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Suggestions in Planning - Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto/Nagoya


Hello friends,

Need your help with trip planning.
First of all we’re family of 2 adults and 2 kids (boys 10y/o and 13y/o).
We’ve been to Tokyo and Hakone before but this time around we want to explore a bit and venture outside Tokyo.

We arrive at Tokyo on March 30th and leave on April 11th 2018.

We do want to spend a few days in Tokyo as we want to have an option to go to Nikko/Kamakura/Disneyland.
We do want to visit Osaka (Universal studios included), Kyoto, Nara, Nagoya (The new Legoland). Am I missing anything?

Since our flight is to/from Narita we’re in a bit of a dilemma as to where to start our trip and how long to spend at each place.
Do we fly from Tokyo to Osaka and use it as a base to venture to Nara/Kyoto/Nagoya or go by train on Tokaido line from Tokyo and stop in Nagoya/Kyoto/Osaka and then back?
Do we do it on arrival to Tokyo or spend a few days there, then Osaka, then Tokyo again for departure? Ideally would like to spend at least one day in Tokyo before departure (just in case).
Or may be it make sense to buy JAL explorer pass and fly from Narita to Osaka and back?

What itinerary would you build (We’ve never been outside Tokyo). Just to complicate things more - my wife likes amusement parks and I love temples…

What is cheaper/better/easier/make sense for 3 adults and one kid?

A lot of unknowns but since it’s a cherry blossom period and it’s Japan I need to book accommodation earlier (it’s expensive as it is already) before it’s all booked out :wink:

Thanks for your help in advance.


Hi Biggle!

For transport between Tokyo and Osaka, see this article (note the hotel + shinkansen package deal, might be a time and money saver)

In terms of itinerary, USJ, then Kyoto and Nara will certainly tick both your wife’s and your Amusement park + Temple tick boxes!

Osaka is a good base to explore the Kansai area, including Kyoto + Nara, plus it might be slightly less busy versus Kyoto at that time of year (peak tourist season), since Osaka is much larger and can swallow up the extra tourists.

Also given it is peak tourist season, I’d also like to suggest doing something slightly less touristy (Osaka and Kyoto are maximum touristy). For example, you could take a detour and stop of for an overnight stay near tsumago and see part of the Nakasendo trail: The Takimi house mentioned in that article is a really beautiful place to stay.

And another alternative, if you’re considering flights, then you could venture further afield than Osaka, and see some of the less busy parts of Japan like Kyusu.

Hope that helps!


Thanks mrkirkland!

Yes it’s a valuable advice.
Hotel prices are absolutely crazy though (especially for the family of 4) so hotel + shnkansen package would be nice but it looks like it’s only for 3 days.
Would have been nice to have a package for at least 6 days.
Japanica site is not very user friendly either :wink:

Any other ideas?

Thanks again :wink:


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