I found this website by accident: Visiting Japan During New Year. I saw the list that you can call “Closed during New Year”. Lucky for me. Because I planned to visit the Castle in Matsumoto on my way from Kiso valley to Tokyo. But the castle is closed during that time. I still have Inuyama and Nagano for plan B. Last one is only a good idea if I decide for the big JRP.
The fish market is closed until January 4th, too. It was on my list for the 2nd. Getting up at 4am for nothing would have ruin my day. Maybe I move it to the 6th. The market is half way to Big Sight, where the Dezome Shiki takes place.
Also to mention that many shops and restaurants will be closed until the 4th. This explains all the trouble with booking a hotel during New Year. Everyone is on vacation. But it looks like all temples and shrines are open; because of New Year. Maybe I should double check all train connection with the real date. Maybe there is a special time table for these days, a canceled connection or a train leaving 10 minutes earlier.
btw:To calculate the fare, you can use google maps. This is pertty handy. The route planning function also has an option for walking from A to B. To get a better information about train connection you can use Hyperdia; like I will do in a few minutes.
From dawn till dusk
There is another factor I have to put into my calculations: Daylight. How much do I have. All last trips took place in September, during autumn equinox. Tokyo is closer to the equator. Therefore the days in summer are shorter than in Lübeck. But in winter they are longer. How big is the difference? Will it affect my plans (taking pictures at 5pm)?
The charts above are created with Kompf.de and show the problem. The the plots are not looking symmetrical is the result of the time equatian. But I will skip the physical background. The result for the trip is simple:
All 4 times before I had 12,75 hours of day light (5:15-18:00).
This time I have 3 hours less.
In the evening I will miss the 1,5 hours of light. My visit to two cities in one day (Asuka + Yoshino and Hikone + Eihei-ji) will need a tighter schedule. At 5pm the light is gone. At 4pm I have to increase the ASA sensitivity. Looks like i have to get up early and skip breakfast.
The next problem are the red and the dark blue areas in the charts. Dusk is come very quick. In the red area a picture is still possible with a tripod. After that you need a flash. The red area really is small. I recognized that before. It is dark in an instant. Not like in Lübeck where the dusk last forever in summer time. In June dusk and dawn become one. Midsummer. In a clear night you can see all the colours of the sunset during the whole night at the horizon, even 2am in morning. I had a picture on the title page of the local news paper.
I should double check the departure time of all trains too. On my first holiday I lost 3 days because of bad train connections. On my second trip there were two days ruined by badly planned day trips. On my last trip I checked a few connection before, but only because there was a ferry involved between Wakkanai and Rishiri and only two train to Wakkanai at the day.