You're Not Going to Japan AGAIN?

Apr 19th, 2012, 01:50 PM
  #41  
 
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Otaru in fine weather last year was excellent! We stayed all day exploring and found the best sushi restaurant in Japan we reckon, upstairs in what looked like a converted gas station and crammed with locals and schoolkids only and so good and cheap. The waterfront and warehouse area was fascinating too.
I guess the weather makes all the difference.
Tommmo is offline  
Apr 19th, 2012, 05:39 PM
  #42  
 
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I am discovering all kinds of new places due to this thread. Thank you for that!
emd3 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 01:16 AM
  #43  
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Ha! Just for you I "discovered" Takaoka. Actually I wasn't enough paying attention and stepped off the Thunderbird thinking it was Toyama. So, twenty minutes exploring the delights of Takaoka eki before getting the next express to Toyama.

Today was a travel day. Due to a combination of fare prices and train times etc, logistics made it cheaper and easier for me to fly from New Chitose airport to Kansai and then to ShinOsaka to get the Thunderbird to Toyama by 5 pm (in theory, if you dont stop off in Takaoka)

Back to sakura very close to full boom most of the way after Biwa ko. Tomorrow, the Tateyama High Alpine Route and last day of my JR pass. There have been a couple of days when I haven't used it much but other days I've really given it a workout.

Don't worry Thommo and Ht - I've ticked Hokkaido off the list but I haven't crossed it off the list. Maybe one summer - or autumn, though that will have to wait till I retire. Can't really get Novembers off work at all.
eigasuki is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 09:57 AM
  #44  
 
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Love making little discoveries like you did in Takaoka,lol. We have done that on more than one occasion......always interesting....sometimes nerve-wracking ha ha

Was the flight from Chitose-Toyama more expensive? We took that direct ANA flight utilizing the Star Alliance Airpass a couple of years ago but those have segment restrictions I know. Just curious if you don't mind....about how much was the one-way domestic air fare CTS-KIX? I am planning a return and was interested. We might forget anything south of Asahikawa and fly into and out of there on our next Hokkaido adventure.....nice place. Interested on your take of the TAP. Made it to Toyama a few years back and weather and laziness made us cancel the TAP and moved straight on the Nagano.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 10:16 AM
  #45  
 
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ohhhh and can you get October off? That's when the fall season starts on Hokkaido....mid to late Sept into early October.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 03:36 PM
  #46  
 
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For the slightly more intrepid....having done both, we feel Kyushu and Shikoku are somewhat more rewarding to travel in.
"Rewarding" being somewhat subjective of course....
Tommmo is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 07:36 PM
  #47  
 
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I really enjoyed my trip on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route two years ago....
Your visit to Sapporo and Otaru sounded quite interesting, eigasuki - it's true the weather can really affect our perception when we visit. My trip to Hiroshima a few years ago was in the almost pouring rain and I can't say it was that enjoyable...and because of the weather I cut it short....
I lucked out in my last trip - only had really bad weather one day - when the typhoon like weather upset most of Japan...
Mara is offline  
Apr 21st, 2012, 05:01 AM
  #48  
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You're so right about the difference good weather can make. Today was probably the best weather I've had - possibly had about two days with much sun and today the weather was stunning for the Tateyama High ALpine Route.

I had to have my luggage down to the lobby by 7 for the luggage forwarding service. Boy am I glad I decided to do that - it's only a small overnighter but would have been a real nuisance and on some of the legs there's a baggage surcharge. Add in coin lockers and the luggage forwarding is so worth it.

I had to wait for the Post Office to get money - Toyama Dentetsu eki doesn't take credit - so I had the chance to explore a bit of Toyama. I was pleasantly surprised, a lovely walk along the sakura lined river with petals frosting the ground and floating in the breeze. Families already settling in for bit of hanami viewing. There's a boat cruise along the river and in the castle park they were setting up for a garden show with potted plants, bonsai and rocks for sale.

It's Saturday so it was all a bit quiet bar the trams rattling by -one all painted out in sakura decor and Toyama seems neat and tidy and modern.

I caught a rapid train as far as Terada where I changed to the local. A very interesting ride through inaka. Interested by the numerous outcrops of monuments/family graves in the middle of the fields _ I guess that's why it's called Terada (temple fields)

The train then climbs and climbs. There weren't many on the train which surprised me at first - then I noticed the many tour buses heading up on the raod on the other side of the valley. Oh oh. Sure enough, at Tateyama throngs of tour groups all trying to keep with their group. Very crowded on the cable car going up - what did I expect on a Saturday just after it's opened for the year?

I very much enjoyed the bus trip and playing in the snow at Murodo. The views are breath-taking, especially for a girl for whom mountains and snow and cold are a novelty. Onto the trolley bus and the ropeway, another cable car, another trolley bus and then to Kurobe Dam. Just a fabulous day except for the jostling on the stairs and getting onto the transport.

To top it all off, the sakura appeared again as the train went from ShinanoOmachi to Matsumoto and in Matsumoto they are stunning. I walked up the casltle which is all lit up and happy crowds strolling around the moat and in the castle grounds. Just a lovely atmosphere and a group in the castle playing traditional tunes on a koto, shakuhachi and taiko. Perfect end to a great day.
eigasuki is offline  
Apr 21st, 2012, 05:13 AM
  #49  
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HT I paid ichiman en for the flight. There were cheaper ones leaving at 5 am or late at night but the flight direct to Toyama was either already booked or much more. All kind of last minute because originally I was going to train both ways. This trip hasn't been as fully planned as my previous trips, a combination of trying to fit in with other people and some medical issues which might have lead to me having to cancel.
eigasuki is offline  
Apr 28th, 2012, 06:49 AM
  #50  
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I'm now back from my trip. The weather was not kind for my last couple of days but I braved Mt Takao on the way back from Matsumoto. I really liked the atmosphere at the base of the cable car with its row of little shops and cafes and the cable car ride and walk to the temple at the top were achieved under less than ideal conditions. I can imagine how lovely it must be ona sunny day, espeially on a hot summer day or when the autumn foliage is at its best. However, I did not have to share my days with crowds.

On my last full day, we braved the rainy conditions to do the Shichifukujin temple walk at Meguro. We were the only people at all the temples we went to and thought ourselves very brave ringing doorbells to ask for our omikuji kokeshi and go-shuin stamps. we only got lost once but this led us to a lovely walk along the Meguro river - another place that would be even better on a fine day.

The rest of the day was spent on domestic chores and just hanging out with my friends, relaxing 'en famille'. Japan finally turned on some great weather for my last day. We took the dog for a belated walk which gave me a chance to explore their neighbourhood, and a final shopping expedition before heading to the airport.

Both the plane trips home were very rough and we spent a lot of time with the seatbelt lights on but not bad enough to interrrupt the food service. nevertheless, I was glad to get home and even got through immigration and customs quickly for a change.

Now once the credit cards are paid off.......
eigasuki is offline  
Apr 28th, 2012, 12:13 PM
  #51  
 
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Thanks for finishing your report, eigasuki!

I've never been to Mt. Takao or the Shichifukujin temple walk - thanks for mentioning them...

Time to start planning your next trip... ;-)
Mara is offline  
Apr 30th, 2012, 03:31 PM
  #52  
 
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Yes, arigato gozaimasu eigasuki-san, much appreciated!
And yes I also agree.....paying off the credit cards are always the hardest part,lol.

Yes Takaosan is beautiful on a sunny fall day, I can attest to that. Funny that it is also out of Shinjuku on that omnipresent JR Chuo line....were you on the Asuza coming back from Matsumoto?

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Apr 30th, 2012, 03:47 PM
  #53  
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Thanks for the feedback and encoouragement and ideas for next time.

I did indeed travel Asuza from Matsumoto - love that trip and lts of blooming sakura to be seen from the windows - and koinobori. Change at Hachioji where I swung my Suica card into action and was relieved that it still worked. The Yokohama line goes through Hachioji so connections were very smooth for me.

The credit card wont be too bad, really the only thing on it is accommodation and since this time I went really budget Toyoko Inn, complete with member discount and a free night, should be easily despatched. $AUD112 for three nights? Can't complain about that.
eigasuki is offline  
Apr 30th, 2012, 06:13 PM
  #54  
 
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Yes, I took that train as well back in 2010 - I thought I saw Fujisan in the distance - did you?

I've been using my Suica card for years - I think as long as you use it every couple of years it lasts forever....

I got a free Toyoko Inn room this year as well - how fun is that!

Speaking of credit cards, I noticed this year that charges got on my account almost immediately - I check almost every day - this was new to me as previously I remember some charges did not come through for a month or more....same cc - Capital One....
Mara is offline  
May 1st, 2012, 02:43 AM
  #55  
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Mara I did see Fuji-san from the Asuza on a previous occasion but visibility this day was very poor.

I had to reload my Suica card sometime over the next day or so - my faith that I will return to use the 900 yen or so still remaining - and the cash I have left. I did manage to cash in the travellers cheque I have been carrying around for three trips and somehow never got around to cashing in.

When's your next trip Mara? I am researching Hawaii for September/October.
eigasuki is offline  
May 1st, 2012, 06:53 AM
  #56  
 
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Hey I may know a thing or two about that Hawaii place!

Do let us know if/when you are coming to paradise and hopefully we can gtg in a Hawaii izakaya or two..... The Fodors Hawaii GTG is usually held in mid Sept. Linda and I had planned to be at a niece's wedding in Los Angeles mid Sept this year but that just fell apart recently(I guess lucky for her to find out now than later)

If planning Hawaii in Sept/Oct you might be interested in this:

http://www.alohafestivals.com/

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
May 1st, 2012, 09:40 AM
  #57  
 
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Yes, sometimes Fujisan just hides behind the clouds. ;-) I was in Washington DC last week to see the Jakuchu scrolls lent by the Japanese for the Cherry Blossom anniversay celebration and I also saw an exhibit at the Sackler of 36 views of Fujisan by Hokusai.

I'm going to Las Vegas for a few days in June - the trip is being planned by someone else so all I had to do was buy my plane ticket - we will do a bunch of day trips...should be fun and something different for me as I have no work to do.
Mara is offline  
Dec 16th, 2014, 12:44 AM
  #58  
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So here it is nearly two and a half years since I started this topic and at last I am planning another trip to Japan. Once again in April.

At this stage I am planning to visit Shikoku and Kyushu and hoping to get to Haji this time. I'm wondering if the old guard are still around and have any suggestions before I lock anything in. I fly in and out of Tokyo- it's just more economical from here and I'll get a JR pass and give a good workout anyway - love riding the trains in Japan.

Onegaishimasu
eigasuki is offline  
Dec 16th, 2014, 08:54 AM
  #59  
 
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Nice to see this thread back....I don't even remember writing the posts from over two years ago....;-)

I have been to both Shikoku and Kyushu - two separate trips - and all by public transport. Shikoku has an excellent five day train pass - can be used on almost every line as well as some city transport.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357_shikoku.html
I think I figured out I used over 20,000 JPY worth of trains for my 9700 JPY cost.

I would think you might be better off using either budget airlines or the special air fares available with international tickets possibly with that sort of itinerary.

Both times I flew from Tokyo - once to Oita, Kyushu and once to Takamatsu, Shikoku to start my visits in those places.
Mara is offline  
Dec 16th, 2014, 01:15 PM
  #60  
 
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eigasuki, for peets sake, you are going to Japan AGAIN??

LOL, I could not resist. I wish I was going too. April is such a lovely time.
emd3 is offline  

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