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Itinerary advice 13 nights

almost 3 years ago
10 responses

Just wondering if you'd comment on this itinerary..
24th April arrive Toyko
25th April Tokyo
26th April Tokyo (Nikko day trip)
27th April Matsumoto
28th April Kanazawa
29th April Kurashiki
30th April Kurashiki
1st May Nara
2nd May Osaka
3rd May Osaka (Harry Potter world)
4th May Hakone
5th May Hakone
6th May Tokyo
7th May depart
Will be getting a 14 day rail pass
Many thanks for any comments

1318 posts
almost 3 years ago

Well, you will certainly get your money's worth for the pass. For Tokyo, if you wanted to see the youth dressed in their wild fashions, the place would be Harajuku and the day would be a Sunday. So you might want to go to Nikko on the 25th instead. Kurashiki is interesting, but it's unusual you'd plan to go down there. Meanwhile, you didn't list Kyoto at all - have you explored the city already?
For Hakone, your Pass is of limited value. Look into a Hakone Free Pass:

10 posts
almost 3 years ago

Thank you for your quick reply!
Yes, my daughter and I will definitely check out Harajuku and do Nikko on the 25th. Are there any other places you would recommend in Tokyo for a 15 year old that I might need to book in advance (such as Ghibli museum)?
We spent a week 2 years ago mainly in Osaka and Takayama .. we loved Takayama .. so I was looking for another town with history and character and thought Kurashiki sounded like that?
Also where would we go to see the most atmospheric bamboo forests?
Many thanks, Jane

12246 posts
almost 3 years ago
Expert button 2

Hello there,

I think that you've already got a nice selection of places to visit. If I might make a suggestion, spend one day it Kurashiki. It's a nice place to visit but it's main attraction - the old quarter - is actually pretty small and you will have seen all in a couple of days.

At the same time, Kurashiki (or the close by Okayama) can make for a great place to visit different places. Such as Naoshima. Alternatively you could spend a day longer in Kanazawa.

The most famous Bamboo Grove by far is the Arashiyama Banboo Grove in west Kyoto.

Hope this helps,

1318 posts
almost 3 years ago

Well, Takayama and Kurashiki are very different. Actually around Takayama is where so much of the old environment is. By saying Takaayama I am not sure if you also went to see Shirakawa-go, Ogimachi, etc. This site has more info:

Another alternative is Miyama in Kyoto Prefecture:

You also might like Edo Mura near Nikko - it is a recreation, but they got the look down of old Japan perfectly:

If you have not seen Kyoto, you should make time for it, like on May 2nd. Since you are already seeing Tokyo you can largely skip Osaka in the daytime. And IMHO 2 days in Kurashiki is more than plenty - you can see all the best within a day, and probably less. Since you are not so far off, why not go to see Hiroshima/Miyajima? It's one of the best places in Japan. Your savings with a JR Pass would also be further enhanced.
There is no place that comes to mind where you will have to book in advance, except perhaps the Sky Tree which gives the most spectacular view over the city (and is rather pricey for it). That said, you will be in Japan during Golden Week which is one of the biggest and busiest holiday seasons in Japan. And while you'll be too late for the cherry blossoms, you will in fact be just in time for the blooming of the wisteria, which is nothing short of remarkable. One of the best places to see it is at the Ashikaga Flower Park just outside the Tokyo area.

For the bamboo grove it's in Arashiyama. It's beautiful but the same scenery every way you turn, so 20-30 minutes is enough. You might also want to see the monkey park up the hill after you exit the grove. It's a good 20 minute climb to the top of the hill, but the view is nice and there are not many places to be surrounded by monkeys and be able to feed them.
If you go to Arashiyama be sure to see the Otagi Nenbutsu at the end of line - it's quirkiest and most whimsical temple in Kyoto and not overrun by the tourists:

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