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Last Minute Plans to Tokyo due to Hokkaido Earthquake

Last Minute Plans to Tokyo due to Hokkaido Earthquake

Old Sep 7th, 2018, 09:51 AM
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Last Minute Plans to Tokyo due to Hokkaido Earthquake

We're saddened to hear about the earthquake in Hokkaido. We were due to fly into CTS on Wednesday. I've been following the news closely and have been back and forth whether to continue the trip or not. We have a whole package booked with a Hokkaido based tour group. I'm still waiting to hear back from them on the plans. Meanwhile I am leaning towards changing our trip to Tokyo & surrounding areas instead since we were flying through to HND anyway. I feel like we shouldn't be a burden on the locals while they're trying to recover from a big quake. I'm also worried about the safety-- possible aftershocks, electricity issues, etc. We will be traveling with our 1 year old son.

With that said we have 9 nights to visit Tokyo & surrounding areas. We've already been to Tokyo once so we don't care to see the main sites again. I'm thinking spending a few nights in the countryside such as Takayama, Nagano (I've always wanted to see the snow monkeys... even though it's not winter it might be fun for my son to see), and Shirawakago.

Does anyone have any suggestions on a slow paced itinerary? Right now I'm thinking 3 nights Tokyo, 3 nights Hakone, and 3 nights Takayama/Nagano/Shirawakago. We're coming down to crunch time and I feel so stressed not having anything set. We were very much looking forward to our family trip but just bad timing. We prefer to hire a private driver so my son can sit in a car seat and train travel will be difficult since we have luggage and baby in tow.
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Old Sep 7th, 2018, 06:28 PM
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Your new plan could work well! For a slow-paced itinerary, you might consider skipping Nagano, and perhaps even shifting another night to Takayama/Shirakawago. Just something to consider.

Good luck!
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Old Sep 7th, 2018, 07:25 PM
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If I understand your proposed logistics, you’d disembark in Tokyo and not continue on to Hokkaido? If so, I’d be concerned that if all flights are on 1 itinerary with the airline, if not rebooked or otherwise changed, you’d risk having your return tickets cancelled. Do check if you haven’t already.
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Old Sep 7th, 2018, 09:38 PM
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If you do decide to visit Nagano, you may find the Togakushi Shrine to be of interest. Consisting of lower, middle and upper temples, it is in a forested area that you can hike up, or catch a bus to each if you prefer.
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Old Sep 8th, 2018, 04:32 AM
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A few things to consider:

1) New Chitose airport (CTS) has already reopened as of yesterday, New Chitose Airport Terminal , so you may be able to keep your original plan.

2) If your flights are all in one tickets, with outbound home/NRT/CTS and inbound CTS/NRT/home, and if you want to give up the NRT/CTS segments, call the airline (or via your travel agent if you booked the air via a travel agent) to tell them you want to FORFEIT the NRT/CTS segments due to earthquake, but want to keep the rest of the segments unchanged. This way they may not charge a change fee at all.

Last edited by Reading54; Sep 8th, 2018 at 04:35 AM.
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Old Sep 9th, 2018, 06:14 PM
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We decided to still continue our trip to Hokkaido. Wish us luck! Will report on the conditions in case people that have plans to go there are wondering if they should cancel or not.
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Old Sep 9th, 2018, 06:34 PM
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I hope all goes well and that you have a wonderful trip!
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Old Sep 10th, 2018, 07:20 AM
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You will be all right. Japanese people are great at mobilizing to overcome adversity.
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Old Sep 10th, 2018, 02:15 PM
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A friend of mine was in Hokkaido on a cycling trip when the earthquake hit. He was on the eastern side of the island, near the Shiretoko Pass, and there was no earthquake damage there at all. There were periodic blackouts for a day or two, but the electric grid is back up and running.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2018, 03:45 PM
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We just got back from our trip and had a great time. We went to Noboribetsu, Lake Toya, Iwanai, Otaru, and Sapporo. We didn't see much damage on the streets as we were West of the area where the earthquake hit. The only thing noticeable was lack of tourists (which worked in our favor because there were no lines or crowds!). The markets were low on dairy products but was pretty much back to normal by the time we were leaving. There were aftershocks but I only felt one and it wasn't that bad. If anyone has plans to go to Hokkaido you don't need to cancel your plans (obviously don't travel to the earthquake hit areas as they are still recovering). We went a week after the earthquake and nothing was disrupted for us.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2018, 03:54 PM
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I'm glad your choice ended up working for you, and thanks for reporting back!
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Old Sep 24th, 2018, 05:47 AM
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Happy to hear the trip went well
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