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Japan travel tip V2


katoftw

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If you are going to Nagoya, the Meiji Mura Museum is a good bet. Lots of old buildings and fragments, including the center of the old Frank Lloyd Wright Imperial Hotel, with steam trains and old trams to take you around.

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Yes, but this thread is more about general tourism. If I did go to Nagoya again, it would be to go to the train museum (but probably wouldny't waste any time looking at the city itself, as I like to do when in places I don't usually go to).

That's fair enough, but when the Lonely Planet guide book describes a city as a dingy industrial town with nothing to offer the tourist I just know I've got to go there. :read2:

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That's fair enough, but when the Lonely Planet guide book describes a city as a dingy industrial town with nothing to offer the tourist I just know I've got to go there. :read2:

haha post of the week.

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That's fair enough, but when the Lonely Planet guide book describes a city as a dingy industrial town with nothing to offer the tourist I just know I've got to go there. :read2:

If you're going to Nagoya as a railfan, I suggest studying Meitetsu and Meirin so you'll know where to find the watching/riding that you want to do.  JR Central operations aren't too interesting.

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If you're going to Nagoya as a railfan, I suggest studying Meitetsu and Meirin so you'll know where to find the watching/riding that you want to do.  JR Central operations aren't too interesting.

Been there, done that, spent an interesting week riding the Meitetsu in 2011 and still have a few lines I didn't do.  True, JR Central is a bit boring with their endless parade of 313's but the freight is what draws me back to the Nagoya area with fuel, limestone and cement traffic to break up the containers. Spent a day at Kiyosu in 2013 just watching the freights.

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Nagoya is like Osaka I guess on paper.  If nothing appeals, is normally a boring town/city.  At least from my view point.  I Don't really have interest in going there.  Many other places on paper that interest me.

 

My kids love freight also.  Although after 12 months they cannot fathom Japanese locos are electric.  Even the pans on the roof cannot convince them.  No help are the diesel locos of home they are used to.

 

I'll most likely shelve any ongoing planning.  Would love to do the Toyama/Kurobe area, but travel time currently would be poo poo.  But with the new Shinkansen coming online next year.  The area is closer time wise.

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During the ARHS tour earler this year we were talking about how close the Toyama area will be to Tokyo when the new Shinkansen opens. It should be possible to do the Kurobe Gorge in a day trip from Tokyo.

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During the ARHS tour earler this year we were talking about how close the Toyama area will be to Tokyo when the new Shinkansen opens. It should be possible to do the Kurobe Gorge in a day trip from Tokyo.

This is true.  I was moreso looking are reducing a nights stay at Toyama.  If you can get to Toyama quickly, still have most of the day free in Toyama, then the next day can be for the gorge.  then you only need 2 nights in Toyama.  Saves 1 night for somewhere else.

 

Although I think with the introduction, there will only be a 30 minute reduction in travel time from Tokyo or Osaka/Kyoto.

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Interesting, though I would highly prefer the Tateyama route over the Kurobe Gorge route; it's more scenic, and the kurobe dam is really a sight to behold...

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I'm gonna assume you meant the Alpine Route.  It does seem the business.  But with kids dragging along.  Time required and multiple transfers like this route has, would send us batty.

 

Kurobe Gorge option is great for train loving kids.  Train to Unazuki Onsen.  Then another scenic train to Keyakidaira. Walk some tracks, take in some views, hit a day spring. Then return on same trains.

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If you like onsen, I can recommend the onsen in Kuronagi along the Kurobe Gorge Railway. 10-15 minutes walk through the forest from the station is this small onsen in a secluded valley. Most baths are outdoor. The onsen has no road access, only the path from the station. We were the only guests. A Japan so far from the crowded cities.

 

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7575.html

Edited by Kitayama
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Thank you.  It was already on the shortlist.  But probably wasn't stopping at one of the mid stations.  Was thinking more of the onsens at the final station.

 

But again Toyama is a unknown for next trip.  I've now done something really stupid and started investigating Matsuyama after rewatching Train Cruise episodes.  So the option of Dogo Onsen is there also now.  And with it being 3 hours travel from Kyoto and 3 shours from Hiroshima.  Matsuyama could be sloted into the trip along the Tokaido/Sanyo.

 

It be doubtful if both cold be done.

 

Anyone have some advice on Matsuyama and/or Shikoku?

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lurkingknight

a little late (as always) but here's my input on hiroshima:

 

I would do it in 2 days if you want to go up miyajima. You can do the lower parts in half a day or less, it's all shops on the bottom, top is all temples and a good hike. I stopped short of going up on my last trip, we might be doing it this trip though, the new guy we're bringing thought it sounded interesting. At low tide you can walk out to the torii gates that are in the water normally.

 

The rest of hiroshima is all about bomb memorial and a few of the gardens. Hiroshima castle is pretty cool as well, even though it's a reconstruction. (what castle isn't in japan) It's a relatively small city so most of the interesting stuff can be packed into a day. The bomb museum and memorial is a whole afternoon though. If you have young kids though, they may not understand it, so that's a big chunk of time you could use on other sights.

 

also, find okonomiyaki.... you must find it and enjoy it. lol.

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Thank you for the advise.  Seems if I have kids and rush the bomb museum, then I should be able to do my original plan.

 

Arrive 9-10am, dropp bags off at hotel.  Do city centre etc.  Next day to Miyajima.  Follow day, depart of next city.

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Slow organising since this trip isn't for 18 months. Aiming for $150-$200/15000-20000jpy per night.

 

Very rough Itinerary:-

 

1. ARR Narita Airport, travel to Narita hotel asap.

2. Travel to Tokyo apartment, visit Asakusa+Skytree.

3. Mt Fuji

4. JR East Museum+Omiya+Omiya Tomix

5. Hakone

6. Yokohama or Takisaki+Sakamoto

7. Travel to Osaka, Osaka city centre in afternoon, Osaka Kato.

8. Otsu

9. JR West Museum

10. Universal Studios

11. Travel to Fukuoka, Fukuoka city centre in afternoon

12. Nagasaki

13. Kumamoto

14. Beppu

15. Travel to Kagoshima, Itusuki in afternoon

16. Sakurajima

17. Travel to Hiroshima, Hiroshima city centre in afternoon

18. Miyajima

19. Return travel to Tokyo + Narita Airport, DEP

 

Day 1 = since the plane arrives late in the day.  Dragging kids through the middle of Tokyo 10pm at night isn't fun.  So aiming for a hotel in Narita.  So will be on a train for 8 minutes instead of 80.  And in bed at least 2 hours eariler, and much cheaper than a hotel in Tokyo city centre area.

 

Day 2-6 = Decided after a tip from a fellow forum member to try for apartments.  They work out up to 50% cheaper than hotels in Tokyo, and we (2A + 3C) now get to be in the one room/apartment with cooking gear and maybe a clothes washer.  Being able to prepare some meals will save some dollars.  So if you are staying to Tokyo, this is a good way to save big dollars.

 

I may extend this portion of the trip as apartment owners offer good rates for seven days, making the seventh night almost free.

 

Day 7 = 3 hour shinkansen ride to Osaka.  Kids get up early, might as well catch a 7am train and be in Osaka by 10.  Drop bags off and hotel and explore.  Last time we did all our travelling between 10 and 2, and we lost most of the day.

 

Also picked Osaka to stay at as hotels are up to 50% cheaper than Kyoto hotels, but only 15-25 minutes away on train.

 

Day 8 = Ostu, 25mins to Kyoto by local, 6mins to Yamashima, transfer to Keihan services, buy 500yen all day pass.  Visit Sakamoto, see temples, do cable car.  Back to Otsu, see lake, do paddle steamer.

 

Day 11 = Pretty much similar to day 7.  Get moving early to Fukuoka (2.75hrs) and drop off bags early, visit Fukuoka sights.

 

Day 14 = Beppu day visit.  Will attempt to travel using Blue sonic to Beppu, visit Jigoku.  Return to Hakata via Oita using Yufuin no Mori.

 

Day 15 = Much like day 7 and 11.  Get moving early to Kagoshima (1.75hrs), drop off bags.  Try for Ibusuki no Tamatebako in the afternoon.  Hoping that most will travel on it in the morning, leaving spaces in the arvo for us.  Will just return on a local service.

 

If cannot travel on it, then will just go to platform and touch and see, then see move of Kagoshima and tram network.

 

Day 17 = Same as day 7/11/15.  Travel to Hiroshima early (2.75hrs), drop off bags.  Visit city centre in afternoon.

 

Day 19 = Return to Narita Airport.  Flight is at 830pm, so all day to return.

Edited by katoftw
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I've stayed in an apartment in Tokyo once too; it was a good experience. Just be aware that you don't get standard hotel amenities like housekeeping, which if you're staying 7 days can start to get kind of annoying. Nobody wants to spend time cleaning their apartment while they're on vacation.

 

But it is nice having a washer/dryer in the apartment, and a full kitchen. I actually prefer eating out when I'm in Japan (the food is one of the big reasons I like to go there) but it's nice even to be able to heat up those little packaged pancakes they sell at 7-11. I didn't even realize those were supposed to be eaten warm before I stayed in an apartment!

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Yeah they'll always have their pros and cons.

 

My last trip was 2 double rooms wherever we when. Myself and 5yo in one room sharing a bed. The wife, 3yo and 11 month old in another room sharing a bed. Kinda sucked that once kids were sleeping, mum and dad had to seperate and be unable to talk about the day just gone.

 

So apartment should be better for our larger family group, and it seems we will pay around $150p/n for a apartment versus $300p/n for 2 hotel rooms. You lose housekeeping, but save $150p/n and have everyone together.

 

I wish I found out about apartments before the last trip.

 

edit// Oops, forgot to mention that an apartment will only be for Tokyo and maybe Fukuoka. Tokyo has expensive hotels, and all others have cheaper hotels and/or no apartments. Fukuoka has a few, but they also have cheap hotels. The aim is for $150-$200 per night.

Edited by katoftw
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Nice plan! I like it! It's always never too early to plan, you get to sort things out and more chances to catch anything you might miss out...

 

Are you intending to get a 14 day JR Pass, or a 21 day? Looks like a in between of the both... 14 seems too short for you and you might pay abit more for transport either in Tokyo or Kyushu... There are lots of day passes using Metro or other rail companies (like Toei etc.) in Tokyo, but looking at your intention to visit Yokohama, Omiya, Takasaki etc. it might seems the Rail pass is needed. Also, sorry but isn't day 3 Mt Fuji the same as Day 5 Hakone? I think they can be rolled into a Hakone trip, but not spending a night in Hakone means you might miss out on a lot of nice sights and a nice relaxing onsen ryokan resort....  How about placing Hakone last and you can move off from Odawara to Kyoto from there?

 

Wow you do love Kyushu eh?  :)  It's really nice, but would you want to consider Huis Ten Bosch park in Nagasaki too? It's a really nice Holland theme park with plenty of fun for the kids and scenery for the Mrs., and a day trip from your base (either Kagoshima-Chuo, Kumamoto or Hakata)...

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It would be a 21 day pass. Although you just reminded me of the Kanto Area Pass. 5 days travel in Kanto area. Include Fujikyu for 5 Lakes area and the new shuttle for the Omiya JRE museum. It costs 8300jpy.

 

14 day + 5 days = 19 day. Yay!

 

Where the difference between the 14 and 21 day JR Pass is 15000jpy. Also the 21 day pass does not cover the Fujikyu (1140jpy each way) or shuttle (190jpy each way) for the JRE museum.

 

I think you just saved me 9360jpy. Thanks!!!

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Also, sorry but isn't day 3 Mt Fuji the same as Day 5 Hakone? I think they can be rolled into a Hakone trip, but not spending a night in Hakone means you might miss out on a lot of nice sights and a nice relaxing onsen ryokan resort....  How about placing Hakone last and you can move off from Odawara to Kyoto from there?

Mt Fuji and Hakone are some distance apart. Unless I spend big dollars on a resort (which isn't worth it travelling with kids), then keeping them seperate as day trips is cheaper and easier. Tokyo although expensive is will massively cheaper than Five Lakes and Hakone.
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It's really nice, but would you want to consider Huis Ten Bosch park in Nagasaki too? It's a really nice Holland theme park with plenty of fun for the kids and scenery for the Mrs., and a day trip from your base (either Kagoshima-Chuo, Kumamoto or Hakata)...

I hope you meant Nagasaki Prefecture? Huis Ten Bosch isn't in Nagasaki or on the same train line.

 

It be a nice place to go, but I cannot visit them all at once. But in saying that. It is a closer option to Hakata. So nearing the end of ones holiday, having a shorter day trip might be a better option.

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Nice! It's a great idea to combine 2 passes to save more! So I reckon it will be the first 5 days Kanto Pass, followed by the 14 day rail pass?

 

Yes I understand Hakone and Fuji are different areas, but I thought you only wanted to do one. So it'll be one Fuji and seven lakes and another Hakone? The Hakone requires the Odakyu Free pass to fully enjoy all, like the Romance Car, the Hakone Tozan Railway etc. I'm doing the Hakone leg this trip, and will upload some photos and share some experience on how it is ~

 

Sorry I meant Huis Ten Bosch Park, although Nagasaki can be a nice trip on the way. I think you went to the Peace Museum at Hiroshima so i'm not sure if you wanna visit that one at Nagasaki. But there are nice trams and scenery in Nagasaki too, but I think you'll need a full day to fully enjoy Huis Ten Bosch Park....

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Yes I understand Hakone and Fuji are different areas, but I thought you only wanted to do one. So it'll be one Fuji and seven lakes and another Hakone? The Hakone requires the Odakyu Free pass to fully enjoy all, like the Romance Car, the Hakone Tozan Railway etc. I'm doing the Hakone leg this trip, and will upload some photos and share some experience on how it is

The Hakone Free Pass does not cover the Romance Car. You need to pay extra for any of the limited express trains.

 

I found alot of the services didn't use the "real" special trains except on weekends and/or left middle of the morning. So arriving later than I wanted, so unsuitable for my travelling situation.

 

I'd just get the 4000jpy pass brought within the free zone, and just use a JRE serivce to access Odawarra. No good double up paying for trains just to ride a train that isn't the 50000 VSE. Saves 2000jpy.

 

Odakyu trains don't do it for me. Maybe that is my problem? haha

Edited by katoftw
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