Japan itinerary for Autumn 2019

Back to Forum

This topic contains 20 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Svejk 23 Jun 2018
at 13:11
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)

  • AnthonyDunn
    Participant

    As a first for Senior Management and myself, I was looking at a trip to Japan at some point Sept/Oct/Nov19 to coincide with a certain tournament taking place at this time combined with taking in some of Japan’s finest gardens. I’ve already been directed towards both the JAL domestic pass and the Japan Rail Pass (and their associated booking requirements) for getting around. But the question is, were this to be you, just where would you go and what would you do?

    Any thoughts, suggestions or advice anyone?


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I spent three weeks in Japan, mostly working, but was lucky enough to have two long weekends and a couple of midweek days off. I spent a week in Tokyo, which was enough although it’s fascinating, and I went to Kyoto, Nara, Osaka (a week) and Yokohama. I realise that is only a fraction of what the country has to offer. I was overwhelmed by the kindness of the people, the safety, efficiency, cleanliness, and general charm. Loved the food too.

    It’s not as expensive as people often say, as long as you don’t eat in fancy western restaurants and drink imported wine. I was surprised that relatively few people spoke English, but whoever you encounter, they go out of their way to be helpful and kind.

    We are thinking of going back for a holiday next year.

    From childhood I had been put off going to Japan as my father hated the Japanese, he was in Burma during the war, say no more. Suffice to say that those stereotypes no longer apply.


    GivingupBA
    Participant

    Been to Japan 8 or 9 times [can’t remember exactly]. I recommend as musts, in this order, [1] Kyoto. [2] Nikko (not far from Tokyo). [3] Tokyo (obviously). I also recommend [1] flying to Haneda rather than Narita if possible. [2] Doing everything you can to reduce rail fares, especially Shinkansen fares – v.v. expensive in my opinion if you book seats [which I’ve always done].

    I agree with the second poster that Japan can be less expensive [apart from the Shinkansen, as I said] than people might think – just choose where to eat with great care [and naturally read the menu before entering if possible].


    1nfrequent
    Participant

    I’d definitely recommend a day trip to Hiroshima if you have a mind to – the museum on the atomic bomb is fascinating and you can walk around ground zero. It left me very moved (although it’s also worth looking for what isn’t said in the museum).

    Kyoto was my favourite city – the geisha quarter is very pretty and you can see people in traditional dress going from place to place. Nijo castle is also a must-see if you are into your gardens and grounds – it’s a world heritage site and has a nightingale floor. My sister went to the bamboo forest trail, which she said was very picturesque in places (I wasn’t able to go that day but it’s on my list of things to do when I go back).

    In Tokyo I’d recommend a trip to the National Museum of Emerging Science and Technology – the robotics exhibition is fascinating and they have demonstrations for Asimo during the day (which was the highlight of my trip there). There are a number of gardens around the city as well and I’d recommend a trip to the sky tree tower, which gives you great views over the city.

    I went in late September so be aware that there can be sudden downpours so make sure you’ve got waterproofs!

    Very envious – you’ll have a marvellous time!

    1F


    maxgeorge
    Participant

    Japan Rail Passes. Indispensable and exceptional value.

    National or regional. Get the national one before you go, the regional ones anytime.

    jreast.co.jp.


    AnthonyDunn
    Participant

    Thanks everyone for your contributions.

    As the RWC (for travelling England supporters) potentially extends from Sapporo on Hokkaido to Oita in Kyushu before heading back to Tokyo, this potentially spans Japan from NE to SW – with plenty in between.

    The other issue will be whether or not I am able to get a 2-4-1 redemption or whether we end up on either AY or CX. I’m assuming that one has to be on the BA.com website at just after midnight on the departure date -355 in order to stand any chance or getting an eastbound redemption.


    maxgeorge
    Participant

    BA two-fer redemptions to NRT?

    Good luck with that!


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    I frequently watch channel 507 on Sky – NHK World HD – a channel dedicated to Japan. If I was to plan a trip to Japan, for the real Japan, outside of the big cities, I would love to go to some of the villages and smaller towns show-cased, where residents do not feel the need to lock their homes, where English is not widely spoken and where there is an opportunity to immerse yourself in local (non touristy) culture.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    I’ve long wanted to visit Japan and plan to do so early 2019 or perhaps, if I’m lucky, for the RWC2019.
    The above are good tips, thanks, and I’ll print them out.
    I’m a bit worried by the lack of English, my Japanese extends to about a dozen words learnt from my radio ham days as a young boy, so I may look for a guide to help me.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    I’ve long wanted to visit Japan and plan to do so early 2019 or perhaps, if I’m lucky, for the RWC2019.

    The above are good tips, thanks, and I’ll print them out.

    I’m a bit worried by the lack of English, my Japanese extends to about a dozen words learnt from my radio ham days as a young boy, so I may look for a guide to help me.

    We had two guides, when we visited Japan and they were worth their weight in gold.

    Central Tokyo is okay, as most metro stations have English names added to the pictograms, but when you get into the ‘burbs or beyond these translations disappear and it becomes a fiendish game of shape matching to your map!

    Also, once your guide establishes a rapport and sees you are genuinely interested, they are a very good source of insights into a culture which is different to ours. (I found it admirable in many ways and really liked the people I encountered).


    maxgeorge
    Participant

    I hesitate to correct Mr FDOS, but railway stations throughout Japan, from the delightful little samurai town of Obi in the far south of Kyushu to village halts on the sleepy Nemuro branch up in Hokkaido, invariably have English name boards.

    And the Japanese are so infinitely polite and helpful that they will do all they can to overcome the language barrier.

    Just take care to book accommodation well in advance everywhere, and remember NEVER to walk down the street eating, blow your nose in public, or use a cell phone on trains or buses.

    Nihon wa ichi-ban!


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    I hesitate to correct Mr FDOS, but railway stations throughout Japan, from the delightful little samurai town of Obi in the far south of Kyushu to village halts on the sleepy Nemuro branch up in Hokkaido, invariably have English name boards.

    And the Japanese are so infinitely polite and helpful that they will do all they can to overcome the language barrier.

    Just take care to book accommodation well in advance everywhere, and remember NEVER to walk down the street eating, blow your nose in public, or use a cell phone on trains or buses.

    Nihon wa ichi-ban!

    Max, I was referring only to the metro stations out of town, but if this has changed since I went last (2013) and now they also have English name boards, then that can only help people to navigate this very interesting city and is a good thing.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Interesting piece in this weekend’s FT magazine, P38
    My addresses – Tokyo by Nat Lee-Joe, restaurateur.


    rodders
    Participant

    Anthony
    We are also planning a RWC trip, and have convinced senior and junior management that my big birthday next year deserves the trip. I have managed to secure a couple of match tickets so far,(putting my faith in England to get at least to the Quarter Finals), & fingers crossed for the ballot next month for more seats. My colleagues in Tokyo advise that accommodation will be the biggest issue, (AB&B is banned)in light of the recent tourist boom in Japan. Have been a few times on business and love the place, so different, and fascinating and we never found language an issue. Now am trying to work out our overall itinerary, I think the JR passes or the JAL passes are good deals, and places I would recommend are Kyoto and Mt Fuji, we are also going to add in Hiroshima next year. As for flights, I played around with dates for later this year and Qatar came out on top, with CX being the most expensive, I think I would be very lucky to get the Avios 2for1 seats.
    Happy to share more details as our plans develop if interested.


    RHMAngel
    Participant

    Hello,

    Half Japanese, so a litte bias, also visiting both leisure (econ, or using miles for upgrades to PE) and fortunately for work (biz class, hurrah).

    Take the Japan RAIL Pass over flying – even from the train window (and book a window seat) you will see SO much more of Japan than from an aeroplane. Its FAST, its clean, the guards bow in and out of the doorways – food are bento boxes, normally local – none of your hot bacon and tomato rolls rubbish.

    Even with the dire exchange rate, Japan is much cheaper than London or big UK cities to eat out, if you stick to Japanese food, rather than western or imported alcohol drinks. Why go to Japan to eat anything other than trying Japanese food ? Heavens most of the restaurants have amazing plastic food displays exactly of the meals they offer, no language barrier, POINT at what takes your fancy. Sure without Japanese you’ll miss out on the all Japanese menus that have only handwriting, with no photos or plastic food. But even with zero Japanese once you’re out in the burbs, sign language, a polite smile and pointing at photos – you surely won’t starve. Japan is big on local specialities, be that sweets, cakes, rice-cakes (sembei) and ultimately hot food.

    As to sightseeing cities suggested above, romanised English everywhere, honestly. You’d have to visiting villages or hamlets to see no romanised English.

    If they suspect you’re a tourist or visiting businessman, Japanese are unfailing polite and want you to appreciate their country.

    ps, nearly everyone under the age 40 has learned some English, its compulsory. So there’s a big difference in little English spoken, and limited simple English being understood by many. Japanese spend several years having English lessons (sadly too much rote but its improving), but are just mostly too embarassed to speak, but trust me, many understand way more than they are prepared to speak. Don’t hold it against them, they are really that embarassed about how they might sound.

    If you have time, and can afford the shinkansen – ticket prices on a par with lousy British rail companies’ turn-up on the day travel, minus the attitude, delays and dirty carriages. Take the shinkansen, far north and west. Do try and go beyond Honshu the main island and you will in the land of wonder.

    Personally I loath Tokyo as its work work work for me with a lot of overworked Japanese, but even in that giant metropolis there are oasis of heaven and quiet moments, temples, gardens, parks and seriously cheap eats of exceptional quality. Enjoy

    ps, if you’re on Facebook, do follow “Visit Japan” endless ideas and photos to inspire you.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls