Japan trip report and thank you

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Aug 27th, 2012, 08:13 AM
  #1
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Japan trip report and thank you

Thank you everyone who offered advice for our 17 day trip to Japan. The trip was a huge success. Our family of 5 adults had a vacation of a lifetime. On this forum some recommended Chris Rowthorn as a possible guide for our visits to Tokyo and Kyoto. Wow, what a winning suggestion. We used Chris and his team consulting services and tours. They helped us with everything from coordinating train times and tickets to getting us into venues we as westerners or as tourist would never have been able to see. Special thanks to KOKO who is a super guide and works in Chris Rowthorns Kyoto office. Koko has those qualities of intelligence, understanding and passion for here work and Japanese culture which elevated our trip from something great to something exceptional. A few of the experiences she helped arrange for us were, a private dinner cooked by the top tempura master chef in Japan.
Visits with leading companies in the kimono, lacquerware and ikat trade in Kyoto.
The Gian district in Kyoto came alive through Koko's tours, which led to several revisits to incredible restaurants not in any guide book, but of quality only found in Japan.

Our visit to Takayama was great and worthwhile. Eating at the Restaurant Kakusho which has been run by the same family for 13 generations was an experience one cannot find anywhere else in the world. Tokyo was fantastic and our 6 days there are just a beginning.
The fish market, adjoining vege and fruit market and then exploring all the stalls was so much fun. Ginza during the day, then the magical transformation at night was a highlight.
Going to Mitsokushi dept store for the opening was a wow experience. Riding in Dr. Shins boat out in Tokyo bay was a great way to see the scope of this huge city, where each section
reveals more and more.

Koya San was questionable. The train ride there is enjoyable, the temples impressive, but the quality of the temple lodgings we found, were not of the same feeling level as the ancients shrines.

Rentaphone in Tokyo provided us was very high quality cell phones and portable wifi connections of superior quality and so easy to use. They were quick to respond to our questions. I highly recommend them.

Japan is so friendly, organized, clean and welcoming, filled with delights, immersed in beauty, safe, with such a high standard of quality, we marveled at our good fortune for visiting there everyday of our trip.

Thank you again to all who offered suggestions. Your advice on this forum helped us create and enjoy a trip of a lifetime.
Many thanks
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Aug 27th, 2012, 09:47 PM
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kja
 
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Good to hear that your trip was a success!

Where did you end up staying in Koya San?
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Aug 28th, 2012, 06:18 PM
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We stayed at Koyasan Onsen Fukuchi-in
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Aug 28th, 2012, 07:59 PM
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kja
 
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Thanks for letting us know. Although its been years since I visited Koyasan, I thought the accommodations at Shojoshin-in quite wonderful.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 01:56 AM
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Great to hear you enjoyed Japan!
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Aug 29th, 2012, 08:04 AM
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Thanks for reporting back and so glad you had a good time.

You know that is one of the reasons keeping us away from visiting Koyasan. I would enjoy about everything to do with and in the place but the accommodations. We have been in so many wonderful ryokan situations that a bad one can turn you off to the whole thing....not saying yours was a bad situation but I know the way we like to travel and a spartan ryokan is not what we would enjoy. Any plans for a return trip?

Aloha!
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 03:09 PM
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It was more the feeling level. Didnt feel as as friendly as the rest of japan. More get them in get them out.

Any suggestion how to overcome jet lag?
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Sep 11th, 2012, 12:54 AM
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Thanks for intruducing us this place! very thrilling!
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Oct 4th, 2012, 10:21 AM
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Hi Yarri
Which temple did you stay in for your Koyasan overnight?
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Oct 5th, 2012, 03:17 AM
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He said they stayed in Fukuchi-in a few posts up.
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Oct 5th, 2012, 02:23 PM
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I'm so sorry, I read the thread twice and still missed that! DOH!
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Nov 5th, 2012, 08:44 AM
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Feedback now we're back. We stayed in Shojoshin-in too, but we booked the private hanare residence. We booked via Japanese Guest Houses, and had our request in place ahead of when the temple bookings for October opened, so we knew we had good chance of securing the hanare.

Basically, it's a large detached traditional building in it's own garden area, but only a few paces from the main temple building where meals are served and prayers held.

Inside you have a corridor all around the central core, the core is divided into four spacious rooms separated (or connected) via sliding doors. Traditional ryokan style. Each of the four rooms is plenty large enough for a bedroom for 2, or even 3.

There are actually three toilets, one of which is Western style, these are along one side of the building (inside, of course). There are also a couple of sink areas. And one, small but lovely private bathroom with shower and deep wooden bath tub.

When I asked the prices, I remember being surprised that it was not much more than a double room within the main temple, given that it was private and had a private bathroom, this was quite a surprise.

So if comfort/ facilities are the issue, I'd consider booking here.

Oh, our dinner was excellent as was breakfast. We had only very brief interaction with the monks, when one served dinner. And we observed the morning chanting / prayers, but this temple doesn't give much opportunity to interact more, whereas I think other temples might.

Other advantage of Shojoshin-in is that it's right next to the Okuno-in graveyard, the key sight of Koyasan.
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Nov 5th, 2012, 06:39 PM
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kja
 
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I'm glad to hear that Shojoshin-in is still as wonderful as I recall - thanks for posting, Kavey!
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