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Japanese Trip in April

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I took my first trip to Japan this April. I went to Japan in April of course for the sakura mostly and to visit a ton of my friends. I had a JR pass so I was able to visit a lot of places. I started in Nagoya, went to Hida-Takayama for a day, then to Osaka, while I was in Osaka I visited Nara and Himeji, next I went to Hiroshima then to Nagasaki. After that I went to Kyoto, while in Kyoto I visited some friends in Fukui, then I went to Tokyo/Chiba and ended my trip in Utsunomiya. I did a lot of things and saw a lot of places. I don't know where to start. Anyone have any place in particular that anyone wants to hear about?
 
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Would you be so kind as to tell us more about your JR pass? Where did you get it, how much did it cost you, it's advantages etc. Also how comes you started in Nagoya? Did you fly to NGO directly from the United States?
I'm also interested whether you found Kyoto to be an expensive place to stay at, dine at, and generally to visit.
 
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I got a 3 week pass and a one week pass online. It was through some french company that I don't remember the name of currently. The 3 week pass was around 60,000 yen or about $540 usd at the current rate. The 1 week pass was around 23,000 yen or around $200 usd at the current rate. The biggest advantage with the JR pass is that you can ride pretty much any train at any time, simply show your pass to the person on duty and board a train to your destination. It is important to read the rules that come with the pass as they are subject to change and when I went the pass did not include the "mizuho" or "nozomi" shinkansen. You can also get reserved seats issued with your pass on most trains. I started in Nagoya because my aunt has some friends there and I wanted a local to help me get used to Japan at first as I had never been. I flew from Chicago O'hare to Narita airport and then to NGO.

I found Kyoto to be pretty inexpensive. I wanted to see all the old sites the most though and those are really cheap everywhere in Japan. For a hotel I found one for 6,000 yen a day and I stayed 4 days in Kyoto so 24,000 yen or around $215 usd. They had a lot of different options for food and everything, a lot of different shops everywhere. Some of the food there is really cheap and some of it is really expensive. So if you look for cheap things they're available but if you're looking for certain food it may be more expensive. I found a normal meal to be around 900 yen. One of the places I enjoyed the most was Gion and to look around there it was absolutely free.
 
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So JR pass does actually include some shinkansen trains? Didn't expect it to be that handy. Sounds like a must have for trips that last more than a week.

Also your report on Kyoto rates is reassuring. 6000 yen per night sounds like a real bargain for the area.
 
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Yes if you are staying in Japan more than a week and are planning on traveling during that time a JR pass is almost essential. You will quite easily exceed the price you paid for the pass. I would say the pass includes most shinkansen. You'll be pressed to find a train that's excluded beyond the "mizuho" and "nozomi" shinkansen. Unless it's not on JR rail of course. It's very useful.
 

thomas

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@OoTmaster , how about creating a Blog series? ;)

I'm certain that quite a lot of members would be interested in the details of your itinerary.
 
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That's a great idea. Never really thought of doing any type of blog but I never know if I'll be any good at it if I don't try.
 

mdchachi

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One thing in particular I'd like to know is what sites if any are under construction and maybe worth skipping. For example I heard that Kiyomizudera is undergoing some refurbishment. I will probably spend a day or day and a half in Kyoto in a couple of months. Need to figure out what will be the most appealing to a couple of elementary aged kids. Probably will go to kinkakuji for the photo-op (even though ginkaku-ji is much more interesting from a historical, original building perspective). I'm also leaning towards to fushimi-inari. That was always one of my favorites.
Maybe nijo-jo though honestly it probably won't be very impressive in the eyes of a 5th grader.
 
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Yes when I was in Kyoto Kiyomizudera was indeed under construction at least when I went which was the 17th or 18th. Some of the castles I went to are also under construction but that seems to be an ongoing thing. Kinkuji is indeed impressive. I would suggest maybe going at a later hour than I did though. I got there in the early morning and it was extremely crowded.
 
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I took my first trip to Japan this April. I went to Japan in April of course for the sakura mostly and to visit a ton of my friends. I had a JR pass so I was able to visit a lot of places. I started in Nagoya, went to Hida-Takayama for a day, then to Osaka, while I was in Osaka I visited Nara and Himeji, next I went to Hiroshima then to Nagasaki. After that I went to Kyoto, while in Kyoto I visited some friends in Fukui, then I went to Tokyo/Chiba and ended my trip in Utsunomiya. I did a lot of things and saw a lot of places. I don't know where to start. Anyone have any place in particular that anyone wants to hear about?


Have you checked their cherry blossoms? It's to die for!
 
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Yes I saw a lot of cherry blossoms while I was there. It was my main reason for going in April. My favorite place for the Sakura was Nara deer park.
 
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Wow, you covered quite a lot of places and regions.
Sounds like a lovely trip! ^__^

What was your favorite place?
What was your favorite experience?
 
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My favorite place would have to be either Nara deer park or Himeji. My favorite experience was on the way to Himeji from Osaka a little old lady sat next to me on the shinkansen because she wanted to practice her English. I had spoken with her in Japanese a little before the train ride so I think it made her a little at ease knowing if she forgot a word or how to say something she might be able to explain in Japanese.
 
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I'm glad to hear that.
I used to live not too far from Himeji, so I know how you feel. ^___^

Also great that you had such a pleasant experience.

Thanks for sharing. ^^
 
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I heard that Kiyomizudera is undergoing some refurbishment.
Yep, has been undergoing work for at least three years and a few more yet to go. The place has 16 major buildings, and they only work on one at a time.

Most locations, when they do work, leave the majority of the building accessible (not always the case). I also see people recommending against Nikko because they were working on the shine gates, again, one small part of a worthwhile place to visit.

One location that is newly opened (half anyway) is the Peace Museum in Hiroshima. After a few years of work the east wing is reopened while they close the main building. The new exhibits are worth checking.
 
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