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Holiday Planning May 2022 (maybe)


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Hi all,

 

I am planning my first trip to Japan (which is also my first ever flying holiday) in May 2022 (or the following year at similar time of year if necessary), to assist in making arrangements i have engaged the services of a travel agent on this occassion and they have provided a personallised itnerary, which i will include below... as such i'm looking for recommendations for anything to do or see that would fit within the alloted time and travel area, many thanks, regards Ian

 

05/05 Day 1 - Flight to Japan

06/05 Day 2 - Arrive 10:55, bus to hotel (Shibuya Tobu Hotel)

07/05 Day 3 - JR Pass Active, Half Day Guide in Tokyo (until 13:00), Tokyo Metro Museum, Golden Gai Shinjuku Food Tour

08/05 Day 4 - Saitama Railway Museum

09/05 Day 5 - Transfer from Tokyo to Kyoto (possible visit to Oigawa Railway on route) (Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji)

10/05 Day 6 - Half Day guide in Kyoto (until 13:00), Kyoto Railway Museum

11/05 Day 7 - Day Trip to Arashiyama

12/05 Day 8 - Transfer from Kyoto to Hiroshima, Hiroshima City Transport Museum, Hiroshim Night Food Tour (Hotel Intergate Hiroshima)

13/05 Day 9 - Transfer from Hiroshima to Miyajima (Seaside Hotel)

14/05 Day 10 - Transfer from Miyajima to Osaka, Osaka Night Food Tour (Cross Hotel Osaka)

15/05 Day 11 - Transfer from Osaka to Nagoya, SC Maglev & Railway Park (Daiwa Roynet Hotel Nagoya Taiko Dori Side)

16/05 Day 12 - Nagoya city Tram & Subway Museum, Transfer from Nagoya to Tokyo (Akihabara Washington Hotel)

17/05 Day 13 - Model Shopping in Akihabara with guide

18/05 Day 14 - Day Trip to Usui Pass Railway Heritage Park

19/05 Day 15 - Sightseeing Odaiba, Miraikan Science Museum

20/05 Day 16 - Final Shopping /sightseeing Day

21/05 Day 17 - Flight home

 

 

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MeTheSwede

 

My first thought is that you're quite busy already and don't need more plans. Relocating to a new city 5 days in a row from the 12th to 16th looks quite exhausting to me, but that is of course just personal preference. Other people enjoy being constantly on the move.

 

 

Quote

06/05 Day 2 - Arrive 10:55, bus to hotel (Shibuya Tobu Hotel)

 

You're heading to a place served by 8 different train lines to stay at a hotel owned by a railway company and you're going by bus?  Is that even allowed for a member of this forum?  😆

 

 

Quote

12/05 Day 8 - Transfer from Kyoto to Hiroshima, Hiroshima City Transport Museum, Hiroshim Night Food Tour (Hotel Intergate Hiroshima)

 

I couldn't hear of anyone planing to visit Hiroshima, and not recommend that person to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. That's a very special place.

 

 

Among my high points when visiting Tokyo (pun intended) was taking a good look at the city from a high vantage point. Tokyo Skytree with it's observation deck at 450 meters is obviously the ultimate place for this. Another option that is very close to where you're staying in Shibuya is the a free observation deck at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (202m) in Shinjuku. The best time to arrive is in the early evening to experience both the day time and night time view.

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Yavianice

@02ian

  • Most people also visit Nikko when in Tokyo which is an easy (though full) day trip.
  • Perhaps you can visit the Hobby Center Kato while you are in Tokyo?
  • When going from Kyoto to Hiroshima (or reverse), doing a stop over in Himeji for the castle is highly recommended. It's a walkable distance from the train station and you can easily put your stuff in the locker in Himeji.
  • Miyajima is an easy day trip from Hiroshima, perhaps you can consider staying in Hiroshima longer and just go there and back by train. Saves packing everything up just for a day, but that's my opinion. As aforementioned Hiroshima peace memorial museum is a must go when you are there.

 

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I wouldn't add any more. You have a few half days. And they are good for catch-up rest or doing something that you find interest along the way.

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railsquid
7 hours ago, MeTheSwede said:

 

Quote

06/05 Day 2 - Arrive 10:55, bus to hotel (Shibuya Tobu Hotel)

 

You're heading to a place served by 8 different train lines to stay at a hotel owned by a railway company and you're going by bus?  Is that even allowed for a member of this forum?  😆

 

Assuming the bus goes straight to the hotel, seems quite sensible - though the hotel is close-ish to the station, I wouldn't recommend trying to navigate Shibuya with luggage and jetlag for someone new to Japan (especially as the station and surroundings are continually changing).

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MeTheSwede
2 hours ago, railsquid said:

Assuming the bus goes straight to the hotel, seems quite sensible - though the hotel is close-ish to the station, I wouldn't recommend trying to navigate Shibuya with luggage and jetlag for someone new to Japan (especially as the station and surroundings are continually changing).

 

Personal preference I guess. I kind of enjoy the Google Maps game of "making the blue dot reach the destination".

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I admit regarding the bus to hotel, i did question the logic when i spoke to the travel agent, but she advised that it was a better option given the lugguage situation, and that using a shuttle bus would be easier, this also allows the Wifi to be collected from the hotel, which i'm told is better compared to trying to do it at the airport

 

the Peace Park in Hiroshima is somewhere i'm considering

getting a high vantage point is also something i'm looking forward to

i'm including the Kato Hobby centre

Himeji Castle sounds doable, i'll look into that

the reason for the 1 night in Miyajima is to allow me to stay in a Ryokan during the trip (this was apparently difficult to achieve due to me traveling alone)

i'm not so much looking for big things, just things i can do while i'm on those 1/2 days in places, if i don't plan something i'll end up doing nothing

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Yavianice
2 hours ago, 02ian said:

which i'm told is better compared to trying to do it at the airport

It's easier, sure, but it's not difficult to begin with. Collecting a wifi router from the post office at Narita airport is super duper easy, even if you speak no english at all. Returning is just a matter of putting it in a post box. Though most wifi router rental services deliver to hotels for no extra charge, just as easy (I just prefer having internet as soon as I land and leave the airport. There is public wifi on the airport and the trains but eh, router is just as easy).

 

2 hours ago, 02ian said:

she advised that it was a better option given the lugguage situation

Tip: Only take as much as you can fit in hand luggage and maybe a light backpack. Because since you will travel everywhere by train, this makes it a whole lot easier. Assume that you will mostly be carrying your hand luggage suitcase on stairs as elevators are cleverly hidden from sight or are too busy, and escalators are not available everywhere. 

 

Traveling by Train from Narita to Tokyo is super easy, JR Narita Express connects directly to Shibuya station from Narita Airport for 3250 yen single way (assuming you use the JR pass on the way back, which is then free). So unless the bus takes you to the hotel door, I'd just take the train (which goes every 30 mins or so and takes slightly more than an hour).

 

Another tip for you since you are going to Japan the first time: Get the Hyperdia app, if you activate it a few days before your trip then you get it without subscription. It allows you to filter for JR pass use so you see exactly how much you pay for trains and disable Nozomi and Mizuho trains. Google Maps/Apple Maps doesn't allow you to filter trains.

 

And another tip: You as a foreigner can get cheap subway day passes for 24-48-72 hrs. It's easier to navigate the city by subway rather than by train.

Edited by Yavianice
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Tony Galiani

Don't know if this is possible in the UK but we purchased a Japan SIM card and Suica passes while still home.  Loaded our SIM cards while on our flight and were good to go when we arrived.

 

And a blue dot tip - we would follow the blue dot trying to find places but sometimes it would go crazy - we went all around Shinjuku station before we realized the place we were looking for was on the fourth floor.  So, in some instances the dot will be helpful but in others it might be confusing.

 

Ciao,

Tony Galiani

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Since you'll be going from place to place a lot, consider sending your main luggage ahead to your hotel in Tokyo for the busiest part of your trip. The hotel staff can help you arrange it. Travelling by train in Japan is great, but accessibility is quite poor so hauling around a big suitcase can be a drag.

Alternatively, pack very light and plan on doing laundry a few times during your trip. I think more or less every hotel in Japan has a laundry room to use.

Then, when you're back in Tokyo you can just buy a cheap suitcase for all the stuff you'll no doubt be buying! (totally not speaking from experience there... 😄 )

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My recommendation is to invest your time in the Kyoto Railway Museum from the opening to the closing. When I was in 2017 I spent the whole day, from 10 to 17 h. From then, visit Arashiyama area. During sunset and evening is nice too.

 

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Andrew Nummelin
6 hours ago, 02ian said:

...

i'm not so much looking for big things, just things i can do while i'm on those 1/2 days in places, if i don't plan something i'll end up doing nothing

Just go for walk round and experience the things that are different from home, basement of department store, suburban centre in Tokyo (it is a collection of “villages”), ride up front on a local train (Yamanote ...) and watch the driver, ...

Shopping - Tenshodo    Itoya   Tokyu Hands 

Evening - Kabuki

etiquette - swot up a bit, can make a big difference to enjoyment, especially in and around a Ryokan

plus, all the good advice given already by others.

 

Enjoy!

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MeTheSwede
4 hours ago, Tony Galiani said:

Don't know if this is possible in the UK but we purchased a Japan SIM card and Suica passes while still home.  Loaded our SIM cards while on our flight and were good to go when we arrived.

 

 

For my second trip to Japan I ordered a sim card from British Amazon. Unfortunately the Swedish postal service decided to take it slow and it didn't arrive before I left. So I got myself a sim card at the first conbini I saw at the airport and activated it while on the train. My clever planning turned out to not be so clever and the sim card eventually ended up in the garbage bin. 😅

 

IC cards can be bought from machines at any train station so buying one of those in advance doesn't seem very useful.

Edited by MeTheSwede
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Tony Galiani
10 minutes ago, MeTheSwede said:

 

For my second trip to Japan I ordered a sim card from British Amazon. Unfortunately the Swedish postal service decided to take it slow and it didn't arrive before I left. So I got myself a sim card at the first conbini I saw at the airport and activated it while on the train. My clever planning turned out to not be so clever and the sim card eventually ended up in the garbage bin. 😅

 

IC cards can be bought from machines at any train station so buying one of those in advance doesn't seem very useful.

They can but that can sometimes be a challenge for someone who is unfamiliar with this.  Having the card in advance made it so much easier for us.  Even after being there for a while, I tried refilling my card at a station and the machine took my credit card - as I was trying to use Amex which the machine did not accept.  As I was standing there wondering - "what do I do now" - a panel in the wall opened up and a woman explained to me in English that it would not accept the card and gave me my card back.  Big relief!

 

The other thing about having the card in advance was that we had flight difficulty and arrived very late in the evening.  Mad rush to get one of the last trains to Shinjuku.  And then our train from Narita to Shinjuku was delayed - apparently someone had strayed on to the tracks.  We finally got to our hotel around 11:00 PM and it was nice to be able to stop in a Combini and get some beverages with with very little effort.

 

And, while I live in the past and still use an actual Suica card, my wife had hers loaded on her iPhone which was also pretty easy and also made refilling the card easy as well.

 

Ciao,

Tony

 

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Tip.

When you get all those 5, 10, 50, 100 yen coins choking up your wallet. There is an option on the IC machines to pick manual fill amount. So whatever you feed in, is what the value is added to the card.

 

1 yen coins not allowed, but great way to get rid of all the other coins.

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railsquid
1 hour ago, katoftw said:

Tip.

When you get all those 5, 10, 50, 100 yen coins choking up your wallet. There is an option on the IC machines to pick manual fill amount. So whatever you feed in, is what the value is added to the card.

 

1 yen coins not allowed, but great way to get rid of all the other coins.

 

They don't take 5 yen coins (nor do vending machines; as always there may be exceptions, but I have yet to encounter one).

 

Something that has changed since y'all last came is that (in the Tokyo area at least) convenience stores and supermarkets have transitioned to "semi-self-pay", i.e. cashier scans your stuff but a machine takes your payment; these do accept 1 and 5 yen coins (as well as a variety of non-cash methods).

 

IC cards like Suica are also pretty widely accepted as a cashless payment method.

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JR 500系
19 hours ago, 02ian said:

the Peace Park in Hiroshima is somewhere i'm considering

 

 

Yes you should visit it... I was quite learnt after my trip there, and the tram ride there is just to try for ~  😛

 

On 10/31/2021 at 10:58 PM, 02ian said:

11/05 Day 7 - Day Trip to Arashiyama

 

You might wanna consider visiting the Sagano Romantic railway, there's a really sweet giant diorama at Torroko Saga station that's amazing. 

 

Seeing that you have quite a fair bit of guided tours, i think time wise you're pretty much covered. The guided tours do take quite sometime and should cover most of the tourist-y areas... Last thing you want is a rush to do all trip that resembles more of an assignment than a holiday  😛

 

Besides, Japan is Never meant to be visited once.   🙂

Edited by JR 500系
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TokyoImperialPalace
23 hours ago, Tony Galiani said:

They can but that can sometimes be a challenge for someone who is unfamiliar with this.  Having the card in advance made it so much easier for us.  Even after being there for a while, I tried refilling my card at a station and the machine took my credit card - as I was trying to use Amex which the machine did not accept.  As I was standing there wondering - "what do I do now" - a panel in the wall opened up and a woman explained to me in English that it would not accept the card and gave me my card back.  Big relief!

 

The other thing about having the card in advance was that we had flight difficulty and arrived very late in the evening.  Mad rush to get one of the last trains to Shinjuku.  And then our train from Narita to Shinjuku was delayed - apparently someone had strayed on to the tracks.  We finally got to our hotel around 11:00 PM and it was nice to be able to stop in a Combini and get some beverages with with very little effort.

 

And, while I live in the past and still use an actual Suica card, my wife had hers loaded on her iPhone which was also pretty easy and also made refilling the card easy as well.

 

Ciao,

Tony

 

 

Buying a IC in Japan is very simple. The problem is more that Japanese people generally prefer cash over card and hence the entire system is made to be cash-friendly, so it is more that you should use card and withdraw the money from an ATM first.

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1 hour ago, TokyoImperialPalace said:

 

Buying a IC in Japan is very simple. The problem is more that Japanese people generally prefer cash over card and hence the entire system is made to be cash-friendly, so it is more that you should use card and withdraw the money from an ATM first.

Yes, Japanese people have no issue with cash. As there are quite no pickpockets in Japan, having cash is not an issue. 

 

Suica or Passmo (depending where you are) is also convenient to avoid having plenty of small coins in your pockets anyway, you'll need 100 yens coins. 

 

ATM sometimes doesn't accept foreign card. Post office is convenient for that (or currency exchange)

Edited by JR East
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On 10/31/2021 at 3:58 PM, 02ian said:

Hi all,

 

I am planning my first trip to Japan (which is also my first ever flying holiday) in May 2022 (or the following year at similar time of year if necessary), to assist in making arrangements i have engaged the services of a travel agent on this occassion and they have provided a personallised itnerary, which i will include below... as such i'm looking for recommendations for anything to do or see that would fit within the alloted time and travel area, many thanks, regards Ian

 

05/05 Day 1 - Flight to Japan

06/05 Day 2 - Arrive 10:55, bus to hotel (Shibuya Tobu Hotel)

07/05 Day 3 - JR Pass Active, Half Day Guide in Tokyo (until 13:00), Tokyo Metro Museum, Golden Gai Shinjuku Food Tour

08/05 Day 4 - Saitama Railway Museum

09/05 Day 5 - Transfer from Tokyo to Kyoto (possible visit to Oigawa Railway on route) (Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji)

10/05 Day 6 - Half Day guide in Kyoto (until 13:00), Kyoto Railway Museum

11/05 Day 7 - Day Trip to Arashiyama

12/05 Day 8 - Transfer from Kyoto to Hiroshima, Hiroshima City Transport Museum, Hiroshim Night Food Tour (Hotel Intergate Hiroshima)

13/05 Day 9 - Transfer from Hiroshima to Miyajima (Seaside Hotel)

14/05 Day 10 - Transfer from Miyajima to Osaka, Osaka Night Food Tour (Cross Hotel Osaka)

15/05 Day 11 - Transfer from Osaka to Nagoya, SC Maglev & Railway Park (Daiwa Roynet Hotel Nagoya Taiko Dori Side)

16/05 Day 12 - Nagoya city Tram & Subway Museum, Transfer from Nagoya to Tokyo (Akihabara Washington Hotel)

17/05 Day 13 - Model Shopping in Akihabara with guide

18/05 Day 14 - Day Trip to Usui Pass Railway Heritage Park

19/05 Day 15 - Sightseeing Odaiba, Miraikan Science Museum

20/05 Day 16 - Final Shopping /sightseeing Day

21/05 Day 17 - Flight home

 

 

 

 

If you're travelling in May ... please consider visiting the most beautiful castle in Japan . Himeji-Jo. At night it's a pure jewel. 

 

 

IMG_0690.jpg.4be20645d4c161126177e4ce1dd0ec96.jpg

 

In Miyajima, I recommend to sleep in a hotel on the island itself, first of all because night at Miyajima is magic (I love walking at night along the seaside ...), then because it's a pure moment of calm and relaxation. 

 

Another advice I can give is not to overstress your planning. Japan is a marvelous romantic country, you'll need more than one travel to discover it. 

 

Below is the travel plan I made to shoot plenty of castle in 2016 at the cherry blossoms period (Anami)

 

Believe me ... it's already a terribly stressed planning as I was focusing on shootings. (in Red - the not recommended hotel, I booked it as cheap and close to the railway station to pick my Rapit)

 

619827029_Capturedcran2021-11-02193336.thumb.jpg.4d6f25db77898ec0b53b569d58979bf9.jpg

 

Added: You see 1 day in Kyoto. Just to let you know, I've spent 2 times 5 days in Kyoto in former journeys, meaning that journey was to focus on Fushimi Inari-Taisha (climbing up to the top of the hill) & the philosophers' walk with the cherry blossoms. 

 

Of course I can give you plenty of recommendations but the only that is really valuable is this one : take your time, Japan is a country to discover. Don't rush like lots of Chinese tourists in Paris. There is so much to discover that, even after 10 travels to Japan, I'm still a newbie. And don't forget to sit in an Isakaya, sipping a beer or a Sake. 

 

JM

 

Edited by JR East
typos + added info
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I'm a bit late to the party but having travelled from the UK too many times to count now maybe I can offer some tips.

 

The bus to the hotel is probably a good idea if it's your first time. You are arriving on a Thursday so the main lines will be fairly busy, and they aren't ideal for navigating with lots of luggage. The only ways to get to Shibuya all require you to take either the JR Yamanote Line or the Metro. The only other option is something like Skyliner to Nippori or Ueno and then taxi, but it won't be cheap.

 

For connectivity it depends how many of you there are and what your needs are, but a good option is to get a SIM card. If you are from the UK your phone is probably unlocked already. Then you don't have to worry about charging the mobile access point. Also get the free Japan Connected Wifi app to make use of the many free hot-spots.

 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nttbp.jfw

 

The Japan Rail Pass is good value but kinda embarrassing to use. It's been years since I used one but I wish they would do an electronic version that worked with the gates and on busses. You have to go past the kiosk window and show it every time.

 

Your schedule does seem a bit hectic, cramming a lot in. One of the issues with that is that you can end up doing all the touristy things and getting less of the "real" Japan. Maybe I'm a weirdo but I like just walking around sometimes, exploring a bit and taking things in. It's impossible to get lost with Google Maps.

 

Speaking of which, I made a map of all the Hard Offs in and around Tokyo, and a few in Nagoya: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1xFbbOuLjZZD4Yp_7ttchQhLorvom2yEq&usp=sharing

 

Maybe I'll add the rest of Japan in eventually, problem is Google My Maps has some limits on the number of POIs and so does the normal Google Maps. Anyway, it's worth giving at least one a visit, not sure which to recommend based on your movements but the larger ones often have quite a bit of model stuff. Honestly the next time I'm there I'll mostly be just touring Hard Off and trying to get my score in the app up!

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