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May Itinerary

My girlfriend and I are traveling to Japan in May and would love some feed back on our itinerary.

05/21 – Arrive at Narita. Find our hotel in Shinjuku and explore Shinjuku for the remainder of the day.
05/22 – Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Shibuya
05/23 – Asakusa, Sensoji Temple, Ueno Park, Tokyo Sky Tree
05/24 – Day Trip to Hakone (activate 7 day JR pass).
05/25 – Tsukiji, Odaiba, Ginza, Imperial Palace, Akihabara
05/26 – Leave for Kyoto early and explore Kyoto for the remainder of the day.
05/27 – Kyoto until late afternoon/early evening then head to Osaka.
05/28 – Breakfast in Osaka. Kobe
05/29 – Day trip to Miyajimaguchi and Hiroshima
05/30 –Nara & Osaka.
05/31 – Depart from Kansai.

I wanted to fit in Ikebukuro while in Tokyo but I don’t know which day to fit it into.
Anyways, I am not sure if the schedule I made is efficient so I would appreciate any advice. Thank you!

Comments

  • You do have a few options.... off the top:
    Getting into Tokyo, if you want to save money, you could use the Access Narita bus. But from Tokyo you'd need to take the train to Shinjuku also.
    http://accessnarita.jp/en/home/
    The more expensive options are naturally more convenient. You can take the Narita Express from the airport to Shinjuku. Or, for just a bit more, use the orange limousine bus which might go straight to your hotel if it is one of the big tourist hotels.
    I don't know why you are considering Ikebukuro though - it is not that spectacular.
    For Meiji Shrine, don't miss the Jingu Gyoen garden there as well - most do so it is not crowded like the shrine.
    https://goo.gl/MgqXu5
    Harajuku is best on a Sunday afternoon if the weather is good. But if you want to see Takeshita St nearby, it can be jammed on weekends.
    For May 23, all the places are famous. You might be too late for the nice Denboin garden at Sensoji Temple though.
    https://goo.gl/q5nDom
    Ueno Park is worth walking through, but to me, there is not much there (unless you're going to one of the very good museums). You are missing some very good traditional gardens in your plans, and you could add one in if you're interested. You can take the JR Yamanote Line 5 stops to Komagome to see Rikugien, which is one of the city's best, or walk a bit to Koishikawa Korakuen, which is near if not the top of the list.
    https://goo.gl/tAECfM

    Most tourists chase the lights and bling-bling so they are usually very uncrowded and relaxing. There is also Hamarikyu which is 3 stops from Tokyo Stn and not far from the Imperial properties if you have time.
    For Hakone, the JR Pass won't take you the whole way. But you can get a Hakone Free Pass at Odawara Stn. I suggest you get an early morning start. Many follow the Loop Course. It is getting very crowded though, so you might find it better doing it clockwise instead of how it's described here:
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5210.html
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5200.html
    For May 25, the inner market is no longer at Tsukiji. Only the outer ring of restaurants remains. If you want to see the fish market, you need to go to Toyosu.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3013.html
    For Odaiba, you might want to see the TeamLab Museum. You need to get your tickets online ahead of time though.
    https://borderless.teamlab.art/
    For Kansai, if you are already seeing Tokyo, you can skip Osaka in the daytime a lot. It's better at night.
    http://goo.gl/XE5R94

    You're also only giving one day for Kyoto, which is sorely shortchanging the place. You could put in another half day for it on 5/30. Do not skip Nara though - it has some of the best of Japan.
    https://goo.gl/LfvWnL

    Most of the best is in the Nara Park area.
    For 5/28, consider seeing Himeji for half a day - the castle is the best in the country, and the Kokoen Garden near it is excellent. Get the combo ticket and one place is virtually free.
    https://goo.gl/65ZtRi

    The rest of your time you could see Kobe.
    For 5/29, one day is a bit cramped, but it is doable with an early morning start. You'll also be VERY lucky - a few days after your visit they will cover up the beachfront giant torii gate for over a year for renovations. For Hiroshima City though, don't be like so many people who just rush to the Peace Park and then leave the city - there is so much more, like the Shukkeien Garden and Mitakidera Temple - both absolute gems and unknown to the tourist mobs.
    https://goo.gl/fAz4ax

    For getting around Kansai and to KLIX, you might consider getting the Icoca & Haruka discount ticket. The JR Pass is of limited use within the cities.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2359_icoca_haruka.html
    You can check on a site like Hyperdia - you can see regular fares, routes, and schedules.
    http://www.hyperdia.com
    Under "More Options", for your full JR pass be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train using the pass.

    Also, you can look at some previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/thejapanfaq/videos

    There are also loads of other tips on
    http://www.thejapanfaq.com/the-best-japan-travel-tips/

    Best regards.
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