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Thread: Visiting Japan for 7/10 days in June - please advise...

  1. #1

    Red face Visiting Japan for 7/10 days in June - please advise...

    ...on planning an itinerary. Perhaps Tokyo as a base and going on daytrips by train to explore other areas?

    Alternatively, 5 nights in Tokyo and the rest elsewhere?

  2. #2
    Master ditchvisitor's Avatar
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    My fiancÚs brother has lived there for 15 years and runs an English school out there, could ask him for some ideas of places to go that are less obvious if you like?

  3. #3
    Journeyman
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    You can check if there are any festivals ongoing at the time and join in the festivities at the many temples. I went during New Year's and joined in their annual ritual of the royal family addressing the public. Quite a good experience.

  4. #4
    Master Tokyo Tokei's Avatar
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    I replied on the other thread but to add ... Clive James wrote a magnificent series of "Postcards" for the Observer from various locations, including Japan. His collection of these is out of print ( Flying Visits - one of my most re-read books ) but is available online. Part one for Japan is here http://www.clivejames.com/books/flying/japan1 and part two here http://www.clivejames.com/books/flying/japan2

    It says something about the quality of his writing and perceptiveness, that whenever I read these chapters, they seem exactly accurate despite being written in 1978.

    His later TV series is now on Youtube :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0E4daPaFLM ( Japan part one, the other parts are linked after this one )

    Both highly recommended background reading/viewing.

    Paul

  5. #5
    Journeyman
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    I went to Japan around May last year, for 10days. I went to Tokyo mainly (stayed in a Hotel there - can recommend Hotel Niwa) and then to Kyoto for a day-trip to see some more temples :).
    In retrospect, one day in Kyoto wasn't enough to cover everything i wanted to see, so if you can/want to stay there for a few days, i'd say that's the better option.

    Traveling-wise, i was recommended getting a Japan Rail Pass, which worked out great in the end. It allows you to travel for free on the main tube-lines in Tokyo and in the area around, free travel to/from the airport and free travel on the Shinkansen to Kyoto (and a few others IIRC).
    Check the offers here...that's where i got mine from... http://www.japan-rail-pass.com/

  6. #6

    Red face

    If you could ask him, that would be great! Local knowledge is always useful. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by ditchvisitor View Post
    My fiancÚs brother has lived there for 15 years and runs an English school out there, could ask him for some ideas of places to go that are less obvious if you like?

  7. #7

    Red face

    Thanks Paul. I'll enjoy reading/ viewing all of that over the next few days.

    Would you recommend joining some sort of guided tour (in English!) for a couple of days? My Japanese language skills stop and start with a few choice phrases from 'Shogun' and 'Last Samurai'. :)


    Quote Originally Posted by Tokyo Tokei View Post
    I replied on the other thread but to add ... Clive James wrote a magnificent series of "Postcards" for the Observer from various locations, including Japan. His collection of these is out of print ( Flying Visits - one of my most re-read books ) but is available online. Part one for Japan is here http://www.clivejames.com/books/flying/japan1 and part two here http://www.clivejames.com/books/flying/japan2

    It says something about the quality of his writing and perceptiveness, that whenever I read these chapters, they seem exactly accurate despite being written in 1978.

    His later TV series is now on Youtube :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0E4daPaFLM ( Japan part one, the other parts are linked after this one )

    Both highly recommended background reading/viewing.

    Paul

  8. #8

    Red face

    I'll definitely be taking advantage of the Japan rail pass - thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by christopher_p View Post
    I went to Japan around May last year, for 10days. I went to Tokyo mainly (stayed in a Hotel there - can recommend Hotel Niwa) and then to Kyoto for a day-trip to see some more temples :).
    In retrospect, one day in Kyoto wasn't enough to cover everything i wanted to see, so if you can/want to stay there for a few days, i'd say that's the better option.

    Traveling-wise, i was recommended getting a Japan Rail Pass, which worked out great in the end. It allows you to travel for free on the main tube-lines in Tokyo and in the area around, free travel to/from the airport and free travel on the Shinkansen to Kyoto (and a few others IIRC).
    Check the offers here...that's where i got mine from... http://www.japan-rail-pass.com/
    - - - Updated - - -

    Great suggestion - thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by sweepinghands View Post
    You can check if there are any festivals ongoing at the time and join in the festivities at the many temples. I went during New Year's and joined in their annual ritual of the royal family addressing the public. Quite a good experience.

  9. #9
    Japan's a big place. Tokyo is *incredibly* large. We spent two weeks there in 2010, splitting the time between Tokyo - Hiroshima (Miyajima) - Himeji - Kyoto - Tokyo. Day trips from Tokyo included Mitaka (Ghibli Museum), Yokohama (Japan's second largest city and home to an awesome Ramen Museum**), Kamakura (home of the Big Buddha) amd DisneySea (the most un-Disney of the Disney parks). Within Tokyo, we spent an early morning in Tsukiji with a local chef. Nara's an easy trip from Kyoto. You could easily spend ten days doing something similar. Alternatively, there's Mt Fuji to explore, which is within a couple of hours of Tokyo. Or Nikko. Or Osaka's Owl Cafe. Or perhaps Suntory's Yamazaki distillery (just outside Kyoto).

    It all depends what you want to do.

    **awesome if you like noodles.

  10. #10
    Journeyman
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    Another place to visit (imho) that's maybe not too obvious is Yakitori Alley in Shinjuku/Tokyo. Lots of tiny bars, grills, restaurants that was very cool to see. Good satay and sake :)

  11. #11
    Craftsman
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    Perhaps the most obvious suggestion for Tokyo will be the Tsukiji fish market, if you can be bothered to be up very early one morning, and if sushi is your thing. Some of the best restaurants I've visited are around there, and also a few good knife shops. A rather nice, but not very famous, sushi place in the outer Tsukiji market is Aozora, and a few of their staff speak surprisingly good English (I think one of them has studied briefly in the UK).

    If it's not raining the entire time, there are lot of nice parks to visit, two of my favourite ones being the Ueno park, and Shinjuku Gyoen.

    Another thing to consider is whether you want to fly in & out of Tokyo, or whether you could save yourself the back & forward travelling, by flying in to Tokyo, and flying out from Osaka (or vice versa). on a 10 day trip, I would probably spend 7 days around Tokyo & surroundings, and the other 3 around Kyoto/Nara/Osaka. If you get your 7-day Japan Rail Pass, plan your journeys so that all the long-distance train trips fit within that week, and spend the last 3 days in the same place.

    In Kyoto if you want to visit temples, two of my favourites are the Kyomizu-dera, and also Ryoan-ji, which has one of the most famous 'rock gardens'. Unfortunately, these are on opposite sides of town, so you may wish to visit them on separate days. If the weather is nice, and you don't mind walking a bit, the walk from Kyomizu dera to down to Gion is quite nice.

    Perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring sights in Kyoto is the central train station itself. It looks like what you would imagine the Death Star from Star Wars to look like, from the inside :P

    Well, there are few rather idiosyncratic & random suggestions - i hope they help, and if you have any further questions, do ask :)
    Last edited by kumimajava; 29th April 2014 at 20:40.

  12. #12
    Journeyman
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    If you get to visit Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto - and i agree that you should! :) - there's the normal road leading up to it...but instead i'd suggest taking a kind of parallel route just a bit further south, which takes you past another temple-complex and through a huge & very beautiful cemetery!

  13. #13
    Craftsman
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    We spent just over three weeks in Japan for out honeymoon. Echo pretty much what everyone said above.
    When touring around instead of lugging our large cases everywhere we packed a smaller bag that would last us 3-5 days between major destinations (Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Tokyo) and used the very cheap courier system to send the bulk between hotels. Pick up and drop off at reception. An amazing idea!!

    Don't whatever you do look at guidebooks or maps in public places. It was genuinely humbling how many complete strangers offer help to two tourists

    Can I suggest an overnight stay in the world heritage site Shirakawa-go? We did and received some amazing hospitality, not to mention a rather hazy evening on the sake with a lovely retired Japanese couple who barely spoke a word of English!! Great memories!

    Joe

  14. #14
    Master scarto's Avatar
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    I remember this thread had some comprehensive advice , including a 'little' contribution from me.

    Wonderful country, mine and the OH's absolute fave from the travelling we've done.

    http://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.ph...hlight=Tsukiji

  15. #15

    Thanks for all the advice and input , All!

    It's much appreciated and making me look forward to the trip even more. :)

    The only thing I'm worried about is the real risk it could rain for the whole week! :(

  16. #16
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by christopher_p View Post
    ...Check the offers here...that's where i got mine from... http://www.japan-rail-pass.com/
    Here's:

  17. #17
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Some useful info: JNTO's "Practical Travel Guides"?

    See their Suggested Itineraries as well...
    Last edited by PickleB; 3rd May 2014 at 09:49.

  18. #18

    Red face Thanks for all the advice!

    I have now decided to do this trip in October instead (better weather), but all the useful info and links have been saved and duly noted. :)

  19. #19
    Master Tokyo Tokei's Avatar
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by The Hack View Post
    I have now decided to do this trip in October instead (better weather), but all the useful info and links have been saved and duly noted. :)
    Good decision. October last year was quite good in Tokyo, out of the 10 days there it rained only a couple, the rest of the time was very pleasant and warm. We're going back again this October.

    Lots of opinions and advice in here already, but I want to add that Tokyo alone is big enough to spend a month in only to scratch the surface. What and how much you see really depends on what you are interested in. My wife and I are into really nerdy stuff, and Tokyo is a paradise for that. Their toy shops are the best in the world and we spent days only skimming the more known ones, and came back with two suitcases full of robots! An awesome place.

  21. #21
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tokyo Tokei View Post
    Yep, pretty much sums up my experiences.

  22. #22
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    I expect that you've read up on this already, but I hadn't and I've just learnt something:

    Medication

    The use or possession of some common prescription and over-the-counter medicines are banned under Japan’s strictly enforced anti-stimulant drugs law. This includes Vicks inhalers, medicines for allergies and sinus problems and even some mild painkillers like those containing codeine. Customs officials may not be sympathetic if you claim ignorance. If in any doubt, check with the nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate before you travel.

    Carrying identification

    You must carry your passport or residence card at all times.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by PickleB View Post

    Carrying identification

    You must carry your passport or residence card at all times.
    Just like visiting the US...

  24. #24
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Broussard View Post
    Just like visiting the US...
    Has that always been the case? I never did!

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by PickleB View Post
    Has that always been the case? I never did!
    Not sure. I've never carried a passport in Japan.

  26. #26
    Master
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    More importantly - Which JDM watch are you going to come back with ??


    maseman

  27. #27

    Red face

    Thanks for that article! Very interesting reading. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tokyo Tokei View Post

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