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Are 8 days enough for this itinerary ?

Old Nov 30th, 2016, 08:15 AM
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Are 8 days enough for this itinerary ?

We are a family with 2 kids (ages 11 and 13). We have 8 days from Dec. 25th till Jan. 2nd to visit Japan. We would like to cover Tokyo, Hiroshima, at least one theme park, Kyoto and if time permits one more place.

Please suggest a rough itinerary.

Thanks.
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 09:57 AM
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Yipes! Are you planning on seeing/doing anything in Japan? Or do you plan just to go from place to place? With 8 days (which means nine nights), I'd suggest a maximum of three locations - and that would still be moving too fast and missing too much for me.
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 11:40 AM
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With that amount of time, I'd say Tokyo, Disney Sea and Kyoto will be enough to fill your time. This is a busy time of year, and quite a few places may be closed over New Years.

Or skip the theme park and go to Hiroshima with a few hours at Himeji Castle on the way there.
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 01:56 PM
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You could do it if you keep a fairly brisk pace and don't linger.
I would really recommend though that if you are going to fly all the way to Japan, don't waste your time on some Americana park like Disney or Universal Studios. There are Japanese theme parks you can visit and they genuinely can add to your cultural experience, such as the Toei Eigamura in Kyoto which you will be going to be in anyway.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3934.html

Or you could spend 2 days in Tokyo, and one in Nikko, taking some time to see Edo Wonderland there.
http://edowonderland.net/en/

As mentioned, be aware that near the end of the year and the first few days of the year many places will be CLOSED. Check with each place's website beforehand or you might get a nasty shock. Also have a back up plan in case something goes wrong. It is a grand opportunity though to see New Year's in Japan, and going to a temple or shrine would be a very good experience.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2276.html

You could do Hiroshima/Miyajima as a day trip with an early morning start. A 7 day JR Pass used from Tokyo down to Hiroshima and back would yield some huge savings. You should also spend at least half a day in Nara - it too was a former capital and has some of Japan's best sights, many are in the Nara Park area and clustered together.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...TIKwkioxuAKwt5
If you still have the energy, you can go to Osaka in the evening after the temples in Kyoto close around dusk, and on another evening you could also go see Kobe.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...K2bcKCzr2pJQh2

If you are flying in/out of Narita and you'll be using the rail pass, you can take the Narita Express one way but not both if you are in Japan 8 days. A cheap alternative is the 1000 yen bus from Tokyo Stn and Ginza.
http://accessnarita.jp/en/home/

Obviously you are not going to see everything everywhere, and you're going to need to be eclectic and choose what suits your family best, but you can still have quite a good time.
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 05:11 PM
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Friends,

Thanks a lot for your valuable tips.
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 05:34 PM
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For my tastes, this trip would involve WAY too much time in transit and WAY too little time actually seeing or doing anything. And with children, I'd think it's also WAY too complicated.

I think you would do well to think much more narrowly -- maybe Tokyo and some day trips, or Kyoto and some day trips, or maybe Tokyo and Kyoto with NO day trips. But it's your trip, your call.

I would encourage you to spend some time with japan-guide.com -- you should be able to learn a lot on that web-site.
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 07:38 PM
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I'll echo Adastra's comments. Even with children, why would you want to devote one of your 8 precious days to a theme park? Save that for when you take the kids to Disneyland. With 8 days, and considering you have to keep the little ones happy, I'd suggest a couple of days for Tokyo, visiting Tsukiji fish market and the Akhiabara tech town which would both likely be of interest to pre-teens. While I have not yet been to Kamakura, I suspect they might also enjoy visiting the temples there and seeing the huge Daibatsu (statue of Buddha, which you can go inside of). Kamakura can be done as an easy day trip from Tokyo. With your remaining 5 days, I'd add in Kyoto, with a 1/2 day trip included to see the spectacular castle at Himeji-something I would bet your kids would also be in awe of.
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Old Dec 1st, 2016, 09:18 AM
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If I had kids, I probably would include a theme park but I'd go with Adastra's suggestion of visiting a fully Japanese one instead of Disney. I mean, even the American-owned ones will be uniquely Japanese in some aspects - but I'd say that a Japanese one would be more interesting.

With only 8 days, I'd stick to Tokyo and day trips or Kyoto and day trips, or Tokyo + Kyoto and no day trips, as Kja suggested. 8 days really isn't long.

And it's at least 4 hours train from Tokyo to Hiroshima so I'm not sure you could easily do both Hiroshima and Miyajima as a day trip unless you set off in the wee early hours and get back very late at night...?
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Old Dec 1st, 2016, 09:39 AM
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Stick to Tokyo and Kyoto. You can day-trip to Himeji or Nagoya or Nara or Hiroshima (2+ hours each way) from Kyoto.

Go to the Miraikan in Tokyo (National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation).

Skip the theme park - it'll be cold. Japan is not Orlando.
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Old Dec 10th, 2016, 04:35 PM
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I am not a theme park person at all. But the comments above warning the OP off 'some Americana park like Disney' betray such a fundamental misunderstanding of the unique place Disney occupies in Japanese culture that I have to comment. Tokyo Disneyland is an adult as well as a family destination for the Japanese. We have friends here in Tokyo: a 'global family', Japanese wife, American husband, offspring raised in both the US, Japan and other countries. The adult son and his wife will be returning to Japan from the US for Christmas - early 30s, they have no children but have booked their Tokyo Disney hotel for the night of December 25. The family will celebrate Christmas on December 24th so that the couple can enjoy the full Disney Christmas experience.

Yes, I think this is odd and no, it's not something my family would ever do. But few of my other Japanese friends think it is odd. Tokyo Disneyland hosts lavish celebrations over the New Year's period (1-5 January), with characters welcoming in the Year of the Rooster. Apparently it's one of the times that Mickey, Minnie et al appear in traditional Japanese dress. (http://tdrexplorer.com/new-years-201...disney-resort/)

Travelling with children gives one a unique insight into another culture - and giving them a day at a Tokyo Disneyland offers another entry into contemporary Japanese culture which is so much more than temples, shrines, museums, gardens. Notice, I refer only to Disneyland. I don't know anything about other theme parks - though I am puzzled by references to Japanese theme parks. Eigamura is a Japanese movie park. Sanrio Puro Land? Surely that only works if you're familiar with the various characters. I'm keen on Gudetama (the fried egg guy) but can't believe he's that popular outside Japan. Or the old timey tiny amusement place in Asakusa? That's a bit sad. Much better to do as a Japanese family would do and splurge on a Disney day.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 12:27 AM
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I am sure there are differences between Japan Disney and US Disney, and am aware it's very popular with Japanese visitors, but my personal opinion is that it's not the best use of time on such a short trip.

There are surely options that are more insightful to Japanese culture than Disney, regardless of whether the Japanese love it or not - no one suggested that it's not popular.

Of course, if the family are big Disney fans, that's their choice.

My suggestions would be places like the Studio Ghibli Museum (only relevant if the kids have seen and enjoyed several of the films). Or if the kids love Pokemon Go, I'd do some research on good places for picking up characters, plus there's the Pokémon Mega Centre in Ikebukuro - tonnes of merchandise - and there's a Pokemon store in Skytree too. For Sega game fans, there's Joypolis, I think the Tokyo one is still open. If the kids are foodies, it could be fun to visit one of the themed food villages such as the Ramen museum in Yokahama or you could go to Sunshine City for the Gyoza Stadium or the Ice Cream City... these aren't theme parks in the traditional sense but could be a fun way to introduce the kids to Japanese food and food culture.

There is nothing wrong with Disney, I'm a huge fan myself. Personally, I just don't think it's the best use of time for a family with so few days in Japan. But of course, if they really love the idea, they should go! Nothing wrong with suggesting alternatives though!
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Old Dec 12th, 2016, 02:04 AM
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Those are all great suggestion, Kavey. I was objecting to the description of Tokyo Disneyland as an 'Americana Park'which belittles how much Japan has transformed and taken ownership of 'the magic kingdom.' For what it's worth, I met up with four Japanese friends here in Tokyo today and sought their opinions. Their first reaction: 'stay the night and go to Tokyo Disney Sea the next day!' I explained it was a question of not having much time to spend, given the competing attractions of Tokyo and Kyoto. Their reaction: 'so they're going to go to temple, shrine, temple, shrine, temple. And museum?! Poor children.' The Japanese are famously indulgent when it comes to children. But more pragmatically, they pointed out that Tokyo Disney tickets for the time between Christmas and New Year's will be hard to get at this point. Apparently tickets for New Year's Eve are by lottery or 'special ticket' (eg corporate comps) only. I mentioned 'Japanese Amusement Parks' and they laughed at me......
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Old Dec 12th, 2016, 08:01 AM
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I totally hear what you're saying... but what is mundane to us as children in our own culture is often less so to kids of another culture for whom it's new, different and completely exotic.

Of course, it depends on the children. When I was a tween, I loved exploring historical places, I have the clearest memory of clambering happily around Machu Picchu with my camera and wanting to stay for much longer than the hours we already spent there! But I remember other kids my age having little interest in much other than shopping, makeup, fashion and the music charts!
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Old Dec 13th, 2016, 01:40 PM
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My kids loved traveling in Asia; the temples, hiking, museums, parks were great, but one of their fondest memories of travel was when we went to "Lotte World" in Korea. It was very cold in Seoul, and Lotte World was an indoor theme park. Not only were the rides a fun change from our other days, but they had a chance to observe and interact with Korean kids, and try all kinds of Korean "fast food".

Disney Sea is not just a Disneyland with signs in Kanji. I think it would be a fun thing to do with kids, and certainly not a waste of time if your family wants to see a theme park. There are lots of other, smaller parks in Japan such as Yomiuriland (which might be too cold since its mostly about roller coasters) if DisneySea is sold out during your visit.
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