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So the wife has a friend currently in Japan and has decided the family needs to go to Japan also.  I like I'm gonna say no? haha

 

Did the rounds on google search for packages/tours/ideas.  And everything seems to be aimed at oldies.  Or people that like to use the bus.

 

I will be taking the wife, a 5yo and a 3yo with me.  Both kids are train mad, and love anything on rails.

 

Do I keep looking for tours/packages?  Or should I just book my hotels (tokyo and kyoto), fly into Narita, activate a JR 7 day pass and just wing it from there?

 

Watching the NHK Cruise show, it seems easy enough to roam around and find what you looking for if you have done a bit of research up front.

 

I'd really like to get down to Kyushu, as the kids are very familiar with the trains down there.  But funds just aren't gonna stretch that fr this trip.  Japan trip must involve Tokyo says the wfie.

 

Advice?

Edited by katoftw
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Japan trip must involve Tokyo says the wfie.

Tokyo? Then i would add Hakone (romancecar+hakone tozan+etc.+boat trip) and Enoshima (yokosuka line+enoden+the beach+odakyu). You could book most reserved tickets in advance an the rest with the rail pass. Also, i would add at least 2 Tokyo train museums.

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We have travelled to Japan 3 times. Our first trip a few years ago our 2 oldest kids where the same age. We always organise everything ourselves. As you said just grab a 7 day JR Pass exchange voucher before you go. I always book flights with Jetstar from the Gold Coast. Travelling to Kyoto from Tokyo gives you a good run on the Shinkansen. Family hotel rooms are a little harder to come by in Japan but I can't recommend highly enough the Century Southern Tower Hotel in Shiibuya which is actually opposite the Shinjuku JR station.

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If the kids like train rides, take a front seat on the Keikyu main line for some 120kph action through the densely packed urban areas of Shinagawa, Kawasaki and Yokohama.

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Please allow me to share some of my planning experiences.

 

As most of you might know from my other thread, i'm also planning a trip to Japan (again) next year. I don't have experience with bringing kids to trips since i'm still without kids yet, but ii reckon some of these will be nice:

 

1) A trip to Kyushu would be better if you flew into Fukuoka. A shinkansen trip from Tokyo to Hakata can set you back by as much as about 6 hours using only Hikari (Zero cost for Rail Pass) with a transfer at Shin-Osaka/ Shin-Kobe/ Okayama/ Himeji and about 300mins no transfer on the Nozomi (pay extra for Nozomi on Rail pass), not forgetting the back-ward return to Tokyo for flight out.

 

2) I guess Rail Park or museum is good if travelling with kids, so I reckon the JR East Omiya Museum is good, since it has a really cute kiddy ride which I think both the kids and adults will love. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk7AgANhYaQ and it's not too far from Tokyo.

 

3) You mentioned 7 day pass, so I reckon it would be around a week trip. Hakone and Fuji + Odakyu Romance car VSE50000 is a must! A night overstay in Hakone also rest and relax both the mind and spirit which is good for the Mrs.

 

4) While you're at Kyoto, please try out the Torroko Saga Train, which also has the largest (argueable) model diorama at Torroko Saga station, which I think both the adults and kids will go crazy with! (Train Cruise Episode 4 Kyoto)

 

Around which period would you be visiting? Summer, Autumn or Winter? That's much to see at all the seasons so planning revolves around what you would want to see. Mine is in Spring so I would be going to Ashikaga Flower Park for the beautiful wisteria which definitely satisfy the Mrs...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njMdLAYKUbY

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Family hotel rooms are a little harder to come by in Japan but I can't recommend highly enough the Century Southern Tower Hotel in Shiibuya which is actually opposite the Shinjuku JR station.

Cannot seem to have 2A + 2C in a room.  Did you book 2 rooms?

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4) While you're at Kyoto, please try out the Torroko Saga Train, which also has the largest (argueable) model diorama at Torroko Saga station, which I think both the adults and kids will go crazy with! (Train Cruise Episode 4 Kyoto)

 

Around which period would you be visiting? Summer, Autumn or Winter? That's much to see at all the seasons so planning revolves around what you would want to see. Mine is in Spring so I would be going to Ashikaga Flower Park for the beautiful wisteria which definitely satisfy the Mrs...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njMdLAYKUbY

The Sagano Romantic Railway is on the list to do.  Since I'm at Kyoto and using the Randen, and it is cheap for a tourist train compared to australian standards. 620JPY for a single direction is very cheap.  About $7 AUD.  and the kids are half that.

 

the Randen is only 500JPY for an all day pass.  Cheap too!  And the Arashiyama Onsen is only 150JPY and you get a free towel. haha

 

The wife wants to go asap. haha  But I'm happy for any season other than Winter (too cold).  Autumn be good for colours.  Spring be good for flowers. Summer be good for warmth.

 

I think whatever season we go this first trip, then we'll go a different season next trip.  And you are correct, to go to Kyushu from Australia, I would fly to Fukuoka first.  Wold like to do Kyushu in summer or autumn.

Edited by katoftw
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Sorry I should have mentioned on the booking page on their website you need to put in 3 Adults and 1 Child. You end up with a twin room with an extra rollaway bed. The standard beds are just a bit smaller than a double.

Should be able to pick the room up for around $200 a night which is actually quite good value for Tokyo family accomodation. Also the views are spectacular.

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We are heading off again in November. We did 2 trips in June and found the heat similar to our summers here in oz. Autumn is lovely but when it is cooler in Japan they super heat the trains and shopping centres to the point that train travel becomes quite uncomfortable so always have clothing that's easily removed. But having said that the Autumn foliage makes up for it especially if you venture into the Alps to somewhere like Takayama which is well worth it.

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Yeah looking at aug/sep/oct months currently.  but if it doesn't then, mar/apr/may next year.  Spring time in japan is just as good.

 

I am having issues locating a decent hotel that will cater for 2A + 3C.  I didn't mention the third child as he is under 2 (6 months old).  And under 2s in oz dont get looked at in oz.  Since doing some hotel research online, things are a little different in Japan.

 

Finding it difficult to get a hotel that caters for 5 in a room.  Got a few, but they are similar to a backpackers style of accommodation.  Which I dont mind, but the missus does.  Other option is to book 2 rooms and up the costs dramaticly.

 

Hoping for the Shinjuku area as the station services the Narita Express, Chuo line, Yamanote line and Toei Oedo line out to the Kato store.  Wife wants to visit Harajuku, so Shinjuku seems an easy home base point.

 

For Kyoto, getting 2 rooms isn't an issue as rate are alot cheaper than Toyko.

 

This hotel, specificly the Ryokan room I like, north of Shinjuku but close enough.  Missus isn't sold on the Ryokan room.  But I think sleeping and eating on the floor is Japanese, and can experience the Japanese way.  Just worry we'll have backpackers keeping us up until midnight every night.

 

http://www.sakura-hotel-ikebukuro.com/rooms.php

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Shinjuku is definitely the go. Depending on the side of the hotel you get it overlooks Shinjuku Station. Kids love watching the trains come and go from hotel room especially the n'ex. We booked 5 in the room last trip. As I mentioned earlier put in 3 adults and 2 children, doesn't work if you put in 2 adults 3 kids.

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Thanks for the tip.  Will try again.

 

edit//  It worked. 18,200JPY per night. 

Edited by katoftw
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That's about the best rate you can get. That's a promotional rate as full price is normally over 26000 JPY. Good value if you ask me. I often check expedia but they normally can't better it.

Expedia however can be pretty good for Kyoto. If you go the 2 room option it can be near impossible getting interconnecting rooms.

Check out Hyperdia which makes working out train travel a breeze. It is a must have.

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What sort of bedding to they provide for children?  I read on most japanese hotel websites that kids under 12 sleep for free with paying adults if using exsisting bedding.  But alot of places dont show bedding options for the kids, say a double room etc.  Some show roll away bedding option, but then that isn't exsisting bedding.  Confused.  Or are they sharing a bed with you?

 

Sorry for the 1001 questions.

Edited by katoftw
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That's correct as far as under 12's staying for free. 

We normally have the 2 kids in one of the doubles, an adult on the rollaway and the other adult in the second double with a portacot for the infant.

If you aren't keen on sharing beds the options are very limited as far as hotels go without booking 2 rooms.

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Yeah looking at aug/sep/oct months currently.  but if it doesn't then, mar/apr/may next year.  Spring time in japan is just as good.

 

 

 

Obon is a very busy time on Japanese trains.  It is one of two home-coming times.  Without reservations there is a risk you may have to stand on intericty trains. Even if you do reserve there may be standing passengers in the aisles.

Edited by bill937ca
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ill be going late october or early november after doing some more research.  flights from my region are 40% cheaper between oct 10th and dec 10th. $479 vs $299 per person per direction.

 

With the $1500 saved, might try to get down to Kyushu/Kumamoto for 3 days since it is only 3.5 hours from Kyoto.

Edited by katoftw
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ill be going late october or early november after doing some more research.  flights from my region are 40% cheaper between oct 10th and dec 10th. $479 vs $299 per person per direction.

 

With the $1500 saved, might try to get down to Kyushu/Kumamoto for 3 days since it is only 3.5 hours from Kyoto.

 

Oh wow... that's a HUGE difference! It doesn't differ much in my area, while the cheapest flight to Japan DIRECT is by Jetstar, overnight to and fro (SIN-OSK-SIN) at about US$500 or so. Fukuoka will cost me around US$1000 to and fro (SIN-FUK, TOKYO-SIN) on SQ and around US$700 to and fro (SIN-HDA-FUK, TOKYO-SIN) on JAL..  Our airlines here do jack up their prices, but not according to Japan festivals (Golden week or Obon), but rather according to school holiday timings here (JUNE, NOV, DEC) since these are peak timings where family travel.

 

Do try to go to Kyushu. There's tons of beautiful joyful trains there like the Aso Boy, Yufuin-on-Mori, A-train, Ibusuki-no-Tamatebako, SL Hitoyoshi, Isaburo-Shinpei, Hayato-no-Kaze etc just to name a few... Plently of onsens too if you're into hot springs at Jigoku Beppu and the Majestic Kumamoto Castle.

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Accommodation in Kumamoto is the killer.  Not much suitable for my situation.  Since typing my last post, I have found Fukuoku and Kagoshima to be much easy and cheaper options.

 

Kyushu is my first place of want, but the wife say Tokyo.  And was gonna have funds for that way.

 

But I love to do the SL Hitoyoshi, Isaburo and Hayato no Kaze, then back up to Kumamoto using the 800.

 

Also a run out to Beppu/aso/kumamoto/hakata loop on the Blue Sonic, Kyushu-Odan and AsoBoy.

 

We'll see how it goes in the plan...

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Ochanomizu

Hello Mr katoflw,

 

Please allow me to offer my opinion on the matter.  We have noticed the same problem with accommodation at Kumamoto.  We usually stay at Fukuoka and recommend you do the same.  We usually stay at ANA Crown Plaza - just a short walk from Hakata (Fukuoka) station.

 

BTW, there is a train shop on Level 8 or 9, above Hakata station.  ;)

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Hello Mr katoflw,

 

Please allow me to offer my opinion on the matter.  We have noticed the same problem with accommodation at Kumamoto.  We usually stay at Fukuoka and recommend you do the same.  We usually stay at ANA Crown Plaza - just a short walk from Hakata (Fukuoka) station.

 

BTW, there is a train shop on Level 8 or 9, above Hakata station.  ;)

Thanks, I was looking at a place near Ohorikoen [K06] in the fukuoku subway, and accross from the lake and castle ruins.  ANA Crown Plaza was on the short list also.  You might have sold me on it using the train shop location.

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Hello Mr katoftw,

 

The Popondetta train shop is on Level 8.  Take the main lifts to the 8th floor and it is the 2nd or 3rd shop on your left as you exit.  It is a small but friendly shop with plenty of stock.  I'm not sure about their English skill but a very tall staff, he can speak some English.

 

Also, if you would like to enjoy the best sushi in Japan (that is my opinion), then please ask your hotel to make a reservation at Tatsumi: http://www.tatsumi-sushi.com/  I can assure you, you will not be disappointed.  The restaurant is easy to get to via subway.

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