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Shinkansen from Tokyo to spend 1 day somewhere else in Japan, where?

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Hi everyone :)

I'm finally going to Japan at the end of this month. I'll be staying for around 10 days and I want to try the world-famous bullet train. My accommodation is in central Tokyo, so I'll catch an early train to wherever I go so I can make the most of my day before coming back.

Now I know you usually need more than just a day to experience a place, that's why I'll be saving Kyoto for another trip, but there are places that you can almost fully experience in a long day, I heard Hiroshima is one of them. I'm considering Hiroshima as an option, but it's like 5 hours from Tokyo, and therefore more expensive. It's still certainly an option, but I'd like to ask if anyone has any other better suggestions, and you pick those suggestions.

Anywhere you all think is best for this?

Many thanks. :D
 

thomas

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If it's really just for one day and by shinkansen what about
Lots of sights to see and not too far by shink.
 

mdchachi

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Is the Himeji Castle construction done? If so that would be a perfect day trip.
 

thomas

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Is the Himeji Castle construction done? If so that would be a perfect day trip.
Great suggestion! Himeji Castle was reopened in 2015.

Tokyo -> Himeji 3 hr 15 min
Tokyo -> Nagoya ~ 1 hr 35 min
Tokyo -> Sendai ~ 1 hr 55 min
Tokyo -> Kanazawa 2 hr 30 min

It really boils down to how much time you want to spend on the train.
 

Mike Cash

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You also have to take into consideration the timetables for the return leg of the trip; those things don't run all night long.

You may be able to maximize the time you can spend in your destination city if you consider doing the return by night bus. Something worth looking into, anyway.
 

mdchachi

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If you do the Himeji option, you could take a 6:00-6:30 train getting in by 10:00. Last shinkansen from there is 20:30ish. That's plenty of time. In fact far too much. If you have the funds, I'd consider running to Himeji, check out the castle and then stop in Kyoto on the way back late afternoon. You can walk to Honganji from the station, check out the atmosphere, shops, get some dinner, etc. before grabbing a train back. If you aim to be on the train by 21:00 you'll be back in at Tokyo station by 23:15.
I was going to suggest stopping in Osaka but it could be confusing to get to Dotonbori from the shinkansen station. Kyoto is much easier. There is lots of stuff right around the station.
 

HanSolo

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  • Sendai
  • Kanazawa
All too far and too boring, in my opinionated opinion. In Sendai people asked me "why are you in Sendai?". And they were Sandai-ers.

OP, you'd be better off spending the night wherever you're going to go.

If you want to choose a place, here is my recommendation: open up google maps, search Japan, then search "bars" (which indicates population centers), and then choose a place at absolute random. You'll never get a better experience than that. The best places in Japan and the best and most interesting experiences you'll have are the least listed online, and that's how it'll always be.

Is the Himeji Castle construction done?
This is precisely the problem. A castle construction in 2018? You can join the hoards of tourists who will show up because it's on a tripadvisor list, and pretend they're enjoying looking at something that means absolutely nothing to them, and isn't even a real historical thing anymore -- just a tourist trap.
 

mdchachi

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All too far and too boring, in my opinionated opinion. In Sendai people asked me "why are you in Sendai?". And they were Sandai-ers.
That's why. Locals will always say that.
Also the point of the day trip is to take a bullet train. The journey is half the pleasure.

This is precisely the problem. A castle construction in 2018? You can join the hoards of tourists who will show up because it's on a tripadvisor list, and pretend they're enjoying looking at something that means absolutely nothing to them, and isn't even a real historical thing anymore -- just a tourist trap.
I should have said restoration. Himeji is one of the few mainly intact and historically authentic castles in the nation. It would be high on my list for any first time visitor. You can have authentic experiences at local bars etc even near UNESCO heritage landmarks. Searching for "beer garden" next to Himeji Eki yields a dozen options.

If you want to choose a place, here is my recommendation: open up google maps, search Japan, then search "bars" (which indicates population centers), and then choose a place at absolute random. You'll never get a better experience than that. The best places in Japan and the best and most interesting experiences you'll have are the least listed online, and that's how it'll always be.
What are you proposing that one should do after transporting themselves to some random street corner in the nation?
 
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Thanks everyone. :) I like the idea of Himeji castle, but there's also Inuyama castle which is slightly close. Lets assume money is no object, and the time difference is pretty much negligible. Would you all vote for Inuyama or Himeji? I think they'd both be great to visit, but if I'm to pick one for this trip, which should it be?

Either way I actually never considered castles before, only shrines or temples, so thanks for the suggestion everyone! Do they usually charge a fee for entry?
 

thomas

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Inuyama is one of my favourite castles, also due to its location overlooking the Kiso River (2 hrs 30 min from Tokyo). If it's between those two I'd pick Himeji though. It's simply the most magnificent of all (original) Japanese castles.

Admission fees:
  • Inuyama 500 JPY
  • Himeji 1,040 JPY (incl. Kokoen Garden)
 

mdchachi

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Definitely Himeiji. Inuyama is mainly notable for being original/old. It's actually quite small and not as impressive as you might expect. And takes a more effort to get there. At least an hour from Nagoya station.
 

HanSolo

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What are you proposing that one should do after transporting themselves to some random street corner in the nation?
Just about seeing things on the way there, not so much about purpose at the destination. Although I'm sure you could find a cafe in which you'll be the only foreign customer they've ever had, and then you can talk to them, that's always a refreshing experience. One owner once even did magic tricks for me, just because he liked to entertain new customers. Won't get things like that happen in a starbucks in Shibuya.

I always felt with tourist stuff that I'm "missing the point". Like I'm doing the "right thing", and correctly being a tourist, but because I'm just around other tourists, I'm not really in Japan in a sense.

I guess it's a randomness vs order thing. All order is boring, all randomness is stressful, so it's about mixing the two. Just my thoughts.
 

Shibui

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If you are into trains then here is my suggestion. When you hit Tokyo grab the JR East Pass (Tohoku) which gives you any five days usage over 14 days north of Tokyo.

Jump on the Shinkansen out of Tokyo Station at 6.32am all the way north to Shin-Aomori arriving at 9.49.

Transfer to the train that heads along the coast of the Sea of Japan all the way to Akita. This is the Gono and Ou lines that run the Resort Train Shirakami which is viewed as one of the great short train trips in the world.

Arrive Akita at 5.28pm.

There are two Shinkansen departures after 5.28 at 6.16 and 7.10 arriving 10.04 and 11.04 respectively. The Akita to Morioka leg has amazing scenery and the Akita Shinkansen hooks onto the Tokoku one at Morioka.

You can also do the reverse by Tokyo to Akita, Akita to Shin-Aomori, Shin-Aomori to Tokyo. 7.44PM is the last train out of Aomori.

(you probably have to be into trains though LOL)
 

Shibui

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Just about seeing things on the way there, not so much about purpose at the destination.

I always felt with tourist stuff that I'm "missing the point". Like I'm doing the "right thing", and correctly being a tourist, but because I'm just around other tourists, I'm not really in Japan in a sense.

I guess it's a randomness vs order thing. All order is boring, all randomness is stressful, so it's about mixing the two. Just my thoughts.
I feel the same which is why I love the local trains in Japan, the more remote the better. So much to discover.
 
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Suggestion from me.
HIRAIZUMI (Southwest Iwate , Tohoku district of Japan )
Hiraizumi Cultural Heritage
In the 11th and 12th centuries, Hiraizumi was a thriving administrative center in northeastern Japan.
The historical area of Hiraizumi is Japan's 12th World Cultural Heritage site.
Chuson-ji Temple Konjiki-do Hall (Hiraizumi-cho, Iwate Prefecture, a national treasure)
Chūson-ji - Wikipedia
金色堂 | 関山 中尊寺

Access from Tokyo to Chusonji temple.
Tōhoku Shinkansen : Tōkyō - Ichinoseki 2hrs 10mins
JR Tōhoku Main Line : Ichinoseki - Hiraizumi 8mins
Tohoku Shinkansen Grand Class
It is the first class of Shinkansen.
Currently, it is only Hokuriku Shinkansen and Tohoku Shinkansen.
-----------------------------------------------------
A new museum in Tokyo opened.
In Odaiba, a palette town, full-scale digital Art Museum "MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless" started a business on Thursday, June 21, 2018.
By all means, everyone please try and go.
MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless | teamLab / チームラボ
 
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