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Japan Honeymoon Trip

Japan Honeymoon Trip

Old Feb 7, 20, 2:57 pm
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Japan Honeymoon Trip

Hi everyone. I've been asking bits and pieces of advice on various threads and figured I'd start a post to keep things contained.

I'm going on my honeymoon next February. (1st through 21st ideally)

I've made a lot of headway on planning our travel but I'd love some input. I'll post the current details below.

Depart JFK to HND - F Rewards on JAL
7 days in Tokyo, 2 of which are at Tokyo Disney. Staying at Hilton Tokyo (JR pass activated 2nd day of Disney as I won't be going to the park but having a solo day trip to Hakone)
5 days in Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe, staying at the Osaka Conrad.
1 day of travel up to Hakodate, staying at the Four Points Sheraton Hakodate
1 day in Noboribetsu at Takinoya
4 days in Hokkiado, staying at Comfort Hotel Sapporo Susukino, 1 day trip to Otaru in there somewhere
3 days in Tokyo, Choice hotel redemption nights at best available Tokyo hotel
Depart HND to JFK - F Rewards on JAL

I'm struggling with a few things.

We'd REALLY like to see the snow light festival in Otaru and the snow festival in Hokkaido but I can't seem to find out when they actually are.
I've got a giant pile of restaurants and activities for every city but I'm not sure what would be doable in the winter months. Examples would be: Maker classes: Miso, soy sauce, knives, along with tours of those kind of places. Cooking classes for ramen, kaiseki, etc.
I'm also speculating whether it would be better to break up those last 3 days in Tokyo to extra days elsewhere? I'm placeholdering them right now in case we need to push things backwards and forwards due to reward availability.
Also, is Valentine's Day a big thing in Japan? My SO and I hate it because we've had horrible luck every year we've tried to do anything but sit on the couch and relax.'

Anyway, thanks for reading my TED Talk. All advice is welcome.

Last edited by MSYtoJFKagain; Mar 23, 20 at 6:30 am
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Old Feb 7, 20, 4:09 pm
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Hi,

Congratulations!


For the Sapporo snow festival the 2020 dates are

https://www.snowfes.com/english/

I assume the Hilton you are refering to is in Shinjuku and not the Hilton Tokyo Bay ( beside Tokyo Disney)


Regards

TBS
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Old Feb 7, 20, 4:30 pm
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot View Post
For the Sapporo snow festival the 2020 dates are


I assume the Hilton you are refering to is in Shinjuku and not the Hilton Tokyo Bay ( beside Tokyo Disney)
I'm looking for the 2021 dates.I can't seem to see them anywhere.

Yes, the Shinjuku Hilton. We're looking at where to stay at Tokyo Disney. It'll probably end up being one night at the Mira Costa property. I'm very much not a Disney person but my SO is obsessed.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 9:17 pm
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Do yourselves a favor and extend Hakodate by at least another day. A very historic city with a LOT to see, Hakodate is my favorite place on Hokkaido. And don't miss breakfast at the morning fisherman's market, right near the JR station and the port.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 9:27 pm
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
Do yourselves a favor and extend Hakodate by at least another day. A very historic city with a LOT to see, Hakodate is my favorite place on Hokkaido. And don't miss breakfast at the morning fisherman's market, right near the JR station and the port.
We just may do that. The plan was to get a big breakfast there, see the sights and then hop on the train in early afternoon to Noboribetsu. We were going to send our big bags up to our Hokkaido hotel because we'll be traveling fairly heavy. Is it acceptable to have somewhere hold your bags for a day? We were planning on staying somewhere economical in Sapporo.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 9:33 pm
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I honestly think 7 days in Tokyo and 5 days in Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe is a bad choice - even if 2 of those days are at Tokyo Disney.

Tokyo is a big city but there, IMHO, isn't THAT much to actually "see" there. I've been twice, the first time just to Tokyo and the second time Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto and I enjoyed the latter two cities much more.

Further - in Kyoto, most sights are fairly spaced out so it's inherently harder/longer to get around the city and requires more time. If I had 10 days between Tokyo/Kyoto/Kobe/Osaka (excluding the 2 days at Tokyo Disney) I'd probably do:

2 days Tokyo
2 days Kyoto Arashiyama
3 days Kyoto "Downtown"/East
2 days Osaka
1 day Kobe (I haven't been so I can't really speak for this)

Since it's a honeymoon, have you considered staying at an Onsen? There's a lot of really good ones in Kyoto that you could spend at least one night with, too - just for the experience (and the amazing food).

Osaka is a joy particularly for eating, there are a TON of small, very accessible, amazing restaurants. I wish I had more time there than the 2 days we spent.

.. not to mention that you then want ANOTHER 3 days in Tokyo at the end? the horror!
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Old Feb 7, 20, 9:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Smiley90 View Post
I honestly think 7 days in Tokyo and 5 days in Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe is a bad choice - even if 2 of those days are at Tokyo Disney.

Tokyo is a big city but there, IMHO, isn't THAT much to actually "see" there. I've been twice, the first time just to Tokyo and the second time Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto and I enjoyed the latter two cities much more.

Further - in Kyoto, most sights are fairly spaced out so it's inherently harder/longer to get around the city and requires more time. If I had 10 days between Tokyo/Kyoto/Kobe/Osaka (excluding the 2 days at Tokyo Disney) I'd probably do:

2 days Tokyo
2 days Kyoto Arashiyama
3 days Kyoto "Downtown"/East
2 days Osaka
1 day Kobe (I haven't been so I can't really speak for this)

Since it's a honeymoon, have you considered staying at an Onsen? There's a lot of really good ones in Kyoto that you could spend at least one night with, too - just for the experience (and the amazing food).

Osaka is a joy particularly for eating, there are a TON of small, very accessible, amazing restaurants. I wish I had more time there than the 2 days we spent.
Thanks for the input. We want to have a hub in each place we visit and would rather not relocate every few days. We could probably add another day or so to Kyoto and just take that out of the remaining end Tokyo days. Given that it's winter, we may put those days into Hokkaido.

I have heard both sides of the Tokyo vs Kyoto/Osaka preference and I don't want to discount either side. I know I have at least 5 days worth of stuff in Tokyo. Same goes for Kyoto/Osaka.

As for ryokan/onsen. We are staying at Takinoya in Hokkaido for at least one night and I'm planning a day trip to Hakone. Certainly going to try onsen all over as I enjoy mineral baths.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 9:47 pm
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Originally Posted by MSYtoJFKagain View Post
Thanks for the input. We want to have a hub in each place we visit and would rather not relocate every few days. We could probably add another day or so to Kyoto and just take that out of the remaining end Tokyo days. Given that it's winter, we may put those days into Hokkaido.

I have heard both sides of the Tokyo vs Kyoto/Osaka preference and I don't want to discount either side. I know I have at least 5 days worth of stuff in Tokyo. Same goes for Kyoto/Osaka.

As for ryokan/onsen. We are staying at Takinoya in Hokkaido for at least one night and I'm planning a day trip to Hakone. Certainly going to try onsen all over as I enjoy mineral baths.
Not wanting to switch is totally fair enough - it's just that Kyoto's sights are pretty spread out so it might be a bit tough to do multiple daily trips to different sights there from Osaka. I'd probably rather hub in Kyoto than Osaka for that reason alone, as otherwise you'd have to get from Osaka to Kyoto and THEN to the sights.

Just my thoughts. Congratz and enjoy your trip either way!
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Old Feb 7, 20, 11:01 pm
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Japan has the most amazing luggage transfer system (at a reasonable cost around us $16 for a carry on size). You have your hotel fill out the form (unless you read/write japanese) and they transport (usually overnight) to the next hotel. Usually the hotel will have your luggage in your room when you arrive. If you need an extra day on either end I doubt it would be a problem as long as you notify the involved hotel.

Originally Posted by MSYtoJFKagain View Post
We just may do that. The plan was to get a big breakfast there, see the sights and then hop on the train in early afternoon to Noboribetsu. We were going to send our big bags up to our Hokkaido hotel because we'll be traveling fairly heavy. Is it acceptable to have somewhere hold your bags for a day? We were planning on staying somewhere economical in Sapporo.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 2:25 am
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Originally Posted by MSYtoJFKagain View Post
I'm looking for the 2021 dates.I can't seem to see them anywhere.

Yes, the Shinjuku Hilton. We're looking at where to stay at Tokyo Disney. It'll probably end up being one night at the Mira Costa property. I'm very much not a Disney person but my SO is obsessed.

Hi,

The Tokyo disney properties can be very expensive ( I love disney and had considered some of the disney properties but they were either sold out or too expensive for my stays). I stayed at the Hilton Tokyo Bay ( very nice hotel) with Celebrio ( ie Executive lounge) access and it is a short walk to Disneyland or the Disney resort line to Disneysea. Views can be of either Disney or Tokyo Bay ( and I was fortunate enough to see Mt Fuji in the distance from the hotel in January and November on past visits and the seawall promeande across the road from the hotel)
You might also be able to see Mt Fuji from the Shnjuku Hilton executive lounge or fronm the observation decks ( ie Tokyo Metropolitan Govt building close to the Hilton)
Regards

TBS

Last edited by The _Banking_Scot; Feb 8, 20 at 3:32 am
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Old Feb 8, 20, 3:31 am
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Hi,

Photo from the Celebrio lounge outside terrace

Mt Fuji from the seawall promenade opposite Hilton Tokyo Bay


Mt Fuji from Hilton Tokyo Bay
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Old Feb 8, 20, 5:05 am
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Originally Posted by estnet View Post
Japan has the most amazing luggage transfer system (at a reasonable cost around us $16 for a carry on size). You have your hotel fill out the form (unless you read/write japanese) and they transport (usually overnight) to the next hotel. Usually the hotel will have your luggage in your room when you arrive. If you need an extra day on either end I doubt it would be a problem as long as you notify the involved hotel.
I had heard about the takuhaibin but I was more concerned about a non-full service hotel (Comfort Inn, in this case) holding bags for an extra day.

Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot View Post
Hi,

The Tokyo disney properties can be very expensive ( I love disney and had considered some of the disney properties but they were either sold out or too expensive for my stays). I stayed at the Hilton Tokyo Bay ( very nice hotel) with Celebrio ( ie Executive lounge) access and it is a short walk to Disneyland or the Disney resort line to Disneysea. Views can be of either Disney or Tokyo Bay ( and I was fortunate enough to see Mt Fuji in the distance from the hotel in January and November on past visits and the seawall promeande across the road from the hotel)
You might also be able to see Mt Fuji from the Shnjuku Hilton executive lounge or fronm the observation decks ( ie Tokyo Metropolitan Govt building close to the Hilton)
Regards

TBS
Great advice! So because we're only going to be on property for two nights I wanted to treat her to an upgrade from her usual Disney accommodations. I would have rather done the Tokyo Bay Hilton as I'm pushing to utilize my AMEX Plat status match while we're in Japan. The benefits are easy view of the fireworks and ability to parkhop on the first day. We're planning to get 6pm tickets when we arrive so we can watch the first set of fireworks at Tokyo Disney Sea. She'll go to Disneyland the next day while I head out for a solo day back in time to see the Disneyland fireworks from the hotel, I'll take the next day in the park with her and we'll head out down to Osaka at about 6pm.

Originally Posted by Smiley90 View Post
Not wanting to switch is totally fair enough - it's just that Kyoto's sights are pretty spread out so it might be a bit tough to do multiple daily trips to different sights there from Osaka. I'd probably rather hub in Kyoto than Osaka for that reason alone, as otherwise you'd have to get from Osaka to Kyoto and THEN to the sights.

Just my thoughts. Congratz and enjoy your trip either way!
My main issue with hubbing in Kyoto is there are no Hilton properties there. I'll have gold status with Marriott, who seem to have a bigger Kyoto presence, but that level doesn't really do much. I looked at the Suiran but it's very badly located for getting around and the Ritz is simply out of our budget. We live in NYC so a 30-40 minute train ride home is not unusual at all for us and I'm a bit of train nut anyway. The point is very well taken though. I'm going to start mapping out our travel to some of the sites and see just how bad it is.

Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot View Post
Hi,

Photo from the Celebrio lounge outside terrace

Mt Fuji from the seawall promenade opposite Hilton Tokyo Bay


Mt Fuji from Hilton Tokyo Bay
Wow! That's a beautiful view.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by MSYtoJFKagain View Post
Depart JFK to HND 2/1 - J Rewards on JAL...
Depart HND to JFK - F Rewards on JAL
You may need to be flexible with dates depending on whether you are actually able to get reward flights on the days you want to travel.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 8:30 am
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I should have taken the date out but that's the first departure day that works for us. As I stated in the post. I'm trying to save a few floater days in case we have to move things around due to reward availability. I'm tracking the dates via BA's reward listings for the dates as the 330 window gets closer. As we'd really like to visit the Otaru and Sapporo snow festivals, we'll move everything around those relatively fixed dates.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 7:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Smiley90 View Post
I honestly think 7 days in Tokyo ... is a bad choice - even if 2 of those days are at Tokyo Disney.
Originally Posted by MSYtoJFKagain View Post
Thanks for the input. We want to have a hub in each place we visit and would rather not relocate every few days. We could probably add another day or so to Kyoto and just take that out of the remaining end Tokyo days. Given that it's winter, we may put those days into Hokkaido.
Just to give an opposing opinion. Tokyo is my favourite place in all of Japan, every single one of my trips I spend a few days in the city before/after heading to wherever else I'm going. I've spent almost a month there (spread out) and still haven't grown tired of it. I personally would definitely keep the first 5d+2d as-is (the second 3d stretch probably makes more sense to stay in Hokkaido though).

Also, about noboribetsu ... do check out dai-ichi takimotokan. it's a far less luxurious and far more commercial place than takinoya is, but its indoor onsen is huge and really needs to be seen to be believed.
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