Back from Japan (and LOVED it!)

May 12th, 2005, 08:12 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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Back from Japan (and LOVED it!)

I came back from a faaaabulous trip in Japan. LOVED IT! I will write a detailed trip report later. Basically, flew to Nagoya, stationed in Kyoto, then stayed in Mount Koya for weekend. From Kyoto, we took 3 day trips (Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima)

These were my favorite experiences

Loved Nara (esp Deer Park)
Loved green tea (it is everywhere!)
Loved the Ryokan in Kytoto
Loved the Temple Lodging in Koya-San
Loved the Bath houses
Loved the Zen Gardens

We stayed at a cute little budget ryokan in Kyoto. It was not a full-scale ryokan but affordable (4200 PP), clean, convenient to buses, and gave us a small exposure to Japanese style.

We stayed at the Renjo-jin in Koya San. It was great and the food was fabulous!

The only thing we would've changed, was we didn't buy the JR Pass, because were weren't sure how many day trips we were taking, but with the trips we DID take, JR Pass would have saved us money.

It was a great experience.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks everyone on forum for helping with the trip.
kittycatangel is offline  
May 12th, 2005, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Glad you had such a good trip Kitty, and really looking forward to your full report.

Which ryokan did you stay at in Kyoto? Is there a website?
ozgal is offline  
May 12th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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Kitty: So glad you had a great trip. I remember well your struggles w/whether to buy the JR pass or not, and the posts on that w/mrwunrfl. Also recall your research on the Koya ryokan and Kyoto ones.
Please, when you get a chance, would love more info on the experience of going into Nagoya Centrair(I might be doing that on next trip and so many others will be also), what you did and experienced in Kyoto, the ryokan there, and Koya. I am planning now to take my daughter back to Kyoto for a week next spring, then we will spend 2nd week somewhere else in Japan, traveling around. And perhaps a night at Koya. Didn't get to Nara during my March trip. Am just waiting to hear more! We need a good trip report fix. And the writing is therapeutic when you start missing it and coming down from the trip...
emd is offline  
May 13th, 2005, 10:04 AM
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One of the main reasons we have avoided Japan is that everything costs so much- so what does a yankee dollar buy over there these days?

We love the SAsian countries where our dollar goes a long way- Philippines, Thailand, etc.
BillT is offline  
May 13th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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Welcome back, kittcatangel. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

Were you on the United or American flights to Nagoya (or other?)? How was Nagoya Chubu (aka Centrair, NGO) airport?

Where did you visit a "bath house". I have read that there is a bath at the Nagoya airport. I want to find a nice sento in Kyoto.
mrwunrfl is online now  
May 13th, 2005, 01:04 PM
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BillT, am not sure why you are asking since you are not interested in visiting Japan (if you want low prices, then you don't want to go there). The answer to your question, though, is that a US dollar will buy about 107 yen over there these days.
mrwunrfl is online now  
May 13th, 2005, 01:17 PM
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Japan is a lot cheaper than it is 15 years ago, compared to the US. Prices have not risen at all, and may have actually fallen a little during these years, as they've been in deflation.

Passing through NRT a few months ago, I found prices about the same as the US, and much cheaper than most of Europe.
rkkwan is offline  
May 13th, 2005, 02:02 PM
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Posts: 5,034 the ten years we've lived in Japan, prices on many things have indeed fallen. Our yen does go farther today than it did 10 years ago.

Daily life in Kanazawa is cheaper than in the US for us (we used to live in Burlington, VT and Boston, MA). Planes, trains and in Japan is expensive. However, deals for tourists like JR passes and flight coupons make it more reasonable. There are chains of budget hotels like APA, Tokyu, Washington...there are many, many...that have decent rooms for under 10,000 yen a night - though these prices are seldom found in English...disadvantage for tourists who don't read Japanese. Advantage for tourists on Fodors...since I can check for you

Restaurants...if you forget the guidebooks and just go where the Japanese go, you'll find eating out very reasonable. We'll spend 6000 or 7000 yen for dinner for 3 including plenty of drinks in Japan...and pretty consistently spend more than that in the states. Lunch is easy to find for 1000 yen or less per person, of 500 yen.

Japan is more expensive than the other Asian countries, yes, but the days of the $15.00 hamburger and $10.00 coffee are gone...unless you are in a top hotel and choose to pay those prices.
KimJapan is offline  
May 16th, 2005, 04:10 AM
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read your post- it tells me the exchange rate- I can get that off any exchange caluclaor site- your anwer does not tell me what I asked for. What does it cost to ride the trains, what does it cost for a coke, what does it cost for a meal in a small cafe,etc.
BillT is offline  
May 16th, 2005, 05:35 AM
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My experience is that prices for eating and travel are on par w/the U.S. as if you were traveling in the northast corrider. We ate in the noodle shops for $12 for two at lunch, and had dinners in nice simple small restaurants that ran about $25 for the two of us, and we splurged one night on dinner at a highly regarded theme restaurant for $130 for two. 20 oz. coke bottle was 120 yen in convenience stores, just like the U.S. For train prices, check JR's website- they list the JR pass prices. Tokyo and Kyoto subways are on par w/subway prices where I live in DC area- eg. going one to two stops is about 110 yen. Taxis expensive in Tokyo but reasonable in Kyoto. 25 min. cab ride across town in Kyoto was $20.
I did not think Japan was nearly as expensive as people make it out to be. It all seemed reasonable to me, on par w/U.S. travel.
emd is offline  
May 16th, 2005, 06:20 AM
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emd- thanks you delivered what I asked for in my posting. Seems like prices have come down in recent years- maybe a trip to Japan will go back on my list.
BillT is offline  
May 16th, 2005, 12:00 PM
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How much time did you spend at Himeji Castle? I'll be there next month with my two kids, ages 8 and 10, and we plan to stop on our train trip from Tokyo to Hiroshima (or on return). I'm trying to get a general idea of how much time to allot to that particular stop. Someone had suggested 2 hours. What do you think? What else do you recommend there besides the Castle?
TravelTrio is offline  
May 17th, 2005, 05:27 AM
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do you manage to try the vegetarian sushi?
KMLoke is offline  
May 17th, 2005, 06:15 PM
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We stayed at Himeji Castle for about 3-4 hours. We took our time, went through the entire castle and hung out outside.

It can be done in 2-5 hours, depending on your interest.

Afterwards, we went a small museum and then took a cab to the famous temple complex up the mountains by cable car.
kittycatangel is offline  
May 17th, 2005, 06:20 PM
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We didn't eat much sushi, except the inari bought in Seven Eleven. WE ate a lot of noodle dishes, rice dishes, tofu, veggies. The food was faabulous

I'll post a review in my next posting
kittycatangel is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 05:36 AM
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kittycatangel - did you ever post a full trip report? I looked and couldn't find it!
birder is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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I also would like to know about your ryokan at Kyoto, please.
I am leaving my home tomorrow and have to find a budget place in Kyoto.

rose1313 is offline  

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