Japan itinerary and questions

Feb 2nd, 2006, 05:26 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Japan itinerary and questions

Here is our tentative itinerary for our trip to Japan in May. Suggestions would be much appreciated! Anything we should skip? Anything we're forgetting?

Day 1: Fly to Japan
Day 2: Arrive: Narita, 4 pm. Travel to hotel (in western Tokyo), check-in, eat dinner
Day 3: Tokyo National Museum, Yanaka walking tour (self-guided, found it in a guidebook...should take about 3 hours)
Day 4: Imperial Palace, Tokyo International Forum, Senso-ji temple, Ginza
Day 5: Day trip to Kamakura
Day 6: Shinjuku Gyoen, Meiji Shrine, baseball game
Day 7: Day trip to Nikko
Day 8: Sengaku-ji shrine and museum, Roppongi Hills, Nezu Institute of Fine Art
Day 9: Travel back to U.S.

About the baseball game: how far in advance do we need to purchase tickets? Anyone been to a game before?
What about the evenings? My husband and I like to go out for drinks occasionally, but what else would you recommend?
Also, I have to ask and make sure I have this right. We only need a passport, right? No visa?
Thank you so much for your time!

siena1 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 06:14 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,339
A passport and a return ticket is all that is necessary to enter Japan if you come from someplace like the US or Europe. I would recommend Akihabara, Tsukiji, Shibuya and Ueno as other major areas for exploration while in Tokyo.
Cannot help you about baseball as it has been too long since I last watched the Giants in person.
mjs is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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siena1 - I went to Tokyo just about two years ago and spent one day less than you have. I only took one day trip - Kamakura. IMO there is so much to see in Tokyo that you should possibly consider dropping one day trip. You mention the National Museum - that is in Ueno Park in a cluster of three, I think, other museums, plus the zoo and the Shitamachi Museum at the south end. I went to so many museums in Tokyo!! Of all different types as well. Bonsai Museum, Edo Museum. I stayed in the Yanaka area and also did a walking tour which was very interesting - I got it on frommers site - there is a great little museum there - the home of Asakura Chouso . Of course, it depends what your interests are. You also left out the Asakusa area although you did mention the Sensoji temple.
Whatever, have a wonderful visit!!
Mara is online now  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 06:53 PM
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That looks like a fun itinerary. Which May day is Day 1? If the game you want to go to is not a Giants game then you probably won't have any trouble getting tickets at the gate. They say that the Giants games are well attended so you might want to get those tickets sooner. I saw the Hawks vs Fighters at Tokyo Dome in May 2004 and there were plenty of seats as the place is pretty big (and those teams were actually from Fukuoka and Sapporo). The Jingu stadium is very close to Meiji Shrine (i.e. Meiji Jingu), so that might be very convenient for that day.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 05:30 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 58
one thing i should ask, since this schedule looks surprisingly similar to my first trip to japan 4 years ago (although take out nikko and the baseball game, add yokohama and getting married & applying for a greencard)...how do you handle jetlag?

on my first day after arriving in japan, we visited the tokyo national museum in the afternoon. but although i handled the morning with no problems and had a good lunch, and despite my love of japanese art/history, i got hit pretty hard with jetlag and i think the museum assisted it somewhat. the lighting is very dim from my memory, much dimmer and more solemn than any other museum i've been to. i had a very difficult time fighting it and was frustrated with myself...i ended up having very little memory of anything...and making things worse, we had planned to visit another museum afterwards that had a GIGANTIC kandinsky retrospective going on, one of my favorites, although the damage had been done and i remember even less of that exhibit...

i guess i should mention it was my first trip out of the states too, so maybe i was just too unaccustomed to jetlag...i've been back to japan twice since then and have never been that exhausted again on the 2nd day...but i thought it wouldn't hurt to ask...
fastnbulbous is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 05:56 AM
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I'm not sure how I will handle the jetlag. My only other trip outside of the US was to Europe...and that 7 hour flight doesn't even begin to compare to the 13 or 14 hours it will take to get to Japan.
It's definately something for me to think about though.
siena1 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 06:30 AM
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Looks like you have spent a goo ddeal of time figuring out what you like and going for that (Nezy Art Institute, Yanaka, etc.) instead of just seeing the things other people say are "must sees". This is the same way I like to travel. I find it very rewarding to customize the trip like that.

Don't worry too much about jet lag. Just build soem flexibility into your first couple of days so if you do experience some, you can switch things around and give yourself a break if need be. I got all worried about jet lag, and then my 14 yr old son and I expereicned absolutely no jet lag whatsoever. We just stayed awake on the plane from Washington to Narita, and also stayed awake getting to the hotel in western Tokyo on the limobus, then crashed at bedtime in Japan at 11 pm. We woke up totally fine the next day at 9 a.m. and every day after that. We did not overpack our days and esp. our nights with too much to do and stayed flexible, knowing if we had to drop something from the intinerary it was not the end of the world. And we knew what we were willing to drop if need be and what we weren't willing to drop off the list. It helps keep down the stress level.

I think it is good that you aren't doing the 1st day trip to Kamakura til day 5. On the 1st few days if you get hit w/jet lag, you can move some things around and give yourself a break when you need to.

The Yanaka walking tour looks fun - I have seen that too and have it on the itinerary for my next trip in 2007. Here is an online version of the walking tour:


I went to two baseball games - one at Tokyo Dome and one in Osaka. As mrwunrfl said, you can walk up and get tickets at Tokyo Dome. You could go earlier to get the tickets (we had to go on our own, the concierge at Westin Tokyo could not get tickets for us). We went the day before for tickets, which wasn't necessary at all for the pre-season game we went to. But as mrwunrfl said, it might be good you could try to go get the tickets ahead of time if possible if you are seeing the Giants. I wanted to go to Jingu (outdoor stadium) but didn't get there.
You will have no problem w/the ticket transaction - I just had the japanese dictionary and said "two tickets, tomorrow game" and the agent brought out the seating chart and wrote down the different prices in yen for different seats.

We spent our evenings after about 8 pm winding down, getting ready for the next day. One night we did stay out late and went to a special dinner and then to see Shibuya to see the Hachiko statue and mural at Shibuya station, and one night we went to Tokyo Tower. We loved Tokyo Tower at night - go up to the 2nd obseration level and the whole city is lit up underneath you. They have boards on the observation level where you click on an area of Tokyo you are looking at and it tells you which bldgs/areas you are seeing lit up in the night. Tokyo Tower is the highest steel tower in the world (and it is lit up in orange of all colors), and it is set in a cool neighborhood w/some old style Japanese houses.

emd is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 58
my only point was that the tokyo national museum might best be handled on another day - everybody handles jetlag differently (if they have it at all) & i found for myself that the museum's atmosphere was somewhat conducive to letting it seep in - if it were me, i'd probably want to switch out Day 2 and Day 3 if possible, but everyone's mileage may vary...
fastnbulbous is offline  
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