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Japan trip?

So i've had some poor travel luck, my Iceland trip was cancelled by a shady travel company, my Florida trip enjoyed the fingers of a hurricane, and this years trip to Greece was covid'd

If things calm down next year, I was thinking about a trip with just me and my son to Japan, maybe a 10-14 day.

It seems like there is so much to see and do I want to make sure I hit as much as I can. I have thought about tour groups as well as some free roaming.

Anyone have any insight.... lets hope this vacation does carry my curse. lol

Old 09-10-2020, 07:06 AM
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My only thought is that I'm jealous. I lived in Japan in the late 70s and again in the mid 80s as a kid. I love Japan and would love to go back.

I hope this works out for you both.

When I was there, the people were super friendly and helpful and crime was VERY low. As a teen, I spent a couple of days in Tokyo due to a school trips for Track and Cross Country. Our coach would take us to an area of Tokyo, let a bunch of HS kids 14-17 yo go and say "meet back here at XX o'clock." We had a smallish group, but never had any issues. We were stopped several times by Japanese that wanted to practice their English. If you make it to Tokyo, I'd try to time it to be in Harajaku on a weekend day. I believe the different areas of Tokyo are named after the train stations, Ginza (shopping district), Shinjuku (business district), Harajaku (shopping/food/young people), etc...

I would want to see Tokyo and Kyoto (more historic stuff than Tokyo, I believe), but then I'd also want to get away from big cities and see some smaller stuff. I'd check out some of the temples and castles. I think it would also be a good idea to see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The good thing is that the country is relatively small, so you should be able to see a wide range of stuff fairly easily.
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Old 09-10-2020, 07:24 AM
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I have spent a lot of time in Japan but mostly with the Japanese Navy in Atsugi and Yokohama so I won't be much help.

My son spent a summer in a northern, more rural Prefecture at a language school after his freshman year of college.

He loved it.

I can say that Tokyo is a very accessible city. The trains are great, the people willing to engage if you need help, etc. I hope some more Japan-savvy folks chime in!
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Old 09-10-2020, 07:25 AM
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I travel to Japan on occasion and was there this past December and then again in February. I watched the Diamond Princess-Covid plague ship story unfold while I was there.

I actually don't have much to add as my trips to Japan are always for business, but my experience is that Japan is truly a whole different world. I also travel to Europe quite a bit and that is "foreign" but you don't feel so out of place (i.e. they will think you are a local until you open your mouth). That doesn't happen in Japan.

My business is always in Tokai-mura (Ibaraki prefecture). About two hours north of Tokyo by bus. Public transport is very good, but it can be hard to figure out exactly what is going on, sometimes. I've stood nervously on many train platforms hoping I'm on the right one. You'll need cash. In fact, I would assume you need to pay in cash and I typically ask if a card is OK prior to making a purchase.

The Japanese are very polite and respectful. It is a strong part of their culture. One bit of advice is to brush up on these customs and be very respectful also. For instance, it is disrespectful to talk loudly (or really at all) on public transport. I've been on packed trains where it was silent other than the sounds of the train itself.
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Old 09-10-2020, 07:57 AM
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My wife and I are travel junkies. Japan is somewhere we have not been and is very high on the list. A buddy of mine took pictures of neon signs on a rainy night in Tokyo. Amazing.
Old 09-10-2020, 10:32 AM
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Wherever you go: Be clean and stay clean even though you will walk fast everywhere, wear dark muted clothing, don't talk loudly, or wave your hands, or stare, don't spit or litter obviously. Sticking chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice is bad. They are very sensitive to being polite in public and these will go a long way.

Know a little Japanese...
thank you "domo ari gato" // pardon me "su mi ma sen" // I apologize "gomen kudasai" // I am stupid foreigner" watashi wa baka gaijin" // I don't speak Japanese, sorry "nihongo o hanasimasen, gomen kudasai" // rice or meal in general "gohan" // where is "doko desu ka?" // carousel sushi "kuru kuru zushi" (frowned on by them as low class food but a unique experience).

Once obligated they will also go out of their way to do what they promised, so they don't pretend to be friendly easily. Some may not like foreigners. Most are just very shy and have to wear a poker face 24/7. Don't take anything personally. Usually someone younger will smile and know a little bit of English to want to practice with you.

They are always busy and you are a buffalo in their fish pond.

Don't go to strip clubs anywhere. These are always mafia/Yakusa owned and you will get charged for a $1,000 beer.

I spent half a year in Kyoto in late 1970s and traveled all over town alone. It is as safe as the very best US city. Only a few times in the wrong side-street neighborhood in Osaka and with a group of very old men walking by in Kyoto did I ever feel nervous there.
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Old 09-10-2020, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geronimo View Post
So i've had some poor travel luck, my Iceland trip was cancelled by a shady travel company, my Florida trip enjoyed the fingers of a hurricane, and this years trip to Greece was covid'd

If things calm down next year, I was thinking about a trip with just me and my son to Japan, maybe a 10-14 day.

It seems like there is so much to see and do I want to make sure I hit as much as I can. I have thought about tour groups as well as some free roaming.

Anyone have any insight.... lets hope this vacation does carry my curse. lol
I had everything paid for in Japan!! then Covid came and poked my vacation plans in the eye with a stick. I didn't even get refunds...(Orbitz sucks)

personally, I could do 10 days easy in just one neighborhood in Tokyo. no tour group..just a map and the willingness to ask for help. we stayed in Shinjuku last time for a week and we had one more week to go on this lastest trip..there is a lot to see and do.
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Old 09-10-2020, 11:15 AM
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I ran across this earlier today and thought it would be perfect for this thread. There were no robots in japan when I was there, but most of the rest of this is emblematic.
https://www.boredpanda.com/japan-interesting-facts/

And for another interesting tidbit, I thought this young couple's videos were very cool and reminded me of Japan. It's a girl from Texas that lived in Japan and married a Japanese guy.
https://www.youtube.com/user/TexaninTokyo







When you go, research festivals in/near the places that you'll be when you are there. Try to go to some festivals. They are a ton of fun and everyone is welcome to join in.
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Old 09-10-2020, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john70t View Post
Wherever you go: Be clean and stay clean even though you will walk fast everywhere, wear dark muted clothing, don't talk loudly, or wave your hands, or stare, don't spit or litter obviously. Sticking chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice is bad. They are very sensitive to being polite in public and these will go a long way.

Know a little Japanese...
thank you "domo ari gato" // pardon me "su mi ma sen" // I apologize "gomen kudasai" // I am stupid foreigner" watashi wa baka gaijin" // I don't speak Japanese, sorry "nihongo o hanasimasen, gomen kudasai" // rice or meal in general "gohan" // where is "doko desu ka?" // carousel sushi "kuru kuru zushi" (frowned on by them as low class food but a unique experience).

Once obligated they will also go out of their way to do what they promised, so they don't pretend to be friendly easily. Some may not like foreigners. Most are just very shy and have to wear a poker face 24/7. Don't take anything personally. Usually someone younger will smile and know a little bit of English to want to practice with you.

They are always busy and you are a buffalo in their fish pond.

Don't go to strip clubs anywhere. These are always mafia/Yakusa owned and you will get charged for a $1,000 beer.

I spent half a year in Kyoto in late 1970s and traveled all over town alone. It is as safe as the very best US city. Only a few times in the wrong side-street neighborhood in Osaka and with a group of very old men walking by in Kyoto did I ever feel nervous there.
Great post.

This is BAD.

https://livejapan.com/en/in-tokyo/in-pref-tokyo/in-tokyo_train_station/article-a0001284/
However, in Japanese culture, sticking chopsticks vertically into rice should only be done only during funeral rituals, and therefore, something to be avoided during regular mealtimes. Try to use chopsticks holders if available, but if there are none then place your chopsticks uncrossed on your bowl or plate.

1. Don’t Play with Your Chopsticks in Japan
2. Don’t Pass Food from One Set of Chopsticks to Another
3. Don’t Rub Your Chopsticks Together
4. Don’t Stick Your Chopsticks into Rice
5. Don’t Cross Your Chopsticks

Know a little Japanese...
thank you "domo ari gato" // pardon me "su mi ma sen" // I apologize "gomen kudasai" // I am stupid foreigner" watashi wa baka gaijin" // I don't speak Japanese, sorry "nihongo o hanasimasen, gomen kudasai" // rice or meal in general "gohan" // where is "doko desu ka?" // carousel sushi "kuru kuru zushi" (frowned on by them as low class food but a unique experience).
A note on pronunciation that you may or may not need. When Japanese is spelled with our alphabet, the vowels are pronounced like: a = "ah" like father, e = "eh", i = "ee" as in me or bee, o = owe or go, and finally u = oo like in blue.

You can't go wrong knowing a few of those.

Also, when I was there at least, English was a required course for most Japanese children for many years. Most of them may understand or speak a little English (but may be embarrassed to try) but if you can write the words down, they will probably recognize them.
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Last edited by masraum; 09-10-2020 at 01:25 PM..
Old 09-10-2020, 12:26 PM
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Japan is an amazing place, lived there for 5-1/2 years. Go up to Tokyo Tower if it's open, amazing views. Go to the JR East website and get a train map. Trains and the subway are the way to get around downtown Tokyo. If you're going to be around and about Kyoto and Nara are amazing too, the architecture is unbelievable. A 2-3 day trip from Tokyo on the Shinkansen and you could hit Kyoto, Nara is a little more remote. RWB is in Chiba near Narita too. I would get maps for the trains and the subway, do a search on the webs.
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Old 09-10-2020, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogriz91 View Post
Japan is an amazing place, lived there for 5-1/2 years. Go up to Tokyo Tower if it's open, amazing views. Go to the JR East website and get a train map. Trains and the subway are the way to get around downtown Tokyo. If you're going to be around and about Kyoto and Nara are amazing too, the architecture is unbelievable. A 2-3 day trip from Tokyo on the Shinkansen and you could hit Kyoto, Nara is a little more remote. RWB is in Chiba near Narita too. I would get maps for the trains and the subway, do a search on the webs.
is that the place with the most polite/awesome elevator staff on the planet?
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Old 09-10-2020, 02:39 PM
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I'd try to visit the Honda museum, the Accuphase museum (if such exist) and the hot springs monkeys
Old 09-10-2020, 03:03 PM
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I'd try to visit the Honda museum, the Accuphase museum (if such exist) and the hot springs monkeys
The hot springs monkeys are way, WAY up north in Hokkaido. Possible yes, but probably not super likely for someone hitting Japan for 10-14 days unless they have a reason to go that far north.
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Last edited by masraum; 09-10-2020 at 05:23 PM..
Old 09-10-2020, 05:18 PM
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You must study the master, Natsuki, before visiting Japan!

(He's probably the most famous guy on YouTube without his own YouTube channel. You can find him on Tokyo Creative, Abroad in Japan, and Sharmeleon, among others.)

Old 09-10-2020, 08:01 PM
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Japan is ok. I prefer Germany/Austria.
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Old 09-10-2020, 08:21 PM
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WPOZZZ Germany is on my list, behind Greece, Italy, Croatia, Egypt, Peru, Israel/Jordan. A future trip might be Morocco, France, Germany and a few in between. But I Think this trip with just my son and I Japan will be the one. He and I will also do Peru together.
Old 09-11-2020, 05:06 AM
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is that the place with the most polite/awesome elevator staff on the planet?
that rings a bell
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Old 09-11-2020, 05:31 AM
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I'd try to visit the Honda museum, the Accuphase museum (if such exist) and the hot springs monkeys
there are some hot springs monkeys near Nagano too. It would be a day trip from Tokyo.
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Old 09-11-2020, 05:32 AM
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Sounds like an amazing trip and a chance to build father and son memories that’ll last a lifetime. I’d love to do something like that with my son when all this crap goes away.
We did get to go to aspen for a few days earlier this year for the x games and some concerts. I personally wouldn’t care where I went as long as my son was there.
Good luck on your trip
Tony
Old 09-11-2020, 06:00 AM
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Japan is one of my favorite countries. The people are polite almost to a fault and everything is so clean and safe. Trains are easy to get around on once you figure them out. The language barrier was pretty huge for me but when in need of help, ask a young girl. It seemed weird for me at first because in the West we’re taught to give people their space especially women. Over there people relish the chance to practice their English and it’s very common to have young women and children chat you up. And don’t tip, at all.

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Old 09-11-2020, 06:04 AM
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