Post Reply Planning a trip to Japan
Ronxz 
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Posted 1/27/15
Hey everyone! So I have been thinking that this year is going to be the year I want to finally make the trip outside the United States I have always wanted to take. One of my top three locations is Japan (the other two being the UK and Australia/New Zealand). I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations as to the following:

1) Where I should visit?
2) What time of year I should go?
3) Is there a company that puts together trips I should look at? (20-30 age range)
4) Any major tourist spots I have to see?
5) Any shops I should definitely visit?
6) Any particular restaurants I should go too?
7) Any other thoughts and recommendations?

Thanks all!

-Ronxz
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Posted 1/27/15
I don't have any specific advice, I've never been. But it is AWESOME that you are going to go! It's #1 on my list for sure. Congrats!!
Azr4el 
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Posted 1/27/15
1) I've always wanted to visit Kyoto. It's one of Japan's most cultural cities. Due to its historical significance, it was spared from getting bombed in World War II and has a lot of beautiful classic palaces, shines, and temples.

Ronxz 
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Posted 1/27/15

TsuyuNoSuki wrote:

I don't have any specific advice, I've never been. But it is AWESOME that you are going to go! It's #1 on my list for sure. Congrats!!


Thanks! I finally decided to just go for it I've been wanting to go overseas for years and decided that 2015 is going to be my year!!

-Ronxz
Ronxz 
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Posted 1/27/15

Azr4el wrote:

1) I've always wanted to visit Kyoto. It's one of Japan's most cultural cities. Due to its historical significance, it was spared from getting bombed in World War II and has a lot of beautiful classic palaces, shines, and temples.



I've heard the temples are amazing. A girl I know went and she told me they were so peaceful, i really want to visit them! Can you visit the palaces? Are they open to the public?

-Ronxz
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Posted 1/27/15 , edited 1/27/15

Ronxz wrote:


Azr4el wrote:

1) I've always wanted to visit Kyoto. It's one of Japan's most cultural cities. Due to its historical significance, it was spared from getting bombed in World War II and has a lot of beautiful classic palaces, shines, and temples.



I've heard the temples are amazing. A girl I know went and she told me they were so peaceful, i really want to visit them! Can you visit the palaces? Are they open to the public?

-Ronxz


The Kyoto Imperial Palace offers free tours twice a day (10 AM and 2 PM). You just need to show up about 20-30 minutes beforehand to register with your passport.

Most of the temples are either free or have a relatively low entrance fee, somewhere between 400-600 yen ($4-$6) per person.
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Posted 1/28/15
I visited Kyoto, Tokyo and Mito last year.
Kyoto was my favorite, it's also popular with tourists so a lot of shops are familiar with baka gaijin ways.

2) When you want. possibly spring to see the cherry blosoms
3) IDK
4) Everywhere in Kyoto is a tourist spot
5) IDK much about shopping
6) All good (unless you're vegetarian)
7) take a dictionary
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Posted 1/28/15
I'm going this autumn because my friend who lives in Okinawa said that that's a ~very~ alright time to visit. Personally I've planned on visiting Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo. I'm just taking a three week trip, so I don't think there's going to be time for a lot more.

Other tips? Hm, ryokans > western hotels?
Posted 1/28/15

Azr4el wrote:

1) I've always wanted to visit Kyoto. It's one of Japan's most cultural cities. Due to its historical significance, it was spared from getting bombed in World War II and has a lot of beautiful classic palaces, shines, and temples.


Stealing your photo. Holy moley, it's pretty. :3
Azr4el 
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Posted 1/29/15 , edited 1/29/15

sleepysunshine wrote:


Azr4el wrote:

1) I've always wanted to visit Kyoto. It's one of Japan's most cultural cities. Due to its historical significance, it was spared from getting bombed in World War II and has a lot of beautiful classic palaces, shines, and temples.


Stealing your photo. Holy moley, it's pretty. :3


You should steal the full size version instead. I original got it from searching "Kyoto" on Google Images

Posted 1/30/15

Azr4el wrote:


sleepysunshine wrote:


Azr4el wrote:

1) I've always wanted to visit Kyoto. It's one of Japan's most cultural cities. Due to its historical significance, it was spared from getting bombed in World War II and has a lot of beautiful classic palaces, shines, and temples.


Stealing your photo. Holy moley, it's pretty. :3


You should steal the full size version instead. I original got it from searching "Kyoto" on Google Images


<333 !
Ronxz 
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Posted 1/31/15
Kyoto sounds awesome! I am going to have a dictionary and try learning some basic japanese with a friend to prep. How long should I stay there vs somewhere like Tokyo?

My biggest question right now revolves around whether I should go with a company, someone else planning everything, or if I should go alone? I haven't heard of many companies doing trips for 20-30 age group so I am concerned with just going off something that google finds for me. Anyone know if any I could check out?

-Ronxz
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Posted 1/31/15 , edited 1/31/15
For Kyoto, I think a minimum of 3-4 days. For Tokyo, 2-3 days.

I heard Intrepid and G Adventures are good. I haven't used them yet though.

I guess it depends on how much effort you are willing to put in for planning and what's comfortable for you?

When I went to Japan last year with my family, we were in a small group tour for 5 days and then traveled on our own for another 5 days (3 days in Kyoto & 2 days in Tokyo). With the group tour, we stayed at nicer hotels and since everything was organized for us, it's quite hassle free. Of course, since it's planned by someone else, some of the attractions didn't appeal to us and most of the time, we were being rushed from one place to another, but I guess this aspect depends on your tour operator.

Technically speaking, in that group tour, we visited Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Hakone, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto. We had adequate time in Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Hakone, and Osaka, but we were only passing by Nagoya, had one day in Kyoto, and had a quick stop in Kobe to see the harbor and try their famous Kobe beef.

When we went on our own, we stayed at budget hotels, used solely public transportation, and got lost quite a bit haha. It was a lot cheaper and it was nice to travel independently to be able to choose which places to see depending on our interests. We used the bullet train (shinkansen) to get from Kyoto to Tokyo, and for inner city travel and airport transfer, we used the Japan Rail (JR) trains, Tokyo Metro train lines, and city buses.

To give you some ideas:

Kyoto
* imperial palace
* Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine
* Kiyomizu-dera temple
* Nijo castle
* Higashiyama district
* Arashiyama district (famous bamboo groves)
* Gion district (geisha shows)
* Kinkakuji Temple (personally, I didn't think it was as impressive as it appears in photos and it's a popular tourist spot so it's really crowded)

Nara (near Kyoto)
* Todaiji temple
* Kasuga Taisha shrine
* Nara deer park (near Todaiji temple)

Tokyo
* Akihabara district & Tokyo Anime Center
* Sensoji temple & Asakusa area
* Shibuya district
* Tsukiji fish market (famous for incredibly fresh sushi)
* Takeshita street at Harajuku district
* Shinjuku district
* Tokyo Tower Observatory
* imperial palace

Mt. Fuji & Hakone
* Owakudani Valley (sulfur springs)

If you want to do more research, http://www.japan-guide.com/ and http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g294232-Japan-Vacations.html have tons of information.
Ronxz 
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Posted 2/20/15
Thanks for the great tips! I have narrowed down my trip to between Japan and the UK. I'm still trying to figure out if it's worth going to Japan without being to visit the anime festival (That's in March I believe). When do you think would be the best time to visit?

-Ronxz
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Posted 2/20/15

Ronxz wrote:

Thanks for the great tips! I have narrowed down my trip to between Japan and the UK. I'm still trying to figure out if it's worth going to Japan without being to visit the anime festival (That's in March I believe). When do you think would be the best time to visit?

-Ronxz


Personally, I would try to go when the cherry blossoms are out so I could go to the cherry blossom festivals, which is usually in April. I went in October so it was pretty chilly with a few warmer days and I saw some early fall foliage near the temples and at Mt. Fuji.
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