SPANTAX From Belgium, joined Nov 2004, 315 posts, RR: 1 Posted (6 years 5 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2215 times:
Dear all, As the title says, it's my first visit to Japan. What to expect there? Where to go? What to do? Personally I've read a little about the Kyoto gardens and we (my wife, my son, myself) have decided to stay there for 3-4 nights. Later maybe we can travel to the Tokyo area. We'll be flying Paris-Nagoya and will stay in Japan for 9 days. And a favour: is somebody out there who could translate a short, very important, sentence for me into Japanese? This one "The child is allergic to milk and dairy products. Are you sure there is not milk, butter, cheese, etc. in this meal?" Thank you very much.
AOMlover From France, joined Jul 2001, 1299 posts, RR: 12 Reply 1, posted (6 years 5 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2187 times:
Hi Spantax !
Oh my god...you're going to Japan ! LUCKY YOU !
I'm never tired of speaking about Japan. I've spent 10 weeks there last October to December. I was studying in Nagoya but I took the time to visit part of the country, and during the two last week a friend and I took a big trip around Honshu and Hokkaido.
OK so you're there for 9 days, arriving in Nagoya. Well I was studying in Nagoya as I've just written. If you're there just for 9 days, don't waste your time in Nagoya. Actually Nagoya is a very nice, clean and modern cities, but there are tons of more "special" places to see in Japan.
Well I guess the first thing for you to do is to buy a Japan Rail Pass. Trust me, transportation can be VERY costly in Japan, and the JR Pass is one of the few true bargain you can enjoy when you're visiting this wonderful country. In fact, it's such a bargain that Japanese people can't even buy it ! It's only for tourists who stay less than 90 days on the territory.
You have to buy it in advance, once you're in Japan it is not possible to get a JR Pass. My friend and I took a 14-days pass and we amortized it in less than 5 days ! With it you can take every single train except Nozomi "super-express" Shinkansens, and night trains which do not offer seats coaches. Other Shinkansen services (Hikari and Kodama) and night trains with seats coaches (including the famous "Sunrise express") are accessible with the pass. In addition, you can use this pass for unlimited travel within Tokyo as long as you use the JR Lines...and there are tons of them in Tokyo !
For more informations: http://www.japanrailpass.net/
Please note that in Japan, trains are ALWAYS on time...If you want to build up your itinerary & schedules, check this website, it'll be a VERY useful tool for your trip: and click "english" in the upper left corner.
OK let's go on with the things not to miss...I guess you'd like to mix a bit of "Eternal Japan" with a slice of "Modern Japan". I don't know how many nights you'll spend in Japan, but if you're spending 8 nights there that's what I would do:
Day 1- Osaka
The morning you arrive in Nagoya after a 11h+ hour night flight, head directly to Osaka by Shinkansen. Osaka will be a good starting point if you want to see what a really big Japanese industrial city is about. Ugly and dull during the day, but sparkling and entertaining at night. You can have a rest at your hotel, visit the city a bit. It's huge, crowded, dazzling, noisy...
Osaka is divided into two parts: Kita (North) and Minami (South). Both parts have some interesting sights to offer.
In the north Kita: Don't miss Osaka castle (if you want to see a Japanese castle...once you've seen one you've seen them all ), climb to the top of the Umeda sky building to have a breathtaking sight all around the 2nd biggest Japanese city.
In the South Minami: spend the evening in the shopping district ! Don't miss the EBISU BRIDGE (amazing) and nearby DOTONBORI (that's one of Osaka's most famous spots, eat some takoyakis there!). Walk through the crowded arcades down to SHINSEKAI, the retro entertainment district.
Koyasan...one magical word for me. It's one of the most peaceful places I've ever been to. It's not far from Osaka, Koyasan means "Mount Koya", and that's a sacred mount, full of temples, shrines, monasteries. It has some fascinating history and a huge graveyard. As I saif it's quite close to Osaka, to go up there you have to take a train and then a very typical funicular, your kid will love it (and you too). You can leave to Koyasan in the evening. Once you're up there close to heaven, spend the afternoon walking around the place, there are many places to see. Don't forget to visit the graveyard, that's DEFINITELY something to see ! And the thing you don't want to miss: spend a night at a temple ! That's a truly unique experience. You'll sleep on futons, very welcoming monks will bring your vegetarian meals directly into your room. The visitor's office will help you to book a room in a temple.
Koyasan is so peaceful, that's what "Eternal Japan" is about for me ! A quiet place, that's what you'll need after your stay in Osaka
In the morning or early afternoon, take the train back to Osaka and then a Hikari shinkansen onto Hiroshima. Hiroshima is worth visiting for its history, and because it's close to Miyajima island, one of Japan's most beautiful places.
Spend some time walking around Hiroshima, the Peace Garden, see the A-bomb dome, and if you have time visit the Peace Memorial Museum. If it's closed, then visit it the following morning. This museum is definitely something to see, it can be shocking for your kid but that's also highly educational. In the evening, go get an OKONOMIYAKI at okonomimura ! Yummy !
You know, the floating Tori...yes, you know, you've seen this picture everywhere, the red gate in the water, everytime there's a documentary or a report about Japan there's this picture ! Well that's where it's located: in Miyajima. It's a very touristical place, but it's also really worth seeing. It's one of my best memories as a tourist in Japan, and it's only a short tramway ride from downtown Hiroshima ! In addition the ferry ride to the island is free if you've got a JR Pass. The view from the top of Mount Misen is breathtaking, but climbing up there has been one of the most exhausting things I've done in my whole life.
By the way, your kid will love the deers ("shika") which stroll all around the island ! There are monkeys as well in the mountain, but we didn't get to see them unfortunately.
Once you've spent a whole day there, go back to Hiroshima and take a Shinkansen directly to Kyôtô. You'll make your first steps into Kyôtô through one of the most impressive railway stations in the world !
If you have time, spend the evening in Gion, Kyôtô's most famous area.
After you wake up in Kyôtô, there's just so much to see...tons of gardens, palaces, temples, shrines...Spend the day visiting the most famous ones, walk around the traditional streets of Gion. In the evening, spot a geisha or a meiko if you're lucky...Most of them are very hard to catch, the ones you may come across in the street during the day are generally "fake" geishas who are here just to entertain tourists.
Do not miss Kiyomizu (it might become one of the new "7 wonders"), and of course Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion.
Here's my Kyôtô album, unfortunately I had no battery left so I couldn't take any pics of some very interesting sights (Kiyomizu for example).
Spend the morning in Nara, another former Japanese capital ! It's very close to Kyôtô. There are some very nice places to see including a giant Buddha. The city is full of gardens, deers, monuments, temples...
If you have time, go back to Kyoto in the afternoon, spend some time there, and take a shinkansen in the evening to go directly to Tokyo.
Spend a night in Tokyo.
Day 7 and 8- Tokyo
Tokyo...so big, so much to see...2 days is kinda short but it can be enough to see the most interesting places !
Things to do in the morning: Tsukiji fish market (very early in the morning !), Asakusa.
Things to do during the day: Tokyo Tower, Roppongi, Omotesandô, Harajuku Street, Imperial Palace gardens, Yasukuni, Akihabara
Things to do in the evening/by night: Shibuya, Ginza and if you have time, at sunset, Odaiba island (it offers a gorgeous view offer the bay, when the sun sets over Tokyo it's simply magical).
Other places of interest: Takayama, Nagano, Hakone (to see mount Fuji !)
You might want to spend more time in Kyoto or Tokyo...then why not skipping Osaka and going directly to Kyoto, then Koyasan, then Hiroshima, Miyajima and up to Tokyo ?
You have a lot of choices ! The best guide you'll find is surely the Lonely Planet !
I envy you
By the way, when are you planning to go there ? November/early December or April/may are undoubtfuly the best periods. I was there in Autumn, the momijis (Japanese maples) were splendid and the weather was kinda mild and sunny.
Spantax From Belgium, joined Nov 2004, 315 posts, RR: 1 Reply 2, posted (6 years 5 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2130 times:
Hi AOMlover, Thank you very very much. It is 9.00 in the morning here in Brussels and you have already made my day! What a long and interesting post !!!. You are not an A.netter, you are a whole walking encyclopedia (and what a wonderful tool Airliners.net is; somehow is magic). I can't look at all your photos right now but I'll come back this evening. Unfortunately we'll be there end of July not in Autumn but anyway I hope the weather is not a problem. Til this evening (and welcome to my Respected Members list)
Spantax From Belgium, joined Nov 2004, 315 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (6 years 5 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2063 times:
Hi again Hi AOMlover, I've studying carefully all your ideas. First, the Japan Rail Pass is almost done: on Monday I'm going to buy it here in Brussels. For the rest of the tour, I agree with your proposition for Hiroshima and (specially) Koyasan. Concerning Osaka, we don't know yet, maybe we skip it just to stay more time in Kyoto (I've seen so many photos of Kyoto and its gardens that I want to experience it quietly, taking all my time). And then, yes, 2 nights at Tokyo. And finally, well, a little bit improvisation. In any case, I am sure it will be great fun. Once we are back I'll send you a short message if you don't mind. Now I have to book hotels, etc. Thank you very much once again for your help.
AOMlover From France, joined Jul 2001, 1299 posts, RR: 12 Reply 5, posted (6 years 5 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2047 times:
If skipping Osaka could allow you to spend more time in Kyoto, then don't hesitate, go for it !
Even if Osaka is cool, you'll get a taste of a big Japanese city in both Kyoto (which can be as peaceful as crowded !) and -of course- in Tokyo !
Quoting Spantax (Reply 4): And finally, well, a little bit improvisation
That might be the most important Over planning is never a good thing.
Aaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 7891 posts, RR: 27 Reply 6, posted (6 years 5 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2030 times:
Spantax, if you do Kyoto, I recommend going to the major sites in early morning or late afternoon. The midday crowds can ruin it for you if you're not careful, especially around places like Kinkakuji. If you have a chance while there, I highly recommend a little out of the way temple, Sanjusan-gendo, as not many foreign tourists get to see it but it's a genuine cultural treasure of Japan.
(If the above sentence looks like a load of garbled nonsense you may need to change your encoding to Japanese by clicking on view in the task bar.)
And if you want to have a bash at saying it yourself then say the following...
"Watashi no musuko wa gyu-nyu ya nyuseihin no arerugi ga arimasu. koreniwa gyu-nyu ya bataa ya chiizu nado ga haiteimasuka?"
My son is allergic to milk and dairy products. Is there any milk, butter, cheese etc in this?
I changed your sentence very slightly as you can see.
You might also want to look up on Japanese pronunciation in order to make sure you can be understood. On the whole it should be ok but some of the words are not pronounced as they would be read in English.
OK - You're good to go!
And just to explain a little....
Watashi no - my
Musuko - son
gyuseihin - dairy products
arerugi - allergy (the Japanese comes from the English)
I hope you dont have any problems. Dont forget that if you need any other important sentences then dont hesitate to contact me!!
Bongo From Colombia, joined Oct 2003, 1861 posts, RR: 5 Reply 8, posted (6 years 5 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1987 times:
Quoting SPANTAX (Thread starter): And a favour: is somebody out there who could translate a short, very important, sentence for me into Japanese? This one "The child is allergic to milk and dairy products. Are you sure there is not milk, butter, cheese, etc. in this meal?"
Don´t worry Spantax, everybody speaks English in Japan, or at least in big cities, that really amazed me.
As for the rest enjoy one of the cleanest, nicest, friendly Countries in the world. I really love the food, the culture and I´m sure you won´t have problems there.
MDE: First airport in the Americas visited by the A380!
Ronglimeng From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 624 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (6 years 5 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1973 times:
I've been to Tokyo a few times and my knowledge of Japan is as thin as an eggshell, but I have to tell you how interesting it was to just observe the Japanese people. They seem more different to me than almost any other nationality. I could just people-watch in a hotel lobby all day long.
I was impressed by the way Japanese bell-boys could stand around hour after hour, hardly doing anything but maintaining their alertness and reacting quickly to anything that happened. In most other places, they'd be falling asleep on their feet.
Hotel workers in the corridors always stop what they are doing and bow to guests. I never got the sense they were being humble, just polite.
We could all learn a few lessons in politeness from the Japanese.
Spantax From Belgium, joined Nov 2004, 315 posts, RR: 1 Reply 10, posted (6 years 5 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1923 times:
Dear all, Thank you very much for your help, specially AOMlover and BritJap for the translation of that vital (literally) phrase (normally people don't realize that milk and dairy producst are everywhere: sausages, cooked ham, snacks..., even, believe it or not, ice lollys). I've printed it and everything is OK. I have also bought the Japan Rail Pass, which costs, for 2 adults and 1 child, 466 euro. The odd thing is that at Nagoya airport there is not train, it seems, so we have take a bus first. Best regards
AOMlover From France, joined Jul 2001, 1299 posts, RR: 12 Reply 11, posted (6 years 5 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1919 times:
Spantax, there is a train at Nagoya Airport, but you can't use it with your JR Pass as the Centrair Express is operated by a private railway company (Maitetsu). Anyway I think the train brings you directly to the Meitetsu station, which is nearby Nagoya's main station.
Timepilot From Switzerland, joined Sep 2005, 296 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (6 years 5 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1889 times:
Quoting AOMlover (Reply 1): OK so you're there for 9 days, arriving in Nagoya. Well I was studying in Nagoya as I've just written. If you're there just for 9 days, don't waste your time in Nagoya. Actually Nagoya is a very nice, clean and modern cities, but there are tons of more "special" places to see in Japan.
I agree. I live in Nagoya and there isn't really that much to see here.
The Meitetsu train goes from the airport directly to Nagoya station (the heart of the city.) It should be easy to find. From Nagoya station you can connect to anyplace in Japan.