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1st time visitor could use some advice please

Jackh

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I will travel to Japan for 2 weeks on the end of Oct. Never been to Japan so I am trying to work out my itinerary to see the sights. I would appreciate some feedback and suggestions about my plans by you experts.
I decided not to get a JR Rail pass as I calculated the savings not enough and I want to cut down on my travel time.
I would fly into Osaka and depart Narita.
1~3 Osaka (stay on Kyoto) not sure where to go around here yet
4~6 Hiroshima
6~8 Takayama also not sure exactly where to go around this area
9~15 Tokyo shop, sightsee, travel around this area

Any better ideas you can add?
 
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After my first trip I was sad that I chose to spend the majority of my time in Tokyo, not realizing the vast treasures outside the capital. I'd recommend adding a bit of time to Kyoto and Osaka, they're both worthwhile destinations in their own rights.

While in Tokyo, take at least a day and drop down to Yokohama.
 
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Way too long in Tokyo, IMO. Hard to give advice without knowing what interests you about Japan. Matsumoto for the castle? Toba for the Mikimoto Pearl Island (and demo of pearl divers)? Ise for the great shrine? Nikko for the Toshogu Jinja (and festival)? Kyoto for the culture and architecture. Near Nara (Iga-Ueno) for the ninja castle, museum and demonstration house?
 
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Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara are all relatively close to each other, and there is an embarrassment of things to see there. Throw in Kobe (which is also close) and you need at least a week to see just the highlights. I've never been to Takayama, so don't know if its worth spending 3 days there. Maybe it would be worth it for me since I've already seen the main tourist sights, but if this were my first time I might feel disappointed at having to rush through Kyoto in order to see the bucolic Takayama. (Kind of like hurrying through San Francisco so you can go spend a few days in Fresno).
I also think three days in Hiroshima might be a bit much. I would maybe shave a day off there if it helps add more time to Kyoto/Nara.
I think a week in Tokyo is fine if you use it as a base for other excursions: Yokohama, Kamakura, and Nikko are all worth seeing, and are an easy day trip from Tokyo. Maybe also a day trip (or half day) to Kawagoe near Tokyo if you are stumped for things to do.
 

Magucchi

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Don't forget to consider festivals. You can build the itinerary based on dates and locations of the festivals.
 

mdchachi

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Quick notes, some are repeats of the above:
- Takayama may not be the best use of your time, for nature & beauty you could go off the beaten path right around Kyoto. Climb some of the hills behind the temples. Go to Inari Fushimi for example.
- Definitely try to see a festival
- make sure you go to Miyajima when you go to Hiroshima
- consider Himeji Castle
- there is a ton of stuff to do in & around Tokyo. Depends on your interests. Aside from the general areas (Shinjuku, Akihabara, Harajuku, Okachimachi, etc) you have Sky Tree, Odaiba (Sega Joypolis, Miraikan, etc.), Sony Museum, Edo Museum, & others.
- I actually wouldn't do Nikko & Kamakura if you've already done Kyoto & Nara. By that time most people will have had enough of temples & history.
 
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