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Pumpkin Pie 29 May 19 07:15 PM

Just Back - thoughts on Japan
We got back from our Japan trip on Saturday night. We flew from Edinburgh to Tokyo via Heathrow with BA and were there from 11 May to 25 May.

We stayed 6 nights in Tokyo, 5N in Kyoto and another 2N in Tokyo at the end.

We flew premium economy (a first for us) and I must admit i donít want to go back to economy now! I actually ate the food which was a first for me as I normally never touch it and take food on with me. We were given a first class meal on the way back as they had run out of our choice. All flights were on time.

JR rail pass
We bought the two week pass and for us, it was well worth the money. We used it to travel around Tokyo on the Yamanote line every day we were there as well as several day trips.

We loved Tokyo and found it really easy to travel around. By day three I was confident enough to ditch my husband and travel to Nippori which has a street full of fabric stores and spent a few hours buying up everything I could. ;). My husband meanwhile was on the other side of Tokyo at golf and guitar shops - perfect!

The people we came across were lovely and the few times we asked for directions they went out of their way to help.

I had been worried before we went about language problems and had learnt a few words in the months prior to travelling. I must have done a good job though because when I was asking how much something was in Japanese for example they thought I could speak the language and replied of course in Japanese which I then had to say wakarimasen (I donít understand). :blush: they really appreciate when you try some words and I was praised quite a few times. Our waiter at the hotel would test me each morning lol.

All transport on trains and buses was in English as well as Japanese. The stations are well signed although we hardly used the Metro so canít speak for that.

Day Trips
While in Tokyo we took the Shinkansen to Hakone. This was a great day trip and the only disappointment was that although we were almost on the doorstep of Mt Fuji we didnít see it because of cloud cover.

We decided to only allocate one day at Disney and chose DisneySea. We had a great day there and it was not anywhere as busy as I thought it would be.

In Kyoto we went on day trips to Hiroshima, Nara and Himeji. I recommend all these trips and in fact we found the day trips the most enjoyable part of the holiday.

Because of the day trips we did not have a lot of time to spend in Kyoto itself but managed to fit in a few things including a market at a temple where I bought quite a few unusual things - and they were quite cheap! Kyoto station at night is fantastic.

We loved our holiday so much we are determined to go back. We want to see more of Japan - especially a trip to Nikko which we had planned to do on our second last day but because of lack of sleep and all the walking (around 25,000 - 30,000 steps most days) we were exhausted and decided it was one trip too many.

If you have any questions I will be happy to try and answer. I picked up some spare Disneysea maps - if anyone wants one send me a PM and Iíll post one.

Edit: I had read before going that all the JR stations (eki stamps) and tourist spots have unique stamps (the wooden kind you use with ink pad) so I bought a notepad from Paperchase. Itís a great souvenir to have. I have stamps from Hiroshima, Ueno Zoo, temples, Tokyo Govt building - you name it have it! Itís free and if you canít find the stamp someone will always help.

mermaids1960 30 May 19 09:55 AM

Thank you for this post, I am not going until next year but as its totally different experience for us I need to do a bit of research :)

martha 30 May 19 10:00 AM

Sounds amazing. Glad you had a good time.

We're going soon and are getting a 7 day pass so some of our travel round Tokyo won't be covered. Can you just pay cash for the local trains there?

amy56 30 May 19 10:07 AM

Thank you so much for posting - I really want to go to Japan next summer, but due to it being Olympic Year, sense is telling me to wait until 2021, but your post makes me want to go sooner!

Iíll PM you about a map if thatís ok? xx

Mrs_Taz 30 May 19 10:08 AM

Thank you for this, our trip is very close now and I must admit the language barrier was starting to worry me so it reassuring to read your experiences.

Can I ask the name of the temple with the market in Kyoto and I'm intrigued what the unusual things were you bought :grin:



Pumpkin Pie 30 May 19 10:16 AM


Originally Posted by martha (Post 13874322)
Sounds amazing. Glad you had a good time.

We're going soon and are getting a 7 day pass so some of our travel round Tokyo won't be covered. Can you just pay cash for the local trains there?

Yes you can use cash or if you get the Suica card you can pay with that. There are ticket machines and at the station our hotel was next to (Shinagawa) there was always someone at the machines to help tourists. There was also a route finder machine where you clicked the station you were leaving from and wanted to arrive at and it would give you a print out of times, platform etc. if you are not sure how to get somewhere.

I must admit though the rail pass made it really simple. We only used the metro once in Tokyo.

Moodyblue 30 May 19 10:25 AM

Hi, did you do Disney Sea from Tokyo? I am planning for Spring 2021 (to see the blossoms) but want to do Disney Sea. Just trying to work out if itís doable from Tokyo or if I should add on a couple of days at the park hotel. Thanks!

Laughing Minnie 30 May 19 10:37 AM

Thanks for posting this. We are going to Japan for 8 nights in December for a split stay for Kyoto and Tokyo. We canít decide where to stay in Kyoto, can I ask where you stayed? Thanks

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