Japan itinery check please

Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 04:56 PM
  #1  
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Japan itinery check please

Three generations of guys ranging from 67 to 13 for 10 nights starting on March 19th. I would appreciate feedback on the general direction and substance of my plans. We are not huge museum fans. Shrines and temples will be visited but probably not a primary concern. I think we will tire of the huge city of Tokyo after three full days so we will start west, then drop into smaller cities and rural areas before Kyoto.

Tokyo - arrival late afternoon + 3 full days- 4 nights
Teamlab-Baseball game-Akihabara-Imperial Palace-National Museum-Shibuya Crossing-Government building-Yebisu Beer Museum- etc

Mt Fuji area- most of a day - 1 night
Himeji 1 night
Iya Valley - vine bridges 1 night
Naruto whirlpool on route to Kyoto - 3 nights

Kyoto
Arashiyama Monkey Park - Bamboo grove
Geisha district, craft shops, etc
Departing flight is early evening from KIX- planning on visiting Nara before going to airport
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Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 06:22 PM
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kja
 
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Did you see the responses to your other thread?
Trains-Mt Fuji-Shikoku-Smoking

I'm not sure I understand why you are planning on a night in Himeji, which is an easy day trip from Kyoto.
I think your time in Kyoto exceedingly limited, but to each his / her own!
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Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 06:40 PM
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Himeji is on the route to Iya Valley and provides me an early start to go south. Another concern was timing the tides to see the whirlpools on the way to Kyoto.
I posted this to check the general direction of my travel, not so much to judge the points of interest I intend to see.

Last edited by OhioRob; Dec 23rd, 2019 at 06:42 PM. Reason: correction of facts
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Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 06:56 PM
  #4  
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No judgment -- just questions.
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Old Dec 27th, 2019, 10:38 AM
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By "Fuji area", i assume you mean Hakone, not Fujigoko.

You have three one-night stays and I am wondering what your more detailed plan is for those days. For example, you mention spending most of a day in Fuji area. Is that Hakone day before the Hakone night? Or are you headinig to Hakone for the night and next day spending most of that day there and then going to Himeji?

The general direction of your travel is fine. What matters - with three consecutive one-nighters - is timing. So, how are you going to do it?
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Old Dec 28th, 2019, 03:21 PM
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The morning of travel to Mt Fuji area (Kawaguchi) could give us a few hours in Tokyo if we still had some things to see. Hope to do a sightseeing bus in the Five Lakes area then chill for the evening. We will spend the night there then head to the Iya Valley via Himeji. That will have a balance of travel and the castle. The next day will also have about 7 hours on a train after doing the vine bridges in the morning, whirlpools at Naruto, then into Kyoto.
I realize that isn't how many people travel due to all the movement. I enjoy getting out into the less touristy areas and try to open myself to just experiencing life of the locals.
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Old Dec 28th, 2019, 04:43 PM
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Have you checked the train schedules to the Iya Valley? Several times, we tried to go there, and were unable to get there by train. I may be wrong, maybe we just couldn't get there in a timely manner by train.WE didn't want to drive as even our hellishly crazy Japanese friend warned us that its a really narrow winding road to get the last legs. I don't really recall, and the last time was about 3 years ago, so maybe things have changed now!
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Old Dec 28th, 2019, 05:46 PM
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I like how are planning to spend some time outside of the big cities to see some of the natural beauty of Japan. Don't rush it.

Kawaguchiko involves 2 or 3 additional travel hours on the day you head south compared with going to Hakone (given that it is about 3 hours from K-ko to Odawara). Your trip to Himeji will take 6 hours.

So, maybe you have some Tokyo time in the morning to "finish up" there. It is kinda obvious but I still have to point out that that idea would cut into your Fuji time (sunset will be around 5:53 PM). You definitely have to work out the details about that bus tour. There are tour buses from Tokyo.

Instead of spending the night in Himeji I would suggest just stopping there to see the castle and then continuing on to Iya valley for the night. But that idea works better if you were leaving from Hakone. The castle closes at 4PM. You might not even get to Himeji befor 1PM. Maybe Himeji has some local vibe that you could experience (I doubt it), but it is just Japanese city. It wouldn't be too far to go to Kobe or Osaka baseball game that night. You could consider moving Himeji to later, maybe visit there from Kyoto.

I suspect that Iya Valley is worth more time than you are giving it. This is the only part that is maybe not too touristy. Actually, I just realized that I don't have a clue about how much time you are giving it, given that your only comment on how long something will take is the 7 hours of train time (too much!). You're going to spend 7 hours train riding to spend what, 4 hours?, on vine bridges and a peek at the whirpool? You sh/could start thinking about at least 2 nights on Shikoku.
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Old Dec 28th, 2019, 05:58 PM
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I jumped around between a few thoughts in the post above. One I didn't mention was the thought of dropping Kawaguchiko - in whole or in part. Maybe go early, do your thing, and then move on instead of chilling there (the reason to stay there would be for an onsen and/or ryokan experience). Chill in Himeji that night (castle the next morning).
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Old Dec 29th, 2019, 09:35 AM
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Train schedule looks possible but obviously not like traveling between larger cities. I briefly looked at renting a car for that portion of the trip but so far have decided against it. I have driven on the left side of the road in other countries but the real desire would get to the other bridges and everyone warns of a twisty narrow road. I am still researching if I can hire a local or some type of transport to them.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 09:18 AM
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Thanks everyone for helping. I am now looking at lodging in Tokyo. Big cities kind of overwhelm with choices.
I found an Airbnb very near Ueno that looks attractive. Is it good to look near the Yamanote Line for easy transportation? I've read that many of the properties near Shinjuku are in or near the red light district. True? Any suggestions for general neighborhoods to base out of?
Baseball season will just be starting and we would like to attend a game while in Tokyo if possible. Does anyone have experiences with buying tickets at the stadiums vs. the expensive vendors I see online?
Sumo tournaments will be in Kyoto while we are in Tokyo and done by the time we get to Kyoto. One post talked about going to a stable to observe practice. Any experience from you experience folks about seeing students or lower level athletes to get a sample.
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 03:41 PM
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I was glad I stayed near Ueno Park, but I think it really depends on what you want to see and experience while in Tokyo. The place I chose was near several different train lines, including the JR Ueno train station, the Keisei Ueno train station (which has an express line to/from Narita Airport), and the Nezu subway station -- those worked for me. (Unfortunately, I can't recommend the hotel at which I stayed, as it doesn't seem to have stood the test of time very well.)
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Old Jan 6th, 2020, 07:47 PM
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We stayed at the Marriott in Ginza, which is now a Marriott Courtyard. I chose it because we are big Marriott devotees, but we found the Ginza area to be nice for walking around and people watching.

We managed to go to a Sumo stable, and it was quite interesting. The concierge at the Marriott arranged it. It was fun seeing how the students practiced and the respect that they gave their instructor. We were quite close up, within a few feet of the students practicing, and the view from behind (literally) of the students in those teeny costumes was, well, quite interesting.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 09:26 AM
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I mentioned Yamanote Line on another thread. I sh/could have said on or withini the Yamanote Line which is a vast area but where exactly depends on where you will visit in Tokyo. Still, if your lodging is within that area and near a subway or rail station then you can get anywhere.

Shinjuku is a good place to stay. It is a ward of Tokyo and it is a big area.

The red light district, Kabukicho, is northeast of Shinjuku station and it has changed over the last 20 years. It is now more touristy with lots of restaurants (including a very good sushi place near Godzilla) and it is the home of the popular robot restaurant. You can see what it is like at youtube by searching for Kabukicho. That -cho is just one part of Shinjuku. You'll see images of young women ( in bikini, or sexy cop or schoolgirl uniform). That is about it. It is safe.

Most Shinjuku lodging is not in Kabukicho. The ones thatt are will have an address that includes "Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo". For example, Hotel Gracery gives their adcdress as 1-19-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku - Tokyo, Japan.

Nishishinjuku (nishi is west) is very tame and pretty dead at night, though I like staying there. I think that south of the station is like that. Higashi (east) Shinjuku is more lively.

I've been to quite a few j-ball games and always got a ticket at the stadium immediately before the game. I have read that the Yomiuri Giants sell out, but there are other teams in Tokyo as well as one in Yokohama and another in Chiba. Jingu Stadium is supposed to be really good. At any stadium, you want to sit in right field if you want to be with the home team fanatics. That area could sell out. Left field is the visiting team cheering section. I only saw one game in Tokyo, at Tokyo Dome. It was between the teams from Fukuoka and Sapporo. The first game I saw was in Yokohama and there were lots of available seats.

I don't know how big your group was, but if I wanted four seats in right field to a Giants game then I would think about paying a ticket broker.

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Jan 7th, 2020 at 09:29 AM.
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Old Feb 26th, 2020, 06:38 AM
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My trip will begin in 3 weeks and we are getting concerned about the spread of coronavirus. It looks like Japan is recommending that citizens don't gather in large groups, stay home to work if possible and not go into public if not feeling well. The culture there seems to enforce people to attend their workplace and public transportation is pretty crowded. This is not going to control the spread of this disease if the prevalence increases.

Are any of the posters in country to have a feel for what the present conditions are. Have there been any government programs proposed to stem the spread if it increases?

I learned that travel insurance does not cover epidemic or pandemic outbreaks! I'm sure I am not the only one not to read the contract or consider this situation when I was planning the trip 9 months ago.

Any advise will be appreciated.
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Old Feb 26th, 2020, 05:10 PM
  #16  
kja
 
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I'm sure you realize that there are a LOT of threads about this virus now on just about every board -- read them if you want!
And I'm sure you know to consult the CDC website, and perhaps the WHO website, for accurate up-to-date info.
Good luck with your decision, OhioRob!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2020, 07:17 PM
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I have not seen Japan virus threads on this Forum (other than one about masks)...all venues and museums in Tokyo (I believe all national museums around the country) are closed -some through march 15 but some with no stated reopening date- so you would want to check back before making a decision to make sure the places on your itinerary have reopened. My trip is not for another 5-6 weeks and I have not made a decision yet. (watching new cases daily and hoping it will be controlled in Japan soon)

Last edited by weekend_celebrations; Mar 2nd, 2020 at 07:20 PM.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2020, 08:36 PM
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OhioRob, given that you are interested in the the situation in Japan I recommend that you find some Japan resources. This forum is mostly about us sharing our past experiences. And it is a low season, so not a big chance that fodorites will be there. Mara did report in. I hope she is well. Wishing KimJapan was here.

But the posters who might be in Japan might not have the full story. There is plenty of reporting of it online.

Here is a link to the largest newspaper in Japan: Yomiuri Shimbun.
Here is a link to an English language newspaper in Japan: Japan Times
Or the Asahi Shimbun, or do a search for "what is japan doing about coronavirus" and find stuff like this aritcle in the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/02/o...ronavirus.html

You could also see what NHK might have. There is an NHK World broadcast in English.

There is also youtube, if you want an on the ground report from a person who is not a professional reporter. There is one guy who reports daily and seems to understand his responsibility. He is in the nervous part of the spectrum of concern (wife has asthma and maybe they have a baby) and offers opinion/advice but also some facts, like the PM suggesting that venues close down thru March 15. Like this month's sumo tournament might go on but without spectators (on TV, I suppose). Puroland and other places did shut down, but the Disneys had not yet. I could find a link if you wanted. He is an American and speaks in English.

Cathy Cat on Ask Japanese did do segment about coronavirus but what I saw is not recent. That is a fun channel, tho, with the caption on. She does do some ask visitors programs in English. She is solidly fluent in Japanese but otherwise her program is in English. Pretty remarkable considering that she is German. Also she is a lolita cosplayer and interesting even when some of her intereviewees are not.

The CDC would have good advice, though more about America. The WHO might have some info about Japan. But Japan has its own government organization that deals with this.

Last edited by mrwunrfl; Mar 2nd, 2020 at 08:38 PM.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2020, 10:15 AM
  #19  
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Thanks everyone for trying to help. We have decided to not travel. There are just too many unknowns and we are too close to departure. We are ticketed to arrive March 16 and many of the things we wanted to see are closed until at least the 15th. It might be OK but the Japanese are being careful so there would be no large gatherings like the baseball game and Borderless that we really wanted to enjoy.

American Airlines has not granted me a waiver to put my frequent flyer miles back in my account. I also bought the return tickets as non refundable for my son & grandson so it appears I might get a "store credit" for that purchase. I will lose a bit on a deposit for Airbnb in Tokyo unless they show a bit more mercy. I can't let the dollar loss affect the health of my family. The chance of being put into quarantine is low but my son would miss work and his son school. I do not wish an expansion of this virus at any cost but it might convince the airline to be more generous. I am going to wait to see how it develops, my feeling is that at some point so many people will cancel that American Airline will come to me for a deal.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2020, 05:03 PM
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kja
 
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I'm sure it was a difficult decision, but it sounds like a very well reasoned one.
Hoping you get to Japan under better circumstances!
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