You're Not Going to Japan AGAIN?

Feb 17th, 2012, 06:13 AM
  #1  
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You're Not Going to Japan AGAIN?

Why yes, I am. I'm sure the good folk here know why, even if friends and colleagues think I've surely seen enough.

I'm planning to get to Hokkaido this time and even planning to rent a car - something I've not attempted before. I'm sure I'll have more questions as I hone my itinerary but here's my first query. I'll fly in Haneda airport quite late at night. Originally I planned to head off next morning for Kyoto or Osaka - still undecided on that one. If I did that, I'd overnight at one of the Toyoko Inn's near Haneda - they have a shuttle.

Now that I'm thinking of spending two nights in Tokyo, I'm thinking of a more central hotel. I'm considering the Toyoko Inn near Shinagawa station. I've stayed there before. Any suggestions of a decent hotel near Hamamatsucho or other location easy to get to after a long flight (as in two flights)?

Arigatou
eigasuki is offline  
Feb 17th, 2012, 07:05 AM
  #2  
 
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Hi Eigasuki,

I totally understand your need to return to Japan again and again. I've only been there 3 times but will definitely be returning soon. I don't have any recommendations for a hotel in the areas you are asking about, but since you are starting your planning for the Hokkaido portion of your trip, you might be interested in my Hokkaido trip report from last June. Here's the link, in case you missed it: http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...m-hokkaido.cfm
aprillilacs is offline  
Feb 17th, 2012, 08:26 AM
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Airport bus to/from a Shinagawa hotel would probably be my choice.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Feb 17th, 2012, 07:19 PM
  #4  
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Thanks, aprillilacs. Actually your trip report is already in my planning folder and was a great inspiration, especially the fabulous photos. I'll be going mid April and with less time so some of Hokkaido will have to wait for a future trip, possibly in summer. I'm assuming there'll still be snow and too early for flowers and leaf. I wouldn't be hiking anyway.

I'd like to get across to Kushiro and Shiretoko, but it seems a long way if I only have a couple of days. WOuld it be too much of a rush?

That's what I thought too, mrwunfl - don't fancy too many changes of train - but hoping someone who's done the late night arrival might have some other ideas.
eigasuki is offline  
Feb 17th, 2012, 08:07 PM
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Are you considering visiting Noboribetsu?
mrwunrfl is online now  
Feb 18th, 2012, 07:37 AM
  #6  
 
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I think Shiretoko would definitely be too much in that short a time if you're going from Sapporo. But you could skip the Sapporo area and fly instead from Haneda to Kushiro, if your main interest lies in seeing the Shiretoko Peninsula. That would cut the driving way down.
aprillilacs is offline  
Feb 18th, 2012, 07:58 AM
  #7  
 
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I times some get the same reaction over my multiple trips to places all over Mexico. Only I get the, "are you nuts, you still go to MX with all the drug violence" comments.

Those are the people that I don't tell about our condo purchase in Playa del Carmen, and how we have let friends use it at low rental rates, and how we have invited many different friends and couples to come down and use the 2nd bedrm while we are there. And best of all, how we have now done two condo swaps with friends who have condos in other places we want to visit.

Their loss. Why should they care where you are going anyway? If they were friends they'd be happy you found a country you love that much.

Have a WONDERFUL trip. I love Japan.
emd3 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2012, 08:00 AM
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ooops, should be "sometimes."

Typing on a laptop while on a bus to NYC has its challenges.
emd3 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2012, 07:27 PM
  #9  
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Oh emd3, I'm just joking with the title. I did a big trip to France last year and everyone was "So jealous, you lucky thing." Japan doesn't feature on their bucket lists but they do understand why it appeals to me.

My latest thinking is maybe giving Kushiro and Shiretoko a miss or this trip and focus on Sapporo, Otaru and places west. Thinking pretty much following in HT's 2008 footsteps. Is there any reason to go to Noboribetsu apart from onsen? Much as I enjoy onsen, not so much that I detour specially for it.
eigasuki is offline  
Feb 19th, 2012, 06:06 AM
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Oh, I guess I am sensitive to those comments, bc some of us who enjoy traveling to the same country over and over again do get the "what, are you totally obsessed?" attitude. I have spoken to othe travelers who get it...poor souls, just haven't found their own country yet...
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Feb 19th, 2012, 07:34 AM
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Where have I heard that line before?

Thank you for considering following in my footsteps,I am honored.

No other reason to go to Noboribetsu except to see and experience the Daiichi Takimotokan spa and onsen. You don't need to stay there for the experience. There are day trips from Sapporo where you catch a bus out to the onsen and back for a few hours. You can also stay next door at the Takimoto Inn as we did for a lot less price wise and since they are both owned by the same company, you get full bath privileges at the Daiichi Takimotokan for free.

If you do like onsen then this one is not to be missed. Still the best set of hot springs I have seen anywhere in Japan. There are over 36 types of baths IIRC in a huge two story setting both inside and outside(rotenburo). All the baths are unique and at different temps, solutions, water types, water falls,water motions, steam rooms, sauna rooms, a large heated pool, all with a view of the "hells" which are located right outside the rotenburo of the hotel, just unbelievable!

http://japaneseguesthouses.com/db/no...su/daiichi.htm

They do have a bear zoo right up the hill from the hotel but we gave that a pass. Other than that, Noboribetsu is just another small town in Hokkaido. Nearby Lake Toya and the National Park is worth a look or two especially if driving.

There will still be a lot of snow on the ground(especially this year with the late winter happening as I write) in the hills surrounding Sapporo and especially up north in Shiretoko so you might want to give it a pass this time and come back and drive in the summer or fall months when the beauty of Hokkaido is at its best imho. You won't believe you are in Japan and all that wonder starts when you leave Sapporo and drive north west. Most people I've met relate to Sapporo as their view of Hokkaido. I rarely mention Sapporo when tell people of the wonders of Hokkaido.

That said we are thinking of going to Shiretoko in the winter months one of these days to see the sea pack ice and see the Ice sculptures in Sapporo but don't plan to spend much time there at that time of the year.

emd is right, poor souls just haven't found their own country yet,lol.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Apr 5th, 2012, 03:58 AM
  #12  
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I am off tomorrow, storms willing. My itineary is still a work in progress as I try to meet up with friends who will be in Japan too, and adapting after one has had to cancel.

My arrival dilemma has been solved by a friend kindly offering not only to put me up for a couple of nights but to collect me from the airport. It will be so lovely to meet up with her and see how she has settled into Japan.

Osaka, Matsue and Hokkaido ar definitely on the agenda, and hopefully takusan sakura. I'll try to keep you posted with updates.
eigasuki is offline  
Apr 5th, 2012, 07:05 AM
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The storms have parted for you eigasuki, I wish you a pleasant journey.

Stop off in Hakodate along the way and take in the view at Hakodateyama at sunset.....pretty cool..... literally....don't forget the jacket. The morning fish market close to the station is unique for all of the different varieties of crab and sea weeds available. Cuttle crab.....oishiiiiii.....who knew?

You will be arriving smack dab in the prime time cherry blossom viewing weekend in Osaka. Osaka-jo is really a treat during this time of year and the adjacent Nishinomaru Gardens are worth the price of admission. The garden has over 600 cherry trees and you can get that infamous picture shot of the castle through the trees from the garden......just fabulous. Love all the gold(fish) adorning the top of this castle as it glistens in the morning sunlight.....awesome. Not to mention Kyoto and all its sakura spots(Philosophers Path ahhhhhh) nearby....can you tell I am envious?

Keep the envious of us informed when you can and Gambatte!!

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Apr 5th, 2012, 01:40 PM
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Bon voyage and, yes, please do update us any time you feel inclined to do so.
marya_ is offline  
Apr 7th, 2012, 01:07 AM
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The sakura are blooming nicely here in Yokohama. I nearly didn't get here till today. My flight leaving home was delayed and it looked like I would miss my connection in Hong Kong and would have to overnight there. Being upgraded to business class helped ease the pain and I had a very pleasant flight to Hong Kong, there to discover that the flight to Haneda had also been delayed and so I was able to make it after all. Best of all my checked luggage also made the connection and thanks to flight tracker, my friends kept track of my movements (wasn't sure they would get my emails, texts and Fb updates as the were pout and about)and were there at the airport to collect me.

Today we went to Negishi koen to walk the dog and enjoy the sakura and then walked from their home into Yokohama along Minato Mieru Oka Koen and and onto World Porter for lunch then I rode the Clock 21 ferris wheel while they opted for the Vanish roller coaster.

Sakura are blooming everywhere but many still have lots of buds so weather permitting, they should last a bit longer. Got to validate my JR Pass and booked a ticket for Osaka tomorrow - migigawa window seat, so fingers crossed. It was too hazy to see Fuji today though apparently you get a good view from the corner of our street when conditions are right.
eigasuki is offline  
Apr 7th, 2012, 06:15 AM
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OH man, an on the road trip report! Keep it coming eigasuki!! Glad you made it and had friends waiting for you. That must be a very nice feeling, to have friends there after such a long set of flights. And the sakura...perfect.
emd3 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 06:57 AM
  #17  
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It was indeed lovely to be met at the airport (they even had a sign with my name in Japanese!) and to have a couple of relaxing days to catch up with friends and ease myself into my trip- it was a busy couple of weeks before leaving. Today I stopped of at Hikone en route to Osaka.

I had a very pleasant few hours at Hikone. It wasa lovely sunny day with hanami parties in progress though most trees are still not open. Hikone seems not to be on the tourist radar but it's well worth a stop, especially while Himeji is under repair. There were impressive views of Biwa-ko and snow-covered mountains on the opposite side.

There's also a very pleasant stroll garden where I indulged in the ritual (for me) maccha and sweet.

The town mascot for Hikone is Hiko-nyan, a white cat wearing a samurai helmet and he is everywhere in the town, with every conceivable souvenir available. I was there in time to watch a crowd gathering, then an attendant used a watering can to mark a large semi circle on the stones at the foot of the castle wall and the crowd obediently sat behind the line. Eventually a large Hiko-nyan came out and danced and performed, to the delight of young and old. Actually, I toured the inside of the castle while the performance was on so not sure what he/she/it actually did. There was also a large marquee set up near the hanami party area with numerous souvenirs and an annoying theme song.

The train back to Maibara was actually behind schedule by - gasp- eight minutes so there was also a wait for the next hikari through to Osaka.

The sakura I saw from the train in Kyoto and Osaka seem to be at full loom so I'll be out tomorrow to take a few snaps.
eigasuki is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 07:35 AM
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Sounds like a great day! I was not aware of Hikone or the castle there, but I just googled it and the castle looks lovely, similar to Himeji but perhaps smaller? I see that Hikone is one of only 4 castles listed as a natl. treasure, and one of only 12 Japanese castles w/its original keep.

Are celings low in Hikone castle, did you bump your head? I took some major bumps and even got whacked and fell over at one low arch at Himeji, lol.
emd3 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 05:34 PM
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About to visit for the fifth time. Not that we are in a rut as we also travelled to Italy,Rhodes and Turkey recently. Having found a ticket Australia-Singapore-Fukuoka we'll start by seeing the parts of Kyushu not seen before then travel up the San-in Coast to Tottori then to Osaka by way of Himeji,Uji and Ohara. We rent cars as much as possible (not in big cities) use mainly Tocoo.com and Budget. It is a pleasure to drive in Japan and we have covered most of it that way, top to bottom. Mainly use Toyoko Inns too...so convenient!
Will follow your notes with interest. Try a rental car, you'll love it!
Tommmo is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 05:40 PM
  #20  
 
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BTW .....I'm yeshekathy's other ,lesser half.And driver. you might have followed her trip reports here.....
Tommmo is offline  

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