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Re: Moto-Hakone + Hakone-Yumoto 2019/6/1 17:32
Yeah, there's plenty of places to visit in the Kanto area. Even including some places I've already visited (but my friend not, since it's his first trip to Japan) I get to see lots of new interesting areas.

Right now the plan is something like this, perhaps not in this particular order:

- Arrival Day (just going to the hotel and walk around the area)
- Yanaka + Ueno + Akihabara
- Marunouchi + Ochanomizu + Tokyo Dome
- Kamakura (and maybe a stop at Shimbashi/Yurakucho on our way back to the hotel)
- Asakusa + Sumida river area
- Nakano + Shinjuku
- Nikko
- Odaiba (and maybe Shimbashi/Yurakucho if we haven't go there already)
- Takao-san
- Yokohama
- Shibuya + Ebisu
- Hakone (but you already knew that :P)
- ??? (still thinking)
- The day before the departure (no real plans, just crying painfully where we deem fit)
- Departure day (the end of the dream)

I carefully picked every location in order to provide a different experience for each day (or at least one or two memorable highlights) and I think it covers all the kind of places that one might want to see in Japan while avoiding too much train transfers and giving us plenty of time to explore.

Regarding the "daytrips", I think that Kamakura + Nikko + Yokohama + Takao + Hakone is more than enough but I always like to have alternatives if the rain decides to pour over my original plan. If the weather is bad in one place it may be good in another one.

I am terribly sorry for straying so much from the original topic, but I thought that the context was important to understand the reasons behind my choices. Thanks again for all the information and tips.

by Second-timer (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Moto-Hakone + Hakone-Yumoto 2019/6/1 18:26
What I would do is go to Ito, Atami or Shuzenji 2 nights before departure then Hakone one night before departure. All are really one or two night destinations. I wouldnt knock Hakone on the head, it is a pretty part of the world with stuff to do, as long as you dont mind a lot of tourists around. The open air museum is really worth a look. It might be overrated (like the Tsumago/Magome walk) but if you havent set the bar high it is pretty good. I was underwhelmed the first time I visited, wasnt expecting much the second and was pleasantly surprised - though we stayed at a fabulous ryokan, Fukumuziro at Tonosawa.

We went to Narita from Hakone, it is about 2 hours if you get the connections right.

by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Moto-Hakone + Hakone-Yumoto 2019/6/2 01:32

Completely off topic, but for anyone interested in the bat saga, our bat has flown off to better abodes and fortunately seemed to have been healthy after all, much to my relief. Oddly this does connect to Hakone because I believe the ryokan @Lazy Pious likes has a bat theme based on their webpage.

Going back to OP. While this is not somewhere I would suggest to you (based on both cost and because it's not everyone's cup of tea) I have personally done a 5 hour round trip from Tokyo in November. (Licca Castle in Ononimachi, Fukushima-ken.) A lot depends on if you care about how late you get back. So going to Matsumoto I think only would add another hour to your roundtrip as long as you don't mind getting back when it is dark, it's possible or you could add an overnight in Matsumoto since hotels tend to be quite affordable there. Matsumoto is a relatively cheap city.

Or knock a night or two off Tokyo and look into going to Atami and the Izu Peninsula as well if you don't want to try Matsumoto. You could even take all local trains and cut the trip shorter by combining it with the trip to Kamakura. At Ofuna it's easy to change to trains heading to Odawara and Atami. One of my trips to Hakone I did that. Ofuna also has trains to Narita Airport.

You could also look into overnighting in Nikko and getting one of the Tobu passes where you can travel all the way up to Aizu Wakamatsu. You'll just need to come back to Nikko to leave or look into a bus, because JR from Aizu Wakamatsu back to Tokyo gets pricey because it's ~8000 yen for the shinkansen from Koriyama to Tokyo.

I think Chichubu could be really interesting. It's one of those places I keep meaning to hit up. Mitsumine jinja looks really cool and thanks to the link @JapanCustomTours gave earlier in the thread, I was reading about the search for the possibly not extinct Japanese wolf in the area via the Japan Times.

I seriously respect @Lazy Pious' opinion, but I think if you're on a tighter budget, Hakone is really sort of expensive. It's going to be a 620 yen round trip no matter what to get from Odawara to Hakone-Yumoto.
If you want to go all the way to Gora that's another 400 yen unless you bought the ticket with your fare to Hakone-Yumoto which drops it to 670 one way from Odawara to Gora. It's 360 yen to take the pirate boat that 5-10 minute trip from Hakone-machi to Moto-Hakone (https://www.hakone-kankosen.co.jp/foreign/en/timesheet/) Once you start adding in a bus or two to get to Moto Hakone it can really add up as a day trip or overnight. It's one reason people tend to get the Hakone Free Pass.

I have different dates than you and maybe the recent volcanic activity will lower prices, but when I went in 2016 and when I was looking this trip and my July 2018 trip, everything was $200 USD a night or more. I know I once stayed somewhere excessively cheap, but my friend found it on the Japanese version of either Rakuten or Jalan which do have different offerings than their English counterparts. The place also could have closed since we're talking over a decade ago.

I admit, for me, too much time in Tokyo == spending a lot of money because I tend to shop in Tokyo, but I know most people who post here are not shoppers lol

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Moto-Hakone + Hakone-Yumoto 2019/6/2 06:42
I am glad to hear about your bat! We had one in the house when I was a kid, he decided that bathroom was his home - over the bath. Which my mother wasnt thrilled about.

We went to Chichibu for a few days last trip. It is a nice country area. It is really a string of little towns linked by the Chichibu line, but accessed by the Seibu Chichibu line from Ikebukuro.

No town has a lot to do, but some have more than others. Nagotoro probably is the most fun, IMO, it is really pretty and has a biggish shrine with some shops on the way up. A lot of Japanese go there for the river cruises and it looks like a place where families go on weekends etc.

We stayed at Hotel Miyami which is closer to Chichibu town. We had a huge room with a hot spring bath at the hotel, overlooking the river. Just magic and really good value, though when you approach the hotel it looks like it needs a refresh from the outside. The hot spring water is very nice.

It is far enough off the beaten track that the locals are still quite interested in foreign visitors, and they are super welcoming. The local specialty of tonkatsu with miso sauce is pretty awesome too.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Moto-Hakone + Hakone-Yumoto 2019/6/2 07:02
The one in a tight budget is my partner and between doing a shorter trip with some days in the Kansai area and having a decent daily budget for food, transportation and personal expenses in a longer trip just around Kanto we agreed that the last one was the best for both of us and since it is his first visit to the country I think he will be way easier to impress.

By the way, Nagatoro looks quite unique, I will definitely read about it and its surroundings later.
by Second-timer (guest) rate this post as useful

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