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trav46 Nov 26th, 2005 10:14 PM

Narita..2 full day layover, what to do?
We will have afull 48 hours enorut to Thailand. DO we head for TOkyo ? What other city is comprbale distance. IT will be our first trip to Japan, so we do want to experience the flavor of Japan, recognizing that albeit short, we would like to say we at least 'tasted' Japan. Any advise would be wonderful Currently have resrvations at Holiday Inn Metropolitan..good choice? HELP!

KimJapan Nov 26th, 2005 11:22 PM

I'm not sure what you mean by "should we head for Tokyo?" as you are doing just that by staying at the Holiday Inn Metropolitan. Unless I'm confused, it's in Ikebukuro, which part of Tokyo. Narita is quite a ways from Tokyo - and Tokyo is quite enormous itself, but getting to Kyoto would involve at least one change of train, which may not be much fun if you've flown in from the US east coast.

When will you be in Tokyo? How old are your kids (I saw in your Phuket questions you have 2 children)? Where are you flying from? The age of your children, as well as jet lag need to be considered, as well as the weather.

With only 2 days, I wouldn't venture out anywhere else. Tokyo is a big city, but it's absolutely Japanese. By spending 2 days there, you will have tasted Japan.

I think the best thing to do would be to do a search here on emd - her trip report from last spring is great, and has great things to see in Tokyo with kids....she travelled with her son.

lcuy Nov 27th, 2005 08:36 AM

You can do either Kyoto or Tokyo, but Kyoto involes a much longer train ride- with connection in Tokyo- and the expense of it. Unless you have specific sights to see in Kyoto, I'd do Tokyo.

If your're happy with HI metro, I'd stay there. If not, look into a japanese style room/s at the Ryokan Shigetsu in Tokyo. It is in a neighborhood with a huge temple- Sensoju (the one in all the pictures with the huge red paper lantern) and great shopping for souvenirs nearby.

You can also go into Ueno park..There is a wonderful museum there and lots of opportunities for people watching. Another great market for food and things like shoes outside the park.

Your kids would probably like wandering the department stores in Shinjuku or Shibuya. Harajuku is fun too. Lots of shops selling very Japanese fashions and kitch and LOTS of interesting kids to watch. Plenty to interest mom and Dad as well. The dollar store in Harajuku is good for japanese 'stuff'.

it is easy to get around on the subway. the first time takes a few minutes, but ask a ticket or gate person for help. Eating is easy, as restaurants put the plastic models in the window with the prices. Choose a place that looks clean and crowded, then have the waitress follow you out front to order.

Japan is a very visual place to visit. You can get a nice taste without having to do much more than wander around. You'll want to come back, so save Kyoto for the next visit!

mrwunrfl Nov 27th, 2005 11:24 PM

I stayed at the HI Metropolitan in January. Got it on priceline and would not choose to go back there. It is very convenient to Ikebukuro station which is not well located in Tokyo though it is a Narita Express stop. Someone on the forum mentioned that an airport bus goes to that hotel. There is a redlight district next to the station and not far from the hotel. Other than the hotel there didn't seem to be much of interest to tourists in the area (unlike lcuy's description of Shigetsu)

The hotel is ok. Lots of western tourists. Large and impersonal. Typical small room. It will do for an inexpensive western style hotel.

Mealea Nov 28th, 2005 03:15 AM

Ikebukuro is not is nice part of Tokyo. It might give you a very bad impression of Tokyo, which is actually a great and cool city. Better to stay somewhere else I think. Ikebukuro = scruffy, dirty, crowded, lot of drunks around, red light district.

tokyo Nov 28th, 2005 05:12 AM

I've lived in Japan for nearly 2 years amd I've only been to Ikebukuro once... by mistake. I would never go there again. You will not see the wonderful old Tokyo grappling with the modern new facade that is creeping through the city, a truly eclectic mix that sometimes feels like being on a movie set - either a sci-fi blockbuster or a Samurai old worlde film . Please stay somewhere else... anywhere else!! It'll be easier for you all to travel around as well.

Florence Nov 28th, 2005 05:38 AM


Ikebukuro isn't all that bad. There's the Sunshine 60 complex, with the aquarium, planetarium, observation platform (ok, paying so you get a better deal at the new City Hall in Shinjuku), shopping center (Tokyu Hands is a must for DIY fans), etc.

However, for a mere 48 hours, I would also recommend staying somewhere nearer to what is usually labelled as "real Japan" ;-), like Asakusa, Ginza, or even Shinjuku.

How about Yanaka, a district where a lot of traditional life, houses, parks, temples and shops remain ? See for an overlook. It is close to Nippori station on the Keisei Skyliner train that link Narita to Ueno in less than 1 h.

emd Nov 28th, 2005 06:18 AM

Florence, since you mentioned Yanaka, take a look at this site. I am considering adding a stroll through Yanaka to our upcoming trip.

emd Nov 28th, 2005 06:21 AM

oops, that address is the kimono rental place - somehow I got to a site that deatils a walk through Yanaka's old historic buidlings from that site. Let me see if I can figur eout how I got linked to the Yanaka walking tour and I will post on it.

emd Nov 28th, 2005 06:25 AM

Ok, here is the site on the walking tour through historic Yanaka.

Click on "Tokyo" on the left side, then click on Yanaka.

Florence Nov 28th, 2005 07:08 AM

Bonjour Emd,

I knew about Mr Okada's site before he went to Germany, and I used to write on his forum, but I didn't know he was back. In addition to maintaining a fascinating site on everyday's Japan, he's a very nice person. I've added his new site to my favorites, thanks to you. :-)

kuranosuke Nov 28th, 2005 08:43 AM

hi, genki? since we got the japan heavy hitters here, thought i might ask if anyone will be in japan next oct for possible gtg? i am planning on being in tokyo during the third week of oct.

emd, you planning on taking a picture in a kimono?

emd Nov 28th, 2005 09:34 AM

Third week of Oct. will be my 20th wedding anniversary. Would love to take my husband to Tokyo but who will keep my teenagers from running amuck while the cat is away...

It costs a lot of yen to do the kimono dress up thing. Kuranosuke, you thinking of doing it? I might pay half the yen to see that.

KimJapan Nov 28th, 2005 12:52 PM

Japan gtg in October...very doable I think. How about in lovely Kanazawa? Or even maybe more "Japanese" - autumn leaves in Shirakawa-go?

mrwunrfl Nov 28th, 2005 05:02 PM

Japan in October is a possibility. The thought of kuranosuke in a kimono makes me afraid that I will have bad dreams tonight.

kuranosuke Nov 28th, 2005 10:31 PM

ok you guys, don't tempt me with that kimono stuff.

kanazawa, shirakawa-go, sounds good to me.
i think thats a good idea, to go to kyoto and vicinity instead of tokyo, or do a combo. hows matsumoto? i saw a japanese tv show a few years ago called the boss yakudoshi, and one of the characters went to matsumoto. looked like a nice place to visit.

my time in oct. is flexible at this time, so can arrange my sked easily.

emd, what better way to spend your anniversary than listening to bill and i doing our best karaoke rendition of the
anniversary waltz.

kappa, florence, mealea, doo?

its been over 25years since i went to kyoto, so it would be nice to revisit again.

kappa Nov 29th, 2005 01:25 AM

trav46, sorry for a bit of hijacking your thread.


Thank you for mentioning my name but October is unlikely time for me to return to Japan because of my work schedule. You go ahead and enjoy without me :-( if this will realize.

> Ikebukuro isn't all that bad.
Florence, I'm glad you said that. Ikebukuro is not the nicest area of Tokyo but I have friends Japanese and Non-Japanese who satyed there witout problem. But I have to admit it is not the area I frequented when I lived in Toyko.

There is one thing I cannot forget, a comment made by my Swiss-German friends. They actually stayed at the Metropolitan (they were participating int'l aerobics championships in Sendagaya and Metropolitan was the offfcial hotel for the championships). The day I went to Ikebukuro see them, one of them told me " I saw an unbelievable thing at Tokyu Dept.Store next to Ikebukuro JR station. Their fruit shop was selling 100000 yen melons. One melon costed 100000 yen, 5 0's, can you belive that ? " I did not but we could not verify it becase the shop was closed by then. I still think there was some mistake. A 100000 yen melon ? even in Tokyo?

KimJapan Nov 29th, 2005 01:51 AM

I've personally never seen a 100,000 yen watermelong...but I have seen a watermelon shaped as a perfect cube, selling for 25,000 yen, with a note that it was not fit for consumption! Summer gift giving. I love watermelon, but stick the the ones that cost 1000 yen and are edible.

Florence Nov 29th, 2005 02:06 AM

Bonjour Kappa,

I've actually seen (on Fuji TV) a Yen 100000 square melon, but it was presented as the first one of the season, specially grown for some charity auction.

On the other hand, given the thickness of the slices-on-a-stick you buy for Y 100 in markets like Ameya Yokocho, I would not be surprised to learn they make as much as 100'000 on one melon ;-)

kappa Nov 29th, 2005 02:29 AM

Kim, that was melon (the Japanese call the expensive sort "musk melon") and not watermelon. Watermelon is not considered particualrly expensive fruit even there but these musk melons they sell are mostly only for special gifts (too much care makes this so expensive, no tiny blemish allowed ) and sold in (expensive themselves) wooden boxes. Still 100000yen? I can believe up to about 50000 yen. This IS possible but although I'm not leading a life which allow me to buy such and I still wonder if my friend was dreaming or jetlagged. They might have as well been selling the melons in golden box.

> given the thickness of the slices-on-a-stick ..

Florence, rather the THINESS of ... ? ;-)

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