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Need advice on Japan

8 replies

tomkitty · 28/01/2004 19:49

DH and I are planning a trip to Japan in April. I will be about 23-25 weeks pg then. I have never been to Japan before and am not sure where to go. We can spend 7-10 days there. I know I want to see Tokyo and Kyoto, but I would like to see some countryside too.

This is my first baby and I am not really sure what to expect. Dh has made me promise not to eat sushi.

I would love to hear any suggestions about what to see or tips for travelling.

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eidsvold · 28/01/2004 21:33

I visited there for 10 days in Christmas 2000 - brilliant - clean and everything so efficient. I stayed with my sil who was living there at the time in a village north of Tokyo although we spent a lot of time in Tokyo. I also travelled down to Hiroshima on the bullet train and stayed in the YHA - probably not the best place for oyu as it was up a very steep hill.

The best advice my sil gave me was to purchase a rail pass outside of Japan - Japan Rail Pass - for 7 - 10 days. You just need to get it validated at a Japan Rail (JR) office and it allows you free travel on JR trains, Tickets bought in Japan eg. for Tokyo - Kyoto are very expensive - JR pass ois the way to go. I then just booked my ticket to Hiroshima and off I went on the bullet train - fast, efficent, amazing scenery. Needless to say everything ran efficiently and effectively - if your train was due ot leave at 10.20 - it left at 10.20.

Toilets come in two styles- eastern squat style and western toilets. Generally can find both in public places.

Tokyo is split into districts and it is very easy to get around. Easy train journeys to places and then short walks from stations. Must go to Shinto shrine/temple in the middle of Tokyo - names escape me at present.

db and sil stayed in a traditional guest house in Kyoto and loved it. In Tokyo we stayed in a western style hotel - accommodation can be very expensive. There are separate places where businessmen eat and then families - just check out places - think I used a rough guide and sil had a lonely planet found then very helpful.

I found it one of the most amazing places to visit..... Hiroshima was mindblowing.......

according to sil Kyoto is incredible.

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helenmh · 29/01/2004 15:27

We went to japan prechildren for a few days.Fascinating place. We stayed in Tokyo but went on the bullet train to Kyoto which was fabulous. we also took a train North into the mountains- I think the place was called Nikko?Its very well organised but not many people speak english- very clean. Eating out could be expansive - i think we went for set meals. There was something you could order for breakfast called morning service- it was cheaper than just getting coffee. The standard of service in hotels was excellent. Avoid the tokyo underground at rush hour
helen

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Quackers · 30/01/2004 09:57

Hi, I lived in japan for 3 months and travelled there many times over a few years. Biggest tip is to learn basic phrases that will get you by as many of the streets look the same!!!!! Always have a pen and paper on you to write down names of places and you can be directed. Many Japanese people do not speak English and most will be 'scared' if you approach them unless they are business men. However they are very welcoming and hospitable! As has already been said it's clean and everything runs like clockwork.

Top places to go, obviously Hiroshima on the bullet 'shinkansen'
Nara, a beautiful place to go by train with wild deer you can feed and nearbly Nikko.
In Tokyo itself, Ikihabara - electrical city - fantastic place to spend looking at new inventions and pick up great bargains.
Shinjuku, has great shops and restaurants
And not forgetting Rappongi!!! The place to go at night. All the foreigners 'gaijins' are found here at night and they will direct you to the best night spots and restaurants. A good place to stay is Shinagawa, lots of western hotels and the locals are used to tourists and business men from oversees being round there. The shops there are good too and it has a great department store next to the station for tradtional food and cheap alcohol (for DH/P)!!
That's all I can think of for now!! Oh whne you arrive the limousine bus outside takes you into Tokyo in about 1 hr 30 mins, same as train, but more convenient.

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Quackers · 30/01/2004 09:58

Oh BTW, the Japanese hate being tipped - see it as their duty to serve you! However in more western places they have got used to being tipped so be wary of that!

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tomkitty · 30/01/2004 17:43

Thanks eidsvold, helen and quackers. Last night the group of people I was with almost convinced me that going to Japan pg would be a big mistake. Thank goodness I logged in again here.

Lufthansa had fares of £382 going yesterday and I didn't book. Gone today, wouldn't you know it.

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Jimjams · 30/01/2004 20:44

Lived there for a year and had to use Japanese hospitals occasionally (no GP's as such you go to hospital). The service is quick, the hospitals are not plush but they are clean and everyone is helpful. You have to bring in your own food though. If you needed a scan or anything whilst there you will be given a little photo album to keep the piccies in.

I lived in Hiroshima ken- up in the mountains.

Travel outside the cities and you will find everyone to be very very friendly. Not much English will be spoken though (unless a few drinks have been downed) so its worth knowing some basic Japanese.

I wouldn't worry too much about sushi either- the fish is incredibly fresh. Keep away from puffer fish (fugu) though.

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OuiOui · 02/02/2004 15:29

Hi everyone
great advice all round but we want to go there with the kids. We live in Bangkok and are thinking of going to Japan beginning April with our 2.5 year old dd and our 10 month old ds. Obviosly will need lots of baby paraphenalia so any advice? where to stay? what need to bring/not to bring? availability of milk? convenience of travel around town? getting around with buggies? (impossible in Bangkok!!!) all advice greatly appreciated.

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Quackers · 03/02/2004 09:33

TBH, it's very hard with young children. It's just so busy. Most Mums in big cities carry kiddies on their backs in sling type things. You would find the larger western hotels very helpful with children but I would find it hard to occupy children for more than a day or so. The zoo in Tokyo is not a very nice place. The Japanese unfortunately do not have the same standards of care for animals as we do. Would you consider Singapore maybe. It has some fab places for children and very family freindly. A buggy would be fine there too. The night safari is great for all ages!! Although it's night, it's wehn it's dark so early evening you can do it. Sorry it's not more positive. Nara and Kyoto are lovely and worth visiting with children, feed the deer etc... but I personally wouldn't take my littln's. Hope someone can give you some good advice on here if they have been with kids as I went on my own. Good luck!!

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