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Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Old 02-11-19, 09:14 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
I stayed in Osaka for a week on my first trip to Japan. It's a short subway ride away from Kyoto, which has a lot of great stuff to see. I recommend the Toei Kyoto Studio Park, where you can walk around a Japanese samurai era village backlot that's used for filming movies and TV shows and visit various galleries devoted to anime and various superhero shows. It's one of the best things I did there.
Oh yeah, that is a really cool park, we enjoyed it.

Originally Posted by tanman View Post
Don't know if your'e a Disney/Theme Park fan and you said you aren't going to Tokyo but I've heard SO many good things about Tokyo Disney Sea a lot of people have said it's the best theme park in the world.
Yeah, Disney Sea is really cool, more like a "grown up" DIsney park with great rides, unfortunately it doesn't look like they can make it to Tokyo.

There is a really nice aquarium in Osaka, and if you like shopping for geeky stuff, there is a good Mandarake location there (a chain that sells used toys, models, manga, anime, etc).

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Old 02-11-19, 09:59 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Himeji was the recommended castle.
This is the itinerary without adding my requests:

Indigo dyeing in Kyoto
Temples and shrines in Kyoto
Monkey park
Arashiyama
Deer in Nara
Himeji castle
Aquarium on Osaka Bay
Touristy places in Osaka like Dotombori
Hanami in Osaka

Last edited by GatorDeb; 02-11-19 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 02-11-19, 10:16 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

I take it you know this Deb but you've got to pick up a Japan Rail pass before you leave. Best deals that way.
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Old 02-11-19, 10:46 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Oh cool, you have the aquarium covered, it's a really nice one.
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Old 02-11-19, 02:08 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Originally Posted by GatorDeb View Post
Himeji castle
You are getting good advice. IMO, Himeji is a more impressive castle than Osaka, and since it's in a smaller city, less touristy so you can explore better. Except for Tokyo and Mount Fuji, you can get your official Japan stamp after this trip.

For the baby, I am not sure that bringing a car seat to Japan is a good idea. You are going to have to walk a lot, even if your friends are willing to drive you to various places. My recommendation is a light, foldable baby stroller.
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Old 02-11-19, 02:18 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

For the flights, try to get a "bulkhead" seat which is a seat behind a wall partition, so you can hang a baby bassinet in front of you. You may be able to get that seat yourself, or may have to call the airline.
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Old 02-11-19, 02:56 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Originally Posted by Psi View Post
For the baby, I am not sure that bringing a car seat to Japan is a good idea. You are going to have to walk a lot, even if your friends are willing to drive you to various places. My recommendation is a light, foldable baby stroller.
Originally Posted by Psi View Post
For the flights, try to get a "bulkhead" seat which is a seat behind a wall partition, so you can hang a baby bassinet in front of you. You may be able to get that seat yourself, or may have to call the airline.
Crap, I forgot about the baby, good advice! Both of our kids took the trip over when they were less than a year old (had to meet their grandpa!) and my wife brought a light "umbrella" stroller, otherwise it would have been tricky with all the walking and tight crowded spaces! If you do end up in a car you should still be ok, I don't think child car seats are required by law yet in Japan. And yes, we ended up getting a bulkhead seat on the plane so that the bassinet (supplied by the airline) could just hang right in front of my wife. In our case the airline automatically assigned us those seats once they found out we were bringing a baby on board.
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Old 02-11-19, 11:10 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Great idea on the plane bassinet, I'll be calling them! We we were thinking of bringing the car seat, the stroller, and the pack n play (it's a light foldable stroller). The car seat is in case we go somewhere an hour or so away.

I was looking at pictures of different places in Japan and they're so... colorful. And I live in Vegas.
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Old 02-11-19, 11:12 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
I take it you know this Deb but you've got to pick up a Japan Rail pass before you leave. Best deals that way.
I'll ask our relatives to pick up a couple, thanks!
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Old 02-11-19, 11:36 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Originally Posted by GatorDeb View Post
I'll ask our relatives to pick up a couple, thanks!
If you meant your relatives in Japan, they cannot help you. I mentioned in a previous post that you can get a Japan Rail Pass only from abroad, before the start of your trip.
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Old 02-11-19, 11:54 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Originally Posted by Psi View Post
If you meant your relatives in Japan, they cannot help you. I mentioned in a previous post that you can get a Japan Rail Pass only from abroad, before the start of your trip.
Ooops I missed that. So I guess it's a kind of incentive for visitors?

Wait.... that's four HUNDRED per person for 2 weeks.... and that's the cheap price??

Last edited by GatorDeb; 02-12-19 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 02-12-19, 01:04 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Originally Posted by GatorDeb View Post
Wait.... that's four HUNDRED per person for 2 weeks.... and that's the cheap price??
It's not a huge discount unless you factor in the cost of the Shinkansen bullet train. Maybe it doesn't work for you, but I can see myself taking 7 long round trips in 2 weeks, and the cost can add up. The Rail Pass also works for local trains.

But the main thing is that even without the discount, it saves foreigners the hassle of buying per-trip tickets. Nowadays they have cash cards (Suica or Pesmo) which really help, but during my trips before cash cards came out, I was very happy to have the Rail Pass.

And one more thing: If your trip is 2 weeks but you expect your heavy travel time is only a few days, you can buy a Rail Pass for only that period. I don't recall what the options are.
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Old 02-12-19, 08:50 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

This is a really useful video about the JR Pass. Worth the watch

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Old 02-12-19, 10:23 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

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Old 02-12-19, 11:14 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Apparently we're going to be driven daily and the one train ride we'd need is Tokyo and it's less than the pass.
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Old 02-12-19, 11:57 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Iím heading to Tokyo and Hong Kong the first week of March. Iím a high priority standby flyer so Iím fairly flexible and donít have anything set in stone yet, but Iím planning on going to the Tokyo and Hong Kong Disney parks (the only ones I havenít been to) with an extra day for sight seeing in Hong Kong and one or two days in Tokyo. Iíve also looked into taking a bullet train or overnight sleeper train to Hiroshima and spending two days there, to see the Hiroshima museum/monument and also to go to rabbit island. Ideally Iíd take the Shinkansen bullet train one way and an overnight sleeper train private cabin the other way (because Iíd love to experience both - I did a sleeper cabin train in Egypt once and really loved it). Iíve looked at the JR pass a little bit, but I guess they wouldnít allow for upgrades, right? And Iíd probably need to reserve a cabin well ahead of time? Iím seeing that theyíre tough to get anyway so I might have to forget about that.
Iím told that Hong Kong Disney can be easily done in a single weekday, and for Tokyo Disney Iím planning on 2 1/2 weekdays. I managed to get a ticket for the Ghibli museum at 4PM on what would be my third day at Tokyo Disney.
Does anyone have any further tips or suggestions on what else to do in Tokyo (or Hong Kong)?

fyi here is my tentative itinerary: (note that Iím flying to Tokyo and then right away to HK and back because my airline doesnít fly into HK - and also flying between Hiroshima and HK was problematic as well because HK Express only flies between those cities a few times a week)
Sat 3/2 fly to TYO, arrive next day
Sun 3/3 fly to HK
Mon 3/4 HK Disney
Tue 3/5 HK sightseeing; 23:50 flight to TYO
Wed 3/6 TYO Disney day 1
Thu 3/7 TYO Disney day 2
Fri 3/8 TYO Disney day 3; Ghibli Museum 4pm
Sat 3/9 AM bullet to Hiroshima; train to Okunoshima
Sun 3/10 Okunoshima to Hiroshima; Hiroshima sightseeing; overnight sleeper train(?) to Tokyo
Mon 3/11 TYO sightseeing
Tue 3/12 return flight afternoon
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Old 02-13-19, 12:41 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Quick reply to skywalker (great name!): I've tried to get on a sleeper train in Japan, but it's nearly impossible, especially for a foreigner because it takes a lot of advance reservations.

First, there are not many left. I think there is only one remaining going from Tokyo to western Japan, and it does not reach Hiroshima (it goes maybe 80% of the way there). The train is not Shinkansen, probably because the Shinkansen gets there too fast and it's almost pointless to have a sleeper car.

You can use a Japan Rail Pass to get a sleeper train ticket, but there is a surcharge because sleeper trains cost more. I don't remember if you need the higher class of Japan Rail Pass or not (they have regular and first class/reserved).

The problem is this: When you buy a Japan Rail Pass, you get a voucher which you convert to a ticket after you get to Japan. You can then use that ticket to get a ticket on the sleeper trains, so essentially you can get sleeper train tickets only after you arrive. However, sleeper train tickets sell out quickly when they go for sale, usually several weeks before the actual trip. I've tried to do this twice with help from friends in Japan but couldn't make it happen. First they are becoming very rare, and they are in high demand. As a foreigner, you have almost no chance.

As for things to do, where do we begin? If this is your first trip to Japan, almost everything is a novelty. In terms of must-see and really unique to Japan, I would say Akihabara electronics district in Tokyo and the nuclear bomb site/museum in Hiroshima (a sad place that will make you think a lot, but I don't think you need more than a day there).
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Old 02-13-19, 12:29 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Hiroshima is highly recommended. Very moving.
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Old 02-13-19, 11:32 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Thanks, Psi. I have switched my itinerary around a bit and given up on the sleeper cabin idea. When I arrive I will check if there is any availability but Iíll simply use the Shinkhansen to get to and from Hiroshima directly. Also, going to Hiroshima solely for the museum/monument is enough for me and if timing is difficult for a visit to rabbit island I will drop that as well. There is a train (with one transfer) that goes to the island ferry early in the morning in order to get there while the rabbits are hungry, but I will see how I feel and how complicated the trains and transfers are. Hyperdia is amazing, but finding stations and terminals and figuring out how to buy tickets is a little overwhelming. I have looked into getting a JR pass but I donít think itís worth it since The Shinkansen lines I need are excluded.
I have reserved my flights and my Disney tickets, as well as most of my hotels. Very excited! Thanks again.
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Old 02-14-19, 01:07 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Originally Posted by skywalker8 View Post
Hyperdia is amazing, but finding stations and terminals and figuring out how to buy tickets is a little overwhelming. I have looked into getting a JR pass but I donít think itís worth it since The Shinkansen lines I need are excluded.
I have reserved my flights and my Disney tickets, as well as most of my hotels. Very excited! Thanks again.
I didn't know anything about Rabbit Island until I saw your post. It seems like a place that has many foreign visitors, so I think it's do-able even for foreigners without a tour guide. Often in Japan you will see signs that point you in the right direction. I don't know if you have seen this site, but they have a lot of travel information on Rabbit Islands: The Gateway to Rabbit Island | Official Site

As for the Japan Rail Pass. you have to do actual comparisons to see if the Pass is cheaper, but I am not sure which Shinkansen is excluded. As far as I know, they exclude only the highest-speed trains, but even the second highest is quite fast, still bullet train. Highest-speed is mainly for business people who care about arriving 30 minutes early. I don't remember exclusions based on routes.
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Old 02-15-19, 02:39 PM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Originally Posted by GatorDeb View Post
Himeji was the recommended castle.
This is the itinerary without adding my requests:

Indigo dyeing in Kyoto
Temples and shrines in Kyoto
Monkey park
Arashiyama
Deer in Nara
Himeji castle
Aquarium on Osaka Bay
Touristy places in Osaka like Dotombori
Hanami in Osaka
Make sure you see the giant Buddha statue in Nara. It's in a temple in the park where the deer are. It's amazing.



Also, Himeji Castle is where they shot the Ninja training scenes in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, the 5th James Bond movie.


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Old 03-04-19, 02:23 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Thanks! So we ARE going to Tokyo. I get to choose what we do there
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Old 03-04-19, 03:36 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Originally Posted by GatorDeb View Post
Thanks! So we ARE going to Tokyo. I get to choose what we do there
Ride the Yamanote train line around central Tokyo. It's all above ground and it goes in a circle around central Tokyo, so you get to see a lot.
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Old 03-04-19, 09:01 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

You guys should try the Blowfish:

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Old 03-04-19, 09:40 AM
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Re: Going to Japan - sightseeing ideas? Food?

Remind of me of that funny Simpsons episode. Homer and his bucket lists.
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