How long for...

Discussion in 'Tokyo Disneyland' started by Colleen27, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    Tokyo Disney is only one small part of a larger trip we're planning, and this board is so helpful that I thought I'd ask about some of the other places on our must-see list. How long would you allow for these places?

    Tokyo (excluding Disney)?
    Hakone/Fiji Five Lakes?
    Kyoto?
    Hiroshima?
    Miyajima?

    I know we're going to be spending a good chunk of time, probably 5+ days, in Shimane Prefecture, where my daughter lived during her exchange, and seeing the sites there with our local guides (her host parents, siblings, and other relatives), but I'm trying to figure out how to allocate the rest of our time among the must-sees on our list and decide if we have time to explore a bit of Kyushu or Hokkaido while we're there.
     
  2. Douglas Dubh

    Douglas Dubh True Fiscal Conservative

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    It really depends on what you want to do and how much time you have. You could see the major sites in Tokyo in a couple days, but if you want to explore the major shopping centers or see some shows and things then you might need four days or more.
    We only spent one night in Hakone, but if you want to hike and do a bath then you’d need at least two.
    We did one night in Kyoto and that was too short. I’d say at least two there.
    We did both Hiroshima and Miyajima in one day trip from Osaka, but some people would recommend a day for each.
     
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  4. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    We are going next May and are doing 5 days at tdr, 4 days in Tokyo, 1 in Hakone, 2 for Kyoto and Arashiyama (combined), 1 in Nara, 1 in Osaka, and 1 in Hiroshima/Miyajima.
     
  5. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    Hiking and historical sites are going to be the big focus of our trip as a whole. Gardens, shrines, UNESCO heritage sites, that sort of thing, and plenty of time outdoors. And we will most likely have 3 weeks (well, 23 days b/c weekends), including travel time, because that's about as long as I can possibly get away from work.

    In Tokyo, my daughter wants to show us Asakusa and Akihabara, and we have to have a meal in Shinjuku because DD10 was fascinated by some of DD17's pictures of that area (and a rainbow grilled cheese) from this past summer. Beyond that, I'm not sure. I was thinking 4 days/3 nights in the city, but I'm not sure that will be enough or if I should add one more day. We're not shoppers as a rule and plan to travel light because we are going to be moving around so much, so I don't plan on a ton of shopping.

    At Fuji Five Lakes, DD wants to hike Aokigahara to see the caves, and if the weather cooperates/the timing works out, we'd like to see the shibazakura festival at the base of the mountain. Hakone looks like it would be a decent "home base" for that and there is an onsen resort there that caught our eye, though I'm open to other suggestions for lodging in the area. Two nights in the area would probably make sense. We'll have a JR pass for the length of the trip but I'm planning on renting a car for these couple of days because it sounds like mass transit will be difficult for some of the places we're going.

    I really haven't started digging too much into Kyoto sights we want to see, and DD didn't spend any time there on her trip so it'll be a first visit for all of us and I'm really flying blind on planning that bit. It is kind of the big blank spot right now on the itinerary, waiting for me to fill in some things. But that's why I've started researching over a year in advance!

    There are also a couple of short stops I'm not quite sure how to work in. I'd like to see the gardens at Okayama, and DD17 wants to see Himeji Castle, but with so little familiarity with the train system and mass transit in general (I'm a lifelong Detroiter), I'm uncertain how to handle those stops that don't seem to demand a full day or overnight stay.

    I think I'd like to stay overnight at Miyajima. DD found a hike there on a "best of Japan" list on some planning site, and the blogger spoke pretty highly of the experience of visiting the shrine outside of the hours when day guests are milling about. I don't anticipate doing much in Hiroshima except the Peace Dome and museum and going out for okonomiyaki, but my girls do also want to go to "bunny island" while we're in the area (they raise & show rabbits, so they think that's the coolest thing ever).

    From there, where we go will depend on how much time we have left and what we decide to do with it. If we have the time, we'll either head south to explore Kyushu a bit (Nagasaki and Yakushima) before going back up the coast to Shimane to visit DD's host family, or we'll go straight on to Shimane and then travel up north toward the end of the trip (Kanazawa and Matsumoto at least, further if we have time). Or if we don't have time, we'll just do Shimane and then loop back to Tokyo.

    The Shimane part of the journey will be planned for me by DD17 and by various members of the family she stayed with there - there's a silver mine that is a UNESCO World Heritage site that DD said we have to visit, and a shrine that is known as the home to the Shinto gods, and she wants us to hike/climb Sanbe-san (which she says is the easier of the two mountains she climbed when she was there), plus just visiting with her host family and friends. So the plan there is 4-5 nights.

    At the end of the trip, I want to have 2 nights/3 park days at Tokyo Disney before flying home.
     
  6. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    I really like using Tom Bricker’s blog called travel caffeine. They absolutely love Kyoto and they have touring itineraries for however many days you want to spend there. We are going to use their 2 day plan for Kyoto when we go.
     
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  7. indoshakespeare

    indoshakespeare Reach out and find your Happily Ever After

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    Tokyo (excluding Disney) = at least 2 days without any day trip, preferrably 3.
    Hakone / Fuji Five Lakes = you can do it as a day trip from Tokyo, or you can stay 1 night
    Kyoto = at least 1 full day (2 nights), preferably 2 days. More if you plan to day trip to Osaka, Nara and Hiroshima / Miyajima
    Hiroshima and Miyajima can be done as a day trip from Kyoto. I've never been there so I don't know exactly how much time you should spend there.
     
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  8. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    I've been reading his posts plans, but they *really* love Kyoto. So much so that I'm having a hard time distilling it down to must-sees! The monkey park looks really fun, and I know we'll want to spent time at Arashiyama bamboo grove. I doubt we'll hit all of the dozen temples on the two-day itinerary, though. I want to see Fushimi Inari and the Golden Pavilion, and I'm sure a few others will make the list as I do more homework.

    I also think, after reading a bit of that site, that we'll stay an extra night in Kyoto to take a daytrip down to Nara (more temples! I have a feeling this isn't going to be DD10's favorite part of the trip ;) ). Older daughter was looking at the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites and there are a few temples in that area that caught her eye. I didn't realize how easy it was to get there from Kyoto.
     
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  9. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    Yeah I’m not sure how many temples I want to see but it seems like an important part of visiting Kyoto. We will probably follow their itinerary and if we decide we are done with temples we might just see what else is nearby. It’s just nice not having to plan the whole two days from scratch.
     
  10. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    Have you seen the temple stamp books? It looks like the *coolest* souvenir and I'm hoping getting stamps will help keep DD10 (well, 11 by the time we go) amused with the many temples we're sure to visit. https://en.japantravel.com/kanagawa/the-japan-temple-stamp-book/14659

    I think I'm going to start with their two or three day itinerary and make a few changes to suit us. I do like having a place to start, and tips on which temples are so popular that early-morning visits are a must.

    What are you planning for your time in Osaka? My kids have been joking (I think?) about going to Universal there, since we never make it to the one in Orlando, but nothing else there really jumped out at me. But if they extend the Sailor Moon attraction they have running right now, we may end up making time for it after all. That anime is what started my fascination with Japan, 20+ years ago, and I passed it along to my girls. I was SO excited to hear that there's a whole Sailor Moon store in Harajuku!
     
  11. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    I haven’t heard of the temple stamp books. That’s a pretty fun idea.

    I personally don’t really want to go to Osaka but Dh does. I didn’t see much that interested me and I don’t really want to go to universal. I decided the aquarium looks pretty cool and then we will probably go to dotonbori at night.
     
  12. sippican

    sippican Mouseketeer

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    That is such an interesting idea! Thanks for sharing.
     
  13. TipsyTraveler

    TipsyTraveler DIS Veteran

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    We spent five full days and a couple half days in Tokyo. Three to four days for the city is plenty IMO. We had two day trips planned from Tokyo. One to Fuji, but that fell through. The other was north towards Nagano to see the Jigokudani snow monkeys. That was a much better experience than the Kyoto monkeys, which was crowded and had a circus-like vibe. The monkeys at Jigokudani are the world famous onsen-soaking troop that are often featured in nature documentaries. It would take more time to do and requires a moderately difficult walk up a mountain, but it’s definitely the more rewarding experience of the two. So if you have the time and interest, that’s the one I would recommend.

    We based ourselves in Kyoto for five nights, I believe? Two full days for Kyoto — how much time you spend there depends on your interest level for history and temples. I’m sure some people would love to explore every single one; I was happy to just see a few. We daytripped from Kyoto to Hiroshima/Miyajima one day, another day we did a day trip to Nara. I think the latter would appeal to your younger daughter. It’s overrun with semi-tame deer that bow to you when you feed them, and the Todaiji Temple has the giant Buddha where she can try squeezing through his nostril to achieve eternal salvation (or something to that effect. It’s been a while since I did it.)

    The trains are incredibly efficient and timely and do not eat up as much time as public transportation does in the US. They’re also not as difficult to navigate as you might expect. Download the Navitime app.
     
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  14. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    What's the Navitime app?
     
  15. TipsyTraveler

    TipsyTraveler DIS Veteran

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    It allows you to put in your departure point and destination and it maps your train route for you.
     
  16. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    Is it better than just using Google Maps?
     
  17. TipsyTraveler

    TipsyTraveler DIS Veteran

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    Navitime tells you what line and platform you need to be on, the cost, and the time it will take to get from one point to another by train or foot. I have no idea if Google Maps offers that level of detail so I can’t say if they’re comparable.
     
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  18. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    I'll have to look into it. Thanks!

    ETA: Is there not an English version of the app?
     
  19. TipsyTraveler

    TipsyTraveler DIS Veteran

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    If you search Japan Travel in the App Store it’s the first result. It is on the iPhone at least.
     
  20. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    Is there a reason you prefer that one? I was looking at Hyperdia, which seems like it does the same thing. What caught my eye about it in the blogs/reviews I've read is that it has train search features that let you find only the routes and trains that accept the JR Pass, which is how we plan on doing most of our getting around. Does Navitime have a comparable feature?
     
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  21. Haley R

    Haley R With all the strength of a raging fire

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    I got it. Thanks! I also downloaded the one mentioned by the pp
     

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