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So I´m heading over to Japan in a couple of weeks time to spend 3 weeks travelling; 2 weeks travelling with a mate from Australia and 1 week in Sapporo to spend time with the relos.

I haven´t travelled around Japan doing the touristy thing since I was about 14 years old and did it with my parents. I´ve knocked together a tentative itinerary trying to cram in as much as comfortably possible but am not sure if I´ve missed a nice place or am spending too much time in another.

This is my plan so far......any comments? I´ve got a 14 day JR pass and want to use it as much as possible.

16/5 Arrive Narita in the evening, stay in Tokyo overnight
17/5 Tokyo to Hiroshima
18/5 Hiroshima
19/5 Hiroshima to Himeji
20/5 Himeji to Osaka
21/5 Osaka
22/5 Osaka to Kyoto
23/5 Kyoto (Nara)
24/5 Kyoto
25/5 Kyoto
26/5 Kyoto to Hakone or any onsen that´s nearby
27/5 Tokyo (Yokohama)
28/5 Tokyo
29/5 Tokyo
30/5 Depart Tokyo for Sapporo

I´ve never been to Osaka before but is it really worth while visiting?(dont mean to offend anyone from Osaka). My impression is that its just another big city. Is it worth trying to squeeze in either Fukuoka, Kobe, or Nagoya?

Also, it´d be good to meet some of you Tokyo halvsies while I´m in town if anyone´s free.
get in touch when you're in Kyoto [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif[/img]
Osaka is great for shopping but not much else IMHO. Kyoto is FULL of stuff I haven't done living here for over 8 months.
oh no! I am going to miss u for 3 days.. I arrive in Tokyo on June 2nd... [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif[/img]

Form from experience Osaka is -as Sayaka stated- for shopping... if u see Himeji there is no point in seeing the Osaka castle.. no offence to Osaka halvsie.... u seem to be spending a lot of days in Kyoto n Nara which is good cause seriously Kyoto is the most beautiful places in Japan (well..as city anyway..)

Why dont u visit Nikkon too? its nice... the summer house of Tokugawa and some beautiful waterfalls... I think its about 2 hrs with the Shinkansen towards Utsunomiya... (I always ride a car with my uncle from Utsunomiya cause he lives there now so I am not very familiar with distance cause I am always blind-guided )

Regarding your itinerary...

I d suggest to skip the day in Osaka and go directly to Kyoto and add an extra day in Tokyo.. u ll need it... have a day less in Kyoto and a day more in Tokyo.. trust me... plus.. meeting halvsie for just one evening aint enough..u need more... [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/happy.gif[/img]
besides.. if u add an extra day in Tokyo, u can go to Kamakura for a half day which is a "small" Kyoto.. full of shrines, but also next to the sea!! lovely!
Harajuku - Takeshita doori.... to see the funny Cosplay wearing people
and 109 (shopping centre ) in Shibuya - its funny to see the people who work there and walk around there

as you can see... all the very cultural places in japan... haha
here are some more tips on Tokyo about dining, going out and.. well... socializing (Actually this is a mail I received fomr a friend as a proposal to me [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif[/img])

1. "Shirube" at Shimokitazawa = izakaya
5 lminutes from Shimokitazawa station of Odakyu Line, link of the map http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a056509/map1.htm

2. "Trouble Peach" at Shimokitazawa = rock bar (one part is for 5 people only on the gorund floor and another on the 1st fl.. old building.. odnt be scared) http://www.bento.com/gmapsj/2727.html
http://www.bento.com/search4.php

3. "Bonjour Records" at DaikanYama = record shops ... its worth visiting
http://www.bonjour.co.jp/index_whats.html

4. to eat "monja", visit any of the little shops at Tsukishima. c map ... http://www.monja.gr.jp/map.html

5. "Den" at Harajuku = izakaya with a descent shabu shabu. http://www.bento.com/rev/2030.html
( or u can go to an all-you-can-eat shabu shabu or yakiniku,at any of the "amatarou" http://www.amataro.jp/)

6. "red bar" http://gmap.jp/shop-8554.html
Definitely let us know when you're in Kyoto [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif[/img]
It is probably not necessary to stay overnight in Himeji, there is not much to see besides the castle...
as for culture..

My favorite shrines and gardens are the small ones and not the huge ones like Meiji jinja... I like Meiji Jinja but I prefer:

Shrine and little museum:
Sengakuji in SHinagawa... its the shrine and the cemetery of the 47 ROnin.. do u know the story?.. its very peaceful... the shrine not the story.. the story is full of death and blood.... it closes early so if u r going go early!

Garden: Hamarikyu Garden in Shimbashi, behind the new Skyscrapers of Shiodome... [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif[/img]

Also I like Shinjuku Koen but its big and a bit far away...

I am not fun of Asakusa... [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ph34r.gif[/img] too "touristic"

mmmmm.. what else? ... I like Ebisu for shopping and walking...

harajuku , as Steph said, is a must seen and visit and go EVERYWHERE.. walk all streets, small and big.. its so fun...



wow...fantastic feedback! thanks everyone.

i think i will skip Osaka and definitely spend another day in Tokyo. Also, i agree that spending a night in Himeji is a bit unnecessary. I only just started reading the Lonely Planet for Japan today and realised how close it was to Kyoto. I´m still thinking everything is far apart like in Australia.

and to the Kyoto halvsies....stay alert....you´ll be hearing from me soon!
<!--quoteo(post=207501:date=May 2 2008, 07:12 PM:name=rez1)-->QUOTE(rez1 @ May 2 2008, 07:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->wow...fantastic feedback! thanks everyone.

i think i will skip Osaka and definitely spend another day in Tokyo. Also, i agree that spending a night in Himeji is a bit unnecessary. I only just started reading the Lonely Planet for Japan today and realised how close it was to Kyoto. I´m still thinking everything is far apart like in Australia.

and to the Kyoto halvsies....stay alert....you´ll be hearing from me soon!<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
If you have the JR pass, you could even take the shinkansen from Himeji to Kyoto, I think. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif[/img]