Japan - where to stay in Tokyo particularly!(81 Posts)
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.
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
@Aragog thank you so much this is really helpful. Interesting about the language too. Looking forward to exploring a fascinating country!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
I've booked a Japan tip for autumn and found some lovely traditional places to stay on Airbnb including Kyoto
Thanks 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Far too much time in Osaka; take the Shinkansen train down to Hiroshima for a night and visit the peace museum. It’s breathtaking.
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.
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.
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?
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!
Thanks. We shall explore what options we can find and take it from there. There may well be a hotel transfer too
You should be able to find a coach transfer to Tokyo bay at Narita airport as taxis are extremely expensive in Japan.
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