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2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/22 11:30
Hello Everyone,

I sought your advice last year for our 1st Japan trip which has been great due to the wealth of info on this website and the sound advice of the experienced Japan travellers and residents on this forum.

We are planning a second visit for 2 weeks in September/October. Our trip last year was a bit rushed so we planning to revisit some places to explore them more and add new ones. I am aware that it will be the RWC so I secured accommodation already. Learning from our visit last year, we will come through Narita and leave through Itami without backtracking to Tokyo (although there will be a change of flight at Narita for our return trip).

The summary of our trip will be a week in Tokyo, 2 nights in Hakone, 2 nights Hiroshima and 4 days Kyoto
I would really appreciate your input and advice on the draft itinerary for our activities in Tokyo.

18/9- Arrive 9:00am Narita from Melbourne; probably reach hotel by 11:00-12:00hrs, check in is not until 3:00pm so I was wondering if going to Teamlab Borderless and Odaiba for the afternoon/evening and then return to the our hotel near Kanda Station is doable after an overnight flight with minimal sleep.
19/9- Imperial Palace Gardens, Tokyo Station area, Ginza, Yanaka,
20/9- Explore Nihonbashi area (perhaps join a walking tour or something) then Samurai dressup at 5:00pm in Hatchibouri
alternatively do Odaiba and Borderless in the morning and then go to Hatchibouri for the Samurai dressup (already booked). I am concerned that with thelines and queues at Borderless that I read about we might be late for the Samurai dressup (according to google, it will take about 45 min to get there from Obadaiba provided that we don't get lost of course!)
21/9- Daytrip to Kamakura and Enoshima (it will be a Saturday so I would like to avoid the crowds of RWC in Tokyo plus normal tourists but I know that Kamakura could be busy and crowded too).
22/9- Skytree and surrounding area, Asakusa, Ueno
23/9- Akihabara, Nakano Broadaway and possibly the Samurai museum in Shinjuku (just found out that this day will be a public holiday in Japan because of the Autumn equinox so wondering if shops will be closed? In this case I have to reschedule our visit to these places as we interested in buying anime figures.
24/9- Meiji Shrine; Harajuku; Shibyua,
25/9- leave to Hakone in the morning (not chasing Mt Fuji as I know it's elusive and we saw it from the Shinkansen last year)

Thanks for your input and advice
by Sam (guest)  

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/22 16:20
I see no real issues with your itinerary.

Kamakura and Enoshima in the one day can be rushed depending on how much you wanna see and do. But if you only wanna vist a few temples/shrines and do none of the nature hikes/walks. Then you should fit both in. But still leave early to get there.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/22 16:35
Hi Sam

This itinerary generally looks good, probably about the pace we tend to do things.

It's hard to know how you'll be after the overnight flight-last time we did one I vowed in future to book the hotel for the night before so we could go in and have a nap before heading out!

Just wanted to say re the Samurai Museum, these places are often closed on a Monday (which 23/9 is) and if Monday is a public holiday, on the day after as well. If you really want to go there, check-your hotel should be able to help. In terms of the shops I have never really noticed public holidays making much difference to them, but you could just choose a day other than the Monday to be sure.

Also Kamakura and Enoshima are likely to be super-busy on a Saturday. Tokyo will swallow the RWC without batting an eyelid, so no real need to get out of town for that reason.

Have a wonderful time in Japan!

by Who? (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/22 18:23
Thanks hakata14 and Who? For your replies.

In regards Kamakura and Enoshima, we are planning to leave really early. We are not planning on many hikes, but we hope to take the Enoden train to Enoshima. After the crowds we have seen in last year in touristic sites around Kyoto, I think anywhere else will be manageable.

Thank you for alerting me that the Samurai Museum closes on Mondays (and public holidays). I forgot about this. I will see if we could reschedule it to another day.

In regards booking the night before we arrive to rest, I am seriously considering that. It takes us 3 hours to reach Melbourne Airport ( we live in a rural area) and need to be there 3 hours before take off, so it is going to be a very long journey. I will see if we could book the extra night.

As for closure of shops, here in Australia despite all the public holidays we may have, the only two days in which 95% of the shops close are Christmas Day and Good Friday. But I donft know how important these nature-related holidays to the Japanese and whether theyfre are like Christmas and Good Friday here or not.
I will look more into this.

Thank you again for your feedback.
by Sam (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/22 23:05
Here some more answers /suggestions:

- shops: wonft be closed on a public holiday, unless we are speaking small neighborhood shops.
- look up for the samurai museum but if it is a holiday on Monday the most normal thing would be that it is open and then closed on the Tuesday
- as an alternative of booking an extra night, you could look into spending the day at a city onsen and nap there. If thatfs something youfd like to consider let us know where your hotel is or in what region youfd be willing to consider doing it. There is an onsen on Odaiba, but i am not a big fan of it and this donft know if they have a relax room. In Shinjuku there is Terma Yu which has large relax rooms. Not all onsen have one where you can lie down and just nap for hours. This way you can also decide last minute depending on how tired you actually are. Good thing you donft have a time difference (or only a very small one with Japan)
- as PP said, Tokyo wonft get crowded for rugby. Actually Tokyo stadium is nowhere near of what you are thinking is Tokyo. (I think itfs somewhere in Chofu of Fuchu more or less). Kamakura is more crowded so if you can move it to a not weekend /not holiday that would be better. However you are actually very flexible and can just go with the weather and mood.
- for me Kamakura and Enoshima in one day is too much (but then I have spent probably already more than a week in Kamakura alone without ever sleeping there. And go back over and over again - just was there on Sunday and still discovered new attractions) but it is doable.
- For the Enoden, wait first in line (or wait for the next ) and sit on the sea facing side. It might seem initially better to sit on the other side so you have the sea in front of you, but youfll end up having your view blocked by too many passengers. I have always only taken it from Kamakura, but maybe it is easier (a little bit less people) from Fujisawa. Taking it midway through (eg at Hase) will at best (!!!) get you a crammed standing spot in my experience.

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

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/23 00:36
If your visiting Kyoto for a reasonable amount of time - it might be a good idea to hit up Enoshima more than Kamakura. Kamakura is really about the temples.... Visiting some of the periphery locations such as Saitama, Yokohama or Kawasaki is also a nice change as visiting different parts of Tokyo might get a bit monotonous after a week but I'm not a city person....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/23 00:59
@medfly, for Tokyo, if you ever decide to come back here after your final trip to Japan, get this book: https://www.amazon.com/Tokyo-Adventures-Glimpses-City-Bygone/dp/407975... and you will discover completely unknown areas of Tokyo.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/23 01:00
Sorry, mfedley, I never seem to be able to remember your username when I come to the screen to put "my answer". Maybe if you explained how it is composed I could remember it better, but please forgive me for misspelling it so often.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/23 07:14
@LikeBike, brilliant idea about the onsen-a nice long soak and nap (followed by another soak) would be perfect.

@mfedley agree that a day in Yokohama or Kawasaki-I've not been to Saitama-is worthwhile. Which got me thinking about Mt Takao, which has mountain, onsen and noodles. As well as a potential view of Mt Fuji.
by Who? (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/23 12:21
Thanks LikeBike, mfedley and who? for your feedback and suggestions.

I wanted to add to Yokohama but realised that there will be some RWC games there in that week (forgot when exactly). So I dismissed it.

I will discuss the other areas you suggested with the family and see what we decide. I could move things around a bit, but Ifm afraid that queues to do anything in Tokyo on Saturday will be excessively long. Thatfs one of the reasons we are avoiding Teamlab and Odaiba on the weekend.

The idea of the onsen before check in seems appealing. I know that the hotel we booked has an onsen onsite. But itfs closed from 9am- 3:00pm.
We will be staying at the Mitsui Gardens Nihonbashi Premier. So if you have any suggestions of nearby onsens let me know.

Thanks for the info about the Samurai Museum and the shops. We havenft been to Nakano Broadway before so we donft know if they are family run shops or bigger ones. We are interested in buying old Dragon Ball Z character figurines which I doubt will be in Akihabara so we thought of Nakano Broadway as I was told that it deals with old anime more.

Yesterday, I found advice about a flea market near the racecourse (which I have to find on google) which sold such stuff. So that would be something to consider too.

In Kyoto, we have seen most of the gtouristyh shrines and temples last year, except for kiyomizudera. So wefre hoping to visit it this time as well as use Kyoto as a base to visit nearby towns such as Uji. We are also hoping to visit Toei Studio Village, the Noodle factory and the Manga Museum in addition to the Handicraft Centre.

We may visit Nara but the idea of dealing with vicious deer like those on Miyajima puts me off.

I did read that Kamakura is like a gmini Kyotoh, but I didnft get to visit Nara last year so I would like to see a giant Buddha without deer!
I know that most people find the deer fascinating but we found them aggressive and vicious ready to bite you off for any bit food that you may have.

Thanks for your suggestions and advice once again.
by Sam (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/23 12:45
I've spent quite a bit of time in Nara over the years, the deer there are a lot different in manner to the Miyajima deer.

The main group of "tame" dear hang out around the front of Todaiji. By the mid morning, they are getting pretty excited for food and they can give you a nudge if you have food or deer crackers. Their focus though is food - if you dont have any, they lose interest pretty quickly. The deer through the park however tend to be fairly well mannered, though they do love the senbae so if you buy them, be prepared to have to fend the deer off, or at least make them bow before you give them one.

I did find the miyajima deer less well mannered. If you want to avoid the pushier ones in Nara, go to Todaiji early in the day.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/23 13:24
Thanks for the info about the Nara deer LazyPious.

The experience with the Miyajima deer was really traumatic! Lol!

I will consider your advice on board and if we decide to go to Nara wefll do in the early morning.
by Sam (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 2nd visit itinerary advice 2019/5/23 13:56
Apart from Shin-Yokohama Station for a couple of hours - the Rugby World Cup will have almost no impact on visiting Yokohama. Note that Yokohama Station is not that close to the main stadium.

Likebike - my name is the initials of my first name - followed by my last name (m for Mathew - fedley being my last name). I'm also aware that Tokyo has heaps of day trips and hidden places that I'm aware of and also not aware of. One of my favorites is Mito and the Boso Peninsula....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

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