Japan Travel |OT| We have to go back

Nista

Member
Oct 26, 2017
458
Anyone going to the sumo tournament in May? We're going to be in Tokyo from May 16th-22nd, so I splurged and got some tickets for the weekend and a box for one weekday. Kinda glad we didn't go for the final weekend, since Trump might show up. :P

We were thinking of going off the beaten path after Tokyo, has anyone been to Tottori or Shimane prefecture on vacation and have any tips?

I'm guessing we'd take a local flight there and rent a car, since we have about 6 days to spend there before heading back home. I guess we could also drive down to Hiroshima, but that might be too much back and forth unless we do a one way rental.
 

MisterB_66

Member
Oct 27, 2017
421
Anyone going to the sumo tournament in May? We're going to be in Tokyo from May 16th-22nd, so I splurged and got some tickets for the weekend and a box for one weekday. Kinda glad we didn't go for the final weekend, since Trump might show up. :P
My friend and I are going for one day in the second week, bought some reserved seats in the second deck, I can't wait.
 

Katamari

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
312
I’m planning a trip during the 2020 Olympics. A group of six adults going from Thursday, July 23rd to Sunday, August 9th. It’s everyone’s first time in Japan but me; so it’s a mix of Japan and Olympics.

We’re trying to determine the number of days we should spend in different cities so we can book our accommodations as early as possible. I’m worried the best value places will get sold out soon.

So what do you guys think of this schedule:

Thursday, July 23 to Tuesday, August 4 - Land at night and check-in to sleep. Stay in Tokyo region for 12 days and 12 nights. Outside of several Olympic events and hospitality houses, we plan on doing go karting, Yokohama, shopping for anime stuff, DisneySea, video games, lots of eating, Sumidagawa Fireworks and Harry animal cafe. Maybe Kamakura.

Tuesday, August 4 - JR pass to Kansai region. Probably stay in Osaka. Spend night at Den-den town and Dotonbori.

Wednesday, August 5 - Universal Studios. My friends really want to go to Super Nintendo World.

Thursday, August 6 - Day trip to Hiroshima for A-bomb 75th anniversary day.

Friday & Saturday, August 7 & 8 - Kyoto. May rent bikes to cover more ground. One day for Fushima Inari, Kiyiomizudera, Gino, Nanzenji, and Philosopher’s Path. The other for Kinkakuji, bamboo forest and Nishiki market.

Sunday, August 9th - Back to Narita.

Is this doable or too busy? Should I shift JR travel earlier so we get a break from all the crowds earlier? Anything I’m missing? Thanks !
 

Nista

Member
Oct 26, 2017
458
Been in Tottori, but just to check out the sand dunes, ride a camel and check out Conan town.
Yeah, those are on our list. :) There's more tourist destinations in Shimane for sure. My Japanese teacher said I must go to Izumo-taisha for good luck. Since we'd have a car we'll have to drive on the very scary looking bridge up in Sakaiminato.

I'm also looking at maybe riding the ferry out to the Oki islands so we can do a day of scuba diving, even though I bet it'll be a bit chilly in May. This whole segment of the trip is more "enjoying nature and countryside" as a contrast to the first week in Tokyo.
 

Subpar Scrub

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,407
Bought some flights on sale out of impulse, arriving 28th June - leaving 5th July at Tokyo. Any city/town suggestions for someone who has done Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Wakayama before? Kinda trying to make it a budget trip, so maybe somewhere close-ish to Tokyo?

I’m up for whatever, my trips can be hectic or super chill, doesn’t matter to me.
 

Quaker

Member
Oct 27, 2017
60
Would you guys consider $760 roundtrip from U.S. to Tokyo a good deal?

I've got a week of vacation available in October and was considering an international trip but I've never had the means or opportunity to travel internationally before(I've never even really flown before as an adult) so I'm a little unsure. My main concerns are what the weather would be like as far as being able to get around(I'm more concerned with torrential downpours than it being a bit hot or cold) or if it's a bad time in general to visit. Ideally I'd like to go between June and September to climb Mt Fuji but I don't really have much choice in being able to choose my vacation days and I'd prefer to travel off-season for now to keep the cost down and avoid peak crowds(which I assume are going to be crazy once the Olympics come into play?)

Any insight or feedback would be appreciated! :)

 

MisterB_66

Member
Oct 27, 2017
421
Anyone done the free tour of the Imperial Palace? How early would I have to line up to get a ticket on a weekday?
 

Laevateinn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
834
Chicago
Anyone done the free tour of the Imperial Palace? How early would I have to line up to get a ticket on a weekday?
Is this where you just walk the grounds of the garden or is it something where you get to see more. When I saw the imperial palace, I just walked in. There wasn't anything more than a guy who checked bags if I remember correctly.
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,669
Would you guys consider $760 roundtrip from U.S. to Tokyo a good deal?
Sounds like a good price since it's from DFW. Your layover at LAX seems a bit short though, since you have to go through immigration there and stuff.


Anyone done the free tour of the Imperial Palace? How early would I have to line up to get a ticket on a weekday?
Gotta apply online these days. Everything gets booked full:
https://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/register/month/1001

The Tokyo Imperial Palace sucks though, all modern looking and stuff, and you're not getting inside the building.
 

Frunkle

Member
Oct 25, 2017
292
So our flight goes from Toronto to haneda, then an hour and a half layover before getting on a flight to fukuoka. I've never gone through customs before, how fucked are we?
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,669
So our flight goes from Toronto to haneda, then an hour and a half layover before getting on a flight to fukuoka. I've never gone through customs before, how fucked are we?
If it's a transfer, then you dont need to go through customs/immigration at Haneda, only once you reach Fukuoka, right?
Nope, gotta go through immigration, get your luggage and go through customs at Haneda. Most likely also need to transfer terminals.

If your first flight is at all delayed then you're properly boned.
 
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Desi

Member
Oct 30, 2017
281
Been hungover for about 24 hours. Probably should have not made April my no drink month then go on a trip I planned on drinking my way through.
 

Jof

Member
Nov 3, 2017
186
Hey, quick question - does anyone know if the luggage lockers at most big train stations in Japan, would hold a 60L backpack?
How long can you store you luggage in these lockers? (overnight? a couple of days?)
 

Fisico

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,023
Paris
Hey, quick question - does anyone know if the luggage lockers at most big train stations in Japan, would hold a 60L backpack?
How long can you store you luggage in these lockers? (overnight? a couple of days?)

There are various dimensions for lockers, including ones (probably most if not all even) where you backpack would easily fit.
You can let the luggage a couple of days if needed but it, of course, get a bit expensive.
 

Jof

Member
Nov 3, 2017
186
There are various dimensions for lockers, including ones (probably most if not all even) where you backpack would easily fit.
You can let the luggage a couple of days if needed but it, of course, get a bit expensive.
Thanks! I'm looking to cycle the Shimanami Kaido route on my upcoming trip, but I know that's a kind of all day endeavor. As I'm jumping between hostels on this trip, I was thinking it might be best to store my main bag in a locker and coming back for it the next day.
 

Fisico

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,023
Paris
Thanks! I'm looking to cycle the Shimanami Kaido route on my upcoming trip, but I know that's a kind of all day endeavor. As I'm jumping between hostels on this trip, I was thinking it might be best to store my main bag in a locker and coming back for it the next day.
Oh I do intend to cycle the Shimanami Road to one day (especially as I'm into road bicycle a bit), don't hesitate to share your story there once you do it and tag me so that I don't forget to check :p
You will rent a bike at the Shimano store I imagine?
 

Mendrox

Banned
Oct 26, 2017
3,784
Thanks! I'm looking to cycle the Shimanami Kaido route on my upcoming trip, but I know that's a kind of all day endeavor. As I'm jumping between hostels on this trip, I was thinking it might be best to store my main bag in a locker and coming back for it the next day.
I have the same plan, but I will use a luggage service for that. We will travel from Kyoto to Onomichi, do a few things there, ride half the tour and stay overnight at a Hostel and then do the other half the next day. My plan was to use the luggage service to send everything from Kyoto to Osaka, because we will arrive in Osaka by train the next day after our tour. I haven't checked if that would work out at all...otherwise I guess we will do the same? Will be fun. 13th+14th May for us and the weather looks good so far. :)

Also we reserved our bikes at the Onomichi port. I saw that almost everything was booked already. o.o
 

Nista

Member
Oct 26, 2017
458
The Tokyo Imperial Palace sucks though, all modern looking and stuff, and you're not getting inside the building.
Yeah, if I was going to look at palaces, I'd go to the one in Kyoto instead. Even when it was under construction, it was still more interesting to look at and walk through.

Finally going to bite the bullet and book our domestic flights to Yonago from Haneda. Still not sure whether we need an all inclusive ETC card for San'in driving or not. The expressways there don't even connect all the way through. We might end up going over the mountains and seeing Hiroshima if the weather is bad and we can't go out to the islands.
 

robotzombie

Member
Oct 25, 2017
725
Hey all!

I'll be in japan this week (leaving on wednesday from the US) and all next week.

Our first 3 full days we have a hotel in Shinjuku near the station and wanted to know if anyone had any good suggestions on a day trip from there for one of the days to go outside of Tokyo and take advantage of our rail passes. It will just be two of us.

We were possibly thinking of Hakone or maybe something more directly to Mt. Fuji? Alternatively, we were looking at Sendai but that was when we were planning to stay overnight, don't know if that is day trip material? Any other suggestions welcome.


Also, do we need a plug converter or will US stuff work in Japan?


Edit: Oh, and lastly, do people suggest getting one of those pocket wifi things?
 
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Laevateinn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
834
Chicago
Hey all!

I'll be in japan this week (leaving on wednesday from the US) and all next week.

Our first 3 full days we have a hotel in Shinjuku near the station and wanted to know if anyone had any good suggestions on a day trip from there for one of the days to go outside of Tokyo and take advantage of our rail passes. It will just be two of us.

We were possibly thinking of Hakone or maybe something more directly to Mt. Fuji? Alternatively, we were looking at Sendai but that was when we were planning to stay overnight, don't know if that is day trip material? Any other suggestions welcome.


Also, do we need a plug converter or will US stuff work in Japan?


Edit: Oh, and lastly, do people suggest getting one of those pocket wifi things?
Japanese outlets and US outlets are identical. If you're planning to use something that's not too sensitive to voltage (Japan uses a slightly lower voltage) or something that needs a specific AC frequency (like a hair dryer), you'll be fine. Your computer and phone will be fine.

As for a quick trip from Tokyo, I recommend Kawagoe, Kamakura, or Chofu/Jindaiji.

As for wifi, if you have T-Mobile, you can probably go without (unless they've changed that since I had T-Mobile). Otherwise, I highly recommend either a pocket wifi or a sim card.
 

ThreePi

Member
Dec 7, 2017
1,654
Would you guys consider $760 roundtrip from U.S. to Tokyo a good deal?

I've got a week of vacation available in October and was considering an international trip but I've never had the means or opportunity to travel internationally before(I've never even really flown before as an adult) so I'm a little unsure. My main concerns are what the weather would be like as far as being able to get around(I'm more concerned with torrential downpours than it being a bit hot or cold) or if it's a bad time in general to visit. Ideally I'd like to go between June and September to climb Mt Fuji but I don't really have much choice in being able to choose my vacation days and I'd prefer to travel off-season for now to keep the cost down and avoid peak crowds(which I assume are going to be crazy once the Olympics come into play?)

Any insight or feedback would be appreciated! :)
My general rule of thumb going from Chicago to Tokyo is under $1000 is "decent" for a non-stop flight and around $750 is "good". I managed to snag a flight in mid-September for $630 (two days later it dropped another $40-50 but it was beyond the 24-hour reschedule grace period). I've also done an even quicker layover in LAX, and provided there's no delays, you should be fine. After we landed in LAX and got off the plane they had all transfers basically rushed to the front of the line (like I got rushed to the front Customs, then rushed to the front of the TSA-Pre line and I didn't even have Pre at the time) and made it on my flight back to Chicago no problem. Stressful, certainly, but doable.

As for my trip this September, I think I'm going to close the loop and just see the last three baseball stadiums I haven't been to, my schedule should line up.

Arrive Sept. 10th and do a week in Tokyo
Head over to Osaka for a couple days to see a Tigers game at Koushien.
Go to Fukuoka to see a Hawks game.
Fly out to Sendai for a Golden Eagles game.
Back to Tokyo and back home on the 24th.

Question: Are day trips from Fukuoka to Nagasaki possible? Is it really a two hour train? Seems like a lot.
 

Nista

Member
Oct 26, 2017
458
Japanese outlets and US outlets are identical. If you're planning to use something that's not too sensitive to voltage (Japan uses a slightly lower voltage) or something that needs a specific AC frequency (like a hair dryer), you'll be fine. Your computer and phone will be fine.

As for wifi, if you have T-Mobile, you can probably go without (unless they've changed that since I had T-Mobile). Otherwise, I highly recommend either a pocket wifi or a sim card.
If you have something that has a 3 prong ground like a laptop, you'll need an adapter to 2 prong for Japanese outlets.

Unless you spring for the unlimited global data, the default 2G you get from T-mobile is super slow. So I'd suggest a pocket wifi if you are going to do any serious usage on the trip.
 

apeache

Member
Oct 27, 2017
51
I'd like to visit realist/western inspired museums in Tokyo. So far I got National Museum of Western Art and Hoki Museum on my list. Are there any more museums that I need to know?
 

Subpar Scrub

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,407
Is the Hakone Free Pass the best way to make a day-trip to Hakone? Was planning on leaving early in the morning and spending the day there, then heading back to Tokyo at the end of the day.

Hakone Free Pass info here:

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html

Not sure if I should do this or just eat the cost of a bullet train each way.
 

catpurrcat

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,359
Is the Hakone Free Pass the best way to make a day-trip to Hakone? Was planning on leaving early in the morning and spending the day there, then heading back to Tokyo at the end of the day.

Hakone Free Pass info here:

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html

Not sure if I should do this or just eat the cost of a bullet train each way.
I did the day trip with the free pass. Talk to the customer reps at the train station where they sell these. They speak english. I was convinced it was worth it and they confirmed it was good value and convenient.

Hakone is AWESOME btw. The cable cars, ferry, ramen place(s), volcano, such great memories.
 

Subpar Scrub

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,407
I did the day trip with the free pass. Talk to the customer reps at the train station where they sell these. They speak english. I was convinced it was worth it and they confirmed it was good value and convenient.

Hakone is AWESOME btw. The cable cars, ferry, ramen place(s), volcano, such great memories.
Shinjuku station? and did the trip take long to get there?

In any case thanks for the feedback, I'm excited!
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,669
Is the Hakone Free Pass the best way to make a day-trip to Hakone? Was planning on leaving early in the morning and spending the day there, then heading back to Tokyo at the end of the day.
Yes, it's the best option. Why not spend the night there at one of the onsen hotels and go back to Tokyo in the early morning though?

Takes around 80 minutes with the express from Shinjuku to Odawara. 90-100 minutes with non-express. Shinkansen takes around 35 minutes from Tokyo station to Odawara. You'll have to take the Odakyu trains (or buses) from Odawara anyways though, so you don't save that much time by taking the shinkansen.
 

Subpar Scrub

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,407
Yes, it's the best option. Why not spend the night there at one of the onsen hotels and go back to Tokyo in the early morning though?

Takes around 80 minutes with the express from Shinjuku to Odawara. 90-100 minutes with non-express. Shinkansen takes around 35 minutes from Tokyo station to Odawara. You'll have to take the Odakyu trains (or buses) from Odawara anyways though, so you don't save that much time by taking the shinkansen.
Thanks for the info on the trains! I've already booked a capsule place in tokyo for the week but I think you're absolutely right, that sounds like a plan actually. I can leave my suitcase in the locker at the capsule hotel and just take a backpack for a relaxing night. I'll only lose like 3k yen by doing that too, because the capsule place was cheap.

Any recommendations for an onsen hotel? maybe looking to spend like 18-20k yen max for the night. I have a tattoo on my calf btw, so I guess it'd have to be somewhere I'm allowed :P. I'll have a look around on hotel sites tomorrow as I can't book anything until I get paid tomorrow anyway, just if anyone has been to a really nice one and could let me know, that would be appreciated.
 
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Subpar Scrub

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,407
Should try to find a place with a private bath then.
Yeah, I just booked a place for a night with a private bath that you can grab if it's not being used. It also has a few larger baths and whilst there's nothing on their site forbidding tattoos like I've seen on others, I filtered reviews with the word "Tattoo" in them and there were many people saying that they have tattoos but nobody at the counter mentioned them nor stopped anyone from going into the larger baths. The ryokan is called Fukuzumiro. Has pretty good reviews it seems.
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,669
Yeah, I just booked a place for a night with a private bath that you can grab if it's not being used. It also has a few larger baths and whilst there's nothing on their site forbidding tattoos like I've seen on others, I filtered reviews with the word "Tattoo" in them and there were many people saying that they have tattoos but nobody at the counter mentioned them nor stopped anyone from going into the larger baths. The ryokan is called Fukuzumiro. Has pretty good reviews it seems.
You could try one of these places too where you can just onsen without staying:
https://en.japantravel.com/kanagawa/tenzan-onsen/6588 Says in the official site QA that tattoos are ok: http://tenzan.jp/qa/
https://tattoo-friendly.jp/property/yasakayu/