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Help with holiday to Japan please!

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KittyKateKittyKate Forumite
1.6K posts
Hi all,

Me and the OH have been given a bonus at work and it's my dream to go to Japan and has been for about 6 years (always been too skint before!).

Obviously we want to get as much for our money as we can, but sadly constraints of work mean we can only take 10 days off (would like to go in August or September 07).

Can anyone suggest a good place to start looking? I'm lost!


  • rich_45rich_45 Forumite
    113 posts

    I'm going to Japan at the end of February for 3 months, so I've been doing a bit of research. Your best bet is to buy a Lonely Planet guidebook and have a browse through it and see what tickles your fancy...with 10 days I suppose you'd normally do Tokyo-Kyoto with possible sidetrips to places like Osaka and Nara.

    Might see you there! You might also want to check on the weather when deciding when you want to go...the rainy season is in June and apparently it can get very hot and humid in July and August.

    No Unapproved or Personal links in signatures please - FT3
  • Hi, we are hoping to go this spring. I have been advised to avoid summer as it is very humid. I also read that public transport infrastructure is very good so i expect you could see a few places in 10 days.
    we have love enough to light the streets.
  • KittyKateKittyKate Forumite
    1.6K posts
    Thanks! I am hoping for Tokyo and wherever daytrips we can make. Didn't know it got so humid in summer - as I'm going to Tenerife in May might push back the Japan visit until October/November.

    Anyone got any good ideas on where to get prices? If I google there is so much choice I get confused!
  • joggybjoggyb Forumite
    88 posts
    Me and OH had a two-week holiday in Japan in the middle of October this year.

    The temperatures were really pleasant - mid 20s - and we didn't find it humid.

    Agree with rich_45, the lonely planet guidebook is a really great starting point. Have a sift through there and decide where you want to concentrate on.

    We 'did' Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima - and loved them all. We got a Japan Rail Pass, which you MUST buy in the UK before you go, otherwise you won't get the discount. With that, you can travel around Japan on the 'normal' bullet trains (they've just introduced a new type which is even faster!), so you can get a lot done if that's what you want to do.

    Food and drink is much cheaper than here (esp. London). A can of drink is about 50/60p, a good sushi meal is about £7, and likewise tempura. We really struggled to spend £15-20 in total for us both on evening meals - and that's including beer and sake! Coffee and croissants again are dead cheap - between you, you probably wouldn't spend more than £3.

    The tube/metro in Tokyo is also really cheap, and amazingly clean and efficient. Other than that, we walked - so can't advise about buses, but I'm sure they're the same.

    You will have an absolutely great time, whatever you decide to do there. Everyone's really helpful and friendly - if you don't speak Japanese (we don't), just lots of smiles and pointing to what you want will get you a long way!

    Enjoy!! :j
  • rich_45rich_45 Forumite
    113 posts
    KittyKate wrote:
    Thanks! I am hoping for Tokyo and wherever daytrips we can make. Didn't know it got so humid in summer - as I'm going to Tenerife in May might push back the Japan visit until October/November.

    Anyone got any good ideas on where to get prices? If I google there is so much choice I get confused!
    re: prices...if you wait for a BA sale then you'll get a return ticket for about £430 each with direct flights.

    I booked my flights a few weeks ago on the final day of a BA sale and am going Manchester-Tokyo and Beijing-London for £440 in total...if I'd have booked the next day (post-sale) it would have been £750!
    No Unapproved or Personal links in signatures please - FT3
  • Hi,
    the metro system in Tokyo is very good, you can buy a day pass for ulimited travel.
    Be careful, because the underground stations are enormous and when you get out, especially in some areas, the landscape looks pretty much the same, so it's easy to get lost. But there's a trick, luckily the exits are marked, like A1, B5 etc., so when you get down from your hotel first thing mark the number of the exit you came in, it will save you a lot of trouble when you come back in the evening.
    Another strange thing is that the underground system is run by 2 different companies, so you may need to buy 2 different tickets, but if you buy a day pass which is slightly more expensive, you can travel on both companies.

    All big department stores have a food and delicatessen department in the basement. If you go there around lunchtime you can almost eat for free, because many stands offer free samples of food.
    Enjoy it.
  • joggybjoggyb Forumite
    88 posts
    nikibella's right. Some aspects of the metro might seem daunting at first - but you will be fine if you just use your eyes and common sense! we managed not to get lost the whole time we were in Tokyo (6 days).

    as for the 2 different companies running the metro - don't be alarmed. In the 6 days we travelled around Tokyo, we went all over the place, and only once did we need to get on a line run by the 'other' company. And it wasn't a problem - the ticket guy on the barriers very helpfully told us why our day pass wouldn't work, and showed us how and where to get a ticket for the 'other' line. They're very tolerant of non-Japanese speaking tourists! I think some of them really like the chance to practise their English, too, so it's a win-win! :j

    nikibella's spot on about the dept stores' food sections, too - they're awesome! :dance:
  • Bokken_2Bokken_2 Forumite
    657 posts
    To my discredit I have not managed to get to Japan yet although I can speak and read (Kana ,Kanji and Romanji) Japanese.
    Get yourself a small Japanese phrase book(if it is small you will take it everywhere with you)just incase of emergencies all you have to do is point to the correct phrase to be understood.
    I was going to mention the rail passes buy them here before you go.
    Also have a look at the Japanese embassey web page for extra help and tips.
    Good luck and have a wonderful time.
  • Have a look on the threads here.

    In two weeks, I went to:
    Mount Fuji

    Use the rail planners and buses times to get a general idea. The services are all really regular and relaible.

    Tokoyo's very dissappointing and you'd be better off not spending more than a couple of days there. Instead, go to Osaka and take day trips. Would reccommend Kyoto station as my personaol favourite building of the trip.

    The language was not too much of a prob, food wise, as they have a tradition in all but the poshest places of having pics, or wax models of their dishes, so if you get stuck, you just point.

    They speak a lot less English than you would expect & are very insular-lots of staring etc and touching of hair.

    I thought I was going to experience a meek/mild stereotype come to life, but it was not like that... shoving and pushing on the tubes by grannies:(They have cities, that are all glass & steel on the centre & then prefab tower blocks... so you have cities, country with rice paddies & then a major city - there doesn't seem to be the burbs smoothing the gap away.

    I ate everything & loved it all - the tubes & transports systems were great & I'm in love with the bullet trains - I want to import the same tube & train system here

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  • Audley Travel has lots of info about Japan with examples of itineraries. Even if you aren't going to book with them it's worth having a look at the site.
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