Japan in April

(5 Posts)
theITgirl Thu 01-Oct-15 18:08:42

We are hoping to go to Japan next April. That is me, DH, DS (13) & DD (11). I think we will use Trailfinders as that will allow us to plan our own trip.
What would you consider a MUST.

So far I am thinking of Tokoyo and do the Royal Palace, the fish market, and the Honda museum (don't ask - and if anyone can think of an alternative for DD & I). How much time do you think we should allow at each of these?
Hakune and the hot springs
Mount Fuji and up the cable car
Kyoto - not sure what to do there but like the contrast of an older city.
Also would like to take part in a tea ceremony if possible. Might also be fun to try on a Kimono
We would use the train to travel between cities and the bullet train at least once.

Have I missed out anything that we will regret missing out on later?
I assume that we will be able to see the cherry blossom at some of the places we are already going to. Is there a park that we should make time for at any of these places for the cherry blossom?

Also have to have time to stop and watch the world go by.

Really hope that someone can help and advise us.
We have two weeks only unless I can do some serious persuasion at work.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 02-Oct-15 07:08:05

Hi

Re Tokyo Imperial Palace, the tour is spoken in Japanese but they do give you an English speaking pamphlet. More info on the tour is here:-

www.japan-guide.com/e/e3017.html

Re the fish market:-
Before you go, however, be sure to check to see if public access is permitted that day. If so, it will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, and limited to 120 people, admitted in two shifts of 60. You can register starting at 4:30 a.m. at the fish information center inside the Kachidoki Gate off Harumi Street. If you prefer to do your exploring at a more reasonable hour, keep in mind that by 9 a.m., business will have already started to wind down. You'll still see fishmongers filleting the day's catch, but you won't have to dodge so many trucks and trolleys.

www.shijou.metro.tokyo.jp/english/market/tsukiji.html

Two places you have not mentioned are the two Disney Parks at Maihama and the Tokyo Sky Tree (very tall structure). Think your children would prefer those overall.

I would suggest doing an organised tour to Hakone (JTB Sunrise Tours do one whereby you spend the day in that area and you can return to Tokyo from Odibara on the Shinkansen).

Would also suggest you check the weather for Mount Fuji as well in the days before you go. This is because it can become foggy so visibility up there at the 5th Station is poor.

Think JTB also run a tea ceremony tour as well as well as tours to Kyoto (its a long day).

Do pay a visit to the department stores and check out the food halls in the basement. Vast choice of produce as well. Picture menus in restaurants will become your friend!. Even Mcdonalds has a picture menu.

Many Japanese people on the streets do not speak English but some will know some vestigial words; they are very polite and many will try and assist you if you were to get lost.

If you fly into Narita or Haneda airports do use the Friendly Airport Limousine Coach service into Tokyo. This is cheap and reliable. I also suggest that as taxis from there are prohibitively expensive.

Have a lovely time!

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 02-Oct-15 07:22:19

Ueno Park is one of Japan's most crowded, noisy and popular cherry blossom spots, featuring more than 1,000 trees along the street leading towards the National Museum and around Shinobazu Pond. Trees are lit up in the evenings. The rows of cherry trees, Somei-yoshino and mountain cherry trees (yama-zakura), bloom magnificently in spring, making the park very popular for holding parties under a canopy of beautiful flowers.

Flowering season: Late March to late April
Access: 5mins walk from JR Ueno Station (Yamanote Line).

theITgirl Fri 02-Oct-15 20:51:10

Thanks a lot for your comments.
Must go to Ueno park. Will try to avoid the weekend so hopefully a tiny bit quieter.
Fish market definitely needs more investigation - the 4:30 start will be difficult to persuade DS and DH that it is worth it.
Can cope without English for guides in the Royal Palace if there is a pamphlet or similar in English.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 03-Oct-15 10:16:54

The grounds of the Palace are open to the public but the East Garden is closed every Monday.

If you go to Ueno Park do wear insect repellent (lots of biting insects). There is a zoo there as well.

TBH I would not bother with the fish market (also photography in many areas is not permitted).

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