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Japan Travel |OT| One does simply not visit just once

MikeHattsu

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Nov 5, 2013
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We are going to be flying into Sapporo in April next year and will have about 3-4 days in Hokkaido before heading to Tokyo. I'd love some suggestions of things to check out and do in Hokkaido.
Check out Otaru with the canal, glassworks and music boxes and Noboribetsu with the hall valley and hot springs.

Check out the Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade in Sapporo.

Eat snow crab and Genghis Khan :p
 

Anony

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Feb 5, 2008
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TGS was awesome. Definitely worth it to go even though there's a ton of people.
Because everything was so orderly and organized, it wasn't that bad.
The only thing was whoever said to check out the indie part was so right, i found that area way better then the main event. I didn't realize that the international exhibit was in another Hall so i spent the last hour there only.
Also, all the cosplay was in that hall too so i missed that as well ;_;
 

Anony

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Feb 5, 2008
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Is it normal that my google play store isnt japanese?
Last 2 times I've been here, the play store becomes Japanese.
I want to install some jp games that i will never play after i did it to my library.
 

Divvy

Canadians burned my passport
May 10, 2006
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Sorry for the double post, but I'm trying to work out a schedule for our trip. After spending a few days in Hokkaido we'll have about a week and three days in Tokyo. I do really want to visit Hiroshima, but that is pretty far from the other places we're visiting. Would two days in HIroshima be time well spent, I guess with one day including the four or so hour travel time from Tokyo?
 

MikeHattsu

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Nov 5, 2013
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Sorry for the double post, but I'm trying to work out a schedule for our trip. After spending a few days in Hokkaido we'll have about a week and three days in Tokyo. I do really want to visit Hiroshima, but that is pretty far from the other places we're visiting. Would two days in HIroshima be time well spent, I guess with one day including the four or so hour travel time from Tokyo?
It's more like 5 hours if you buy an JR Pass to get there (and you should since you'll save money).

If you're just gonna go Tokyo->Hiroshima->Tokyo it's kinda expensive for a day/overnight trip...
 

Hagi

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Jun 8, 2009
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We're heading back to Tokyo on the 5th of October for our honeymoon and I couldn't be more excited. Wish I could've been there for TGS but there's a mountain of things we'll be able to do.

We were planning on going to both Disney parks this time as we had only ever been to land not sea but it seems like since the last time we visited in 2015 the website no longer accepts forge in visa cards which is a shame. Is it easy to get tickets over there? we are staying in Shibuya so I was wondering if we'd be better just buying tickets the day we land from the Disney store there for when we want to go instead of bothering with different websites.
 

Dingens

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Apr 7, 2015
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Sorry for the double post, but I'm trying to work out a schedule for our trip. After spending a few days in Hokkaido we'll have about a week and three days in Tokyo. I do really want to visit Hiroshima, but that is pretty far from the other places we're visiting. Would two days in HIroshima be time well spent, I guess with one day including the four or so hour travel time from Tokyo?
you could make it 1 day in Hiroshima and 1 day in Himeiji to make the trip more worthwhile. that would be my recommendation.
That way at least the railpass would be put to some use
 

Divvy

Canadians burned my passport
May 10, 2006
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It's more like 5 hours if you buy an JR Pass to get there (and you should since you'll save money).

If you're just gonna go Tokyo->Hiroshima->Tokyo it's kinda expensive for a day/overnight trip...
It'd be two overnights I think, that should be more worthwhile?

you could make it 1 day in Hiroshima and 1 day in Himeiji to make the trip more worthwhile. that would be my recommendation.
That way at least the railpass would be put to some use
I didn't even realize Himeji was in between, that's a great idea. I've always wanted to see the castle.
 

IrishNinja

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May 12, 2009
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hey all! my grrl & i came into a travel budget of just under 5k (woo hoo!) and we're finally looking to check out japan - i'd always envisioned seeing tokyo, osaka & kyoto, with outside hopes of something like hokkaido, if it was feasible.

thing is: we can do maybe 1.5-2 weeks, which is fine by me since i tend to travel to cities and stay 2-3 days tops to see/do enough stuff to decide if i wanna do more next time. but i'm in a background process for a job that starts back up early next year, and i'm not sure when said process will finish (ive only 2 steps left, but there could be months in between). what i do know is that if all goes well with their budget & these steps, i'd start either july or october 2018 - again, nothing i'll know more on until next year either way.

what that means is either going sometime during the remains of this year, or late spring (whenever things are done & my contract/start date is ready) of next. i know it's colder & cheaper now and a lot more expensive (but nice too!) then, just wanted to see some thoughts on this?

we're down for temples. museums, food, retro games, tattoos in yakuza districts etc. appreciate any help offered here!
 

Laevateinn

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Aug 7, 2013
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hey all! my grrl & i came into a travel budget of just under 5k (woo hoo!) and we're finally looking to check out japan - i'd always envisioned seeing tokyo, osaka & kyoto, with outside hopes of something like hokkaido, if it was feasible.

thing is: we can do maybe 1.5-2 weeks, which is fine by me since i tend to travel to cities and stay 2-3 days tops to see/do enough stuff to decide if i wanna do more next time. but i'm in a background process for a job that starts back up early next year, and i'm not sure when said process will finish (ive only 2 steps left, but there could be months in between). what i do know is that if all goes well with their budget & these steps, i'd start either july or october 2018 - again, nothing i'll know more on until next year either way.

what that means is either going sometime during the remains of this year, or late spring (whenever things are done & my contract/start date is ready) of next. i know it's colder & cheaper now and a lot more expensive (but nice too!) then, just wanted to see some thoughts on this?

we're down for temples. museums, food, retro games, tattoos in yakuza districts etc. appreciate any help offered here!
Ah, man. I was hoping you'd be able to go in January. We're going back again October 2019 so if you go then I'll use the festivals you went to as an example.

Also, I know two really great tattoo artists (in Tokyo and Osaka). The one in Tokyo is a lot cheaper but she only speaks Japanese. The one in Osaka is originally from Minnesota so that's obviously not an issue. Mine (Osaka) will be finished in January so you'll get an update then but this is an example of what my wife's (Tokyo) looks like. She paid a little less than $300. I don't know what my final price will be but it's a sleeve by the author of this book and will probably end up being between 4 and 5 times that.



I'd recommend against going to too many cities, especially on your first trip. 5k is definitely enough to have a great time though.

I haven't done Hokkaido, Mike can probably tell you everything about it but of the major cities I've been to, I would rank them Osaka > Tokyo > Kyoto > Yokohama. Kyoto is great but the transit leaves a lot to desire.

In Tokyo, I always stay at Kimi Ryokan. Other people will have their recommendations. Don't spend more than ~$70 a night though. Also, if you have tattoos, be very careful in Kyoto.

Try to do 2 weeks. Anything less isn't worth the travel time. Remember, you'll arrive home roughly the same time you left Japan.

It's a bit early to think about this now but if you're feeling excited look up Kamakura and Kawagoe. They're pretty close to Tokyo and have a lot of history to offer.
 

IrishNinja

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^that's an awesome tattoo, man. yeah i don't even have anything particularly nailed down yet, just seen a few i thought looked great (i also play too much yakuza, haha). and definitely hoping for the full 2 weeks.

that said: i know the end of the year is colder/said to be cheaper, but is it too late to get a good deal on a ticket before the holidays? i guess i'm trying to sort if it'd make more sense to go later this year or late spring/early summer next, when i know it'd cost more but might be more pleasant. either way, i'm not making the cherry blossom festivals, sadly.
i really should get to looking up tickets (airplane & bullet train both) soon.

also: appreciate the advise here man, and good luck with the tea cup!
 

MikeHattsu

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Nov 5, 2013
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It'd be two overnights I think, that should be more worthwhile?

I didn't even realize Himeji was in between, that's a great idea. I've always wanted to see the castle.
Well, it's all up to you :p


I know the end of the year is colder/said to be cheaper, but is it too late to get a good deal on a ticket before the holidays? i guess i'm trying to sort if it'd make more sense to go later this year or late spring/early summer next, when i know it'd cost more but might be more pleasant.
I dunno. Costs about the same here from Europe whenever you go if you book early enough. Have you checked prices and seen if it's actually more expensive or not?
 

Laevateinn

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Aug 7, 2013
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^that's an awesome tattoo, man. yeah i don't even have anything particularly nailed down yet, just seen a few i thought looked great (i also play too much yakuza, haha). and definitely hoping for the full 2 weeks.

that said: i know the end of the year is colder/said to be cheaper, but is it too late to get a good deal on a ticket before the holidays? i guess i'm trying to sort if it'd make more sense to go later this year or late spring/early summer next, when i know it'd cost more but might be more pleasant. either way, i'm not making the cherry blossom festivals, sadly.
i really should get to looking up tickets (airplane & bullet train both) soon.

also: appreciate the advise here man, and good luck with the tea cup!
All we did with her tattoo was say that we wanted a goldfish wearing a kimono. When we got there, she had two sketches and we picked one.

Don't worry too much about the plane ticket if you still have a long time before you leave. Just set up a google alert and every now and then check other sites with a proxy and buy when the price is right. Just make sure you don't get one that has a layover in China. I tend to fly through Toronto which is a pretty good flight. You probably won't start seeing cheap flights that far out for a few months.

I'd say don't go in July but I don't know what kind of hell you go through every year in southern Florida so it might not be that bad for you.

I usually reserve my lodging six months out and then get the flight when I have 3-4 months left.
 

MikeHattsu

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Good news if you plan to drive all over Japan for some reason :p
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/09/26/national/japan-launch-unlimited-expressway-passes-foreign-tourists/

Passes allowing foreign tourists unlimited travel on major expressway networks across the country will go on sale in mid-October, in hopes of luring more visitors to regional areas, the transport ministry said Tuesday.

Holders of foreign passports will be able to buy a Japan Express Pass valid for seven consecutive days for ¥20,000 (about $180), and a 14-day pass for ¥34,000, at 275 rental car shops across the country from Oct. 13, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.

The new passes are not valid for use by foreign nationals residing in Japan.

Expressways in Hokkaido, as well as those in metropolitan areas around Tokyo and Osaka, are excluded, the ministry said.

Hokkaido already has an expressway discount system, while making heavily-used expressways in Tokyo and Osaka free for foreign tourists could stir controversy.

Under the new plan, only drivers of standard-sized cars equipped with an electronic toll collection (ETC) device will be able to use the passes.

Existing regional passes that allow foreign visitors unlimited expressway travel for up to 14 days in areas such as Hokkaido, Tohoku and Kyushu will continue to be available with prices ranging from ¥1,500 to ¥16,000, according to the ministry.
More info here:
http://global.w-nexco.co.jp/en/jep/
 

Jintor

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Oct 22, 2009
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Heading home in March/April next year I think. Got to hit up Osaka/Tokyo (well more properly Mie/Tokyo...) but I wonder where to go this time.

Probably get a good two weeks out of it hopefully.
 

UnluckyKate

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Jan 15, 2008
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Is there such a thing like a Familly JR Pass or Couple JR Pass ?

I'm planning a trip for my familly of 5 and the cost of transportation is through the roof haha.

Wondering if at this point, renting a car for a week instead of buying 5 JR pass is cheaper.

Any good tip for car rental in Tokyo ?
 

Dingens

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Apr 7, 2015
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woah...

Eligible Individuals

Those with non-Japanese passports and Japanese citizens with permanent residence permits in a foreign country.
Must possess a driver's license that can be used in Japan.
it's not a great solution but better than nothing for people with japanese spouses... since you can't use the JR railpass anymore as a japanese national
still, if I understand them correctly, you NEED to rent a car... so I guess buying the pass and using your friend's car is out of the question... -.-
 

exhume

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www.instagram.com
Also, if you have tattoos, be very careful in Kyoto.
Out of curiosity, can you elaborate? I have a lot of tattoos but when I was in Kyoto last year it was quite cold and I don't think I took my jumper off the whole time, haha. I did meet the owner (?) of a souvenir jacket shop who caught sight of mine when I was trying something on and he then showed me his amazing yakuza-looking full sleeves! I think he also had false teeth, which made me wonder what kinda life he'd lived before opening a shop...
 

Laevateinn

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Aug 7, 2013
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Out of curiosity, can you elaborate? I have a lot of tattoos but when I was in Kyoto last year it was quite cold and I don't think I took my jumper off the whole time, haha. I did meet the owner (?) of a souvenir jacket shop who caught sight of mine when I was trying something on and he then showed me his amazing yakuza-looking full sleeves! I think he also had false teeth, which made me wonder what kinda life he'd lived before opening a shop...
I meant be careful about where you stay. When I was in Kyoto, I wasn't careful enough and ended up in a hotel that didn't have a private bath and had a no-tattoo policy. You'll be fine in regular day-to-day stuff but don't bother staying in something anywhere near traditional there because you'll end up stinky.
 

midramble

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Jun 28, 2011
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OMG YES! This is exactly what I was looking for. Wife and I have some family out in the countryside and we've (I've) been wanting to get out to the smaller towns without having to book the buses or wait for the local trains. The only reason I haven't rented a car yet is because of the expressway tolls. Wish I had known this a few weeks ago. Hopefully still going by next spring.
 
Apr 15, 2012
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I was going to make a new thread, but I was lucky enough to find a megathread already for this kind of inquiry.

My friends and I are planning our very first international trip to Japan in May 2018. I hope that's a decent time. A cursory look at the thread tells me the months of November/December are preferred, but I think our schedules have settled on May. Being my first international flight, I have no idea where to start, but the OP is giving me useful advice. Is there anything you guys can offer in general? Suggestions on where to go and such? I'm starting from zero so anything will be useful. Thanks!
 

Laevateinn

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Aug 7, 2013
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Is there a site/app out there that'll let me sign up for alerts for airfare deals to Japan?
Flights.google.com

At least, that's what I use. You can just set up a few dates and it'll give you alerts when prices change.
Be careful with Google flights so you don't end up on one that has a layover in China.

I was going to make a new thread, but I was lucky enough to find a megathread already for this kind of inquiry.

My friends and I are planning our very first international trip to Japan in May 2018. I hope that's a decent time. A cursory look at the thread tells me the months of November/December are preferred, but I think our schedules have settled on May. Being my first international flight, I have no idea where to start, but the OP is giving me useful advice. Is there anything you guys can offer in general? Suggestions on where to go and such? I'm starting from zero so anything will be useful. Thanks!
May is fine depending on what part of May. Are you thinking early or late May?
 
Apr 15, 2012
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Be careful with Google flights so you don't end up on one that has a layover in China.



May is fine depending on what part of May. Are you thinking early or late May?
We're thinking late May, which is around or close to the rainy season, isn't it? I wonder if it's too late to reconsider. They're pretty set on May as we graduate with our doctorates earlier in the month. :]
 

Eridani

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Sep 8, 2015
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I was going to make a new thread, but I was lucky enough to find a megathread already for this kind of inquiry.

My friends and I are planning our very first international trip to Japan in May 2018. I hope that's a decent time. A cursory look at the thread tells me the months of November/December are preferred, but I think our schedules have settled on May. Being my first international flight, I have no idea where to start, but the OP is giving me useful advice. Is there anything you guys can offer in general? Suggestions on where to go and such? I'm starting from zero so anything will be useful. Thanks!
I would start by reading wikivoyage and japan-guide. They both provide some great general information. They are also great for picking where to go - just start clicking on various destinations and pick whichever looks cool. Personally, I went to:

-Tokyo
-Kyoto
-Osaka
-Kamakura
-Nara
-Himeji
-Mount Koya

They were all awesome. Kamakura and Mount Shosha in Himeji surprised me a lot, because I did not expect them to be as great as they were. Mount Shosha in particular I rarely see mentioned, but its temple complex was amazing.

Also, is there any particular reason the OP links to wikitravel instead of wikivoyage? Wikivoyage seems to be the better site.
 

Darksol

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We're thinking late May, which is around or close to the rainy season, isn't it? I wonder if it's too late to reconsider. They're pretty set on May as we graduate with our doctorates earlier in the month. :]
Late May was shit this year: muggy as all hell. But I'm Canadian and don't like May through September, so I'm not sure what my word is worth.
 

MikeHattsu

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A cursory look at the thread tells me the months of November/December are preferred
Nah. Mid-March-Mid-May and October-Early November is the best I'd say. Winter can be ok, but avoid Mid-May-Mid-September though :p


Is there a site/app out there that'll let me sign up for alerts for airfare deals to Japan?
In addition to google, there's kayak as well I guess.
 

Laevateinn

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I'd rather go in later May when it's starting to get hot then early May when it's golden week. Probably end of golden week to the end of the third week would be ideal.
 

Eridani

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I feel like I'm the only one not bothered by hot weather. I went to Japan in late August/early September and thought the weather was great. A bit rainy perhaps, but I never felt like it was too hot. Maybe that year just wasn't particularly hot?

I also went to Hong Kong in July, which has higher average temperatures, and while that was definitely quite hot, I never felt like it made the trip noticeably worse.

Basically, what I'm saying is that I wouldn't let the weather effect your choice too much. Japan's awesome and you'll probably have a great time no matter when you go. If you can easily switch the timing then you should definitely take the weather into account, but if you can't I very much doubt it will ruin the trip.

Then again, I'm pretty used to hot summers. Canadians/Scandinavians would probably have a different opinion.
 

Quixzlizx

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Thanks, I guess I'll be checkout out Google Flights, then. What's generally the best price I can get out of JFK, around $1000? I'm on LI, so fuck Newark.

Edit: I guess I don't have to worry about this for a bit... I'm planning on going next Oct/Nov, and Google Flights doesn't even go that far ahead.
 
Apr 15, 2012
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I feel like I'm the only one not bothered by hot weather. I went to Japan in late August/early September and thought the weather was great. A bit rainy perhaps, but I never felt like it was too hot. Maybe that year just wasn't particularly hot?

I also went to Hong Kong in July, which has higher average temperatures, and while that was definitely quite hot, I never felt like it made the trip noticeably worse.

Basically, what I'm saying is that I wouldn't let the weather effect your choice too much. Japan's awesome and you'll probably have a great time no matter when you go. If you can easily switch the timing then you should definitely take the weather into account, but if you can't I very much doubt it will ruin the trip.

Then again, I'm pretty used to hot summers. Canadians/Scandinavians would probably have a different opinion.
Yeah the timing is rather strict so I doubt I'll be able to move it to one of the preferred months. We live in Louisiana so hopefully we will be able to tolerate the heat and humidity.

We are currently planning on going to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. As I understand it, we should get some sort of rail pass for transportation? Any hotel recommendations?
 
Jun 17, 2016
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We're considering a 2 week trip to Japan and Korea (1 week Japan, 1 week Korea) next year and were debating when to go. Cherry blossom season would be nice, but I imagine that's when the highest prices are, right? So we were considering either September, October or November. Is one of those months better than the other, price wise or weather wise?
 

MikeHattsu

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We're considering a 2 week trip to Japan and Korea (1 week Japan, 1 week Korea) next year and were debating when to go. Cherry blossom season would be nice, but I imagine that's when the highest prices are, right? So we were considering either September, October or November. Is one of those months better than the other, price wise or weather wise?
Not really that different in price here from Europe at least.

Avoid September if possible, since it's typhoon season :p
 

MikeHattsu

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https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/10/01/national/japan-adds-sake-list-tax-free-items-tourists/

Foreign tourists now can buy sake and other alcoholic beverages tax-free at breweries and distilleries in Japan.

Launched on Sunday, the tax-free program is expected to give a further boost to already brisk exports of sake and make tours to breweries, wineries and distillers more popular with visitors to the country, people in the industry said.

Under the program, if a tourist buys a 720-ml bottle of seishu (refined sake) at a shop on the premises of a government-designated brewery where it was produced, the ¥86.4 liquor tax and the 8 percent consumption tax will be waived.

According to the National Tax Agency, approval to waive the taxes had been given to 48 producers of alcoholic beverages in 24 of the nation’s 47 prefectures as of Sunday.
 
Jun 17, 2016
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Not really that different in price here from Europe at least.

Avoid September if possible, since it's typhoon season :p
Ah, is it still? I know July and August can be bad for rain, but I didn't know it spilled over into September.

Also, I was wondering how to divide up a week's worth of time. I was thinking of 3 days in Tokyo, 2 in Kyoto and 2 in another city/area - but where would you recommend?
 

MikeHattsu

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Ah, is it still? I know July and August can be bad for rain, but I didn't know it spilled over into September.

Also, I was wondering how to divide up a week's worth of time. I was thinking of 3 days in Tokyo, 2 in Kyoto and 2 in another city/area - but where would you recommend?
Yes:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-17/typhoon-talim-triggers-evacuations-in-japan-amid-record-rainfall

It would be better to just do 1-2 cities in the same area if you just have a week. Either Kyoto/Osaka or Tokyo/Kamakura.
 

Gibbo

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Jun 10, 2004
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Booked my tickets to Osaka for my honeymoon next April - for a week. Hope we are in time to see the sakura in full bloom.

Would be open for any recommendations for good airbnbs!
 
Sep 3, 2006
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Do you guys think that going to Japan in autumn/winter 2020 after the Olympics would be a wise option? I thought that they might give special offers when all the other tourists have left. 🤔
 

clay_ghost

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Oct 5, 2007
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Do you guys think that going to Japan in autumn/winter 2020 after the Olympics would be a wise option? I thought that they might give special offers when all the other tourists have left. 🤔

It will be crowed as he'll I think.
Edit.

I am in Osaka now, any recommendations where I should go for some last minute video games shopping (amiibos, switch cases etc)?
 

Dingens

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Apr 7, 2015
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Booked my tickets to Osaka for my honeymoon next April - for a week. Hope we are in time to see the sakura in full bloom.

Would be open for any recommendations for good airbnbs!
I mean... it's none of my business, but wouldn't you wanna go for something more... "special" for a honeymoon?
There are more than enough exciting, nice and affordable Onsen, Ryokan, pensions or other kinds of couple-centric hotels in Japan.
There's like nothing better than sharing a nice kashikiri onsen with your spouse.