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Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Japan with a baby and best transport options 2017/3/17 22:15
Hi everyone,

My husband and I are finally making our dream come true and we're travelling to Japan in May. The thing is we are taking our by then 8 months old baby and this of course changes the priorities (and everything). We still want to see and do as much as possible but we also have to bear in mind that our little monkey might not be up for a crazy busy schedule (as I am used to).

I would like to kindly ask you to advice me on the route I have planned so far, in case there is room for improvement, and the travel options. I have read everything related to it in the forum and the website but would still appreciate some help.

Our travel is planned as follows:
May 2. Arrival in Osaka early in the morning and relaxed sightseeing with a jet lag.

May 3. Early departure to Koyasan (purchasing the Koyasan World Heritage Ticket seems like a good idea) and overnight stay at a buddhist temple.

May 4. Leaving Koyasan and heading towards Kyoto, where we have a hotel reservation for 5 nights.

May 5-8. Kyoto and a one-day trip to Nara in the middle of it.

May 9. Heading towards Takayama and spending the day and night there: I think probably the most convenient option would be taking the Wide View Hida, the alternative option would be the Shinkansen via Nagoya.

May 10. Taking the bus to Shirakawa-go and, later on this day, the bus to Kanazawa where we stay overnight.

May 11. Kanazawa and later in the afternoon heading towards Tokyo.

May 12-17. Tokyo with possible one day trips to Kamakura, Nikko and Fuji 5 lakes.

May 18. Flying back from Tokyo

Transport:
-Koyasan World Heritage Ticket
-I was considering buying the Takayama-Hokuriku Tourist Pass but since it does not cover the Kyoto-Nagoya connection and it appears to take longer reaching Takayama this way, I decided against it.
-I am considering buying the JR Pass for 7 days (activating it with our trip to Takayama), I tried the calculator and it seems to pay off if we manage to do the one-day trips from Tokyo. What bothers me is that we lose one day (Takayama-Shirakawa-go-Kanazawa) and that we have to do the one-day trips in the 4 days following our arrival to Tokyo (and I see the JR Pass does not fully cover these trips) but it still seems like a better option than paying every train ticket and purchasing the JR Tokyo Wide Pass instead.

What do you think?
All suggestions and comments will be highly appreciated!

Thanks a lot!

by Bast3t (guest)  

Re: Your itinerary (1) 2017/3/20 02:29
Welcome to my country!

Your itinerary itself seems to be well-planned.

One thing I can suggest for improvement is that it sounds better to allot more time for Kanazawa City.
Please note that bus rides on the section between Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa Station requires reservation.
http://www.japan-guide.com/bus/shirakawago.html

A few possible problems are
: Your six days until May 7 will be during the Golden Week period in 2017 (from April 29 through May 7); some popular tourist spots may be crowded with visitors.
: Your baby, while carried around by railroad or bus, may cry….

Have you made an appointment to stay in the temple on Mount Koya?
What stations are close to your accommodations in Osaka City, Kyoto City, Takayama City, Kanazawa City and Tokyo Metropolis?

Which airport will you fly out from, Haneda Airport [HND] or Narita Airport [NRT]?
(Narita Airport is located actually outside Tokyo.)

Tokyo with possible one day trips to Kamakura, Nikko and Fuji 5 lakes.


Well, if your main purpose of making the Fuji Five Lakes trip is to have a view of Mount Fuji, you alternatively can visit the Hakone area.
A route which I can suggest for that case is
: Kyoto -- Kanazawa -- Shirakawa-go -- Takayama -- Nagoya -- Odawara -- Hakone -- Odawara -- Tokyo.

In your current order of places, you need about 3 hours at least to get from Kyoto Station to Takayama Station (even when you use the Shinkansen until Nagoya) and about 5 hours to travel from Tokyo to near the Lake Kawaguchiko (among the Fuji Five Lakes) and back.

When you take the above route, you can get from Kyoto Station to Kanazawa Station in around 2 hours 10 minutes and travel from Odawara Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station and back within 1 hour in total.

So, this route seems to be better time-wise.

by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: Japan with a baby and best transport options 2017/3/21 08:58
Dear omotenashi,

Thank you very much for your fast and kind answer. Your suggestions make sense and I will look into it.
I know the dates of our travel are not ideal but I hope we can make the best of it.
How long do you think we should stay in Kanazawa?
I would love to dedicate enough time to each city, I am sure there's a lot to see and experience, but in 16 days and with a baby I know it's not possible.

We have reserved already accommodation in each city (but we can make changes if necessary):
- In Osaka we are staying not far from the Namba station and Dotonbori, as I thought it's convenient if we want to go to Koyasan.
- In Koyasan, at a temple in the centre.
- In Kyoto, between the train station and Gion.
- In Takayama we are staying at a ryokan not far from the train station.
- In Kanazawa, we have reserved an accommodation nearby the Kenroku-en.
- In Tokyo, our hotel is located in the Shinjuku area.

We will be flying from Haneda, which we also chose on purpose as it seemed easier and faster to reach.

We are excited to visit Japan!

Please do not hesitate to share your tips, in case you can think of something else.

Arigato and have a wonderful day.


by Bast3t (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan with a baby and best transport options 2017/3/21 14:10
I agree with the previous poster, but I think you are doing WAY too much with an infant with you.
by PsyGuy rate this post as useful

Re: Japan with a baby and best transport options 2017/3/21 18:44
Dear PsyGuy,
Thank you for your remark. If I drop all one-day trips except Nara and maybe Kamakura or Nikko, do you think it would be a better option?
Thank you.
by Bast3t rate this post as useful

Re: Japan with a baby and best transport options 2017/3/21 19:04
Here's my philosophy. There are three types of travelers to Japan:
1) Those that just want to race through as much as they can taking pictures along the way. They spend more time traveling between points then they do anything else.
2) Those that come for a very specific purpose.
3) Those that want to experience Japan.

Your itinerary with the exception of Kyoto seems very much like number one. You are going to spend a lot of time moving between points and with an infant, it's all just going to get exhausting, to the point you'd wish every night ended with an onsen (and a nanny). Big cities like Kyoto, and Tokyo you can't do in a couple days. Kyoto is at least a week and Tokyo two. All of your one day trips are basically spent traveling. You wake up in the morning, have breakfast by the time you're where you want to go it's an hour or two later, you have a couple hours to see what you came for, then it's lunch for an hour, that gives you 3 more hours (counting baby breaks) before you're heading back to dinner. I see this every year at Cherry Blossoms, there are those that come in, take some photos and walk around. To experience Cherry Blossoms you have to sit down, watch the blooms against the sky, inhale deeply, ponder the transience of everything. That's the real Japan, you have to stop and breath some of it inside you. All the day trips are going to be little more than a photo op.
by PsyGuy rate this post as useful

Re: Japan with a baby and best transport options 2017/3/24 15:53
You don't have much time in Kanazawa. If you arrive there from Takayama going through Shirakawago it will be already late afternoon/evening. And the next day you will do a long trip to Tokyo.
I would add one night in Kanazawa, so you have a full day for sightseeing. That is if the plan is to see the city. Otherwise it just seems like a lot to go for one night with a baby.

I quite enjoyed Kanazawa, it was very beautiful and easy city to see. Excellent food ;)

I don't know how similar is Shirakawago and Hida Folk Village in Takayama are if you are not staying overnight in Shirakawago. We ended up just seeing Hida Folk Village which I guess is an open air museum and Shirakawago more a living real village and bigger.

For us it was the right decision because at the time we got to Takayama we were exhausted. We stayed in a hotel with an onsen and just ended up soaking there for a day.

Consider this at some point at your trip. Just a day where you have nothing much planned but a bit to walk around and relax. Takayama was perfect for this.
by i would... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan with a baby and best transport options 2017/3/24 17:12
With a bub, you'll want a lazy day in their somewhere in the middle.

I would rearrange the travel and hotels as the earlier respondent suggested.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan with a baby and best transport options 2017/3/27 19:49
I think it sounds completely fine! We did Tokyo - Osaka - Kyoto - Tsuyama - Kyoto over 17 days last year with a 4 year old and 11 month old. We didn't have one "lazy day". An 8 month old should be a perfect travel companion, just take a baby carrier and you'll have a great time! Enjoy!
by Kirsten (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan with a baby and best transport options 2017/3/27 20:19
I would change one night from Tokyo to an extra night in Kanazawa, that way you have a full day to visit the city.
by Ravey (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japan with a baby and best transport options 2017/3/29 06:12
Thank you all for the comments, they were really helpful. In the end I booked an extra night in Kanazawa, as suggested but decided to stick to our plan, since the travel to Odawara (Hakone) seems a really long one to be made in one day. I don't think we will have time for the one-day trips, unless maybe for Nara, but we'll see how it goes, once we're in Kyoto. By the way, our baby loves to travel in a carrier, it's easy to sleep and look at things so I hope we'll be fine.
I am sure we will enjoy Japan a lot.
by Bast3t rate this post as useful

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