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7 Days In Japan

Wakefield, MA
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7 Days In Japan

I will be in Japan for 7 full days next April on my way back from Palau. My first interest is World War 2 history so I would like to head to Nagasaki and Hiroshima first to see the peace memorials and museums. I have a few questions which hopefully someone can help me with.

1. Since my time is limited. What is the best way to get to Nagasaki and then Hiroshima from Tokyo?

2. This will probably be my one and only trip to Japan so I also want to see whatever else I can squeeze in. What are some of the "MUST SEE" sites, cities or areas that anyone can recommend.

I would appreciate any advice that anyone can give me.

Thanks, Lisa

Coolum Beach...
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1. Re: 7 Days In Japan

So much of Honshu was rebuilt that you may find it best to see Hiroshima and Nagasaki alone for the war history aspect and use the rest of your time to see present day Japan, which is fascinating in its depth and variety.

Kyoto and Nara are former capitals with the best possible insight into the history and culture, and great buildings to see. They are on the way between Tokyo and Hiroshima. Tokyo needs a couple of days too.

Think about round trips so you don't return to Tokyo on the same route. This way you may have time to see a little of Shikoku.

http://www.hyperdia.com/en/ will give you some leads on travel within Japan. If you can get an add-on air ticket this may save time in one direction at least. However the scenery and comfort of train travel in Japan has to be experienced for maximum benefit from your visit.

Note that the Japan Rail Pass (http://www.japanrailpass.net/) may help to contain rail travel costs. However it precludes travel on the fastest (Nozomi) express and that does save time on the longer runs.

See for example http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4410.html

Edited: 21 November 2011, 23:05
Tokyo, Japan
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2. Re: 7 Days In Japan

In Tokyo, you might be interested in visiting the Yushukan war museum at Yasukuni Shrine in Ichigaya. This offers a very controversial private view (not endorsed by the Japanese public or the government) of Japanese military history with a strong rightist inclination, but raw displays of weapons and soldier's belongings are stunning. The museum shop is also good. It might be especially interesting to compare the Peace Museum in Hiroshima which is a public museum with pacifist inclination and to many people's opinion offers a fair view of Japan's past. Kure near Hiroshima was a major naval base and where battleship Yamato was built in secrecy. The Seto sea area has some other intersting sites, such as Okunojima where the Japanese military developed gas weaponry for attacks in mainland China.

Osaka's museum (Peace Osaka) has been attacked by rightist groups as being too leftist. I think Tokyo's Oedo-Tokyo Museum should have some section devoted to WW2.

I might recommend flying to Nagasaki first and traveling eastwards by Shinkansen.

Edited: 22 November 2011, 05:09
Tokyo, Japan
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3. Re: 7 Days In Japan

I forgot to mention this museum (government supported) which should be of special interest:

*** Peace Memorial Exhibition Museum (平和記念展示資料館)

Shinjuku West Gate Sumitomo Building 48th Floor

http://www.heiwakinen.jp/taisen/kaisen.html

The other sites mentioned above:

Yasukuni Shrine's Yushukan Museum (foreign visitors are most welcome):

yasukuni.or.jp/english/yushukan/index.html

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (a must visit):

http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/top_e.html

Kure's Yamato Museum (minor attraction):

http://www.yamato-museum.com/en/

Okunoshima Poison Gas Museum (minor attraction):

…takehara.lg.jp/machitukuri/dokugasusiryokan…

Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall:

www.peace-nagasaki.go.jp/english/index.html

Osaka International Peace Center:

www.peace-osaka.or.jp/pdf/pamphlet_en.pdf

Edo-Tokyo Museum

http://www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp/english/

Edited: 22 November 2011, 05:32
Wakefield, MA
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4. Re: 7 Days In Japan

Thanks for all the ideas. I would also like to see some of the beauty that Japan is known for as well. What cities or sites would you recommend that I should try and see that would be between or around my route of Tokyo-Nagasaki-Hiroshima?

Kanazawa, Japan
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5. Re: 7 Days In Japan

With only seven days, to be honest I'd cut out Nagasaki. It's Hiroshima Redux really. You can get more variety around Hiroshima - such as the Yamato Museum not too far away that has been mentioned. Also Miyajima for the more traditional side, not to mention several nearby cities like Okayama for the park (and castle I guess), Kurashiki, Iwakuni, even Matsue and Hagi (Hagi is really really nice) are in that general area.

The Yushukan museum and Yasukuni would be interesting for its take on war memory, definitely. Just remember that it's not typical.

Kootenays, British...
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6. Re: 7 Days In Japan

Kagakiwi has a point. I like Nagasaki but its WWII history is far less on display than is Hiroshima's. Your itinerary would already be stretched just to go from Tokyo to Nagasaki and back through Hiroshima (unless you flew down to Nagasaki at least). I think you will find that Hiroshima is a moving and 'complete' experience.

Wakefield, MA
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7. Re: 7 Days In Japan

Thanks for all the great ideas. I think that I will cut Nagasaki out.

I was reading a bit about Miyajima and Kurashiki. Are they worth visiting?

Guayaquil, Ecuador
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8. Re: 7 Days In Japan

Hi Lisa,

Did you take that trip? I would love to hear about it!

Wakefield, MA
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9. Re: 7 Days In Japan

I did. Thanks for asking. It was a quick 7 days, but we had a great time.We,

of course, bought the Japan Rail Pass so the first thing we did once we landed at the airport was take the train to Hiroshima to go to Miyajima where we spent our first night. Miyajima is gorgeous and I would highly recommend it to anyone. In hindsight though, we should have spent the night in Hiroshima because we didn't get on the island until early evening and by the time we ate dinner it was late and everything was closed. The hotels are cheaper in Hiroshima. We spent most of the next day walking and hiking around Miyajima and went back to Hiroshima late in the afternoon.

The next day we went to the Peace Memorial, Peace Park, and Museum before getting on the train to Kyoto.

For the next 3 cities we opted to get a city guide so we would not waste what little time we had trying to find the sites we wanted to see. The guide in Kyoto was fantastic !!!! He met us at our hotel early the next morning and he spent the entire day taking us around to some of the temples and shrines. We let him choose which ones we would visit since there are so many. We ended the day walking around Gion and then having dinner. The next morning we took the train to Nara and met another city guide who took us to some of the temples and shrines there. We took the train back to Kyoto at the end of the day. The next day we got up early and took the train to the Fushimi Inari Shrine which was incredible !!!!! We spent a few hours walking the trail before hopping back on the train to our hotel to pick up our luggage. Then it was back on the train to Tokyo where we arrived late in the afternoon so we just walked around a bit and got a bite to eat. The following day we met another city guide who took us around Tokyo where we saw some temples, the Edo-Tokyo Museum, the fish market, and the small museum at the Sumo arena. On our last day we visited Tokyo Disney Sea. Since we are big Disney fans we had to go.

To sum up the trip: We had a great time. The highlights were Miyajima,Hiroshima, and the Fushimi Inari Shrine. I also liked walking around the Gion area of Kyoto and seeing the Maikos and Geikos. The food was terrific although at times we had a hard time choosing which restaurants to eat at, but only because we don't speak Japanese. I think that the day guides were a good idea since we didn't have much time, but the guide in Kyoto was by far the best. Having said that, I think that if I ever go back I would skip the guides. I liked the hotels that we chose, but again we should have stayed in Hiroshima the first night. Are you planning on visiting Japan? I am certainly no expert, but if you want to know which shrines and temples we visited I can let you know that if you like. Thanks again for asking about the trip.

Edited: 19 September 2012, 00:21
Guayaquil, Ecuador
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10. Re: 7 Days In Japan

Thanks for your report. You definitely had a great time!

it is still an idea, but i'm doing some reaserch. When we travel, we (with my wife) like to be on our own, except in day trips. We like to take the time we like in every place.

However, if we get to go to Japan, we were thinking of making with a tour company, mainly because of the language.

did you have any problems related to making the trip on your own (transportation, delayes, got lost, etc)?

Thanks again.