Post # 1
Starting a new thread based on a few updates to our itinerary. Advice needed 🙂
Day 1 10/18 Tuesday: Arrive Tokyo around 5pm
Day 2 Wednesday: Tokyo
Day 3 Thursday: Tokyo
Day 4 Friday : Tokyo to OSAKA
Day 5 Saturday: Osaka day trip to Kojima Jeans Street (Okayama)
Day 6 Sunday: Osaka day trip to Nara
Day 7 Monday: Osaka to KYOTO
Day 8 Tuesday: Kyoto
Day 9 Wednesday : Kyoto to Tokyo
Day 10 Thursday: Tokyo day trip to Nikko
Day 11 Friday: fly home at 5PM.
1. Which day trips are a MUST out of Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka? Are Nara and Nikko must sees?
2. Which city should we aim to squeeze in a traditional (affordable ~$350 USD) ryokan stay?
3. Where can we find private onsens to rent (in a Ryokan?) that we can share together rather than be naked with strangers?
Post # 2
have you considered not staying in Osaka and staying in Kyoto the whole time you are in kansai? It will save you a LOT of lugging bags etc. And it won’t make much difference for your day trips either.
Nikko is nice, but not a “must” it’s like a mini Kyoto, nothing going on after the temples close. There are some nice waterfalls if you can make it out into the hills.
Your current schedule will have you wishing you’d had more time in Kyoto.
Instead of the day trip to nikko, I would stay over in atami or hakone and just chill.
Post # 3
Post # 4
- Wedding: December 2014 - Maui
Unless staying in Osaka saves you money, you don’t really have to stay there. Osaka is dull compared to Tokyo, and Kyoto is much nicer and just as convenient in Kansai. You could do Osaka as a day trip from Kyoto. I’d say Kyoto needs a full three days. Nara is good but it’s not a must unless you’re dying to feed deer, since it’s similar to Kyoto. Himeji would be a good side trip from Kansai if you’re interested in castles.
I liked Nikko a lot but it’s also ok to pass on it since it’s another city full of temples.
I’m thinking Kyoto would be good for Ryokan in Kansai, or Hakone near Tokyo.
Post # 5
I thorougly disagree about Osaka and Kyoto, but I lived in Osaka, so. I find Kyoto to be more of the same–yes, the temples and shrines are the quintessential Japanese experience, but after you’ve hit up the Philosopher’s Path I find Kyoto to just be more of the same. Osaka has some of the best food in Japan and is an experience all in itself, though of course I am biased.
OP–have you looked into Koya-san? It’s a day trip (or a two-day trip, if you decide to stay overnight in a temple) from Osaka to the seat of Shingon Buddhism in Japan, and is pretty incredible.
Post # 6
I agree about not staying in Osaka, but I disagree about Nikko. For my husband and I, it was one of the most magical places. We enjoyed it that much.
We booked our ryokan through Japanese Guest Houses.
Post # 7
HI Bees. The reason for staying in Osaka was because of the day trip to Okyama Jeans street and also Nara (and there’s more places to stay out there). I do want to see the old side of Kyoto…decisions decsions!
Post # 8
THe Himeji castle looks awesome! Logistically is it a quick trip out and back? How long would you anticipate for that trip? And would you choose it over Nara and Nikko?
Post # 9
Since you vote for Osaka…do you know which day trips are a must from there? Maybe I need to choose from Nara/Himeji/or Nikko and not try to do all. Is Osaka known for the Ryokan experience?
Post # 10
- Wedding: December 2014 - Maui
I’ve never lived in Osaka but I’ve lived in Japan for 9 years and spent tons on time in Osaka. I stand by my comment, Osaka is dull, and best food in Japan is actually in Hokkaido. 😉
Post # 11
Kyoto, Nara, and I’d say Koya-san are the top day-trips out of Osaka. Alternatively, if you are interested mostly in the ryokan experience, I’d suggest doing day trips out of Kyoto and hitting up Nara and Arashiyama (the romantic train ride followed by the boat ride down the river is wonderful). It’s really more about what you’re interested in seeing–mostly temples and shrines (Kyoto), or mostly “modern Japan” (Osaka), or a mix of both?
Post # 12
- Wedding: December 2014 - Maui
Himeji is pretty quick, I think less than an hour from Osaka. You could spend half a day to one day there, but no need to stay overnight. I like Nara, Himeji, and Nikko about the same, a lot more than Osaka. Hard to rank them, but if you’re spending time in Kyoto anyway I’d say Himeji first because it has a real castle, then Nara for the Buddha and deer, and then Nikko if you can. Do them all if you can though, all worth it.
Post # 13
I lived in Kyoto for a year and enjoyed it more than Osaka. I stayed in a Ryokan in Kyoto and it was amazing but that was over 8 years ago and can’t remember the price or the name.
If you’re in Kyoto for 2 days I would recommend visiting Kinkakuji and Kyomizu-dera since both are breathtaking and the view from Kyomizu-dera is so beautiful. Nijo Castle is also a fun trip as well.
There are plently of great places to eat along Kawaramachi and Teramachi. I regret not eating out more when I was there but I was a poor college student so I mainly ate at the school cafeteria. However, Kyoto is known for their pickled vegetables so definitely try them.
I remember going to Nara twice and had fun feeding the deers and just walking around but there wasn’t much to do besides eating and looking at the deers so I wouldn’t say Nara is a must-see.
Post # 14
We did a very similar itinerary to yours for vacation a couple of years ago. Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto. From Tokyo we did a day trip to Hakone. The conditions weren’t conducive to seeing Mt Fuji, but Hakone was still beautiful and we had a great time.
We didn’t do much in Osaka. We used that as a base for our time in Kyoto because we stayed for free with loyalty points. Kyoto was INCREDIBLE. I would have loved to have a few more days there.
From Osaka we also did a day trip to Hiroshima. I can not recommend this enough. Not only was it one of the highlights of our trip, it was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I truly feel like the world would be a different place if everyone could experience the park, memorial, and museum there.
If your trip happens to coincide with any of the sumo tournaments- GO! We went one day in Tokyo and it was an unforgettable experience!
Anyway, I hope you have a fantastic trip. We kind of went to Japan on a whim (found a good airfare that fit dates we were free to travel.) It wound up being on of the best trips I have ever been on! I would go back in a heartbeat!
Post # 15
You will most likely want more time in Tokyo since there is SO much stuff to do. Look up affordable asia and look at thier itinerary we went on that to all the major shrines and sightseeing and this year when were going back were primarily staying in Tokyo. We were sad we only stayed there three days.
My top five:
Fish Market ( you don’t have to go to the early Tuna thing but you can)
Harajuku street and grab a crepe
The Nara deer were adorable and bowed to us and we loved that