questions & answers: itinerary check

12 days in japan

12 Days in Japan

Hi there,

I am having trouble deciding my itinerary for Japan. There are so many things to visit esp. the UNESCO heritage sites in Kyoto. I have listed down the places we want to visit and I hope I can get some good advice in my planning. I am going with my parents so we couldn't do much hiking. We are pretty much interested in the food and heritage sites in Japan. We will be purchasing the JR pass but it only covers 7 days. I read about the Suica + N'EX package so I think we will be getting that as well.

Day 1 - 2 (Ikebukuro, Tokyo. We will reach about 8 pm on Day 1 so basically there is nothing much to do after we check in.)
Day 3 - Day 9 (Pending)
Day 10 - 11 (Tokyo - Tokyo Bay / Odaiba area)
Day 12: Check out and fly back to where we came.

Tokyo:
- Roponggi Hills - Hachiko at Shibuya Station - Meiji Shrine - Harajuku - Shinjuku - Tsukiji Market - Sensoi-ji (Asakusa Kannon Temple) - Famous silk pudding in Asakusa (Testa Rossa Cafe) - Akihabara, the Otaku town - Tokyo Tower

Hakone, Mount Fuji view. ( I am thinking of getting the Free Pass in Hakone. Is that advisable?)

Osaka
- Osaka Castle - Umeda Sky Building - Amerikamura, Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade - Dotonbori, Hozenji Yokocho Alley, Mizukake Fudo - The Instant Ramen Museum

Kyoto
- Kiyomizu-Dera - Fushimi Inari Shrine - Senbon Torii - Gion - Sky Garden - Kinkaku-ji - Ninnanji Temple

Really hope to get some help from you all. We couldn't possibly cover all the places listed above. I would appreciate if someone can pin point the best route for us to visit using the JR pass. Thank you so much in advance!

ringo
ringo

Hi there!

Looking at your itinerary I think that you already have done a very good amount of research. You've also made a very nice pick of which places to visit.

As for how to travel, why not start with a visit to Kyoto? You could make your base there and visit both Osaka and local sights from there, this is a great way to avoid having to carry your luggage with you all the time and you can make great use of the JR Pass at the same time!

You could stay 5 days or so around Kyoto and Osaka (perhaps even make a day trip to Nara? before heading to Hakone for a day or two. The Shinkansen station for Hakone is called Odawara and you can take a direct Shinkansen from Kyoto to there. A Hakone Free Pass would be a great help if you stay for two days, because it covers all kinds of transportation in the Area. I do think that you will have enough time to see everything which you have listed in Kyoto and Osaka. You may also be interested in the Osaka Unlimited Pass which provides free entrance to many attractions in Osaka, such as Osaka Castle and the Umeda Sky Building (Floating Garden), in addition it also provides free travel on the Osaka Subway.

Some advice for Tokyo:
I see that you have made a nice list already of places that you wish to visit in Tokyo, it's indeed a lot to cover. So I've grouped them together in two groups, based on proximity to each other.

One:
Roponggi Hills - Tokyo Tower - Hachiko at Shibuya Station - Meiji Shrine - Harajuku - Shinjuku

Two:
Tsukiji Market - Sensoi-ji (Asakusa Kannon Temple) - Famous silk pudding in Asakusa (Testa Rossa Cafe) - Akihabara, you could also visit the Sky Tree from Asakusa.

It may indeed be to much to see both lists in one day each but I hope that this will make it easier to make a selection. It's up to you of course of what you would like to see most.

All in all it's a lot but I certainly think that it makes for a great trip!
Daniel

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Daniel-san
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Thank you so much for such prompt reply Daniel. The reason why I start with Tokyo first is because we will be arriving at Narita about 8.30 pm. Would it be a hassle to start traveling directly to Kyoto on the same day?

I am wondering if we are coming in a group of 4, would it be advisable if we rent a car instead?

I heard that November 3 is the Culture Day in Japan but I cannot find any website/information regarding any parades/exhibitions that will be available. Do you have such information to share?

Thanks for the trouble to go through my list of endless questions. :)

ringo
ringo

Hi Again!

As a general rule trains stop riding around midnight, this would make it impossible to travel to Kyoto on the same day, so staying in Tokyo would be for the best.

Driving distance between Tokyo - Kyoto is almost 700km and taking the bullet train really is the best way to get there (only tajes 140-160 minutes).

Have to say that I don't know much about Culture day but you can find a little more information about it here.

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Daniel-san
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