November Itinerary Check

Old Oct 23rd, 2017, 05:53 PM
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ji3
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November Itinerary Check

Hi all, I'm a solo 20-something man traveler/tourist coming from MD in America. Please lemme know how this itinerary looks, give me some suggestions if you'd like (looking for factory tours to do, among other things).

Nov 4th Depart

Nov 5th mid-afternoon arrival at Haneda, stay up until at least 9pm. Capsule Hotel in Ginza

Nov 6th Tokyo - move to hostel in Akasaka in morning

Nov 7th Tokyo

Nov 8th Tokyo

Nov 9th Tokyo

Nov 10th Tokyo -Daytrip, possibly?

Nov 11th Tokyo -Daytrip, possibly?

Nov 12th Tokyo

Nov 13th Trains to Yamanaka/Kagaonsen in Ishikawa. Go to onsen, bathe, relax

Nov 14th Yamanaka/Kagaonsen. Go for a short hike (2-3 hours), bathe, eat, relax, repeat

Nov 15th train to Kyoto

Nov 16th Kyoto

Nov 17th Kyoto

Nov 18th Kyoto

Nov 19th Kyoto - Daytrip, possibly?

Nov 20th train to Osaka in morning

Nov 21st half-day for Osaka + Aquarium, flight departs at 9pm, should mean I don't need to leave hostel in Namba til 4-5 or so at latest, right? Fly home.

I do want to see a castle (Himeji might be too far/take up to much time to get there and back? Hikone maybe a nice daytrip? Also want to see Nara, and I remember reading about 1 or 2 small castles very close to Tokyo, any ideas?)

As far as Tokyo daytrips, what would you recommend? Yokohama is on my radar, but the fact that it's yet another big city may keep me from using my time to go there. Catching a view of Fuji-san somewhere I can do some light hiking might be nice - Kawaguchiko sound good in November for koyo? Other suggestions?

Also, it seems that it's more or less impossible/difficult to book train journeys from outside of Japan. What's the best way (in your personal opinion) for me to do this? At Haneda right when I get there? Some other place/time? Are there offices for this kind of thing?

I'd also appreciate suggestions on how to divvy up the Tokyo days by area/neighborhood. Want to get a good (or as good as you can get) feel for the city, which is why I'm devoting a whole week to it. Which days/neighborhoods should I group together for max convenience and timing (i.e. Harajuku on Sunday afternoon)? I like seeing workaday neighborhoods, more off the beaten path attractions/places for ambience etc as well and not just super-touristy places. Want a good mix of shopping/eating/bars/tours/walking/outdoors/museums/parks/technology.

Thanks!
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Old Oct 23rd, 2017, 09:24 PM
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Some comments:

What, exactly, do you want from your factory tour? What kind of factory?

Himeji is easy to reach from Kyoto and it is spectacular:
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3504....FROM=2158_3500

Many people visit Nara as a day trip from Kyoto. I was glad to have 2 full days in Nara.

Typical daytrips from Tokyo include Kamakura and Nikko. I was glad to spend a night in Nikko. On this web-site, scroll down to “Side Trips from Tokyo.”
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2164.html

Divvying up days in Japan is completely dependent upon a traveler’s interests. I was happy with just 2 days in Tokyo itself and wish I’d had more than a week in Kyoto / Nara. JMO. You need to research what YOU want to see and experience and plan accordingly. Japan-guide.com is not perfect, but is an excellent resource IMO.
https://www.japan-guide.com

If you hope to see autumn leaves, you need to make reservations ASAP – and honestly, it might already be too late.

Japan is a delightful destination – enjoy!
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 10:55 AM
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ji3
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Hi and thanks for the thoughtful reply!

I'm pretty open-minded when it comes to factory tours (I'd welcome any suggestions at all!) although in the past, I have enjoyed breweries/distilleries and food factories. Unfortunately the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery is sold out for all of my dates.

I am thinking of Nara as only a daytrip because I'd like to maximize time in Kyoto, although I'm sure it's worthy of a visit on its own!

I have already reserved my hostels/hotels, just need to book the trains when I get to Japan...what's the best place to do that, at the airport?

When you say it might be too late for autumn leaves, do you mean the trees will be mostly leafless for my dates in November?
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 04:16 PM
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Visiting Japan to see the autumn leaves – called koyo – is a big deal. What I meant is that you might be too late to get reservations for lodging in November, not knowing that you already had them.

I’m sorry that I can’t offer informed answers to your other questions. Maybe someone else will chime in, or – if the information isn’t already available on japan-guide.com, you could consider consulting its forum.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 05:48 PM
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We visited Japan during koyo several years ago. We purchased our train tickets at a train station in Tokyo. We had no difficulty getting the trains we wanted. Really, there is no reason to try to purchase your tickets from the US. I simply printed out the trains we wanted from Hyperdia.com

Do ask that your tickets b printed in english!
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 07:21 PM
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Buy train tickets at the train station. You've got about ¥22,000 in JR travel. Depending on what daytrips you wanted to add you might have enough travel for a 7-day JR Pass at around ¥29,000.

Himeji is 1 to 1.5 hours from Kyoto. Less time from Osaka.

If you go to Nikko on JR on the 21st, for example, and then visit Himeji on/before the 27th then the JR Pass would be worthwhile. And Nara during that time period would save you about 12 bucks.
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 07:28 AM
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There are definitely sake breweries you can visit in Kyoto, and I believe in nearby Kobe, though not been there yet.

When we were in Kanazawa we visited a Miso producer within the historical district, there may be something similar in Kyoto.

I wrote about this tiny producer of yuba (tofu skin) in Kyoto, that wa sin 2012: https://www.kaveyeats.com/2013/04/yu...e-delight.html

Do include food markets if you love this kind of thing, not just Nishiki and Tsukiji, but I also liked the quieter one in Osaka, I forget the name just now.

Osaka has a fun cup noodle museum, it's a little out of the way but we enjoyed it.

For Tokyo, as Kja suggested, work out via Japan-Guide.com and other resources what you want to see and do, and then use a map to group them by neighbourhood, you want to avoid criss-crossing all over as it's a huge city, like several all squished together almost...

Classic trips out of Tokyo include Nikko, Kamakura and even Hakone (though people usually overnight at the last one)
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 07:29 AM
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Oh and for Yamazaki distillery, is that for a particular type of tour? We only had to call the day before to join the standard public tour, it was in Japanese but we were given English audio guides, which worked fine. More here: https://www.petedrinks.com/2012/11/w...stillery-tour/
https://www.petedrinks.com/2012/11/w...hisky-library/
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 08:04 AM
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>

No. Just go to the Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto or the Inari shrine just outside it.

Osaka has a castle but it's a rebuild (original was blown to bits in WWII). It's a good museum regarding the start of the Tokugawa Dynasty. Kyoto has a castle in the city. You don't need to stay in Osaka to see Osaka - it's 15 to 30 minutes from Kyoto, depending upon which train you take.

And if you want tech go to the Miraikan (http://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/) in Tokyo. Odaiba (the island upon which it's located) is a whole day's worth of exploration if you want it.
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 01:14 PM
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I hate to disagree, but the museum inside the Osaka Castle is all about Toyotomi Hideyoshi, not Tokugawa.
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 02:37 PM
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>

I did not say it was about Tokugawa. What happened after Toyotomi Hideyoshi died? Tokugawa took over and ended the Momoyama period (we'll not go into the regency and attendant issues). Who fought Sekigahara? The Toyotomi forces and the Tokugawa forces. The castle had (when we went there) information on this. Considering how the Tokugawa dynasty ruled Japan for 260+ years, this was more significant to us.
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 08:00 AM
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Kavey - I see now that you can browse the museum and visit for free w/ reservations (Suntory Yamazaki Distillery) - I was thinking that the only way was with a paid tour (http://webapl.suntory.co.jp/factory/...utmk=126962253)

and those are sold out - I figure it's probably in Japanese anyway, so sounds like I'm in business again! Is it fairly easy to get to from Kyoto? How long did you spend there?

I do love food markets as well and will make sure to check out all of those (and potentially the yuba producer as well). Was the Osaka market called Kuromon?
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 08:04 AM
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Thanks all for the advice, still fiddling with details and would welcome any more insights. I'll have to see if I have time to make it out to Himeji since there is so much to do and see in Kyoto/Osaka and Nara.

I originally posted this question on the JapanTravel reddit and was simply told to "go read the FAQ". You guys are way more helpful!
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 12:02 PM
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We also did it from Kyoto, we did a half day, it's a very easy trip there and back, and easy to find the distillery from the local station... we lingered in the library after the free tour, but you could skip that if you want to. For us, that (and some shopping) added more time than for most of the people doing the tour with us. Glad to help put this back on your itinerary again!
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Old Oct 27th, 2017, 01:06 PM
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Your days in Kyoto typically should be about the peak fall colors.

November 15th is the traditional date for the shichi-go-san celebration. Visit a Shinto shrine on that day or on the weekends before/after.

November 12 would be a good day to visit Meiji Jingu in Tokyo for shichi-go-san and, likely, a Shinto wedding.
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