Need advice for Tokyo vacation

Dec 11th, 2001, 08:11 PM
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Need advice for Tokyo vacation

Hi, my wife and I are planning to go to Tokyo for vacation 2nd half of December. We appreciate any advice on sight-seeing, accommodation (how about the traditional Japanese guest houses?), weather, moving around, etc. Many thanks in advance.
Dec 11th, 2001, 08:38 PM
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Bonjour William,

2nd half of December is one of my favorite time in Tokyo. Everybody is busy preparing for the New Year, shops are full of the New Year specialties. Most shops will be closed Dec 31 - Jan 2, but many open on the 1st already.

For accomodation, look at those two addresses: Japanese Inn Group:
Welcome Inns:

My favorites are Asakusa Shigetsu in Asakusa and Katsutaro in Ueno (They just opened an annex in Yanaka, a traditional area).

Weather is cold but not freezing, usually dry. You can rely on public transportation to go safely anywhere (trains and subway, busses are a bit more complicated to use, forget taxis - too expensive and they get stuck in traffic).

The only drawback is that almost all official sites (museums, zoos, public offices, Tourist information centers, etc.) will be closed from around Dec. 26 to Jan. 4-5. Only post offices remain open. This leaves lots of private museums and other places to visit and ensures that Tokyo will be less crowded and less poluted during that time.

If you can stay over New Year, don't miss a midnight visit to a neighboring temple and try to have a go at ringing the bell: it is supposed to guarantee good health and fortune for your family for the next year. A word of caution though: some of the more famous temples (Asakusa kannon for example) will be crowded and you might encounter pickpockets so beware. On Jan. 1st, many temples will hold special fleamarkets in addition to being visited by the local population wearing their best clothes, a great occasion of seeing Japanese (and a few Westerners) wearing kimono.

Happy travelling !

Dec 18th, 2001, 06:15 PM
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Hi Florence,thanks for your reply. One more question, where to get the best views of Mt Fuji in December, if at all possible, and how to get there from Tokyo and back?
Dec 19th, 2001, 12:15 AM
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Bonjour William,

You can't climb Fuji-san in December but you can make a daytrip to Hakone and the five lakes areas where you'll have a fantastic view (via the Odakyu railway starting in Shinjuku station - the "Romance car" is very confortable).

The sky is usually very clear at this time of year, especially during the last days of the year when Tokyo is relatively empty and less polluted, and you might even see it from the observation deck at the top of the new City Hall in Shinjuku.
Dec 19th, 2001, 04:42 AM
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Hi William,

Currently in Tokyo on vacation with my family. We have just come from Kyoto where you should consider going(to stay at a Ryokan, Japaneese Inn). We stay at the "Hiiragiya" Ryokan where numerous celeb. have stayed(James Cameron, Rob DeNiro, Elizabeth Taylor, Vice Pres. Dick Chaney etc.);

Weather for us is perfect, around 6 degree celcius during the day and hover around 0 at night. We are staying at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo - wonderful hotel!

To sum up - bring lots of MONEY!

Jan 6th, 2002, 06:59 AM
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this is directed to APiwat
What is the cost of that Ryoken? (us dollars if you could) and is it closely accesible to most things.
Jan 6th, 2002, 04:25 PM
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Irene- Hiiragiya runs $300-600 PER person, per night,plus tax. It does include a fabulous breakfast and dinner. There are lots of cheaper ryokan that will give you the experience for $75-150 per person. Hiiragiya is like THE Most famous ryokan in Japan. We were there a few years ago. We spent 3 nights at Sumiya this fall, which is around the corner and ran $285 per person. It is also very historic, but a little more reasonable! They are well worth the splurge, especially if you love kaiseki meals. Florence knows many more good ones....
Jan 6th, 2002, 08:40 PM
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Bonjour Lcuy,

Thanks for your high opinion of my knowledge about Japan, but since, unfortunately, I don't have a budget allowing me to stay in ryokans of that class, I have very little advice to give. I usually stay in those affiliated with the Wellcome Inns or Japanese Inn Group organisations, that run into the Yen 4000 - 6000 range and don't include meals or room service, and I'm well satisfied and used to "private use of a communal bathroom", although many have rooms with a private bath.

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