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Laevateinn
Banned
(04-19-2017, 01:56 AM)

Originally Posted by DieAntwoord

Just curious what district I'd have to go to get "stall food"

I'm under the assumption there aren't food trucks like in the US but there are plenty of actual shops which are the same thing. But my friend thinks otherwise.

I don't seek out stall food so I've probably missed a lot of them but there's tons in Osaka.
MMarston
Was getting caught part of your plan?
(04-19-2017, 05:48 AM)
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Did not realize this was a separate thread so I'll just repost this here from JapanGAF.

Originally Posted by MMarston

Hey there, JapanGAF. Just seeking some tourist advice here.

Anyway, this is far from final -- I've just been entertaining the thought real hard lately -- but there's some pretty good air fare prices to Tokyo for the first week of May, and I am kinda contemplating on whether I should just take the plunge and spend a week there right before I graduate university later in the month. This is kind of a big deal for me too since I've been meaning to do this for ages.

That said, I'm trying to come up with a hypothetical itinerary to do the math with and to my somewhat surprise, I'm actually blanking out in terms of places to visit in the city apart from the stereotypical stuff you see in the media (e.g. Shinjuku, Akihabara, etc.). So I'd really love some recommendation on what I can potentially do around the city and which places/wards to go to make the most out of maybe 7 to 10 days.

Also some other questions:
- First and foremost, language barrier -- how problematic will this be for me? I'm imagining like most heavily popular global cities, it may not be that difficult, but I'd like to get a good gauge beforehand.

- What's transportation(+prices) like around the city and what other sage advice do any of you have for tackling it?

- I'm thinking of maybe also going to Kyoto for maybe a day or two, so maybe throw me some ideas of what I can do there too. Also wanna know how feasible such a tangent may be considering my timeframe.

- Any good places/ideas for lodging? I mean, I'm starting at some nice hostels right now but it never hurts to ask in case I'm missing something.

Thanks.

Laevateinn
Banned
(04-19-2017, 06:02 AM)

Originally Posted by MMarston

Did not realize this was a separate thread so I'll just repost this here from JapanGAF.

I wouldn't recommend Kyoto. First, Kyoto is a lot harder to get around. If you are only going to be there for a couple days and can't speak Japanese, you'll have trouble and will only be able to see a few major sites. Go to Kyoto with at least a week and a good idea of how to efficiently hit everything. In general, when you start to leave Tokyo/Yokohama, you'll find a lot less people who can comfortably speak English.

If you aren't planning on leaving Tokyo, you'll need to get a SUICA card or figure out exactly how much money you need to spend to get anywhere. Each trip depending on the distance is typically between 160 and 300 yen. On average, you could probably budget 10-20 a day and be safe.

If you are leaving Tokyo, get a JR pass and use that as much as possible.

I always stay at Kimi Ryokan in Ikebukuro. It's near a major station, the rooms are decent, the staff is really good, and it's only 7000 yen a night for 2 people. There's lots of options depending on what you're looking for. If you like drinking, you'll probably want to find a place closer to Shinjuku.

The first week of May is Golden Week in Japan which means that everyone is on vacation and things will be super crowded. If I were you, I'd save your money and come in the fall when you've had more time to plan.
dofry
That's "Dr." dofry to you.
(04-19-2017, 07:29 AM)
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Originally Posted by MMarston

Did not realize this was a separate thread so I'll just repost this here from JapanGAF.

- Don't stay a week. Stay at least 10 days. Otherwise you don't get to see enough and suffer jet lag a bit when you wanna go see things and then are only left with 6 days.

- Get the Japan Rail Pass because you can use it for a week?(or was it 5 days? someone correct me) and it saves A LOT of money IF you take trains from Tokyo to Kyoto/Osaka/Nara. Or continuing to Hiroshima.

- When you go to Kansai area and visit Kyoto. Always visit Osaka and Nara too. They are so close that people just miss them because they want to visit Kyoto mostly.

- Nara is a half day trip. Go to see the deers, Todaiji temple, the smaller temple next to it on top of the mountain. Then ride back to Osaka or Kyoto.

- In Osaka go to Namba or "Minami" area. All the nightlife is there. Visit bars like Cherry bomb for metal music, Chinquecento for all drinks 500 yen. People in the bars can guide you to the next place. The local irish pub, Blarney stone, etc. Staff knows english. You should be fine.

- Never go anywhere where the staff on the street is trying to physically drag you in. Do not trust them. It's a scam. An illegal one but they don't care. But I've never done this. Just heard some people actually went, and paid a ton to get out.

- ATM's like Japan Post bank most likely will take your credit card. If not, best option is 7-11 ATM. My card is ok at Lawson or Family Mart too. Just try. You need a shitload of cash all the time so always be prepared. JP Post ATM's close early. Around 18:00. 7-11 and other convenience store ATMs are open all night.

- Get a SUICA (Tokyo area) or ICOCA (Kansai area) card for easier payment at train gates. Both cards should work 90% in both prefectures. Just pick the one card where you'll be staying mostly. You can load cash into them so you don't have to look at the how much is it to each station and pay separately. You can charge them at the ticket machines. Machines most likely have english in them. Cards you can get from special booths. Don't know where in Tokyo. I think ICOCA was offered at Osaka-station. Can't remember. 5 deposit.

- Get a pre-paid sim from Yodobashi camera, Bic camera or other bigger electronics stores, if your phone is sim-free one. Saves money compared to renting an expensive pocket wifi from the airport.

- Airbnb is usually trouble free. And selection is huge. In Osaka maaaybe Daikokucho is fairly cheap. It's close to Namba by walking so after drinking it's easy to get back home to sleep. Or, if you don't drink it's close enough to everything so you don't need to take trains all the time. Renting a bicycle is fairly good idea too. At least in Kyoto. Leaving them at spots that are not allowed will end up with the bike being impounded. You need to pay to get it out from a far away location.

- Renting a car is an option if you have an international licence. Trust in Google maps navi and try to avoid road toll roads. This is a good way to visit Awaji-shima close by to Osaka.

- Capsule hotel is a good idea if you got no other place to sleep in. Capsule 501 in Shinjuku is 3200 yen per night. Check-out at 12. 300 yen for an extra hour. Has a public bath included in the price which is common for all capsule hotels mostly.

- People might not speak english that well but everyone will help regardless. Also stop foreigners because if they live in the area, they can guide you. Pick the ones that look bored to look at anything because they've lived too long in Japan and they tend to walk too fast.

- Kaiyuukan the aquarium in Osaka is nice but it's a bit crowded. USJ theme park in Osaka is nice too but a bit expensive and most of the backstory/explanations are in Japanese. Might be waaaay too crowded during Golden week.

- Try every food you can. Everywhere. Yakiniku, raamen, okonomiyaki, monjayaki, izakayas for different variations of smaller dishes, just eat eat eat. Tabehoudai = all you can eat, Nomihoudai = all you can drink.

- Go to Karaoke boxes and order nomihoudai with beer. You need beer while singing. Or visit Kamasutra in Osaka for a Bar-Karaoke experience.

- HUB or ALE 82 is where foreigners go to drink for a cosy atmosphere.

- Yoyogi park is nice to have a picnic with friends.

- If you're alone, just use meetup.com to find some company or events. You can find dance lessons, pub crawls or anything with the app.

- If you have any problems or have an emergency and do not know anyone in Japan, just send me a private message here. Police are super helpful in all cases even though they might not spean english but they'll sort that out too via translation services.

- Google translate has AR translation. Just open it up, use the camera function to point at text and it translates it to you in real time. Works on pics too from your phone. USE IT. Especially aircon unit buttons, or washing machine.

- Miyajima (island) is so nice place to visit when in Hiroshima. It takes a day or a half. Go early so you have a chance to visit the mountain top. First visit the top, then visit the temple area. If you first go to temples, everyone else will wait in line before you to the cable car. Or you can walk to the top slowly.

I'm just trying to write in general and recommend foreigner friendly things. And I am not focusing on making this at all organised. Hope it helps at least a bit. It's a nice country to visit. Just remember to leave so breathing room and don't overdo everything with a too detailed plan. Just go and have fun.
Eridani
Member
(04-19-2017, 07:37 AM)
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Originally Posted by Laevateinn

I wouldn't recommend Kyoto. First, Kyoto is a lot harder to get around. If you are only going to be there for a couple days and can't speak Japanese, you'll have trouble and will only be able to see a few major sites. Go to Kyoto with at least a week and a good idea of how to efficiently hit everything. In general, when you start to leave Tokyo/Yokohama, you'll find a lot less people who can comfortably speak English.

If you aren't planning on leaving Tokyo, you'll need to get a SUICA card or figure out exactly how much money you need to spend to get anywhere. Each trip depending on the distance is typically between 160 and 300 yen. On average, you could probably budget 10-20 a day and be safe.

If you are leaving Tokyo, get a JR pass and use that as much as possible.

I always stay at Kimi Ryokan in Ikebukuro. It's near a major station, the rooms are decent, the staff is really good, and it's only 7000 yen a night for 2 people. There's lots of options depending on what you're looking for. If you like drinking, you'll probably want to find a place closer to Shinjuku.

The first week of May is Golden Week in Japan which means that everyone is on vacation and things will be super crowded. If I were you, I'd save your money and come in the fall when you've had more time to plan.

I personally found Kyoto piss easy to get around in - much easier then Tokyo honestly. You just buy a bus pass and get into the correct bus. If you can read a map like this you really shouldn't have much problems. I also didn't find my lack of Japanese any more problematic than it was in Tokyo.

Kyoto's really cool imo, and with 10 days you could definitely spend some time there, although note that getting there is quite expensive. If places like Nara, Fushimi Inari, Golden Temple and a million other temples look cool to you then you then I'd recommend spending a couple of days there.

On the other hand you can also quite easily spend 10 days in Tokyo without getting bored. If you add on some day trips (Kamakura, Hakone and Nikko are some of the most popular ones) you'll also be able to see plenty of temples without going to Kyoto.
MikeHattsu
Member
(04-19-2017, 08:04 AM)
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Originally Posted by MMarston

Did not realize this was a separate thread so I'll just repost this here from JapanGAF.

If you're just going for 7 days, then you should skip Kyoto. Could go to Kamakura instead since it's much cheaper to go to and much closer to Tokyo.

If you go for 10 days, then you could try to do 6-7 days in Tokyo and 3-4 days in Kyoto/Osaka/Nara.


Originally Posted by Laevateinn

If you are leaving Tokyo, get a JR pass and use that as much as possible.

That is, if you're going as far as Kyoto or beyond that. If one is just going to like Kamakura, then a JR Pass is not worth it :P
MMarston
Was getting caught part of your plan?
(04-19-2017, 09:02 AM)
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Thanks for the responses guys. I think after reading as well as some more consideration on my part, I'm going to be holding off on the trip until maybe June or November, depending on how work and money play out. I realize that I was kind of being a little too gung-ho about it especially since I still have no idea what I'm doing at this point. Also I think I need to be honest with myself in that I'm probably gonna find much of these activities a lot less fun without any close companions regardless if I am capable of flying solo, so me and my Japanese friend are also trying to figure out if we coincide our schedules sometime this summer. Super curious about visiting in the fall though.

Finally, peak-season London and Rome definitely frustrated me when I was in those places, so thanks for tipping me off about Golden Week too.

On a side note, I checked the cheap airbnb listings and I gotta say, some of them look too good for their value, to the point I was skeptical regardless of their host verification. So that's a good start.
MikeHattsu
Member
(04-19-2017, 09:04 AM)
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June is rainy season though.
MMarston
Was getting caught part of your plan?
(04-19-2017, 09:07 AM)
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Originally Posted by MikeHattsu

June is rainy season though.

Ah right.

Man, I've become way outta touch with Pacific climate since living in NA.
danowat
Member
(04-19-2017, 09:11 AM)
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We spent quite a while on when to go, and week choose May, just after Golden week finishes, we manage to avoid (most) of the crowds, the rain and the humidity, and get a chance of some half decent weather (I hope)!

As for Kyoto, we are doing a week there, after a week in Tokyo and before 5 days in Hiroshima, from the research I've done, it should be fine for a non native speaker, but I guess I'll find out in a few weeks!

Just hope the rises a little bit before we leave.........
Eldainorn
Junior Member
(04-19-2017, 09:29 AM)
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Originally Posted by Robot Carnival

enjoy your trip. I just got back and can't wait to visit again. question, why Fukuoka? in between Kyoto? kinda far away and you're only there for 2 days. also, if you have the chance, go to Miyajima when you're at Hiroshima.

Because I would really love to visit Kyushu and its cities. I know that 2 days is not a lot but better than nothing. And I also have Jr Pass so I will use it as much as possible.

Miyajima I have been before but will visit again to scale Mt. Misen.
Laevateinn
Banned
(04-20-2017, 03:31 AM)
Photos from my trip
Jocchan
Ὁ μεμβερος -ου
(04-20-2017, 09:27 PM)
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Getting married in 8 days, and leaving for Japan in 15.
This is all happening, isn't it?
KillGore
Member
(04-21-2017, 02:59 AM)
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Originally Posted by Jocchan

Getting married in 8 days, and leaving for Japan in 15.
This is all happening, isn't it?

It is. I'm getting there May 8th. Can't wait
Laevateinn
Banned
(04-21-2017, 03:07 AM)

Originally Posted by Jocchan

Getting married in 8 days, and leaving for Japan in 15.
This is all happening, isn't it?

It might not be
DieAntwoord
Member
(04-21-2017, 03:46 AM)
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Breaking off from my buddy for a bit. He's made my trip way more expensive than I realized. I'm happy trying all the cheap local food, he keeps looking for "their take on what I'm use too" and balooning all the food bills to 50+ dollars. I don't mind since I'm in japan but I've been much more satisfied with cheaper places here than I ever expected.
Laevateinn
Banned
(04-21-2017, 03:50 AM)

Originally Posted by DieAntwoord

Breaking off from my buddy for a bit. He's made my trip way more expensive than I realized. I'm happy trying all the cheap local food, he keeps looking for "their take on what I'm use too" and balooning all the food bills to 50+ dollars. I don't mind since I'm in japan but I've been much more satisfied with cheaper places here than I ever expected.

Katsu, curry, and ramen is all you need. Good idea going your own way. No meal should cost that much.
DieAntwoord
Member
(04-21-2017, 04:02 AM)
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Originally Posted by Laevateinn

Katsu, curry, and ramen is all you need. Good idea going your own way. No meal should cost that much.

Especially when the 6 dollar beef bowl is humongous and filling. I really can't believe the price per dollar ratio on food here.
sfedai0
Member
(04-21-2017, 06:26 AM)

Originally Posted by DieAntwoord

Especially when the 6 dollar beef bowl is humongous and filling. I really can't believe the price per dollar ratio on food here.

Beef bowl, katsu and egg over rice with a side of udon. All good cheap shit but I can only do Yoshinoya and the likes just a couple times. Been too spoiled by other food Japan has.
Fritz
Member
(04-21-2017, 07:19 AM)
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Originally Posted by Laevateinn

Photos from my trip

Great shots! Thanks for posting
MikeHattsu
Member
(04-21-2017, 08:09 AM)
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Originally Posted by DieAntwoord

Breaking off from my buddy for a bit. He's made my trip way more expensive than I realized. I'm happy trying all the cheap local food, he keeps looking for "their take on what I'm use too" and balooning all the food bills to 50+ dollars. I don't mind since I'm in japan but I've been much more satisfied with cheaper places here than I ever expected.

Go to Saizeriya and get cheap Italian food ;P
Meadow Drone
Junior Member
(04-21-2017, 10:45 AM)
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Originally Posted by dofry

- Miyajima (island) is so nice place to visit when in Hiroshima. It takes a day or a half. Go early so you have a chance to visit the mountain top. First visit the top, then visit the temple area. If you first go to temples, everyone else will wait in line before you to the cable car. Or you can walk to the top slowly.

I did this a couple of weeks ago - walked up Misen-san and took the cable car down - and it was one of the most amazing hikes of my life. The misty jungle on the ascent, and when the clouds cleared at the observatory at the top, oh my god it was beautiful and I cannot recommend it enough: https://twitter.com/MeadowDrone/stat...33661997502464

Also, re. Kyoto: I hired a bike near the train station (opposite Higashihonganji) and loved it. It was super easy to get around, and was such a nice way to get a feel for the city, its size and sights and walks etc. Totally recommend it.
danowat
Member
(04-21-2017, 10:59 AM)
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Originally Posted by Meadow Drone


Also, re. Kyoto: I hired a bike near the train station (opposite Higashihonganji) and loved it. It was super easy to get around, and was such a nice way to get a feel for the city, its size and sights and walks etc. Totally recommend it.

We considered doing that, but I was a little concerned about parking and security issues, I am led to believe bike theft is high in Kyoto?
Laevateinn
Banned
(04-21-2017, 01:49 PM)

Originally Posted by MikeHattsu

Go to Saizeriya and get cheap Italian food ;P

My wife won't let me eat non-Japanese food in Japan so since I'll be alone when I go next I'm going to be eating tons of stuff like this.
MikeHattsu
Member
(04-21-2017, 02:11 PM)
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Originally Posted by Laevateinn

My wife won't let me eat non-Japanese food in Japan so since I'll be alone when I go next I'm going to be eating tons of stuff like this.

Hm... What counts as non-Japanese though? Curry rice? Hamburger steak? Yakiniku? Ramen? :P
Laevateinn
Banned
(04-21-2017, 02:16 PM)

Originally Posted by MikeHattsu

Hm... What counts as non-Japanese though? Curry rice? Hamburger steak? Yakiniku? Ramen? :P

We get MOS Burger because it's "Japanese" but we can't get other explicitly ethnic foods like Thai (I bet there's really good Thai food there too), Chinese, Italian, or Mexican.

We did end up getting Italian once on our first trip because it suddenly started raining pretty bad and we were hungry but otherwise it's no bueno.
MikeHattsu
Member
(04-21-2017, 02:17 PM)
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Originally Posted by Laevateinn

We get MOS Burger because it's "Japanese" but we can't get other explicitly ethnic foods like Thai (I bet there's really good Thai food there too), Chinese, Italian, or Mexican.

We did end up getting Italian once on our first trip because it suddenly started raining pretty bad and we were hungry but otherwise it's no bueno.

Alright then.
Laevateinn
Banned
(04-21-2017, 02:21 PM)

Originally Posted by MikeHattsu

Alright then.

If you know a good Thai restaurant let me know.
Jocchan
Ὁ μεμβερος -ου
(04-21-2017, 02:41 PM)
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Originally Posted by Laevateinn

It might not be

I wasn't expecting fireworks.

Hopefully nothing happens there.
Last edited by Jocchan; 04-21-2017 at 02:44 PM.
DieAntwoord
Member
(04-21-2017, 03:03 PM)
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I just want to say that I followed someone's advice and ended up at a bar that was Gaijen friendly by accident. I met some of th greatest people I've ever met in my life, added them to Facebook and can't believe I made lifelong friends. Like wow.
Zyzyxxz
Member
(04-21-2017, 08:01 PM)
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Originally Posted by Laevateinn

My wife won't let me eat non-Japanese food in Japan so since I'll be alone when I go next I'm going to be eating tons of stuff like this.

It's pretty closed minded or ignorant. The French food in Japan rivals France.

Theres so much interested modern western influenced food these days as well.
KillGore
Member
(04-22-2017, 01:34 AM)
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Italian food was delicious when I went over there. Bought me a couple of pasta dishes.
Fei
Member
(04-22-2017, 04:56 AM)
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Hey Japan Travel-GAF, has anyone here done a family trip to Japan? I'm hoping to do three weeks, which means I'd have to aim for summertime because of the kids schooling. My kids would be 6 and 10, and are real champs when it comes to flights and travel. We did traveling through Europe last summer without any complaints from them even with heat (low 90s). Am I crazy trying to do this with kids in the summer? Any tips?

I'm thinking of something like a week in each Tokyo (including Disney), Kyoto/Nara/Osaka, and Hokkaido. The kids love the outdoors and looking through anything old, like castles/churches. The festivals and fireworks at night sound pretty great. We're not huge on beach vacations, so I'm thinking of skipping Okinawa even though it might be great in summer - bad idea?

We're somewhat competent travelers at this point, but I admit the culture differences have me a bit nervous! By the time we go, my wife and I should be able to speak basic Japanese. It seems like the language barrier won't be too bad as long as we do our research on etiquette and can speak low-level Japanese as we get outside the cities...

PS. Reading through some of this thread has already provided some great advice - thanks in advance!
Last edited by Fei; 04-22-2017 at 05:02 AM.
xKilltheMx
Member
(04-22-2017, 12:19 PM)
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Planning a trip for this year, me, my mom, my grandma and my girlfriend (who speaks pretty decent Japanese and has lived there for a couple of months before). This should be interesting....

Will have to look through the thread for ideas. Anything specific anybody wants to throw my way is appreciated though lol
MikeHattsu
Member
(04-23-2017, 04:16 PM)
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Originally Posted by Laevateinn

If you know a good Thai restaurant let me know.

Hm... Haven't eaten Thai in Japan. Did try in South Korea though ;P



Originally Posted by Fei

Hey Japan Travel-GAF, has anyone here done a family trip to Japan? I'm hoping to do three weeks, which means I'd have to aim for summertime because of the kids schooling. My kids would be 6 and 10, and are real champs when it comes to flights and travel. We did traveling through Europe last summer without any complaints from them even with heat (low 90s). Am I crazy trying to do this with kids in the summer? Any tips?

I'm thinking of something like a week in each Tokyo (including Disney), Kyoto/Nara/Osaka, and Hokkaido. The kids love the outdoors and looking through anything old, like castles/churches. The festivals and fireworks at night sound pretty great. We're not huge on beach vacations, so I'm thinking of skipping Okinawa even though it might be great in summer - bad idea?

It's the combination of both the heat and the high humidity that makes it terrible in the summer :P

If you're going to Disney, make sure you check crowd calendars. You do NOT want to be there on highly crowded days in the summer waiting 4 hours in line to ride a single ride.

Unless you got a particular reason to visit Okinawa I'd advise against it since you'll need to fly there and rent a car to get around if you're planning to go around sightseeing instead of just staying in 1 place relaxing.
Laevateinn
Banned
(04-23-2017, 04:22 PM)

Originally Posted by xKilltheMx

Planning a trip for this year, me, my mom, my grandma and my girlfriend (who speaks pretty decent Japanese and has lived there for a couple of months before). This should be interesting....

Will have to look through the thread for ideas. Anything specific anybody wants to throw my way is appreciated though lol

Any idea what month?

Originally Posted by MikeHattsu

Hm... Haven't eaten Thai in Japan. Did try in South Korea though ;P

Hmm, I didn't know it was possible to travel to other parts of Asia....
vetrox
Member
(04-24-2017, 12:46 AM)
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Turns out I'll be visiting Japan in May. Some kind of lingering life long goal suddenly becoming real. My buddy and I just got our vacation time approved and booked our flights. Not much time for planning, but what the hell. We will arrive on the 3rd in Osaka, spend about a week in Kansai and then a week in Tokyo. After that my mate will fly home on the 16th while I will stay on my lonesome until the 24th.

A few questions if you will! Any answers are appreciated.

The JR Pass seems like an obvious choice. Is there a way to order it electronically without going through a travel agency? If I order it now I'm worried we won't get it in time, since agencies seem to only send them by post.

We really want to visit Kyoto, Nara and perhaps hike the mountains above Kobe for a day. If we have seven days, is then three days in Kyoto, two in Osaka and one for both Kobe and Nara a decent split? I read dofry's comment that Nara is a half day trip, so we might try to squeeze it in that way.

Is staying at a bath house "ryokan" for a night a realistic option for two people who speak next to no Japanese?

I heard the streets of Akihabara are closed from traffic during Sundays. Is this the best day to visit?

Is it easy to find hostels with available beds? Since Golden Week is coming up we're a tad worried we'll be sleeping on park benches if we don't arrange accommodations ahead of time, although we really want to keep our itinerary open if possible.


Originally Posted by Laevateinn

Photos from my trip

Nice shots! I hope the cherry blossoms will remain when I arrive next week.
Laevateinn
Banned
(04-24-2017, 01:52 AM)

Originally Posted by vetrox

Turns out I'll be visiting Japan in May. Some kind of lingering life long goal suddenly becoming real. My buddy and I just got our vacation time approved and booked our flights. Not much time for planning, but what the hell. We will arrive on the 3rd in Osaka, spend about a week in Kansai and then a week in Tokyo. After that my mate will fly home on the 16th while I will stay on my lonesome until the 24th.

A few questions if you will! Any answers are appreciated.

The JR Pass seems like an obvious choice. Is there a way to order it electronically without going through a travel agency? If I order it now I'm worried we won't get it in time, since agencies seem to only send them by post.

We really want to visit Kyoto, Nara and perhaps hike the mountains above Kobe for a day. If we have seven days, is then three days in Kyoto, two in Osaka and one for both Kobe and Nara a decent split? I read dofry's comment that Nara is a half day trip, so we might try to squeeze it in that way.

Is staying at a bath house "ryokan" for a night a realistic option for two people who speak next to no Japanese?

I heard the streets of Akihabara are closed from traffic during Sundays. Is this the best day to visit?

Is it easy to find hostels with available beds? Since Golden Week is coming up we're a tad worried we'll be sleeping on park benches if we don't arrange accommodations ahead of time, although we really want to keep our itinerary open if possible.




Nice shots! I hope the cherry blossoms will remain when I arrive next week.

I ordered my Japan rail pass from here. They shipped via FedEx and it took four days to get here from Spain.

I stayed at a bath house in Kyoto where the staff spoke very little English. While I communicated in Japanese, they made a really good effort to work with us when language barrier was an issue.

Every day is a good day to visit Akihabara but on Sundays the stores will be a bit more crowded.
MikeHattsu
Member
(04-24-2017, 08:20 AM)
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Originally Posted by vetrox

Turns out I'll be visiting Japan in May. Some kind of lingering life long goal suddenly becoming real. My buddy and I just got our vacation time approved and booked our flights. Not much time for planning, but what the hell. We will arrive on the 3rd in Osaka, spend about a week in Kansai and then a week in Tokyo. After that my mate will fly home on the 16th while I will stay on my lonesome until the 24th.

A few questions if you will! Any answers are appreciated.

The JR Pass seems like an obvious choice. Is there a way to order it electronically without going through a travel agency? If I order it now I'm worried we won't get it in time, since agencies seem to only send them by post.


Is it easy to find hostels with available beds? Since Golden Week is coming up we're a tad worried we'll be sleeping on park benches if we don't arrange accommodations ahead of time, although we really want to keep our itinerary open if possible.

If you're flying into KIX and out again from NRT or HND then an JR Pass is a waste of money.

You should try to book something unless you fancy hunting for somewhere to sleep each day :P
danowat
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(04-24-2017, 08:55 AM)
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Man, two weeks to go till we leave, I am very excited, so close, but so far away!
Lego Boss
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(04-24-2017, 04:24 PM)
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Originally Posted by Fei

Hey Japan Travel-GAF, has anyone here done a family trip to Japan? I'm hoping to do three weeks, which means I'd have to aim for summertime because of the kids schooling. My kids would be 6 and 10, and are real champs when it comes to flights and travel. We did traveling through Europe last summer without any complaints from them even with heat (low 90s). Am I crazy trying to do this with kids in the summer? Any tips?

I'm thinking of something like a week in each Tokyo (including Disney), Kyoto/Nara/Osaka, and Hokkaido. The kids love the outdoors and looking through anything old, like castles/churches. The festivals and fireworks at night sound pretty great. We're not huge on beach vacations, so I'm thinking of skipping Okinawa even though it might be great in summer - bad idea?

We're somewhat competent travelers at this point, but I admit the culture differences have me a bit nervous! By the time we go, my wife and I should be able to speak basic Japanese. It seems like the language barrier won't be too bad as long as we do our research on etiquette and can speak low-level Japanese as we get outside the cities...

PS. Reading through some of this thread has already provided some great advice - thanks in advance!

Just got back from Japan with a five year old and eight year old (both girls). On average we walked 10 miles a day - first week in Tokyo visiting museums, gardens, and shrines and nightimes in the neon areas, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Akiba. They were fine with that and they loved going to the zoo (pandas are a once in lifetime expereince) and the swan boats on the lake in Ueno Park. The Japanese doted on both the girls and if you have a blonde (as we do) they we will be asking for photographs and saying how cute they are all day long. It's refereshing and touching and flies in the face of the insualar Japanese stereotype (which seems quite outdated).

Second week we did a very simialr itinerary to you. Stayed in Osaka, went to Umeda Sky Garden first night, travlled to Kyoto for Hanami, shrines and Gion on Saturday. Osakakojoen and aquarium on Sunday (that place is amazing for kids). Back to Kyoto on Monday (it rained all day, we went up to the very top of Fushima Inari via central temples and it was a right mission). Went to Hiroshima on Tuesday, Nara on Wednesday (they will love the park with the deer and the gardens are sumptuous) and then back to Tokyo on Thursday for an early flight on Friday.

We were all exhausted, but we did it. If they can travel in any capacity they will love it and they will make it through. Not sure if we could have done more than two weeks though, we were out at 0900 and in at 2200 every day and the lack of sleep was beginning to make the younger one get a cold. She's OK, but it was a hardcore itinerary.

You don't go often, so just go for it and power through it. The Japanese public transport system is the best on the planet. The food is amazing and everyone seemed so welcoming that it was the best trip I have ever taken, family or not.

Enjoy!
xKilltheMx
Member
(04-24-2017, 05:34 PM)
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Originally Posted by Laevateinn

Any idea what month?



Hmm, I didn't know it was possible to travel to other parts of Asia....

Yep. November seems the be the time we're planning around.
MikeHattsu
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(04-24-2017, 05:37 PM)
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Originally Posted by xKilltheMx

Yep. November seems the be the time we're planning around.

Should be a decent time to go, as long as you're not going up to Hokkaido or to the alps or something :P
Gitaroo
Member
(04-24-2017, 07:22 PM)
anyone have any experience with bmobile visitor sims? http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/index.html This one looks like it has the best price, 3480 yens for my 9 days trip at Osaka. Are AEON,Yodobashi Camera &BIC Camera available at the Osaka airport?
Fireblend
No Member
(04-24-2017, 08:26 PM)
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Originally Posted by Gitaroo

anyone have any experience with bmobile visitor sims? http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/index.html This one looks like it has the best price, 3480 yens for my 9 days trip at Osaka. Are AEON,Yodobashi Camera &BIC Camera available at the Osaka airport?

I do, it works fine. I picked mine up at the airport's post office (Narita); do remember to bring a pin-thing to open the sim tray for your cellphone if it's got one of those, we were unable to open mine until we got to our airbnb and it was troublesome >_>
xKilltheMx
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(04-24-2017, 09:24 PM)
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Originally Posted by MikeHattsu

Should be a decent time to go, as long as you're not going up to Hokkaido or to the alps or something :P

Lol Guess we aren't going to Hokkaido then!
We are using the site odigo.jp as a way to help plan it all out since she doesnt know a lot about Tokyo. Gotta read OP.
Gitaroo
Member
(04-24-2017, 11:52 PM)

Originally Posted by Fireblend

I do, it works fine. I picked mine up at the airport's post office (Narita); do remember to bring a pin-thing to open the sim tray for your cellphone if it's got one of those, we were unable to open mine until we got to our airbnb and it was troublesome >_>

Thanks! Should I preorder online or buy at local store? Do they mark up the price a lot at retail store?
ZeusII
Junior Member
(04-25-2017, 01:50 PM)
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Originally Posted by Gitaroo

Thanks! Should I preorder online or buy at local store? Do they mark up the price a lot at retail store?

On my last trip I did try to get it in a store but there was no stock ;(

I ended getting one from FREETEL which worked just as fine but only 2GB for the same price of 5GB with B-Mobile.

One plus is that they don't cut your service once you use all the data, they just reduce the speed but it stays usable (but slow xD)

https://www.freetel.jp/prepaid/
KillGore
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(04-25-2017, 06:46 PM)
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So any opinion on Fuji Q Highland? Is it worth it? is Universal Studios better?


As a non-japanese speaker, will I have problems buying tickets and/or getting into the rides?
MikeHattsu
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(04-25-2017, 06:51 PM)
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Originally Posted by KillGore

So any opinion on Fuji Q Highland? Is it worth it? is Universal Studios better?

As a non-japanese speaker, will I have problems buying tickets and/or getting into the rides?

If you're just going for the rollercoasters then Fuji Q is better. Prepare for lines though :P

If you're more into themed attractions, the Cool Japan and Harry Potter ride experiences more than thrills then Universal is better.

No problems getting into the rides at all.

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