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Japan travel tip V2


katoftw

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Like I posted. Paying for a train that isn't the 50000VSE isn't worth it, all the othe Odakyu fleet is like riding other trains, in my own opinion. The 50000 VSE does not run in the travel times I require. If I could ride it, I'd pay the extra.

 

Pay 2000jpy extra (2A+2C=6000), take 85 minutes and ride the 60000MSE/30000EXE. Or free on shinkensen and be there in 25 minutes.

Edited by katoftw
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The EXE cars are dull and uninspired. The one I was on was a non-smoking car, but had evidently been a smoking one for a long time and still had that lingering cigarette stink.

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Most of these plans got thrown out the window in the past few months.

 

But as of August the 1st, 2015.  We have a second airline carrier flying to Tokyo from my region.  This can only mean a price war.  Me = winner!

 

I'm also cannot decide on itineraries.  Some are Kanto+Kansai only, and some go from Tokyo all the way to Kagoshima.

Edited by katoftw
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Hey I got a question about various rail passes.  Can you select a future date for them to start when you collect them.  And if yes, then can you start making your bookings between the selected start dates and the expiry date?

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Which new operator have you got operating to Japan?

We're stuck with one flight a day from NZ to Narita...

Via Australia could be a new option...

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NuclearErick

if you plan in August prepare for HELL im not kidding 

 

summer here is like a pressure cooker with a lot of humidity, you cant step outside and in 30s top not starting sweating in the shadows

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lurkingknight

Little late to the hotel discussion, but I figured I'd share, there are pretty well priced apartments in osaka for traveling families I found a couple while looking for hotels, but I guess the price is somewhat similar to having 2 rooms. The hotel I stayed at (osaka riverside hotel) at the top of sakura no miya park and steps away from JR loop sakura no miya station had suites for families to rent out. 

 

You're 2 jr stations from umeda/osaka station city, tenmabashi is 1 stop away with lots of food, and about 20 minutes from shinsaibashi/dotonbori/namba.

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Hey I got a question about various rail passes. Can you select a future date for them to start when you collect them. And if yes, then can you start making your bookings between the selected start dates and the expiry date?

I have done this several times with the Japan Rail Pass. Yes, you can set a future start date. You can make the bookings immediately.

Edited by Kitayama
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Little late to the hotel discussion, but I figured I'd share, there are pretty well priced apartments in osaka for traveling families I found a couple while looking for hotels, but I guess the price is somewhat similar to having 2 rooms. The hotel I stayed at (osaka riverside hotel) at the top of sakura no miya park and steps away from JR loop sakura no miya station had suites for families to rent out. 

 

You're 2 jr stations from umeda/osaka station city, tenmabashi is 1 stop away with lots of food, and about 20 minutes from shinsaibashi/dotonbori/namba.

Thank you.  I'll look into it.

 

I have done this several times with the Japan Rail Pass. Yes, you can set a future start date. You can make the bookings immediately.

Awesome.  Don't need the pass for the first few days of arrival. So this will work into my plans.

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if you plan in August prepare for HELL im not kidding 

 

summer here is like a pressure cooker with a lot of humidity, you cant step outside and in 30s top not starting sweating in the shadows

I live in a hotter place than Japan.  I enjoyed October last time I was in Japan.  Tokyo was a nice 15-23 and Fukuoka was a nice 17-25.

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I think Summer isn't a good time to visit Japan now, isn't it? I think there's a lot of nicer places for Summer like Bali, Thailand, Korea etc. where there are plenty of beaches for the sun and fun in the waves. Japan beaches tend to be really crowded in Summer since everyone will be rushing to the beaches to play and that is like the only time where the women come out in their bikinis..

 

Erick, the weather in Sillypore is about the same hot pressure cooker humidity all year round... There's only two types of weather here, Air-conditioning and non-airconditioning....

 

April was really good for me in Japan too, where we actually felt like less than 10 in Tokyo and around 20 in Kyushu. Really nice weather especially in Kyushu, no big coats required and the sun was bright and sunny yet there were enough cold breezes to cool off..

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DAY

1 - Arrive at Narita on flight, travel to Narita hotel

2 - Travel to Tokyo apartment

3 - Hakone

4 - Mt Fuji

5 - Omiya + JRE Museum + Tomix World

6 - Takasaki + Yokogawa + Usui Pass

7 - Yokohama

8 - Kato + Asakusa + Skytree

9 - Odaiba

10 - Shinjuku + Harajuku + Meji Shrine

11 - Akibahara + Imperial Palace + Imperial Gardens

12 - Travel to Kyoto/Osaka apartment.

13 - JRW Museum

14 - Arashiyama + Randen + Monkey Park

15 - Otsu

16 - Lake Biwako + Hikone Castle + Hagahama

17 - Universal Studios

18 - Travel to Fukuoka hotel

19 - Canal City + Ohorikeon

20 - Fukuoka

21 - Kumamoto

22 - Kyudai Line + Bungomori station and roundhouse + Sugikawacki station and falls

23 - Beppu

24 - Nagasaki

25 - Travel to Kagoshima hotel + Itusuki

26 - Sakarujima

27 - To Hiroshima hotel + Hiroshima

28 - Miyajima

29 - Nishikicko Railway

30 - Travel back to Narita for flight

 

Now just to condense to to 14-17 days. hahahahaha

 

And I don't even have Okayama, Toyama, Kurobe Gorge, Shirahama or somewhere north of Toyko listed.

Edited by katoftw
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Your schedule's quite loose actually, so I think you might be able to condense further. But i'm not too sure about the Odaiba or Yokohama or Shinjuku taking a full day so you might be able to condense those.

 

Well, I guess 14 days in Japan and trying to cover much is kinda tiring. I was fine, but the Mrs was super tiring rushing from hotels day to day.

 

Japan needs to be re-visited again and again, so perhaps those not into the 30 days and fall into Japan Trip V3?  :)  

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Yeah it is loose for a reason.  Last trip was tight.  Not much down time.  And we burnt out and had meltdowns on the 10th or 11th day.  So I plan to have a half day every 3 days or so for down time.

 

With the crazy speed we were going, I'm sure we missed out on a lot of real Japan chasing the tourist stuff.  I plan to get a apartment near a not so well known Yamanote Line station and live in the burbs like a local.  I have found a place 350m from Komagome Station which is small, has a portable hot plate on the sink, a Ramen shop downstairs and a Lawsons up the road.

 

To be honest, I couldn't afford a holiday with the itinerary above in one go.  So it will get chopped up and changed a lot.

Edited by katoftw
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After all that I forgot about Ashikaga Flower Park.  I have to do more wife approved things next trip.  But thought I visit the park in the mid morning and send the wife and whichever kiddies are tried back to Tokyo from Oyama, and I'll skip across to Shimodate Station (22 minutes) and check out the Mooka and Kanto Railways.  Maybe ride back to Tokyo via Toride Station route.

 

Also forgot to add in Uneo Park and surrounds, so that can go into one of the more loose days.

 

I think I have enough stuff to do in Kanto that I probably wont outside it.  14 days in Tokyo.

 

A later trip when the kids are older and are easier travelers, I'll pump out a 14 day Kansai, Yumaguchi, Kyushu trip.

Edited by katoftw
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Ah the Ashikage Flower Park. Went there but really the flowers were not in full bloom, so it was kinda sad. Best time is end April to Early May where the Wisterias bloom and that is surely a sight to see! Another period of time is November to December when they have the night Christmas lightings and LED show over the small lake. It's nice to watch and there's a Lover's bell made of flowers lighted up at night that is really nice to take photos of.  

 

How about the Tateyama Route? I just took it and it was REALLY amazing. The scenery up there makes all that travelling worth while. It's definitely one of our best memories of this trip!

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lurkingknight

it's important to factor in burn out... it's a lot of walking and running around to see the sights. There's always more things to do no matter where you go. You can't fit everything there is to do in a single trip, so trying to cram so much into an itinerary can cause stress when you're supposed to be a stress free vacation.

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It's important to factor in burn out... it's a lot of walking and running around to see the sights. There's always more things to do no matter where you go. You can't fit everything there is to do in a single trip, so trying to cram so much into an itinerary can cause stress when you're supposed to be a stress free vacation.

Which is what happened in our last trip.  I crammed in a lot and we burnt out on the 10th or 11th day.  One adult was carrying a baby the whole time and the 5 and 3 year olds couldn't handle the amount of walking across various days.  There was no time for recovery for anyone.

 

I have come up with some strategies to overcome these issues for the next trip.  And a little planning goes a long way.  It is like anything though,  first time always has issues and you can resolves those and make better plans with the experience you gained.

 

@JR500 - Thanks for the tip on the flower park.  Frees up a day for something else.

Edited by katoftw
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lurkingknight

I had serious issues with exhaustion this time around on my 2nd trip, not so much footsore but just getting up and going about the business of breakfast was enough to get me tired. The first trip, my feet exploded and I was dealing with blisters everywhere, blisters on blisters. Both my companions came down with some sort of stomach bug, so my exhaustion could have been related. I had to take it easy on some days of my 2 weeks. It sucked that I had to drop things off my itinerary but the rest was important.

 

Second trip we reduced the amount of walking, mainly because I was doing the leading and navigating during the walks and I had a compass, so this trip we eliminated the walking in the wrong direction for 15 minutes before stopping and figuring out what we were going to do. My travel companion's method of finding places was wandering around, finding something interesting but not remembering how he got there and then trying to take us there later. You can imagine how that worked on the first trip. Second time around he realized that this wasn't a great way of navigating, and if we couldn't find the area within the first 2 tries we moved on, this was mainly for finding restaurants. He also has a tendency to want to go back to restaurants we've been to in the past, which I find somewhat narrow visioned.. in a country with so much good food and so many good restaurants, why would you go back to the same places time and time again?

 

My take on it was wander around till we got hungry, then pass 5 places and investigate the menu then pick one of the 5. Or we'd stop at the first place we saw or found remotely interesting. I have yet to be disappointed. lol.

 

 

btw, the view on the JR biwako line is pretty awesome, we got lost and took the wrong train twice in the wrong direction and we didn't regret it much, seeing the lake and mountains from the train was pretty nice.

 

I didn't do the miyajima climb, but my 2 companions did, it took most of the morning and it was a pretty grueling day from what they described. If you go up the island, pack a lunch. Their plan was to spend the morning and early afternoon on miyajima and the new guy was supposed to come back, possibly do the bomb museum and or the castle but they didn't get back to the hotel until about 5-6pm so it was a full day on miyajima since they left at like 8 in the morning.

Edited by lurkingknight
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Thanks for the lake Biwako info.  The plan is to do a lap around it and visit Otsu, Hikone Castle, Nagahama train museum.  And stop somewhere and enjoy a beach in afternoon on the north western side.

 

The advice for Miyajima is pretty much the thoughts I had in my mind.  Pack lunch.  Do it slow and spend all day.

Edited by katoftw
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Katofw, nice to see that your next trip to Japan is going well. I feel really missed out as half the places you mention, I've not visited, that is considering I been there 5 times already. I would like to suggest that you need to limit your places you want to visit since got some children with you. Like you said, plan the whole trip a slow pace, so you can enjoy more. 

 

These are some suggestion to places you could visit for wife if she like garden and parks:

Mito Kairakuen and the Hitachi Seaside

Like JR500 said, tateyama route would also be a nice place to go.

 

Your schedule's quite loose actually, so I think you might be able to condense further. But i'm not too sure about the Odaiba or Yokohama or Shinjuku taking a full day so you might be able to condense those.

 

Well, I guess 14 days in Japan and trying to cover much is kinda tiring. I was fine, but the Mrs was super tiring rushing from hotels day to day.

 

Japan needs to be re-visited again and again, so perhaps those not into the 30 days and fall into Japan Trip V3?  :)  

 

Totally agree with you Japan is to big to cover all!

I usually split it in region or area so I don't spend too much time travelling back and forth!

 

Ah the Ashikage Flower Park. Went there but really the flowers were not in full bloom, so it was kinda sad. Best time is end April to Early May where the Wisterias bloom and that is surely a sight to see! Another period of time is November to December when they have the night Christmas lightings and LED show over the small lake. It's nice to watch and there's a Lover's bell made of flowers lighted up at night that is really nice to take photos of.  

 

How about the Tateyama Route? I just took it and it was REALLY amazing. The scenery up there makes all that travelling worth while. It's definitely one of our best memories of this trip!

 

Agree pre Christmas time is nice, and New Year also offer some unique Japan experience (Train still run unlike in Europe), the down side is more luggage for clothes and limited daylight .

 

Which is what happened in our last trip.  I crammed in a lot and we burnt out on the 10th or 11th day.  One adult was carrying a baby the whole time and the 5 and 3 year olds couldn't handle the amount of walking across various days.  There was no time for recovery for anyone.

 

I have come up with some strategies to overcome these issues for the next trip.  And a little planning goes a long way.  It is like anything though,  first time always has issues and you can resolves those and make better plans with the experience you gained.

 

@JR500 - Thanks for the tip on the flower park.  Frees up a day for something else.

I also learn the hard way too with large groups of people in the summer including 5 children. I end up only following half the plan. Weather was hot people wonder off at the wrong moments (when train was about to leave).

 

Planning does a help in long way, as I would always say there "Over preparing and planning is not a bad thing!"

Edited by Jensen
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I had serious issues with exhaustion this time around on my 2nd trip, not so much footsore but just getting up and going about the business of breakfast was enough to get me tired. The first trip, my feet exploded and I was dealing with blisters everywhere, blisters on blisters. Both my companions came down with some sort of stomach bug, so my exhaustion could have been related. I had to take it easy on some days of my 2 weeks. It sucked that I had to drop things off my itinerary but the rest was important.

 

Second trip we reduced the amount of walking, mainly because I was doing the leading and navigating during the walks and I had a compass, so this trip we eliminated the walking in the wrong direction for 15 minutes before stopping and figuring out what we were going to do. My travel companion's method of finding places was wandering around, finding something interesting but not remembering how he got there and then trying to take us there later. You can imagine how that worked on the first trip. Second time around he realized that this wasn't a great way of navigating, and if we couldn't find the area within the first 2 tries we moved on, this was mainly for finding restaurants. He also has a tendency to want to go back to restaurants we've been to in the past, which I find somewhat narrow visioned.. in a country with so much good food and so many good restaurants, why would you go back to the same places time and time again?

 

My take on it was wander around till we got hungry, then pass 5 places and investigate the menu then pick one of the 5. Or we'd stop at the first place we saw or found remotely interesting. I have yet to be disappointed. lol.

 

 

btw, the view on the JR biwako line is pretty awesome, we got lost and took the wrong train twice in the wrong direction and we didn't regret it much, seeing the lake and mountains from the train was pretty nice.

 

I didn't do the miyajima climb, but my 2 companions did, it took most of the morning and it was a pretty grueling day from what they described. If you go up the island, pack a lunch. Their plan was to spend the morning and early afternoon on miyajima and the new guy was supposed to come back, possibly do the bomb museum and or the castle but they didn't get back to the hotel until about 5-6pm so it was a full day on miyajima since they left at like 8 in the morning.

 

You sound like my second trip while I was teenager with some friends. We don't have too much money to splash, so we save by walking most of the time and was trying to squeeze everything in as if once a life time trip. One of my friend didn't say anything about getting blister from day 2 until we were on the plane back (although I  haven't experience it before, but I still feel bad about). Luckily I'm got a good sense of direction so rarely get lost, the place I get confused is large underground area eg Umeda+ Shinjuku. 

 

Out of all my trip to Japan or other places at most I have follow about  70-80% of what I have planned. So I think I got a long way to make a perfect trip! I found that there are lots of thing that I didn't expect or plan happened.  

 

Picking where to eat is a really tough jobs the more people there is. We once spent an hour deciding where to eat as there are too many choices and want to try all of them. From now on since I'm the leader of the trip, I would usually plan where to eat or limit 10 minute for them to choose where to eat if nothing is decided I make the final choices (democracy does not always work).  

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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.

 

Where is the apartment? Can you send me some details because I'm interested in another trip (waiting for holiday to be approved) Will be with family this time. 

 

Little late to the hotel discussion, but I figured I'd share, there are pretty well priced apartments in osaka for traveling families I found a couple while looking for hotels, but I guess the price is somewhat similar to having 2 rooms. The hotel I stayed at (osaka riverside hotel) at the top of sakura no miya park and steps away from JR loop sakura no miya station had suites for families to rent out. 

 

You're 2 jr stations from umeda/osaka station city, tenmabashi is 1 stop away with lots of food, and about 20 minutes from shinsaibashi/dotonbori/namba.

Can you also send me some details of apartment?

 

So far I'm planning to fly into Haneda and out from Kansai to save back tracking.

Many Thanks.

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lurkingknight

I don't recall which site I saw the apartment at, but if you look up osaka traveler apartments on google there's a bunch that come up. The few that I saw back in october when booking hotels were located around namba or umeda.

 

I think homeaway was the site that came up in october:

 

http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rentals/japan/osaka/r58498?k_clickid=4f8e0ea4-6411-d688-2322-00000e276e0d&gclid=CjwKEAjwvPepBRCoqo37teOD1XsSJAC7v6WQDDjk0NaIGe5eMuFSX1ful24DzWQtx8biNA6wdCpaohoCESjw_wcB

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