, 18, 3:41 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,010
Tsukiji Wholesale fish market is currently scheduled to move to the new location in 2018.

The only tip I would stress is if you want to see larger swaths of cherry blossoms in full bloom, be prepared to chase them or consider yourself lucky if the season blooms during your travel. They were quite early this year https://www.japan-guide.com/sakura/ and if you visited this year on the same itinerary, you probably would have missed the full bloom. I believe the scheduled festivals still go on but you wouldn't get the full experience. Mt Yoshino is reachable from Kyoto area https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4152.html and usually has a longer season due to the elevation differences.

Hiroshima does not feel like rural Japan as it is a city. Miyajima does, somewhat, but is fairly popular and busy during the day. Uji might be a nice slower suburb stop from Kyoto with cherry blossoms trees right next to the river by Byodoin temple. Nara gardens are also close though not rural, just green space & more traditional buildings. Kyoto will not feel rural during cherry blossom season as there will be a lot of tourists, international and domestic, with the same exact idea.
freecia is offline  
Old Jun 25, 18, 3:37 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Baltimore, MD (BWI/IAD)
Programs: United Mileage Plus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Alaska Mileage Plan, Amtrak Guest Rewards
Posts: 305
You're going to want to activate that JR pass on 4/5 if you want it to still be good on the day of your departure.

Also, make sure you give yourself enough time (four hours, rounding up) to get from Kyoto back to NRT: https://www.kyotostation.com/traveli...ional-airport/

Take the Hikari to Tokyo or Shinagawa and then catch the Narita Express to, uh, Narita, and per ANA, you want to be through check-in an hour before departure.
aresef is offline  
Old Jun 28, 18, 7:41 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: YVR/YEG/YYZ depending on day
Programs: E35K, FPC Platinum
Posts: 382
Hyatt Regency is Shinjuku right- must make a day at Isetan, with a drink at bar benfiddich. We love dogs and love the dog therapy outside the station.

Just had omakese dinner at Matsue in Ebisu- wonderful dinner, 25 courses.
For cheaper a la carte options, we were impressed with Itamaesushi (shinjuku)

We always return to Tokyo for one night before our departure at 5pm the next day and find it allows us to enjoy Tokyo a little more and no rush getting to NEX. With the JR pass, Nex is included I'm sure you know.

Really nice redemption flight btw, Hope timing works out for blossoms
YVRYEGYVR is offline  
Old Jun 30, 18, 7:17 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Southern California
Programs: AA EXPlat, 2.4MM; HHonors Diamond
Posts: 545
Originally Posted by 1Barn1 View Post
Hey All,

Have read a bunch of threads on here and done a bunch of research, but looking for more input... I'm kinda a knowledge whore...

Found Saver First Class ANA tickets from LAX to NRT right at blossom time. so I transferred my UR to VA and got two round trip first class tickets for 220k points and $500.
-Land on 4/1 @4 depart 5pm 4/11

We will be purchasing the 7 day JR Pass.
- Would like to keep this as a 4/4-4/11 pass and avoid having to pay for 14 day.

Two different bases of operation:
Tokyo 4/1 depart 4/5 for Kyoto
Kyoto 4/5 depart 4/11 to NRT

For Tokyo we will be staying in Hyatt Regency.

For Kyodo, planning on 4/10 to stay at Tawaraya for the night as a "silence and reflection" night with the experience involved.
- Have prices, know availability, just need to fax in the info.

In terms of trips, Tokyo we would like to do the city experience, Yokohama, etc. as the cherry blossom festivals.
For Kyoto, we would like to make it a more rural feel, as well as a trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima

What suggestions can you offer for the multi experiences in each area?
What Machiya is highly recommended in the Kyoto area? (Preferably not >200 a night, which I know is limited during this season)

I'm looking for any and all suggestions. From casual food, to must do bar experience, to how to experience Tsukiji.

Greatly appreciate it.
Just returned. Highly recommend Granvia Hotel in Kyoto, above the beautiful train station: Great service, perfect location, beautiful views especially if you book the "special" 15th floor.

And don't miss Nara, best with overnight stay, Noborioji hotel is right next to deer park and temples/shrines, with direct views of the park and incredible service and dining. Not cheap, but worth every yen.
kaka likes this.
catcher1 is offline  
Old Jul 6, 18, 3:31 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Programs: Hilton Diamond, IHG Spire Ambassador, Radisson Gold, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 3,197
I highly recommend visiting Yokohama. There's a lot to see there. Go to a Baystars game if they are in town. You might want to consider spending the night of the 5th in Yokohama, it's on the way to Kyoto and you won't have to double back to Tokyo. I don't think you need 6 nights in the Kyoto/Osaka/Hiroshima region. Consider making Hiroshima/Miyajima an overnight trip also.

Also, Japan has a great and very easy luggage transfer service called Ta Q Bin (Yamato Transport) . Very easy to use. When you check out of your hotel (assuming it's a proper hotel) you tell the Concierge where you want your luggage shipped and they take out the forms and fill them in and measure your bag and then you make payment to the hotel (like $15-$20 for a normal sized bag). Your bag arrives at your hotel the following evening. You can then walk to and from the train station if your hotels are close and take only a day bag with you. This is really convenient if you have an overnight stop somewhere (like Yokohama, Hiroshima, etc) because you can hop and off the trains easily for an overnight trip without carrying large luggage. Or I imagine you could just have large bags shipped from one Kyoto Hotel to Tarawaya if you wanted to overnight in Hiroshima in between.
jphripjah is offline  
Old Oct 20, 18, 2:50 am
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 5
So changing up a little bit in the requests.

Going to do a night stop over between Tokyo and Kyoto @ Hakone/Fuji.

This is where we are looking to do a Ryokan and I am looking for recommendations of these in that location. I don't want to spend $1,000 for 2 ppl for a night, but if it's something unbelievable, I guess I can.

I am looking for a standard, americanish, hotel in Kyoto.

As of now, the days in each city look as such:
Tokyo: Monday 5pm-Friday AM
Yokohama: Thursday, back to Tokyo at night
Leave tokyo Fri AM
Hakone/Fuji: Friday (noonish) - Saturday noonish
Kyoto: Sat Afternoon - Mon AM
Osaka: Mon AM. take train to Kobe around 5pm
Kobe: Dinner mainly and then leave Tuesday AM for Hiroshima (Recommendations for a good steak place?)
Hiroshima: Tuesday Noonish, Full day, take train to Tokyo @ Night
Tokyo: Tuesday night, until Thursday afternoon when take train back to NRT

Is this too packed, or what are thoughts on this?

Other than the Tokyo first stay, everything else is still flexible but Hakone, and Kyoto are two guaranteed additional cities.
1Barn1 is offline  
Old Oct 21, 18, 3:55 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: RDU
Posts: 604
I am doing a similar itinerary, but earlier to try and catch the blossoms earlier (arriving week before you).

The one problem I am seeing is Hakone/Kyoto, especially Kyoto. Many top recommendations are already booked up, with exception of maybe top level ($$$$) rooms. For Western hotel in Kyoto, you will have to look into smaller chains or hope for a cancellation. Checking earlier today, Hyatt/Sparriott options are all gone, and Hilton doesn't have a presence (closest is Osaka IIRC).

Good luck on ryokan, top options will be over 1k for 2ppl a night - you are arriving on a weekend during peak season (weekday is cheaper). We are attempting to book Ginyu for 1 night and are waiting to hear back.

IMO, we are fast travelers, but I think you may be too packed in the latter half. We are taking it a little slower than normal to really soak everything in and less hopping, as it is my SO's first time in Japan. We are likely opting to do 3 night Tokyo, 1 night Hakone (maybe two), 3-4 night Kyoto, and back to 3-4 night in Tokyo again. You are potentially losing a lot of time in travel. We strongly considered going to Kobe (also for dinner), but I think we will instead opt to find a restaurant in Tokyo for the experience instead.
tearex is offline  
Old Oct 21, 18, 12:31 pm
  #9  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 585
Originally Posted by freecia View Post
Tsukiji Wholesale fish market is currently scheduled to move to the new location in 2018.

The only tip I would stress is if you want to see larger swaths of cherry blossoms in full bloom, be prepared to chase them or consider yourself lucky if the season blooms during your travel. They were quite early this year https://www.japan-guide.com/sakura/ and if you visited this year on the same itinerary, you probably would have missed the full bloom. I believe the scheduled festivals still go on but you wouldn't get the full experience. Mt Yoshino is reachable from Kyoto area https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4152.html and usually has a longer season due to the elevation differences.

Hiroshima does not feel like rural Japan as it is a city. Miyajima does, somewhat, but is fairly popular and busy during the day. Uji might be a nice slower suburb stop from Kyoto with cherry blossoms trees right next to the river by Byodoin temple. Nara gardens are also close though not rural, just green space & more traditional buildings. Kyoto will not feel rural during cherry blossom season as there will be a lot of tourists, international and domestic, with the same exact idea.
I thought the blossoms last approximately a week after peak bloom? So peak bloom 2018 was March 27 so wouldn't that mean they were still up through roughly Apr 3?
kapooncha is offline  
Old Oct 21, 18, 3:55 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: London
Posts: 16,083
Originally Posted by kapooncha View Post
I thought the blossoms last approximately a week after peak bloom? So peak bloom 2018 was March 27 so wouldn't that mean they were still up through roughly Apr 3?
Not really, not this year they weren’t.

Chidorigafuchi (Moat near the Imperial Palace) was still beautiful on the 30th March, but that was the last day.

On the 1st April, at the Sakura festival in Musashino Park all the Sakura were well and truly gone.

Only a few late flowering examples were in evidence after the 30th March. It was a very short season this year.
I took a lot of notes recording the status of the Sakura in this thread - White Day and Cherry Blossom 2018 (starts in earnest from page 3 onwards).

Other years the season has been much longer - but there’s usually a downside, like a bitter cold front, for the blossoms to stall before dropping.
LapLap is offline  
Old Oct 21, 18, 4:04 pm
  #11  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 585
Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
Not really, not this year they weren’t.

Chidorigafuchi (Moat near the Imperial Palace) was still beautiful on the 30th March, but that was the last day.

On the 1st April, at the Sakura festival in Musashino Park all the Sakura were well and truly gone.

Only a few late flowering examples were in evidence after the 30th March. It was a very short season this year.
I took a lot of notes recording the status of the Sakura in this thread - White Day and Cherry Blossom 2018 (starts in earnest from page 3 onwards).

Other years the season has been much longer - but there’s usually a downside, like a bitter cold front, for the blossoms to stall before dropping.
All that being said, 2018 was a bit of anomaly. My understanding is that the first few days of April are usually safe for seeing the blossoms.
kapooncha is offline  
Old Oct 21, 18, 4:16 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: London
Posts: 16,083
Originally Posted by kapooncha View Post
All that being said, 2018 was a bit of anomaly. My understanding is that the first few days of April are usually safe for seeing the blossoms.
From direct experience, nearly every year since I’ve been taking a now 9 year child to see her grandfather in the Easter holidays, I wouldn’t say that early April is “Safe”.
Give it a 50% chance and don’t assume it will be fine.

Which is exactly why I was cataloguing the forecasts and pre-planning so keenly this year. Also important: be prepared to hit the ground running. That first day may be your last day (unless you aim to go somewhere like Matsumoto)
LapLap is offline  
Old Oct 21, 18, 4:35 pm
  #13  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 585
Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
From direct experience, nearly every year since I’ve been taking a now 9 year child to see her grandfather in the Easter holidays, I wouldn’t say that early April is “Safe”.
Give it a 50% chance and don’t assume it will be fine.

Which is exactly why I was cataloguing the forecasts and pre-planning so keenly this year. Also important: be prepared to hit the ground running. That first day may be your last day (unless you aim to go somewhere like Matsumoto)
I currently have Mar 31 - Apr 5. Do you think it would be more prudent to do Mar 29 - Apr 3? Hyatt Kyoto is still available on points so I'm fortunate at the moment.
kapooncha is offline  
Old Oct 21, 18, 4:46 pm
  #14  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: London
Posts: 16,083
Originally Posted by kapooncha View Post
I currently have Mar 31 - Apr 5. Do you think it would be more prudent to do Mar 29 - Apr 3? Hyatt Kyoto is still available on points so I'm fortunate at the moment.
I’ve been seeing a tendency for the Sakura to bloom earlier and earlier as an ongoing trend.

So yes, if you have the chance to go earlier, and the Sakura is important to you, it will be much safer to go those couple of days earlier.
You won’t have to cram as much in as soon as you arrive, less stress about missing things. And you almost certainly won’t be there too early - not unless the weather gets REALLY freaky.
kapooncha likes this.
LapLap is offline  
Old Oct 21, 18, 4:52 pm
  #15  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 585
Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
I’ve been seeing a tendency for the Sakura to bloom earlier and earlier as an ongoing trend.

So yes, if you have the chance to go earlier, and the Sakura is important to you, it will be much safer to go those couple of days earlier.
You won’t have to cram as much in as soon as you arrive, less stress about missing things. And you almost certainly won’t be there too early - not unless the weather gets REALLY freaky.
Thanks. I'll speculatively book those 2 extra nights for now until we have a better projection of what will happen.
kapooncha is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: