(Closed) We decided to honeymoon in Japan! Any advice on what to see? Or great guides?

posted 5 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
Member
8 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@lovelyduckie:  I love Japan!  Idk what area you’re looking to visit, but there’s a national park close-ish to the main part of Japan called Kamikochi that has hiking and really romantic, traditional lodges.  That’s definitley worth looking into.  Kyoto is incredible by bike.  I bought like 3 guidebooks but I ended up using this one the most.  It’s a mind-blowing trip.  Have fun

Post # 4
Member
2376 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Where in Japan are you going to primarily focus on?  Also, if you don’t speak Japanese, it can be worth looking into some of the English speaking guided tours.  While you’ll get a lot of people that speak English in the major cities, it can be a little tricky in the smaller towns.

Post # 5
Member
733 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

@lovelyduckie: My husband and I honeymooned in Japan! It was amazing!

We got a Japan rail pass for the first week and went to Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima, and Osaka, and then we spent the last week in Tokyo. How long are you planning on staying? What time of the year will you be there?

ETA: Neither of us speak Japanese and found the people there to be incredibly kind and gracious. Many, many people spoke English and those who didn’t were generally very open to communicating through gestures. Granted, we stayed in cities primarily but I just wanted to share our experience. 🙂

Post # 6
Member
9552 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I did a study abroad in Japan! It’s an amazing country. Where to go depends on your interests. I actually haven’t been to a bunch of places other than the small town where I lived, so I don’t have a ton of advice about locations.

Kyoto is very historical. Kind of like visiting Boston or Philadelphia in the US. If you like history I definately recommend this! And stay in a traditional Japanese guest house, if you want a real traditional experience.

Fujisan (Mt Fuji) is awesome. Eat a hundred year egg for good luck and go to one of the spas – an absolute must in Japan. Be warned, the gender segregated spas generally have naked people walking around. The Japanese are very modest between genders but not modest at all among the same gender.

I also really enjoyed Nara – they have a giant Budda and sacred deer that roam the city. 

Some general recommendations:

  1. Learn some basic greatings and thank you in Japanese – people will appreciate the effort.
  2. A bow is used for many things – greeting, thank you, goodbye, etc. A bow and a smile will get you far.
  3. Take your shoes off when entering any home, temple, some restaurants, etc. Basically when you step inside any building, take a look around and see if people are wearing shoes or not. If not, look around and there will be a place to store your shoes and probably a bunch of slippers that you can wear. Also – if you’re in a home or traditional hotel they may have a separte set of slippers for use only in the bathroom. If you see slippers in the bathroom then you leave your slippers outside, wear the bathroom slippers in the bathroom and switch back when you exit.
  4. Traditional japanese toilets are the squat kind. Put your feet on either side, squat, and make sure your pants/skirt is pulled away. Many western toilets have a small sink over the tank of the toilet. Water automatically comes through this when you flush -it’s clean water and you are supposed to wash your hands with it. Western toilets also sometimes come with lots of buttons. The flush is often just a regular flush. Not the button with a drop of water on it – that’s the bidet.
  5. Unless you’re going out clubbing or to karoke (which you should totally do) try to dress fairly modestly. Temples may require your to cover shoulders and knees.
  6. Eat first, then ask what it is.
  7. The vast majority of Japan is incredibly safe. People are really friendly. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask. Even random people on the subway will likely help you. Never underestimate the power of charades.
  8. Take cheapo little souveniers from the US (mini flags, coins, state pins – you used to be able to get those for free, etc.) Give them to people who help you out and they will think you’re amazing!
  9. Don’t touch monks unless they touch you first.
  10. In general be careful about touching or sitting on things in temples. I have a friend who got tired and sat on what he thought was a stool and it turns out it was a sacred turtle statue and he got kicked out of the temple.
  11. Know your blood type – they ask about that like we would ask about zodiak signs.
  12. If someone offers you tea (not to buy), drink it. I hate green tea but I drank gallons of it while I was there because it’s impolite to turn people down.

There are a million things I’m forgetting, but if you have any questions – please feel free to PM me!

Post # 8
Member
2376 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Any amount of Japanese will help.  Just the effort will speak volumes towards the general idea of ‘I’m not a typical a$$hole American tourist’.  Oh, and don’t touch people.  It’s not just a monk thing, it’s a touching is rude unless you know them thing.  If they extend a hand because they realize you’re American, it’s ok to shake their hand  But that’s about as far as the touching goes.

Post # 9
Member
8464 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

Takoyaki, it sounds weird (octopus in a batter), but they’re delicious!!!  Also, be wary of things that look like cheese danishes, it’s probably mayo.  My family and I used to go to Japan all the time (we have friends that live there), if you are invited to anyone’s home, it is customary to bring a small gift (not a clock or watch though).

Post # 10
Member
7240 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

@lovelyduckie:  I took a spur of the moment trip to Tokoyo 3 years ago and LOOOOOVED it. (Yes- spur of the moment. A friend posted a link to an airline deal site saying “someone go to NYC with me! $400 r/t from LAX!” and I clicked and noticed it was $405 r/t to Tokoyo so we went there instead!)

We were in Japan for 6 days total and that was exactly enough time to see Tokoyo and not enough time to see ANYTHING else. So, either pick one area or spend at least a couple weeks. 

We wanted to make the most of our trip, so my friend (who travels internationally a LOT) brought sleeping pills, which we took and slept on the plane when it would be night in Japan. We got there at 4pm local time and were totally on the right schedule and able to hit the town that same night. But be prepared- even though we took precautions coming back, we both were SUPER jetlagged to the point of feeling ill for MORE than a week afterward. Something about traveling East just messed us up. 

Post # 11
Member
237 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@lovelyduckie:  Kyoto is absolutely amazing! There are temples all over, but my favorite had to have been Kiyomizu temple (below)

Osaka is also really nice. The Kinkakuji temple is really cool

 

And I would definitely recommend taking advantage of Onsen (natural hot springs) in Osaka or Kyoto.

And then taking the bullet train to Tokyo to see that area, like Harujuku and “Electric City” 🙂 There are also a bunch of temples there to check out. And if you are able, the memorial museum in Hiroshima is very intense, but such an amazing experience.

Post # 13
Member
1784 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@lovelyduckie:  I really want to visit an onsen and I’m already trying to mentally prep myself for relaxing about being seen naked in the hot spring.


Jabberwocky’s tips for surviving the onsen:

If you have glasses, take them off.  If you can’t see them, they can’t see you.  True facts.

Don’t overthink it.  Say “hakuna matata” and strip.

If there’s no one in the outdoor bath, there’s probably a reason.  Don’t go in there, especially if it’s snowing outside.  Fleeing naked from freezing cold water is not elegant.

Post # 14
Member
1262 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I’m not sure what part you’ll be in, but these are things either that I really liked, or have heard about that were really cool.

 

 

 

Of course there is Tokyo, if you like busy, hustle and bustle, cool sort of things. There are lots of things and parts of Tokyo to go. I really liked the old Edo area, personally, I think it is fun to go there, then to the big main area.  Harajuku and Akihabara were cool if you like the nerdier sides of Japan, want to see a lot of people dressed up (especially in Akihabara). Akihabara is the center for gaming and TV stuff and electronics – basically ner central. Harajuku is more of a big street fashion district now.

 

 

 

Asakusa is really cool. It has a giant shrine and temple, with gorgeous architecture and art and such. Also in Tokyo.

 

 

 

Another area which is GORGEOUS is Kamakura.  I think it’s like three hours from Tokyo? You can get there by the train. In Spring, there is this hill that is covered in different varieties of hydrangeas I’ve never seen anywhere else. But there are also lots of temples nad gorgeous buildings. The largest hollow Daibutsu (Giant Buddha) is here, you can go inside it. 

 

 

 

Then a place that is not famous at all, but I personally loved, was Nokogiriyama, in Chiba (one of the prefectures attached to Tokyo). I believe you have to drive to it, but it’s a gorgeous mountain by the seaside. You take a gorgeous walk, along which are lined hundreds of little Buddha saint statues, and steps.  In the spring there are also hydrangeas, and at some time of year there are monkeys! If you enjoy hiking at all you’ll like it a lot. As you climb, you will first see the biggest, I believe, Daibutsu in Japan, even though the place is not popular. Nearer to the end of the hike, there is a giant flat-ish kanon (standing Buddha, basically) carved into a cliffside. It’s gorgeous. Then you come out at the top of the mountain, and can look out over Japan country side and see where it hits the water and such. Really beautiful, and I love how few people there are there. Everywhere else in Japan was pretty bustling, but this relatively unknown area was peaceful, the best of nature meets manmade. 

 

 

 

Of course Kyoto is supposed to be gorgeous. And also I heard Nikko is really cool. Super duper preserved old-style historical town. 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s see, you should definitely go to an onsen (public bath). Yes, it sounds awkward, and yes you are naked with a bunch of other women, but it is seriously sooo relaxing. You get over the awkward in about ten minutes, and will feel amazingly detoxed afterward.

 

 

 

Also, make sure to go to a good ramen shop! Real, good Japanese ramen is just to die for! Haha, I think it might be what I miss most about Japan! If you go to Tokyo or Chiba, my friend’s family owns shop with the best ramen I had anywhere in Japan, I can get you the name if you want it. Little hole-in-the-wall place.

 

 

 

Uhhh, let’s see… learn how to ask “Can I take your picture?” (If you just ask what sounds like Shah-sheen?” they’ll prolly get what you mean, but if you can learn the whole phrase that would be best) because some of the people dressed crazy are working for places and don’t allow pictures. Other people will pretend to be bashful when you take their picture unless you ask first. Other foods that are amazing – tonkatsu, yakitori, yakiniku, Japanese curry, okonomiyaki. There are many others too, I’m sure, that I never really got to try, but those were my personal favourites. 

 

Post # 16
Member
1471 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I live here (as do a few other bees). Feel free to pm me any questions. I’ll write some suggestions later, when I have a bit more time 🙂

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