What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Question Japan tour advice

Arch

後輩
Joined
28 Jul 2003
Messages
473
Reaction score
11
Hi all, I'm planning on going to japan next year I am just wondering which do you think is the best tour I should go for. I will be with a few people. I also don't want it over expensive, as I'm not a very rich man.

I want to see some old japan but also want to see modern japan. Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo is a must in the holidays. My budget is USD1500. The tours below don't count for the flight as well so it adds another USD450 on top. The money is in British pounds and American dollars, anyone tips and advice would be apprised.

First one is spring tour 2004, 9 days, but I'm not sure what Kamakura and Nara are like? I know they have a lot of old temples and other monuments. If this is the one I choose, I would go to japan early and spent 2 days in Tokyo before the tour starts as it is only 9 days.

http://www.insidejapantours.com/tokaido2004.html

Or this one, but is a bit more expensive >< I'd be hard pushed for this.

http://www.insidejapantours.com/rising_itinerary2.html

Anyways any help would be appreciated.

Thank you
 

ghettocities

後輩
Joined
16 Jun 2002
Messages
800
Reaction score
13
Why don't you go without a tour? 1. It will save you money and 2. I'll always remember how much fun it was when I got lost and couldn't speak Japanese when I first went over there. I thought it was fun (more so than having a guide direct me -- but I haven't done the tour guide thing yet, so it's just my own assumption,)

Josh
 

jbm1x

Kouhai
Joined
5 Aug 2003
Messages
23
Reaction score
0
I agree with Josh atleast spend some time by yourself, when I went last spring it was almost all tours and stuff but the most fun I had was just lookin around by myself an trying to talk to people.
 

Arch

後輩
Joined
28 Jul 2003
Messages
473
Reaction score
11
Yes maybe you are right, it probably would save a bit of money. I also do know a bit of Japanese =D If I get lost, I should be ok. If I wanted to travel around japan a bit tho, I'd like to get a japan rail pass. I heard you can get them from jnto? Their website tells you about them I have heard?

When I go to university, I will study Japanese can in my 2nd year I get to study there for a year. Should be fair, I didn't realise these courses were actually available in the UK.
 

ghettocities

後輩
Joined
16 Jun 2002
Messages
800
Reaction score
13
Yeah, I didn't buy a rail pass during any of the times I've ever been to Japan but that's because I wanted to live like the locals so to say, I didn't want to act like such a tourist or a sightseer because I had wanted to go to Japan for so long (before first going,) that I felt as if I wanted to be accepted into it all more than being seen as someone who was going to buy a Japanese t-shirt from the airport, turn back around and take the next flight home,, heh it's hard to describe my logic, if you could describe it at that.

Josh
 

den4

先輩
Joined
15 Nov 2002
Messages
1,799
Reaction score
58
Yeah, Josh's ideas are sound...

Note: if you hate the humidity and heat, then avoid the August month....but if you want to see all them fireworks and festivals, then August is the month....or July...to catch the major ones....
 

ghettocities

後輩
Joined
16 Jun 2002
Messages
800
Reaction score
13
Yeah I had never really experienced 'bad-humidity' until I stepped off the airplane at Narita this year on the 25th of June. I think out of all the time in the year (if you had open-options to pick,) that the best time would be to travel November - Jan , It's after rainy season, it's cold but not freezing, it's dry, no snow until possibly late December and more people are smiling and happy since it's so close to the new year (which is celebrated in Japan unlike any other,)

Josh
 

Arch

後輩
Joined
28 Jul 2003
Messages
473
Reaction score
11
Originally posted by ghettocities
Yeah, I didn't buy a rail pass during any of the times I've ever been to Japan but that's because I wanted to live like the locals so to say, I didn't want to act like such a tourist or a sightseer because I had wanted to go to Japan for so long (before first going,) that I felt as if I wanted to be accepted into it all more than being seen as someone who was going to buy a Japanese t-shirt from the airport, turn back around and take the next flight home,, heh it's hard to describe my logic, if you could describe it at that.

Josh

I see where you coming from, i will in a few years intend to work in japan and live there. But i feel i should go on a tour just to get more of a feel what it is like. So only best optition is to have a tour or just stay in tokyo and go a few places like osaka and kyoto.
 

Arch

後輩
Joined
28 Jul 2003
Messages
473
Reaction score
11
how many times you been to japan geo?
 

teardrop

Kouhai
Joined
28 Jul 2003
Messages
76
Reaction score
0
Hi Arch,
perhaps this post will also be of help to u in case u have not checked it out yet.
by the way, i would not recommend u to get a rail pass unless u are planning to travel to Osaka and Kyoto on the JR trains. I had took the advice of my Japanese friend and saved some money and time taking a overnight bus to Osaka from Ashikaga. It's a long journey but willl save u time and money. If however u are still thinking of getting those pass, i believe they are only available for sale outside Japan. Check with any of the travel agencies in your country. They should have all the information on that.
I'm supportive of Josh's idea too.Go without a tour!!! Don't just stay in Tokyo. Venture out to other perfectures as well. If you really want to go to Kyoto, the cheapest way is by the bus, which costs about 4500 yen and takes around 10 hours from Tokyo station. Kyoto is sure the place to stop by if u want a look of the old Japan. Otherwise, Ashikaga, which is about 2 hours train ride away from Asakusa might provide a little glimpse of old Japan as the oldest school in Japan can be found there...
 

Arch

後輩
Joined
28 Jul 2003
Messages
473
Reaction score
11
Thanks alot teardrop =D some good information.
 

Sgt. Wang

Sempai
Joined
9 May 2003
Messages
220
Reaction score
0
And you should most definitely see Mt. Fuji. Fuji-san is one of the most beautiful, and breathtaking sites I have ever seen in my life. Too fun..............................

Oh and I'm all about wandering about aimlessly. You really see some of the lesser known places, and get to elaborate on the bigger sites.
 

kinjo

Sempai
Joined
15 Mar 2002
Messages
3,528
Reaction score
32
I agree - don't go with a tour. You'll get a lot more for your money if you organise the trip yourself.

Consider visiting Hokkaido! I'll show you around if you end up near Sapporo. The food is the best in Japan, and the hotels are real cheap!

Tiger
 

kaz

先輩
Joined
8 Aug 2003
Messages
74
Reaction score
0
organized tour

Tiger, my friend did SUNRISE Tour that starts from Kyoto to go to Nara, I think, and was really satisfied with the content. Sometimes organized tour gives you a good overview of what Kyoto and Nara can offer.
 

kaz

先輩
Joined
8 Aug 2003
Messages
74
Reaction score
0
About Mount Fuji, a view from the sky or from a shinkansen (bullet train) is great. Sometimes I see tourists sleeping while the shinkansen is passing by a gorgeous mountain. Last time I told Korean tourists about it while passing by Fuji-san and they really appreciated me telling them that. I think Japanese people, if they notice such a situation in shinkansen or plane, can remind tourists that.

It is a beautiful mountain. It's nothing like I have seen before.
 

budd

先輩
Joined
10 Jul 2003
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
18
a tour isn't bad... it's probably safer.
i know some people will say hoow safe it is over there...
but i'm unfortunately the type of person who gets drama wherever he go...
but i kind of agree with everything in this thread so far...
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
6 Mar 2003
Messages
3,601
Reaction score
1,088
I also suggest skipping the all-inclusive tour. Get a 7-day rail pass. Arrange transportation & lodging yourself. If you want to join individual city tours once you get there, you can. Take advantage of the Kyoto volunteer guides. Line up some people to meet in other cities via Internet -- either here or at places like virtualtourist.com. It will be more work this way but I guarantee you'll enjoy it more.
 

budd

先輩
Joined
10 Jul 2003
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
18
i got the seven day rail pass last time. it was okay i guess, but quite a bit of hassle to use it... that office in ueno didn't open until about an hour later than what was posted on the door.
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
6 Mar 2003
Messages
3,601
Reaction score
1,088
Originally posted by budd
i got the seven day rail pass last time. it was okay i guess, but quite a bit of hassle to use it... that office in ueno didn't open until about an hour later than what was posted on the door.

A lot of people make the mistake of converting the pass on the same day they first intend to use it. However you can convert it any time beforehand. So if your itinerary is fairly certain, I recommend changing it right at the airport or any other convenient time; they will stamp it with whatever start date you specify. Don't wait until 30 minutes before you plan to catch your first shinkansen.
 

Hanada Tattsu

Kouhai
Joined
12 Aug 2003
Messages
88
Reaction score
2
Go without a tour. Most of the time, tours overlook regular city life, they just go for the sights, I suggest you book a plane ticket for Nihon, and go by yourself, and tour yourself.

Go to Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Yokohama, and Nagoya if you want a taste of modern Japan. Go to Nara if you want ancient Japan, and go to Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kyoto, and Nagano if you want both.

Hope I helped.:D
 

budd

先輩
Joined
10 Jul 2003
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
18
"A lot of people make the mistake of converting the pass on the same day they first intend to use it."
how long does it last? only seven days right? it's named seven days, i was told it was only good for seven days, ie if i use it one day, then try to use it eight days later? does that not mean i'm jacked? what then?
"However you can convert it any time beforehand. So if your itinerary is fairly certain, I recommend changing it right at the airport or any other convenient time; they will stamp it with whatever start date you specify."
sounds like a tour to me...
"Don't wait until 30 minutes before you plan to catch your first shinkansen."
all good to hear that now, but it didn't help me then. and neither did it help the dozens of other people (some were Japanese also) who were in line for the same reason. not to mention the troubles i had at arriving/departing gates with the thing.
how would i know? i bet a tour guide would have...
 

Arch

後輩
Joined
28 Jul 2003
Messages
473
Reaction score
11
Thanks alot for the information guys a big help =D, i will now not be going on a tour, and visit by my self , it will be more of an experience. =D

Thanks agian all!
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
6 Mar 2003
Messages
3,601
Reaction score
1,088
> how long does it last? only seven days right? it's named seven days,
> i was told it was only good for seven days, ie if i use it one day, then try to use it eight days later?
> does that not mean i'm jacked? what then?

Right, 7 consecutive days for the 7-day pass. The days have to be consecutive.

>> However you can convert it any time beforehand. So if your itinerary is fairly certain,
>> I recommend changing it right at the airport or any other convenient time;
>> they will stamp it with whatever start date you specify."
> sounds like a tour to me...

I don't follow your logic. Just because I happen to know which 7 days I will want to use the pass doesn't mean I am on a tour. It does mean that I know which days I will be doing most of my traveling.

> all good to hear that now, but it didn't help me then. and neither did it help the dozens of other people
> (some were Japanese also) who were in line for the same reason.

I can say with 99.9% certainty that the Japanese weren't there in order to get a rail pass. They were there for other reasons (like buying train tickets). Anyway, the one-time problem at the Ueno office has little bearing on how convenient (or not) the rail pass is. You would have had the same problem even if you were in line to buy a normal ticket.

> not to mention the troubles i had at arriving/departing gates with the thing.
> how would i know? i bet a tour guide would have...

How would you know? You would have posted questions about your trip at japanreference.com and one of us would have told you! ;) In my case I didn't realize it the first time I bought a rail pass either but I knew for subsequent times. I learned by experience. A tour guide probably would have been able to help. True indeed. In my opinion it isn't worth spending $1000 to $2000 for a little less hassle and greater inflexibility to my schedule. Other people feel tours are worth it. There's no right or wrong.
 

kaz

先輩
Joined
8 Aug 2003
Messages
74
Reaction score
0
I had a nightmare converting my railway pass token into a real token. I waited about 40 minutes at a long line at Tokyo station. It was during the rush hour and it turned out to be a wrong line. From there I had to really walk a lot to get to the real place. It was not very easy.

I'd think doing it at Narita airport would have been a lot easier--in retrospect.
 

budd

先輩
Joined
10 Jul 2003
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
18
"How would you know? You would have posted questions about your trip at japanreference.com and one of us would have told you!"
i didn't know about this forum UNTIL THE DAY I REGISTERED. HOW can i post a question IF I DON'T KNOW WHERE/WHEN IT WOULD BE ANSWERED?

"In my case I didn't realize it the first time I bought a rail pass either but I knew for subsequent times. I learned by experience."
well duh. but i'm not doing it any more... it's a circus.
i stepped off of the train in shizuoka to call a friend and it took two hours to get back on! the people at the gates/ticket counters don't what to do with those things either!

"A tour guide probably would have been able to help. True indeed. In my opinion it isn't worth spending $1000 to $2000 for a little less hassle and greater inflexibility to my schedule."
it is for me. i've been six times on my own and enjoyed it (relatively), but a tour is not out of the question.

"Other people feel tours are worth it. There's no right or wrong."
i never said it was/wasn't.

"I had a nightmare converting my railway pass token into a real token. I waited about 40 minutes at a long line at Tokyo station. It was during the rush hour and it turned out to be a wrong line. From there I had to really walk a lot to get to the real place. It was not very easy."
ditto. plus i almost didn't make it to the hotel that night. i'm standing on a platform in i don't know where wondering if if ANY train is gonna pick me up to take me ANYWHERE at 11:45...
 
Top Bottom