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Kyoto-Kanazawa-Tokyo itinerary in 13 days 2019/8/30 11:44
I am looking for feedback on the following September itinerary for my wife and I. A friend had convinced us we should get a 14-day JR Pass, but my investigation suggests this may not be the best option. We have some fixed dates since I have tickets for rugby world cup matches. This is our first trip so I want to make it memorable. Thanks in advance!

Interests: Culture, history, photography, gardens, food.

Friday: Fly to Narita from Newark, New Jersey.
Saturday: Arrive Narita in early afternoon and take train to Kyoto (This is to get the distance traveling out of the way early.
Sunday to Thursday: Kyoto with possible side trips to Nara, Hikone, Osaka (undecided and seems like there are a lot of options.)
Late Thursday: Travel to Kanazawa.
Friday: See Kenroku-en and other sights before going to Tokyo. Need to check-in by 10pm.
Saturday-Friday: Tokyo area with matches on Saturday and Sunday only. Based on reviews, I booked Mimaru Tokyo Ueno Inaricho through Monday, but may extend it to based on what we plan. We have quite a list of things to do.
Friday: Fly home from Narita at 5pm.

Questions:

* Is Kanazawa a worthwhile side trip on the way back to Tokyo?
* We don't have interest in climbing Mt. Fuji, but are interested in seeing it from afar. Is Hakone the best option? Kawaguchiko looked interesting too, but required quite a travel investment. I think I'd have to cut out Kanazawa to do this on the way back from Kyoto, and even then it'd be super rushed. Seeing Kenroku-en in a short timeframe sounds much more feasible.
* If we were to go to Hakone at the end of the trip, is it feasible to make it back through Tokyo on a Friday to Narita, or is that basically a full day of travel?
* I'm tempted to try to find somewhere for my wife to feel a bit more pampered. I've looked at luxury ryokans in Hakone already, but is there somewhere else that's nice, but in closer proximity to Narita? This would give up on seeing Mt. Fuji, but it'd still be great.

Thanks again!
by Brian Lyttle (guest)  

Re: Kyoto-Kanazawa-Tokyo itinerary in 13 days 2019/8/30 12:00
I personally very much love Kanazawa and it should be lovely in September. It is however not like on the way back to Tokyo but requires a detour to the western Japan but I guess you are already aware of that. Looks like you will have limited in Kanazawa, checking out the major sites (castle, garden, art museum and DT Suzuku Museum + old samurai house) in a day is sure doable (not a huge city - https://bizarrejourneys.com/kanazawa) but will feel very rushed. How about cutting Tokyo down by a day and adding another day to Kanazawa. In terms of the sites, Kanazawa is sometimes referred to as little Kyoto. So some traditional architecture and beautiful gardens but it will again be a city trip just like Tokyo and Kyoto. So you may also consider adding a nature destination as opposed to Kanazawa to introduce diversity to you itinerary but it sure all comes down to what you like the most.

In terms of all your transportation queries - www.hyperdia.com will give you the exact timing required for each destination. The delays are very rare but not unheard of especially during typhoon season (yep includes September).
by Bizarre Journeys rate this post as useful

Re: Kyoto-Kanazawa-Tokyo itinerary in 13 days 2019/8/30 12:12
September can be very hot especially in Kyoto. How are you with heat? If you dont like 30 - 35 degree celsius temps, we could recommend some alternatives through the Alps area. Bear in mind though that if it is drizzly, the temps can be quite nice.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Kyoto-Kanazawa-Tokyo itinerary in 13 days 2019/8/30 12:25
Yes 14 day pass would be waste of money.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Kyoto-Kanazawa-Tokyo itinerary in 13 days 2019/8/30 18:03
Just to add to what PPs said:

- Fuji:
If you donft mind seeing it from far away, you can see it from Tokyo , weather permitting. Eg Shinjuku municipal administration building
Or you could go to Enoshima and see it from the shore.
Obviously Hakone is an other possibility as well as Kawaguichiko.

In all locations (probably with the exception of Kawaguchiko seeing Fuji is highly dependent on the weather. No guarantee. There are loads of people who havenft see Fuji from Hakone.

If you want to pamper your wife, what about a night or 2 in a Ryokan in Kamakura?
I personally really like Kamakura, you could go to Enoshima for trying mt Fuji.

There is an other poster here and he (I think hefs a he) has a good recommendation on hotel in Kamakura. I always only daytripped as I lived in Tokyo or now going for business trips so always have Tokyo accommodation.

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

Re: Kyoto-Kanazawa-Tokyo itinerary in 13 days 2019/8/31 00:21
Just throwing this out there, depending on how much you travel, getting from Narita to Kyoto on arrival day is likely to be exhausting. I have done it multiple times, with a child, after leaving from JFK, and it's just exhausting. Be aware you will tend to be more alert in the morning and less so as the day progresses.

You could look into how much it would cost to fly from Narita to Itami. We did that last trip ( JFK to Narita to Itami) and got a SUPERB view of Mt. Fuji from the plane. You can check which side of the plane is the Fuji side ahead of time. It's one of my favorite views and sort of better than from the ground in some respects. From Itami, there are cheap direct buses to Kyoto Station.

I'm just throwing this out there because while I love Japanese trains, sometimes flying can work too especially since you would need to get from Narita into Tokyo to transfer for a shinkansen.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Kyoto-Kanazawa-Tokyo itinerary in 13 days 2019/8/31 22:55
Thanks for all of the thoughtful replies. I was trying to keep my original post shorter, so I couldn't provide all the context. This was originally going to be a shorter trip for me to see Rugby World Cup matches in the Tokyo area with a friend, but plans changed and we could only arrange travel with the matches in the middle which wasn't ideal. This creates the conundrum with getting back to Tokyo in time for the games while trying to see somewhere on the way.

I wanted to respond to a few of the points here to get clarification:

@Bizarre Journeys: you may also consider adding a nature destination as opposed to Kanazawa to introduce diversity to you itinerary but it sure all comes down to what you like the most.

Is there a particular nature destination you'd suggest which is easily accessible by train on the return from Kyoto to Tokyo? I don't want to cut into our Kyoto time, but I could move the train to Tokyo to Saturday morning to give us more time in Kanazawa. My wife loves gardens, so if you think there is better in Kyoto or Tokyo I'd be interested in your opinion.

We need to be at Tokyo Stadium no later than 2pm on Saturday, and my original plan was based on the idea of getting to the Tokyo accommodation on Friday night so we had setup base there. My preferred accommodation in Ueno has check-in closing at 10pm so worried I'll be a bad guest and miss that time!

I have been reading the Lonely Planet guide for Japan, but it's information overload just getting through Kyoto and Tokyo.

Lazy Pious: September can be very hot especially in Kyoto. How are you with heat?

We are from Philadelphia so have some experience with the heat/humidity. We don't have another option since we really want to see Kyoto. Is the Alps area a possibility for 2 nights instead of Kanazawa?

rkold: Just throwing this out there, depending on how much you travel, getting from Narita to Kyoto on arrival day is likely to be exhausting.


We realized this, especially if there is a travel delay, but my wife prefers the train option for sleeping. I'll take a look at flight options though.
by BrianLy rate this post as useful

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