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Thoughts on 2 week itinerary for a 1st timer to Japan

Thoughts on 2 week itinerary for a 1st timer to Japan

Old Jan 8, 2024, 10:43 pm
  #31  
 
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I just checked your revised spreadsheet and it's improving!

Hoshinoya Tokyo is a 48 minute walk or 15 min train ride to Tameike-sannō Station, not a 5 min walk
The closest subway location is Otemachi https://hoshinoya.com/tokyo/en/access/

Others can advise to specific exits but I'd also avoid going counter traffic flows in the morning rush hour at the largest stations. There will be a lot of people flowing out of the the larger stations including Tokyo station.
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 3:05 am
  #32  
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[MENTION=24603]freecia[/MENTION] has given some excellent advice.

Let’s look at day 1

Your fixed point is a 10am appt at Shibuya Scramble square. As [MENTION=185180]McG[/MENTION] pointed out, start point is Otemachi (Tameike Sanno? Why?)

Travel time is 20minutes. Add another 20 minutes, you are going to have to locate the building and work your way up to the start point.
To achieve this leave your hotel at 9:20am (better still, leave at 9am and give yourself a further cushion, there’ll be a lot to take in)

You’ve written 10am to 1pm Shibuya. That’s not realistic.
You can’t get to the top of Scramble Square, visit Miyashita Park (let alone visit Hands or anywhere else), have lunch and complete the 20 minute walk to the Meiji Jingu gates in time for 1pm
- Both the Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie buildings are designed to be massive time absorbers
1pm to 4pm Meiji Jingu and Harajuku - can be done
4pm to 5pm travel time to rendezvous point in Shinjuku including coffee stop - can be done
5pm tour starts in Shinjuku

Day 2 is better
10am to 12noon - Ghibli Museum Mitaka
You are having lunch in Kichijoji - bear in mind that there might be a queue

3pm Asakusa - that’s fine, you may even get there earlier
Give yourself an hour to get from Asakusa to Nishiazabu Kamikura (10mins walk from Hiroo station)
6pm - dinner reservation
Hiroo is a lovely place to wander around in.

Day 3
This recent post confirms my own expectation of what Tsukiji is like now that the business has moved to Toyama Market
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/35832705-post224.html

Jumping to Day 5

I only suggested Yoshibōrin on the understanding that you were also going to Nezu Temple.

Honestly, I can’t follow your itinerary.
I adore the Yanaka area but it is news to me that Yanaka cemetery is called “cat cemetery”. Like many neighbourhoods in Tokyo, if you give yourself time to just walk around and explore there will be dozens of opportunities to take photos of interesting places with a photogenic cat in the frame.
Alas, there is no time in your spreadsheet for exploring.

I also don’t understand why you’ve got a Nezu to Shin-Ochanomizu journey in your spreadsheet between Yanaka Cemetery and Akihabara
Yanaka Cemetery is between Nippori and Uguisudani stations on the Yamanote line, both of which give direct access to Akihabara (15 mins)
Unless “cat cemetery” is something else entirely.

Last edited by LapLap; Jan 9, 2024 at 3:27 am
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 3:37 am
  #33  
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Originally Posted by McG
Otemachi station is the nearest to Hoshinoya Tokyo according to Google Maps.

For arrivals day:

After clearing customs and immigration at Haneda, I would look into using a same day Takkyubin service to ship your luggage to your hotel. Otherwise head to the hotel to leave your luggage with them as I'm not sure if the Hoshinoya offer early check in or if they are like most hotels and insist on 3pm onwards.
Rather than then heading across Tokyo to Shibuya for afternoon tea followed by a further 30-40 minute journey to the cat bar for drinks, I would venture out to some of the areas close to the hotel - the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Station, Ginza, Yurakucho and Shimbashi. That way when tiredness hits you are relatively close to the hotel and it also lets you get acclimatised to an unfamiliar city. It would also maybe allow you to re-jig your itinerary to provide more time on other days to explore other areas.
Thanks, there's a Happy Pancake in Ginza so I'll aim for that instead. And I moved the cat bar to Day 3.
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 3:42 am
  #34  
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Originally Posted by LapLap
[MENTION=24603]freecia[/MENTION] has given some excellent advice.

Let’s look at day 1

Your fixed point is a 10am appt at Shibuya Scramble square. As [MENTION=185180]McG[/MENTION] pointed out, start point is Otemachi (Tameike Sanno? Why?)

Travel time is 20minutes. Add another 20 minutes, you are going to have to locate the building and work your way up to the start point.
To achieve this leave your hotel at 9:20am (better still, leave at 9am and give yourself a further cushion, there’ll be a lot to take in)

You’ve written 10am to 1pm Shibuya. That’s not realistic.
You can’t get to the top of Scramble Square, visit Miyashita Park (let alone visit Hands or anywhere else), have lunch and complete the 20 minute walk to the Meiji Jingu gates in time for 1pm
- Both the Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie buildings are designed to be massive time absorbers
1pm to 4pm Meiji Jingu and Harajuku - can be done
4pm to 5pm travel time to rendezvous point in Shinjuku including coffee stop - can be done
5pm tour starts in Shinjuku
Sorry I don't understand you question. I just used Google Maps from the Capitol Hotel to Shibuya Sky and it says:

Walk 5 mins 09:16 - 09:26 Tameike-sannō Station - Shibuya Station (Ginza Line Local Shibuya, 26 mins, ¥180) Walk 4 mins
I'm getting very frustrated with these so called "websites". This one says Shibuya 10am-1pm. Can I trust any of them then?

Originally Posted by LapLap
3pm Asakusa - that’s fine, you may even get there earlier
Give yourself an hour to get from Asakusa to Nishiazabu Kamikura (10mins walk from Hiroo station)
6pm - dinner reservation
Hiroo is a lovely place to wander around in.
Again Google Maps is suggesting slightly different:

Walk 3 mins
16:44 - 17:01 Asakusa Station - Ginza Station (17 mins, Ginza Line Local Shibuya)
17:07 - 17:20 Ginza Station - Hiro-o Station (13 mins, Hibiya Line Local Naka-Meguro)
¥260
Walk 9 mins

Last edited by GodAtum; Jan 9, 2024 at 3:48 am
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 3:50 am
  #35  
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Originally Posted by GodAtum
Sorry I don't understand you question. I just used Google Maps from the Capitol Hotel to Shibuya Sky
Are you planning to stay at the Capitol or the Hoshinoya?
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 3:55 am
  #36  
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Originally Posted by McG
Are you planning to stay at the Capitol or the Hoshinoya?
People have advised against Hoshinoya so I've chosen the Capitol now based on this post.
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 4:04 am
  #37  
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Ah ok. Ignore the info then about Otemachi station.

The Capital is still pretty close to Tokyo Station, the Imperial Palace, Ginza etc so my recommendation for just taking it easy and exploring these areas on your arrival day would still stand.
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 4:14 am
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Originally Posted by GodAtum
Sorry I don't understand you question. I just used Google Maps from the Capitol Hotel to Shibuya Sky and it says:



I'm getting very frustrated with these so called "websites". This one says Shibuya 10am-1pm. Can I trust any of them then?



Again Google Maps is suggesting slightly different:
Did you opt for a different hotel in Tokyo than the original post? ETA: I see the confirmation above. Then you've got the right station.

As to the Google Maps transit times, they're basing the speed and navigation for mostly locals which are faster than tourists. LapLap mentioned add at least 20 minutes to Google and it is good advice. So you don't show up sweaty, very wet, or late (I've done all three mostly separately and do not advise) The subway door (be queued at 16:43) to getting off 2nd train is approx 20 + 16 min including transfer, walk of 12 min. Add variance if you miss the exact train and assume it comes every ~ 4 minutes. That's 52 minutes total. Giving yourself an hour to find the place including checking station exit maps and possibly in the rain when things look different is pretty close. https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1307/A...dtlphotolst/4/
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 4:14 am
  #39  
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Originally Posted by freecia
Here's two relevant points to know about Japan:
  1. They love making ranked lists and checklists. Seriously, they have stamp rallies. This also means those with limited time might want to see if their interests align with a random tourist list (or even those from tourism agencies and guide companies). If it exists, it is on some list.
  2. Tourism is very well developed. Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka all have a lot to do depending on your tastes. Many English checklists for the "Golden Triangle" won't be 100% accomplishable even if you had over 2 weeks. Japanese salary workers don't get that many days off per year so they tend to stick to 2-4 day itineraries of fast paced checklists.
It isn't just the journey time some day itineraries don't account for, it is pacing over multiple days in addition to not accounting for weather.

Here's my advice as someone who has taken her share of pajama whistlestop bus tours, has designed & carried out a few group day trips in destination locales, and also travels solo to Japan (repeatedly)

How to plan a checklist trip with less heartache and muscle pain:
  1. Be pragmatic and also at times, ruthless. If you go on a group pajama tour (nicknamed such as you basically have so little time to make it through the tourist checklist, you might as well not change) then the packed itinerary is set for you at the cost of choice and sleep. If you set your own itinerary, be honest about what you want to see. There's plenty to see in Japan and skipping something on someone else's checklist doesn't mean you necessarily "missed out"*. Don't know what you want to see**?
  2. Set your priorities. Go through the interests/itinerary and label them P1-P4, P1 being the highest. On the fence about skipping something? Throw it into P3, go look at a few photos later, and see if you want to upgrade the priority.
  3. Move lower priority items off the "schedule", noting their general area. This gives you the some room in your schedule to hit the fixed timings and higher priority sights. Add nearby low priority items back while you're already there if time allows. As LapLap mentioned, some of the transit schedules can't be worked around your current fixed timings for tours and reservations. The food tours at slightly earlier than dinner times require the rest of the day to be more flexible. If your schedule is too full, you will be late for fixed timings. Japanese culture is generally very punctual. Late = They'll keep your money and you won't get to go on the tour.
  4. Schedule your down time AND be-present-time to wander if you really follow schedules. Maybe you have your checklist and socials to post (FOMO), but even pajama tours know to schedule "free time" or guests will end up sick and too tired. Plus out of clean clothes and unkempt/athleisure isn't the every day style in these cities. Some people physically can't handle 4 days of 15-20+k steps in the heat. Others feel really socially isolated and would greatly benefit from a video chat home or "comfort tv show" or food. I'd suggest at least 3 hours every 2.5-3 days at the pace you have planned. You know your physical limits better than people on the internet. Some people like the whirlwind to the point of needing a vacation to recover after vacation like Agneisse but knowing your limits and interests is important to avoid actual disappointment. Not having any be-present time to wander would definitely be missing out, IMO. That's my own learned experience. There's FOMO due to peer pressure but actual regret from missing experience memories as that's what my (not-great) memory and feelings retain the longest.
  5. Review your next day or two itinerary at the end of a day. Be ok with adjusting things based on what you did like. Do more of that. Defeated feeling due to planning failures multiple days in a row? Book that day trip tour and follow the guide (shift the responsibility, I won't tell) or just do 1 P1 thing and treat yourself to something happy. We're not the ones spending your money, enjoying your vacation
* Things I have not done which are on various peoples 1st time visitor must checklists - a lot, actually. Tokyo Tuna markets, climb to top of Mt. Fuji, just about everything Ghibli, Pokemon, and Disney. I have been to probably 60% of Japan's prefectures? Do I regret trading them for sleep, travel outside the big cities, or onsen time? Not really. Perhaps will accompany friends and their families to these places on a future visit.

**Don't know what you want to see - easy mode is to look at paid group tour itineraries with some pictures and try to duplicate it if your interests align, allowing some variance for non-guided public transit vs their chartered vehicles or guided local transit. These are actual attraction checklists which people have generally paid to see and their peers also accept as "must see destinations", though personal experience says to check for "shopping time" and odd "why is this an attraction" which may be bio break bathroom stops.

Look for a few other tourism related videos from YouTubers you don't normally watch Japan YouTuber thread I enjoy some of the channels but logically know I won't be replicating all of their trips (Solo Travel San is a car ferry otaku and Suit Train can sit longer than I can, which is impressive)

Klook Day trips is a booking portal with local operators Klook - Has Anyone Used Recently? which specializes in Asia. Asians do checklist travel well (see limited time off again and checklist travel is also cultural)

Sample Kyoto & Nara - https://www.klook.com/en-US/activity...ay-tour-kyoto/ We see this is an 11 hour trip. If we look at the afternoon portion of the schedule


Sample Tokyo Highlights https://www.klook.com/en-US/activity...kId=07887b9bfd
Thanks for all the advice. The problem I find is the overwhelming amount of information I've gathered after spending over 5 years researching this trip. I have 100s of pages of notes. Also, have to book some attractions reduces my flexibility.

I didn't have such a hard time when I first went to New York. Admittedly there's a lot less on people's bucket lists (Empire Sate and Statue of Liberty).

I might try listing down everything I want to see grouped by priority, and see if that helps.

For example, I'd like to visit Nara and Kishi station but that'll require 2 extra days in Osaka. I also can't find time to visit the Hokokuji bamboo forest.
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 4:35 am
  #40  
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Originally Posted by GodAtum
I might try listing down everything I want to see grouped by priority, and see if that helps.
I think that will help.
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 5:45 am
  #41  
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What do you think of these plans? They both have maps and timings.

https://tessomewhere.com/itinerary-f...inerary_7_Days and https://www.reformatt.com/7-day-tokyo-pocket-itinerary
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 6:44 am
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by GodAtum
What do you think of these plans?
They are well put together and offer a lot of inspiration. I wouldn't expect many people to follow them to the letter. As a great philosopher once said ... "Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the mouth."
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 7:42 am
  #43  
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Originally Posted by GodAtum
What do you think of these plans? They both have maps and timings.

https://tessomewhere.com/itinerary-f...inerary_7_Days and https://www.reformatt.com/7-day-tokyo-pocket-itinerary
I think the first 5 days of tessomewhere itinerary is a useful template (except the pre-Ginza part of Day 4.)

No point in sharing what I actually think of the reformatt suggestions.

—-
Talking about getting punched in the mouth, have you understood that the odds of seeing Mount Fuji from Arakurayama Sengen Park are not in your favour?
Is this somewhere you would enjoy being regardless?
—-
It looks like my advice of adding 20 minutes to your journey times didn’t sink in (thanks [MENTION=24603]freecia[/MENTION] for explaining!)
—-
I now understand that your start point has moved to the Capitol Hotel. Hie Shrine is right by the hotel but you can see the torii gates very early or after dusk as they are lit up for a while. You are likely to get better pictures here than at the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto even despite it being smaller and less impressive.
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 8:26 am
  #44  
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Thanks, I'll add 20 mins to travel times. Looking at my map, it seems I could move Senso-ji from Day 2, to the start of Day 5 at 6am. Then carry on with the museums?
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Old Jan 9, 2024, 8:34 am
  #45  
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Originally Posted by GodAtum
Thanks, I'll add 20 mins to travel times. Looking at my map, it seems I could move Senso-ji from Day 2, to the start of Day 5 at 6am. Then carry on with the museums?
Yes, the temple grounds open early, so that would be a smart use of your time. Also, you might find that you enjoy the vibe at Kichijoji and want to explore the area before returning to central Tokyo.

Last edited by LapLap; Jan 9, 2024 at 8:41 am
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