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Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

NY
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Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

I hope some of you might be able to help me! Unfortunately, I have 3 friends that are quite familiar with Japan (a japanese who now lives in NY, a french who has lived in Tokyo for years, and another japanese who's lived all over & just recently returned to live in Japan) - and they ALL seem to have differing opinions on what itinerary would be best! OK, so with 9 night/10 days (arrive NRT 2 PM and departure is at 4 PM) so it's really 1/2 day on arrival & departure days.

Here's what I have:

-Nights 1-2 Tokyo

-Day3 take early train to Kyoto

-Nights 3-5 Kyoto (and possible day trip?)

-Day4 take early train to Hiroshima - spend the morning visiting museum & a-bomb dome. Then take ferry to Miyajima - relax afternoon until ryokan dinner

-Night6 Miyajima @ Iwaso! (so excited about this)

-Day 7 head to Hakone - this is the question mark point. I wanted to visit Hakone, but some said no need with the time in Kyoto & Iwaso ryokan experience. Also will probably take a Kamakura day trip from Tokyo..and also, if we did do Hakone at this point, not sure what time we should leave Miyajima

-Night 7 Hakone

-Nights 8-9 Tokyo - this would the point for a day trip to Kamakura

So some of the options were to skip Hakone and spend the last 3 nights in Tokyo...or even spend 2 nights in Hakone and only last night before departure will be in Tokyo...

Should we scratch Hakone or keep it?

A little background - my DH & I are in our early/mid 30s...love traveling but I really don't prefer the spend 1 nt here-then 1 nt in another city-then 1 nt in another city-... You get the picture. I always say my college "backpacking" days are over.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance for your insights!

Narooma, Australia
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1. Re: Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

Your plans, in my opinion, are spot on. You go to Hakkone to see the scenery (well worth seeing, especially as most of the rest of your trip is in cities), as well as doing the amazing multi-transport tourist loop. There is a lot to see in Kyoto; if you think you want something different a 1/2 day in Nara is worth it. Do Kamakura if you have time; Nikko would be another recommended day destination out of Tokyo. Don't forget to purchase a JR Pass before you leave home! Have a great trip.

NY
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2. Re: Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

Himeji or not?

OK...so i think i'm liking our above itin.-especially with Aussie's stamp of approval :) So now I'm wondering if it's worth the trip/stop to visit the Himeji castle. But here's my problem/concern...cuz I didn't realize how far the trip from Miyajima Hakone would be.

Day 4 early AM we'll leave Kyoto and head to Hiroshima. Now, i was told that the Hiroshima visit would really only take a few hours - since we really only intend to see the museum and the a-bomb dome. Then probably late morning/noon-ish we would then head onto Miyajima. Once we get there around 2 PM...we'll head to Iwaso to "check in". We'd probably do a little sightseeing on the island for an hour or so, to make it back in time for the grandiose dinner.

Then Day 5 - will we need more time on Miyajima? to spend the morning there before heading out? Because in theory, Day4 we really won't get much time to roam the island because of the early dinner.

Now here is where the Himeji 'problem' comes into play - if we spend the AM seeing more of Miyajima, we won't be able to head out until early afternoon-ish... Initially I was thinking around 2 PM - only because it seems (from some website) that the high tide will be at about 13h...and i DEFINITELY don't want to miss seeing the torii gates! So if 2 PM then 3h train to Himeji means 5 PM which is too late to visit the castle.

But even still...if we forget the AM in Miyajima, a stop in Himeji before continuing on our way to Hakone means that we will arrive into Hakone pretty late.

Is Himeji worth all the stress & these complexities? OR should we do Himeji as a day trip from Kyoto? I think I decided to do a day trip to Nara. So was thinking - should we do a day trip from Kyoto that includes Nara & Himeji? Does anyone ever do it like this?

haha. sorry for the long post. Hopefully it all makes sense.

Tokyo and California
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3. Re: Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

>>>Is Himeji worth all the stress & these complexities? OR should we do Himeji as a day trip from Kyoto? I think I decided to do a day trip to Nara. So was thinking - should we do a day trip from Kyoto that includes Nara & Himeji? Does anyone ever do it like this?<<<

You don't mention when you're going, but did you know that Himeji Castle will be under renovation starting this summer? It will be completely covered by a roofed scaffold during renovation. They are planing on showing the main keep to visitors during renovation, but I wonder if it's worth visiting to see just inside of the castle.

If you go before the renovation starts, I suggest stopping at Himeji on the way to Hiroshima from Kyoto. I think it's the easiest way to do it.

I've done a day trip to Nara and Himeji from Kyoto and it's doable, too.

NY
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4. Re: Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

Thanks Shibuyakko! OK - so will be there end of May. I think that's before reno's start, right? So saw your suggestion to do Himeji on the way to Hiroshima. My problem is that I need to go from Kyoto --> visit Himeji --> Hiroshima to visit museum & a-bomb dome --> Miyajima (at Iwaso) all in the same day. And i want to be sure to make it to Iwaso ryokan so that we aren't rushing for or late for dinner. I feel like this isn't possible. Thoughts?

I've been searching through the forums...and now am thinking - if I had to drop one of the following, which one?

-Kamakura (day trip from Tokyo)

-Nara (day trip from Kyoto)

-Himeji

-Hakone

I'm worried that the itinerary is going to be too hustle & bustle and it won't give us time to actually just 'absorb' japan.

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

Himeji is only a one hour train trip from Hiroshima on the way to either Kyoto or Osaka.

I haven't been to Japan yet, so can't comment on which places to include/exclude.

Nashville, TN
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6. Re: Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

I think Himeji should be on your itinerary. If you only do the castle it takes just 2-3 hours or so out of your day, and it's on the way to/from Hiroshima. There are three main things to do in Himeji: the castle, Kokoen (nice garden next to the castle), and Mt. Shosha (Engyoji: if you've seen The Last Samurai you've seen part of the this temple; it was used as the set for the temple scenes). Engyoji takes about a half hour from the station by bus/cable car, and you'll need at least an hour on the mountain to walk around (many temples/shrines to see; it's a very pleasant place).

Looking at your itinerary, I'd do Himeji on your way from Hiroshima to Hakone. It's a little bit of a break in what is a fairly long trip. Get to Himeji early, go to Engyoji (take the bus from the depot to the left of the station) because it opens first (8:30). Then head to the castle and Kokoen, eat lunch in Himeji, and head to Hakone, arriving in the late afternoon/early evening.

http://www.himeji-kanko.jp/en/index.html

Good luck!

John W.

Tokyo and California
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7. Re: Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

>>>My problem is that I need to go from Kyoto --> visit Himeji --> Hiroshima to visit museum & a-bomb dome --> Miyajima (at Iwaso) all in the same day. And i want to be sure to make it to Iwaso ryokan so that we aren't rushing for or late for dinner. I feel like this isn't possible. Thoughts?<<<

I think it can be done without rushing if you start early and just see Himeji Castle. I understand other sights in Himeji are worthwhile too, but you can't do everything. Besides you are going to see many temples and gardens in Kyoto, I'm sure.

If you start early and get to Himeji at 9, spend a couple of hours and then head to Hiroshima, you'll be able to arrive at Iwaso before 4 PM, even if you spend a few hours in Hiroshima.

As John suggests, stopping at Himeji on the way to Hakone is an alternative, but you need to start early to get to Hakone ryokan at decent time. I think it's better to spend the morning in Miyajima and head to Hakone.

>>>I've been searching through the forums...and now am thinking - if I had to drop one of the following, which one?<

If I had to drop one, I'd drop Kamakura because Nara and Kamakura are somewhat similar. The Great Buddha in Nara is more impressive and Nara has the deer. I highly recommend adding Fushimi Inari to the day trip to Nara. This shrine is like no other shrines you see anywhere:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3915.html

New York
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8. Re: Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

gholly,

>>> >>>I've been searching through the forums...and now am thinking - if I had to drop one of the following, which one? <<< >>> If I had to drop one, I'd drop Kamakura because Nara and Kamakura are somewhat similar. The Great Buddha in Nara is more impressive and Nara has the deer. I highly recommend adding Fushimi Inari to the day trip to Nara. This shrine is like no other shrines you see anywhere: <<<

I totally agree with Shibuyakko. I would drop Kamakura, too.

>>> Now here is where the Himeji 'problem' comes into play - if we spend the AM seeing more of Miyajima, we won't be able to head out until early afternoon-ish... Initially I was thinking around 2 PM - only because it seems (from some website) that the high tide will be at about 13h...and i DEFINITELY don't want to miss seeing the torii gates! So if 2 PM then 3h train to Himeji means 5 PM which is too late to visit the castle. <<< >>> OK - so will be there end of May. <<<

When in the end of May will you visit Miyajima? I’m not sure which website you’ve seen, but it is very important to talk about the exact date because the high tide timing keeps changing every day. You can find the ESTIMATED high tide schedules at Hiroshima Port at

http://www.miyajima.or.jp/sio/sio05.html

(“満潮”=high tide, “5 月”=May)

For instance, the high tide (at Hiroshima Port) will be EXPECTED to be seen as follows:

Tue. May 26 – 10:25am (317cm) & 11:29pm (372cm)

Wed. May 27 – 11:11am (312cm)

Thu. May 28 - 12:18am (363cm) & 11:59am (303cm)

Fri. May 29 – 1:07am (350cm) & 12:53pm (291cm)

Sat. May 30 – 2:09am (325cm) & 2:04pm (277cm)

Sun. May 31 – 2:54am (320cm) & 3:06pm (266cm)

Mon June 1 – 3:54am (306cm) & 4:32pm (266cm)

So, if you are planning to arrive at Miyajima on May 26, you may want to see the floating torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine starting around 10:30am on May 27. If you’re planning to arrive at Miyajima on May 31, you may want to see the torii gate starting around 2:30pm on the same day (5/31), instead of the next day (6/1).

If you are planning to arrive at Miyajima on May 28, you may wait until around 12:20pm on May 29 to see the floating torii gate.

NY
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9. Re: Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

you are all the best - I really appreciate your responses. OK...now if I were to ask if I had to drop 2 of those 4 off my list - which would you choose? It looks like Kamakura is definitely already off the list...so I guess then between the remaining 3 if I had to drop one, which one?

-Nara (day trip from Kyoto)

-Himeji

-Hakone

So i keep looking at my itin...and am wondering how much time I really need in Tokyo? As I have it I really only consider having maybe 3 full days there - arrival day doesn't count because we probably won't see anything cuz of the time we make it into the city, and departure day we might have a couple hours at max to do something. So that leaves Days 2&9 as full Tokyo days - with Day 8 as 1/2 day since we'll arrive from hakone probably mid-afternoon. I imagine we shouldn't cut it shorter than that, right?

My concern though is the time in Hakone. Depending on what happens on the route from Miyajima to Hakone...I'm thinking that we won't have much of that day to sightsee. Which means that we will really only have the AM and early afternoon (before heading back to Tokyo) to see the sights in Hakone - is that enough time?

I'm leaning towards the Himeji on the route from Kyoto to Miyajima - although it means squeezing Himeji & Hiroshima into the trek...and trying to make it to Iwaso early enough before dinner (per Shibuyakko's suggestion). But it does worry me a little...as I think it's going to be super jam-packed.

Hope you can keep the advice coming! Thanks!

New York
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10. Re: Itinerary help? 9N/10D Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima/Miyajima-Hakone

gholly,

May I ask which date in May you will arrive at Hiroshima/Miyajima? Also, what would you like to see and do in Tokyo?

Without knowing the above info, I may recommend that you visit Nara, Himeji and Hakone, but spend less time in Tokyo. However, if you have many things to see/do in Tokyo (with your friends?), it may be difficult to do so.