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Golden Week 2023

Golden Week 2023

Old Dec 31, 2022, 7:53 am
  #1  
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Golden Week 2023

Hi,

I have booked a couple of weeks off at the start of May 2023 and planning on going back to Japan
I have just remembered that the first week is golden week.
I was wondering how bad it will be at these places ( would travel by shinkansen and reserve seats )
April 30- arrive Japan
Nagasaki 2 or 3 days
Hiroshima 3 or 4 days ( inc a trip to Miyajima for the torii gate
Himeji Castle ( overnight)
Kyoto ( was thinking starting here on 6th May at the end of golden week for 3 or 4 days
Osaka ( then fly out from Osaka on 11/12 May)

Will avoid Tokyo this trip unless a really good fare appeared ( and planning a Dec 2023 trip anyway). Might skip Nagasaki for more days elsewhere.
Are these doable please or likely to be so crowded it is better to avoid them ?

Thanks

TBS
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Old Dec 31, 2022, 4:52 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot
Hi,

I have booked a couple of weeks off at the start of May 2023 and planning on going back to Japan
I have just remembered that the first week is golden week.
I was wondering how bad it will be at these places ( would travel by shinkansen and reserve seats )
April 30- arrive Japan
Nagasaki 2 or 3 days
Hiroshima 3 or 4 days ( inc a trip to Miyajima for the torii gate
Himeji Castle ( overnight)
Kyoto ( was thinking starting here on 6th May at the end of golden week for 3 or 4 days
Osaka ( then fly out from Osaka on 11/12 May)

Will avoid Tokyo this trip unless a really good fare appeared ( and planning a Dec 2023 trip anyway). Might skip Nagasaki for more days elsewhere.
Are these doable please or likely to be so crowded it is better to avoid them ?

Thanks

TBS
Yes, you should expect it to be busy. GW is April 28/29 to May 7/8.

The past 3 Golden Weeks in Japan have been heavily muted due to Covid, so there is a bit of pent up demand that may go beyond the "normal" crowdedness that any GW creates. Add on to it foreign tourists, including people from China., which should be even more open by then.

So start booking now if you haven't already (though if you can delay a week, that would be way way better).

In the past year or two, JR has some new online reservation systems (in English) for advance purchase (done separately for JR East, JR Central, JR West, etc), and there are also some private companies that have been set up to do this. I haven't used any yet, but as far as I understand, they still have the one-month-in-advance reservation limit. A private company may somehow be able to get around this to sell farther in advance (maybe as a registered travel agency?), but I think directly through JR the one month rule still stands. If so, then its gonna be rough securing your Shinkansen tickets for that time. Good luck!
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Old Dec 31, 2022, 7:11 pm
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Flights are rammed on 29th and 30th right now and 4, 5, 6 and 7. 28th is OK, 1st and 2nd in J and F look OK.
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Old Jan 10, 2023, 6:24 pm
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Any suggestions about where to visit with a 10-month-old infant during the Golden Week in Japan? I think the Shinkansen trains will be flooded with people...
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Old Jan 10, 2023, 8:24 pm
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Originally Posted by ftakak
Any suggestions about where to visit with a 10-month-old infant during the Golden Week in Japan? I think the Shinkansen trains will be flooded with people...
What does the 10-month old enjoy? Are they into galleries and people watching, or do they prefer to be in the great outdoors? Do they want to get around by public transportation or would they be happy to rent a car? Are they on a tight budget or is money no object? Are they very active, or do they just want to get to a nice resort and hang out by the pool with a cocktail? There's so much diversity among 10-month olds that it's hard to make a one-size-fits-all recommendation.

In 2023, the first of the Golden Week holidays (Apr 29) falls on a Saturday, which is already a day off for most office workers. Many people will use a couple of vacation days to make it a 9-day break from April 29 (Sat) to May 7 (Sun). Others will have a 5-day break from May 3 (Wed) to May 7 (Sun).

The peak "outbound" travel dates will probably be (1) Evening of Apr 28 through Apr 29, and (2) Evening of May 2 through May 3. The peak "return" travel dates will be May 6 and 7.

There's a chance that the peaks will be especially hectic with the holidays falling as they do this year. My advice is to avoid those days if possible and make sure that you reserve hotel rooms and train seats well in advance.
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Old Jan 10, 2023, 8:40 pm
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot
Hi,

I have booked a couple of weeks off at the start of May 2023 and planning on going back to Japan
I have just remembered that the first week is golden week.
I was wondering how bad it will be at these places ( would travel by shinkansen and reserve seats )
April 30- arrive Japan
Nagasaki 2 or 3 days
Hiroshima 3 or 4 days ( inc a trip to Miyajima for the torii gate
Himeji Castle ( overnight)
Kyoto ( was thinking starting here on 6th May at the end of golden week for 3 or 4 days
Osaka ( then fly out from Osaka on 11/12 May)

Will avoid Tokyo this trip unless a really good fare appeared ( and planning a Dec 2023 trip anyway). Might skip Nagasaki for more days elsewhere.
Are these doable please or likely to be so crowded it is better to avoid them ?

Thanks

TBS
Hiroshima has the Flower Festival on May 3-5 and it attracts 1.5 million over 3 days. But just checked the website and this year because of the G7 Summit, it is being postponed until June. I was going to suggest avoiding it if you don't like crowds, but I guess you lucked out this year.
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Old Jan 11, 2023, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by ftakak
Any suggestions about where to visit with a 10-month-old infant during the Golden Week in Japan? I think the Shinkansen trains will be flooded with people...
I have four recommendations in the Tokyo area for a child who is inquisitive, keen to climb and desperate to explore their surroundings:

Akebono Children’s Forest Park
Nihon Minka En
Fukagawa Edo Museum
Showa Kinen Koen (Take note of the Forest House in the Children’s Forest area which has the best facilities for changing and indoor play for a baby/toddler)

Also the public gardens just outside the Imperial Palace have some of the best accessible turf I’ve come across. Honmaru O Shibafu is beautifully tended and lovely and springy. If your kid just wants to be in motion and charge around everywhere rather than investigate details the grass here is particularly luxurious.

Harajuku gets extremely crowded when the older kids are on holiday and is best avoided. I suspect Akihabara is similar. However, many other parts of Tokyo have a tendency to empty out during Golden Week and it can be one of the best places to be
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Old Jan 15, 2023, 12:59 pm
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Hi,

Begining to firm up my plans for my trip

April 29th do BUD-LHR-HND-Hiroshima with BA/JAL ( JAL 777 for LHR-HND)
Apr 30 8 Nights at Hilton Hiroshima ( Y37k per night inc tax and service charge)- will get free breakfast and lounge access
It is a long time in Hiroshima but will relax and look around Hiroshima and the immediate area ( will make a change from Tokyo/Osaka from my previous Japan visits) and saves long distance travelling during golden week

For my last three nights i am down to two options

(1) Shinkansen to Nagasaki for 2 nights then internal flight to Tokyo for final night before a mid morning HND-LHR- BUD ( for a same day flight from Hiroshima it would be a very early start)

(2) Shinkansen to Kyoto ( stop for a few hours at Himeji ( leave my carry on in a station locker) staying at the hilton garden inn then shinkansen to tokyo for final night.

Hotels are booked ( Hilton ) on a flexible rate

Last edited by The _Banking_Scot; Jan 15, 2023 at 1:13 pm
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Old Jan 15, 2023, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot


Apr 30 8 Nights at Hilton Hiroshima ( Y37k per night inc tax and service charge)- will get free breakfast and lounge access
It is a long time in Hiroshima but will relax and look around Hiroshima and the immediate area ( will make a change from Tokyo/Osaka from my previous Japan visits) and saves long distance travelling during golden week

Not sure if you have spent any time in Shimane, but Izumo Taisha, Matsue Castle and the amazing Adachi Museum are worth a visit. Also can't beat this deal of 500yen for the highway bus there. Quite a beautiful bus ride over the Chugoku mountain range, too.
Discount Bus to Shimane
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Old Jan 15, 2023, 3:35 pm
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From Hiroshima, consider day trips to Onomichi and Itsukushima (Miyajima).
I don't see anything wrong with any of your ideas - Himeji, Kyoto, Nagasaki are all great. In terms of convenience of connections, Nagasaki is quite a haul from the city. Hiroshima airport is also a long bus ride from the city. The city with the best located airport is Fukuoka. Might be a good place to consider for the end of your trip if you don't already know it.
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Old Jan 15, 2023, 3:50 pm
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Hi,

Thanks ( it looks like about 50mins by bus from Hiroshima airport to the city centre). The price of the intl flight to hiroshima ( 3 hrs in HND outbound ) is the same as to Tokyo ( JAL ticket). It will be a long day ( BUD-LHR- overnight to HND then arriving at hiroshima around 1900 but buses still run till around 2200 i think per the time table)

Also considering Iwakuni for the bridge and Okayama for the Korakuen garden

Regards

TBS
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Old Jan 18, 2023, 4:04 am
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I was there during golden week in 2019 and didn't have a problem getting a capsule hotel semi last minute. It was Golden Week, the emperor's inaguration, and Pride. Maybe I just got lucky but it worked out for me. Would still reccomend booking in advance
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Old Jan 20, 2023, 11:55 am
  #13  
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One thing I'd consider, is instead of staying in Himeji overnight, take the train (40min on special rapid or you can also take shinkansen if you're fancy) to Kobe and stay there overnight. Get a hotel with a nice harbor view.

Himeji doesn't really offer a ton beyond the castle, Kobe is more tourist-friendly and has better restaurants / vibe. If your next destination is Kyoto it is along the way.
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Last edited by mhy; Jan 20, 2023 at 12:02 pm
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Old Jan 27, 2023, 9:02 pm
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot

Also considering Iwakuni for the bridge and Okayama for the Korakuen garden

Regards

TBS
Can't go wrong with either of those. If you are also a Drinking Scot as well as a banking one, you might enjoy a distillery tour. Sakurao is from Hiroshima and the distillery is not far from where you would get the ferry for Miyajima. They make gin and whiskey. Sakurao Tour
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Old Jan 28, 2023, 1:10 am
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Originally Posted by hijiji
Can't go wrong with either of those.
Well ... I didn't think the bridge at Iwakuni was worth the price of admission. (It's free of charge).
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