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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 10, 2024, 12:54 pm
  #61  
 
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Thank you for this! We changed our minds based on this thread. Cheers!
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Old Jan 10, 2024, 2:09 pm
  #62  
 
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Originally Posted by GodAtum
I get very nervous not staying near the airport before a flight. I live in London and still stay overnight at a Heathrow airport hotel just in case there's transport issues. Travelling half-way across Japan doesn't seem like a good idea, even though their trains are extremely reliable?
The trains are very reliable, however it is also accurate there is marginally more risk with a same-day departure versus leaving the day before as is the case with all repositions (person on the tracks, earthquake requiring several hours for track inspections, etc.). I am also a recent London resident and would never have stayed at an airport the night before - if that is your "level of caution", definitely head back to Tokyo a day early.
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Old Jan 10, 2024, 4:56 pm
  #63  
 
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Originally Posted by GodAtum
I get very nervous not staying near the airport before a flight. I live in London and still stay overnight at a Heathrow airport hotel just in case there's transport issues. Travelling half-way across Japan doesn't seem like a good idea, even though their trains are extremely reliable?
HND shouldn't be an issue but both times I've flown home to Seattle out of NRT the NEX has been delayed. Once because of snow, so not an issue, but last Oct a car got hit on the tracks. Delayed us an hour, so double the time it takes, and I'm fairly certain people on the train missed flights. If leave plenty of time like we did won't be an issue.
We also got delayed going to Osaka to Kyoto on the Thunderbird, again doubled the time it should take, and the regional line out of Osaka was delayed 30 min earlier that day. Maybe I'm just unlucky.
I would highly recommend Nara, more for Isuien Garden which was the most beautiful one we saw in 19 days than the deer.
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Old Jan 10, 2024, 5:08 pm
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Looking at Day 8, you have both Fushimi Inari and Kiyomizu Dera on the same day. Unless you're ok with going to two overly crowded attractions on the same day, I'd move Kiyomizu Dera to another day. If you're set on going there, arrive first thing in the morning.
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Old Jan 10, 2024, 5:56 pm
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Removed duplication
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Old Jan 10, 2024, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Gradfly
Looking at Day 8, you have both Fushimi Inari and Kiyomizu Dera on the same day. Unless you're ok with going to two overly crowded attractions on the same day, I'd move Kiyomizu Dera to another day. If you're set on going there, arrive first thing in the morning.
Google Maps has both a real time load and historical crowd tracker (best seen on desktop browser) I'm a little surprised Friday mid-morning and Sundays are actually lower volume compared to very busy Mondays (seriously, did New Year day and Coming of age crowds skew their data?)

I didn't know Kyoto has their own crowd prediction calendar and real time streaming https://global.kyoto.travel/en/comfort/ a la Disney crowd prediction calendars. Click on a location to see a hour x day chart. Happened to see it in a comment on Kyoto with less crowds from King Kogi/Martina https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rUxNC2C5l1HSIj

Edit: to stop linkage for embedding Google Map with expired token.
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Old Jan 10, 2024, 6:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Gradfly
Looking at Day 8, you have both Fushimi Inari and Kiyomizu Dera on the same day. Unless you're ok with going to two overly crowded attractions on the same day, I'd move Kiyomizu Dera to another day. If you're set on going there, arrive first thing in the morning.
I would reorder this day as follows: do Kiyomizudera first thing in the morning, as early as possible (this temple and the shopping streets as you come down are lovely at dawn, and a complete mess after 9am or thereabouts), then Uji (consider booking a tea ceremony experience in Uji instead of Gion to reduce back and forth), then Fushimi Inari. In June the daylight hours are very long and since OP is willing to hike to the top, Fushimi Inari isn't too bad at most times of the day.
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Old Jan 11, 2024, 3:40 am
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Agneisse
I would reorder this day as follows: do Kiyomizudera first thing in the morning, as early as possible (this temple and the shopping streets as you come down are lovely at dawn, and a complete mess after 9am or thereabouts), then Uji (consider booking a tea ceremony experience in Uji instead of Gion to reduce back and forth), then Fushimi Inari. In June the daylight hours are very long and since OP is willing to hike to the top, Fushimi Inari isn't too bad at most times of the day.
Thanks I've done what you suggested. After Kiyomizudera, there's a tea ceremony nearby so I'll do that instead, then go to Fushimi Inari.
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Old Jan 11, 2024, 4:05 am
  #69  
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Originally Posted by GodAtum
Thanks I've done what you suggested. After Kiyomizudera, there's a tea ceremony nearby so I'll do that instead, then go to Fushimi Inari.
Please consider getting an introduction to a tea ceremony before your visit so that you can take in more of the details when you are in Kyoto.

The British Museum has its own tea room and the Urasenke school gives regular demonstrations.
https://www.britishmuseum.org/events/way-tea
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 12:02 pm
  #70  
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For Day 9, do you think it's best to go to Yasaka Shrine first thing in the morning (6am) or Nanzen-Ji Temple (8:40am)?
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 1:45 pm
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Originally Posted by GodAtum
For Day 9, do you think it's best to go to Yasaka Shrine first thing in the morning (6am) or Nanzen-Ji Temple (8:40am)?
Yasaka Shrine is 24/7 so you can visit whenever. So the question is really whether you want to start your day at 6am or 8:40am?

Also on day 9, I think Philosophers Path is only worth the status of an "attraction" (vs simply being the road that happens to be the most efficient path between other things you actually want to see) during cherry blossoms and very arguably foliage season, unless you're a big fan of the two philosophers in question.
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 8:43 pm
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While it's not as spectacular as, say, the bamboo grove at Arashiyama, I think the Philosophers' Path can be quite lovely if it's not too crowded. I don't see a problem with listing it as an attraction in and of itself. Some of us like nothing better than walking along a nice path.
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 9:08 pm
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[QUOTE=jib71;35904372]While it's not as spectacular as, say, the bamboo grove at Arashiyama, [/QQUOTE] i would say spectacular is in the eye of the beholder. I call it the most underwhelming item in all the top lists for kyoto.
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 10:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Topcare
i would say spectacular is in the eye of the beholder. I call it the most underwhelming item in all the top lists for kyoto.
Of course, any opinion is subjective, but I think most people would consider Arashiyama to be a more visually dramatic spectacle than the Philosophers' Walk. Are you saying that you disagree?
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Old Jan 31, 2024, 6:46 am
  #75  
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Apologies for piggybacking on this thread but I have a similar question so thought I would ask here rather than starting a new thread.

Planning a trip to Japan. This will be my first trip & will be traveling with my wife & 2 kids aged 11 & 9. We haven't decided whether to go in June or December. In June we will only be able to go for 10 days while over Christmas/New year we can stretch the trip out to 2 weeks. I'm getting the award space I want for 4 tickets both for June & December so I need to decide quick & book before the seats go away. What are the advantages & disadvantages of traveling to Japan over the summer or winter?

The plan would be to visit Tokyo & Kyoto for sure. Maybe one more place if we are going for the longer duration in December.

I was looking at ways to travel within the country & am undecided on the mode of transport. One option would be to fly between Tokyo - Osaka. I'm once again getting plenty of award space so this would be the cheapest way for me. The second option is taking the train from Tokyo to Kyoto & back. This would be more expensive but I am open to taking the train in Japan & have been told this is something I must do as a first time visitor. The third option would be to rent a car. A 5-6 day rental would again cost the same as taking the train but would give us the added flexibility of moving around on our own schedule. I'm comfortable driving anywhere & use this as our general mode of transport between cities no matter where we go so I've driven in Asia, Europe, US, Middle East, Africa, etc without any problem. Having said that, how easy or difficult is it to drive in Japan & what would the drive be like between Tokyo & Osaka/Kyoto?

Still undecided on hotels as of now. Was initially looking to use Bonvoy points so that would mean sticking to Marriott properties. This would also mean booking 2 rooms wherever we go since none of the properties will accommodate 4 people in a room. The second option would be to book an apartment wherever we go. There seem to be tons of options on hotel. com & Vrbo but I'm unsure which area of the city would be best & which areas to avoid.

Finally, what are the things that are a must for a first time visitor, keeping in mind that I have 2 small kids with me (one of who is obsessed with Pokemon so is counting the days before we go)? We have been to Disney Land & Universal in the US so that is of no interest to us.

I'm looking to pull the trigger & book my tickets this weekend so any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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