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Seeking Advice on Tokyo/Hiroshima/Miyajima, Japan in June with kids

Seeking Advice on Tokyo/Hiroshima/Miyajima, Japan in June with kids

Jan 4th, 2005, 03:13 PM
  #21  
mjs
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,313
This is starting to look more complicated than even I imagined at first. If you could fly from China to Osaka or fly via Narita to Hiroshima or Osaka it might make your travel plans alittle easier but I suspect this would be an expensive option. I do not know when you get into Narita from China but you might consider pushing it and taking the train from Narita to somewhere in Southern Japan like Kyoto than moving off to Hiroshima etc on the next day. Stop in Himiji on the way back to Tokyo. This would get you around the Nozumi/Hikari issue with the train passes. Looked at my 2004 summer schedule and training from Tokyo to Hiroshima is easiest with the Nozumi and appears to require changing trains somewhere in the middle for the other trains. This change of trains seems to require about a 1/2 to 1 hour wait in most cases so your journey from Tokyo to Hiroshima may be 5 hours instead of 4 hours with the Nozumi.
You might be able to get a good deal on the Westin by using your Starwood points either to pay for the rooms themselve or by using their 2000 pt cupon to get 50% off rack rates. You would need to check with the hotel to see if they participate in such promotions during your time of travel. The Mansions at Roppongi for an apartment or the Crowne Plaza in Ikebukuro might also work for you.
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Jan 5th, 2005, 02:25 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,200

TravelTrio, I just checked star-alliance.com because I think you mentioned that you are flying on United MP awards. Tried ORD-PEK and saw that travel via KIX (Osaka) is valid routing, on ANA and United. That means that you (probably) could make your stopover in Osaka. That would enable you to visit Kyoto and make your travel to Hiroshima and Himeji a lot easier. A JR West pass might make sense in this case, but check the conditions as I am not sure that any shinkansen are included.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 06:00 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,154
I have posted to some others, but with children do not miss the Edo Tokyo museum (and check out its website in advance which takes you on a "tour" of old Tokyo). The museum is walking distance from Ryokan Shigetsu (which I also highly recommend) and has beautiful re-creations of old Tokyo with good explanations in English. Enjoy planning your trip!
laurie_ann is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 06:35 AM
  #24  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Thanks to all of you for your input. What would you all think of this revised itinerary:

June 6-14 Beijing and Xian, China

June 14 -- Arrive Narita Airport. Activate JR 7-day pass at airport and take it into Tokyo.

June 14 & 15 -- Staying at Ryokan Shigetsu -- I have considered the possible inconvenience of staying out of the room mid-day and the curfew at night and have concluded that it does not present a problem for us. We won't need to drop off purchases because shopping will not be a priority. I learned long ago that trips can be ruined if shopping for souveniers or things like compulsive videotaping or photography get in the way. Also, in 15 days in Europe last year we did not spend any time in our hotels between 9 am and 7 pm, so I don't know why staying out from 10 to 3 would be a problem. I am sure if someone gets sick or can't leave the room for some reason, they would make an exception. The place is simply too highly recommended to pass up. I am sure I could also find something cheaper, but the location, the recommendations, their agreement to store our bags for us, I just can't pass it up.

June 16 -- Take early morning (around 7:30 am) non-Nozumi bullet train to Osaka, then Hiroshima, arriving shortly after noon. Spend the rest of the day doing Peace Museum,
Evening: ferry to Miyajima and stay at Momiji-so.

June 17 -- Spend morning at Miyajima, then leave around noon. Stop at Himeji castle for a couple of hours (2-5?), pick up dinner to go, then back on train to Tokyo. May arrive shortly after ryokan's curfew, but plan to address that with them ahead of time.

June 18-20 -- Ryokan Shigetsu again. Tokyo sightseeing.

Again, does the above seem feasible? I realize that it would always be better to stretch two days in Hiroshima/Miyajima into three, but that would mean:
(1) we couldn't travel as lightly -- we can get by with only backpacks if we go for one night;
(2) less time in Tokyo where, like it or not, there are many things that would appeal to my kids -- it would reduce us from 3 full days in Tokyo to only 2; and
(3) I'd rather not lounge around Miyajima another day if it means that we'll have to rush through things in Tokyo. Will more time in Miyajima really be worth missing some of the key sights in Tokyo?
I definitely perceive a bias against Tokyo among the contributors to this sight, which I understand to a degree. I personally found the remote Iwate prefecture of Japan to be my favorite, but for children ages 8 and 10, I think that Tokyo has a lot to offer. After spending a week in China, seeing the ancient and beautiful sights (along with the pollution, grime, and poverty), I would like for them to also see examples in contemporary Japan of cutting-edge technology, efficient public services, etc. One of my goals for our travels is that our kids understand that the rest of the world is full of helpful, friendly, intelligent, accomplished people. I will have to get this across to them in a way they can understand. If they will "get it" better by seeing some high-tech gadget, roller coaster, or anime art -- as opposed to intricate wood block prints or lovely gardens -- then so be it. Someday they will appreciate those other things too, if they first develop a strong respect for the culture and its people on their own terms.
I'll also respond to a few other matters that were raised. First of all, we are forgetting about Mt. Fuji based on your advise and other research. I simply don't want to haul Gortex across the world for one day. As to switching our air route, we can't do it. These award flights were booked a couple of months ago and even if we could get a different routing that would work, we'd pay a penalty.

So, any further thoughts on the above. I would particular appreciate hearing from the train wizards about whether the schedule I've proposed is feasible. Thanks.
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Jan 6th, 2005, 09:19 AM
  #25  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
No need to justify whatever you decide to do w/your kids. Everyone has opinions and input, but it's your trip and your family and only you know what you want to get out of the trip. That's how I feel about our upcoming trip.
I wanted to let you know that I have been thinking abou tyour "fun" free time and aside from amusment aprk, have you considered a baseball game? A real different fun experience. The 2005 schedules for the two Tokyo based teams (Giants at Tokyo Dome and Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium) and Hiroshima (Carps; stadium is across st. from Peace park) have been translated and posted at the first page on the following site: www.japanesebaseball.com
If you want any more info on that, I have found a very good site w/info on each of those stadiums and getting tickets at the stadiums, and a good article on what it is like to go to a game there. Let me know if you want that info.
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Jan 6th, 2005, 11:04 AM
  #26  
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Yes, I am giving strong consideration to attending a game. I went to one years ago and got a kick out of it. I would like that website, if you don't mind. Thanks.
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Jan 6th, 2005, 12:07 PM
  #27  
emd
 
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OK; I gave you the site for the game scheudles above- here is the site for info on getting to the stadiums, the areas around the stadiums, seating, etc. The following is the page for the Swallows (play at Jingu stadium near Shinjuku): http://ww1.baywell.ne.jp/fpweb/drlat...me/swallow.htm
On that page, you will see on th elft side, "See a Game" and underneath that a list of all the teams. A click on any of those team names brings up the stadium info for that team. They even tell you to be to get autographs or pictures w/the players before the game, etc.
I have heard from mrwunrfl that he has gone right up to the stadium and gotten tickets during the regular season. I am planning to do that for a Swallows game at Meiji-Jingu stadium, and in Yokohama for a BayStars game, and in Osaka for a Buffaloes game. I would try to see the Giants vs. the Hanshin Tigers preseason game at Tokyo Dome, but I know it is hard to get any kind of Giants tickets at Tokyo dome, so I don't think we will try for that one.
The article I referred to on what a baseball game is like (this should help spark your kid's interest in going) is a NY Times article about a Hanshin Tigers v. Giants game at Tokyo Dome titled "Where Root Root Root is Taken Very Seriously" I think the best way to find it is to go to NYTimes.com and search for Hanshin Tigers in the archive sports section and it comes up.
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Jan 7th, 2005, 05:09 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,200

It is definitely feasible. Two nights would be to have plenty of time for the PP and see a Carp game, definitely not for lounging at Miyajima.
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