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Travel If you were to plan a trip...

okinawaholic

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If you were to plan a family trip in Japan, which prefecture would you choose, why, and what would you experience there?

I want to get away from Okinawa for winter and was thinking Hokkaido so the family can experience snow, as only my wife and eldest daughter have only seen scattered patches of it in late winter/early spring in the States, no deeper than 0.5cm, if that.

See if they can find it as fun as I did.

But anything else there for kids (8 and 16)? They wouldn't mind yakiniku or izakaya, but thinking of more attractions.

Or perhaps anywhere else in Japan with some snow if Hokkaido is too isolated?

Thanks!
 

thomas

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Ha, most people prefer it the other way around and spend the winter in Okinawa! :ROFLMAO:

Are you guys just up for nature or would you like a pinch of history and culture, too?

In that case, I'd suggest Tohoku: starting out in Sendai (plenty of history, izakaya, and culture), Mount Zao, Ura-Bandai, and if you have more time go further north (Hiraizumi in Iwate, Towada-ko in Aomori, etc). How much time do you have?
 

Glenski

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Check out the timing of the annual Snow Festival in Sapporo, Hokkaido (early February) and see if the ice and snow sculptures appeal to them. There are other similar festivals here on Hokkaido, but that's the biggest. Seeing the sulfur pits (jigokudani) in Noboribetsu or at the base of Io-zan might also be interesting to them, especially in the cold weather.

Wherever you choose, be sure you know how to dress warmly enough!
 
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It is Unzen of Nagasaki that I make the advice.
A hot spring and seafood.
Visiting Unzen-jigoku Hell.
It is the best to see the beautiful setting sun while taking a bath in the hot spring of the beach in Obama Onsen.

It is worth going to see the rime on trees of Unzen.
 

TGI-ECT

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Glenski's idea about the snow festival is certainly an idea worth serious consideration. The problem is you are going to get some excellent ideas and choosing from them is really tough -- will be tough.

They put some sort of tunnel in between Hokkaido and Honshu and so you could, depending on how much time you have for this project; you could take the flight into Hokkaido and see that festival and then take the train through that tunnel thingy and end up in Tohoku where a recommendation was made to visit.

I make that case because that distance would be such that you could do that in a limited time, but if you have even more time then you could keep using that train system and not only get some interesting looks out the windows, but go for another stop farther down the line.

On the other hand, the snow could completely mess up that plan, but you would then see some serious snow and get a practical experience about how snow can mess up the best of plans, and that is a snow experience nobody wants, but everybody has had at one time in their lives, if they live in that sort of area.

Oh yes, there was another bit of advice from Glenski you best be very sure to follow -- have them proper winter clothes. You sure better study up on them things. Or ask here in this thread.

Rather neat --- step into a plane in Okinawa and step off that plane into a snow bank. Well, the airport folks won't allow that stepping off part, but you soon have that chance. Glenski would sure recommend good boots, I'd bet.
 
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okinawaholic

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Ha, most people prefer it the other way around and spend the winter in Okinawa! :ROFLMAO:
And many do! 😁
Are you guys just up for nature or would you like a pinch of history and culture, too?
I would like a nice split of history, culture as well as have some entertainment for my 16-year-old and 8-year-old so that they don't get bored (though, snow might be all they need)
In that case, I'd suggest Tohoku: starting out in Sendai (plenty of history, izakaya, and culture), Mount Zao, Ura-Bandai, and if you have more time go further north (Hiraizumi in Iwate, Towada-ko in Aomori, etc). How much time do you have?
I'm retired and we're fine with finances. I wouldn't want to spend a month there, but a week to two wouldn't be bad.
Would you consider going to a ski resort that has a bunny run for the kids?
That might be very fun for my 8-year-old to experience. Any info on this?
Check out the timing of the annual Snow Festival in Sapporo, Hokkaido (early February) and see if the ice and snow sculptures appeal to them.
Combine this with the bunny run, as well as the aforementioned history and cultural things, and this might make for the perfect vacation to keep everyone entertained during portions of the trip.
Wherever you choose, be sure you know how to dress warmly enough!
I'm originally from Washington State, where it gets quite cold, but probably not as much as Hokkaido. But, we do have very warm clothes (Columbia jackets, etc.) for camping. I don't know the exact rating on temperatures, but it can keep us quite warm in the winter on the beach with the wind chill even.
It is the best to see the beautiful setting sun while taking a bath in the hot spring of the beach in Obama Onsen.
Sounds kind of expensive, but at the same time alluring. I will have to check out pricing and if it increases during winter time. We don't want to spend too much, but, our budget is fairly big for a trip like that, especially with LCC (low cost carriers).
Glenski's idea about the snow festival is certainly an idea worth serious consideration. The problem is you are going to get some excellent ideas and choosing from them is really tough -- will be tough.
I know. So many ideas thrown out so far that I'm going to have to look everything up. Fortunately, it'ss only December 9th and there's about 3-4 weeks of planning before taking that step if we decide.
They put some sort of tunnel in between Hokkaido and Honshu and so you could, depending on how much time you have for this project; you could take the flight into Hokkaido and see that festival and then take the train through that tunnel thingy and end up in Tohoku where a recommendation was made to visit.
Sounds very interesting! I will have to look into this. I though Hokkaido was an "isolated" island (no bridge, etc. out).
Rather neat --- step into a plane in Okinawa and step off that plane into a snow bank.
I'm sure the kids will love it. (I might even enjoy it as well 😂)
 
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Mt.Naeba / Naeba Niigata.
I think the most accessible ski resort from Okinawa is Naeba in Niigata Prefecture.
From Haneda Airport to Shinagawa,
Echigo Yuzawa by Shinkansen from Shinagawa.
There is also a free express bus operating between Naeba Prince Hotel and Joetsu Shinkansen Echigo-Yuzawa Station for hotel guests only.
There are many cheap flights from Okinawa to Haneda.
 

Glenski

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The Seikan Tunnel under the ocean connects Honshu with Hokkaido. The recently completed bullet train connection will take you as far as Hakodate, and from there you will have to take a regular train, about 3 hours or more to Sapporo.

I lived in Seattle, Washington for 7 years and winters there were only as cold as the freezing point. I'm from Minnesota, so that didn't bother me as far as the temps go. I don't know how cold other parts of WA are, but I suspect you may not have warm enough clothing overall unless you did some skiing there and still have clothes. Yes, I definitely recommend good footwear, which includes not only boots but good socks. Long underwear will be a must.
 

Buntaro

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That might be very fun for my 8-year-old to experience. Any info on this?
I have been to the ski area in Japan called Shiga Kogen. (I remember the bunny run there fondly.)


This ski area is close to Tokyo. Are you interested in an ski area near Tokyo, or are you more inclined to go somewhere in Hokkaido/Tohoku?
 
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salyavin

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Unzen does get some snow but I think he needs to go farther north for heavier snow to show his family. I have to admit I am happy Hiroyuki likes Unzen as that is near my old stomping grounds and I married a person from Nagasaki prefecture so I have a number of family and connections there. I also still have the president obama towels and stuff from obama onsen during Obama's presidency.
 

Davey

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So did you leave the island this winter?
 

Amir77

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All these posts make me wanna go to Japan… :( I’m thinking of a trip somewhere near Narita Airport. But If I could, I can make my trip be more than a week so I could experience more. What’s the best spot for somewhere near the cities but is still in touch with nature and culture? Don’t worry about health, won't be travelling this year
 

mdchachi

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All these posts make me wanna go to Japan… :( I’m thinking of a trip somewhere near Narita Airport. But If I could, I can make my trip be more than a week so I could experience more. What’s the best spot for somewhere near the cities but is still in touch with nature and culture? Don’t worry about health, won't be travelling this year
You can see plenty — both urban and scenic/countryside — by sticking near to Tokyo. From Tokyo, Nikko and Kamakura are easily accessible.

Actually Osaka and Kyoto and even Hiroshima are also easily accessible if you get a rail pass.
 

Lothor

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All these posts make me wanna go to Japan… :( I’m thinking of a trip somewhere near Narita Airport. But If I could, I can make my trip be more than a week so I could experience more. What’s the best spot for somewhere near the cities but is still in touch with nature and culture? Don’t worry about health, won't be travelling this year
How about basing yourself in Tokyo and doing day trips out to Nikko, Kamakura and Hakone?
 

Petaris

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You should get a rail pass and see as much as you can. Just remember you have to buy it before you arrive in Japan!
 

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