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Unread 24 Mar 19, 03:03 PM  
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#1
Miss_Shell
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Infant stages of booking Japan trip

Hi
We are currently considering a trip to Tokyo and need as much help as possible!
So far, we have *very* rough guide of what we want to do:

Fly into Tokyo and visit Disney for 5 nights > Kyoto 2 nights > Finish in Osaka for 2 nights and fly home.

So I have a bunch of questions:

- Best time of year to go?
-How easy/hard is it to travel to and from the above?
- Language barrier is scaring me a little, can anyone offer advice (other than trying to learn obviously!)
- Any obvious culture customs I need to know/be aware of? I don't want to accidentally offend the nation

I'm so there are SO many more but I can't think haha,

Thank you in advance
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Unread 25 Mar 19, 10:06 AM  
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AntonyJ
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Saw these on FB and thought might be useful


1. A good app on your phone to help with the language - I recommend Yomiwa.
2. Painkillers in Japan are rubbish, take your own but nothing containing codeine and dont take too many. Also check the regulations if you need to take any prescription meds with you, there are a lot of restrictions.
3. Likewise on deodorant and toothpaste, take your own. Toothpaste in Japan doesnt usually contain fluoride and comes in weird flavours like green tea 😖
4. If youre anything like me and quite tall with largeish feet, dont count on being able to buy much in terms of clothing or shoes which will fit.
5. If you cant use chopsticks you could consider taking some cheats chopsticks?
6. Predominantly cash based society and cash machines can be relatively few and far between (even in the large cities) and not in operation all day every day. It is a very safe country, so dont feel nervous about holding large amounts of cash at any one time, and arrange to have some with you when you go.
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Unread 25 Mar 19, 10:11 AM  
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AntonyJ
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My own take.

I picked May, after Golden Week public holidays, we that it would hopefully be warm, without the summer heat and humidity / rain - but it might be cool then- we will see.

A JR railpass should pay for itself if you did the trips via the bullet train, so have a look into that.

I cannot speak any Japanese (will try and learn a few things like HELLO / THANK YOU etc soon I promise!) but think with the signs on trains etc being in English, Google Translate and a lot of pointing and nodding - I hope to be fine.

Culture - there is a big thing in Japan - I do not know its proper name - that goes like this: It does not offend / upset me, but it might do others, so will not do it.

Things like - you do not see people walking around eating smelly food - they tend to stand outside the place they bought it at, so not to annoy people they might walk past.

They queue! Love them for this one as it is a big reason why never been to DLP yet <blush>

Deodorant - Japanese have different type of sweat and our Western bodies need more ... powerful deod - so bring from home!

Edited at 10:13 AM.
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Unread 25 Mar 19, 10:56 PM  
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klr15
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If you are planning on 2020 then remember the Olympics are there between July and August.

We are planning on a 2020 trip, we originally wanted the two weeks in May after goldenweek, but this wont work for us due to work reasons, so we are aiming to do the first two weeks in November instead.

I dont have much advice as I havent been, but it looks exciting, Ive bought a guide book to have a read.

We are planning on Tokyo, Tokyo Disney, Kyoto and Osaka, but still cant decide on how long for each!
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Unread 26 Mar 19, 10:59 PM  
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Caroian
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Is 9 nights the maximum you can do? Ideally I'd try to stretch it to at least two weeks if possible. It's a long way and flights are usually fairly pricey, so worth making the most of it!

I'd also say if 9 nights is all you can manage, then trim down your Disney time significantly. As it stands you have no time for Tokyo itself, and limited time elsewhere. Japan is a truly magnificent country and much as I love Disney and think that DisneySea is possibly the best Disney park of all - I can still get a Disney fix elsewhere whilst there is only one Japan! Disney is not far out of Tokyo, but not necessarily the best base for the rest of the city so three nights in more central Tokyo with two at Disney might be better. Three days is easily enough to cover both parks comprehensively (we were there during the Spring holidays - schools were off - and it was pretty busy, but we still covered everything.)

Travel in Japan is really straightforward if you take your time to get your bearings. Everything is well signposted in English and Japanese. Transport maps can look overwhelming due to the different types of service (Metro, JR etc) but if you take your time it is actually very logical. For travel between cities, the bullet train is the obvious choice. A JR pass usually works out good value if you plan to do a couple of bullet journeys, and it will also cover travel on suburban JR line services too which cover good portions of all the major cities.

The language barrier didn't present us with too many problems. If you don't look Japanese, there will be no expectation for you to speak more than a few words - we found that staff were usually getting the English menus out already as we walked in to restaurants! The universal language of point-and-smile also gets you a long way. Most restaurants have pictorial menus - or even better full scale plastic models of food outside - which makes choosing and pointing even easier. All automated machines we came across in major cities (ticket machines, automated machines outside ramen shops etc) had an English language mode, and signage everywhere is usually in English in addition to Japanese. At most tourist attractions there were English speakers, and other staff happily pointed us towards the English speakers if they did not speak English themselves.

The main cultural aspects are that the Japanese are efficient and polite! They aren't easily offended (especially by an obvious tourist who they will tend to assume may not know all aspects of Japanese culture). There is a lot of orderly queueing. It is not the done thing to eat or drink in the streets. If you need to eat on the move you would generally need to find a bench to sit down and do so, or make your way to a park or similar. Lack of eating on the streets definitely reduces litter as there is virtually none to be seen, but also virtually no litter bins, so be prepared to take rubbish home. Carrying a small hand towel (the size of a large washcloth - they are sold in gift shops everywhere there) is common as there are no paper towels or hand dryers in many public restrooms.

I absolutely loved our trip to Japan, and cannot wait to return!
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Unread 30 Mar 19, 06:41 AM  
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Claudette
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Originally Posted by Miss_Shell View Post
Hi
We are currently considering a trip to Tokyo and need as much help as possible!
So far, we have *very* rough guide of what we want to do:

Fly into Tokyo and visit Disney for 5 nights > Kyoto 2 nights > Finish in Osaka for 2 nights and fly home.

So I have a bunch of questions:

- Best time of year to go?
-How easy/hard is it to travel to and from the above?
- Language barrier is scaring me a little, can anyone offer advice (other than trying to learn obviously!)
- Any obvious culture customs I need to know/be aware of? I don't want to accidentally offend the nation

I'm so there are SO many more but I can't think haha,

Thank you in advance
I really think it would be a shame to go to Tokyo for only nine days and with this itinerary, to be brutally honest. Your travelling time will chip into Kyoto and Osaka leaving you with only a day and a half say in each, not nearly enough. And you have no time to see the wonderful city of Tokyo! At the very least I would cut that down to two nights in Disney and three in Tokyo, but it still feels like you wont have enough time to really experience the country.

To your questions.

Best time of year, we went in March and that was nice, I would do Soring or Autumn for a future trip.

Found travelling around the country by train very easy despite the language barriers. Didnt really find the language barriers too hard, except in authentic restaurants maybe, we learned to stick to places that either had an English translation or had pictures!

I cant think of any obvious customs, just be polite as you normally would.
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Unread 30 Mar 19, 11:19 PM  
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kk20
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learning japanese isn't too hard. I started in jan using lingodeer and spend 10 mins a day. im lucky enough to have a japanese coworker who says my accent is terrible, my speed is that of a person with learning difficulties but is able to be understood.

i take that as a win. plus i have 100 days to keep improving.
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Unread 23 Apr 19, 07:23 PM  
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mermaids1960
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Enjoying the post, its a place I would love to visit ( for Disney ) but really scared as wouldnt know where to start 😧
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