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Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

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  • [Question] Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

    Hi all! I've read some of the advice threads on here, so I think I know how much time I want to spend at the Disney parks. I'm thinking about three weeks in total for the trip in mid-October.

    So far I've got a per-day plan of:
    1) Ueno Zoo (is this any good? I've heard from an American friend who vacationed there that it sucked)
    2) Osaka Aquarium
    3) Disneyland
    4) Disneyland
    5) DisneySea
    6) Odaiba island
    7) Shibuya
    8) National Museum of Science & Nature
    9) Tokyo Museum (I forget the actual name- the big museum of their history)
    10) Akihabara

    Days 11-21 I'm undecided about. I could do an extra Disney day if I haven't seen enough in the three. Can you get Park Hoppers there? I might take some day trips to other cities (Kyoto, Osaka). And naturally, most of the stuff closing at 5 allows me to travel around the city a bit more.

    For Hotels, I'm thinking of one of the ones close to Ueno, as it's close to the subway stations and some of the stuff I wanted to see.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

    Don't waste your time at zoo's and museums. See the real Japan!

    You should go to Asakusa, Ginza and Shinjuku.

    Harajuku is a full day. Start at Harajuku station. Visit the park and the temple next to it. Walk Takeshi ta dori to where it ends, cross the big street and then continue on to Harajuku street and go through the nice small shopping streets towards Shibuya.

    Shinjuku has a nice park, bring some food!

    Asakusa has the most famous temple in Japan and it is very close to to the skytree. Go to the marketplace near the shines and buy some Japanese snacks.

    Ginza is a nice walkthrough.

    If you like animals in cages you don't have to go all the way to Japan to see that.

    4 days at Disney? I have never been more than 2 days and that has always been enough.
    Use that forth Disney day at the Ghibli Museum. Now that is a nice museum.
    Last edited by TimmyTimmyTimmy; 06-16-2015, 11:41 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

      Originally posted by Jabroniville View Post
      Hi all! I've read some of the advice threads on here, so I think I know how much time I want to spend at the Disney parks. I'm thinking about three weeks in total for the trip in mid-October.

      So far I've got a per-day plan of:
      1) Ueno Zoo (is this any good? I've heard from an American friend who vacationed there that it sucked)
      2) Osaka Aquarium
      3) Disneyland
      4) Disneyland
      5) DisneySea
      6) Odaiba island
      7) Shibuya
      8) National Museum of Science & Nature
      9) Tokyo Museum (I forget the actual name- the big museum of their history)
      10) Akihabara

      Days 11-21 I'm undecided about. I could do an extra Disney day if I haven't seen enough in the three. Can you get Park Hoppers there? I might take some day trips to other cities (Kyoto, Osaka). And naturally, most of the stuff closing at 5 allows me to travel around the city a bit more.

      For Hotels, I'm thinking of one of the ones close to Ueno, as it's close to the subway stations and some of the stuff I wanted to see.

      Any advice would be appreciated.
      If its your first time at TDR, then yes go for 4 days! It'd be worth it! If you are planning to go to Osaka and like theme parks and anime. Universal is the way to go
      sigpic

      Aug 2003: Walt Disney World
      Sept 2010 - May 2014: Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure
      Sept 2013: Disney Cruise Line Dream
      Sept 2013: Walt Disney World
      Jan 2014: Hong Kong Disneyland
      May 2014: Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo Disneysea
      July 2014: Disney Cruise Line Fantasy
      July 2014 - Current: WDW
      December 2014: Disneyland Paris
      May 2015 - July 2015 Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure
      May 2015 - Hong Kong Disneyland
      June 2015 - Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo Disneysea
      September 2015 - Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo Disneysea
      December 2015 - Disneyland Paris

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      • #4
        Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

        Hi,

        Great that you are planning a Japan trip!! We loved Japan, been there twice.
        I would really advice you to not only stay in Tokyo but stay at other cities like Kyoto, Osaka or Hiroshima. You can fly to Osaka, buy a Japan rail pass online and take the awesome trains to Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nara and then go to Tokyo, you can also do it the other way around. Especially if you have three weeks this could work out great. Consider visiting Nikko national park north of Tokyo for the fantastic temples and waterfalls, just beautiful in October.
        I would recommend doing both Disney parks for 2 days, total of 4 days. You have the time so indulge. When you buy tickets at TDR, let's say a 4 day ticket, the first 2 days you have to dedicate to 1 of the 2 parks. On day 3 to 4 you are allowed to park-hop.
        In Tokyo we loved staying in Ginza at the Monterey hotel. We have been to the Zoo and it is a nice diversion, we really wanted to see the pandas, but it is nothing to get carried away about. Harajuku, Shinjuku and Shibuya are awesome! Like Timmy said, go to Take****a street!!! Asakusa is the oldest part of Tokyo and the Senso-Ji temple is great for a visit. Kamakura is also worth a visit, it is a short train ride (1 hour) from Tokyo station.
        Kyoto is enchanting as a city, soo much to see and Hiroshima was impressive because of the memorial park. Nara has great temples and a beautiful park with lots of free roaming deer. Miyajima Island is also nice, you can visit this island from nearby Hiroshima.

        You have a lot of things to consider but if you ask me don't spend 3 weeks in Tokyo. If you want to see other parts of Japan and have the money to spend it is better to take the train and stay in a couple of different places. Japan is really a safe, friendly and easy peasy place for traveling.
        Good luck!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

          Wow- some quick responses! Thanks! I should add that I'm travelling alone, which makes some things easier.

          I was planning on taking day trips to some other cities (a lot of people I talk to online basically recommend leaving Tokyo whenever possible- I think a lot of people are overwhelmed by it)- is it easy to carry all your luggage and everything on those trains if I was to switch hotels? I was considering taking day trips instead, because that would involve less planning than booking numerous hotel stays- how many days would you recommend for each city?

          Asakusa Temple! I've totally been there! I was actually wondering what that place was- thanks for getting me to look it up! I'll have to check it out again!

          (oh yeah- I've been to Japan before- when I was 16 or so for a 2-week School Trip. I should have mentioned that- I'm a tiny bit familiar with the place)

          Yeah, I'll do four days at the Disney Parks then- thanks. You know what's odd? I went to TDL last time I was there... and I remember almost nothing about it! I know I went on Haunted Mansion & Roger Rabbit... but not anything else. Some guidemap I have from my time there shows that it was full of A-E Tickets- I wonder if I had a limited supply. My only really strong memory is going there is getting the order screwed up at one of the restaurants, and my friend & I acting like crappy immature tourists over it (if I recall correctly, we underpaid and left before the waitress got back).

          I'm a big fan of museums & zoos, so I still like to check those out. I can skip Ueno Zoo, though. After seeing San Diego Zoo, I'm kind of spoiled on them!

          How good is Universal Japan? I didn't even realize they HAD one until I checked out some online tourist guide and just happened to see the name.

          oh, I'm a huge dork (hence me wanting to go to Akihabara), so keep that in mind with recommendations . I might see the Ghibli Museum (and its weird way of travelling there).
          Last edited by Jabroniville; 06-17-2015, 02:08 AM.

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          • #6
            Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

            Hi,

            Oh it is so easy taking luggage on the shinkansen trains, no hassle at all!
            Making day trips to let's say Kyoto from Tokyo is possible but I wouldn't recommend it because of the long distances and the long hours you spend in the trains going back and forth.
            If you are used to San Diego Zoo I wouldn't visit the Tokyo Zoo. But I can understand if you want to visit, we are also animal lovers:blush:

            In the city of tokyo we stayed for 4 nights (TDR not included, and this was our second trip), a daytrip to Kamakura was also included.
            Kyoto: I would recommend at least 3 nights, you can visit Nara from here (hotel Monterey Kyoto is very nice!!)
            Hiroshima for 2 nights and Nikko also 2 nights.
            We have never been to Osaka or Universal so I can't comment on that.
            Yesterday my wife and I discussed going back to Japan in October and starting our trip in Osaka to visit the city, Universal and also visit the White Heron castle in Himeji.

            Have fun planning and figuring things out!!!:yea:

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            • #7
              Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

              Universal is OK. Harry Potter is good but very crowded, the rest of the park is a bit dated. It's similar to Orlando's parks if you've been there.

              Like others have said I'd urge you to explore Japan beyond Tokyo. Get a JR. pass and travel around - use hyperdia for plotting the train times and go exploring. Depending on where you will be Kyoto is a must but also think about Hiroshima or Himeji which has a fantastic castle you will know from any samurai movie!

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              • #8
                Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                I LOVE Ueno Zoo. Maybe it's because I've never been to another zoo that had pandas before so I associate it with that, but I've been several times and really enjoy it. It's got some really beautiful, natural looking habitats. The crocodile tank is especially fun because the water is at eye level and it likes to jump in the water and stare down everyone that comes up to the glass. Ueno park and Ameyoko street are also must-sees while you're in the area. I highly recommend it.

                Are you planning a day trip to Osaka just for the aquarium? If you're basing your trip in Tokyo, I would advise day trips to either Kamakura, Nikko, or Hakone. They're closer so you'll have more time to see things, plus I find them more fascinating than Osaka, honestly. I've lived there and it isn't my favorite city.

                Shibuya, Akihabara, and Odaiba are great indeed, but as others suggested, don't miss out on Harajuku, Asakusa and Shinjuku. I also LOVE Shimokitazawa.

                And don't let people dissuade you from going to museums just because of their personal preferences. There are stellar museums all over Japan, especially the two you've listed and if you like museums, you should go or you'll regret it.

                Asakusa has the most famous temple in Japan and it is very close to to the skytree.
                Senso-ji is maybe the most famous temple in Tokyo, but it's hardly even notable when it comes to Buddhist temples throughout Japan. If you're really out to see temples, you need to go to Nara's Horyuji (world's oldest wooden structure) or Todaiji (world's largest wooden structure and largest indoor Buddha) or Kyoto's Kinkakuji (golden pavilion).


                Last edited by DisneySeaFan; 06-18-2015, 02:31 PM.

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                • #9
                  Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                  Here's my two cents on Tokyo and the Disney Resort

                  1) If you're flying into Narita, there's a JR Tourist Pass you can purchase. This includes Round trip from Narita via the Narita Express. Not sure if it is only to Tokyo Station or not, you'll need to double check. This card also comes loaded with I believe 2000 yen ($20) of credit. You'll need to purchase it though when you land at Narita, as it is only for tourists. Pretty good deal, but the only caveat is Japan is a little hard to find your way at first. With limo bus, when they drop you off there's usually someone at your stop who can assist.

                  2) 4 days would be perfect at Tokyo Disney Resort. Or, if 3 is all you can do, spend more time at DisneySea. Truly one of the most beautiful parks Disney has ever done.

                  3) Buying your tickets online vs at the park depends. If you're like me and like to collect physical tickets as keepsakes, purchasing at the parks is fine. Online is also easy, and you bypass the HUGE lines at the ticket booth.

                  4) Not a lot of English speaking cast members, although there is a welcome center which has a dedicated set of English speakers. But once you're in the park it's not too bad. Everything is written in Japanese and English

                  5) Get there EARLY, and get fastpasses to the rides you want to really go on. My recommendations are Pooh's Hunny Hunt at Disneyland and Journey to the Center of the Earth at Disneysea.

                  6) Here's a cultural tidbit I found only in the Japan parks. For the parades and outdoor performances, it is expected that everyone sits down on the ground. Also, no umbrellas or other objects that would obstruct from other people's view. This is totally different from the other parks, where people are not as considerate. Also, if you're sitting down for an outdoor performance with no dedicated chairs (i.e. Legend of Mythica), do not leave until the show ends, or skip the show altogether. My wife and I made a mistake of leaving to go on a ride mid-show, and it was considered rude because we were blocking the view of those around us.

                  7) If you're into souvenirs, be aware that most of the Tokyo stuff is character based. That is, you won't really find that many things that say "Tokyo Disneyland/Sea". Japanese are more into the characters than park branding

                  8) Try all the different kinds of popcorn flavors

                  9) Money - Try to have as much of your money exchanged to yen before you land. Preferably, get them exchanged at your local bank or AAA if you have it. Or, if you have a card you can use internationally (i.e. citicard), try to find all the withdrawal locations near your hotel.

                  Enjoy your trip!
                  Last edited by 14 MPH; 06-18-2015, 10:27 AM.


                  Disneyland - 1982 to Present
                  Walt Disney World - 1996, 2011
                  Tokyo Disney Resort - 2013
                  Hong Kong Disneyland - 2013


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                  • #10
                    Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                    couple of tips, not mentioned yet.
                    • Get traveler's checks in yen, not in dollars. Many more places accept them in yen and are much safer than carrying cash
                    • Plus system ATMs in post offices; "combini" stores have ATMs as well.
                    • Buy your JR Rail passes and Ghibli Museum English tour passes before you go there. You can only get Japanese tour passes in Japan (go to a "combini" store; 7-11s)

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                    • #11
                      Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                      By "dork" do you mean you like anime and manga? How I respond to your post will depend on that answer. And if your answer is "yes", what do you like/collect most of...things like doujinshi, or figures? More shoujo-ish, or shounen-ish? I ask because I can help you learn how to navigate events that you'll love.

                      My husband and I have been 4 times, and we're going back in February- we're anime fans as much as Disney fans, so through a lot of trail and error, we've found some cool stuff (some of which has already been mentioned).

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                      • #12
                        Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                        OK, thanks for the responses!

                        I LOVE Ueno Zoo. Maybe it's because I've never been to another zoo that had pandas before so I associate it with that, but I've been several times and really enjoy it. It's got some really beautiful, natural looking habitats. The crocodile tank is especially fun because the water is at eye level and it likes to jump in the water and stare down everyone that comes up to the glass. Ueno park and Ameyoko street are also must-sees while you're in the area. I highly recommend it.

                        Are you planning a day trip to Osaka just for the aquarium? If you're basing your trip in Tokyo, I would advise day trips to either Kamakura, Nikko, or Hakone. They're closer so you'll have more time to see things, plus I find them more fascinating than Osaka, honestly. I've lived there and it isn't my favorite city.

                        Shibuya, Akihabara, and Odaiba are great indeed, but as others suggested, don't miss out on Harajuku, Asakusa and Shinjuku. I also LOVE Shimokitazawa.

                        And don't let people dissuade you from going to museums just because of their personal preferences. There are stellar museums all over Japan, especially the two you've listed and if you like museums, you should go or you'll regret it.
                        I hear a lot of names, but I don't know what they all mean . What's so great about those regions? What do they have to offer? I want to see lots of what Tokyo has to offer, but I want to narrow it down.

                        I was planning on staying in Toyko as "base camp" and making day trips, but the suggestions of others (not just here- a few others I know have said the same) have led me to think I should just stay 10-12 days in Tokyo, and spend a couple days each in some other areas. I'll probably stay in Osaka for the Aquarium, and possibly their Universal Studios park.

                        Thanks for the tip on museums- I guess some people just really aren't into that kind of stuff.

                        14MPH: Thanks for the park advice- I figure four days should about do it, then. And I generally try to arrive early to the parks in any case- I ride all the "Must See" stuff good and early, and then I can sightsee or re-do rides for the rest, with no pressure!

                        Is the Japan Rail Pass worth doing for the full three weeks, or could I get away with just the two-week version and then do the rest? How expensive IS it to get around for a week in Japan? All the travel guides basically tell you in no uncertain terms to buy one before arriving and to not even both with the tolls.

                        By "dork" do you mean you like anime and manga? How I respond to your post will depend on that answer. And if your answer is "yes", what do you like/collect most of...things like doujinshi, or figures? More shoujo-ish, or shounen-ish? I ask because I can help you learn how to navigate events that you'll love.

                        My husband and I have been 4 times, and we're going back in February- we're anime fans as much as Disney fans, so through a lot of trail and error, we've found some cool stuff (some of which has already been mentioned).
                        I used to love manga & anime a lot (I went on the school exchange almost entirely because I loved Sailor Moon and whatever anime I could get my hands on, which in 1998 wasn't a lot), but have kind of soured on a lot of it in recent years (it's really just as formulaic and bad as Western animation was). It's really hit or miss with me these days, but thankfully both Japan & Western animation can still hit great heights. I haven't seen any "recent" anime works, though. I'd be interested in what you're talking about- part of my trip involves checking out Akihabara for that kind of stuff (would that neighborhood be just a full-day thing, or would a thorough search involve numerous days?).

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                        • #13
                          Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                          You won't get robbed in Japan: carry cash (like the Japanese). Convert your money at Narita Airport: they have great rates.
                          Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                            I usually spend 5 days at the Tokyo Disney Resort.
                            Born in a shoebox and making the most of it.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                              Originally posted by Jabroniville View Post
                              OK, thanks for the responses!


                              I hear a lot of names, but I don't know what they all mean . What's so great about those regions? What do they have to offer? I want to see lots of what Tokyo has to offer, but I want to narrow it down.
                              This link: japan-guide.com - Japan Travel and Living Guide can give you some details about the places I mentioned.

                              Essentially, Kamakura is a former capital of Japan with lots of temples and pretty beaches. Its most famous landmark is a large outdoor Buddha.

                              Nikko is the burial site of important historical figure Tokugawa Ieyasu and its spectacular.

                              Hakone is a hot spring resort town with beautiful lake views of Mt. Fuji.

                              Harajuku is home to Japanese cos-play and lollita fashion and it has become iconic even in western pop-culture. It's a must-see in Tokyo even if you just walk Take****a Street.

                              Asakusa is home to Senso-ji, the most ornate Buddhist temple Tokyo has to offer.

                              Shimokitazawa is hipster paradise. Thrift stores, narrow streets, cat-cafes, and coffee shops everywhere you look.

                              Shinjuku is home to the world's busiest train station. It's in many ways the "hub" of Tokyo and is a great place to experience the hustle and bustle that Tokyo is famous for.

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                              • #16
                                Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                                Originally posted by Fukai View Post
                                You won't get robbed in Japan: carry cash (like the Japanese). Convert your money at Narita Airport: they have great rates.
                                Safest city on earth.

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                                • #17
                                  Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                                  If you plan your holiday right you don't need a rail pass for the whole time but it saves a lot if you plan to travel the country by shinkansen (the bullet train). Although you can use it in Tokyo for the JR lines it's really more economical for longer trips. When I've been to Japan I've stayed locally in Tokyo then activated my pass and done big day trips, traveling around getting back to Tokyo or TDR when it runs out. It's no use at TDR so try not to be paying for days when you're there if you get one

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                                  • #18
                                    Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                                    Yes, I recommend you have fun!!!:yea: Sounds like a nice trip. Would love to go to the Tokyo Resort someday!!

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                                    • #19
                                      Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                                      Originally posted by robbiem View Post
                                      If you plan your holiday right you don't need a rail pass for the whole time but it saves a lot if you plan to travel the country by shinkansen (the bullet train). Although you can use it in Tokyo for the JR lines it's really more economical for longer trips. When I've been to Japan I've stayed locally in Tokyo then activated my pass and done big day trips, traveling around getting back to Tokyo or TDR when it runs out. It's no use at TDR so try not to be paying for days when you're there if you get one
                                      Good tip! I've done that as well.

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                                      • #20
                                        Re: Planning a big Japan trip with some days at the Resorts- any recommendations?

                                        Me too.

                                        Save your local Tokyo sightseeing days and just pay the Y200(about $2.00) or so from place to place. Keep the rail pass for the long shinkansen trips.

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