questions & answers: itinerary check

itinerary check / jr pass / hotel

Itinerary check / JR pass / hotel

My family of 3 is visiting Japan from (arriving) March 20 to April 4 for the first time. We plan to stay in Tokyo from Mar 20 to Mar 25, go to Kyoto from Mar 25 to Mar 29, then to Hiroshima from Mar 29 to Mar 31, going back to Tokyo from Mar 31 until April 4.

Does this itinerary make sense (too long or too short a stay in any of these places)? We plan to buy a 7-day JR pass each but we don't know how to go to our hotel in Akasaka from the Narita airport. Pls advise.

We have only booked our hotel for the first leg. Hotels are hard to book in Kyoto. Pls help. Tks.

MWY
MWY

Hi,
A 7 day JR Pass would easily pay off for your plans; you should activate it just before starting your trip down to Kyoto and beyond. If your first day on the pass is the 25th, your last day would be April 1st. Since you are spending quite a long period in the Tokyo area, some day trips from there would also be a good idea. Nikko, Kamakura/Enoshima, and Hakone are the most popular choices. The longest of them would be Nikko, and if you go there on April 1st you could still take advantage of the Pass and enhance its value. There are regional passes you can take advantage of for seeing Kamakura as well as Hakone. See:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_003.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_004.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html

For Kyoto, be sure to take at least half a day and see Nara as well. When the temples/shrines close around 5PM, you can easily zip over to Osaka and enjoy the night life there. Dotonbori is a must see place. And the views from the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg are spectacular.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COJ_MeXbeow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb1wuyAGgyQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AyUZmGbW8g

For Hiroshima, IMHO one day is enough to see Hiroshima City, and one day for Miyajima. You can use the extra day to explore nearby sites like Iwakuni, with its iconic bridge and mountaintop castle. It is also good for cherry blossoms:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0COOZXi66mM

You can see it in a few hours. You can also spend some time in Okayama, which has one of Japan's most famous historical gardens, Korakuen, as well as a lovely and almost unknown garden, Handayama:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zAI3_N7NEM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGQ8o7k9GbA

Or if you prefer, there is the beautiful Kotohira in Kagawa, Shikoku. It's famous for its shrine and mountaintop view, but it is the climb up that is the real adventure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ley9rVIewoQ

Another choice is the little known city of Onomichi. It has a hillside temple tour you can take; but its real treasure is an almost unknown temple on one of its small islands - in fact it's been thought of as almost a Buddhist Disneyland:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97Q5EjEOXI8

Regarding a hotel, you are going to Japan at the height of cherry blossom season - which is extremely beautiful, but also a lot more crowded. You may find trouble in getting a place; at least a moderately priced place. This info can help:

http://www.japan-guide.com/news/0029.html

A few cheaper business hotel chains you might look at are:

http://www.toyoko-inn.com/eng/

http://www.superhoteljapan.com/en/

http://www.route-inn.co.jp/english/

http://www.richmondhotel.jp/

http://www.kid97.co.jp/~jeh-group/jeh-group.html

I also recommend you spend a night in a Japanese Inn (ryokan) at least one night for the experience. Some inexpensive places are listed below:

http://www.ryokan.or.jp/english/

http://www2.dango.ne.jp/kimi/ryokan.html

http://www.tamaryokan.com

http://www.libertyhouse.gr.jp

http://www.tokyoryokan.com

Kansai area:

http://www.kaneyosi.jp/english.htm

http://www.kyoto-shimizu.net/

http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com

I am sure you can find a lot of good memories in your coming trip.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Hi Toraneko-san,

Many thanks for your detailed info.

I think if we activate our JR passes on Mar 25, the last day of the 7-day passes should be on Mar 31 (not Apr 1). Would you pls confirm that?

Would you also advise the most cost effective while the most efficient way to get to the Akasaka area from the Narita airport (as we can't use our JR Passes) on Mar 20; and back to the airport from Meguro-ku on Apr 4?

We were not able to book any hotels in Kyoto and have ended up getting a hotel in Osaka for 4 nights instead. Do you have any suggestions on the itinerary as there will be quite a bit of train rides to take between Osaka and Kyoto?

We were not able to book any ryokans either. I think it would be cool to have the traditional dinner (at least once) served in our hotel room. What else would you recommend?

Best Regards.

MWY
MWY

More questions pls:

If I order our JR passes on-line, how long will it take for them to arrive in Canada pls?

Spending 14 full days in Japan, how much yens would you recommend us to bring for this trip?

Many thanks.

MWY
MWY

It would be greate if I could get the answers for the above 3 messages at your earliest convenience as time is running out for us here.

Many thanks!!!

MWY
MWY

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