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A friend and I will be travelling to Japan March 25 (arriving around noon) and departing April 1 (in the afternoon). We are planning on purchasing JR passes. We fly into Osaka and will be flying out of Narita.

My original plan was to travel to Kyoto for 4 nights and than to Tokyo for 3 nights – but we’re flexible other than our flight dates.

While in Kyoto we were thinking of spending a full day to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima. And than probably also Nara (something else if more highly recommended).

Should I revamp my plan to stay a night (or 2?) in Hiroshima? Than Kyoto, than Tokyo?

Suggestions on travel routes and any other ideas are greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much!

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: Hiroshima/Kyoto/Tokyo

Both itineraries will do. I personally recommend your original plan (K 4days + T 3days).

Tokyo, Japan
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2. Re: Hiroshima/Kyoto/Tokyo

I also think Kyoto 4 days and Tokyo 3 days are good.

*Doing Kyoto in 3 days is a bit tough, if you are to do a day in Nara as well in the three days period (which is highly recommended). I imagine that you would not want to decrease Tokyo into 2 days, but perhaps that can be suggested, if you'd like to stay in Miyajima on your visit to Hiroshima.

I live in Tokyo and although it should be an interesting large city for visitors, it's not the most popular tourist destination in Japan.

Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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3. Re: Hiroshima/Kyoto/Tokyo

>>>>I live in Tokyo and although it should be an interesting large city for visitors, it's not the most popular tourist destination in Japan.<<<

Actually, many more tourists visit Tokyo than Kyoto:



Kyoto is wonderful but if one is not interested in Japanese history, culture and temples/shrines, it can be monotone. On the other hand, Tokyo offers a whole lot of variety things to see and do.

In any case, I recommend doing a day trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima from Kyoto. Make sure to buy the 7 Day JR Pass.

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4. Re: Hiroshima/Kyoto/Tokyo

Thanks for the advice. I’m looking forward to the down time in Kyoto and city life in Tokyo.

Will I be able to get from Kyoto and back to Hiroshima and Miyajima and see a reasonable amount of attractions in one day?

Any other advice for 5 days in Kyoto area besides Hiroshim/Miyajima and Nara? And than 4 days in Tokyo?

Also, what is the best way to get to Narita Airport from Tokyo – I’m thinking of staying in Shinjuku. (JR or airport transfer or?) I’m wondering when the best time will be to activate my 7 day JR pass on my 8 day trip. Do I want to start in Osaka to Kyoto or wait and insure I have it for Tokyo to Narita.


Hong Kong, China
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5. Re: Hiroshima/Kyoto/Tokyo

Hiroshima/Miyajia: Whether you think it's enough time depends on your sightseeing speed. Some people see things rather quickly, while others like to relax and enjoy. It is achievable as a day-trip though for most.

Around the Kyoto area, if you are spending 5 days there, allow 2 days for central Kyoto, 1 for Arashiyama, 1 for Hiroshima/Miyajima, and then for the additional day, you can consider Koyasan or opt to go to an onsen such as Arima, Kinosaki or Shirahama.

If you spend you initial days at Kyoto, then activate your JR Pass exactly the 7th day from the very end of your trip. Do all your mid to long distance travel within the Pass's validity. You can then take Narita Express from Shinjuku without paying any additional fare by using the Pass. On the way from KIX to Kyoto, get ICOCA & Haruka one way to save money. Be sure to return the ICOCA prior to leaving the Kansai area to get your deposit and unused credit back.


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6. Re: Hiroshima/Kyoto/Tokyo

I think a day trip for both Miyajima & Hiroshima is possible if you move at lightning speed. I would personally recommend a more leisurely pace to be able to absorb what you are seeing.

There are some nice hotels near Hiroshima Station or on Miyajima itself.

Arriving at Hiroshima station you either have a choice of going straight to Miyajima-guchi by train (25mins) but many tourists opt to catch a tram to the Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Park and the Museum first. (16mins )

You would need at least 2 hours here. I would also highly recommend a visit to Shukkei-en historical garden but you will be very pressed for time on a one day visit.

Note: Tram is not covered by JR Pass. The tram to A Bomb Dome Stop is ¥150 put the money in the fare box when you get off or use the ICOCA card - touch on & touch off http://www.hiroden.co.jp/en/

Afterwards you could either continue by tram from the A Bomb Dome stop "Genbaku Dome Mae" to Miyajima-guchi (49mins) or return to Hiroshima station and catch a JR train there. (16mins+25mins)

Comparatively, whether you take a tram or a train to Miyajima, the time is really negligible (I think the train takes longer by the time you get back to the station, find the platform & wait for the train) but the JR train trip is covered on your Pass.

You then need to catch a ferry across to the island covered on your JR Pass using only the JR Ferry. (10mins)

Arriving on Miyajima say hello to the sacred deer then you may want to wander around the Shrine area for a while but do not miss the beautiful Momiji forest at the foot of the mountain & if the weather is good you should really stop at the tea house there. Walk to the cable car station to ride up Mt Misen. http://miyajima-ropeway.info/en/

There are stunning views & shrines at the top (and monkeys) and walks. You need at least a couple of hours on Miyajima. The Shrine is particularly atmospheric & lovely at night.

Return ferries run late into the evening (last one back to is 10.14pm).

Edited: 11:24 pm, January 13, 2013
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7. Re: Hiroshima/Kyoto/Tokyo

Thanks everyone for all the advice! It’s been fun planning it all out! And should be even more interesting to try navigating my way around once I’m there!

Sammyfloyd – thanks for the suggesting Arashiyama. It wasn’t on my radar until now and I’m very much looking forward to it.

8. Re: Hiroshima/Kyoto/Tokyo

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