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Advice for my trip to Japan (March-April)

Homerduff

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After my unforgetable homestay experience in Tokyo this summer for a month, I already decided immediatly I would go back to Japan as soon as possible. But this time I want to do some traveling between cities. As my school schedule allows me, I will be in Japan from March 21st till April 15th.

Because I fell in love with Tokyo this summer and I met some friends there, I'm planning to spend the first 2 weeks there. Visiting regions like Ginza, Roppongi (From what I heard Roppongi is not Japan but I'll give it a go) for the first time and spend some more time in Yokohama this time. For the rest just going back to good old Shinjuku and Shibuya to have some fun. The only populair side-trip that's left for me would be Nikko ? I've been to Kamakura and climbed Fuji-san, im only interested to do the latter once again if only it would be climbing season.

My first question here is: Do you know any other side-trips (one day trips) around Tokyo ? Please share your own personal experiences, even though it's not a populair town. In fact I'd love to go to beautiful hidden towns around Tokyo (if that even exists) where tourists rarely pay a visit to.

Around April 5th I would plan to take the shinkansen to Kyoto. The problem is I have no idea how many days Kyoto can keep me satisfied. I'm especially interested in visiting Japanese gardens, preferably around a shrine or temple. Then again, I don't really want to go to temples on a concrete ground and dull surrounding or it must be a very special one with extraordinary architectural feautures. I know I still have to do more research on Kyoto but I already want to ask people here which spots in Kyoto they can suggest to me ? Also what's the best place to see sakura in Kyoto ?

Besides Kyoto I'm ofcourse taking a visit to big neighbour Osaka. As you should know, besides being a passionate Japanese nature lover I also love big cities. Any personal experiences with great places in Osaka ?

Before going back to Tokyo to catch my plane, I would still want to take a visit to maybe Kobe and/or Nara. I've heard Kobe has a special atmosphere and Nara is so close. As I won't have that much time left (depending how long I'll stay in Kyoto and Osaka) I'm planning to make a one-day trip to Kobe and a one-day trip to Nara.

I'm aware that I still have some research to do, but I always love to hear personal experiences from all the great people here. If you can also advice me accomodation places please tell so. I'm the type of tourists who thinks accomodation is a waste of money so I'm already happy with a 'basic' (That is clean) hostel. I'm also looking for a good site to calculate shinkansen prices to any destination.

Thanks in advance ! I'll update this topic quite regularly to keep you posted on any changes on my travel scheme..
 

bakaKanadajin

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Hi,

The trip you're describing closely mirrors the path many visitors take, and closely resembles the vacation I took when I lived there. Rather than type everything out again (because I'm at work, its Friday and frankly I'm a little bit lazy right now!), if you don't mind, I will direct your attention to this thread:

https://jref.com/showthread.php?t=33992

Look for my post there, post #5, it discusses some of the locations you've mentioned and gives you some information on things you can do. I hope you find it helpful

As for day trips around the Tokyo area, try Hakone. It's a nice place for a daytrip and Odakyu offers a daytrip package for around 5000yen that includes travel by express 'Romance Car', admission to a boat ride, travel on their local two-car train which takes you to the cable car, admission to the cable car ride, and I think some other goodies. There are onsens there but they're separate, and range in price from 1500 - 4500yen for an afternoon soak.
 

Homerduff

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Thank you very much !

Right you are ! Hakone would be nice and easy to go to. I had to take Odakyu line almost every day this summer to go to school and remember taking express train to Hakone..

Indeed I guess Kobe is worth seeing if im actually going to Osaka and Kyoto.

I'm currently looking for a youth hostel in Tokyo. The one which im currently most interested in is Khaosan Hotel located in Asakusa. Has anyone ever stayed there ?
 
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