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Please help plan our trip to Japan

(34 Posts)
Celeriacacaca Sat 09-Feb-19 09:57:42

We are going in July (I know it will be hot!) for 17 nights. I have a broad plan but need a couple of recommendations for places please - one somewhere that's not a city, maybe mountains, countryside etc, the other a beach place that we could stay for 4 nights before flying from Narita. So far I'm thinking
1-5 Tokyo
5-7 Hiroshima
7-11 Kyoto/Osaka
11-17 2 nights in non-city location/4 nights beach
I'm not fixed on timings so can do in any order but do want to spend at least 5 nights in Tokyo.
Please recommend...

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Celeriacacaca Sat 09-Feb-19 09:58:48

We consists of me, DH, DS (17 and mad on anything Japanese) and DD (16).
Any location and/or hotel recommendations too. Modest budget.

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Chewbecca Sun 10-Feb-19 20:36:55

We’re going to Japan this summer too, me, DH & DS15 and we are planning in earnest. Haven’t been before so can’t help with personal recommendations.

We are cruising for a fortnight of our trip, around the islands and up to Russia so have a little less planning to do.

A few things we have fairly worked out are that we are spending a few days in Tokyo pre-cruise and have a hotel called Candeo booked as it appeared to be central, in a nice area.

We’re going to Hiroshima just overnight and have a hotel booked there too.

We have a food tour booked in Tokyo and are planning to book a dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant.

I would like to go to a sumo match but it doesn’t seem to be a year round activity so i’m still working on that.
We want to visit Mount Fuji but haven’t worked out the best way to get there yet.
We are going to Kyoto/Osaka on the ship & plan to do tea ceremony / geisha there.

Celeriacacaca Mon 11-Feb-19 21:31:08


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tanitani Tue 12-Feb-19 08:07:03

Hi! I live in Japan - not Tokyo but have been there and have been to Kyoto and Osaka.
Any questions please holler!

Any specific things you want to see - or pop culture things your 17 year old is desperate to see?

In Osaka you should visit the Namba area - it's full of games places and I think your DS would love it.
There is SO much to do in Tokyo - and the train stations are really big so it will take you longer to get around than you might think. So 5 days is great!

tanitani Tue 12-Feb-19 08:07:55

Also the toyoko inn hotel is a brand you see everywhere, it's a fairly cheap business style hotel so I feel it's good value for a budget.

Celeriacacaca Tue 12-Feb-19 20:31:32

Thank you Tanitani. I am going to do some planning next week during half term so will be in touch. Thanks again!

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ginswinger Tue 12-Feb-19 21:12:18

I used to plan holidays in Japan so speak with a degree of confidence. Here's what I might suggest:

1-5 Tokyo
Stay somewhere central like Shinjuku, take a river cruise, Hamarikyu Gardens, Akihabara, Harajuku etc.... Take a day trip to the Hakone National Park and take the route around for good views of Fuji. Perhaps a day trip to Kamakura?
Get a JR pass before you leave the UK-this gives you unlimited train travel on almost every train and is only available to foreigners
5-7 Hiroshima-Factor in a trip to Miyajima, it's a must!
7-11 Kyoto/Osaka
Osaka is nice but industrial, Kyoto is much nicer. Try a day trip to Uji, it's a bit special and not well known for foreigners
11-17 2 nights in non-city location/4 nights beach
Japan isn't well known for its beaches except in Okinawa which is a flight away. Think about two nights max on Mount Koya (Koyasan) for getting away from everything. Stay in temple, explore the mountain. Alternatively, Naoshima, an art island, or spend four days on Shikoku Island following the pilgrims. Sometimes you can stay at the Chiori House on Shikoku which is a great experience

Hope that helps, PM me if you want to chat

blueshoes Tue 12-Feb-19 22:17:58

Very envious. It is my dream to visit to Japan.

ginswinger, I prefer free and easy rather than package tours but a little daunted by not knowing Japanese. Also, there are no street signs in Tokyo? How easy is it to get around as a non-Japanese speaking gaijin?

BubblesBuddy Tue 12-Feb-19 23:32:02

We have been to Japan and getting around is easy. Rail signage is often in English. There might be occasions when info is only in Japanese but it becomes obvious! You can point at food in cafes and restaurants and I was surprised how well we got on.

Biggest problem was tiny hotel signs. A4. In Tokyo the hotel started in flour 24. The sign at ground level was minuscule. Also get photocopies of what restaurants look like in Kyoto. They all look the same! Your hotel will help.

Lastly, anyone with 4 days to spare should consider Matsumoto and the Alpes region. Or the Nakasendo Highway.

BubblesBuddy Tue 12-Feb-19 23:32:42

On floor 24.

ChesterGreySideboard Tue 12-Feb-19 23:37:00

When I went the best thing I took was an English language A to Z of Tokyo and the same for the trains. Most trains, in Tokyo at least, have the signs in English as well as Japanese and the announcements are in English too.

This was in the days before smart phones though so possibly not so vital today.

tanitani Wed 13-Feb-19 00:55:22

Also for navigating trains etc. there's an app called Hyperdia that is so useful. Tells you which one to get - what the stations are it goes through (so you can check you're on the right one) and how much it might be.

Puppylucky Wed 13-Feb-19 01:26:35

We went last August and yes it was very hot! We went from Tokyo to Kyoto by train via a little town called Takayama which was beautiful - even the train journey was spectacular

tanitani Wed 13-Feb-19 06:14:12

@Puppylucky You came here last August? Wow, it was record breaking hot, so that's amazing. Glad you still enjoyed, and I second Takayama, my parents visited there when they visited me and said it was wonderful.

blueshoes Wed 13-Feb-19 08:06:42

Great tips! Is it very expensive? Guess the sinking pound does not help.

tanitani Wed 13-Feb-19 12:45:52

If you're in Tokyo/Kyoto etc it can be, when you're on a trip travelling around places will be the biggest expense.
Eating out can actually be quite cheap - there are so many places that are cheap but still delicious.
Getting the JR railcard will save you a lot, especially if you use the Shinkansen even just twice.

Auntiepatricia Wed 13-Feb-19 12:48:38

Tanitani, ha, I know the owner of Toyota Inn! Hadn’t thought of him in a few years!

Stuffofawesome Wed 13-Feb-19 12:53:59

Watching with interest we are going in October

ChesterGreySideboard Wed 13-Feb-19 13:07:00

I went in October and it was hot, uk summer level of hot.

blueshoes Thu 14-Feb-19 14:15:35

Thanks, Tani, that is good to know.

Celeriacacaca Thu 14-Feb-19 21:27:44

Thanks all. Will read and digest! Thanks again.

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Celeriacacaca Thu 14-Feb-19 21:29:27

Ginswinger (love the name) that sounds fab, thank you. Will be in touch.

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Swiftier Tue 26-Feb-19 08:27:11

I spent a month in Japan last year, we spent several nights in Tokyo exploring, then Fuji Five Lakes, the Japan Alps, then Kyoto, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Yufuin.

My thoughts:

Fuji Five Lakes - great views of Fuji, weather permitting. A couple of hours from Tokyo so could be a one or two night trip.

Japan Alps were amazing and very beautiful. My faviourite part of the trip, we had a week in the Alps. With your spare days in your itinerary I’d consider putting the Japan Alps in.

Kyoto - this was my least favourite -only because everywhere was extremely busy. Be prepared, some of the temples, shrines and major sites are absolutely rammed. There was a lot to see - so I do think it’s worth it - but personally I wouldn’t go back on my next trip. I’d rather spend more time in the mountains or on the islands. The day trip to Nara was definitely worth it as was Fushima Inari.

Hiroshima - very interesting and a vibrant city. Miyajima is amazing and worth spending at least a day if not overnight.

Fukuoka - we used as a base to explore Kyushu and to travel to Yufuin which I loved. There are some beach destinations on Kyushu if you wanted a few days on the beach - and you wouldn’t have to fly. We didn’t make it to Okinawa but these islands would be another possibility for the days you haven’t planned yet. You’d have to fly but it’s not that expensive/not a long journey.

Anyway I am sure you will love Japan it is amazing.

Pegase Tue 26-Feb-19 09:47:28

Okinawa is ace- we flew on low cost Vanilla Air flights from Tokyo and beaches were lovely and totally different atmosphere to the main Japanese islands. Will be hot at that time of year too!

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