Planning Japan Trip VERY OPEN to ideas

Old Feb 17th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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Planning Japan Trip VERY OPEN to ideas

Ok Im planning on visiting Japan for the first time May 23-30. This will be my 6th continent and for the first time im pretty intimidated about how to take on this trip due to the language barier. Id like to do 4 days in Tokyo and 3 in Kyoto. ANY help in the following areas would be greatly appreciated:

Will I be ok not knowing a lick of Japanese?

Reccomendations on places or general areas to stay in Tokyo and Kyoto

Transportation insight-Rail, sub, bullet train.

Places to see/ Things to do.

Thanks in advance.

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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 10:51 AM
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Oh Yeah. Im a BUDGET but Quality Traveler
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 01:44 PM
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ok, fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka or vice versa.
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 03:37 PM
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You'll be fine not knowing any Japanese, especially if you stay only in those two cities. No Japanese, no problem.

With only a week, definitely do an open jaw with Narita (NRT) and Kansai (KIX).

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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 12:20 AM
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You can get from Narita Airport to Tokyo for 1100 yen if you take the Keisei train and change to a JR local.

You might be able to get a bus, for a low price, from Tokyo to Kyoto but Japan has the shinkansen and I believe it is a must-do. It would be about 13,000 unreserved from Tokyo to Kyoto.

If you take a JR Rapid train from Kyoto to Osaka and another one from Osaka to Kansai Airport then you could make that trip in less than 2 hours for 1830 yen.

So, that's about 16,000 yen for the bulk of your travel.

If you can't do the open-jaw flights then you would want to get a 7-day JR Pass for 28,300. You'd be able to use the Narita Express to Tokyo and back, shinkansen to Kyoto and back, and JR trains in Tokyo.

Flying the open-jaw can save you money and time (would be worth $100 extra in airfare, but could actually cost the same or less).

There will be a grand sumo tournament in Tokyo when you are there. Go there around noon or 1PM on the 23rd or 24th. Ask where to get the chanko nabe (chahn ko nah bay).

Here is all the Japanese you need to know:
1)hai pronounced "hi". The Japanese say this a lot. It means "yes". Walk up to a service counter and the attendant says "hai". I usually reply "hi" for "hello", out of habit, which sounds like "hai" to them so it works out because it would be an appropriate reply. In fact, saying hai is pretty much appropriate anytime. Hai! It's like a short "hi", you cut it off in your throat. If a Japanese person asks you in English if you speak Japanese just say Hai! and you will likely get a chuckle. The Japanese have a word for "no" but they don't say it, but you might get a hand gesture for no.

2) dozo is "please", "please, go ahead", with lonng ohhs: dough-zough

3) sumimasen sue-me-mah-sen is "excuse me" to get someone's attention or as "excuse me" for the stupid thing I just did or, for all I know, am about to do. You can use it at the beginning of what you are saying and could use it at the end at the same time! Really useful.

4) gomen nasai go-men-nah-sigh is "I am sorry". You can use this on it's own or with between a couple of sumimasens if you really screwed up.

5) toire wa doko desu ka? toe-ee-reh wah doh koh dess kah?
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 12:31 AM
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oops, where was I? oh yeah:

5) toire wa doko desu ka? toe-ee-reh wah doh koh dess kah? The "doko?" is where? and the "desu ka" is "is it?". So, "doko desu ka" is "where is?" and the first word is the subject, in this case, "toilet". Really, toire is literally toilet, just they pronounce the "l" like an "r" and they don't have any real Japanese words that end in "t" so they drop it.

6) arrigato gozaimashita ah-ring-gah-toe go-zye-mahsh-ta = thank you very much. If you find yourself saying this with a high pitched nasal voice and draw out the ending "tah" then you may have been in Japan too long.

7)If you want to know if someone speaks English then say: "do you speak English?"

Hope this helps!
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 02:36 PM
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This helps soooo much.THANK YOU. Do I need to get the Sumo tickets ahead of time
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 07:37 PM
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I got my plane ticket and a couple hotel nights secure. Heres what I got

May 18-21 Hawaii
May 22
May 23
May 24
May 25 Tokyo
May 26 Tokyo
May 27 Tokyo
May 28
May 29
May 30 Return home

I was not able to get an open jaw so Im flying in and out of Tokyo. I was thinking of doing Kyoto those first three days coming back to Tokyo to 3. Is there another city close to Tokyo that I can do a day or two or even a day trip?
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 10:19 PM
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Are you landing in Japan on the 21st or 22nd? If the 22nd then I would recommend staying in Tokyo then going to Kyoto. Or put the three days in Tokyo back a day. The first three days of your trip would be your best shot at going to the sumo tournament, if you care about that.

Nikko, Kamakura, and Hakone are good day trip or overnight trips from Tokyo.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2007, 11:19 AM
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Thanx mrwunrfl I do want to go to the sumo tournament. I thought I read it lasted till that Sunday. Are you suggesting the earlier days cause those are the best days to go? Or has the tournament schedule changed? I will look into Nikko, Kamakura, and Hakone
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Old Mar 2nd, 2007, 11:59 AM
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That last weekend of the tournament, esp. Sunday, would more likely be sold out. The tournament champ will probably be decided in the last two days. Even if it wasn't the last week I would expect a weekend crowd to be bigger, so less availability of good seats.

Any time reading up on how the tournament is conducted would be well spent. Not that it is any bit mysterious, it is not, not at all. But it is good to know the tradition and the format of the program.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2007, 12:00 PM
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beware of dog,

You've already gotten great advise from kim and mrw.

Don't worry about the language thing as where you will be going it won't matter much.

Just about all Japanese people under 50 or so understand a little English as most of them had to take it for 6 years or so in school but just as with my high school language classes most of them don't remember much, lol.

mrw,

I love your #4. Sounds like a priest giving penance.

Aloha!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Actually, I guess the best day to go is one of the last two - when the champion will be decided. Problem could be in getting tix.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2007, 12:13 PM
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and I have heard that since Musashimaru retired in late 2003 Asashoryu(Yokozuna) has dominated the tournaments winning something like 12 or 13 in a row and 14 out of the last 15 or 16 tournaments. His record is usually 14-1 or 15-0 so it's been wrapped up often before the last day of late.

But I think the last two days are usually the first days to sell out even before a tourney starts. Good luck!

Aloha!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2007, 01:57 PM
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You wouldnt happen to know Japanese so I can make my reservation the day tickets go on slae April 7?
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 07:30 PM
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update on my plans

May 18-21 Hawaii

May 22 Tues Tokyo
arrive 2pm go to hotel and relax.

May 23 Wed Tokyo
Sumo tournament

May 24 Thurs Day trip to?

May 25 Friday Tokyo

May 26 Saturday Tokyo

May 27 Sunday Tokyo
Harajuku?
Japanese Women Wrestling
Baseball game

May 28 Kyoto

May 29 Kyoto

May 30 Return home
-----

Nikko will likely be the Thursday day trip. I want to go to Hakone but I dont know where I can fit that in.
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 10:38 PM
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You've not much time in Kyoto. You're traveling there on the 28th and returning on the 29th?

Women wrestlers, huh?
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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Im actually not leaving Kyoto till the 30th. 2 full days.

LOL yes Im a big fan of Joshi (japanese women wrestling)

Is Nikko truly a day trip? Id like to get in Hakone or Kamakura as well but I dont know if I will have the time. Thursday is the only day I do not have hotel reservations for Id like to stay in a Ryokan any suggestions?
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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I think there are day trips to Nikko operated by JTB. You ought to check hyperdia for train travel times. There are JR trains to get you there but also another company. For info I suggest that you go to jnto.go.jp and search for Practical Travel Guides. Then find the one for Nikko. As expected, the guide has good practical info, for getting there, etc. I have not been to Nikko.

I would stay at a ryokan in Hakone, though, again, I have not done this. There have been a couple ryokan mentioned on this forum, can't think of the names, but try doing a search.
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Nikko can be done as a day trip from Tokyo. If you want to visit the temples and shrines in Nikko and also visit Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls, it would be a very full day that you would probably do well to plan carefully to make sure all your connections work. Many people visit the temples and shrines in Nikko itself as a day trip from Tokyo. Also, visiting Nikko is easy to do on your own. In addition to the JNTO site, you might want to check out www.japan-guide.com, which has a lot of helpful information about what to see there and how to get there. Hope that helps!
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