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Japan Vacation - Help me plan!

PierreBear

Brilliant_Rock
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Joined
Mar 21, 2016
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1,260
Hi PS Friends,

Has anyone been to Japan and would love to share some pointers? Spending about 5 full days there. We are thinking about the following itinerary just on the high level and haven't even figured out the small details yet. Wasn't sure if it's worth it to spend one whole day to visit the snow monkeys or perhaps we should just see how much we are enjoying Kyoto/Tokyo to see if we want to continue doing it or just skip it.

Day 1 - Tokyo
Day 2 - Kyoto
Day 3 - Kyoto
Day 4 - Visit the snow monkeys http://www.snowjapan.com/the-snow-monkeys-of-jigokudani-nagano
Day 5 - Tokyo

Thanks in advance!
 

PintoBean

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Jul 27, 2011
Messages
6,382
I'm too much of a scaredy cat, but if I had a pair, I'd check out the red light district and see where the yakuza hang out lololol!

Last time I was in Japan was 16+ years ago, so I'm no help, but boy did I inhale a shit ton of fresh made udon and fried cutlets in egg omelet left and right. Oh, and thick toast with butter. Their milk tastes different, and I really liked how their version of lactaid tasted. So... I'm a boring tourist lolol.
 

LadyMCh

Shiny_Rock
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Joined
Jun 30, 2016
Messages
318
Hey! One of my friends just saw the monkeys in Nagano this past March, I was in Tokyo/Okinawa in January, my bro has travelled there a couple times this past year for work and tourism (and has 2 upcoming trips back), and my BIL/SIL/their kids just returned from a Tokyo trip.
Regarding the snow monkeys, my friend said that she thinks the trip is worth it and thought the forest was really beautiful, but she also said there is not much else up there. She said if you just wanted to see monkeys, there is a monkey park on top of a mountain in Kyoto where they will even let you feed the monkeys.
Tokyo- Shibuya Crossing & Hachiko Statue, Shinjuku at night (Golden Gai, Robot Bar, etc), Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo Tower, Ginza shopping district (Luxury everything! Mikimoto HQ!), Meiji Shrine, Imperial Palace, Roppongi Hills, Tsukiji fish market (if it's open), Mt. Fuji (outside of Tokyo), Michelin 1-star restaurant Nakajima has a ~15 USD lunch of sardine dishes that people line up around the block for (we went and I would definitely recommend it if you're not a picky eater)
Kyoto- Nijo Castle, Fushimi Inari Temple, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kiyomizu Temple, bro says, "Explore the area between Sanjo, Shijo, Nishi-Kiyacho, and the river", train station, bro also says to see as many temples as possible b/c "there's a bazillion"
I basically stuffed myself on legit miso (for breakfast!), gyoza, udon/soba/ramen, and had some weird animal parts yakitori (think Andrew Zimmer type stuff). Sushi was nowhere near as ubiquitous as I thought it would be. Oh, and if you can find beni-imo ice cream, try it! It's my favorite! I also like the green tea latte ice cream, too. Our favorite food was the hot & sour beef noodle soup we got at Manrikiya in Tokyo (b/w Roppongi and Tokyo Tower); man, I could really go for a bowl of that goodness right now! Their gyoza and spicy pork fried rice was pretty great, too.
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,037
I don't know anything about Japan but have a safe and very fun trip!
 

PierreBear

Brilliant_Rock
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Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Messages
1,260
LadyMCh|1474921370|4080984 said:
Hey! One of my friends just saw the monkeys in Nagano this past March, I was in Tokyo/Okinawa in January, my bro has travelled there a couple times this past year for work and tourism (and has 2 upcoming trips back), and my BIL/SIL/their kids just returned from a Tokyo trip.
Regarding the snow monkeys, my friend said that she thinks the trip is worth it and thought the forest was really beautiful, but she also said there is not much else up there. She said if you just wanted to see monkeys, there is a monkey park on top of a mountain in Kyoto where they will even let you feed the monkeys.
Tokyo- Shibuya Crossing & Hachiko Statue, Shinjuku at night (Golden Gai, Robot Bar, etc), Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo Tower, Ginza shopping district (Luxury everything! Mikimoto HQ!), Meiji Shrine, Imperial Palace, Roppongi Hills, Tsukiji fish market (if it's open), Mt. Fuji (outside of Tokyo), Michelin 1-star restaurant Nakajima has a ~15 USD lunch of sardine dishes that people line up around the block for (we went and I would definitely recommend it if you're not a picky eater)
Kyoto- Nijo Castle, Fushimi Inari Temple, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kiyomizu Temple, bro says, "Explore the area between Sanjo, Shijo, Nishi-Kiyacho, and the river", train station, bro also says to see as many temples as possible b/c "there's a bazillion"
I basically stuffed myself on legit miso (for breakfast!), gyoza, udon/soba/ramen, and had some weird animal parts yakitori (think Andrew Zimmer type stuff). Sushi was nowhere near as ubiquitous as I thought it would be. Oh, and if you can find beni-imo ice cream, try it! It's my favorite! I also like the green tea latte ice cream, too. Our favorite food was the hot & sour beef noodle soup we got at Manrikiya in Tokyo (b/w Roppongi and Tokyo Tower); man, I could really go for a bowl of that goodness right now! Their gyoza and spicy pork fried rice was pretty great, too.

Wow thank you so much for the wonderful tips. I appreciate the pointer on the snow monkeys. Not sure how much we really want to see them but it's nice to know there is an option in Kyoto as well. Perhaps that will be compromise so can maximize the vacation time and spend less time commuting. It sounds like ya'll have had some good memories on the trip. I plan on following your foot steps to eat my heart out but had the same assumption as you had that sushi was prevalent everywhere. I love trying new foods and flavors so I'll def check out some of the items you mentioned. Yum! Have a great day!
 

CareBear

Brilliant_Rock
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Joined
Jan 28, 2005
Messages
1,325
I've been to Japan a number of times and 5 days is not a lot of time to do both Tokyo and Kyoto and travel between the cities. Nagano is north west of Tokyo and not at all on the way from Kyoto back to Tokyo, so I'm not sure how you would fit that in on day 4 of your trip. It's like 5hrs from Kyoto to Nagano and 2.5hrs from Nagano back to Tokyo. Instead, I would do an extra day in Tokyo/Kyoto, or if you already have a JR pass that covers Shinkansen (bullet train) rides, do a day trip to Osaka from Kyoto. Osaka is 30mins on the Shinkansen from Kyoto.
 

autumngems

Brilliant_Rock
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Joined
Jul 24, 2003
Messages
1,449
Having lives in Japan for 5 years there are some things I would suggest you see/visit.

In Tokyo, not many stops from Hiro-o train station is a stop called Okachimachi (jewelry disctrict) all kinds of little shops and unque places, you can find shops selling jewelry and some that sell loose stones and pearls. Some shops are wholesale only but I found they were too shy to tell me to leave and would let me shop there anyway, lol. This place was a regular stop for me monthly. I loved it.

Yokohma is not far by train and they have a really vibrant and interesting area (China Town), good food and cool shops.

Rapponji is the party district if you are looking to go out and drink, etc.

Tokyo has a Johnny Rockets restaurant and a magnificent Mexcian restaurant just down street from Hiro-o station.

Check out this website: http://www.mustlovejapan.com/feature/shop_yokohama/
 
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