Honeymoon in Japan - April 2003

Old May 24th, 2002, 10:42 AM
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Honeymoon in Japan - April 2003

Hi everyone,

My fiance and I are planning to elope in Hawaii in early April 2003. We've always dreamed about seeing Japan, and are thinking about traveling there after our marriage. We'll probably have about 10 days.

We are interested in creating a balance between relaxing activities and being on the move in a large city.

Suggestions for romantic things to do and places to stay would be great...along with day trips or itinerary suggestions.

Old May 25th, 2002, 06:29 AM
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Old May 28th, 2002, 09:51 AM
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hi everyone,

hoping for some help here, especially from Florence, who's helped so many on this board.

my research (which I've just started), indicates that we'll want to spend time in Kyoto and Nara. We'd also like to spend time in a traditional Japanese inn, but don't know if we should plan to spend most of our time there, or just a couple of nights.

Restaurant recommendations would also be appreciated. Love sushi - a bit nervous about the fish that falls outside of the typical sushi menu in NYC.

Also, are the hot springs worth exploring?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Old May 28th, 2002, 12:47 PM
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Bonjour Wendy,

First, congratulations and best wishes for your wedding and travel projects.

Since I don't know what you would consider romantic, I'm not sure I can help you much ... don't hesitate to ask questions once you've progressed with your researches.

In Kyoto, how about having a picture taken, you in a bridal kimono, your fiancé in hakama and haori ? Although I don't remember its name, I know there is at least one studio that specialises in teaching how to wear a formal kimono and will organise pictures sessions. The TIC will certainly find it easily for you. Of course, if you can do it under a blooming cherry tree ...

Don't miss the small shinto shrine inside Kiyomizu-dera temple: it is dedicated to the god of love and you should definitely buy some amulets there. On top of being very nice souvenirs for a small price, they will guarantee eternal love, easy childbirth, and beautiful healthful and intelligent children.

If you can stand sleeping at ground level, I'd recommend staying in traditional inns all along, with a few days in one of the best ones (look for recommendations on this forum - I usually don't have the budget for those). If you can live with having to share "private use of common bath", go for the smaller inns members of the Japanese Inn Group (http://members.aol.com/jinngroup/ ) or Welcome inns (http://www.itcj.or.jp/index.html )

My favorites are Hiraiwa and Yuhara ryokan, both located in a delightful traditional area, very quiet although very close to the station.

Don't be shy with sushi in Japan: they are certainly lots more fussy about the freshness of fish than any other country in the World.

Hot springs are fantastic, you should definitely try them.

Old May 28th, 2002, 05:18 PM
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Hello, Florence - could you recommend some reasonably priced hotsprings places to try, esp near Kyoto or Tokyo, which could be reached by train/bus? Anything with a rotenburo would be especially wonderful to hear about!

Thanks very much, as usual, for all your help.
Old May 28th, 2002, 08:25 PM
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Bonjour Ladybug,

I'm sorry I can't give names of hotsprings. I've been in a few in Nikko, and in other places mostly in Northern Japan, but I was always invited by Japanese friends and have never been told where we were going or what it was called. It goes like this: a friend will tell me "tomorrow, we're going to an onsen (hotspring)", then we meet at the station and all the information I receive is "ikoo !" (let's go). They'll already have taken care of booking train tickets, hotels, onsen ... I must also confess that I've taken very few notes during my travels, since I've never thought I would one day write about them in a forum.

I've noticed that many onsen are quite reluctant to welcome non Japanese, unless they are accompanied. This comes in part from the attitude of a few tourists of residents who have objected to public nudity or have behaved disgracefully, in part from a prejudice against foreigners, who are viewed as susceptible to "break the harmony". There have been some complaints in the local press about discriminatory practices from onsen owners.

JNTO (www.jnto.go.jp) and TIC will have addresses of onsen used to cater to foreigners.

I promise next time I'll pressure my friends for names, and I'll take precise notes
Old May 29th, 2002, 05:27 AM
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Bonjour to all,

I knew I had seen that photo studio that turns ladies into Geishas and men into Samurai. Here it is: Geisha Make Over Studio Shiki !

Old Jun 16th, 2002, 01:43 AM
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Hello, Florence -- A very late thank-you for your reply! (I've been away from the Board for a while.) You certainly have an enviable reason for not bothering to keep notes on those onsen, but I appreciate the insights you shared.

But can I now bother you for more details on your favorite ryokans, Hiraiwa and Yuhara? In another thread, Lilli gave very helpful info on Matsubaya which I'd like to compare with these other two.

By the way, your suggestions to Wendy regarding some unique experiences for her honeymoon in Japan were really terrific, Florence.

Thanks again for all your help!

Old Jun 16th, 2002, 01:06 PM
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Bonjour Ladybug,

I've been staying at Hiraiwa for the first time in 1983, and been returning everytime except for the few times they were full, and I've then discovered the Yuhara next door.

Both are beautiful wooden building in an old part of the city between the Kamo river and the Takase canal. It is very green and quiet. Both are family run small businesses, and they are used to cater to foreigners, although they speak almost no English.

Of course, neither qualify as a "real" ryokan, since they don't offer meals or room service. Not many Japanese stay there (they tend to shun places catering to foreign tourists), and what Lili said about Matsubaya applies to them. If you're looking for the "real non-touristy Japan", you'll be disappointed ;->

Personally, I like it there: I've made lots of friends from all around the World, Mrs Hiraiwa gives me free phone cards for my help in translations, and I've spent many happy hours watching the neighborhood live their quiet lives ...
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