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Trip to Japan?

Discussion in 'Living Room' started by WestOz, 19th Jan, 2016.

  1. WestOz

    WestOz Well-Known Member

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    Hi All, rarely need to ask for help but a bit stuck with this one.

    I'll keep it short;
    You have a young teenage boy (14) who has a strong interest in traditional Japan, but also loves watching anime, wants to see the Tokyo shops etc (no interest in Disneyland etc).
    A couple of years back you said to him "one day I'll take you there", and ever since he hasn't let it go, often says "when are we going", "mum reckons it won't happen" (my ex) etc etc etc.

    So for a guy that likes quite relaxing holidays it looks like I'm off to the hussel and bussel of Japan, but I have no idea how to organise it, fly straight there or do a stop over and check something else out (perhaps cheaper flights), whilst Tokyo's prob the place for anime etc I'd like to get away from all the touristy crap and see the real Japan.

    My ideal would be to hire a car and drive from one end to the other (like driving the Nullarbor which I've done a few times) but apparently trains are the way to go.

    How would you organise an itinerary for yourself (or your hubby) and a 14yr old boy?

    Looking at WA school holidays, early April or late June, 2 weeks (maybe 3), 10k budget (which I'd rather put towards an IP)

    Thanks for any help

    Konichiwa ;)
     
  2. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    It'll be worth it and fantastic for both of you!
    Others know a lot more than me but not sure if I'd bother with stop overs. Too much to do in Japan. Apparently it's beautiful around Kobe and there are islands and beaches I'd want to spend time on. Then there's Mt Fuji and of course, Hokkaido in the north.
    You guys will have such a good time. I'm feeling inspired.
    Is it too old fashioned to read up from a travel book - they used to let me know the kind of places I would want to avoid at least.
    Edit: Okinawa is supposed to be good too.
     
    Last edited: 19th Jan, 2016
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  3. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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    Konichiwa! (Or Konbanwa at this time I'm posting)

    What kind anime he likes and what part of it he likes? I.e. if he likes anime figurines and merchandise, go visit Akihabara as well. Maybe try the maid cafe too :rolleyes:

    If he likes the actual culture potrayed in the anime, then depends on the anime. I'm a big fan of Japanese culture (and anime, they're not just for 14 years old) and like to see all the temples, the deer in Nara, the hot spring holiday, ryokan, etc. Ask him what he wants to see and I reckon he actually has some ideas
     
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  4. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    My kids live in Japan at the moment and love it. I suggest you get a JR rail pass and you can go anywhere in the country on the bullet train and the normal JR trains (don't think the subways are included). If you head to Osaka let me know. Osaka area is the place to be. Osaka is in the middle of Kobe, Nara and Kyoto. Kyoto and Nara is where you will see the most 'traditional' side. I think Kyoto was the capital until 1868 when it moved to Tokyo, so Tokyo is more modern.
     
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  5. ff3

    ff3 Member

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    First time I went was 10 days, very simple itinerary. Five days based in Osaka / Kyoto / Nara. Next five days in Tokyo (with a day trip to the base of Fuji). Enough time spent in each city without feeling like you're just passing through.
     
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  6. vtt

    vtt Well-Known Member

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    I just got back from Japan about a month ago. Agree with Terry's suggestion of a rail pass - much better than a car and a great way to see the country.

    Would also suggest that you try and stay a few nights in a traditional ryokan - this will give you both a traditional Japanese experience. If you can tie it in with a visit to the hot springs then even better!
     
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  7. Anthony416

    Anthony416 Active Member

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    Yes the JR pass is a good start for sure. One of your possible dates may be cherry blossom season also?
    There is a suburb in Tokyo ( Koganei?) where Studio Gibli is and there were lots of related shops around there from memory.
     
  8. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

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    Odaiba - GundamFront-Tokyo

    The Y-man
     
  9. LifesGood

    LifesGood Home Building & Development Consultant Business Member

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  10. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    Yes Cherry blossoms in April. Golden week holiday is around that time too which could mean difficulties with crowds and hotels - end of April, early May
     
  11. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    I'm so jealous. When I quit this job and this reno, I know where I'll be heading. Have wanted to go for decades. Was too expensive when I was young.
     
  12. hobo

    hobo Well-Known Member

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    Definitely look at the rail pass - it's awesome value. Don't bother with a hire car; you would have to drive, and that would leave him to have to navigate - not a combination that makes for a pleasant holiday for either of you. The trains are amazing and much more convenient. Buses are also pretty good.

    Tokyo:
    Go to Akihabara (the electronics market), Shinjuku & Harajuku. Tokyo Tower (during the day, although night is good too but you can identify places a lot easier in daytime).

    There's a circle line that (obviously!) does a loop through most of the main areas of Tokyo so you can get on and off as often as you like - I believe the rail pass gives you access to that as well.

    Lots more to do in Tokyo, obviously!

    Kyoto:
    Definitely go to Kyoto. The Shinkansen (bullet train) is great and easy. I wouldn't bother with booking Green Cars (the premium car) - the regular ones are fine, it's only sometimes that are full at the beginning so you might have to stand for a little while.

    As someone mentioned earlier, Kyoto is a very old-school Japanses city in many sections. It wasn't razed as much as some other cities in the war, so many older structures remain. As such, there are a heap of cultural attractions in Kyoto, but one that is an absolute in my mind is Kiyomizu-dera (a wooden temple on the side of a hill). There is a narrow road leading up to it which has a heap of more traditional (as well as touristy) items and foods for sale; it's a great lead-up.

    Hiroshima:
    Personally, I think everyone should visit the Hiroshima Peace Park (and specifically the museum) at some point in their lives. It's truly an amazing and sobering experience. The park has many different memorials scattered throughout it, and is a nice walk. You can see the iconic bombed-out observatory up close. The Museum is (IMHO) a definite must-visit. It's not visually gruesome, so it is still completely suitable for a 14yo, but it shows the human side / effects of the bomb very well.

    In the bay of Hiroshima is an island called Miyajima - it's the one with the large red wooden "gate" (Tori) out in the ocean, that you often see in promo pics. You can get a ferry across to the island and hire bikes and ride around for the day.


    The good thing about having the rail pass is that you can spontaneously decide to jump on a train and go to some random location, whenever you want. Our last day in Tokyo one trip, we randomly decided to go to Sendai and back... was a long journey but we still got to look around for a while. Even

    There's more, this is just a *really* quick brain dump. Let us know once you start to firm up plans!
     
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  13. WestOz

    WestOz Well-Known Member

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    That's a great detailed brain dump @hobo, thank you very much, and others as well for input.
    Firming up is what I'm having difficulties with, all previous OS holidays I've done have either been backpacking (no plans, jump on a plane, take it as it comes) or when older simple like Club Med, airport to resorts back to airport etc, nothing to plan but payment, suitcase, relax.

    Perhaps I'm overthinking it but for me this is a structured thing I have to plan out to detail so it all fits in etc, flights, accommodation/site seeing at different places/days etc, having to consider someone else rather than just going with the flow (hippy-style) easier to just go backpacking (is that an option with a 14yr old in Japan? give the boy some real life/non-lush experiences).

    I was reading an old whirlpool post where a guy said for the same cost Qantas to Japan he got American Air to LA with 3 to 30days stopover at Narita (Q to J, AA to LA)
    Whilst i wasn't thinking LA (more a neighbouring country), just thought it might be nice to experience something else while at it.

    His only with me every 2nd weekend so had me thinking then, knew what it looked like, not what its called, know his into/bought a few nice big swords when I took him to Supernova.
    Then confused with what @The Y-man posted I googled, Nah not that robot stuff, then googled "Studio Gibli" which @Anthony416 posted, That's the One! Struggled through a little bit of Totoro & Spirited with him on the lounge (not my sort of thing, bring back Wacky Racers I say :D)
    Reckon as a pubescent with a thing for Japanese girls he might like that maid cafe ALLOT...

    Yep I did that a few weeks ago when I was getting frustrated trying to work it all out (local agents haven't been there so don't trust-em) told him to plan the trip (hoping his mum would), where he wants to go etc, I'll book & pay for it, like me its over his head.
    Just text'd him, here's his reply;
    "Places - Harijuku, akiabara, ghibli museum, generally just around. I would like to see temples and fuji
    I'm into a lot of animes - Tokyo ghoul, sword art online, chuunibyou toradora and many more. Xx"


    I've just gotta work out how to plan it, put it into an itinerary, incl best value flights from Perth to ?

    Sounds good

    Yep I'd rather experience the country's traditional culture (outback) than the $ (yen) one created for tourists found anywhere.

    Yes that's March/April apparently, thinking it might be a Very busy time, I was kinda leaning towards June/July which is wet/windy season, won't be as many tourists which I'd prefer, but not sure if to iky for sight seeing etc.
     
  14. herenow

    herenow Well-Known Member

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    We've got a trip to Japan on the cards - thinking mid-late May. Past Golden week, but still good weather. Japan-guide.com (a great planning site) has this time as one of the best times to visit.
    Considering studio gibli but bear in mind tickets have to be bought well in advance (think three months) and sell out.
    Also starting to look into Airbnb, looks like a great way to get off the tourist track and soak up some of the 'real' Japan.
    Have fun planning!
     
  15. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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    Your son and I would get along really well:D

    Do you like Japanese food as well? Make sure to visit the Fish Market and try the full course Japanese food (Kaiseki).

    Kyoto has a lot of nice temples, it's also a lot less busy compared to Tokyo. Back then I got a local tour guide (English speaking) for a day, booked from Travel Indo China. It is great! It's different when you have someone explain the history of a palace compared to wondering around in the place reading. Maybe think of that option if you'd like someone to help you get around

    If visiting Osaka, just stay in Kyoto. They're 15 mins Shinkansen from each other and I find Kyoto hotel has better service
     
  16. Greyghost

    Greyghost Well-Known Member

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    Do your research on trip advisor.
    If money is tight:
    1. Goto a flight centre store
    2. Speak to someone who has done the trip that works there (invaluable inside knowledge)
    3. Get a quote for flights and accom
    4. Goto trip advisor and find out more detailed knowledge
    5. Book direct to avoid paying flight centre commissions

    - sometimes though they have special direct deals which you cannot access externally or dealing with the hotel one on one.

    We did as per above for our Bali trip last year.
    But we also did a 3 week Europe trip and with all the connecting flights and trains flight centre managed was excellent so we didn't mind paying. Only change we made was to exclude his accommodation of hotels and we sourced our own Airbnb's, which saved us plenty and were better quality and locations than most hotels..
    For anyone doing anywhere in Europe airbnb is ace!

    Best of luck with your trip.
     
  17. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

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    Agree with all of this!!
    Kyoto is one of my favourite cities.

    Japan is so easy. Transport is great. The people are polite.

    Tokyo has limitless activities: from memory, we also went to the fresh tuna markets (sushi was awesome), and checked out the cosplay kids. If you grab a travel guide, its all in there
     
  18. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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    On this airbnb note, best to get one with reviews. A family member booked one recently with amazing photos, BUT the outside of the apartment and the actual building is a dump and unsafe (broken stairs, hole on roof). AirBNB didn't help them as they only help if the actual apartment/ house is not as advertised.
     
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  19. geoffw

    geoffw Moderator Staff Member

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    Airbnb has (had?) professional photographers who photograph every place listed.

    Reviews are an extremely valuable part of Airbnb.
     
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  20. twobobsworth

    twobobsworth Well-Known Member

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    I'm just picturing the response from my kids if I said this to them.

    Given he is 14 why don't you get him to organise or plan part of it. I'm sure he would love to be involved. Just no back tracking once you say you're going!
     
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