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Tips for trip to Japan

posted 5-2-2017 @ 06:23 PM www
Tips for trip to Japan

Need some tips please for a family trip to Japan in the next couple of months!

Hoping some lovely Lottos members can give advice?

We are staying in Osaka but plan on taking some train trips around the local region/area to Kyoto and Nara etc. Any other trips we should do?

Will be using trains? What is the best/cheapest form of train travel? All the different train cards you can get are doing my head in lol. Not getting the 7 day rail pass as we are only travelling locally.

What form of payment is best/ do they accept over there? Travel debit card, cash, credit etc?

Would love to attend a traditional tea ceremony while there?....anyone done one there?

TIA
posted 5-2-2017 @ 07:22 PM www


I visited as part of a multi country prize three years ago.

Personally the best part of that leg was when the plane took off again on the next leg to Germany. However I know many other people have had terrific visits. I won't be back.

Take plenty of cash as we pesky foreigners are not catered well with ATMs. Very little English spoken so try and have an App or some common phrases ready in Japanese. Credit cards were not commonly accepted but other's experience may be different. I spent very little money on anything but food as clothes and other goods were expensive and ordinary.

However the 7 day train pass and the bullet trains were excellent. Reliable and value for money. It may be worth getting passes anyway as you said you would be visiting Kyoto from Osaka.

In Kyoto we searched for a restaurant for lunch. We found one that looked suitable although we couldn't read the menu there were random pictures. We opened the door and started to walk in and were rudely shooed out again by the waiter who was shrieking NO ENGLISH MENU. Welcome to Kyoto.

:thumbup:
posted 5-2-2017 @ 07:35 PM www


We loved Osaka.
It may still be worthwhile buying a 7 day pass if you are intending to travel around the area. Check the prices before you decide. We had an Icoca card because we stopped first in Kyoto but it works in other cities as well.

Kyoto is great, easy day trip from Osaka but we had 5 nights there and didn't get close to seeing everything.
Hiroshima is fantastic and reachable as a day trip from Osaka.
Takayama is fabulous and easy from Osaka, we stayed a couple of nights in a Ryokan, you could make it in a day trip. Very highly recommended.
Nara is a wonderful day trip, love the temples and the extremely friendly deer.


If you were going to visit all or most of those I would definitely get a JR Pass.

Harry Potter world opened while we were there but we didn't have time to go.

We did a half day walk with Osaka All Star Walks. Very cheap and lads of fun, highly recommended!

We stayed at the Swiss Hotel Nankai. Perfect position, mind blowing service! Amazing.
Osaka is the "black sheep" city of Japan, they do everything differently, I think just to be cheeky! It's a great place for a trip and much less stressful than Tokyo for a first time visitor.






posted 5-2-2017 @ 07:51 PM www


You can use atm's in all 7/11 stores and Post Offices, cash is the main way to pay for things though.
We were there 3 weeks and I speak about 6 words of Japanese, never had any issues. Everything is very logical and all public transport and tourist areas have signs in roman script so easy to follow. Japanese people are super helpful and if they think you are lost or in trouble will go out of their way to help.

The absolute best thing we did was arrange to go on Nagomi visits in a couple of different cities. It's a not for profit organisation that matches visitors with host families who make dinner for you in their home. You pay a fee to the organisation who gives part of the money to the hosts for ingredients and uses the balance for administration. It was the absolute highlight if our time in Japan. We met a family in Tokyo who lived in an apartment and a family in Matsumoto who lived in a house in the countryside. At least one member of the family speaks English. They usually join to have the kids practice their English with native speakers. Both families we visited went out of their way to make sure we enjoyed ourselves and asked about what we did and didn't like to eat before we arrived.

I can't recommend it highly enough.

http://www.nagomivisit.com






posted 5-2-2017 @ 09:42 PM www


Disneyland!
posted 6-2-2017 @ 12:05 PM www


thanks for the input everyone! Both my kids are learning Japanese....so am hoping they will be very good interpreters (especially my eldest who is studying it in high school).....it will be very good experience for them and hopefully assist them in Japanese conversation etc. We also have the ipad app.

My eldest is also friends with a Japanese exchange student that came to her school from Osaka...and she plans to catch up with her there....so good local knowledge!

keep it coming....

I actually looked at local trains and it seemed to be very reasonable to take the non bullet trains from Osaka to Kyoto...about $100 for a family. A 7 day pass is around $1300.....but will look at it more...

Also, anyone taken the train from the airport to Osaka?

I'm really looking forward to the Cherry Blossoms as it will be peak season when we are there!;)


Thanks for the info 3littlepigs....will look that up as that will be great for my daughters!:thumbup:
posted 6-2-2017 @ 05:07 PM www


Japan is wonderful!
There is no problem with ATMs in big cities, but wise to do a bit of research first, especially if you are outside of tourist areas.
There is no problem with English in cities. Most young people have some English and everywhere you go you will find school children wanting to practise their English on you.

The train system is wonderful and easy to use. The trains are always exactly on time. The station signs always give the name of the station and the name of the next station so you know ahead of time when your station is coming up. Train travel is very quiet..very little talking and definitely NO mobile phones on the train. We found the 7 day rail pass worthwhile.
Japanese people will go out of their way to help you if you are friendly.

I would recommend wandering around Kyoto's Gion area in the early evening. You will probably see some of the maiko (trainee geishas) leaving for their evening work. Around some of the smaller streets you can catch glimpses of them slipping quietly into some of the tea houses. It's a window onto another world.

Restaurants that cater to tourists usually have models of their dishes in the window and you can just point and choose. Certainly in Tokyo, and probably in other big cities, there are plenty of western-style restaurants so you can eat Italian or German or whatever you like. My son at one time worked in "Kiwi Kitchen" in Tokyo which of course had a New Zealand theme! Big department store buildings usually have a floor of restaurants. Try some of the street food. I love takoyaki (balls of octopus in batter) and yakitori (grilled chicken skewers).

You will love Japan. Have fun!
posted 6-2-2017 @ 06:52 PM www


We loved Japan - here is a link to my blog! http://www.getjealous.com/blog.php?action=showdiaryarchive&a...


Have fun!
posted 6-2-2017 @ 06:58 PM www


thanks guys loving all the info :)
posted 6-2-2017 @ 07:01 PM www


One of the highlights for our kids was riding the bullet trains, they have the speed showing at the end of the carriage. Don't miss it.





posted 6-2-2017 @ 07:26 PM www


We also had 7 day train pass, used it from airport. We managed to pick up Princess cruise around Japan, good value in comparison to hotels and got to see more country. With trains beware of exits, there are multiple exits, train stations are large, wrong exit=long walk.we travelled as family with no Japanese, no problems, all younger ones do English. we made a rule, every 50m ask directions, just to be sure going right way. Lots screen shots of maps/directions, usually screen shot address in Japanese just in case. Children bailed on Disney, very very busy, sea of people. Probably wouldn't rush to go back but definitely an interesting experience, safe
posted 6-2-2017 @ 07:39 PM www


Quote:
Originally posted by lucky bennetts
With trains beware of exits, there are multiple exits, train stations are large, wrong exit=long walk.......Children bailed on Disney, very very busy, sea of people. Probably wouldn't rush to go back but definitely an interesting experience, safe


I definitely agree with the warning about train station exits!! LOL. Also a trick at Tokyo Disney where the queues are very very long is to go the 'single rider' route if possible (where they put a single rider with a group of 3, 5 etc). We didn't do any rides at tokyo disney sea but DD did the single rider and got onto a few very good rides this way with hardly any wait. A nice person at one ride suggested this
posted 6-2-2017 @ 07:42 PM www


We loved EVERYTHING about Japan. The only negative was coming home! The people were gorgeous and we were blown away by how polite, friendly and helpful they were. Two highlights I can highly recommend if you go to Tokyo are watching a Sumo tournament and for an unforgettable dining experience go to Kozue restaurant which is on the 40th floor of The Park Hyatt. Amazing city views. (we booked before leaving to ensure a window seat).
Whatever you do have a fabulous time!
posted 7-2-2017 @ 05:22 AM www


My teenage son and I were in Tokyo for only four days, and we loved it. It is so clean and safe - we stayed in Ginza. Some standouts from our time - the Sushi Train restaurant in Shibuya and Robot Restaurant (overrated but a bit of fun). We also did a bike ride around the back streets which was really interesting. My son wants to go back.
posted 7-2-2017 @ 05:59 AM www


JR Pass will cover travel to and from airport and most of local travel on trains around Osaka as well, doesn't cover Metro but we found we pretty much got around with just the JR Pass.

In Kyoto you can get a one day bus pass from a kiosk near the station. They have about 4 bus routes that are designated tourist routes that go around the main sites. Buses are extremely easy, they all have numbers or letters and the bus stop has a little screen which shows you how far away your bus is. On the bus it tells you which stop is next so you can be ready to get off. From memory the ticket was about $5 each for the day 2 years ago.

In Nara there is a tourist office just near the exit from the station, they will give you a map and tell you the best route to walk to see what you want to see. Its a decent walk but plenty of places to stop along the way and the deer are fun. Buy some deer food on the road to the temples from the station but save it for the deer up the top of the site rather than those near the food sellers. Those deer are very well fed and can be a bit excitable.






posted 7-2-2017 @ 02:20 PM www


thanks guys great info!

I'm still debating over JR pass as unless we go to Tokyo or other places further away from Osaka....I don't think it will be worth it! Hmmmm maybe a day trip to Tokyo would be fun?
posted 7-2-2017 @ 09:00 PM www


I am a travel agent - U NEED THE JR PASS - u also need to book this before you go in aus as you will be unable to purchase it there, and trains will cost a fortune. It is also nice to have that flexibility. Buy a blank stamp book as you can pay $1 + and get a stamp and calligraphy signing on all the temples you visit. I would have more time in Kyoto than Osaka anyday, Kyoto has the geisha's to which if u get there early is cheaper to do the show and pay for it there. This was my fav thing to do : Sanjūsangen-dō over that you def must do Fushimi Inari-taisha not to mention the Gold Pavillion and Bamboo Forest.. Kyoto is the best.. don't cut time here... Also when asking for help in English the younger generation is who you need to approach, they are super polite and don't want to talk English encase they make mistakes, however will assist more than the older generation.. Have Fun.. I hope ur seeing Mt Fuji too !!
posted 7-2-2017 @ 09:35 PM www


I wouldn't bother with a day trip to Tokyo if you only have a week. By the time you spend a day in Nara, day in Takayama and at least a day or 2 in Kyoto and a trip to Harry Potter World and a trip out to Himeji Castle you will struggle to see what Osaka has to offer.

And if you do all those things you will definitely justify a JR Pass.






posted 7-2-2017 @ 09:38 PM www


Quote:
Originally posted by luckonmyside
I am a travel agent - U NEED THE JR PASS - u also need to book this before you go in aus as you will be unable to purchase it there, and trains will cost a fortune. It is also nice to have that flexibility. Buy a blank stamp book as you can pay $1 + and get a stamp and calligraphy signing on all the temples you visit. I would have more time in Kyoto than Osaka anyday, Kyoto has the geisha's to which if u get there early is cheaper to do the show and pay for it there. This was my fav thing to do : Sanjūsangen-dō over that you def must do Fushimi Inari-taisha not to mention the Gold Pavillion and Bamboo Forest.. Kyoto is the best.. don't cut time here... Also when asking for help in English the younger generation is who you need to approach, they are super polite and don't want to talk English encase they make mistakes, however will assist more than the older generation.. Have Fun.. I hope ur seeing Mt Fuji too !!


Fushimi Inari is amazing particularly if you arrive first thing in the morning and are alone through all those Tori gates. Love the bamboo forest as well, we went there first thing one morning as well and had the place to ourselves. We had 5 or 6 nights in Kyoto and didn't see everything.






posted 7-2-2017 @ 11:44 PM www


Quote:
Originally posted by luckonmyside
I am a travel agent - U NEED THE JR PASS - u also need to book this before you go in aus as you will be unable to purchase it there, and trains will cost a fortune. It is also nice to have that flexibility. Buy a blank stamp book as you can pay $1 + and get a stamp and calligraphy signing on all the temples you visit. I would have more time in Kyoto than Osaka anyday, Kyoto has the geisha's to which if u get there early is cheaper to do the show and pay for it there. This was my fav thing to do : Sanjūsangen-dō over that you def must do Fushimi Inari-taisha not to mention the Gold Pavillion and Bamboo Forest.. Kyoto is the best.. don't cut time here... Also when asking for help in English the younger generation is who you need to approach, they are super polite and don't want to talk English encase they make mistakes, however will assist more than the older generation.. Have Fun.. I hope ur seeing Mt Fuji too !!


Thanks!

I've been looking at all the various train passes you can buy online and talking to people on trip advisor and they say I'm better off just getting the local card as it is cheaper if we are just going to Kobe/Kyoto/Osaka/Nara....but I am still investigating.
posted 3-3-2017 @ 09:31 PM www


Chesire, when are you going. We purchased cheap jetstar flights into Osaka for two weeks end of May. We really have no idea of places, so glad you asked

Have you decided where you are staying yet?

dolphin12
posted 4-3-2017 @ 12:25 PM www


Hi Dolphin12, We are going end of March. Are you going as a family or couple? If as a couple you will have more choices where to stay and you are not going in the peak cherry blossom season like us...

We are staying in Namba in Osaka for most of our stay....which is where all the lights, shops and places to eat are. Also chose it because it is a 10 minute walk to a major train station - Namba.

It is worth going on trip advisor to have a look as there is so much info.

It is quite confusing to work out what is the best/cheapest way to travel around.. If you plan to travel local - Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara....don't bother getting any of the private railway passes or The JR train pass as they will be too expensive relative to what you want to do! I'm just getting a local train card and some day passes Osaka/Kyoto as they include free entry to attractions too. There is also a good day train pass to Kobe. Which I can fill u in on. If you plan to go to Hiroshima or Tokyo then some of the other passes like the JR Pass will be worth it. I found a great one if you decide to go to Hiroshima as well on the bullet train and ferry to a temple near there as well as do Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto and Nara. We have decided not to go Hiroshima now.

Like most things despite all the research am sure I will be in a much better position to advise you what is the best thing to do when I get back! Nothing like travel to teach you what is the best thing to do!
posted 4-3-2017 @ 01:36 PM www


I just got back back from 8 days in Tokyo on my own and had a ball I loved it.

Best thing I did was going to the apple app store and typing in key words like Tokyo and Japan and then downloaded a few apps that could be used offline as well online. Best ever was Tokyo Subway app in English you put in your start station and finish station hit go and it tells you exactly how to get from A to B the line to take, walking time if needed, where to change and what direction train to get brilliant made it super easy for me with no Japanese as all Tokyo stations had english signs. You can also show the destiny page to a station attendant for help if needed without having to talk.
Other apps i downloaded was Japan Wifi and Travel Japan (both find free wifi for you register before you go) and safety tips which is an ap that notifies you of earthquakes and early warning tsunami and weather warning was great for the one earthquake experienced whilst there to just see strength and location.
Had no problems whilst there always felt safe but it was so strange to be in such a huge city and where ever you walked out of the tourist areas or stations and trains it's so so quiet as not the done things to make noise of be on your phone in public.
It took me a bit to work out food but once you get the hang of it easy peasy all resturants have fake food displayed in window and when I walked into most food places they automatically shoved an english menu under my nose without me saying a word. Payment usually at the counter on the way out.
I withdrew money at the closest familymart (on every corner in Tokyo ) and then paid cash for most things but found mastercard was accepted nearly every bigger store or tourist spot.
I bought a couple of 3 day Tokyo Subway passes in the airport tourist centre on arrival so worth it no mucking around at the subway stations for tickets just swipe and go. Every Tokyo Station has fare adjustment machines and counters so if you happen to get on a non metro line where the automatic gate won't let you out you just get your fare adjusted and add your 3 days pass.
Booked a few tours through Viator and they were brilliant. The best was a Tokyo night photography tour. All tours were walking tours in different areas of Tokyo and limited to 6 or 12 people but I had one tour were I was the only person and the other 2 tours only had one other couple each. It was well worth the cost.

Don't stress and have fun. Japan is wonderful just smile nod and enjoy the experiences




posted 4-3-2017 @ 04:08 PM www


We had a fabulous time there a couple of years ago. We did a Princess cruise and went to many differnt cities. I absolutely loved the country, and would love to go back one day.

We bought a Pasmo card for local train travel in Tokyo. Similar sort of thing to London's Oyster Card. Fares on local Tokyo transport worked out cheaper, and much easier than having to buy a ticket each time we traveled. We still have the card, and gave it to our son to use when he went last year too - it is easily rechargeable at the train stations. We used it in places other than Tokyo, but not sure if you'd need it if you got a JR pass as I think that includes everything. Might be worth looking into if you dont intend to travel much. The JR passes cost a lot if you dont intend using them much. More info at http://www.pasmo.co.jp/en/

In Kyoto we bought a day pass for use on all buses. There are designated tourist buses it can be used on which take you to the main tourist attractions, but you can also use the ticket on any local bus. We got a very easy to follow colour coded map with the pass, so it was easy to see the routes the buses traveled. The tourist buses were usually packed, and a couple of times caught a local bus which went the same route and had no-one on it.

And I agree 100% about the multiple entrances and exits to train stations!!
posted 2-4-2017 @ 09:42 PM www


Hi, love all the Japan info.

Could anyone recommend accommodation in central Kyoto that is reasonable.

thankyou
dolphin12
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