Post # 17
Yep, Osaka and Kyoto are very close, so you could definitely do a day trip. My first weekend trip with my Fiance was to Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka.
Haneda and Narita are the two Tokyo airports. Which one you leave from will depend on which airline you take and stuff, but generally Narita is more international and Haneda is more domestic.
The trains here are mostly super clean, but I’ve seen the occasional crazy disgusting thing. I think it’s better than most public transportation though.
If your husband speaks some Japanese, you can probably get away with just knowing sumimasen (excuse me/thank you/I’m sorry depending on the context) and arigato gozaimasu (thank you). Of course, the more you can learn, the better, but sumimasen will get you pretty far.
Post # 18
Looks like the train, for two people, will cost $540 for a week but it runs 24/7 which is cool. Flights from Osaka to Haneda look like they’d cost $100 less for 2 people but you don’t get nearly as much access for anyone wondering. Looks like the JR pass is a darn good deal to meeeee! We both were like “ACK” when we saw the price but when you look up other means of travel it really is a good deal.
Post # 19
Thanks! I looked up Nara and it looks amazing. I made a list of cool things to see with potential sidetrips. I’m getting so excited. My husband is excited too but I go into frantic planning mode and he’s like chill about it. He’ll be more pumped once we’re there. We’re both not looking forward to the flight lol. I need to look into ryokans more now that I’ve got a good idea of sights to see. I’m so pumped! Thanks for the info. The JR rail looks like a darn good deal. Found out you can buy them from http://www.japan-rail-pass.com/?currency-code=USD&ap=b6021as&gclid=CN_klOy0wLcCFVQV7AoddBMAsQ
but got confused about needing a short term visitor thingy…..which I was gonna ask you about but my husband cleared me up on it. Apparently, when you enter the country they stamp you lol and that’s what they’re talking about. Can you tell I’ve never internationally traveled before? Been to Canada but that was pre-needing a passport to get into the country and I don’t remember really anyways, lol. He’s all Mr. World Traveler now XD
Post # 20
Yup. The JR pass is only availabe to short term visitors and has to be acquired outside of Japan. When you get to the airport, you’ll automatically receive a 90 day visitor’s visa.
Post # 21
oh wow, thank you for all of this information! I’m going to check out that thread. I told my husband about the tea thing and he said yeah. I said, good thing we like green tea and he was like “well….” and I was like it doesn’t have sugar in it…does it? “Nope”
o_o I need to start cutting back on sugar in my green tea to prep lol….I’m from the south…we don’t drink any type of tea without sugar LOL! Thanks for the heads up!!!
Post # 23
@SuperDuperBrit: It’s been a long time since I went to Japan (Nov 2000), but it was awesome!! You absolutely want to get a Japanese rail pass for travel. I had to get mine through a travel agent, and you need to buy the pass before you go to Japan. You are given a certificate, then you take the certificate to the train station and exchange if for the rail pass. It will let you travel on the bullet train and will save a lot of money.You will have to pay separately for subway travel, but those tickets are not expensive.
I went to Japan for a science meeting and the meeting was held in Narita. From Narita we went into Tokyo a few times by train, keep your passport with you because we did get asked for ID by officers. From Narita I went by bus to Yokohama, again because of the science meeting. But where we stayed there was a giant ferris wheel that was fun to ride. We also took a day trip by bus to see Mt. Fuji which was fun.
After Yokohama we traveled by bullet train to Hiroshima. There we saw the museum associated with the bombings during WWII. The city seemed more somber to me, but that might have just been my interpretation.
Then Hiroshima to Kyoto by bullet train. I’m weird, but I really liked walking around the Kyoto train station. I don’t remember the name of the place any more, but there is a sho-gun’s residence in Kyoto that has a floor that was designed to intentionally squeak (the sho-gun was worried about intruders, so it was a warning system). It was called a nightingale floor.
The food was amazing! If you stay at a hotel that has a breakfast bar, go to the Japan side, not the American side. The menus all have pictures, so you can point at what you want. The whole time we were there I don’t think we spent 30 seconds looking at the train schedule before someone walked up to us and asked where we were going. Very nice, very helpful. I don’t speak any Japanese and had no trouble in the big cities. Oh, and at the train stations there were vending machines that dispensed hot or cold beverages. Which I thought was neat.
Travel wise, bring comfortable shoes and clothes. We did a lot of walking. November is a nice time to go to Japan!
Post # 24
@SuperDuperBrit: I lived in Japan for just over a year 🙂 Aw, I miss it so much, it’s beautiful! I was living in Fukushima, about 3 hours by train from Toyko.
Don’t worry about the language barrier, I don’t speak Japanese (I really tried to learn, I just can’t seem to grasp a second language!) and I traveled by myself with no problem. I just used a lot of hand gestures!
You’ve already got a lot of great advise from people, so I just wanted to say that I’m jealous and you’ll have a blast! I loved Nara too, but I absolutely fell in love with Kobe. Himeji Castle is also a must see 🙂 You can’t go wrong, anywhere you go is pretty much awesome.
Post # 25
- Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo
Oo I second (third? fourth? fifth?) Nara, I loved feeding the deer :D!
Kobe is also pretty close to Osaka so you can definitely use a JR Pass to make a little trip out there – you can try real kobe beef!
I don’t really have recommendations for ryokan in the Osaka/Kyoto but there should be a lot of options. I would recommend staying at a really nice place there (because it’s the more “traditional” area compared to Tokyo) and staying at a more budget hotel in Tokyo.
In Tokyo, I totally recommend this place to stay: http://www.kimiryokan.jp/ They are quite inexpensive and you get to stay in a traditional style room (tatami mats and futon), however it’s not really a b&b, it’s really just a place to stay.
Post # 26
@SuperDuperBrit: we went in Oct 2011. We also did Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo. But we stayed 2 weeks. I dont know how you’d see it all in just 8 days. Keep in mind day 1 is kinda shot because of jet lag and day 8 is shot because you are getting to the airport. Then you’ll have at least 1 travel day to get from osaka/kyoto to Tokyo. If you could extend your trip, I would. If not, I would cut out Osaka and just do Kyoto and Tokyo. I agree, you should fly into Osaka and fly out of Tokyo.
I have a post on here about where we stayed in Kyoto and some other tips. I will try to find it.
Post # 27
Yeah, I heard they have all sorts of vending machines which I think is pretty darn neat too. Thank you for the information. We will def be keeping our passports with us. Better to have them on us for sure! Is Hiroshima far from Kyoto/Osaka/Tokyo? I would love to go to there too but I’m starting to feel like I’m adding too much stuff to our trip, lol. We could probably focus the entire week in one of those places and not see everything. Main thing is to see a contrast between historic and modern day Japan. Which so far I think we have covered. WWII history fascinates me so of course I’d love to see Hiroshima…I’m sure it’d be so sad. I know Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii made me cry. How long would you say your trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima was? I figure if we take the train for a bunch of random sidetrips that are reasonably close we’d be fine. I dunno though. I am happy to hear that places have pictures of food. I am so excited to dive into a bowl of noodles. I need to practice chopsticks and all that jazz though. I’m so horrible with them and need to practice.
I’m so jealous you got to live there. It looks beautiful in pictures and we’re excited to really expirience it first hand when we go. I feel like there’s so much to see and I get overwhelmed because I want to see it all. LOL >_>;;
Yes!! My husband wants to try real kobe beef! He said the hotel he stayed at in Japan had it but it was expensive so he didn’t try it when he went. He brought up that he’d like to try it this time with me so we may do that. I’m so glad that our airfare should be mostly free due to his miles because it seems like it’s super easy to spend money in Japan, lol. Thankfully, for the most part, many places are free to go visit and do touristy stuff. So it’ll be mainly food, train, hotel/ryokan fees, and souveniers. Thank you for the ryokan recommendation! We’re looking to stay somewhere that’s traditional…but doesn’t necessarily need to be a B&B. I think we’re open to whatever essentially as long as it’s nice and safe. We’ll probably stay somewhere a bit more traditional in Osaka or Kyoto (whichever we choose lol).
Post # 28
We’re thinking of being there 8 days not including travel days. So we’ll have a little bit longer than a week to physically be there. We’d be traveling for the other days. I am worried about jet lag for sure. I know it got us bad when we went to Hawaii and that was a shorter amount of distance. I had never flown so far before. I think we’re open to possibly extending our trip if we find good deals but we can’t extend it much more. We just want to see as much as possible while we’re there…without spending a gazillion dollars. Thanks, I’d really love to see the thread!
Post # 29
Post # 30
@SuperDuperBrit: OMGosh! I just looked up the sumo tournament season in Japan and November has tournaments!! That is when we are hoping DH will get sent, and I would LOVE to go to one of these! (Especially after reading about it in Freakonomics!) Here is the link I found in case you are interested also!!
maybe we will see you there!
Post # 31
Oh cool!! Thanks! I will have to bring that up with my husband too!