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Japan - where to stay in Tokyo particularly!

(81 Posts)
Aragog Sun 03-Feb-19 15:19:02

We are currently doing some prep and planning for a holiday to Japan in the summer. Me, dh and 17y DD.

We will be flying with Emirates with a one night stop over in Dubai, and flying into Tokyo, though we don't land til very late the first night. We will have 13 nights in Japan and the plan is:

5 nights Tokyo (2 full days and 1 night will be at Disneyland/Disney Seas)
4 nights Kyoto
4 nights Osaka (1 day at Universal; final day is a full day in Osaka as very late flight)

We will travel between the cities by train. Not sure yet on whether we will benefit from having the Rail Pass. I know the fastest 2 Bullet trains are not included, plus the cost of the individual trains between Tokyo-Kyoto and Kyoto-Osaka are not coming out as being quite as much as a 14 day Rail Pass. Need to do more playing around with figures to work out how much with the normal day to day travel.

Been looking at where to stay in Tokyo though. Its mind boggling though as there is so much to choose between.

Can anyone recommend districts or specific hotels you've liked?
We would prefer for DD to be in with us - to save us paying for 2 rooms more than anything else. This (3 adults/triple rooms) seems possible with some hotels, though not all.

For Disneyland we will stay at the Disneyland hotel for the middle night, so thats not a concern but will have 2 nights in Tokyo either side.

Then need to consider Kyoto and Osaka hotels too - argh!!!

Any hints and tops appreciated.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 03-Feb-19 15:45:47

We liked the Hilton in Shinjuku and their daily rates are quite reasonable overall. Its also handy for Shinjuku and has a link to the metro subway. (Hotels generally tend not to let anyone under the age of 18 occupy a room of their own, some hotels will provide a rollaway bed).

Have you actually booked the Disneyland hotel for the one night?. If you have not I would spend the five nights in one hotel rather than potentially ending up with three separate hotel bookings for your 5 day Tokyo stay. Also it is quite easy to travel to Tokyo Disneyland from Tokyo. The station stop you need is Maihama Station on the JR (Japan Railway) Keiyo Line / Musashino Line.

Be aware of which station exit to use; some stations like Shinjuku have multiple exits and choosing the wrong one means you could end up a good half a mile away from where you want to actually be.
Many Japanese people are unfailingly polite and helpful but many citizens do not actually speak much English beyond yes, no and thank you.

Which Tokyo airport are you flying into; is it Narita or Haneda?. I ask only as Haneda is much closer to the city than Narita is. Taxis are hideously expensive so I would seriously consider the coach service from Narita into Tokyo if you are landing at Narita.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 03-Feb-19 15:46:59

This from Tokyo Disneyland is worth reading too.

www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/tdr/guide.html

peachypetite Sun 03-Feb-19 15:48:42

Shinjuku gran bell

SweetAngie Sun 03-Feb-19 15:50:33

We did three days in Tokyo with one day at Disneyland, and we stayed at a hotel at Disney for all three nights. It’s pretty quick to get into the centre from there (30mins on the train I think), and it was good to be able to spend the whole day at Disney and not have to worry about checking in/out at either end of the day.

BubblesBuddy Sun 03-Feb-19 15:51:43

You don’t need a JR rail pass for the time you are in Tokyo and at the theme park. So you don’t need the 14 day one.

The best places to stay in Tokyo is nearish to rail and underground connections. This saves time. So Shinjuko, Shinagawa, Shibuya areas. I cannot really recommend a hotel because I don’t think the one we stayed in has triple rooms. Many hotels do not have bigger rooms so your choice might be quite limited. I would go by reviews on Trip Advisor or booking.com or similar. I have just looked at the recommendations in my Lonely Planet guide and nowhere mentions family rooms! They mention “love” hotels and capsule hotels but in a city so short of space, large rooms are at a premium. I would get a copy of Lonely Planet because it’s invaluable.

Japan has such a wonderful culture I don’t understand the need to import American culture or spend days visiting it. You will miss out on other great sights.

Swiftier Sun 03-Feb-19 15:54:43

We’ve stayed in Asakusa at The Gate. It’s a lovely area, more low-rise than the rest of Tokyo and has a beautiful shrine. It’s quite traditional. It’s still well connected for exploring other parts of the city.

We have also stayed in Shinjuku at the Park Hyatt. It’s a great hotel and the views are amazing including from the swimming pool and the bar. Shinjuku is full of skyscrapers and it gives you the modern side of Tokyo. You can walk to places like Harajuku from there which your teenage daughter might like. It’s also well connected.

Both areas are very different but equally good. Japan is amazing 😊

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 03-Feb-19 15:56:30

I would recommend a visit to the Tokyo Skytree whilst you are there because of the views you receive particularly on clear days.

Aragog Sun 03-Feb-19 16:06:46

Attila - I think DH and DD will maybe go up; I, however, am terrified of heights and I've read it sways so I think I will pass!

Aragog Sun 03-Feb-19 16:08:56

Thanks for all the suggestions. Going to go and have a look at them all now.

Have you actually booked the Disneyland hotel for the one night?.

No, and I do know what you mean. However, DD is a huge fan and has already spotted the Beauty and the Beast rooms - her childhood favourite, so is very keen! To be fair, we don't mind moving for the one night.
We can also consider a different location for the second set of Tokyo stays I guess if it means we can see more too.

Aragog Sun 03-Feb-19 16:11:31

BubblesBuddy - I know theme parks aren't for everyone. However, we enjoy them - and DD is very very keen and it is her holiday too. So those days are non negotiable for us. We have extended our holiday time in Japan to take these days into account and knocked off a coupe of nights on a separate holiday elsewhere later in the year to take them into account.

SweetAnge - I did wonder other it was doable to stay at the Disney location for the whole time, or Tokyo Bay, but wasn't sure how doable it was in terms of travelling each day.

Aragog Sun 03-Feb-19 16:13:28

In Kyoto or Osaka we would like to stay at a traditional Ryokan hotel perhaps too, at least for a night. Can anyone advise on those?

Ilikehamsandwiches Sun 03-Feb-19 16:14:16

Hotel Chinzanso is classy as! It is surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden as has a brilliant pool and spa x

Swiftier Sun 03-Feb-19 16:17:09

If you’re breaking up your time in Tokyo with the Disney visit you could definitely look at staying in two different areas - as it’s such a big city staying in two areas means you could explore everything in one area, go to Disney and then explore a different area and spend less time travelling overall.

I haven’t been to Disney as it’s not our thing but I’m sure you could look at staying there for one night and two days - I don’t think it’s far from Tokyo.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 03-Feb-19 16:18:17

I've been up it and it does move by millimeters (its supposed to do this) BUT you do not notice any movement. Its a great place to visit and I think there is also a shopping mall attached to it.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government buildings also have an observation deck which I believe is still free to visit.

If there is a particular room I would book this asap; accommodation at that park is very popular with the Japanese and rooms do get booked up quickly.

FWIW I did not find Tokyo Disneyland to be simply yet another offshoot of the US theme parks; its very different in atmosphere to those and has some unique rides. My family enjoyed our days there immensely and I would happily return.

Swiftier Sun 03-Feb-19 16:21:05

Also it’s definitely worth staying in a Ryokan. I haven’t got any recommendations for Kyoto or Osaka but I’m guessing Kyoto will be easier to find a Ryokan as it’s more traditional than Osaka, although it will probably be quite expensive. We stayed in a few Ryokans elsewhere in Japan and it’s definitely an experience not to miss. If you only want to stay in one for one night though it might mean quite a lot of moving around? Eg one night in a Ryokan in Kyoto followed by a stay in a hotel in Kyoto.

You could look at doing a one night in a Ryokan in one of the Fuji Five Lakes region - a couple of hours from Tokyo and a good single night trip. Lots of Ryokans with beautiful views of Fuji and the lakes.

EnormousDormouse Sun 03-Feb-19 16:23:10

We stayed in Ueno and it seemed to be an excellent base to get around from.
We stayed in Toyoko Inns a few times - basic 'business' hotels but reliable and great value for money when other options were v. basic hostels or eyewateringly expensive places.

Aragog Sun 03-Feb-19 16:26:59

The rooms are not yet available for our dates yet Attila but I will be checking regularly! DD in particular is very excited by it all anyway, but the Tokyo Disneyland really does appeal to her - though an older teen, she is still a child at heart! Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

Aragog Sun 03-Feb-19 18:08:02

Swiftier

So long as fairly central and comfortable to sleep at, Im happy to do longer at a Ryokan.

Swiftier Sun 03-Feb-19 18:17:39

I think if you can stay longer at a ryokan it would mean moving around a bit less - ryokans are more expensive than hotels though so depends on your budget.

Aragog Sun 03-Feb-19 19:04:45

Well at present we are pleasantly surprised at how much everything is coming in at. We had budgeted more than the prices were are getting. Maybe end of August isn't a peak time I guess. Used to paying over the odds in recent years going to California, Florida and Canada so this is feeling a lit better right now!

Swiftier Sun 03-Feb-19 19:43:18

Then definitely splash out on a few nights in a ryokan in Kyoto 😁

Aragog Sun 03-Feb-19 21:04:57

grin

Spent the day planning and looking at suggestions so now totally fired up and excited!

BumblebeeBum Sun 03-Feb-19 21:18:47

We loved the area we stayed - Asakusa.

Really like our hotel too: Wired wiredhotel.com

Nice and modern, big room, close to so many shops and restaurants and less than 10 mins walk to train and underground station. A few mins walk from Sensojo temple area which is beautiful.

Here’s my list of things to do in Asakusa taken from my planning notes.

Sensoji Temple - fortune told
Nakamise-dori - shopping street
Free view tokyocheapo.com/place/asakusa-culture-tourism-center/
ebisuya.com/en/index.html - rickshaw ride
kanji-house.com - calligraphy sourviner, origami, tour and more
osumo-3.com/boj/ - sumo (£140 for us all including meal)

BubblesBuddy Mon 04-Feb-19 19:39:13

Ryokans in Kyoto will be at least £250 a night for a decent one and that’s for one room. Getting a triple might be difficult. Stay in Gion. Loads of restaurants there. You can see the Gaikos and Maikos as they go to the tea houses. It’s good for transport too. A ryokan is a traditional inn and you will sleep on a tatami mat. Comfortable ususlly! Again, Lonely Planet will have recommendations. We stayed at the Hotel Mume. That’s amazing!

Aragog Mon 04-Feb-19 20:03:05

We have the Lonely Planet guide already and have been using it as a guide.

Kyoto is somewhere we want to visit and don't have time to add more locations.

It seems that quite a few will allow three in a room - just says it will have less room at night, but that will be fine as we won't be in the room very much bar night time. Room rate we've been seeing seems about right based on what you've written and what we're finding online. Been checking a range of online review sites too.

I've read about the types of beds we will have so good to hear that they are comfortable. Getting up and down to the grown might be interesting some days (I have arthritis) but dh and dd can always pull me up smile

Dimsumlosesum Mon 04-Feb-19 20:16:41

Depends on the month you're going but just remember summer in Japan is hellish - humid, up to 40'C heat, and as you'll be outside for much of it at Disneyland it's going to be difficult.

Some fantastic festivals to be had in the summer however across the country. Again, depending on which month you go in hotels can be booked up for the major ones like Gion Matsuri in Kyoto.

As for places to stay in Tokyo, it can take two hours just to get across areas sometimes but depends what you're all interested in - its worth noting the jr pass also covers the yamanote circular line within Tokyo which is a big help. Shibuya can be handy as some areas such as nearby Harajuku and the Meiji Shrine areas are a 20-30 min stroll away up through/past yoyogi park. Asakusa is fab for exploring the more cultural side, though it gets very rammed with tourists and the heat will be crazy if you're above ground and exploring etc.

Dimsumlosesum Mon 04-Feb-19 20:21:12

Osaka is great for day excursions - again, the rail pass comes in handy and also covers the ferry from Hiroshima over to miyajima island, though that's quite a track and would probably warrant an overnight stay down there. On the way, you can stop off and see himeji castle if you want.osaka isn't the prettiest of Japan's cities but the very central part is great for delicious food. If you can't get accomodation for a good price it's also a good city to base yourself in to commute in to Kyoto, at a push. Kyoto itself is super spread out - it takes days to fully see the key attractions, so your 4 days sounds great. I'd recommend perhaps staying near to Gion if you can - absokutely beautiful part of the city, lovely and tradition heart of Kyoto with lots of siteseeing.

Dimsumlosesum Mon 04-Feb-19 20:23:28

To be honest, there are so many hotels it's hard to recommend single ones - booking.com is great for exploring these as they also include the maps of the local area complete with local attravtions/nearest train station which is very helpful. ALSO, Quidco gives you cashback for booking through booking.com so you'd get money back off any bookings you make, bonus smile

Dimsumlosesum Mon 04-Feb-19 20:24:56

Also, there's lots of hotels with sizeable triple rooms. You'll be fine smile I'll stop rambling now!

Aragog Mon 04-Feb-19 20:26:18

We will be going towards the end of August.

We know it will be hot and humid, even more so than Florida. It won't be as hot as Las Vegas at least, though will be more humid than Florida has been. But we will be prepared and we are more than happy to take our time and take the heat and humidity into consideration. We are not new to Disney so definitely happy to take time out whilst there and hunt out the cafes and restaurants in the park, and retail therapy to take advantage of air con!

We will probably stay at one of the Universal Studio hotels in Osaka - they seem to have the bigger rooms to start with, and right opposite the station - says 15 minutes into the centre.

Ah, hadn't seen that Gion was part of Kyoto. Will investigate further.

Aragog Mon 04-Feb-19 20:27:11

That's good to hear Dimsumlosesum. Do ramble on - especially at this planning stage, all advice is great!

TheFaerieQueene Mon 04-Feb-19 20:30:51

www2.rph.co.jp/en

We always stay here in an executive room. Reason being that this gives you access to the executive lounge which each evening has a help yourself free bar with everything from champagne to spirits as well as go nibbles - so a good start to the evening. There is an underground station in the basement of the hotel which can get you everywhere in the city.

CallipygianFancier Tue 05-Feb-19 00:27:07

Specific to Tokyo, I found the Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku to be very nice, and a great convenient location for the station.

The "fastest" bullet trains not being included in the rail pass is a bit of a red herring - they're express trains making fewer stops, but not actually that much faster than the ones you can use. You definitely want a rail pass, get the shortest one that works for your schedule, it'll probably pay for itself with one return trip Tokyo-Kyoto. As mentioned, no need to use it in Tokyo, the Suica card (like an oyster card) is easiest for internal travel there, and I believe it now works on the metro services in Kyoto etc too (it definitely does in Sapporo, but it's been a while since I went to Kyoto).

Visiting Nara from Kyoto is well worth considering, and you can do a day trip to Hiroshima from Kyoto or Osaka if you don't mind getting up early and returning late.

If you're flying into Narita, it's a long way from Tokyo itself, take the Narita Express train.

Car hire is quite reasonable should you need to do so (take your international driving permit), but while fuel is a little cheaper than the UK, if you use the expressways with tolls, they really add up fast.

Celeriacacaca Tue 05-Feb-19 20:00:09

Watching with interest as we're going in July with teen DCs.

Aragog Wed 06-Feb-19 20:46:51

IIRR its Haneda we will be flying into.
We will fly out of the airport at Osaka.

The two proper train journeys we will make will be Tokyo to Kyoto, and then Kyoto to Osaka. Jut single trips, not return. I need to do the figures to see if it is worth it price wise.

We will then use local trains/public transport within Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. We aren't planning to hire a car on this holiday. I'm not sure we will have time to do additional day trips further afield.

BubblesBuddy Wed 06-Feb-19 20:57:07

It’s a bit of a shame you are just doing cities. There is a lot of interesting Japan out there. Matsumoto Castle is stunning for example. Kamakura and Hase is a great day trip from Tokyo and Nara is wonderful. We also hiked on part of the Nakasendo Highway and this gets you out of the neon bustle of the cities.,

Swiftier Wed 06-Feb-19 21:05:57

I would definitely recommend Nara too OP, it’s a day trip from Kyoto if you can squeeze it in. There are loads of tame deer wandering around a park and temple complex.

My favourite parts of Japan are the smaller towns and countryside such as in the Japan Alps. So pretty!

Aragog Thu 07-Feb-19 17:09:19

It’s a bit of a shame you are just doing cities.
We do really like cities. However, if we like this visit we are likely to return at some point, especially as it'll soon (ish) be just the two of us for holidays. We do enjoy holidays and have a few each year so it's not necessarily a one off.

CallipygianFancier Thu 07-Feb-19 21:59:56

To check train prices, hyperdia.com is really useful, there's a phone app too.

Tokyo to Kyoto should cost you about £100 per person, while Kyoto to Osaka is more like £20.

As a one week rail pass is about £200, if you're certain you're not doing another long journey, yes, it's probably better value for you without it. I always travel around a lot in Japan, so I really get my money's worth out of them.

Chewbecca Sun 10-Feb-19 20:46:16

@bumblebeebum - can you share the sumo link again please, it didn’t work and I am struggling to find via google.

Aragog Sat 04-May-19 13:56:20

Flights and hotels are now all booked grin 98 days to wait ...

Been looking at the trains but not sure how we book them in advance from the UK. The suggested app isn't available in the UK it seems.

BubblesBuddy Sat 04-May-19 23:40:46

Japan Rail Pass has its own web site.

BubblesBuddy Sat 04-May-19 23:47:44

You can also buy separate non-stop Shinkansen tickets that the JR Pass does not cover if you need to. These are two separate Shinkansen services so check if either are what you want.

WorkingItOutAsIGo Sun 05-May-19 00:04:07

Just placemarking sorry!

Strawberrypancakes Sun 05-May-19 00:06:05

I would book Hilton Tokyo Bay for the whole trip...

Aragog Sun 05-May-19 18:22:45

StrawberryPancakes - that's where we are staying near Tokyo Disneyland

Aragog Sun 05-May-19 18:23:53

We don't need the rail pass. Worked out the costs and it's really not going to be worthwhile for us. But been trying to figure out how to book the bullet trains from the UK and it's really not clear. Most sites seem to think we don't need to.

PotterHead1985 Sun 05-May-19 19:26:02

Shameless placemarking as planning my trip. I do hope you keep us updated including a trip report and possibly pictures!!!

theWarOnPeace Sun 05-May-19 22:29:55

Hotel Chinzanso, as pp suggested. It’s not in a buzzy location but is a fabulous hotel - pure luxury. You can get the train all over from the station nearby, which is cheap and fast. We went over hotels for months and honestly it was the best decision we could have made. For the same price in Harajuku we would have got a shabby box room, instead we got marble bathroom with l’occitaine products, in a stunning suite with view over the gardens, and we just nipped in and out of the centre as and when. There are some little shops down the bottom of the hill that do good cheap sushi and other ready to eat meals too. Re Disney, the monorail takes you from Disney parks to the Hilton Tokyo Bay, which makes it a good spot, but seeing as it was about 50% more expensive than the Chinzanso I didn’t expect it to be a glorified Premier Inn! If I had my time again I would strongly consider staying out at the Chinzanso and getting the train back and forth to Disney. I’m pretty sure it took approx 40 mins each way by train and was very cheap, a few pounds each.

Also the Disney, I might be remembering this wrong, but I’m pretty sure you can’t just dip back and forth between the two parks, you have to choose which ones you want per day and stick to that. You can also get back on the monorail back to the shopping centre/station and there are food courts and chain restaurants etc there, plus a supermarket, so can be handy to stock up before a day at Disney.

Oh and take sanitary towels/tampons! I have terrible periods and ran out of my stockpile so had to buy more. I felt like I was trying to buy crack. A couple of supermarkets had zero sanitary stuff at all, then the shops that did, what they had was crap. Just FYI.

theWarOnPeace Sun 05-May-19 22:30:51

No you don’t need to book the train from via the U.K., I don’t think there’s a site that lets you, and it’s easy enough at the station.

cardboard33 Mon 06-May-19 03:48:48

Hiyperdia works in the UK as that's what been used, extensively before and when we were there, although maybe we just had the main website rather than the app.

Osaka and Kyoto are around 20-30 mins apart on the train so we travelled between the two lots, going to Osaka for dinner as it was cheaper than in Kyoto where we were based. Nara is around an hour from Kyoto so one day we went to Nara then onto Osaka and then back to Kyoto.

I'd highly highly recommend getting a Japanese sim for the internet. There's sites you can order from and get it delivered to your hotel for when you arrive. Japanese addresses are notoriously complicated and we made use of Google maps a lot plus things like Google translate. We wouldn't normally get a local SIM but were so thankful we did as whilst it cost about £20 for the 3 weeks it was money well spent as I genuinely think it made the trip less stressful just being able to get out our phones to navigate like we'd do in Europe.

Aragog Mon 06-May-19 11:44:35

I'm sure I can do that Potterhead - though not going til August.

Aragog Mon 06-May-19 11:55:53

Re Disney - we are just planning to do a day in each park, so not planning park hopping anyway.

We are looking at the SIM options. Though I can just use my own phone data for £5 a day which, although dearer, may be easier and less faff. We will see. We just need access to train times and google translate mainly 😆

Our booked plans are:

Flights with Emirates via a short connection at Dubai - means we can fly from our local airport rather than going to London. And I get a couple of hours leg stretch in the airports. Did it for Singapore at Easter and was fine. We land at Narita Airport which is slightly further out but may just bite the bullet and pay out for a taxi for that journey as we will be tired after the long flight.

6 nights - Tokyo but actually staying at Tokyo Bay. Disney for 2 days, and then rest will be exploring the area and in Tokyo itself. Trains seem fine for going in and out based on a friend who is currently doing similar right now. Not booked park tickets yet as it's slightly too early to do so. Dd is planning those two days via list of google and you tube research smile

Train to Kyoto. Staying in Gion for 4 nights. Have a room which is part Western and part traditional Japanese.

Train to Osaka. Staying near Universal for 3 nights and will go to that park one of the days.

Flight home is from Osaka and not til very late in the evening, so have most of that last day too.

Have the Lonely Planet book and finding lots of the advise on here useful especially now we are up to the planning for when there stage.

cardboard33 Mon 06-May-19 12:13:26

Does one of your groups phone have a dual SIM function? My husband's did so we just popped the SIM into that, took 5 seconds. We were there 18 months ago and even my new phone has a dual SIM option now so I'd imagine most do now.

Aragog Mon 06-May-19 12:26:53

Yes all of our phones do.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 06-May-19 14:13:42

Aragog

You should be able to find a coach transfer to Tokyo bay at Narita airport as taxis are extremely expensive in Japan.

Aragog Mon 06-May-19 14:14:51

Thanks. We shall explore what options we can find and take it from there. There may well be a hotel transfer too

theWarOnPeace Tue 07-May-19 10:53:58

I was told to get out disney tickets at the Disney store in Shabuya, to avoid queues at the park, which worked out really well and we saw the massive queues on the way into the park!

Nightmanagerfan Tue 07-May-19 10:58:08

You only need a 7 day rail pass - pick it up and have it valid for the day you leave Tokyo and then by the time you get to osaka you leave directly from there?

Halsall Tue 07-May-19 11:12:03

It's easy to book bullet trains there. Japanese train stations are very efficient and it's a lot of fun watching the clerk clatter away on their keyboard making the booking.

Anyone who's a fan of trains would love Japan, it's a bit like Britain in the 50's.

TheFaerieQueene Tue 07-May-19 11:38:17

www2.rph.co.jp/en

We stay here in Tokyo. It is easy to get to from either Narita or Haneda airports as it is at TCat terminal. There is a regular bus service from both airports straight to TCat.
If you upgrade your room to business you have access to the business lounge for breakfast, all day coffee/tea and soft drinks and then from 5-8 in the evening there is a self service bar with wine/champagne spirits and beer (as much as you want) as well as hot and cold Hors d'Oeuvre

It is also built above the Suitengumae Station on the Hanzomon line so easy to get around the city. You don’t leave the building to get to the station.

Next door is a fabulous small restaurant-Kotori - which is always full of locals.

Have a super time. Tokyo is remarkable.

TheFaerieQueene Tue 07-May-19 11:39:05

This link might work.

www2.rph.co.jp/en

allworthwhile Tue 07-May-19 11:41:14

Far too much time in Osaka; take the Shinkansen train down to Hiroshima for a night and visit the peace museum. It’s breathtaking.

Aragog Tue 07-May-19 12:13:32

We will only have two actual days in Osaka, as one day will be Universal. We are hoping to have a quieter couple of says to end the holiday as we will have been busy busy the days before.
We did look at going to Hiroshima but it just looks way too far to be practical.

I think when we looked at the rail pass even a 7 day one isn't needed as it's still cheaper for us without. But we will reprice up endeared the time to check.

Aragog Tue 07-May-19 12:15:42

Thewaronpeace - we plan to get our park tickets before we go. Think we can buy them in a couple of weeks as they're not yet available for our dates at present.

lalafafa Sat 15-Jun-19 23:33:15

F

MisterT373 Mon 08-Jul-19 21:30:35

I stayed at a business hotel

Keikyu EX Inn Asakusabashiekimae

It was about £45 a night and was adequate for needs. Near to Asakusabashi so will good transport links. Have to say I loved Japan and really need to get back there.

ShanghaiDiva Tue 09-Jul-19 09:51:15

@aragog
I have just returned from Osaka and was at universal for one day. We booked the park tickets in advance and also a fast pass for dd. There is the option to go on the rides as a single rider - you can queue as a family and will then be split to fill spaces on the ride. We were quite happy to do this as waiting times were much better - 10 mins for single rider on the spider man ride vs 40 mins for normal queue and sitting together. We also visited the aquarium which was vg and the big wheel is right next to it so easy to combine.
We bought our tickets in advance from klook (link from universal site) and got a discount by buying aquarium and universal tickets together. There are a limited number of fast passes available for each day, so it may be worth taking a look at that now. The park was really busy and it was a 'quiet' day, but we did not have to queue to get into Harry Potter world. I think the longest queue time we saw was 140 minutes.
I would also price the train cost against the rail pass as not always worth it depending on the number of trips you make and private lines and the fastest Shinkansen are not included. The trains don't excite me that much as my local route to Shanghai is faster - go China!

Aragog Sat 13-Jul-19 15:55:35

Thanks smile Queue times we've heard are really long! Luckily we have been to other Universal Studios so know at least some of the rides and which are our priorities. DD has bee doing some online research into those we dont know as well. We've done single rider queues a number of times before on busy days else where so good plan.

We have a day ticket and Express Pass tickets for each of us too = think out EP covers 4 rides (can't remember which ones now, have it on email) and a time slot to access HP land, - the Express pass def includes HP too.

I'm actually doing some research for how to spend our days in Japan right now - hence one of the reasons I am checking on here at the moment! Its definitely worth buying the rail passes for us having priced everything up.

Stuffofawesome Sat 13-Jul-19 16:03:29

I've booked a Japan tip for autumn and found some lovely traditional places to stay on Airbnb including Kyoto

Aragog Tue 30-Jul-19 11:42:35

Hello again

Just been planning some rough itineraries for whilst in the cities - so we don't spend half the morning deciding what to do!

A couple of questions for those in the know:

1. Getting from Nirita airport to Tokyo Bay: seems the limousine bus does't run after 6pm. Our plane lands at 5:35pm so there's little chance of catching it. We know taxis are really expensive and it would be around £150 for the journey. However, we will have been travelling for around 18-19 hours, and have two larger cases, so not sure how practical the train into Tokyo and then out again is going to be. Can anyone advise? Or are we best just swallowing the cost of the taxi?!

2. The subway/trains around Tokyo and between Tokyo Bay. Do you pay as you go, or is there a day/week pass you can get which covers it all?

Thank you x

Aragog Tue 30-Jul-19 11:44:03

We changed out flight plans, so although said the other airport earlier - its actually Nirita now where we land, which I know is further out.

Aragog Fri 23-Aug-19 12:54:54

Well tonight is our last night in Japan and it's been amazing! I can thoroughly recommend it as a holiday destination for anyone considering it!

Aragog Fri 23-Aug-19 12:56:33

...

fergusthefrog Sun 01-Sep-19 00:42:57

Hi @Aragog glad you've had a fantastic trip. We're heading to japan at the end of September so wondered if you had any tips for us re Tokyo and Kyoto. Was there anything you found especially difficult with the language barrier or any sights you'd recommend we definitely do / avoid? Many thanks!

Aragog Mon 02-Sep-19 07:38:13

Hi.

Re language...before we went everyone had said you don't need any Japanese and most people will either (a) speak lots of English and (b) often don't like people attempting poor Japanese skills.

Well, what we found was that actually not that many people, even in the city, working in shops, restaurants, public transport, taxis, etc who you'd be talking to do actually speak much English really. But also that being able to say hello, goodbye, thank you etc does help.

A lot of places had English translations - on all the trains and subways, in most restaurants, etc.

There isn't much Wi-Fi around so we decided to use our phone data - on one phone and then Dd used my hotspot to access the same. Cost £6 a day but was so useful. It was cheaper if you bought a SIM card over there etc but this worked best for us. Meant we could translate signs at attractions, menus etc and use it for directions and subway planning.

Aragog Mon 02-Sep-19 07:40:39

Re food... it can very very expensive but you can also eat cheaper from the markets etc. We like Japanese food in England but hadn't really appreciated that what we have here is a much more westernised version, and to get that style of food over there can be incredibly expensive. Some of their actual more affordable restaurant food, unless you paid a fortunate, was often somewhat different - a lot of squishy textures we discovered!! All interesting to try though!

Aragog Mon 02-Sep-19 07:46:17

Bit sure what your plans are in Kyoto and Tokyo but I would recommend trying to plan out some ideas before you go. Makes decisions in the day easier. And obviously Tokyo is huge so having a rough idea each day helps. We spent one day focusing on the west and another in the east side - one is modern, one more tradition. Then a third day exploring Tokyo Bay and Odaiba.

The subways and trains are fantastic and easy to use - the numbers in the map above the payment stations aren't codes - it's how much you pay to get there from where you are. We also found google maps directions for public transport very accurate including the suggested costs.

We used the Shinkansen to travel between Tokyo and Kyoto. We bought the tickets from a station a couple of days before - all very easy, and very very efficient.

Kyoto is much more traditional and so lovely. We stayed in giion which I recommend, especially as we spent most evenings in that area too for eating.
We had a day trip on the train from there to Nara which I'd also recommend.

The Lonely Planet guide is great and there are some good travel websites with good day plans too.

fergusthefrog Tue 03-Sep-19 22:56:46

@Aragog thank you so much this is really helpful. Interesting about the language too. Looking forward to exploring a fascinating country!

bigtimer Sun 22-Sep-19 23:02:44

Tokyo sky tree is amazing and does not shake
It's a veritable shopping centre so you could do a good half day there
Buy tickets online to skip the queue

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