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Kanto area, April 2019 - planning sandbox

Kanto area, April 2019 - planning sandbox

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Old Jan 8, 19, 9:59 am
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Kanto area, April 2019 - planning sandbox

Am going to begin working out our next trip here, in public.

The hope is that I might provide a few ideas or tips for anyone wanting to make a similar trip. Also, that I may receive clues and corrections and help avoiding any unforeseen pitfalls.

Iíll post as I work on them.

Trip duration: 2 weeks (8th April until 22nd)

Firstly, who is travelling:
1 adult and 1 child with visitor visas
1 adult with Japanese passport with overseas resident permit
None of us read Japanese
1 Japanese senior citizen resident in Japan
Does read Japanese but not involved in initial research (too awkward)

So that strikes off almost all of the foreigner travel discounts (which are the easiest to find in English).
We want to stay in the Kanto region (Tokyo area). We may venture North TBD
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Old Jan 8, 19, 10:26 am
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Introductions over, I will begin.

Wisteria!

Day trip to Ashikaga (if you know Spanish you will never forget the name of this park)

https://www.ashikaga.co.jp/fujinohana_special2019/en/

The wisteria are illuminated for a short period, and that’s when we want to go.
Which means that for our dates, the only suitable time to go is on the first day of illuminations - 20th April

Hyperdia yielded a few options for getting there. Cheapest was about 1,000yen each way - journey time about 100 mins, or 70/80 minutes using the Tobu Ryomo line and 2,000yen each way.
Looked at the Tobu railways website to see if there was a suitable pass. Looks like there is:
Ticket Deals | TOBU JAPAN TRIP
Furatto Ryomo Tobu Free Pass
This is one of those examples of a pass that is a little hard to understand and not promoted well to foreign travellers.
I have a feeling that there are errors in the translation but what this Tobu Ryomo Pass offers is a round trip ticket between Asakusa and Kawamata and then unlimited rail travel between Morinjimae and Ota on the Isesaki line as well as bus travel and other local options
http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/en/pdf/routeMap.pdf

At 2,400yen seems like a great deal, particularly if you get to use the direct limited express options.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 10:42 am
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Bonus info!

Whilst checking out the Tobu Ryomo Pass, I came across a Pass I’d never seen before

The Tobu Greater Tokyo Pass - covers 3 consecutive days of travel
http://www.tobujapantrip.com/en/info...gtp.pdf?201807

It isn’t as useful as the JR Tokyo Wide Pass, but it does have its advantages.
Firstly, you don’t have to be an overseas visitor. NOT TRUE - YOU DO https://www.kotsu.metro.tokyo.jp/eng...0301_7807.html
Secondly it’s 7,200yen (vs 10,000yen).
Worth looking at if you already have plans to go to Nikko and are interested in adding on two more days to make three days of excursions (perhaps Ashikaga and Enoshima).

A shame it couldn’t have been for 3 non consecutive days. Hard to see who this will appeal to when the JR pass covers so many more (and so many more much higher value) destinations, just those with plans for Nikko I’d guess.

Last edited by LapLap; Jan 8, 19 at 1:29 pm
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Old Jan 8, 19, 1:53 pm
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I'm not sure I will have much, if anything, to contribute but this certainly looks like fun! One question though, is the plan to stay in the same city (presumably Tokyo) the whole time and do day trips or is it to move around and stay in various cities/towns in the Kanto region?
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Old Jan 8, 19, 2:44 pm
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Originally Posted by kevincrumbs View Post
I'm not sure I will have much, if anything, to contribute but this certainly looks like fun! One question though, is the plan to stay in the same city (presumably Tokyo) the whole time and do day trips or is it to move around and stay in various cities/towns in the Kanto region?
Circumstances may be a little different for us as MrLapLapís father lives in Tokyo, so this is our annual visit. Itís mostly a chance for LapChild to get to know her grandfather, but just as much for her (and the rest of us) to know Japan.
Occasionally we stay outside of Tokyo , last year we took Granddad to Kerama Island near Naha using BA Avios, other times we have been to Urai Bandai, Hakone, Matsushima and Sendai.
Not yet sure what will happen this time.

But yes, the focus of this thread is on affordable day trips from Tokyo, as well as interesting things to do within the city.
Thereís currently an exhibition on I would have loved to have seen, alas, it will be over before I arrive 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT | Exhibition " MINGEI -Another Kind of Art " | About
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Old Jan 8, 19, 4:21 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
...... affordable day trips from Tokyo, ....
If you have any interest in bonsai, a visit to the Omiya Bonsai Museum in Saitama is well worthwhile. Take the train to Toro (either direct or change at Omiya) then follow the footpath signs to the Museum. There used to be 30 or so bonsai Houses (= plant nurseries) in Saitama but only about half a dozen remain. After you visit the Museum, you can zig-zag your way south through the village, visiting the other bonsai houses on your way to Omiya-koen Station for the train back. Makes for a very nice morning out .... and world-class bonsai.

MUSEUM OMIYA BONSAI
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Old Jan 8, 19, 4:51 pm
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Originally Posted by tt7 View Post


If you have any interest in bonsai, a visit to the Omiya Bonsai Museum in Saitama is well worthwhile. Take the train to Toro (either direct or change at Omiya) then follow the footpath signs to the Museum. There used to be 30 or so bonsai Houses (= plant nurseries) in Saitama but only about half a dozen remain. After you visit the Museum, you can zig-zag your way south through the village, visiting the other bonsai houses on your way to Omiya-koen Station for the train back. Makes for a very nice morning out .... and world-class bonsai.

MUSEUM OMIYA BONSAI
Thank you. I remember your wonderful trip report:
Omiya Bonsai Art Museum
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Old Jan 8, 19, 5:09 pm
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I do not know how old your child is, but I went to a digital art exhibit that had an entire section for children. It was pretty amazing for adults too, but a little crowded. It is in Odaiba in Pallet town.

If you are looking for something different check it out.

https://borderless.teamlab.art
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Old Jan 8, 19, 5:16 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
Thank you. I remember your wonderful trip report.
Yikes! Iíd completely forgotten about that... Obviously Iím not telling you something you donít already know!

How about Sengaku-Ji ó have you been there? It probably doesnít get much publicity (at least compared with Meiji-jingu and Senso-ji) which is surprising, given its role in Japanese history. Perhaps itís not Ďtouristyí enough. We enjoyed our visit and thought it well worthwhile in understanding this piece of Japanese history.

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3000.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty-seven_rōnin
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Old Jan 8, 19, 6:30 pm
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Sengakuji is a walk away from granddad’s home in Tokyo, it’s particularly close to our own family grave.
I first visited before we got married but I don’t usually recommend it on this forum as it’s one of those places that is very special if you understand what is commemorated there and of not much interest if you do not. In other words, people who would get something out of visiting will already know if they are interested in going.
I found I could work out who each grave belonged to working out the age of the occupants - Japanese and Chinese numbers aren’t very difficult to learn. Too many of them were far, far too young.

EDIT TO ADD Found it! This is a great resource for anyone who is interested in this tragic story. It’s a walking tour with a few more landmarks (including a very, very old and historical Chinquapin tree - last mentioned in this forum about ten years ago)
http://www.syougai.metro.tokyo.jp/bu...emap/minato02/

What will be new, but will happen just after we leave, is that the current Emperor and Empress will be moving in close by (just between Sengakuji and Shirokane Takanawa stations and nearly next to the family plot I mentioned) to the Takanawa Imperial Residence where they are to live out their retirement.
The British Queen Mother, when she was alive, had a residence in London (Clarence House) that was a minor tourist draw. It was one of the best places to take visitors to have their photo taken with a Royal Guard in a Bearskin hat. I suspect the new Tokyo residence won’t have a touristic appeal though.

Last edited by LapLap; Jan 8, 19 at 6:46 pm
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Old Jan 8, 19, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
But yes, the focus of this thread is on affordable day trips from Tokyo, as well as interesting things to do within the city.
Thanks for the clarification, LapLap. I'm jealous that you have a higher chance of experiencing Tokyo like a local since you're staying with family but most people don't use the word "jealous" alongside "staying with your father-in-law"

I don't want to recommend anything too obvious as I suspect you and your family have either already been to them or don't have any interest but a few random things I have saved in my Google Maps that I myself have yet to visit:
- Sarushima, a quick ferry ride over from Yokosuka. I actually did visit Yokosuka for a few hours about three years ago, mainly to see if I could find any traces of Eighties pop star Momoe Yamaguchi besides the chimes at Yokosuka Chuo station. I would've done Sarushima if I hadn't decided to pop on over to Yokosuka on a whim after visiting Enoshima & Kamakura.
- Mount Nokogiri. Take the train around Tokyo Bay and then take the cable car up to the top. Also, I think there's a ferry that runs across the mouth of the bay from Kurihama to Kanaya. Tangentially related is my weird desire to take the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line but I suspect it's more exciting to think about than it is to actually travel a series of tunnels and bridges.
- Nikon Museum in Shinagawa. I'm not sure if anyone in the family has an interest in photography but if they do, this might be interesting. I shot Nikon for years but finally switched to Sony last year.
- Shibamata. I've always wanted to go see the Tora-san statue and I suppose if I were in the area, I might as well do the museum, too.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 9:14 am
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Originally Posted by kevincrumbs View Post
- Shibamata. I've always wanted to go see the Tora-san statue and I suppose if I were in the area, I might as well do the museum, too.
Good call. I had low expectations since it's not usually my kind of thing, but the area is quaint and the museum was surprisingly good - although I can't recall why. I think I just like the idea of a film series that gave Japanese people a sepia tinted (not literally) tour of their own country over so many years.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 9:53 am
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You can take a day trip to Nagano on the Shinkansen to enjoy the mountain scenery and walk down the interesting main street to Zengakuji. That was one of my favorite trips.

On my most recent trip, I had planned to go to Kawaguchi-ko (yes, it is possible by train), but I came down with a nasty virus on the first day in Tokyo and had no energy for more than one major activity per day. I had also planned to go to one of the Izu Islands, but I had to cancel, since most of the attractions there are on the outdoorsy side.

Have you been to Mito? Kairaku-en is considered one of the three greatest gardens in Japan.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by ksandness View Post
You can take a day trip to Nagano on the Shinkansen to enjoy the mountain scenery and walk down the interesting main street to Zengakuji. That was one of my favorite trips.
JR East only issue their passes to foreigners with temporary visas. A few years ago, just before JR East split up their boundary, I was able to sneak in a pass for me and LapChild instead of the return Shinkansen tickets to Sendai my husband and father-in-law needed for themselves. Meant that I could take the kid up to Matsumoto for the day and leave Dad and Granddad back in Tokyo (we went to Gala Yuzawa too for a chance to play in the snow)
Although getting two of us another JR East Pass might still be possible, Nagano just isn’t on the table anymore. You can go to Sendai OR Nagano with a JR East Pass, you can’t do both.

One of the great joys of visiting Tokyo for us is the chance to do things we can’t afford to do back in London.

Is there some kind of bargain rail pass for locals that covers a return trip to Mito? Plugging it into Hyperdia shows it at 5,000yen each for the round trip.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 12:51 pm
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Hiya LapLap, my next trip overlaplaps yours -- maybe there should be a FT do in Tokyo during your visit!

When I went to Mito, I did it on a JR East pass. You also need to take a taxi from the station to and from the garden unless you can figure out the bus routes.
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