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Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/30 11:46
We have 13 days in japan and are considering visits to the following areas. We welcome suggestions to improve our plans. Our interest include seeing some old Japanese towns, experiencing Japanese culture, viewing natural wonders, seeing Kyoto, Gion and all the temples and shrines, doing some thrift shopping for gifts, taking in tokyo old and new and more..

5 Days in Tokyo wards to start with a day trip one day to Nikko.
1 day Mt Fuji with hopes to see it from Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi
3 Days in Kyoto
1 Day in Kinosaki Onsen
2 Open days. We like the areas around Hida Takayama and the mountain areas but would we spend most of a day getting there from Kinosaki and miss enjoying the location? We are not too interested in seeing any more large cities after Tokyo and Kyoto thus have chosen to bypass Osaka and Hiroshima.
by Flying Tiger  

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/30 14:46
Hi, given Kinosaki Onsen is hard to link to anywhere else, give some thought to what you want to do there. It is a pretty town, we stayed 2 nights but really one would have been plenty. Also the hotels dont have onsen water, for onsen water you have to go into a public onsen in town, so if you are not OK with public onsen you are wasting your time.

Kusatsu onsen has a lot more tourists but is a bit more interesting IMO. You could also get to it easier tied into an Alps trip. For example you might go Kyoto to Takayama to Kanazawa to Karuizawa to Kusatsu
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/30 15:35
To get to know the real Japan, I recommend the countryside.
We have compiled shrines and temples in Saitama Prefecture that you can go from Tokyo for a day trip. Take a look.

Temple
https://youtu.be/6oQO-C-xTeY

Shrine
https://youtu.be/XUHAEITQvkY

I hope it will be helpful
by DEEP JAPAN (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/30 22:59
So if we were to change our Itinerary to go to another Onsen( Kusatsu), where would you make the schedule adjustments? I have already booked everything and can change dates but thing are filling up fast. What would be a logical order to see those cities and where would you spend an open day while you are in that area? My wife just thinks Kinosaki Onsen looks interesting because people walk around at night in traditional attire and yes we were aware that only public onsen's have onsen water but your right, we may wish to do a private onsen too.
by Flying Tiger rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/31 05:59
Kinosaki Onsen is really pretty and the advantage of it over Kusatsu (at least when I went there maybe 3 years ago) was that there were mainly Japanese visitors rather than Kusatsu which is noticeably overseas tourists. At night time I thought Kusatsu is livelier and the water at Kusatsu is really good.

Are you leaving from Osaka? In that case I think I would go Tokyo - Fuji - Karuizawa - Kusatsu - Kanazawa - Kyoto

Otherwise to get some Alps in but stick with Kinosaki, I would go Tokyo - Fuji - Matsumoto - Takayama - Kyoto - Kinosaki.

Are your two free days at the end, and where are you departing from?
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/31 08:21
Thank you for the comments. No we are leaving from Haneda. Trying to fit in or make changes to a initial itinerary that includes: Tokyo, Nikko (day trip), Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and Kinosaki Onsen with 2 free days to do something. Don't want to go to Osaka or Hiroshima instead preferring to go to places easy to get to by train and/or bus and that are much smaller as we will have had enough of the big cities in Tokyo & Kyoto. We need input to figure out what we need to change or add for our final two days as day 13 we return back to HND for a flight home. The streets of Kinosaki do look quite beautiful. Also looking for ideas on a place to stay in Kinosaki as everything is or has filled up.
by Flying Tiger rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/31 08:48
Kinosaki is cool.
You could do a trip up the cable car, or go to the little pine island peninsula (Amanohashidate - I may well have the spelling completely wrong- apologies- but google will take you there).
It could make a nice, calm, punctuation point to the rest of your trip.
Ifm saying this because I personally love a holiday that combines rushing around places with big tourist sites with just chilling in a quiet place in the middle.
Your views may be different...
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/31 09:08
Cheers, I dont want to dominate the thread but I've been there. The problem with Kinosaki is that you pretty much have to come back to Kyoto (3 hours) before you can head east which then means you have a big travel day already before you go anywhere else. Then getting up to the alps is another 3 hours or so, so your day is a killer and really I wouldnt recommend it.

I'd can the Alps and keep them for another trip, unless you cant get a place in Kinosaki. So what I would do is try to stay in Kinosaki on a week day which is a bit quieter. Then come back to Kyoto and go either to Nara overnight (one of our favorite places, never get tired of it) or maybe Hikone which is a really nice castle town on Lake Biwa close to Kyoto (not to be confused with Hakone). If you are staying at Nara, try a ryokan close to the park itself. If it was Nara I'd stay two nights. If it is Hikone, I'd consider going from there to Nagiso and do the Tsumago - Magome walk. It isnt amazing but with reduced expectations it is worthwhile and Magome in particular is a nice town with great mountain-y views.

Both Nara and Kiso Valley leave you close-ish to the Tokkaido shinkansen line to get back to Tokyo the next day.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/31 09:11
I forgot to mention, we stayed at Nishimuraya Honkan when we were at Kinosaki Onsen. It was a bit of a splurge, and we stayed in the rooms with the private outdoor bath. Dont recommend that as it is tap water but the rooms are amazing and the food second to none.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/31 09:16
oops, when I said "Cheers, I dont want to dominate the thread but I've been there." I meant that I've been there struggling with the planning to fit in Kinosaki, not that I've been to Kinosaki as though that makes me an expert lol
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2019/12/31 22:58
Thank you for the comments. Kind of what I thought about a day of Travel after leaving Kinosaki as I know it's 2.5 hours from Kyoto getting there and returning through Kyoto. I think we will do Kinosaki Onsen as the wife likes the look of the town and it would give us an opportunity to try a couple of Onsen's as a first timer though I hear the water is pretty darn hot in some of them! We can then work our way back towards Tokyo so I appreciate the advice about Hikone and Nara on our final two days. I really don't want to rush around those 2 days. Now my wife isn't sold on Nara but that would make some sense. Where ever the final two days are spent we want it to be convenient to take the train back to HND airport.
by Flying Tiger rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2020/1/1 06:39
Yeah, really you want it to be within an hour of Kyoto to keep your day's travel to 4 hours. Nara is really lovely unless you dont like deer in which case I wouldnt go because there are plenty of them. But there is heaps to do there. Look at Nara Hotel for a bit of history - we have stayed there lots of times but either it is getting smokier or I am getting more annoyed by smoking, whatever it is I wont go back as the bar and modern section are really insanely smokey.

This trip we are staying at a ryokan essentially on the park fringe, which is in one of my favorite parts of Nara https://www.kotonoyado.com/


by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2020/1/1 08:14
Well staying at Nara the last night means 4 transfers for 2 people (with Luggage) and a 232 minute journey meaning we would be close to our flight time (within 2 hours). I think that may be cutting it close IF we make any mistake or get misdirected at the airport. Any other thoughts besides Nara for a place to visit/stay for our trip back to Haneda on our final morning?
by Flying Tiger rate this post as useful

Re: Itinerary Adjustments & Ideas 2020/1/1 09:07
Hi!

Have you thought about using Takyuubin? If you have a lot of luggage it's quite convenient. I know many people on this forum prefer to travel with carry ons only, but I do not and love takyuubin. I tend to use a carry on for day trips. I personally don't like doing a lot on the day I travel back. I know I have a 10+ hour trip ahead of me. I also found Haneda was insanely slow my one time using it (July 2019) I got there with plenty of time but it took 30-40 minutes to drop off my suitcase. Maybe other people have not been so unfortunate, but I was a little stressed about it.

Another option is you can look into flying from Itami to Haneda.

I've not been yet and I know it definitely gets foreign tourists, but I'm planning to visit Shibu onsen to see the snow monkeys in a few weeks and that might work for you in terms of more rural, closer to the alps, wearing yukata around town, and you can go there between Tokyo and Kyoto. You would need to skip Kinosaki then. I booked our week night single night about 3 months out and our trip is the Thursday before a holiday week end.

If it were me, I would probably save some last minute touring around Kyoto because you can leave your luggage at either your hotel or at a luggage storage place in Kyoto Station and then easily catch a train to Tokyo. I would probably plan to get to Haneda a little early and takyuubin some bags from Kyoto so I don't have to bring as much on the train.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

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