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Are these MUST SEE towns/cities?

Level Contributor
98 posts
14 reviews
Are these MUST SEE towns/cities?


Please advice on my itinerary. My friend and I will arrive in Tokyo July 3rd and leave July 17th. Is the itinerary below too ambitious? Even though this is a sightseeing tour, we don’t want it to be too hectic. Originally, the itinerary below had Mt. Koya for one night. Should we also see this? Is it worth it? We like history, culture, architecture, food, but, of course, too much of something is bad. Since, we are backpacking I think we have a lot of room for changes in our itinerary but I would like to know if all of these towns/cities are a must see. In case we would like to spend an extra night in one place and just “drop” the other. We would like to enjoy the trip. Also, how far is Gunma from Tokyo? My friend would like to see this town/city. (Note: I got this suggested itinerary from www.japan-guide.com)

Day 1: Arrive at Narita Airport, and spend the remaining day in Tokyo.

Day 2-4: Spend two full days in Tokyo and one day in nearby Kamakura. Kamakura is an easy day trip from Tokyo.

Day 5: From Tokyo, make a day trip to Nikko.

Day 6: In the morning, travel from Tokyo to Takayama (4.5 hours) and spend the afternoon and evening

exploring Takayama.

Day 7: Leave Takayama in the afternoon for Kyoto (3.5 hours) and spend the evening exploring Kyoto.

Day 8-11: Spend two full days in Kyoto and one day each in nearby Nara and Osaka. Nara and Osaka are easy day trips from Kyoto.

Day 12: In the early morning, travel from Kyoto to Hiroshima (2 hours) and visit the Peace Park. In the afternoon, continue to Miyajima and overnight there.

Day 13: Get up early and spend a few more hours on Miyajima. Leave the island around eleven for Himeji (2 hours). Spend the afternoon exploring Himeji Castle. Return to Tokyo in the evening (3-4 hours).

Day 14: Spend full day in Tokyo

Day 15: Depart Japan from Narita Airport

Thanks in advance for the advice!!!!

Anna881 =0)

Level Contributor
6,800 posts
27 reviews
1. Re: Are these MUST SEE towns/cities?

You've hit all my favorites, except the Bikan historic area in Kurashiki. Also, Osaka is not on my "must see" list.

Consider this:

Can you get an "open jaws" (fly into one airport, out another) airline ticket at a decent price? Consider flying out of Kansai International Airport (KIX) near Osaka. This would give you a day to stop off at Kurashiki, or an extra day in Takayama, which has lots to see.

Palo Alto...
Level Contributor
1,678 posts
87 reviews
2. Re: Are these MUST SEE towns/cities?

I totally agree that Osaka is not a must see destination, though the restaurants there are great and more affordable. Also, traveling an open-jaw ticket is far better than having to return to Tokyo Narita at the end of your trip.

Consider choosing one of either Kamakura or Nikko.

Make sure that you stay at an onsen ryokan for at least one night. This is a must for any Japan trip. It's well worth the splurge. (Mind you, ryokans in Kyoto are overpriced and offer small rooms. Kyoto is not an onsen resort town.)

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
5,311 posts
24 reviews
3. Re: Are these MUST SEE towns/cities?

The open jaw plane ticket is a good idea. I would skip Osaka and Nara, and spend more time in Kyoto and Hiroshima. (Nara has temples and deer, but there are plenty of temples in Kyoto!) It may be expensive to stay at Miyajima; if so, you could stay in Hiroshima an extra night and make Miyajima an afternoon excursion from Hiroshima. Many travelers try to fit too many destinations into a short trip; I think it's better to spend more time at each destination and get more of a feel for a few places. If I were on your itinerary, I would not have had time to explore the community arts center in the former bank building that survived the bombing of Hiroshima. As Rick Steves said, it's best to plan your trip as if you will be coming back again so there's less pressure to do too much.

4. Re: Are these MUST SEE towns/cities?

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