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Non-Car Days (Last Minute Refining) 2019/12/11 23:06
Hi All,

After living in Japan for 3 years along with visiting 7 times since, I'm planning my last trip to Japan in a little over a week. I've used this forum extensively and many great refining or rethinking ideas have come from the suggestions others on the forum have given.

For the last time - I thought that I would get some suggestions/feedback on my list of places to visit. The only place which I've visited extensively in this list is Kyoto. I've also traveled Japan more than most and tend to be a brisk traveler but will slow down when something grabs be.

Kobe Day 1 (20th December) - come via Airport Ferry to Kobe Airport
UCC Museum
Kobe City Museum
Kobe Maritime Museum
Kobe Chinatown
Earthquake Museum
Hyogo Art Museum

Kobe Day 2 (21st December) - was originally visiting the Zoo + Yokoo Tadanori Museum but changed to Sake District from feedback
Takenaka Museum
Sorakuen Garden
Ikuta Shrine
Kuan Ti Miao Temple
Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewery
Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum

Kyoto Villas (26th of December)
Shugakuin Villa (9AM booking)
Sekizanzenin Temple
Kyoto Railway Museum (can miss if running out of time)
Katsura Imperial Villa (15:20PM booking)

Kibune to Kurama + Bonus (28/12/19)
Rengeji Temple
Jisso-in Temple
Tomomi Iwakura Residence

Yuji-Jingu Shrine
Kuramadera Temple
Kifune Shrine

Nara (29/12/19) - already visited here a couple of times but have not visited many of the gardens (Isuen closed on date visited)
Kofukuji Treasure House
Nara National Museum
Yoshihiken Garden
Todai-ji Temple
Kasuga Taisha
Shinyukushi-ji Temple
Shiga Residence

Central Kyoto (30/12/19) - near hotel
Kenniji Temple
Yasui Shrine
Entoku-in Temple
Kodaiji Temple
Ryozen Kannon Statue

Kagoshima (4/1/20) - morning flight from Yakushima to Kagoshima Airport
Meiji Museum
Kagoshima Aquarium
Sajurajima Ferry
Sajkurajima Visitors Centre
Sakurajima Nature Park
Kagoshima Furusato Food Village

Kagoshima (5/1/20) - probably using CanCan Bus - this seems to follow the bus route for the tourist bus
Shiroyama Park
Kagoshima Art Museum
Terukuni Shrine
Kagoshima Prefectural Museum
Ishibashi Park

Note that the days in between I have a car which do not focus on cities (Eg - drive around Lake Biwako, drive/light hike Yakushima, drive around Kagoshima etc....)
by mfedley  

Re: Non-Car Days (Last Minute Refining) 2019/12/12 16:41
For Nara, I can recommend additionally this photography museum. Itfs close to Shiga residence and Shin Yakushiji. (Which I both enjoyed)


In Nara I would start the day at Todaiji right when it opens and before the tour bus invasion starts.
I guess you have Nigatsudo and that area on your list of already visited. I also liked the small alley way a bit to the North from the direct Todaiji-Nigatsudo access way to see some quite parts of Nara so close to the tourist madness of Todaiji.

And maybe try a traditional sento in Nara. There are still quite a lot. See my page for more specific recommendations but there are others as well.


In Sakurajima if you can rent a bicycle (or car) the full loop of the island was nice. Specially the North as it was so gdirtyh from the volcano.


Now I have would need double or triple the time you have for each of your days, but you know what you are doing.

Looking forward to your posts post trip.
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Non-Car Days (Last Minute Refining) 2019/12/12 17:37
Thanks for the info. Unfortunately the photography museum is closed on the 29th and strangely I kind of remember seeing it on Google Maps as a potential thing to do.

I'll also be driving around Sakurajima on another day when I also complete some visits to the easter peninsula of Kagoshima.

I have not visited Nigatsu-do but am at my limit of walking up mountain temples, specifically if I've got a reasonably packed day. I'm hoping that it being close to New Years when many of the sites are closed will limit the tour buses - specifically the schools! I give Nigatsu-do a think and if it looks interesting on the day then it's a possibility.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Non-Car Days (Last Minute Refining) 2019/12/13 01:10
You have never been to Nigatsudo?
Thatfs a pity! Itfs probably the nicest temple in Nara (well at least for me). With those nice views over The Valley!

I just assumed that you already went to a lot of places in Nara and are doing some for the second (or third ) time. But if Nigatsudo wasnft ever on your to do list, if you ask me, itfs urgently needed in it :-)
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Non-Car Days (Last Minute Refining) 2019/12/13 01:18
Sir,can we Get travel video from you?
Only travel report can't satisfied us.
Japan has thousands of restaurant. So food video also demand from thousands of new comers in Japan.
by Salah Ad din (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Non-Car Days (Last Minute Refining) 2019/12/13 22:17

I did not realize that Nigatsudo it was so close to Todaiji plus on second look it does not seem as though it's hundreds of stairs up a hill. It seems that I might be swayed again to make another change.

On another note - do you think that it's appropriate to hire a bicycle to get around Nara or is it best to walk since it will be the 29th of December when I visit. I would never think of using a bike in Spring/Autumn but the last time I visited central Nara was 2015......

On the other poster looking for videos - unfortunately the posts are a side-event of my trip and I don't want to make videos as I don't have the time.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Non-Car Days (Last Minute Refining) 2019/12/13 23:29
ummm... you are probably asking the wrong person if it is a good idea to hire a bike... I tend to go everywhere by bicycle if possible :-) riding about 5,000 km a year by bicycle (which isn't that much really, but definitely more than I drive by car).

I did also Nara by bicycle (but went up to Nigatsudo by foot, leaving the bike around Todaiji). I would say if you want only Todaiji, Nigatsudo, Museum and Kasuga jinja, then no bicycle is better. But if you want to go to the bit farer flung places a bicycle becomes an option. For your specific itinerary, no bike might be okay :-) You have a lot of places that are quite close to each other. So while it doesn't take a lot of time to park a bicycle, you are probably not going to gain that much from it. Plus going up to Kasuga jinja, maybe is better on foot because you can interact better with the deer.

However should you reconsider, there are some mamachari's for rent (at JR station), but I guess there are other bicycle rentals as well.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Non-Car Days (Last Minute Refining) 2019/12/14 16:59
I ended up booking a bike near Kintetsu Nara station. You are right that my morning stops are close to one another - but I've also extended potentially to the merchant district later in the day as a possibility.

Do you see any of the other areas of Todaiji (apart from the main hall and Nigatsu-do as being must views?
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Non-Car Days (Last Minute Refining) 2019/12/14 17:59
Do you see any of the other areas of Todaiji (apart from the main hall and Nigatsu-do as being must views?

No, I donft think so.

There are two ways from Todaiji up to Nigatsudo. One that goes through other temples and a huge bell and the other one a Little bit more to the North and a little bit less steep goes through small lanes, comes by the remains of some previous Todaiji buildings (I think at best there are some stones, but it is also an area of relax for the deer. Just behind Todaiji but largely ignored by the masses (of human beings) but well known in the guidebook to Nara for deer) and then goes up to Ryuzoin. (No suggestions to visit it, just so you find the way. )

I would maybe take that way, just to see this quietness in the center of the tourist tornado.

The other approach isnft bad either , but more normal.

You can then walk from Nigatsudo directly to Kasuga taisha.

by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Non-Car Days (Last Minute Refining) 2019/12/15 17:55
I'm currently rethinking one of my half days in Kyoto.

I've basically got two choices to make.

Option 1

Rengeji Temple
Jisso-in Temple
Tomomi Iwakura Residence

Then off to Kibune & Kurama

Option 2

Daitoku-ji + sub-temples, then off to Kibune & Kurama.

I tend to like gardens a lot - but can find gardens like Ryōan-ji a bit too refined for my liking. Any thoughts would be much appreciated....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

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