Travel Japan!

Staci_W

Member
Apr 19, 2013
2,139
793
Where the grass is greener
I went ahead and booked roundtrip flights to Tokyo for summer 2021. United will let you rebook with no fee for a year. Hopefully this thread can avoid becoming a COVID debate and stay focused on travel. I’m exhausted with thinking about covid. Trip planning is an escape. I won’t book any activities or accommodations until next year. I’m hopeful for a vaccine before our trip.

We have 2.5 weeks in Japan. I’m planning on getting train tickets so we can see the county. My son will be 16. We should NOT be there during Olympic.

What would you consider a must see/do while we are there? What cities would you go to? How long would you spend in each one?

My son enjoys animals in the wild. I’m hoping to see hot springs monkeys and Nara deer. What other animal sightings should we do?

I want to spend a night or two in a traditional Japanese hotel, ryokan. Can anyone recommend a specific one? I have tattoos. My son wouldn't be comfortable with nudity. Although I would he fine with nudity, I don't want my son hanging out with me surrounded by naked people.

Any other hotel recommendations? My budget is generally middle class, not luxury.

My son has social anxiety. Working in some down time activities helps him. Suggestions for quite, uncrowded things to mix in?
 

papertiger

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Please stay at a traditional guest house/ryokan in Kyoto. I think your son will love it too.

There are traditional spas around the Kyoto that are particularly good (can't think of the name where I went off the top of my head but it's very famous).

Stay there for a few days and try to go to visit the gardens that surround Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Eat green tea ice cream - delicious anywhere, but I just remember the best in Kyoto

If you're interested you could go to Kumano - this is considered a very spiritual place. It's also where they make the best calligraphy and make-up brushes in the World. Not sure if little boys like this sort of thing but you could introduce him to the art of calligraphy.

My one tip. I haven't been to Japan for 10 years. I have no idea if things have changed, but you may need to learn basic Japanese verbally to order food if, like me, you can't read Japanese as ordering from menus is hard, even with pictures. If you can say the names of dishes it's so much easier.

I wish I could come with you.
 
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Staci_W

Member
Apr 19, 2013
2,139
793
Where the grass is greener
Please stay at a traditional guest house/ryokan in Kyoto. I think your son will love it too.

There are traditional spas around the Kyoto that are particularly good (can't think of the name where I went off the top of my head but it's very famous).

Stay there for a few days and try to go to visit the gardens that surround Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Eat green tea ice cream - delicious anywhere, but I just remember the best in Kyoto

If you're interested you could go to Kumano - this is considered a very spiritual place. It's also where they make the best calligraphy and make-up brushes in the World. Not sure if little boys like this sort of thing but you could introduce him to the art of calligraphy.

My one tip. I haven't been to Japan for 10 years. I have no idea if things have changed, but you may need to learn basic Japanese verbally to order food if, like me, you can't read Japanese as ordering from menus is hard, even with pictures. If you can say the names of dishes it's so much easier.

I wish I could come with you.
I had planned on trying to purchase some new makeup brushes while we are there! I've said to my son on other trips, "while I plan most of the stuff with your enjoyment in mind, there will always be a couple things that aren't your favorite." Shopping for make-up brushes falls under that. He's old enough to be respectful and patient.

I hate tea!

I know zero Japanese. I've got plenty of time to get some basics. I always try to learn how to ask where the toilet is.
 
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Staci_W

Member
Apr 19, 2013
2,139
793
Where the grass is greener
Please stay at a traditional guest house/ryokan in Kyoto. I think your son will love it too.

There are traditional spas around the Kyoto that are particularly good (can't think of the name where I went off the top of my head but it's very famous).

Stay there for a few days and try to go to visit the gardens that surround Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Eat green tea ice cream - delicious anywhere, but I just remember the best in Kyoto

If you're interested you could go to Kumano - this is considered a very spiritual place. It's also where they make the best calligraphy and make-up brushes in the World. Not sure if little boys like this sort of thing but you could introduce him to the art of calligraphy.

My one tip. I haven't been to Japan for 10 years. I have no idea if things have changed, but you may need to learn basic Japanese verbally to order food if, like me, you can't read Japanese as ordering from menus is hard, even with pictures. If you can say the names of dishes it's so much easier.

I wish I could come with you.
I had planned on trying to purchase some new makeup brushes while we are there! I've said to my son on other trips, "while I plan most of the stuff with your enjoyment in mind, there will always be a couple things that aren't your favorite." Shopping for make-up brushes falls under that. He's old enough to be respectful and patient.

I hate tea!
 
T

the_black_tie_diyer

To get you in the mood and gather some basic ideas I'd recommend watching "Prime Japan" -> https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7329322/

If you're an Amazon prime subscriber, it should be available to you.

It's the most beautifully/artistically filmed documentary on Japanese traditions I have ever seen - and the 4k resolutions makes for a spectacular experience.

But be warned, you want it all afterwards. ;)

You would have to decided for yourself if it's suitable for your son, but I really don't remember any scenes that were odd/off.

Kind regards,
Oliver
 
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Staci_W

Member
Apr 19, 2013
2,139
793
Where the grass is greener
To get you in the mood and gather some basic ideas I'd recommend watching "Prime Japan" -> https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7329322/

If you're an Amazon prime subscriber, it should be available to you.

It's the most beautifully/artistically filmed documentary on Japanese traditions I have ever seen - and the 4k resolutions makes for a spectacular experience.

But be warned, you want it all afterwards. ;)

You would have to decided for yourself if it's suitable for your son, but I really don't remember any scenes that were odd/off.

Kind regards,
Oliver
That looks interesting! Thank you
 
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Chanbal

Member
Aug 18, 2012
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World
I love Japan. Tokyo and Kyoto are beautiful cities. I would suggest visiting Kamakura near Tokyo. For less crowded places, I would suggest a trip to Miyajima. The food is great, the temples are beautiful...
 
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Staci_W

Member
Apr 19, 2013
2,139
793
Where the grass is greener
To get you in the mood and gather some basic ideas I'd recommend watching "Prime Japan" -> https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7329322/

If you're an Amazon prime subscriber, it should be available to you.

It's the most beautifully/artistically filmed documentary on Japanese traditions I have ever seen - and the 4k resolutions makes for a spectacular experience.

But be warned, you want it all afterwards. ;)

You would have to decided for yourself if it's suitable for your son, but I really don't remember any scenes that were odd/off.

Kind regards,
Oliver
I watched the episodes on sushi and ryokan. Very informative. I really hope my trip doesn’t get cancelled
 
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Staci_W

Member
Apr 19, 2013
2,139
793
Where the grass is greener
I love Japan. Tokyo and Kyoto are beautiful cities. I would suggest visiting Kamakura near Tokyo. For less crowded places, I would suggest a trip to Miyajima. The food is great, the temples are beautiful...
I’ve mapped out a plan:
Tokyo
Gero
Osaka with day trips to Nara and Himji
Hiroshima with day trip to Miyajima (like you suggest)
Mount Koya
Tokyo
Home

Gero and Mount Koya should serve as some nice down time.

My biggest concern will be navigating the trains. Based on what I’m seeing, my itinerary should be doable with the JR pass. When it’s closer to time, I’ll investigate better.
 

Chanbal

Member
Aug 18, 2012
8,129
31,689
World
I’ve mapped out a plan:
Tokyo
Gero
Osaka with day trips to Nara and Himji
Hiroshima with day trip to Miyajima (like you suggest)
Mount Koya
Tokyo
Home

Gero and Mount Koya should serve as some nice down time.

My biggest concern will be navigating the trains. Based on what I’m seeing, my itinerary should be doable with the JR pass. When it’s closer to time, I’ll investigate better.
Your plan looks good and no worries about navigating the trains, it is relatively easy. The Shinkansen is very convenient and always on time. You made me wish to book a trip to Japan, maybe I will.
 
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bklner2014

Member
Feb 5, 2014
537
546
I forgot Kyoto

My plan is:
Tokyo
Gero
Osaka
Hiroshima
Kyoto
Mount Koya
Tokyo
Home
I would suggest staggering Osaka and Kyoto together as they are close by. Hiroshima is much more out of the way in proximity compared to the two.
 

mellecyn

O.G.
Feb 28, 2006
7,150
2,111
It might be hot then, check the weather.
Also, I wouldn´t pack too many destinations to see in that time, you want to enjoy each place, especially if your son has anxiety.
I stayed in a Ryokan in Kyoto. I think I found it on booking.com
Kyoto is very peaceful, some temples are crowded but some are more quiet...I love the japanese gardens.
You can get around with speaking (basic) english. People are so respectful and polite and rules oriented that even crowds didn´t feel stressful to me.
I only did Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka. But thats because it was my first time solo traveling, I wanted to soak in the lifestyle of Tokyo and went to Sanrio Puroland (I´m a Hello Kitty lover!)...also pet cafés, the Robot restaurant which puts on a crazy show of japanese 80s kitsch, went to Studio Ghibli museum (if you like animé) I could be fully geeking out on toys and kawaii things and no one blinks an eye there lol.
Book your rail pass before going.
I loved it so much that I want to go back...But South Korea caught my eye haha
 
Last edited:

opensesame

OpenSesame
Feb 20, 2012
198
332
USA
I went ahead and booked roundtrip flights to Tokyo for summer 2021. United will let you rebook with no fee for a year. Hopefully this thread can avoid becoming a COVID debate and stay focused on travel. I’m exhausted with thinking about covid. Trip planning is an escape. I won’t book any activities or accommodations until next year. I’m hopeful for a vaccine before our trip.

We have 2.5 weeks in Japan. I’m planning on getting train tickets so we can see the county. My son will be 16. We should NOT be there during Olympic.

What would you consider a must see/do while we are there? What cities would you go to? How long would you spend in each one?

My son enjoys animals in the wild. I’m hoping to see hot springs monkeys and Nara deer. What other animal sightings should we do?

I want to spend a night or two in a traditional Japanese hotel, ryokan. Can anyone recommend a specific one? I have tattoos. My son wouldn't be comfortable with nudity. Although I would he fine with nudity, I don't want my son hanging out with me surrounded by naked people.

Any other hotel recommendations? My budget is generally middle class, not luxury.

My son has social anxiety. Working in some down time activities helps him. Suggestions for quite, uncrowded things to mix in?
I grew up in Japan and I have say please be careful with wild monkeys! I used to holiday as a child in Kamakura. A medium sized monkey hit and broke the side mirror of the car when he realized I had no more treats for him. A guide with electric base ball bat type weapon came to help and we weren’t injured. Those monkeys are super strong! If I were outside of my car, it could have ripped my face off.

If you stay in Japanese ryokan, I recommend getting ones with private hot spring, so your family can enjoy it in peace. They are generally pricy but they usually come with complementary dinner and breakfast (the fancy type) for 2.

You will have so much fun! I suggest getting wifi package when you are there. Japan is pretty friendly to tourists.