(Closed) Japan in March?

posted 5 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 2
Member
469 posts
Helper bee

Aggh! We are going to Japan in May, and I am so so excited! Here’s the link to my Pinterest board, which has a lot of sites I used for research: https://www.pinterest.com/picky_girl/secret-trip/

I really recommend checking out the travel blog Twenty Years Hence. They are blogger friends of mine and have been long-term traveling, but their first stop was Japan. They have some really great posts.

We just booked our Japan Rail Passes this past week and got them in, so now we have everything booked (AirBnB, one ryokan, and a temple stay). 

Cherry blossoms should be out by May – I think we’ll miss them or get the tail end of them. I think we are also going to hire a photographer in Kyoto to take pics of us (we aren’t doing engagement pics).

Let me know if you have any questions, and of course I can update after we get back.

Post # 3
Member
913 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

My husband was in Japan last year at the end of March and the cherry blossoms were just starting out. Might be better to wait til the beginning of April just to be sure.

Post # 4
Member
442 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Looks like the sumo grand tournament will be in Osaka in March. You should totally go! 

Post # 5
Member
1338 posts
Bumble bee

I am leaving for Japan in 2.5 weeks! If you want to see cherry blossoms, your best bet is to plan your trip for the last week of March into first week of April. That way, if they bloom early or late you will get to see them for at least a portion of your trip. Also, book airfaire and lodging early! The cheaper places fill up fast especially in Kyoto and Hakone. Good luck planning!

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emselsky:  

Post # 6
Member
1112 posts
Bumble bee

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emselsky:  lived there half of my life. Cherry blossoms will sometimes start blooming in March. My parents said they started blooming early this year, and it’s still early March.

In Tokyo, check out daiba/odaiba, Akihabara etc. in fact, when in Tokyo, there is a train route called Yamanote line, this line stops at major places and back (check out the map, the bright green line is the Yamanote line, and you can see that the train mostly goes around in circles). You can also buy a one day Tokyo pass and can take the train all around Tokyo. You can use this pass not just within Yamanote line, but other lines too. You can ask for a map for where you can use the ticket (I’m sure you can use it to these places: Ueno, Akihabara, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, places in between those etc. these are the only a few, there should be more).

In Kanagawa prefecture, that’s where Yokohama is at (another big well known city), go to Kamakura as well, it’s not far from Yokohama.

Check out this map, this map is only for JR trains, remember that there are other train companies as well, but JR pretty much goes everywhere. If you want to keep it easy, I’d stick with JR when it comes to transferring trains (you might have to change/transfer trains depending on where you are going) but if you want it to be cheaper, then sometimes, transferring/changing trains using a different train company might be best, sometimes its faster too, or its possible that the JR station is a bit of a walk to where you want to go compared to another train company’s station, despite being in the same area.

http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/info/map_a4ol.pdf

And here’s a good site to find train routes of any trains.

http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by  Mrs.DK.
Post # 7
Member
283 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Japan in March is the best 😀 You’ll definitely see lots of cherry blossom. I lived in Yokohama and spent lots of time in Tokyo.

If I were planning a trip around this time with these cities here’s some of what I would plan:

TOKYO

Animated Masters Day:
Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka in the morning (at least a few hours)
Break for Lunch
Starlight pass for Tokyo Disney Sea (starlight pass is an evening-only pass, which is discounted)
Mitaka and Disney also share some of the same train lines for ease of transport. :3

Pop Culture vs. Traditional Day:
Meiji Shrine in the morning
Yoyogi Park for lunch/cherry blossom viewing
Harajuku/shopping
These places are all in the same area/share a train station. Meiji Shrine is basically in/next to yoyogi park, and you can access all three places from Harajuku station.

Other Places in Tokyo:
Tsukiji Fish Market
Sky tree
Tokyo Tower
Asakusa (historical anbd traditional handicrafts central)
Edo-Tokyo Museum
Odaiba (new tech central)
Akihabara (electronics/comics/anime central)

I’ve always wanted to go on one of the river cruises; they are super cool!

There’s lots of crazy/cool themed restaurants: final fantasy, gundam, hospital, butlers, maids, ninjas.  If you’re into kitschy experiences, Japan is the jam for that.

I’d also recommend checking out Shimokitazawa.  They have a killer okonomiyaki place (it’s kind of like a crepe or pancake with meat, cabbage, noodles, etc) and lots of eclectic and interesting shops.  There are also some cat cafes there.  It’s kind of a hipster-y place, and often has street performers.

Tokyo is enormous, and I could give better advice if I knew what your interests are! LOL  I am an anime/manga/video game nerd and so is my husband, so our tastes lean toward that and less toward historical.

I would recommend staying at the Century Southern Tower in Shinjuku. The staff is amazing, speaks perfect English, and they can help you with pretty much anything. Including changing money and sending postcards or letters.  We sent all of our wedding thank you postcards from our hotel. 🙂 Super easy

You can find cheaper accomodation, of course.  A lot of people like to try a love hotel (they have weird/crazy themes) and they are very inexpensive compared to a regular hotel.  You walk into a lobby area that’s computerized and choose which room you want from a selection screen.  You don’t even see the staff, which is odd eh?

YOKOHAMA

If you’re going to be in Tokyo, Yokohama is right next door – at least visit! Haha. I recommend Mianto Mirai – it’s like a little theme park and it’s right next to a big huge shopping mall and the station underneath it.  I got my Mom a card and a cool picture from from the Snoopy Store nearby. Also, took my husband to the Pokemon Store. It was great fun!

I highly recommend the Shin Yokohama Raumen Museum.  We enjoyed the Cup Noodle Museum (also in yokohama) where you can make your own cup noodle, but the Raumen Museum is way cooler. It’s set up like a 1940’s street with all these little raumen joints around it.  The raumen joints are places from all over japan so you can try all kinds of different raumen.  Get the mini bowls though, or you’ll fill up fast. You have to pay for entry and for each dish you want to try.  But, the entrance fee isn’t so bad.

HAKONE

Get a hakone free pass; gives you access to all the different transportation modes that Hakone is famous for. Ride all the cool transport modes – ropeway, little trains, pirate ship, etc.  Get some black eggs (they are supposed to add 7 years to your life/make you lucky/etc).  there are a few museums – I like the glass museum  Hakone Glass no Mori (glass forest).

There’s also Yunnessun which is a hot spring theme park. It’s a little crazy, and you have to wear bathing suits (which is good cause it’s a theme park LOL).  They have wine, coffee, traditional cedar hot springs, and a large swimming pool too. My favorite ones was the dead sea salt hot spring, you could really float in it.

Some of my friends were also interested in the Evangelion tour – the anime evangelion took a lot of inspiration from the Hakone area, so much so that they offer tours. I was never a big fan of that particular anime, so I didn’t go on the tour, but it sounded good.

OSAKA

Unfortunately my trip to osaka got cancelled due to the earthquake/nuclear disaster. I was supposed to leave on a weekend trip to Osaka that night but of course it was cancelled. 🙁 The only thing I can recommend here is the things I was thinking about doing.  Namely, the Universal Studios in Osaka.  They have a Resident Evil experience which sounded so cool! haha.

KYOTO

I love Kyoto. This is the historical  heart of the country.  If you’re going in march I really recommend checking out one of the maiko odori dances – the geisha apprentices do dance performances in the spring.  I’ve seen both a spring and fall performance, they were both really good! Plus, if you’re looking for Geisha this is probably the least expensive way to see them – geisha parties are super expensive.

Last time I was in Kyoto my husband and I stayed at Gion Hatanaka Ryokan. A ryokan is a traditional guest house; they served us breakfast and dinner, as well as tea upon our arrival. The staff does speak english, and the food is absolutely incredible. I can’t recommend them enough. They have in-house geisha parties too, if you want to go to one. They can also help make reservations for the geisha dances if you need help.

The ryokan is centrally located – walking distance to the amazing kiyomizu-dera temple and right next door to a smaller shrine.  If you only see one temple in kyoto, make it Kiyomizu-dera.  It’s perched on a cliff, and has several water sources which are supposed to grant you special boons but you are only supposed to drink from one if I remember correctly. Choose wisely!

My second favorite temple is Kinkakuji which is a gold temple on the other side of the city.  It’s got several floors that each depict a different era of japanese architecture. Also, beautiful gardens surrounding it.

There’s also a manga museum, a castle, and lots and lots of traditional handicrafts and shopping.  I recommend Teramachi street for shopping. It’s a covered shopping arcade.Lots of touristy shops; if you want to get a yukata (summer kimono) set this would be the place for it. If you want more traditional kimono (they are so, so expensive) you might want to consider checking out one of the handicraft markets for a pre-owned kimono. You can get really good deals!

You might also be interested in the Kyoto Handicraft Center. It’s like a one stop shop for souvenirs and traditional goods; plus they cater heavily to tourists. You can pay in your native currency, change money there, and they will make sure you get your tax-back discount thingies.

Transportation through kyoto isn’t the best; the bus is not bad, but it’s a bus. There’s a small train system that I think does not tie into the japan rail pass which is lame.

If you’re going to take taxis anywhere, this would be the place to take taxis. If you get a good centrally located hotel, you shouldn’t need them very often. Just be prepared for a lot of walking!

I’m a collector of tsumami kanzashi – folded silk flower hair ornaments that you see a lot of geisha wearing. I can give lots of info on the best places to get these, lol. And furoshiki! They are beautiful cloths that are traditionally used for carrying or wrapping things. 🙂 I have several and often give them as gifts.

I’ve also always wanted to go to Toei Uzumasa Eigamura – which is a movie set (period movies) and theme park all in one. I think when I go back next time, I’ll try to convince my husband to dress up in period costume while we go around the theme park. I doubt he’ll do it, but maybe he will get caught up in the excitement LOL.

Kyoto has lots of food options, but they are famous for tea sweets and kaiseki.  Kaiseki is kind of a fancy multicourse dinner.  There’s lots in Kyoto but only a few have english menus/cater to foreigners. My uncle and I ate at one called Gion Karyo. It was great!

Anyway, this is a really long post XD If you have any other questions or need help planning please let me know.

I also highly recommend Inside Japan tours.  Since I don’t live there now, I used them to help set up my honeymoon last year. They are also, basically, an emergency line to help you if you find yourself in trouble for some reason.  They have staff on the ground in Japan, as well as in the US and UK.

Post # 8
Member
1112 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
AppleDainty:  lol! I didn’t read everything you wrote, but the love hotel made me giggle lol. 

On a serious note, I wouldn’t recommend love hotels for long stays since these hotels are s*x hotels (hence the hidden face of the person in front desk), which I’m guessing you already know lol, and they can actually be just as expensive. Sometimes, other hotels, including Prince hotel (huge hotel in Shinagawa) can even be cheaper. I stayed there once for ¥7,000 for one night. There are definitely a lot of good/decent priced business hotels if you look enough.

Post # 10
Member
8 posts
Newbee

If you are feeling daring, and want to try the “When in Japan, do as the Japanese” kind of thing…

1. Don’t just enjoy the Onsen, try the Konyoku – This is a public onsen, when both genders bathe naked together. It is not a kinky thing in the very least. And you will probably end up with a bunch of elderly people anyhow. This was quite an experience for me, as I had never done anything like that, and have no regrets.

2. If you’re not quite up for that, don’t just go to any Onsen, go to one in the Japanese Alps. There was nothing more beautiful than sitting on top of a snow-covered mountain, bathing outside in the Onsen.

3. Take a hike in one of the popular monkey mountain areas. For me, this was thrilling to see all the monkeys. Just be careful, they will take your bags if they get a chance.

4. Visit a shrine and a castle. I suppose it doesn’t matter which one. There are so many amazing choices. But just do both.

5. Eat something you would never dream of eating. Some ideas are raw cows stomache (and it was actually quite good,) live shrimp (yes it is still twitching on the way down,) raw chicken (they breed the chickens in a way that is impossible to carry salmonella,) and fugu (blowfish.)

6. Stay in a love hotel. They are cheaper than hotels such as the Hyatt, and quite often nicer. Unlike American love hotels, these are very clean, well-maintained, and quite common. You may need to speek Japanese to get in.

7. Stay in a Ryokan. This is a traditional Japanese inn. You will feel as if you have gone back in time. It is a very cultural experience full of Japanese traditions.

8.  Don’t forget to ride the shinkansen (bullet train!)

I could go on and on. Hopefully this gives you some ideas. It’s an amazing place. Have a great time!

Post # 11
Member
906 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Tokyo is incredible! The previous recommendations were all things I would have recommended, so I don’t have a ton to add! We picked up some vintage kimonos for family members, as there are some great shops for that. 

We’ve stayed at the Park Hyatt and the Grand Hyatt. Both were amazing and I would recommend them both. Wouldn’t stay in a hotel that rents by the hour. 

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