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20 day itinerary critique 2019/5/20 23:34

I would really appreciate some feedback about a 20 day itinerary with my wife and what will be our 7 month baby in late september - october.

Tokyo - 5 nights
Kanazawa - 2 nights
Takayama - 2 nights
Kyoto - 5 nights
Hiroshima - 2 nights
Kurashiki / Okayama - 2 nights
Hakone - 2 nights
Back to Narita airport

Kurashiki is a stop off from Hiroshima on our way back to Tokyo via Hakone, maybe there is a better place?
I'm also not 100% sure on what the best order is e.g. if its better to go to Kanazawa from Tokyo or not
Also moving every 2 days maybe isn't a great idea with a Baby but it seems that most journeys aren't longer than say 3 hours (apart from hiroshima to Kurashiki)

Any help is really appreciated!
by heavyweight87  

Re: 20 day itinerary critique 2019/5/21 10:02

I mostly like your plans. I am not personally a huge Hakone fan, but it might have something more for you. I personally just find that the taking lots of forms of transport gets dull quickly, I'm particularly not fond of the ship across Ashiko.

I think you are a bit confused about travel times. Assuming you have a JR Pass...

Tokyo to Kanazawa is about 2.5 hours
Kanazawa to Takayama is going to run you 2 hours with well timed trains or a little more than 2 hours if you take the bus.
Takayama to Kyoto is closer to 4 hours, the long part of the travel is the Hida from Takayama to Nagoya. When we took one in 2017 the bathrooms were squat toilets only and I don't remember what the facilities were like in the bathroom for changing tables because my child has been potty trained for a long long time. The longest part of the trip, almost 3 hours, is the Takayama to Nagoya part.
Kyoto to Hiroshima is only 2 hours
Hiroshima to Okayama is only 40 minutes
Okayama to Hakone is killer at 4.5 hours. (and that's just to Hakone-Yumoto, most people stay in a different part of Hakone and not Hakone-Yumoto.)

My daughter when she was 7 months old would have easily fallen asleep on the train, she loved sleeping in cars. Mine nursed so I would need to work that in, at 7 months old, they're still eating limited solids or at least mine was. I can't remember when the diaper blow outs stopped, but I can say I would not want to be on a Hida when my child had a diaper blow out.

You could shave a bit off your last day if you went to the Izu area vs. Hakone. It's a little more than 4 hours to Shuzenji and you could pick a ryokan closer to one of the earlier stations on the Izu-Hakone line. One of the members of your forum @Lazy Pious, just got back from the Izu area and loved it.

Another idea would be to break up your Kyoto stay. So do:
Tokyo - 5 nights
Kanazawa - 2 nights
Takayama - 2 nights
Kyoto - 3 nights Kyoto
Hiroshima - 3 nights
Kyoto - 3 nights
Hakone - 2 nights
Back to Narita airport

You could switch out Hakone for Izu on the above itinerary still or look into Atami. If you're going to Hakone in hopes of seeing Mt. Fuji it's not guaranteed. I've been to Hakone 4x or 5x, including in the Fall and Spring, and have never seen Mt. Fuji there. I tend to be lucky and see Mt. Fuji from Tokyo. Last June I saw Mt. Fuji from the Tokyo Disney Monorail.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: 20 day itinerary critique 2019/5/21 10:05
Sorry, that should be our forum not your.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: 20 day itinerary critique 2019/5/21 13:09
Looks pretty decent but bear in mind it may be filthy hot in Kyoto. If heat isn't your thing, you might want to consider somewhere cooler.

I've just spent 2 nights in hakone, the first time I've been back for 10 years. It is crawling with overseas tourists which would outnumber the locals 2 to one, but it still has its charms depending on where you are based. We stayed at fukumuziro at Tonosawa which is a lovwly little foresty hamlet a few hundred metres from the bustle of Hakone Yumoto. It is over 100 years old and full of charm, my new favorite ryokan in Japan.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 20 day itinerary critique 2019/5/23 03:12
Thanks for the advice!
So it might actually be better to stop of in himeji on the way back from Hiroshima from what I read.

Is Hakone even worth it? Itfs just a filler really and we thought it would be good to see some nature.
by heavyweight87 rate this post as useful

Re: 20 day itinerary critique 2019/5/23 03:38

There are people who like Hakone... I'm not of their number. I have been multiple times though. Before Yunessun sold off some of their property, it was a fun and cheezy day trip. In early Summer, the hydrangeas along the tracks are gorgeous and if you're into flowers they're something to see. But you're talking September. It's very touristy.

Personally if I wanted touristy but nice and on the way back to Tokyo I would look at Kamakura or Enoshima There are even direct NEX from Ofuna, which is only 2 stops and 6 minutes from Kamakura Station. When Mt. Fuji is not being shy, you can hike to the hillside behind Kenchoji and get a view of it.

I like Himeji. Himeji is still much closer to Hiroshima than to Hakone. Part of what makes Hakone so far is needing to switch to the Odakyu line in Odawara and then needing to switch to something else usually because Hakone-Yumoto is just not a great place to stay if you have other options.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: 20 day itinerary critique 2019/5/23 03:55
Hakone may or may not be effected by the rise in volcanic activity in the area.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: 20 day itinerary critique 2019/5/23 04:56
Is Hakone even worth it? Itfs just a filler really and we thought it would be good to see some nature.

Everyone is different. I actually like Hakone:
- where else can you stand on top of a bubbling Volcano (sometimes however it gets closed, and yes there ar other volcanoes you can visit, eg in Hachimantai)
- I like the mix of different transportation for the big round
- in contrast to others I really like those absurd plastic clad pirate ships crossing the lake
- I like the open air art museum (but I am not crazy about it)
- the torii in the lake isnft bad either (although not outstanding)
- a lace white th onsen for me is always good

Now I am not saying that ther arenft other nice day trip destinations from Tokyo. But I would not write off Hakone lightly.

Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 20 day itinerary critique 2019/5/23 07:22
We were in Hakone on Sunday and Monday, the first time I have been back for 10 years.

The bad:
it is crawling with foreign tourists which seem to outnumber Japanese 2 to 1. A lot are european, but then a sizeable number are from closer countries wearing clothes with a label on each item (I saw one with a labelled hat, Jacket, shirt, trousers, socks, and shoes which I thought deserved an A for effort). Those tourists can be very noisy which really undermines any the travel experience. The train is busy, and some attractions are cheesy (I'm looking at you, Pirate Ship). Parts of the ropeway are off limits. Gotemba outlets has its fans, but why bewilders me.

The good:
it is still spectacularly beautiful. The train journey from Hakone Yumoto to Gora is a lot of fun. Outside of the townships, you could have stepped back 200 years. Tonosawa for example is a 5 minute walk from Hakone Yumoto but aside from the road going through it, it "feels" like you have travelled hours into the mountains. The outdoor museum is very nice. It is usually cooler than Tokyo. It is a great place for a ryokan stay, and the onsen water is nice (smellier the closer you go to Gora).

What we just did:
We stayed at Fukumuziro ryokan at Tonosawa. It is over 100 years old, like a museum. We stayed in 2 rooms, the second had its own toilet and onsen bath which I have to say was amazingly good. The staff were just awesome, the food is great too. We stayed 2 nights, leaving for Narita airport from there, which meant we werent stuck in the depressing city for our last night. With reasonable connections it is 2 hours to the airport from Hakone, though we went to Odawara first to see the castle (and got drenched in the rain).

I'd recommend that to anyone.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

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