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-   -   Help! 45 days from Japan family trip. (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/help-45-days-from-japan-family-trip-1209646/)

rdpesq Mar 2nd, 2017 12:10 AM

Help! 45 days from Japan family trip.
 
We will be in Japan in mid April with our two children ages 15 & 12. We are traveling from Southern California and have six full days. We intended on spending three and 1/2 days in Tokyo and 2 and 1/2 days in Kyoto.

When we travel, I much prefer quality over quantity. In that regard would it be better to spend the full 6-days in and around Tokyo with a possible day trip to Hakone, rather then try to split up the limited time between Tokyo and Kyoto? I have always been fascinated by Kyoto but the rest of the family, especially the kids are "not crazy about seeing a bunch of temples and shrines."

In Tokyo would anyone recommend a tour or tour guide to acclimate our selves to the area. None of us speak Japanese but my oldest is taking Japanese in school but he is not confident.

In Tokyo, we are staying at the Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba. Does anyone have any experience with the property. As I understand it, Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba is over an hour from Narita International Airport. What is the best way to get from the airport to the hotel. I have read that that we can take public transportation but we will have to transfer and I am not sure we want to do that with luggage after a long flight.

If we do go to Kyoto, the plan is to take the bullet train. Do we need to purchase tickets in advance? A colleague told me to forward our luggage so we do to have to carry it. Can anyone comment on this idea and how we would do it.

If we go to Kyoto is a tour guide advisable. If so, could anyone recommend on. We are currently booked at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto and we would appreciate any comments on the hotel.

Thanks in advance for any responses

BigRuss Mar 2nd, 2017 08:21 AM

You need to contact your hotel in Tokyo for best options. It's on Odaiba, a manmade island in Tokyo Bay and not in a central area of Tokyo. Why did you pick that hotel?

Most of Tokyo is an hour or more from Narita. You're not landing in the center of the most populous city in the world.

There is no "the area" in Tokyo. You are dealing with a large city that has various areas that may be of interest to visitors depending upon what they like. You need to do some research. Go to japan-guide.com.

And make the kids do research too. They're old enough.

PS - Kyoto is far more than "a bunch of temples and shrines" but considering the temples and shrines are a large part of what makes Japan, why are you going there in the first place?

Kathie Mar 2nd, 2017 08:40 AM

You have very little time to try to cover both Tokyo and Kyoto.

I can't comment on your chosen hotel in Tokyo, but if you have chosen a hotel on Obaida, you may want to change your hotel so you can be in central Tokyo.

We spent a week at the Hyatt Regency in Kyoto. We liked the hotel, and the staff were helpful in writing our destinations to give to taxi drivers.

It sounds like all of you need to do some research on Japan to make decisions on where to go (or maybe whether to go given your comments about temples and shrines). I agree that japan-guide.com is the best online resource on Japan.

janisj Mar 2nd, 2017 10:04 AM

I personally would spend more time in Kyoto than in Tokyo but that is just me.

But that Tokyo hotel would seem to be VERY inconvenient. (The Hyatt Regency in Kyoto is a nice location).

mrwunrfl Mar 2nd, 2017 11:18 AM

First off, your son absolutely must use his Japanese when he is in Japan. You could threaten to not take him if he doesn't promise to use it. But, seriously, why is he taking it if he won't use his Japanese IN JAPAN. It is the best way for him to learn. It will be well received (ok, so maybe a little girl might think it funny that a person doesn't know Japanese as well as a little kid and everyone else in her world, but that is about it, and they are very cute when they make fun of you)

There is a bus from Narita Airport to your hotel.
http://www.tokyo.grand-nikko.com/eng.../from_airport/

I see that the hotel has a shuttle (reservations required) to Disney Sea and Disneyland, so that must be on your itinerary.

The hotel location may be good for that, but not great for getting around Tokyo. Looks like you'd need to get a bus from the hotel to a rail or subway station. www.tokyo.grand-nikko.com/eng/access/from_hotel/

You could use Odaiba Rainbow Bus to get to Shinagawa station where you would get the shinkansen to Kyoto. It is possible to just show up at the station to buy the shinkansen tickets but for a group of four you would be better off buying them in advance. I don't know but the concierge at the hotel might be able to get that done for you.

The takkykubin (luggage delivery service) is described here: www.japan-guide.com/e/e2278.html. You'll love it. Your hotel can arrange it, no problem.

Guides are available in Kyoto. You could hire a car and driver and guide though that would be expensive.

mrwunrfl Mar 2nd, 2017 11:32 AM

You could, of course, change hotels in Tokyo. One stay for Disney and the other for Tokyo. Use takkyubin for the luggage.

You should consider staying in Hakone for a night, maybe between your other Tokyo area stays. This assuming you choose not to go to Kyoto.

emd and child enjoyed Yunesson, IIRC. It is in the Hakone area: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/hotsp...-yunessun.html

kja Mar 2nd, 2017 05:59 PM

I appreciate the difficulty of your decision, and honestly, think its one that only you and your family can decide. As long as you have a good sense of the differences and make a choice that suits, it should be great!

If you decide to stay in Tokyo, you might consider a day trip to Kamakura or Nikko in addition to (or in lieu of) a day trip to Hakone. Just something to consider…

I think your son might find a useful lesson in Japan – he might be hesitant to speak Japanese because of a lack of confidence – which is exactly why so many Japanese people won’t speak English! I hope he is persuaded to give it a try. :-)

There is no need for you to hire a guide or join a day tour unless that is your preference. You might, however, consider taking advantage of an occasional local “goodwill guide” – The Japanese National Tourism Organization coordinates free "volunteer guides who are knowledgeable and happy to guide you in return for practicing their English – which can be excellent!
www.jnto.go.jp/eng/arrange/trav…
You pay any entrance fees and his/her meal if your time with the guide includes one. And do not tip anyone, ever, in Japan!

Japan's luggage-forwarding option is excellent! mrwunrfl already gave you the link.

Hope that helps!

CaliforniaLady Mar 2nd, 2017 06:47 PM

I have two sons 2.5 years apart, and they always had different interests. The older one always loved history, museums and temples, and will devour books about the places he visits. The younger one is more your typical guy, and he was bored out of his mind in Kyoto. I suppose only you know your children, but remember, there are only a few years left where they will want to travel with you, and you don't want to spend those getting aggravated. Kyoto will be there for you and your husband to visit at a later time.

That being said, you could easily find lots of stuff to do in Tokyo. There are sumo wrestling tournaments and practice sessions, baseball games, tea ceremonies and if you have girls, someone here posted awhile ago about getting fun manicures. In fact, you could possibly start a thread here asking about Tokyo activities for children.

I agree that it's not a good idea to stay in Odaiba. It's fun for a day trip, but a pain for your whole visit. We stayed in the Ginza area and found it to be very nice.

You could also do a day trip to Hakone, and possibly to Nikko. We were in Tokyo for five nights, and we saw the city in one day, and did three successive day trips to Nikko, Mt. Fujii, and Odaiba.

As an alternative, consider a couple of nights in Takayama. My non-temple son thought it was a really cool city. He liked strolling around and watching the wood carvers, and he likedn the morning market and beef cooked in magnolia leafs.

My sons also studied Japanese in school, but would not converse with anyone in front of me. The Japanese are generally quite reserved. However, your children may enjoy reading signs and menus for you.

kalihiwai2 Mar 2nd, 2017 10:40 PM

We stayed at this hotel last May for a few days prior to departure. Its a large hotel with a lot of family guests as it has a relationship to the Tokyo Disney properties.
I thought the food choices weren't that good but there are nice stores downstairs and plenty of eating options in the surrounding shopping centers.

The Yurikamome line stops adjacent to the hotel at Daiba station. This is a fun trip as it is above ground and crosses Rainbow Bridge. If you time it right, get the lead car and you will have a front window seat. This line takes you to Shimbashi station with many links from there to different parts of Tokyo. The hotel is also a ten minute walk to Tokyo Teleport station on the Rinkai line which offers other transport options. Get yourselves Suica cards
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html
and load them with enough money so you don't have to worry about digging out change for tickets each ride.

In Odaiba itself check out the Miraikan Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
http://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/
In the Decks Shopping Center , Odaiba, there is the Tokyo Trick art Museum that your children might enjoy
http://www.trickart.info/

Sadly I think the Gundam statue will be gone, but the kids might find Akihabara,
Yodobashi superstore and surrounding stores fun

Also a boat trip on is possible at Odaiba Seaside park to or from Asakusa, these boat trips are fun,

For your short time I'd make a day trip to Kamakura (Giant Buddha)
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3100.html

or Mt Takao (Cable Car ,Chairlift, Monkey Park, Hiking)
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3100.html

Asakusa would be a good destination for the day as would the Ueno/Yanaka areas
Check out Time Out Tokyo for current happenings and recommendations.

Have a great time

Kaznoboo Mar 3rd, 2017 02:51 PM

Just curious what you and your family are interested in or want to see.
I'm Japanese living in Seattle right now and I thought I could help you if you need specific info of Tokyo or Kyoto.

Please let me know.

Kaz


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