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Japan (Tokyo and beyond) Master Thread

Japan (Tokyo and beyond) Master Thread

Old Mar 28, 2023, 10:32 pm
  #106  
 
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What Tokyo attractions might a 1-year-old enjoy the most on an extended layover? 3 days 2 nights in early August.
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Old Mar 29, 2023, 1:10 am
  #107  
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Originally Posted by boat stuck
What Tokyo attractions might a 1-year-old enjoy the most on an extended layover? 3 days 2 nights in early August.
I imagine that the key will be to make arrangements that allow you to minimize the stress to you and your jetlagged (?) child at the hottest and most humid time of year. Maybe stay at, say, Tokyo Dome Hotel, where you can access a soft play area, or take a stroll in the pedestrianized area of Tokyo Dome City, and easily get back to your room if the child just needs to nap?
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Old Mar 29, 2023, 1:42 am
  #108  
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Originally Posted by boat stuck
What Tokyo attractions might a 1-year-old enjoy the most on an extended layover? 3 days 2 nights in early August.
This thread collects together a lot of the recent(ish) advice for very young visitors.
Japan/Seoul with kids

Almost all facilities aimed at 1 year olds involve having no shoes on. Please think carefully about what you, as a parent, will be wearing during your time in Japan. You’ll have a far easier time of it if you ensure you are wearing footwear that can be quickly slipped off and on. Please be observant of where the shoe removal boundaries begin at baby-play spaces, the clue might just be a change of colour or texture.

My own kid was running cafs and preparing banquets and tea parties as a one year old and wasn’t at all picky about what could be used as a kitchen or dining room.
There are some marvellous museums allowing hands on interaction with the exhibits that will allow toddlers to engage however they want to.
My favourite for toddlers is Fukagawa Edo Museum. The Shitamachi Museum in Ueno might be more convenient but the management is a bit more uptight.
Edo Open Air Museum is very good but my own personal choice is the Nihon Minka En.

Outside of museums, a fine hands-on destination which is a paradise for toddling children is the Tove Jansson Akebono Children's Forest Park (previously just Akebono Kodomo no Mori). There is a building there which is like stepping straight into a wooden dolls house and the other buildings have atmospheres and charms of their own.

If you go to Tokyo Disney Sea, take along a towel and change of clothes (ideally something rubbery for feet that can get wet too) as there is small indoor water park in Aerial’s Kingdom which is ideal for 1 year olds. The child MUST be changed in one of the toilet facilities though, there is a zero tolerance policy for infant nudity.

Edit to add - if you can’t manage a visit to the Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park (or if you do and just want more), the Tokyo Toy Museum can satisfy some of the tactile and sensory needs of a toddler using natural materials. It has some wonderful play rooms as well as a small outdoor jungle gym area. Do take a look at it, it’s a lovely space.
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Last edited by LapLap; Mar 29, 2023 at 6:44 am
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Old Mar 29, 2023, 12:37 pm
  #109  
 
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Originally Posted by jib71
I imagine that the key will be to make arrangements that allow you to minimize the stress to you and your jetlagged (?) child at the hottest and most humid time of year. Maybe stay at, say, Tokyo Dome Hotel, where you can access a soft play area, or take a stroll in the pedestrianized area of Tokyo Dome City, and easily get back to your room if the child just needs to nap?
Originally Posted by LapLap
This thread collects together a lot of the recent(ish) advice for very young visitors.
Japan/Seoul with kids

Almost all facilities aimed at 1 year olds involve having no shoes on. Please think carefully about what you, as a parent, will be wearing during your time in Japan. Youll have a far easier time of it if you ensure you are wearing footwear that can be quickly slipped off and on. Please be observant of where the shoe removal boundaries begin at baby-play spaces, the clue might just be a change of colour or texture.

My own kid was running cafs and preparing banquets and tea parties as a one year old and wasnt at all picky about what could be used as a kitchen or dining room.
There are some marvellous museums allowing hands on interaction with the exhibits that will allow toddlers to engage however they want to.
My favourite for toddlers is Fukagawa Edo Museum. The Shitamachi Museum in Ueno might be more convenient but the management is a bit more uptight.
Edo Open Air Museum is very good but my own personal choice is the Nihon Minka En.

Outside of museums, a fine hands-on destination which is a paradise for toddling children is the Tove Jansson Akebono Children's Forest Park (previously just Akebono Kodomo no Mori). There is a building there which is like stepping straight into a wooden dolls house and the other buildings have atmospheres and charms of their own.

If you go to Tokyo Disney Sea, take along a towel and change of clothes (ideally something rubbery for feet that can get wet too) as there is small indoor water park in Aerials Kingdom which is ideal for 1 year olds. The child MUST be changed in one of the toilet facilities though, there is a zero tolerance policy for infant nudity.

Edit to add - if you cant manage a visit to the Tove Jansson Akebono Childrens Forest Park (or if you do and just want more), the Tokyo Toy Museum can satisfy some of the tactile and sensory needs of a toddler using natural materials. It has some wonderful play rooms as well as a small outdoor jungle gym area. Do take a look at it, its a lovely space.
Much appreciated, thanks so much for your advice!
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Old Apr 11, 2023, 12:05 pm
  #110  
 
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Wondering if anyone has recommendations for private onsens in the Kyoto area? I've read that some Ryokan let you book the onsen without being guests. Wondering if that's the case
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Old Apr 12, 2023, 9:00 pm
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Last edited by seigex; Apr 13, 2023 at 3:41 pm
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Old May 17, 2023, 3:44 pm
  #112  
 
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Originally Posted by boat stuck
Much appreciated, thanks so much for your advice!
Following up on this - our plans have changed significantly. We are now making this a "real" 6 day/5 night Japan trip, and bringing one set of grandparents. So it'll be 2 grandparents, we the 2 parents, plus one 1-year old.

edit: I think I figured it out.

Land at Narita -> Overnight in Narita -> 2 nights in Kusatsu Onsen -> 2 nights in Nikko -> Nikko to Haneda and depart same day

Nikko->Haneda should be okay since it's only 2 hours. Check out at 9:30 am, arrive at Haneda between 11:30 am and Noon, should be enough time for a 3:30 pm flight.

Last edited by boat stuck; May 18, 2023 at 11:02 am
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Old May 17, 2023, 4:29 pm
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Originally Posted by boat stuck
I would like to do option B, but just don't know if I can make our departure flight comfortably on August 5.
I have the same concern about Option B, driving from Kusatsu on the day of the departure back home. Your departure airport is Haneda means you have no choice but to drive through Tokyo. Without any traffic (and without making any stops along the way) drive from Kusatsu to Haneda airport is showing 3 hrs. and 30 min. Considering the traffic in Tokyo and possibly stopping along the way for pit stops, refueling, etc. looking at 4 hrs. drive may be reasonable. Considering returning the car at Haneda airport, all drop-off/rental locations of rental car companies are off-airport sites. After dropping off the car (or in your case minivan) you will take a rental car bus to the terminal.

I will recommend a plan to depart before 9:00 a.m. from Kusatu on the last day. If I were you, I may plan to depart Kusatsu by 8 a.m. on the last day just in case. I know Plan C provides less time at Kusatsu, but with Plan C you do not have to rush on the last day.
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Old May 17, 2023, 10:50 pm
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Originally Posted by AlwaysAisle
I have the same concern about Option B, driving from Kusatsu on the day of the departure back home. Your departure airport is Haneda means you have no choice but to drive through Tokyo. Without any traffic (and without making any stops along the way) drive from Kusatsu to Haneda airport is showing 3 hrs. and 30 min. Considering the traffic in Tokyo and possibly stopping along the way for pit stops, refueling, etc. looking at 4 hrs. drive may be reasonable. Considering returning the car at Haneda airport, all drop-off/rental locations of rental car companies are off-airport sites. After dropping off the car (or in your case minivan) you will take a rental car bus to the terminal.

I will recommend a plan to depart before 9:00 a.m. from Kusatu on the last day. If I were you, I may plan to depart Kusatsu by 8 a.m. on the last day just in case. I know Plan C provides less time at Kusatsu, but with Plan C you do not have to rush on the last day.
I just realized something - if I go to Kusatsu first, and then Nikko, Plan B works a lot better. It's a bit over 2 hours from Nikko to Haneda, versus 3.5 - 4 hours from Kusatsu to Haneda. So a same day Nikko-Haneda routing should be safe-ish.
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Old May 18, 2023, 12:38 am
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I normally travel overseas without a plan ~100 countries. Apparently not such a good idea this time around. Was in Japan over 40 years ago, and it was a bit daunting, even with a tour group most of the time. Can't expect much English speaking assistance. Not much has changed apparently. So,,, IF anyone would like to suggest an itinerary, from June 4th 7:30 AM arrival to June 21:30 departure, it would be appreciated. Trains, planes, but no driving anymore. I can still grab the JAL plane and train deals. I've seen lots of the usual places, types of sights, but enjoy going to the unusual and away from foreign tourists if possible. I would like to skip the nature walks and the temples with all their steps. Myanmar, Thailand and Bali cured my of that. Any help would be appreciated. If this is in the wrong place, let me know.
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Old May 18, 2023, 7:44 am
  #116  
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Originally Posted by bundubasher
I normally travel overseas without a plan ~100 countries. Apparently not such a good idea this time around. Was in Japan over 40 years ago, and it was a bit daunting, even with a tour group most of the time. Can't expect much English speaking assistance. Not much has changed apparently. So,,, IF anyone would like to suggest an itinerary, from June 4th 7:30 AM arrival to June 21:30 departure, it would be appreciated. Trains, planes, but no driving anymore. I can still grab the JAL plane and train deals. I've seen lots of the usual places, types of sights, but enjoy going to the unusual and away from foreign tourists if possible. I would like to skip the nature walks and the temples with all their steps. Myanmar, Thailand and Bali cured my of that. Any help would be appreciated. If this is in the wrong place, let me know.

Hi,

When were you last in japan and where did you go?
The ease of transport for English speakers on the main rail lines as improved immensly and with some planning it is quite easy.

I got back from 10 days in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and included

Hiroshima
Day trips to Miyajima island
Day trip to Okayama ( 40mins from Hiroshima by Shinkansen) for the gardens and castle

Nagasaki ( also visiting the Dejima water front, Glover garden and Mt Insa observatory)

Whilst there were a number of foreign tourists the numbers are smaller than around Tokyo ime.

Regards

TBS
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Old May 19, 2023, 4:42 am
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot
Hi,

When were you last in japan and where did you go?
The ease of transport for English speakers on the main rail lines as improved immensly and with some planning it is quite easy.

I got back from 10 days in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and included

Hiroshima
Day trips to Miyajima island
Day trip to Okayama ( 40mins from Hiroshima by Shinkansen) for the gardens and castle

Nagasaki ( also visiting the Dejima water front, Glover garden and Mt Insa observatory)

Whilst there were a number of foreign tourists the numbers are smaller than around Tokyo ime.

Regards

TBS
I was in Japan in 1980 with the Association of General Contractors. That was a treat seeing their construction methods including bamboo scaffolding around the tall buildings going up, close and from the top. I was in Tokyo, Nara, Osaka and Kyoto with some places in between. Not particularly a race around Japan because of the older age group that were writing off this trip and were kind of slow pokes, not really brave in doing anything without a guide. Hence the youngsters in the group going out independently whenever there was a break. We did ride the bullet trains twice during the trip.
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Old May 21, 2023, 3:25 am
  #118  
 
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Originally Posted by bundubasher
June 4th 7:30 AM arrival to June 21:30 departure
Departure on what day?
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Old May 21, 2023, 4:23 am
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Just got back from a recent trip to Japan in late March and early April, it was unbearably crowded in some areas, especially Kyoto.
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Old May 21, 2023, 10:12 pm
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Hi, just booked a last minute 4 day trip to Tokyo for memorial week-end and I am continuously changing my mind on hotels so I figured I would ask for tips here.
I will be travelling solo and would be my second time in Tokyo (although first time was for a 2 day stop-over on my way somewhere else).

Three properties I am looking at: Ritz Carlton, Conrad, Kimpton
I have Marriott Titanium status and Gold at both IHG and Hilton (so I imagine I shouldn't expect much in terms of elite benefits in any of these hotels, even with the Titanium status given it's a RC)

Pros and cons I gathered for each:

Ritz
+ Cheapest (by about 20% relative to Conrad / Kimpton, thanks to corporate rate)
+ Location seems good
+ Concierge to get restaurant bookings (trying some good Omakase is a priority of mine, but how much will they be able to help < 1 week out? Not expecting the top restaurants of course but 1 or 2 somewhat "special" meals would be great)
+ Potential upgrade with Titanium status (Seems very unlikely reading the RC Tokyo thread)
- This is more subjective but it looks more dated and less "vibrant" (I am in my late twenties and I usually prefer properties like Andaz, Edition, W, Kimpton)
- No breakfast included in rate

Conrad
+ FHR benefits: mainly breakfast and potential upgrade (though not expecting anything). Won't need early check-in or late check-out.
+ I assume concierge would be as connected as the RC one?
+ Subjective but looks nicer than the RC in pictures (for me)
- Location seems the worse of the 3?

Kimpton
This one might look like the odd one out of the three but I am a big fan of the brand and loved the hospitality during each of my previous stays (Amsterdam, London, Portland Riverside)
+ Location: Easy access to most parts of the city from Shinjuku station
+ New / Modern property
+ Breakfast included
- Least "luxurious" of the 3 for the price (same price as Conrad)
- Rooms look quite small
- I imagine the concierge here might not be as connected?

Other hotels I would have considered are much more expensive on my travel dates.
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