Tokyo/Japan for 8 days in spring

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Post #1  Postby Chris Blum » February 10th 2017, 7:48am

First Asian visit is spring break in Japan with out 15yo homebody, picky eater, soccer fan son. I'm Just looking to soak up the vibe, experiencing something a bit different from Europe. No bucket list items, really. No luxury hotels, no Michelin restaurants. 8 days including jet lag from a 13hr coach flight.

We will buy the rail pass here in the states.
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Post #2  Postby Andrew Hall » February 10th 2017, 9:24am

The real question is what do you like? Aside from historical places and natural features, the wonderment of Japan is that you can find nearly anything you are into amped to 11. eg, if the 15yr is into street culture/skateboarding, you can find cutting edge fashion shops for same. The best advice for Tokyo I can give (I spent a month there last year) is to figure out what first, then dial into an area where it is concentrated and then add on other things/just walking.

Within easy train riding, Kyoto was my least favorite not-Tokyo place, but there are unique things there and it is totally worth visiting. I loved Osaka/Kobe.
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Post #3  Postby David K o l i n » February 10th 2017, 10:02am

Picky eater should not be a problem. Kidding. My son had a ton of problems in Japan. Thankfully, for all of us, we had a Subway in the mall below our hotel in Kyoto, so we'd get him a sandwich, leave him in the rom and go out to dinner.

You'll have a great time, Chris. Tokyo is hyper-stimulating and awesome once you get in the rhythm. Language can be a barrier, but I was able to bring down some barriers using Google's verbal translation program when I got in a jam. It didn't work very well, but everyone had fun trying to figure out what it said.

I think Kyoto is awesome, but you are likely to spend your time visiting temples and shrines, which our 13 year old wasn't that into.
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Post #4  Postby Craig G » February 10th 2017, 10:49am

You can try to get your son interested in Japanese fast food. Try listening to Japanesepod101's discussions on the topic:

https://www.japanesepod101.com/2006/03/ ... fast-food/
https://www.japanesepod101.com/2006/03/ ... st-food-2/

I can't say what he might like, but going to MosBurger is a Japanese experience even if he just ends up with a regular burger. The real winners are Coco Ichiban for curry and Yoshinoya for Gyudon (Yoshinoya is crap in the USA but really good in Japan).

If he likes noodles, Ramen places are cheap and can be very good. Tsukemen (dipping Ramen) might be a good choice since you can decide how to eat it. Yakitori and tempura might also work well depending on what he eats.

There are also lots of good Italian restaurants in Japan so if he likes that there should never be a problem finding something.

Some of the chain restaurants like Otoya can be good because they have a wide variety of foods. Here's an article on various chains:

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/08/15/s ... staurants/
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Post #5  Postby David K o l i n » February 10th 2017, 11:00am

Lawson's and 7-11 may have options he likes as well in a pinch if you're walking around
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Post #6  Postby Alan Rath » February 10th 2017, 11:43am

Well, I'm going to disagree with the dislike for Kyoto. I hate Tokyo, because I hate big cities, concrete, and crowds, and that's mostly what Tokyo is. Obviously, there are lots of interesting things there, and sights you just won't see anywhere else, but if it were me I would be spending a couple days there and getting out. Osaka no better (for me). Kyoto town center itself is nothing great, though a much, much smaller city than either Tokyo or Osaka. But scattered all around Kyoto are amazing gardens and temples. To me, this is truly Japan.
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Post #7  Postby Andrew Hall » February 10th 2017, 1:09pm

Alan Rath wrote:Well, I'm going to disagree with the dislike for Kyoto. I hate Tokyo, because I hate big cities, concrete, and crowds, and that's mostly what Tokyo is. Obviously, there are lots of interesting things there, and sights you just won't see anywhere else, but if it were me I would be spending a couple days there and getting out. Osaka no better (for me). Kyoto town center itself is nothing great, though a much, much smaller city than either Tokyo or Osaka. But scattered all around Kyoto are amazing gardens and temples. To me, this is truly Japan.


Kyoto is a must-visit, I agree. Golden Temple, Arashiyama, Kiyomizu-dera and other places are like nothing else. If you leave Tokyo, Kyoto and Fuji would be the two things to do. But it also felt joltingly touristy at times and I preferred the energy and vibe elsewhere.
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Post #8  Postby Sarah Kirschbaum » February 10th 2017, 6:43pm

Picky eater kids can do great in Japan - ramen, tonkatsu, the tamer versions of yakitori, various versions of American fast food, karaage....You can easily get pizza, burgers and fries in the cities. And walking around Shinjuku at night is stimulation for the teenage mind for sure.

Don't skip Kyoto - it will be crazy in cherry blossom season, though. If you want to get any sense of what Japan is about, you need to at least touch Kyoto. The Japanese go there to feel more Japanese, which is very important to them. You do not have to overdose on temples, either. We spend very little time at temples anymore and still think it's a very special place. Do a side trip to Nara - even a youngster would find it hard not to be impressed by the big Buddha and to have fun with the deer.

Your son likes soccer? How about baseball? I don't even like baseball and have had a lot of fun at games in Japan. The trains are fun in and of themselves. Getting around within Japan is very easy. We actually like Fukuoka a lot, and there are many, many fewer tourists. Osaka is fun, especially for the food obsessed, but offers less for the non-foodies, in my opinion.

Keep in mind that Tokyo is a very strange, though wonderful place. I have a theory about it being Japan for either the very beginner or very advanced. But that's a story for another time.
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Post #9  Postby Eric Ifune » February 11th 2017, 10:32am

Nara is very traditional as well and a great day trip.
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Post #10  Postby doug johnson » February 11th 2017, 11:07am

I agree Nara is great and well worth 2 days.

Cherry viewing would seem to be a must if you are there that time and looking for Japanese vibe.

Other great 2-day / 1 night trips would be Niko and Hakone for a "domestic" tourist / onsen outing.
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Post #11  Postby doug johnson » February 11th 2017, 11:07am

I agree Nara is great and well worth 2 days.

Cherry viewing would seem to be a must if you are there that time and looking for Japanese vibe.

Other great 2-day / 1 night trips would be Nikko and Hakone for a "domestic" tourist / onsen outing.
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Post #12  Postby David K o l i n » February 11th 2017, 1:22pm

Nara is a perfect day trip from Kyoto. In addition to what's been described above, Chris, deer wander around the town and approach you for food, bowing once or twice (biscuits are sold to feed them). Some can get a bit aggressive (one went after me short tail). Not dangerous (but watch their racks), but some kids can be a bit overwhelmed by the contact, but most delight in it
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Post #13  Postby Todd Hamina » February 11th 2017, 1:30pm

I was in Tokyo for a week in 06. The hotel was walking distance to the fish market, so walked over for breakfast most days. I should have done it everyday. Awesome town for walking, I lost weight on that trip.
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Post #14  Postby RyanC » February 11th 2017, 1:33pm

Another spot to think about is a day/night in Hiroshima and a ferry to Miyajima. An unexpected highlight of our trip.
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Post #15  Postby jordan whitehead » February 12th 2017, 8:06pm

Last time I was there, over 7 nights I stayed in Kyoto, Tokyo, and Osaka. Took a day trip to Hiroshima. Rail pass was a must.

Contemplating another trip this spring.
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Post #16  Postby David K o l i n » February 12th 2017, 8:25pm

Hiroshima is an easy day trip from Kyoto and quite moving. Hey Jordan - how about another tofu salad in Kyoto?
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Post #17  Postby jordan whitehead » February 12th 2017, 10:08pm

David K o l i n wrote: Hey Jordan - how about another tofu salad in Kyoto?


[bleh.gif]
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Post #18  Postby Chris Blum » February 13th 2017, 7:22am

We tend to hate concrete and crowds, but that is strangely a bit of the attraction of Tokyo...just kinda immersing ourselves in the craziness for a few days. We have a friend who goes to (near Tokyo) every spring to visit family. We'll probably spend a day getting guided around by her, so that will be really great.

How does something like this sound?
Day 1 Jet lagged afternoon arrival. Walk around some neighborhood trying to stay awake.
Day 2 Probably wake up early...fish market?? Tokyo sites.
Day 3 More Tokyo
Day 4 Mid-morning train to Kyoto (or another day in Tokyo with a daytrip to Kawagoe for Edo history)
Day 5 Kyoto
Day 6 Rural/natural Japan? (but anything is on the table)
Day 7 Rural/natural Japan?
Day 8 Travel day back to Tokyo, souvenirs and a nice meal.
Day 9 Depart in afternoon.

Tokyo for late planners is a problem. Lodging for three is hard to find and expensive if we want to stay near the main station, Shinjuku or near the Yamanote metro line. Normally I'd find something out of the hustle and bustle for downtime if we were staying longer, but we are so compressed timewise. I kinda want to stay near the buzz and someplace convenient for connections.

Hiroshima would normally be a must see if we had more time. I'm also not sure if I want to do that kind of "heavy lifting" emotionally right now. I kinda want this to be an escape.

Osaka; again sounds like a really great town; the food, the friendly people. I realize it's a different vibe once you get to know people, but for a quick 1-2 visit would we even pick up on how it is distinct from Tokyo?

Mount Fuji and the lakes sound beautiful, but I'm wondering if we would get a more sedate natural experience away from the Spring crowds. We really love small inns, so a Ryokan in some out of the way area might be a better thing. One caveat: The public hot springs have my wife in a panic, and there is no bleeping way Dario would be up for that.
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Post #19  Postby Alan Rath » February 13th 2017, 12:31pm

That sounds good to me. Doesn't get more buzzy than Shinjuku. First time I came up to ground level from that station it looked like godzilla had stepped on a human ant hill, just masses of people in every direction. I usually stay in Shinagawa, within walking distance of the station. Subway and trains are pretty easy to deal with, though there are a number of different types of trains and lines. You'll get the hang of it soon enough.
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Post #20  Postby Sarah Kirschbaum » February 13th 2017, 12:41pm

Tokyo is one of the easiest cities in the world to navigate. I wouldn't worry about staying close to a particular subway line or station, as everything is a quick trip unless you're looking at way out of the way. Everywhere in Tokyo has buzz, so you needn't worry about that, either. You couldn't pay me to stay near Shinjuku, though I enjoy the occasional visit
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Post #21  Postby Sarah Kirschbaum » February 13th 2017, 12:55pm

Oh - also be aware of Tsukiji closings on Sunday and I believe Wednesday. Some of the outer market is open, but not all. A breakfast sushi run is a great plan. I advise against standing in line for the 2-3 famous places. There's very little difference - all the fish there is incredibly fresh. Duh.
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Post #22  Postby Chris Blum » February 13th 2017, 5:07pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: You couldn't pay me to stay near Shinjuku, though I enjoy the occasional visit


Not even the West side of the station (away from kabukicho)? What is the aspect you don't like?
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Post #23  Postby Sarah Kirschbaum » February 13th 2017, 7:14pm

I don't know the area so well that I can say with authority that every part of it is this way, but to me it epitomizes the overwhelming, neon, people pouring down the streets aspect of Tokyo that is part of its essential character, but not what I want to be immersed in for long. Of course there are quieter times, and quieter streets, I'm sure, but even the station itself is almost too much - I think it's 3-4 separate stops, actually, that are all connected like a small city underground, IIRC. I prefer staying somewhere near a good, useful subway line which is never too crowded, within walking distance of some cute, interesting streets, with plenty of character, and very little of the madding crowd. It's easy to dip a toe into the more Bladerunner aspects without having to set up camp there.

My preference, not everyone's I'm sure. If that's where you want to be, go for it. I only wanted to convey that if you feel it's necessary for convenience, it's not.
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Post #24  Postby Chris Blum » February 13th 2017, 7:41pm

Thanks. I think we are very similar in that way. The jarring crazy neon street scene sounds exhausting. I'd always rather find a quieter street near a subway stop. Maybe your advice makes sense.
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Post #25  Postby MaiMadigan » February 13th 2017, 8:34pm

Shinjuku is a hole. Would avoid it for staying in although you may need to traverse it to get to some of the trains/places you will visit.

For three people the Prince in front of Shinagawa has good deals and seems to handle three people better than many. And does not break the bank even a little bit. Oh and the breakfast is on them if you sign up for their frequent guest program.

I was intrigued by a few comments above and tend to nod in general agreement with most. The one that stands out is the one that expresses dislike for large concrete cities in favor of something like Kyoto.

Kyoto in its own right is extremely worth 24-48 hours of your life, but I think the important takeaway from that post and which is right on the money, is the necessity to identify what you want from the trip and places you visit. I think the train pass and all the possibilities it opens up is a massively good move. I also think that planning an itinerary around a trip from Tokyo to Kyushu and hitting Kyoto, Hiroshima etc. along the way makes for a great joint discovery of Japan trip that almost entirely takes the varying styles of life and activity preferences expressed out of the equation.

Having lived here for 27 years I can perhaps add color to some of the ideas you are batting around and would also direct you to FlyerTalk (the Japan forum specifically) as it has several uber-detailed itineraries from which you could pick and choose aspects.

If you would like to PM me or mail I am always available also.

You have quite a wonderful time ahead of you no matter what you choose this time and set aside for the next.

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Post #26  Postby Jeff Loftus » February 14th 2017, 6:32am

Our first trip to Japan was Tokyo, Kyoto and Koyasan. Although we loved all 3 places, the most memorable was actually Koyasan. If your looking for a more tranquil and rural setting, this could be an option for you.
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Post #27  Postby Chris Blum » February 14th 2017, 10:04am

We will be there during the busiest time for Kyoto. So...our friend, who will be visiting at the same time and has offered to shepherd us around has us skipping Kyoto in favor of Nara, and going to Hakone for our "rural japan" fix.

Here it is in detail...

Day 1 arrive in Tokyo
Day 2 tokyo area sightseeing:
Asakusa senso-ji temple?
Tsukuji fish market?
Meiji shrine/harajuku crazy shopping
Ryogoku sumo wrestler watching/ Tokyo Edo Museum?
Ueno park/national treasures museum?
Ginza shopping/food basements
Shinjuku area nightlife/restaurants/shopping
Day 3 tokyo sight seeing
Day 4 Kamakura Daibutsu (big Buddha) or Kawagoe?
Day 5 head to Hakone
Day 6 Hakone and then afternoon head to Nara
Day 7 Nara Todaiji gardens, Nara park, kasuga-taishi
Day 8 Head to Tokyo
Day 9 Leave Japan
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Post #28  Postby Andrew Hall » February 14th 2017, 1:10pm

Chris Blum wrote:We will be there during the busiest time for Kyoto. So...our friend, who will be visiting at the same time and has offered to shepherd us around has us skipping Kyoto in favor of Nara, and going to Hakone for our "rural japan" fix.

Here it is in detail...

Day 1 arrive in Tokyo
Day 2 tokyo area sightseeing:
Asakusa senso-ji temple?
Tsukuji fish market?
Meiji shrine/harajuku crazy shopping
Ryogoku sumo wrestler watching/ Tokyo Edo Museum?
Ueno park/national treasures museum?
Ginza shopping/food basements
Shinjuku area nightlife/restaurants/shopping


Sounds like a great trip.

I am assuming this Tokyo list represents potential things to-do? I can tell you from personal experience, it is possible to spend 2 days clothes shopping in Harajuku/Shibuya!

btw - my personal must-see is the Hachiko statue at Shibuya station. I tear up every time.
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Post #29  Postby doug johnson » February 14th 2017, 9:12pm

Sounds fun!

I know you said no Michelin restaurants but in Nara you might want to check out Wa Yamamura (http://www15-yamamura.sakura.ne.jp/index.html). It has earned 3 stars but is quite casual, reasonably priced, and the proprietors are very friendly.

Nara is all about the temples, shrines, and park, so I would not try to visit too many of those in Tokyo. However, Yasukuni may be interesting to you for the peek it provides into a current of Japanese politics. My Chinese national wife actually refused to step foot into its grounds with me so powerful is its symbolism in East Asia!

My favorite sights in Hakone were the Open Air Museum (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5208.html) and Owakadani, which has great views of Fuji (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5203.html). And while in Hakone if you are staying in Yumoto you will find that there are limited dinner spots - you might look for this place (https://tabelog.com/kanagawa/A1410/A141 ... 111723545/). It's an izakaya run by a relatively young guy named Tomo and his doll-like young wife Hikari. Tomo speaks pretty good english and his food is way better than it has the rights to be.
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Post #30  Postby Jay Miller » February 15th 2017, 7:27am

Chris Blum wrote:First Asian visit is spring break in Japan with out 15yo homebody, picky eater, soccer fan son.


Just to be clear before I give advice - did you mean "without" or "with our"?

I had assumed the former but reading through the thread I see everyone else assumed the latter so I'm probably wrong.

In either case a visit to Akihabara - the electronics district in Tokyo - can be fun. We picked up a foot massager which is 10x better than anything I've ever tried in Brookstone.

Also in either case you and your son would enjoy the yakitori sold at Nara station. Who doesn't like grilled meat on a skewer? You can go for the more interesting innards and get chicken or beef for him. It's so good every time we talk about a return visit to Japan Nara station for yakitori is always mentioned.

It seems a shame to skip Kyoto which is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities I've ever visited but I understand the wish to avoid the cherry blossom crowds.

Probably my best advice though is to listen to anything Sarah says.
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Post #31  Postby Sarah Kirschbaum » February 15th 2017, 10:54am

Jay Miller wrote:
Probably my best advice though is to listen to anything Sarah says.



Very kind of you, Jay. I am glad my recommendations were helpful to you and Arnold. What a treat it was to connect with you two in Kyoto!

I second Doug's recommendation of Wa Yamamura. It is exceptional. You can find my write-up of one of our meals there in either the Travel or the Epicurian Exploits section. If not there, do try and find something similar in Nara, as I personally think it would be a shame not to do one kaiseki (or kaiseki-ish) type meal, when you are in its homeland.
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Post #32  Postby Chris Blum » February 15th 2017, 1:54pm

Yes, Dario is coming with. He'll be fine food-wise. He likes meat, rice, gyoza, and I'm sure he'll love the Tonkatsu (he loves german schnitzel). The raw fish thing and anything that is a composed dish he might balk at. He won't even eat ramen, but we'll see if he gets more adventurous.

It was funny to hear Kirsten tell us that her husband is scolding her for not including Kyoto on the trip. I am definitely conflicted.

I think the dining recs sound great. A big multi-course kaiseki sounds fun. We'll call about that this week. I'm a guy who likes grazing also...so little stalls and street food are my thing.

I do have a question about akiba...do shops have cheap prices on camera stuff (lenses), or am I better off buying from amazon back home?
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Post #33  Postby Danius Barzdukas » February 19th 2017, 5:50pm

Jeff Loftus wrote:Our first trip to Japan was Tokyo, Kyoto and Koyasan. Although we loved all 3 places, the most memorable was actually Koyasan. If your looking for a more tranquil and rural setting, this could be an option for you.



I was also going to recommend Koya-san, although getting there can be time-consuming. We went on a day trip from Osaka where we went persimmon picking, to a hot spring (onsen) and then to Koya-san, so that kind of made it a full day. I'd add an onsen to your trip if you are willing to do that. Not the ideal time for it, but it is still a good experience. I hope you have a fun trip.
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Post #34  Postby AdamK » February 19th 2017, 5:55pm

We are also doing a trip this Summer. Will be a group of 3...Me(35), Wife 33 and daughter 5. Here is our plan:

Friday arrive at Narita. Rented an airbnb in Shinjuku-ku
Saturday-Sunday tour Tokyo(hired private tour guide)
Monday Tokyo---->Mount Fuji---->Kyoto airbnb in Kyōto-shi
Tuesday-Wednesday Kyoto(back to Tokyo thursday afternoon)
Thursday Disney Tokyo
Return home Friday.

Very excited. It is our first trip to Asia
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Post #35  Postby Randy Bowman » February 19th 2017, 7:54pm

It's been 55 years since I left Japan and as a picky eater, I didn't get the foodie experience and I'm sure nothing is like it was. We lived near Fukuoka. Going to the Ginza in Tokyo was like going to a mall. Going to the Ginza in smaller towns or outskirts of the larger cities was always fun and an experience of sights, smells and a myriad of items you've never seen nor knew existed. Playing Pachinko at a Pachinko Palace was more entertaining than playing slot machines in Reno. I clearly remember the aroma from the rice paddies. Parks and shrines that aren't commercialized hold wondrous beauty and detail. While my dad wasn't treated that well for some obvious reasons, I was treated wonderfully. The people were very giving and the traditions, honor and respect were inspiring to a boy of 9 to 12 years old.

While I want to return, I'm afraid I won't find what I remember.
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Post #36  Postby Steven Pumilia » February 19th 2017, 8:31pm

I doubt you will find any " bargains" on camera equipment (unless you looking at used) in Japan.... Hard to beat Amazon/B&H pricing. Butj there is some stuff you can't find here.... but most prices are no better.
There are a lot of cool stores in Japan -- dont miss Tokyu Hands or Village Vanguard.
Shimo-Kitazawa is a cool neighborhood to wander around in Tokyo. Food won't be an issue, but many restaurants only serve one type of thing -- like sushi, ramen, tonkatsu, tempura, etc..... Kyoto is difficult to spend too much time in.... there is so much to see.... The trains are super cool and efficient. Japan-guide.com is a great resource.
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Post #37  Postby ColinH » February 24th 2017, 3:33am

Nara is pretty far.

Maybe have a look at Nikko? Nikko is accessible as a day trip if you want to from Tokyo. Relatively rural.

Kamakura is nice. I guess the big buddha is fun to see but some of the temples are pretty cool. There are some walking trails that connect things which is more interesting than waiting for the bus to get around.
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Post #38  Postby c_choi_ » February 26th 2017, 9:25am

Kyoto has far better sights, temples, parks and overall experiences than Nara; I'm biased since I used to live there for a couple of years but there's really no metric I can think of besides personal ones to pick the latter over the former, especially as a tourist. If the cherry blossom season has you worried, I wouldn't honestly since by comparison to the average commuting crowd passing through Shibuya, the flower groups are a literal walk in the park by numbers.
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Post #39  Postby Barry L i p t o n » February 26th 2017, 10:37am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:I don't know the area so well that I can say with authority that every part of it is this way, but to me it epitomizes the overwhelming, neon, people pouring down the streets aspect of Tokyo that is part of its essential character, but not what I want to be immersed in for long. Of course there are quieter times, and quieter streets, I'm sure, but even the station itself is almost too much - I think it's 3-4 separate stops, actually, that are all connected like a small city underground, IIRC. I prefer staying somewhere near a good, useful subway line which is never too crowded, within walking distance of some cute, interesting streets, with plenty of character, and very little of the madding crowd. It's easy to dip a toe into the more Bladerunner aspects without having to set up camp there.

My preference, not everyone's I'm sure. If that's where you want to be, go for it. I only wanted to convey that if you feel it's necessary for convenience, it's not.


Hi Sarah

Interesting comments - I was only in Tokyo once, 19 years ago, but stayed at the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku and loved it.

What neighborhood would you recommend, and is there a hotel there that I can stay on points at?
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Post #40  Postby Sarah Kirschbaum » February 27th 2017, 11:31am

I like relative quiet rather than bustle, so personal preference. Shinjuku is almost the textbook definition of the neon, crowded, wave of humanity at night image you have of Tokyo. That said, I don't think where you stay is that important, since I trust you won't be limiting yourself to your hotel's immediate vicinity. Pick a nice hotel you like. It will almost certainly be near a metro stop.

I'm sorry but I don't know anything about hotel loyalty programs where one can use miles except the Intercontinental, which is our program. The ANA Intercon in Akasaka is a nice hotel and convenient. The airport Limousine bus to Akasaka goes there very first stop. Beyond that, I'm not going to be much help.
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Post #41  Postby Chris Blum » February 27th 2017, 12:15pm

So we snagged a plain business hotel in a quieter area near a smaller subway station that is 3 stops from Tokyo Station.

I mentioned Kyoto again to Kirsten and Naoto when we had dinner Saturday* Naoto thinks Kyoto is pretty important, but when Kirsten reminded him what a zoo it was for them during a past cherry blossom time visit, he sort of agreed. It's still up for discussion tho.

We also talked about Wa Yamamura. He said it was on the upper end of Kaiseki pricing, but we agreed to give them a call and try to make reservations. Michelin 3 stars is not something I get to try very often.

* (traditional Japanese dinner of crabcake appetizer, coq au vin, potatoes roasted in duck fat, green beans w garlic and bacon, salad, and creme brulee)
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Post #42  Postby Chris Blum » February 27th 2017, 12:18pm

Kirsten joked that the kids would probably not want to eat 3/4 of the kaiseki meal. Maybe, if Jules is comfortable, we can get the kids to do something on their own that night. longshot, but we'll see.
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Post #43  Postby Steven Miller » February 27th 2017, 12:21pm

Others have mentioned the airport bus, but the JR Narita Express is covered by the rail pass. A bit of caution on rail travel in japan... pack light with carry on luggage. Backpacks work best. Big bags are a royal pain in the arse. Buy easy to hand-wash socks and underwear that will dry overnight in the bathroom. (such as Ex-officio underwear and Fox River wick-dry socks)

http://onebag.com

For affordable dining - check out the Yakitori places around the rail stations. If your kid won't eat Yakitori it will be a very long trip to Japan.

https://migrationology.com/japanese-yakitori-memory-lane-piss-alley/
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Post #44  Postby Sarah Kirschbaum » February 27th 2017, 1:12pm

Chris Blum wrote:
We also talked about Wa Yamamura. He said it was on the upper end of Kaiseki pricing, but we agreed to give them a call and try to make reservations. Michelin 3 stars is not something I get to try very often.



It may be upper end of Kaiseki, but very affordable for Michelin 3*!

Definitely send the kids to do something else if you think they won't like it. It would be a shame to waste the care that chef lavishes on the meal. It's a very special experience and you will appreciate it more as well if you aren't worried about how it's being received.
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Post #45  Postby Chris Blum » February 27th 2017, 2:07pm

Totally agree, Sarah. That was the deciding factor for me.

We are flying into Haneda, so the plan now is for us to Monorail up to a stop where we'll meet the other folks who know Tokyo well. They will guide our jet-lagged butts to our hotel. Packing for me and Dario is very light. Jules...we'll see, but she was a trooper on our last European trip.

BTW, I did check loyalty program hotel rates, but the usage rates were still really high.
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Post #46  Postby Sarah Kirschbaum » February 27th 2017, 2:30pm

Sounds like you've got a good plan in place. Enjoy your trip. I was in Tokyo for about 24 hours this past weekend, and, like every time I hit the ground in Japan, I immediately thought "God, I love it here."
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Post #47  Postby Leah Smith » March 5th 2017, 5:10pm

thanks for all the wonderful info on this thread, Mike and I are headed to Japan for 3 weeks, and going many of these places. I booked the 3 Mich * recommendation in Nara, - does anyone have any recommendations for a great Japanese winery to visit and also any recs for Takayama as well - I'm thinking snow monkeys
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Post #48  Postby Sarah Kirschbaum » March 6th 2017, 10:25am

Leah Smith wrote:thanks for all the wonderful info on this thread, Mike and I are headed to Japan for 3 weeks, and going many of these places. I booked the 3 Mich * recommendation in Nara, - does anyone have any recommendations for a great Japanese winery to visit and also any recs for Takayama as well - I'm thinking snow monkeys


Do you really mean winery or do you want to visit a sake brewery? They do make wine in Japan, f course, but the words you've put together up there (great, Japanese, and winery) don't really go together.
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Post #49  Postby Leah Smith » March 6th 2017, 1:27pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
Leah Smith wrote:thanks for all the wonderful info on this thread, Mike and I are headed to Japan for 3 weeks, and going many of these places. I booked the 3 Mich * recommendation in Nara, - does anyone have any recommendations for a great Japanese winery to visit and also any recs for Takayama as well - I'm thinking snow monkeys


Do you really mean winery or do you want to visit a sake brewery? They do make wine in Japan, f course, but the words you've put together up there (great, Japanese, and winery) don't really go together.

LOL - Yes, we would like to visit a Japanese winery...we love to visit and see winemaking world wide
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Post #50  Postby Sarah Kirschbaum » March 6th 2017, 2:57pm

Can't help you there, then.

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