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Planning first trip, feedback please!

Braintree, United...
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Planning first trip, feedback please!

Hi, I'm planning to visit Japan with my husband for a fortnight this spring, staying in a few different places. I'm trying not to get overwhelmed with information overload while planning the trip, but I could use some feedback on my thoughts...

We're planning to stay in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Tokyo and make day trips from each while we're there. I'm thinking either 4 nights/3 nts/6 nts respectively, or 3 nts/3 nts/7 nts. Let me know which sounds most appropriate, or if there are any other must-see areas we should squeeze in along the way. Although this is our first visit to Japan and we want to see as much as possible, I still want it to feel like a holiday (and not like I'm just moving my suitcase about all the time), so let's hope there's a happy balance.

Our flight would land in the morning, so with typical hotel check-in time being early afternoon (and our return flight being in the morning; I don't want to waste the last day of our trip travelling back from somewhere further afield to stay just one night in Tokyo to be near the airport), I thought Kyoto would make an ideal choice for our first stay. Is the journey from Narita Airport to Kyoto a realistic one for 2 possibly weary and confused foreigners? ;)

I'd like to see plenty of [potentially elusive] cherry blossom; I was thinking we should arrive around 24th March, so we'd be there for the last week of March and the first week of April. I know it's not possible to predict perfect timing, but does this sound about right? Earlier/later?

If anyone has any info about getting to Okunoshima, I'd love to hear it - sounds like my kind of place, I'm really keen to visit when we're staying in Hiroshima.

Based on the stops above, would JR passes be a good idea for us? I've heard they can also be used for a ferry to Miyajima, another trip I'm hoping to make.

Thanks in advance for any help, and apologies for any annoying questions I may ask. ;)

New York, NY
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1. Re: Planning first trip, feedback please!

if you haven't found it yet, hyperdia is a great online resource to plan japan travel. this will help with timetables and costs (and you can decide if the JR pass is worth it. convenience-wise it's great).

from NRT to kyoto is around 4hrs by train and 1 transfer thru Tokyo Station. it's do-able and even tho you won't be sightseeing outside, it's quite fun exploring train stations and food courts and you can sleep on the train (and you might catch a glimpse of mt fuji on the way down).

day trip from kyoto, i would do arashiyama, fushimi inari, and kibune. from hiroshima, i would try to do one overnight in miyajima. around tokyo, i think an overnight in the hakone area with an onsen would be lovely. have fun planning. i'm sure you'll have a great trip.

Edited: 06 January 2011, 23:55
Tel Aviv, Israel
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2. Re: Planning first trip, feedback please!

Hi there i was in japan for just a bit longer than that (Iwent to South Korea as well for 3 days) - I went to Tokyo, Fukuoka (made side trips to shimonoseki and Nagasaki). Ithen went to SK and returned and went to Hiroshima, then Kyoto and finally Osaka. I also did a night at a buddhist temple which is a great experience and included a night walk in Japans largest buddhist cemetery (and believe me if you havent done that you havent lived :-) Its easy to get to Nara which is a must do from osaka which is what i did. I have loads of pics and info on all these place on my travel site which may give you some ideas as I really tried to cover as much as I could - angietravels.com

in any case japan is absolutely awesome - have a great trip

Braintree, United...
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3. Re: Planning first trip, feedback please!

Thanks for the website info, I'll check those out, and the places you recommend. I'm thinking of visiting Nara and Arashiyama when staying in Kyoto, and Miyajima and Okunoshima whilst in Hiroshima. Is it possible to stay into the evening on Miyajima, and still catch the JR ferry back to Hiroshima? I'd like to avoid too much hotel-hopping, so I need to find a timetable for that.

Thanks!

Vancouver, Canada
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for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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4. Re: Planning first trip, feedback please!

The last JR ferry leaves Miyajima at 10.14 pm

http://www.jr-miyajimaferry.co.jp/time/

5. Re: Planning first trip, feedback please!

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