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Tokyo, Kyoto + 5 Free Days 2018/11/25 03:24
Traveling end of December for 10 days around New Years.

Definitely spending at least 2 days in Kyoto and 3 in Tokyo, leaving 5 undecided days. Interested to spend a night at a very good onsen. Need help planning these 5 undecided days.

These are thoughts from research online:
- 3 extra days in Kyoto to allow day trips from the city + 1 extra day in Tokyo + 1 day in an onsen
- 3 extra days in Kyoto to allow day trips from the city + 2 days in Takayama staying at a local onsen
- 1 extra in Kyoto + 2 days in Takayama staying at a local onsen + 2 days in Kanazawa

What are your thoughts? Any other suggestions for the 5 undecided days are more than welcome; we are open to all suggestions!

Much appreciated! We are very excited!
by Max (guest)  

Re: Tokyo, Kyoto + 5 "Free" Days 2018/11/25 09:30
My suggestion would be:
3 extra days in Kyoto (one of which to be a day trip to Nara) and 2 days in Miyajima (on the way, stop at Himeji Castle). You can stay in an onsen ryokan in Miyajima.
by miyako (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo, Kyoto + 5 "Free" Days 2018/11/25 10:04
If you havent been to Japan before. I would be splitting the time between Tokyo and Kyoto and now adding any other location.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo, Kyoto + 5 Free Days 2018/11/26 22:49
For Kyoto I would recommend at least 3 days to see the city itself, see
You can easily spend 1 day at Arashiyama, 1 day at the Fushimi Inari and Gion area and one day covering the Kinkakuji and the Ginkakuji, Ryoanji area.

From Kyoto, I would recommend a sidetrip to Nara 1 day as a first time visitor. Another nice day trip is a day to Osaka, where you can visit the Castle, Dotombori and the Museum of Housing and Living.

For Tokyo, I always say you need at least 2-3 days. 1 day to visit Asakusa (and Odaiba?). 1-2 days to visit Akihabara, Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya.
From Tokyo I also recommend at least 1 day of Fuji-viewing. Maybe visit the famous Hakone and spend the night there. Onsen are really good around that area.

If you really want to see Hiroshima Peace Park, I would definitely free 2 days for Miyajima and Hiroshima, but when it comes to adding extra places to stay; 10 days might just be a little to, not recommended, but definitely possible!

Hope this information helps...
BTW don't forget to check the amazing Japanese Winter Illuminations at the end of December. My recommendations: Namba Parks Osaka, Shiodome Tokyo, Tokyo Dome City (And Shinjuku station)
by Mikichan1991 rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo, Kyoto + 5 Free Days 2018/11/26 23:48
Plan 3 for long as the travelling times between places don't eat up too much of your day (you will need to check that out yourself).

On a first trip, I'd be happy to go with just hitting a handful of highlights in Tokyo and Kyoto, and then getting some variety and definitely fitting in *at least* one onsen ryokan. Don't even try to think about "doing" those cities - there's way too much to see.

Remember: winter days are short, and the good onsen areas around Takayama (I'm assuming you'll aim for somewhere in the Oku Hida region) may be snowy, so transport may be slower.
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo, Kyoto + 5 Free Days 2018/11/27 03:52
If possible, make your onsen ryokan stay midweek and before New Yearfs. Once you hit the weekend and then New Yearfs Eve places the good places will all be filled up and the prices will be higher. You can expect lots of people in the baths and everywhere else. But the couple of days after Christmas should be pretty good, if you can make it then.

With extra time to fill, the best way to have a memorable trip is to devote some of that time to less-famous places, rather than looking for more gTop Tenh places to add. This is especially true for Kyoto. I understand that the average tourist is simply not able to resist the attractive power of the major tourist magnet sites; itfs just impossible. But if you have some extra time, then make a point of also visiting some of the exquisite but less famous sites, and you will be glad you did. It takes a bit more research to find good candidates and then pick ones that suit you, but you will not be sorry. For me the essence of Kyoto is the serenity of the ancient temples, shrines, and gardens as you experience them when they are uncrowded or even virtually empty. There is no way to experience this at Kiyomizudera, Fushimi Inari Shrine, or Kinkaji. But it is entirely possible at many other fabulous sites in Kyoto (and beyond).

Likewise, you can count on big crowds if you go to Takayama (for example). If you like big crowds, then thatfs great! But there are many outstanding places that are not overrun by tourists.

The time of year you are traveling makes it harder to get around and to find reasonably priced lodging, but if you avoid the major tourist magnets, you may fare pretty well.

If you find yourself stuck on Top Ten places because you donft know where else to look, I think that many of the travel reports on Japan guide (by staff such as Raina and Sam) are good starting points for picking places to visit. They have some terrific illustrated write-ups of some places that are very well worth seeing but tend to not be crowded. (Posted under Japan Travel News.) There are also some good forum posts in response to people who say they want to go goff the beaten pathh and are lookig for suggestions, but those are harder to find and sort through.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo, Kyoto + 5 Free Days 2018/11/27 04:07
Another good time for the onsen stay would be farther into the New Year, after people have gone back to work. But the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd are not good days, and then in 2019 a weekend falls after that. Those days probably won't be quite as bad, but if you can wait until the following week and go on a weekday it would be a lot better.

When onsen ryokans are full to capacity, it can be a mob scene in the baths (with a wait for the washup stations etc.), service at meals and in general can sometimes be slow (although they typically add more staff to compensate), and the prices are often quite a lot higher. And you are more likely going to encounter vacationers who are a bit too "boisterous," which can be a drag if you want to sleep at night. Of course, in a major onsen town, the atmosphere can be enhanced by having large numbers of people present, but that can get old pretty fast.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

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