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Assistance with schematic Japan trip


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I am a long-time lurker on this board, and am hoping that you guys can give some overall insight and help narrow my direction on a “theoretical” trip to Japan that I am considering pulling the trigger on.

I ask here because this seems like a knowledgeable group on the Subject!

 

I would be leaving from NY. Have never been to Japan (or Asia). Do not speak Japanese.

Long story short. Between jobs, I have a rare unexpected opportunity of multiple weeks off. The month of June through the holiday.

 

Basically, I am starting from scratch this weekend. Kind of overwhelmed by where to begin. So decided to focus around, what I know most about. Amusement Parks.

 

I would be traveling solo. Looking to travel between 15 and 20 days in the second half of June bleeding into July.

 

I would like to be spending about 25% within parks at the rough itinerary I laid out below. I am not a spend all day, in the park, ride every coaster type of person. More just walk around 4-6 hours, take one lap on the big and interesting rides absorb the atmosphere a bit and move on. At this point, I am focus on overall logistics vs. strategy within the individual parks. (Ex, last week, I spent 4-hours in the evening at Kings Island. Minimal lines. One lap on Banshee, Vortex, Diamondback and Racer. The godamn Beast (the reason I went!) was closed. So was Mystic Timbers, which I hadn’t ridden. Anyway, I was in the door around 5, done before the park closed as 8. Just an example of where my interest/allocation lies.)

 

So that in mind, I am looking for general feedback on the below routing. If anything doesn’t make sense:

 

Day 1 Fly

Day 2-6 Tokyo

Tokyo time includes full day at Disney Sea and ½ day to Yomiurland {Bandit}

Day 7 Mt Fuji Hike

Day 8 Recovery and 2/3 Fujikyu Highland {Eejanaika, Fujiyama, DoDodonpa, Haunted Hospital)

Day 9-10 Nagoya (Toyota Factory Tour)

Day 11 Nagoya, 1/2 Nagashima Spa Land {Steel Dragon, Hakugei, Ultra Twister)

Day 12-13 Kyoto

Day 14-15 Hiroshima

Day 16 Tokyo

Day 17 Depart

 

I really like Detroit and the manufacturing industry so would pick Nagoya over Osaka (save the latter for 2025, maybe) Kyoto for the ancient history, Hiroshima for the WWII history. I would also be very interested in seeing Professional Baseball. Professional Wrestling (both WWE style and Sumo) at some point.

 

Parks: Barring the obvious improbability with rides and crowds are there are any big unique considerations that come into play when dealing with times and days to hit or not hit the above parks/rides? Listed rides represent what I would want to at least ride once, and the reason to route through that park.

 

Hotels: Ideally I would like to stay in the city centers of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Hiroshima. I would be looking for comfortable, clean, private (secure) accommodations. Doesn’t have to be luxurious, or spacious. These pod hotels, even if bathroom showers are shared? It is possible to get under a $100, or $75 a night?

 

Transportation: Renting a Car vs the duration. Vs. relying on Trains? Does one come in significantly cheaper then the other? Even considering the parking in overnight cities? Considering the routing I want to do, does one make more sense then the other. Convenience of having a lockable trunk, vs. checking bags between destinations. Difficulty driving vs. train transfers. Really cost though… is one significantly more expensive and difficult then the other?

 

I have a pretty good sense of direction and adventure. Again, I have no understanding of Japanese, so figure to be struggling through both options. Maybe less on the roads, I am a confident driver and enjoy driving.

 

If any of the above seems way off or naive. Please all ideas- feedback welcome. This is all seriously just schematic at this point. I am all over the place. This is the grandest scheme I have. But also considering 5-hike of Chillkoot Trail or 7-day bike ride of Great Allegheny Passage instead. (Neither including roller coasters)

 

At this juncture, Airfare looks about $2500. Ideally, I would like to keep the rest of the expenses under $5000. Possible and able achieve all the above, with sacrificing comfort/convenience?

 

Thank you! And have a nice holiday.

-K

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I'll leave most of the answers to others, especially Robb and Elissa who have instructed many people in visiting Japan.

 

However, the first thing you should do it look at flying on different weekdays. It might be $2,500 using heavy travel days like Friday, but i just searched 6/25 - 7/13 and saw a page of non-stop Air Canada flights between $1,100 - $1,400. Even if it means using different NYC airports (departure and arrival) it's worth saving $1,000.

 

Elissa or Robb will be able to elaborate more as far as language. It is not a big problem in the major cities or major tourist stops, certainly not an issue in Tokyo. Many adults under the age 40 in the major cities studied English in school. If you need t ask question in a random place the best approach is to ask someone in their 20's any ask if they speak English, some will say no because their English is not perfect, but once someone starts talking to you, compliment their English and they will able most like want to and be able to converse. I'm sure it will be tougher in Hiroshima outside of tourist attractions.

 

Generally the more cosmopolitan and younger the better their English.

 

I have never seen a cost comparison between driving versus train in Japan, but know gas is extremely expensive in Japan. But the Japanese rail system is relatively cheap, very easy to use, convenient and clean.

Edited by larrygator
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Based on where you wish to visit I would 100% just use the train. They are frequent, fast, and reasonably priced. Tokyo has a fantastic subway system. You will be stuck using buses in Nagoya.

 

Public transportation in Japan just works. Trains/buses/subway etc are clean, cheap, and on time. I do not see any way in which renting a car would save you time or money.

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What do you mean by:

 

Day 8 Recovery and 2/3 Fujikyu Highland {Eejanaika, Fujiyama, DoDodonpa, Haunted Hospital)

Day 11 Nagoya, 1/2 Nagashima Spa Land {Steel Dragon, Hakugei, Ultra Twister)

 

Also, the Haunted Hospital closed a couple of years ago.

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^Agreed 100%. Get yourself a rail pass and use the heck out of it!

 

Also, there's no way airfare is $2500 unless you're looking at premium economy or business class. From NYC I've paid as low as $700 roundtrip and a max of about $1200.

 

Your schedule looks fine, don't worry so much about the language, but do yourself a big favor and learn about 25 words/phrases and it will make all the difference.

 

Will you have internet access while out and about? Google maps and translate can help you a lot but you'll need to have coverage.

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Thanks for the intial feedback.

Yes, I realize I was only searching directs and one stops do cut the airfare in half!

 

Rob, what I mean is that I would budget and see myself spending only partial of that day at said park. 1) Assuming I could get easily get there from the city I was basing out of. 2) Assuming that would be enough time to pull at least a ride on the named coasters, not really caring if I got much more.

 

I'm still on the fence on whether to do this. If anyone has any suggestions on professional baseball and wrestling.

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Thanks for the intial feedback.

Yes, I realize I was only searching directs and one stops do cut the airfare in half!

 

Rob, what I mean is that I would budget and see myself spending only partial of that day at said park. 1) Assuming I could get easily get there from the city I was basing out of. 2) Assuming that would be enough time to pull at least a ride on the named coasters, not really caring if I got much more.

 

I'm still on the fence on whether to do this. If anyone has any suggestions on professional baseball and wrestling.

 

Since there are multiple teams in Tokyo/suburbs and the subway/train systems is great you should consider one of those teams. Yakult Swallows, Yomiuri Giants, Chiba Lotte Marines, Yokohama Bay Stars, Saitama Seibu Lions

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Yeah I would definately do train and bus for just about all the trip and get a Japan Rail Pass. It would certainly save you time and money getting to every location. Even though Fuji-Q-Highland only has several coasters and they did make their Zekkyo Priority Pass (Fast Pass) program a lot better, I don't know if I would plan to arrive at the park in the late morning or early afternoon and say you'll be able to get on everything you want to do. From what I'm seeing on their operation schedule, the park seems to only be open until 5pm during the week. I always recommend making sure you get to that park as early as possible so you can get there, get inside, grab those Zekkyo Passes, and be able to get all those coasters before lunch.

 

I recommend checking out Thunder Dolphin at Tokyo Dome City Attractions. Very fun coaster!

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Hotels: Ideally I would like to stay in the city centers of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Hiroshima. I would be looking for comfortable, clean, private (secure) accommodations. Doesn’t have to be luxurious, or spacious. These pod hotels, even if bathroom showers are shared? It is possible to get under a $100, or $75 a night?

Absolutely, those pod hotels are incredibly cheap. I stayed at the Grids Akihabara hotel, which charges around $25-30 a night. You don't have a ton of space, but you'll probably be out all day, so just having a bed and a shared bathroom should be fine. It's in Akihabara, only a 5 minute walk from the JR Akihabara station and all the cool stuff Akihabara has. Also, Grids is a big Pod Hotel chain in Japan and they have hotels in other cities that are similarly priced.

 

Aside from that, everything else I have to suggest, people have already mentioned.

1. Get the Rail Pass. Worth every yen, and the trains in Japan are so reliable.

2. As long as you learn the bare minimum amount of Japanese and try, you should be fine language-wise.

3. Definitely keep looking at airfare prices. I only paid $500 for a (non-direct) roundtrip flight from LAX to Narita. Granted, I'm not sure which city you're flying out of, so it may be more expensive. But I'm pretty sure not $2500 expensive.

4. I'd also try and swing by Tobu Zoo. Kawasemi (as well as all the Intamin Mega-Lites) is really good.

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Ok I booked it! Mid June til the holiday and have the schematic in place.

 

Now into the deep logistics.... I figured out lodging for Tokyo, Nagoya where I'll be staying in western style hotels. My wife is joining me for the very tail (Nagoya and baseball in Tokyo). But the first portion is going to be more budget oriented and I am traveling solo (Tokyo, Fuji, Kyoto, Hiroshima).

 

I haven't worked through Kyoto or the Fuji pieces. So any recommendations toward lodging in that specific would be helpful.

 

Kyoto: I am looking for a more traditional experience (Ryokan) well located in the city and again on the affordable side. 3 nights

 

Mt Fuji: I see a two night stay in the area and am thinking Kawaguchiko ?

Basically looking for an easy place to base and move back and forth from train, the hike from Yoshida, and get a few early morning hours (and the skip passes) for Fuji Q. Scheduled along the lines of:

Day A: early train from Tokyo, find hotel drop bags, Mt. Fuji hike, Night at hotel

Day B: Finish hike, recovery and relax (or rain date for hike) Ideally be cool to be somewhere with an Onsen, a hotel/resort that is nice enough to hang out

Day C: Fuji -Q half day at opening (leave bags at hotel? or Fuji Q locker?) Double back for bags, train to Kyoto.

^This is the most complicated logistical piece of the trip.

(I see a Mystay across from Fuji Q, it is coming in at $120 a night over the dates I need. Anything better in the area, or is there another area, I should consider for the price point or better $ to achieve all the above?)

 

DisneySea: If my options of a day are to go are a Tues, Wed, Thurs or Fri, mid June. Any considerations to take there? What is the cheapest way to get a one-day, one-park pass to Tokyo Disney Sea?

Thank you again

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If anyone has any suggestions on professional baseball and wrestling.

 

https://en.puwota.com

 

That website will tell you which wrestling shows are going on in every city in Japan.

 

I used the Loppi machines to see a few different shows. I watched this video and took screen shots of the steps. It was really simple and the machines are in so many different Lawson stores.

 

If you drink, these venues don't care about what you bring in. I filled up an entire drawstring bag full of beer and brought them inside the venues with me. A lot of other people do the same thing. Just don't leave the trash at your seat because everyone cleans up after themselves. Also watching wrestling over there is very different then here. People don't really stand and there aren't any obnoxious drunks like you would see here. People still clap and chant but it's still way different than anything here.

 

All the venues I went into have sections labeled as North, South, West and East so it helps to screen shot those symbols so you have an idea of what section your seats will be in. If you have trouble just ask someone and they will gladly help you find your seat.

 

https://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/

 

The trains are very easy to use to get around but after a long flight I didn't feel like trying to figure them out with my luggage so I used this bus service and it was perfect. You get to bring 2 checked bags and they will take you straight from the airport to your hotel if it's listed on there or you could always pick one near your hotel if it's not on there. I was extremely happy about using them.

 

I love driving and very rarely take public transportation because I hate it but I can't imagine driving in Japan over taking the trains. Their system is so perfect, clean and efficient that it just doesn't make sense to drive in my opinion. Plus they drive on the left with their steering wheels on their right and while I would like to try it, I'm sure it definitely takes awhile to get use to. We stayed in a few different hotels and had no problems checking our bags.

 

I found a lot of people, even in Tokyo didn't speak English so I did a lot of pointing at menus and another thing is if you see pictures outside just take a picture in your phone and point at that when you get in. I wish I had learned some more simple terms in Japanese just to make things easier but it didn't prevent us from doing anything and everyone was very nice and willing to help us out because we were polite and friendly back to them.

 

Google maps is a must. It helped out with the trains and walking directions. I bought a Japanese sim card with a data plan just for that, I think I spent $28 for 1.5 gbs that lasted the entire time.

 

Cash is king over there but pretty much everywhere in Tokyo that we went to took credit cards. My card doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee so I used my card for the majority of the trip but we still had enough cash on us just in case. We carried our passports on us at all times just in case and if you're purchasing certain store items you can get them tax free for purchases over, I think it was $50 by showing your passport.

 

We also used hisgo.com for a few tours, a sumo wrestling practice and a round trip bus ticket which included a ticket to Fuji Q and I have nothing but good things to say about both of them. I would absolutely use them again for other experiences in the future.

 

Also if you haven't already the official TPR Japan trip reports are very helpful to make you feel more confident in going in with a game plan and to make you feel like you aren't going in completely blind to the trip.

 

We absolutely loved Japan and we can't wait to go back. If you somehow have a miserable time when you go then you might as well never travel anywhere ever again lol

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