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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 7, 2024, 10:50 am
  #1  
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Thoughts on 2 week itinerary for a 1st timer to Japan

Hi all, any feedback on my plans would be greatly appreciated. I'm struggling to work out the timings of attractions and the travel time between them.

With all the things that require pre-booking, I'm struggling to reduce the night count down to 14. For example, I've got 2 days for Universal Studios Japan and Ghibli Park, but can they be done in 1 day saving me a night?

Also, I couldn't find time to fit in Nara and Hiroshima which I'm disappointed with.

Travelling in June, I'm a bit concerned about the rainy season, especially doing a lot of walking and public transport.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...gid=1893811737

Flights and Hotel wise:
  • Flights 26 May - 13 June 4,053.99
  • Hoshinoya Tokyo 27 May - 2 June Yuri (Deluxe King) 2,433.00
  • Mitsui Hotel 2 - 5 June Deluxe Suite (King) 3,131.00
  • St Regis Osaka 5 - 10 June 1 King Bed, Skyline View 1,842.00
  • Hoshinoya Tokyo 10 - 13 June Yuri (Deluxe King) 961.00
TOTAL 12,420.99

Last edited by GodAtum; Jan 7, 2024 at 10:57 am
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 12:36 pm
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Hi,

I assume the 5 nights in osaka would include visiting Kyoto and Universal studios as otherwise 5 days in osaka might be too long
Where is the Mitsui hotel please?
Are you planning on 2 days each for Ghibli and Universal Studios japan or 2 days for both


From Osaka you could get to Hiroshima in 1.5 hours on the fastest Shinkansen so a day trip is possible

Regards

TBS
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 1:47 pm
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Do you want to optimize for avoiding crowds and thus able to move through sights a bit easier? If so, you should shift the most popular/crowded outdoor attractions to early morning or later evening.

I would probably switch up the order of Days 1-3 in Tokyo a bit. I'm not from London but going to Shibuya crowds right after arrival if I had a stay at Hoshinoya (I'd want to actually spend some time in the room after a long flight) is a bit stress inducing for my personal preference. If you like museums but don't love them (I know people who read all the placards) then perhaps a trip to Ueno Park if the weather is nice and just pick a museum or go to the zoo. Walk over to Ameyoko market if you want a bit of crowd and stop off at the candy/snack shop Niki No Kashi* https://japantravel.navitime.com/en/...02301-1406142/ to pick up some snacks to try throughout the trip so you can decide if you want to buy specific snacks before you leave Japan. If you're more into current anime or into Akiba-like things, stores don't really open until 10 am but larger electronics shops do stay open until 8-10pm. Most department stores close at 8 pm.

How interested are you in Fushimi Inari Taisha or Osaka aquarium? You could trade one of those days with a trip to Hiroshima and Himeiji Castle. If you're after seeing "free ranging" deer, Miyajima Island near Hiroshima also has deer wandering about and a large Torii in the water. Trying to see all three would be a long day trip with early start from Osaka or Kyoto, though might be possible if Miyajima was visited last or sandwiched between Hiroshima attractions and a late dinner.

Zakka/Home-goods: There's other locations of "Hands"/formerly Tokyu Hands https://info.hands.net/en/list/kanto.html and most people probably would be fine with a medium sized shop on fewer levels than the Shibuya Hands store. A friend and I also joke that there are Loft vs Hands people (and the people forced to accompany them who were done in the first 15 minutes). I've trended towards Loft a bit more https://www.loft.co.jp/shop_list_en/ and there's a Ginza flagship location, too.

* Niki No Kashi has a rather large assortment of snacks including old time candies, snacks seen in older anime but not currently that popular (I rarely see Ghibli star candy outside tourist areas), and other snacks more popular with diaspora/older than younger JP population (my searched for snack is Calbee Shrimp chips which is usually not that easy to find inside JP outside a proper large grocery store or DonKi, partner's was the now-discontinued is Sakuma drops and fortunately the bagged ones from still operating Sakuma Seika confectionary
サクマ製菓 and "American Sized bags" of spicy & regular kaki no tane).
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Last edited by freecia; Jan 7, 2024 at 2:10 pm
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 1:54 pm
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Perhaps Mitsui Hotel refers to Hotel The Mitsui, Kyoto?

If so, I would suggest that you consolidate the Kyoto and Osaka stays into one, since the two cities are close together. I would opt to stay in Kyoto but YMMV.

To mix things up a little you might want to experience a night at a rural hot spring ryokan.

Nara is certainly doable as a day trip from Kyoto or Osaka.

Someone recently commented that Hoshinoya is inferior to other Tokyo hotels in the same price range. I wouldnt know about that.
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 2:31 pm
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I searched your back posts and came across the "commute time" vs "attraction time" post https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/35440086-post8.html and wanted to mention that Japanese "trip plan" brochures often provide a timed schedule "ideal plan", though they may not match up to current transportation options for harder to reach/crowded areas.

You can find some of this type of info with "JNTO PDF <location>" https://partners-pamph.jnto.go.jp/simg/pamph/688.pdf to see the walking route they suggest or "ideal plan <city>" https://dive-hiroshima.com/en/course/course-37012/ Japan-Guide also has estimates in some of their itineraries https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3409_hiroshima_half.html

True to the advice on that thread, it really depends on what you're interested in and where you prioritize spending time. For these interests - "food, historic sites, culture and nature" then you have more time at amusement parks and Ghibli than I would. There seem to be a good amount of food tours of more B-Kyu https://savvytokyo.com/eating-like-a...-b-kyu-gurume/ which is fine if you know that's your cuppa tea. If it isn't or you're intimidated by eating solo, possibly with the language barrier, then you might want to add some other dining options to get yourself out of that comfort zone. There's a lot of great food for all budgets and tastes and eating solo in Tokyo is the norm. You don't have to go on a pub crawl priced as a tour if you just want a good dinner and don't actually mind dining solo.
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 5:22 pm
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It's a well planned itinerary but some very busy days - especially the first few days in Tokyo.

I agree that you don't need to stay in both Kyoto and Osaka - it is easy to get to one from the other. I would suggest Kyoto. It's also a shame to miss Nara, which is an easy day tour.
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 5:25 pm
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1. Tickets to the Ghibli museum in Tokyo are extremely hard to get and you should have a backup planned
2. It looks like you have some stuff planned for the morning you arrive in Kyoto which doesn't seem very doable to me. The shinkansen from Tokyo is around 2.5 hours so unless you're leaving at 6 or 7 am, you should probably start off Kyoto with lunch.
3. Fushimi Inari Taisha is not a whole morning unless you're hiking up to the top of the mountain
4. You can fit in Nara the day that you leave Kyoto and go to Osaka. If you just want to see the deer that is not very much time at all.
5. I'm sure that you will have picked up so many souvenirs that you won't need to go to the souvenir store in Shibuya that you have listed.
6. I'm not seeing any onsen time which slightly concerns me.
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 7:28 pm
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Do you mean Ghibli Park or Gibli Museum?

Ghibli Museum is in Tokyo.

Ghibli Park is in Nagoya and I do not see Nagoya in your itinerary unless you are do it on the way down to Osaka/Kyoto or way up to Tokyo.

Whether Ghibli Park or Ghibli Museum I doubt you could do both in the same day.
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 7:39 pm
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Originally Posted by travellingmip
Do you mean Ghibli Park or Gibli Museum?

Ghibli Museum is in Tokyo.

Ghibli Park is in Nagoya and I do not see Nagoya in your itinerary unless you are do it on the way down to Osaka/Kyoto or way up to Tokyo.

Whether Ghibli Park or Ghibli Museum I doubt you could do both in the same day.
They have them on separate days - Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, and Ghibli Park out of Osaka.
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 9:11 pm
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One night at Hoshinoya Tokyo is plenty. We stayed there on their executive suite and wouldnt go back when better options exist near the same price point (ie. Mandarin Oriental).

Only issue is that I think they have a strict non refundable policy if I remember correctly.
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 11:20 pm
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I know it's each to their own but why come to Japan. especially the first time, and spend two days at USJ and then miss out on Nara, for me Nara is quintessentially
old Japan, cheaper, better and much more friendly than Kyoto !
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 12:15 am
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Originally Posted by THR
They have them on separate days - Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, and Ghibli Park out of Osaka.
Ah! I didn't look at the google doc.
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 3:13 am
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Thanks for the feedback.
  • I can't see where I would fit a day trip to Nara into my plans, unless I cancel something?
  • I split Kyoto and Osaka, as I can't afford to stay for 8 nights in the Mitsui .
  • Moved my plans to the afternoon on the day I arrive in Kyoto.
  • Unfortunately I don't have time to visit a ryokan on this trip, but definitely will on my 2nd visit.
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 4:11 am
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The tsuyu season isn't a complete death sentence, and you'd be entering it just at the end of your trip, for a few days.
Besides, I'd rather have a little rain than some of the brutally hot summers Japan has had in the past couple years.
My one data-point: 10 days in Tokyo early July, cloudy most of the time, rained just once
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 4:41 am
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[MENTION=271796]GodAtum[/MENTION]

Please get a map and really look at what you are planning to do in and around Tokyo. There is a LOT of criss crossing and back tracking that isn’t necessary.

Go back onto your spreadsheet and write down which area the restaurants and food tours are taking place in.

Figure out how much travelling time it will take to get from one point to another and include that as part of your itinerary, think of it as a destination in itself. As an example, after the Ghibli museum in Mitaka that you are counting on getting a 10am ticket for, you will need to factor AT LEAST 1hour and 30 minutes between leaving there and getting to a pre-decided restaurant in Asakusa. Lunch time in Tokyo is between 12 and 2pm. Personally, I think this is crazy.

Get a grip on how long everything is going to take. Your itinerary says you’ll be in Shibuya-Ebisu/Shinjuku between 6:30pm and 9:30pm on day 3 but that you will also be exploring Roppongi Hills from 8pm.

You’re going to Ginza on day 3 and day 5. Sure you’re not staying too far from Ginza so planning to be there from 4pm on day 5 makes sense. However…

LOOK at day 3: Ueno/Nezu to Yurakucho to Akihabara to Ginza to Shibuya-Ebisu/Shinjuku to Roppongi Hills*

As I said, get a map or print one out, figure out travel times.

Last edited by LapLap; Jan 8, 2024 at 5:41 am
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