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1 night stay: OKayama, meyajima or Kurashiki and other...

new york
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1 night stay: OKayama, meyajima or Kurashiki and other...

Firstly, thank you all for your help. Especially Edokko and Londonbob.

1. After departing Kyoto, which destination would you recommend for 1 night stay: OKayama, meyajima or Kurashiki

*and not too difficult to get to.

**We prefer less commercial places, a charming/quaint or culturally rich, natural beauty etc.

2. Need recommendations for hotels in kyoto--3 stars+.

What side trips for 3-4 days while in kyoto?

3. Got 7 day JR rail pass--do I need to make reservations going to hakone, takayama, kyoto, and back to tokyo? I am planning to just show up at the train stations and take next available train--is this risky?

Thanks again!

Japan
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1. Re: 1 night stay: OKayama, meyajima or Kurashiki and other...

Are you planning to spend any time visiting the Peace Park in Hiroshima? I think that is a must-do visit, but that is just my opinion. I do not know Kurashiki, so hopefully others can speak about it, but I do know Okayama and Miyajima. Between those two, Miyajima seems more of what you are looking for. It is a step back into traditional/historical Japan. A small sacred island, Miyajima offers the chance to hike or simply walk streets and immerse yourself into the area. It is quiet and peaceful. We stay at the Iwaso Inn, very traditional, beautiful, peaceful, amazing experience.

To get there you take a short train ride from Hiroshima (about 30 minutes) then walk about two blocks to the ferry for a 10 minute ride to the island.

In Kyoto we always stay at the Granvia hotel, right in the train station. It is not a cheap hotel, but it is not expensive. Email them for specials rather than accept the on-line price. The location is so convenient, get off the train, cross to the other side of the station (where you want to be anyway) and you are there. The rooms are very nice and the people at the front desk are knowledgeable, many speak English.

We have found that making train reservations even with the rail pass is a very good way to travel. That way you know you will be sitting next to your traveling group, and you will not be in the smoking car. You can reserve seats shortly before the train leaves, so just arrive a bit early. Unless you are trying to travel during rush hours, then you should reserve the seats well in advance or you will end up in the smoking car or walking through the unreserved cars looking for seats, dragging your luggage! Look for the green offices/kiosks in any train station, the JR offices, and you can make reservations.

You can easily spend your 3-4 days seeing Kyoto, but for side trips you should consider Fushimi-Inari and Nara. Fushimi-Inari is a very short train ride from Kyoto and is a lovely hike through 10,000 bright orange/red Tori gates. There is a spectacular view from the top and several little places to have tea and snacks on the way up.

Nara of course has the Daibutsu, huge bronze Buddha. I can not adequately describe the sense of awe when you look into his face. It is one of my favorite places in Japan. Nara is on the same train line out of Kyoto, a short distance beyond Fushimi-Inari. You can use your JR rail pass.

Have a wonderful trip!!

Cambridge, MA
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2. Re: 1 night stay: OKayama, meyajima or Kurashiki and other...

I'd also recommend Miyajima for overnighting. Fate willing, I'll be able to visit there someday. Okayama is worth spending a morning or afternoon in, the better to appreciate the Korakuen gardens and the "crow castle" - and perhaps to ride one of the funky streetcars - but you'd enjoy Miyajima more for its tranquility and stopped-in-time atmosphere. Similarly, the historic area of Kurashiki can be thoroughly explored in a half-day or less.

My suggestion would be to leave Kyoto on an early Shinkansen to Okayama - be sure that you're looking out the right side of the train as it approaches Himeji so you can see the castle there. Then after lunch, make your way to Kurashiki for the afternoon, then on to Miyajima in time for dinner (perhaps on the late side.) I could stretch a Himeji/Okayama/Kurashiki/Hiroshima/Miyajima trip into four or five days, but that's me :-)

New York
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3. Re: 1 night stay: OKayama, meyajima or Kurashiki and other...

Hi raisin,

Glad that you are making a lot of progress!

I agree with japantravelteacher and Spensworld re Miyajima for 1 night stay after Kyoto. Japanese people (including me!) say that Miyajima offers one of Japan's three most scenic views. I would strongly recommend you visit Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima. You can take a look at pix at http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3450.html and hiroshima-cdas.or.jp/miyajima/…top2.htm for further info.

Also, I would recommend Nara for a side trip from Kyoto. Besides the Daibutsuthat and temples, you can meet a lot of deer in Nara. If you visit Nara, please buy "Shika Senbei" (deer cookies) on street and feed the deer. My (American) husband thought feeding the deer was one of the most fun and exiting things he experienced in Japan!

new york
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4. Re: 1 night stay: OKayama, meyajima or Kurashiki and other...

Thank you all for your great feedback!

Any suggestions for nice hotel in moderate range in Miyajima?

Any how do I get to Miyajima from Kyoto please?

In beginning of October--will the weather be cold in to stay in Miyajima? How about Tokyo, Hakone, Takayama, and Kyoto?

This is my itinery--Is it too much for 14 days or not enough?

We have a lot of energy.

Thanks.