Skip Toyko?

Old Sep 8th, 2004, 07:16 PM
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Actually, mrwunrfl..Japanese are not very good at making more Japanese..Their birth rate is way below average, and is not even high enough to replace themselves!! :-0

That said, they do love to travel, so I'm afraid you'll be running into tourists, alan64. They seem to be at all the nice places!

I went to Tokyo several times ( my flights always arrived in Tokyo) before I ever saw the sights there. I never felt I was missing anything.

I think you'll be perfectly happy if you skip it, or equally happy if you take the time to find the interesting parts. It is a big, modern city , so it takes a bit more planning to find the "good stuff".

In smaller cities- Kyoto, Takayama, Matsumoto, you can find "old Japan" around each corner. Be aware that Japan may get into your soul, and if it does, you'll be back.

Your girlfriend has been to Tokyo... what does she think?

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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 07:18 AM
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"If you are a tourist, esp. first time tourist, then why would you NOT want to go where the tourists go?" This is a classic dilemma for travelers. Tourists flock to wonderful places, so to avoid tourists we could always pick boring sites to visit! However, being crammed into the Sistine Chapel with hundreds of chatting tourists took away a lot from the experience. There?s a line that gets crossed where being in a jam of visitors ruins what one goes to see in the first place. I was just worried that a crush of visitors at shrines could make them less serene. I think we?ll be sure to visit some of the less popular shrines and temples as well as the well-known ones and try to strike a balance.

On another note, I think I understand why I was asked why I was planning to go to Kumamoto. I looked at a map last night and saw that Kumamoto is pretty far south (on Kyushu). Although the area sounds pretty I think it may not be worth the travel time. Instead we'll try to spend some time on Shikoku, including 2-3 days in Matsuyama. We can see a castle there, go to onsen, and bike along some of the Shimanami Kaido trail. We're deciding if we should spend a day (& night) in Takamatsu as well.

Lastly, someone asked what my GF thought of Tokyo. She was only there for a couple days. She liked Ueno Park, but otherwise wasn't very thrilled. I think if we stay in the Asakusa district for a couple nights we'll be able to see some of Tokyo's sights without being overwhelmed.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 05:15 PM
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lcuy, of course you are correct about the population rate!

alan64, sure I understand the principle. But it really is like the Yogi-ism "nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded". It sounds like you got (and are wisely taking) some good advice on your other thread about the cherry blossom festivals.

When I talked about Matsuyama the other day, I considered adding that maybe Matsuyama was not necessary since Matsumoto met your needs in a couple of ways. Kumamoto is off the well beaten tourist path. It is five hours by JR from Kumamoto to Osaka Kansai aiport. Not so bad, except that it would take 5 hours to get to Kumamoto in the first place.

There are discount airline tix available to foreigners for about $100 or $120 per ticket, 2 ticket minimum. You could fly from Tokyo Haneda to Kumamoto and from there to Osaka Itami airport.

Lots of options. Like you said at the beginning, there are lots of exciting places to see in Japan. Have you considered visiting the castle at Matsumoto (after Hakone) and then travelling down the Kiso Valley or travelling across the mountains via Kamikochi to Takayama (and on to Shirakawago and then the Kenrokuen gardens in Kanzaawa, then south to Kyoto).
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 06:20 PM
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Alan, just from your posts, I think you'll be one of those who will really take to Tokyo, partic. since you'll be staying in the best part! Do a search in this box of "Shigetsu," as I and others on this board have stayed there-and I for one plan to stay there again. Although the rooms and bath are quite small, Ryokan Shigetsu is a great introduction to Japan in general, and Tokyo/Asakusa in particular. As for Kabuki-za, take a look at this to get a better idea of what's going on. You and your girlfriend may find that you can't leave after just one act!
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 08:23 PM
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Hello! Sorry for not responding sooner- I have been bogged down trying to catch up after 5 weeks traveling.

The ryoken in Hakone we stayed at was ICHINOYU HONKAN. We booked one of the rooms with a private hotspring overlooking the river- very peaceful. The room was large and had a traditional table with two seats, but also a seperate sitting room with a western table and chairs overlooking the river. The staff was wonderful. It was our most expensive night in Japan though- included dinner and breakfast. If you want a western breakfast be sure to request it ahead of time. We forgot to do so and regretted it since we don't like the traditional Japanese breakfast.
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Old Sep 11th, 2004, 07:44 AM
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After 3 trips to Japan in as many years, we finally visited Tokyo and have since returned two more times to Tokyo. Include Tokyo in your trip! Also include countryside - but mostly, don't think Japan is a once in a lifetime trip - plan to return!

We stayed in Nikko for 3 days as part of a month long trip, traveling exclusively by JR. Yes, it is glitzy and touristy, but loaded with photo ops of temples, details, and people.
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Old Aug 8th, 2006, 04:04 PM
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A long-overdue follow-up to say thank you for all the great advice. We did spend 3 nights (out of 16) in Tokyo and we were very glad we did. We loved roaming around the Asasuka neighborhood. We were pleased with the Ryokan Shigetsu (modern ryokan, simple & clean with nice public baths).

That being said, if/when we return to Japan we may bypass Tokyo the next time so we can see new places and sites.
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