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On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

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Netherlands
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On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

My original plan was to spend 2 days in Kanazawa and perhaps I will anyway, it looks like an interesting place to visit. However, getting there does involve a detour and as I realised last night, I'll be too late to see the castle park lightened up.....

So, I was wondering if anyone has other suggestions for a place to visit between Tokyo and Kyoto, that is maybe more en route?

nihon
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11. Re: On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

But if your prefer a "seaside town" with "zen" temples, Kamakura would be the best. This combination has reminded me of the fact that Kanazawa's (and Japan's) foremost scholars on Zen --- D. T. Suzuki and Kitaro Nishida-- chose Kamakura as their retirement abode, and final resting place, bacause they also loved such a combination. (Both of them were born/bred/educated in Kanazawa, lectured in Kyoto for many years, and are buried in Tōkei-ji of Kamakura, although Suzuki is also buried at his ancestral cemetery of Noda-yama adjacent to beautiful Daijoji temple in Kanazawa as well).

(On the other hand, if you wish to examine historic dutch imprints, in such forms as imported glass, for example, Kanazawa might be one of the best places in Japan, possibly only second to Nagasaki. But, if you plan to travel at the end of November, I would hesitate to recommend Kanazawa because of the weather/climate. Often rainy/slushy. As a matter of course, slushy winter arrives even earlier in places like Shirakawa-go/Takayama.)

Edited: 11 June 2012, 13:09
Netherlands
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12. Re: On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

ah, snow...yes, I read it can snow in Kanazawa that time of year....it looks so nice in pictures, but maybe November is not the right time.....

Kootenays, British...
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13. Re: On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

"With regard to the "seaside town", Shimoda (southern tip of the Izu Peninsula) has nice beaches."

I second this! I was there recently and thoroughly enjoyed it (check out some of my reviews for pictures etc.). It isn't exactly on route but it is a much smaller detour than going all the way up to Kanazawa. Kamakura is also an excellent choice and perhaps with a bit of imagination you can combine the two.

I liked Kanazawa but I wouldn't call it a "lovely little town" by any stretch. The castle is not impressive although the Kenkourian Garden is. If it's a castle you want go to Himeji (if it's out of its shroud by then) and back-track to Kyoto.

Edited: 12 June 2012, 00:32
Tokyo, Japan
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14. Re: On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

I might not recommend Himeji for the time being, as it is covered fully in scaffolding. That is why I suggested Hikone, as it has a) a genuine castle b) a nicely preserved castle town c) it has other attractions in surrounding areas d) not far away from Maibara stop on Tokaido Shinkansen.

Kamakura is highly recommended, as it is one of the top attractions in Eastern Japan. Kanazawa Castle is still mildly interesting if you have good knowledge of the post-Warring States period history, but yes, it's a bit disappointing to see it without the main tower (therefore I've been suggesting Hikone - an old little town with a "proper" castle with a tower !). The Kenrokuen garden is nice, and the preserved townhouse area is worth visiting. True, it's a large provincial city, so it won't be a "little town", and old concerete buildings that you'll find in almost all cities throughout Japan can be ugly (I gasped in horror seeing a large concrete junk barring the view from the balcony of a historic Western-style manor of the founder of Mitsubishi in Ueno just yesterday).

Edited: 12 June 2012, 05:16
nihon
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15. Re: On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

( ............"proper" castle with a tower !).....

Actually, i suspect that for many of "expert" types the very small Ishikawa-mon (only original feudal-era gate remainig in the main castle compound of Kanazawa), for example, would be more interesting than the main keeps of Hikone, Matsumoto, etc. in some important respects. The irony is that some parts of the building structure is so sophiscated/perfect that typical passersbys woud feel/mistake it as another cheap modern-day construct. (For example, some impeccable parts of stone walls of this gate. http://castle.jpn.org/kaga/kanazawa/3.html One unfortunate fact is that the most elegant part of the castle wall adjacent to this Ishikawa-mon has been undergoing multi-year repair works.)

But it's also true that only original feudal-era things in the main castle compound of Kanazawa are its stone walls as well as some small buildings such as Ishikawa-mon gate, Sanjukken Nagaya and Tsurumaru Storehouse. And my guess is that within the castle compound there no longer remains the "water" of most marvelous Tatsumi canal/waterway …ishikawa.jp/shofu/…d01.html which I described in my post here tripadvisor.com/…41253850 So, I myself do not go inside the castle wall/gate very often. (After the Meiji restoration, the castle compound was used as a modern military base and then as a university campus for a century or so. No wonder the place as a whole looks rather bland, at least for ordinary tourists.)

Netherlands
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16. Re: On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

Thanks for the link to that trip report. Sounds really nice, I still can't get Kanazawa out of my head....Only if I'd want to see the illuminations, I'd have to either travel on straight away or the day after I arrive in Tokyo...sounds so silly, as I fly in via Tokyo and will leave 2 weeks later from Osaka, having planned it that way deliberately....

The decision is still not final ^_^

nihon
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17. Re: On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

In that case, it seems much better to spend more time in places like Kamakura/Izu Peninsula as well as Tokyo, especially if it's last several days of November. (In some historic parts of Kanazawa, there are more than a few major repair works, annoying construction, projects to restore old gardens, etc. going on, with an eye on the opening of Shinkansen bullet train station, scheduled for early 2015. So, if you intend to visit Japan more than once in the future, then it might be better to go to Kanazawa in or after the spring of 2015 rather than this year.)

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18. Re: On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

Thanks for the info on shinkansen, kanazawan. I didn't know that. Sounds very nice, but when will it be the Hokuriku Shinkansen(?) gets extended if at all to Kyoto/Osaka, I wonder?

nihon
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19. Re: On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

No idea.

But if the LDP come back to power on their new platform of a 200-trillion-yen "archipelago-toughening/resiliency" program, some kind of extension might be realised in the not-so-distant future.

www.co-press.com/interview3/int-45fujii.html (Interview with their advisor)

20. Re: On the way from Tokyo to Kyoto

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