Travel: Japan - General

School terms keep kids in school and parents sane. Holidays can be boring to kids if they are left alone. Discuss vacation ideas and how to make good use of the free time for both children and adults.

Re: Japan with kids in Autumn

Postby Joy » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:05 pm

Hi

I went to osaka and tokyo, last year and this year respectively.To tokyo was in end nov.beautiful weather, except some places can be a bit cold,.We were under prepared so did not head towards mt fuji.We did free and easy eight days just in tokyo alone.

Rgds
Joy

mckenzy wrote:Will be popping over for our first Japan trip end November this year.

Have done some reading and realise thats its an enormous task planning a trip there. Unlike Australia, Japan seems to offer alot more experiences wrt cultural aspects of a society.

Was hoping for snow but i think i planned too early.

Anyone been there before with your kids?

Joy
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Postby schellen » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:14 pm

If you're aiming for end Nov-beg Dec, and heading to popular areas like Kyoto, you must book way-way-way beforehand. I learned the hard way. :cry: Becos in autumn, Japanese and student groups and international tourists all flock to Kyoto to see the leaves change colour. The accommodation from hotels to inns to hostels will be fully booked for weeks. I wanted to book at the usual business hotel chain we stay at but being a non-member, we couldn't book online too early. By the time online booking was open to the public, all the rooms were fully booked. Luckily, in the end, after a lot of searching and checking of reviews/feedback, we found a small but wonderful inn run by a family. (Their English is very basic so it's best that you can converse in Japanese with them to avoid misunderstandings and delays.)

sashimi and I went there about 2 years ago with our DD (5 yo) and his parents. I can probably find my old itinerary if you need it but I do agree that it was an enormous task planning for a diverse group of people for 2 weeks in Kyoto and Tokyo, free and easy. It helps if you can read and speak Japanese cos my itinerary was probably similar to a typical Japanese domestic tourist.

P.S. My itinerary included day trips to Nara, Osaka and Tenri when we were in Kyoto. Kyoto was for sight-seeing while Tokyo was for shopping since we'd been to Tokyo before.

schellen
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Postby CMF » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:34 pm

Have previously taken trips to Osaka and Tokyo with my hubby + 2 kids, both times in Nov / Dec.

On the Osaka trip, we took day trips to Kyoto and to an onsen (Japanese baths) which was located in a mountainous region. Weather though chilly was bearable with appropriate winter wear. We did a free and easy, so visited Universal Studio in Osaka for the kids, and Kyoto was mainly sight-seeing.

On the Tokyp trip, it was mainly sightseeing and Disneyland. Again it was on a free & easy. So no stress to follow any fixed itinerary.

Getting around is not much a problem. as most people are generally very helpful to provide guidance and directions.



As taxi fares are expensive. you may want to check how to get to your hotel either by train or the airport bus.

CMF
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Postby mckenzy » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:35 am

thanks for your replies...


Joy, last years November temperature in Tokyo was reported as 10-17deg C... sounds pretty okay... this year it seems the weather might be warmer abit due to the change in El Nino or something... so it should be okay with the jackets we have... don't want to spend so much on this kind of thing... hardly use and just collect mould in our Singapore weather... hoping not to miss Mt Fuji...

the rough plan is to take bus to Gotemba 5th station and trek up as much as we can... if its chilly then probably get some more layers from Tokyo or Gotemba Premium outlet... should be cheaper there...

we're doing free & easy too...

schellen, sashimi's pics on FB are very useful... esp about the trains... quick question about the coin lockers: if i don't want to bring all my luggage around, especially when we take an overnight at a Hakone Ryokan, will the coin lockers be able to fit huge suitcases? and are they conveniently located and safe (people won't break-in)...? or can i leave them at the hotel concierge for a day or two? when in Oz or UK the hotels are pretty okay with this but not sure about Japan though...

thanks for the offer on the itinery... no worries... will be quite different... i must say that i am on my 3rd revision of our itinery already... change here change there... very messy... priorities keep changing... and ideas keep coming-in... so the more we know the more we change... sigh...

CMF... your itinery was our first draft... somehow somewhere along the process Osaka got removed from the list... i think it was because we likened Osaka to Tokyo... i know there are differences... but in the end they are both cities...

Currently the 3rd revision includes:

- home base in Tokyo
- day trip to Mt Fuji
- day trip to Gotemba Premium outlet
- 1 night at Hakone near the Little Prince Museum/Venetian Glass Museum
- 2 nights at Disney area (not Disney hotel) to settle both Disney attractions

in between are the smatterings of Tsukiji market, Ueno, Harajuku (for the Bugis feel), Akhihabara for the Otakus...

Would like to have more daytrips out of Tokyo to get out of the 'shopping' area...

i think we would have covered the Autumn foliage by going to Hakone region so no real need to take another side trip for that...

what else have i missed?
..

mckenzy
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Postby CMF » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:44 am

Yes try to plan as many day trips as possible - the buses and trains all run very on time and the journey itself are most often scenic too.

You may want to check out this link for some experiences which someone else had in Tokyo with her kids - some useful tips there :

http://hedgehogtravel.blogspot.com/2008 ... s-hai.html

[/url]

CMF
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Postby schellen » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:01 am

mckenzy wrote:schellen, sashimi's pics on FB are very useful... esp about the trains... quick question about the coin lockers: if i don't want to bring all my luggage around, especially when we take an overnight at a Hakone Ryokan, will the coin lockers be able to fit huge suitcases? and are they conveniently located and safe (people won't break-in)...? or can i leave them at the hotel concierge for a day or two? when in Oz or UK the hotels are pretty okay with this but not sure about Japan though...

thanks for the offer on the itinery... no worries... will be quite different... i must say that i am on my 3rd revision of our itinery already... change here change there... very messy... priorities keep changing... and ideas keep coming-in... so the more we know the more we change... sigh...

<snip>

Currently the 3rd revision includes:

- home base in Tokyo
- day trip to Mt Fuji
- day trip to Gotemba Premium outlet
- 1 night at Hakone near the Little Prince Museum/Venetian Glass Museum
- 2 nights at Disney area (not Disney hotel) to settle both Disney attractions

in between are the smatterings of Tsukiji market, Ueno, Harajuku (for the Bugis feel), Akhihabara for the Otakus...

Would like to have more daytrips out of Tokyo to get out of the 'shopping' area...

i think we would have covered the Autumn foliage by going to Hakone region so no real need to take another side trip for that...

what else have i missed?
..


You're welcome. :)

Coin lockers availability vary from station to station but they are generally secure. Just make sure you have lots of coins (preferably the 500-yen, 100-yen and 50-yen ones). My friend went to Japan on her own and she used the lockers too but usually, there is a 24-hr limit so if your stuff is still in there after 24 hrs, the station staff will take them out and you'll have to go look for them to retrieve your stuff. It's best to check first. My friend didn't have huge suitcases; she stayed in hostels and inns and moved around quite a lot so I don't think the lockers can take the size and weight of such suitcases. Plus, you might have to lift them up quite high off the ground for lockers at higher heights.

Dunno about hotel concierge keeping luggage for you too. They may not indicate in their list of services provided but you can ask. They may charge a fee for it though. I only deposit luggage in front of the reception/front desk when we arrive before check-in time or check-out way before flight time and wish to go elsewhere first before returning to claim our stuff a few hours later.

Yup, I think our itineraries are very different. Have you gone free and easy in Tokyo/Japan before? If yes, I think you'd have figured out the ways to get to-and-from the airport and the train system.

As for the weather, should be no problem with a good coat. My DD complained of the cold at first but gradually got used to it. I think cos in Kyoto, we were closer to the mountains and countryside, and it got colder on the last day we were there cos it rained. But in Tokyo, it was warmer since it was a city. My PILs went on their own with DD most of the time in Tokyo to sightsee and shop so that sashimi and I could shop too, separately as well.

If you're heading to Tsukiji, do check ahead if the market will be open. It closes at least one day of the week so check to avoid disappointment. Of course, don;t need to tell you to go really early if you want to watch the proceedings and eat the freshly caught fish.

We also went to Odaiba but there isn't really much there since it is an expensive touristy area. There's also a "Little Hong Kong" in one of the many malls there but it didn't interest us so we didn't check it out. Your wife may be interested in chilling out at Venus Fort, a mall specially catered to women. I think there is also a hot spring "resort" at Odaiba though I doubt that it's cheap. The highlights of Odaiba for us were:
1. Crossing the Rainbow Bridge
2. Riding on the unmanned trains on the Yurikamome Line
3. Miraikan (Museum of the Future), you can spend hours here

About Disneyland and DisneySea, my impression is that the latter will interest older kids/teens more so my family has never been there. We always chose to go to the former everytime.

schellen
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Postby Happygolucky » Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:40 pm

Hi Mckenzy,

Can consider getting the kids the three layer cotton(cheap at less than $10 per piece at winter time) thermal wear. My kids just wore that with a long sleeve T-shirt and windbreaker. They are light and comfortable, save the hassle of lugging thick winter wear.

There isn't a need to travel out of Tokyo to get out of the 'shopping' area.
(1) DO visit Ueno - the Ueno zoo and The science museum is enough to take up the whole day. The Ueno park has very nice autumn leaves too.
(2) Odaiba - can also spend a whole day there visiting the Miraikan, Mega Web etc.

At Hakone, we visited Owakudani, the Little Prince Museum, Gora Park, The Picasso Museum and the Yunnessun all within 1 day. We stayed 1 night but our 1st day ended up - having train delays and traffic jams and rushing to get back to hotel be4 5pm. (Cable car stopped operating at around 5pm). The little Prince Museum is interesting only if you have read the book. Should have stayed one more night to explore the other museums.

It's not true that the Disneysea caters more to the older kids. There are many rides for young children. If you are staying at one of the hotels near Disneyland, you do not even need to queue up for the disney tickets. There is check-in counter(for the hotels) near the train station. Luggage can be checked in then and tickets can be purchased on the spot.

Happygolucky
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Postby tamarind » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:24 pm

I brought my daughter to Japan in April this year. It was a wonderful trip. We visited Disneyland and Disneysea, and went around Tokyo in the subway. Note that young children 5 years and below travel free in the subway, regardless of their height.

Please feel free to view my blog, including photos of the hotels we stayed and the places we visit :
http://tokyowithchloe.blogspot.com/

tamarind
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Postby schellen » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:39 pm

Happygolucky wrote:It's not true that the Disneysea caters more to the older kids. There are many rides for young children. If you are staying at one of the hotels near Disneyland, you do not even need to queue up for the disney tickets. There is check-in counter(for the hotels) near the train station. Luggage can be checked in then and tickets can be purchased on the spot.


OIC, didn't know about that. Thanks! :)
I guess DD prefers the land version since the characters are more familiar to her. As for the sea version, I think she only knows The Little Mermaid.

schellen
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Postby mckenzy » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:03 pm

The journal was very well written and pulls a few surprises... the takuhaibin service looks like the answer to my hotel transfer woes... no need for coin lockers after all.. phew! cannot imagine lugging all that baggage into one much less lifting it up to the upper lockers...

rain seems to be putting a damper on quite of a number of trips to Japan... as i understand it, the period we'll be travelling is pretty dry... hope it stays that way...


CMF wrote:Yes try to plan as many day trips as possible - the buses and trains all run very on time and the journey itself are most often scenic too.

You may want to check out this link for some experiences which someone else had in Tokyo with her kids - some useful tips there :

http://hedgehogtravel.blogspot.com/2008 ... s-hai.html

[/url]

mckenzy
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