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Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed

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Atlanta, Georgia
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Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed

I'm planning a trip to Japan in late May/early June with 17 year-old son. The trip is mainly for him (he's long wanted to do this) but with a few things to keep Mom happy too.

Please give me feedback on our proposed itinerary so far. I'm very detail oriented, so have tried to plan without overbooking us. There are a few days with minimal amount planned just in case something else comes up that we want to include. Looking for any suggestions/concerns/things we may have forgotten or that just won't work....thanks.

Day 1 (Sat): Arrive Tokyo 2pm, get Suica/N'Ex cards and take N'Ex to Shinjuku. Hotel: Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku. Check in, go for a walk in the immediate area, find some dinner and stay up as long as possible to help get acclimated.

Day 2 (Sun): Early morning visit to Meiji Shrine, then walk area of Harajuku/Yoyogi Park. Afternoon: walking tour of Akihabara/Electric Town.

Day 3 (Mon): Hakone (return to Tokyo in evening)

Day 4 (Tue): Edo-Tokyo Museum; visit Ginza, try to get makumi tickets for Kabuki-za theater matinee.

Day 5 (Wed): Visit Sensoji Temple and area; take Himeko water bus to Odaiba, spend remainder of day there.

Day 6 (Thur): Morning free (?); Afternoon Samurai/Ninja class; Evening: visit observation deck at Tokyo Metropolitan Govt Office

Day 7 (Fri): Early morning train to Kyoto. Check into hotel (Granvia); do self-guided walking tour of Eastern Kyoto (Kiyomizu, Sanjusangendo, Chion-in, etc) ending in Gion early evening.

Day 8 (Sat): Morning: visit Fushimi-Inari temple. Afternoon: free (?). Evening: Gion Corner.

Day 9 (Sun): Day trip to Himeji Castle and Engyoji Temple.

Day 10 (Mon): Full day tour: Nijo Castle, Imperial Palace Golden Pavilion in morning, Nara in afternoon.

Day 11 (Tues): Send suitcases back to Tokyo hotel and travel with backpacks to Mt Koya. Overnight at Shojoshin-in Temple.

Day 12 (Wed): Travel to Hiroshima; spend afternoon visiting the Peace Memorial Park.

Day 13: (Thur): Miyajima. Late afternoon train back to Tokyo for overnight

Day 14: (Fri): Return to US

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed

This is all very well-planned! If you haven't bought your plane tickets yet, consider returning from an airport closer to Hiroshima. If you return from Osaka or Nagoya, you can save some time. But the high-speed trains are quite pleasant!

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed

Thank you.

I was able to use frequent flyer miles by flying in and out of Tokyo; also we are on a direct flight back to Atlanta by doing this. We really don't mind the trains, in fact that's one of the things my son is looking forward to.

Nara, Japan
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3. Re: Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed

I'd suggest your doing Nara for Day8 since you are then on the same railroad line as in Fushimi Inari and for Day10 Arashiyama, which is not included (as yet) during your stay in Kyoto.

BTW, late May to early June is a good time to travel around here, weather-wise. Besides, Golden week is long gone, when you are more likely mobbed out by crowds than less likely, caterwauling (though lovely) small local kids joining in their school excursions to places of interest in Kyoto/Nara relativlely small in number.

Have fun and enjoy yourselves!

New York
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4. Re: Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed


When in May/June are you going to visit Japan? If you are planning to be in Shinjuku/Tokyo from May 23-25, I’d highly recommend that you watch one of traditional festivals called “Hanazono Jinja Reitaisai” (花園神社例大祭) in Shinjuku. You can take a look at some photos at



Seeing Japanese festivals will be a lot of fun for both adults and kids, IMO!!

Vancouver, Canada
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for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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5. Re: Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed

Where are you staying for the night on day 12? If you stay the night in Miyajima, you stand a better chance of seeing the shrine and the off-shore torii "floating" on high tide.

Would your son be interested in samurai and ninja things? If he does, he may like the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum which is slightly more than 2 hr. train east of Kyoto


Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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6. Re: Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed

>>>Day 2 (Sun): Early morning visit to Meiji Shrine, then walk area of Harajuku/Yoyogi Park. Afternoon: walking tour of Akihabara/Electric Town.<<<

If you're planning on seeing cosplayers in Harajuku/Yoyogi Park. Don't go too early. The stores don't open and people don't come out until well past 11 am.

Your Day 10 looks too busy. Better to go to Nara after Fushimi Inari as suggested by Shot.

On Day 11, you should leave early. Koyasan to Hiroshima takes about 4 hours.

I highly recommend visiting Shibuya. Your son will love it. Maybe you can go to Tocho Observation deck on the day you arrive (only 15 minutes walk from your hotel) and spend the evening of Day 6 in Shibuya.

Tocho Observatory:




Have a great time!

Nashville, TN
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for Himeji, Kobe, Osaka
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7. Re: Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed

For your day in Himeji, you have a couple of options. First, don't forget Kokoen, the garden next to the castle; you don't have anything else planned that day so it makes a good side trip. Second, since you don't have anything else planned that day you could stop in Osaka on your way back. Take the local train (Shin Kaisoku - Rapid Express) from Himeji to Osaka; it more closely follows the coast and you get a really nice view of the Akashi Bridge. It is marginally longer than the Shinkansen. Get off at Osaka station (also known as Umeda for non-JR lines) if you want to ride the large ferris wheel or go to the Umeda Sky Building (both visible from the train; the Sky Building looks like a large letter 'n'). You might have time for the Osaka aquarium. But even if you can't do any of this, head to Dotonbori to see the neon and crowds; it's quite an experience. Another option would be to go to a Hanshin Tigers baseball game; this is quite a unique experience, even if you don't like baseball. You might consider this while you're in Tokyo, too.

John W.

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8. Re: Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed

You might already have planned but the 2 day Hakone FreePass is good even for a day trip from Shinjuku.

While in Kyoto, you might want to add the free English guided tour(~1 hr.) of Imperial Palace(Gosho) or other villas.


In Tokyo it may be interesting to see Ameyoko shopping area walking from Ueno station toward Akihabara.

You might also go to Tsukiji Fish Market in one morning. You can enjoy the market and food but read here & other recent threads on Do's and Don'ts.


Hama-Rikyu and Kabukiza are close by.

9. Re: Japan with teen itinerary -- feedback needed

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