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Planning First Trip to Japan.

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Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby Xuande » Sat 12.15.2007 3:34 am

Hopefully, I'll be going to Japan for the first time in the late spring but I haven't exactly made up any plans for the trip itself yet so I was hoping to get some advice from a few people here. First off, I don't know exactly where I want to go/stay. I don't think I want to stay directly in Tokyo but I would like to visit there during my trip so I was thinking maybe somewhere right outside of Tokyo or maybe even Kyoto.

Second, I'm not sure exactly what I want to do. I have a few places to visit in mind but I want to do more the 2 weeks that I'll be there so any suggestions on fun things to do would be nice. Third, I don't know exactly how much money I'll need for the trip. I don't need to stay anywhere fancy and I know that sometimes you can catch a good deal on plane tickets but I'm not really sure how much I should save up especially since I don't know what all I'll be doing.

Finally, I'm currently learning japanese and I don't know exactly how much grammar I do know and my vocabulary is kind of limited (but will continue to improve) but do you all think that it will be helpful on my trip there and will going there help to improve my japanese? Also, I'm not sure if I'll be going with anybody or not so do you all think that going by myself the first time would be bad? Sorry for asking so much, I meant it to be just a couple of questions but when I started thinking about it more I started to realize that I have practically no plans on what to do or where to stay when I get there.
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby NZJutsu » Sat 12.15.2007 3:51 am

Xuande wrote:
Hopefully, I'll be going to Japan for the first time in the late spring but I haven't exactly made up any plans for the trip itself yet so I was hoping to get some advice from a few people here. First off, I don't know exactly where I want to go/stay. I don't think I want to stay directly in Tokyo but I would like to visit there during my trip so I was thinking maybe somewhere right outside of Tokyo or maybe even Kyoto.


I would recommend Kyoto. Though it is a matter of personal preference. I tend to like smaller cities, so I don't find Tokyo particularly good. Kyoto has a lot of history and landmarks which are well-worth visiting.

Xuande wrote:
Finally, I'm currently learning japanese and I don't know exactly how much grammar I do know and my vocabulary is kind of limited (but will continue to improve) but do you all think that it will be helpful on my trip there and will going there help to improve my japanese? Also, I'm not sure if I'll be going with anybody or not so do you all think that going by myself the first time would be bad? Sorry for asking so much, I meant it to be just a couple of questions but when I started thinking about it more I started to realize that I have practically no plans on what to do or where to stay when I get there.


Well, for the first part, we can't tell you how useful it will be unless you tell us what level your Japanese is at the moment. Yes, it will definitely improve your Japanese as you will be essentially forced to use it. Personally, I think traveling alone is better if you wish to improve your Japanese, unless your companion speaks fluent Japanese, as you won't be able to rely on English as much.

But yeah, that's my 2 cents. :D
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby Xuande » Sat 12.15.2007 4:00 am

NZJutsu wrote:
Xuande wrote:
Finally, I'm currently learning japanese and I don't know exactly how much grammar I do know and my vocabulary is kind of limited (but will continue to improve) but do you all think that it will be helpful on my trip there and will going there help to improve my japanese? Also, I'm not sure if I'll be going with anybody or not so do you all think that going by myself the first time would be bad? Sorry for asking so much, I meant it to be just a couple of questions but when I started thinking about it more I started to realize that I have practically no plans on what to do or where to stay when I get there.


Well, for the first part, we can't tell you how useful it will be unless you tell us what level your Japanese is at the moment. Yes, it will definitely improve your Japanese as you will be essentially forced to use it. Personally, I think traveling alone is better if you wish to improve your Japanese, unless your companion speaks fluent Japanese, as you won't be able to rely on English as much.

But yeah, that's my 2 cents. :D


Well, I haven't even taken the JLPT4 yet and I don't know hardly any kanji (thats because I've been trying to focus more on grammar and vocabulary) but I don't think I'm a complete novice. Its hard to say exactly what level I'm at but I'm nearing the end of the Genki 1 textbook if that helps.
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby Ken Pro » Sat 12.15.2007 4:09 am

I was in Tokyo and Kyoto by myself for 3 weeks and got by on basic survival Japanese. My Japanese is much better now so I could probably hold a simple conversation when I go back next year. But I don't regret the first trip at all.

Where are you flying from?

You can get by on about $100 a day in Japan, unless you take cabs everywhere and drink a lot of coffee. And like to shop. Just walking around your first visit is stimulating enough.
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby NZJutsu » Sat 12.15.2007 4:20 am

Damn, that means I need $36,500 next year xD
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby Xuande » Sat 12.15.2007 4:30 am

Ken Pro wrote:
I was in Tokyo and Kyoto by myself for 3 weeks and got by on basic survival Japanese. My Japanese is much better now so I could probably hold a simple conversation when I go back next year. But I don't regret the first trip at all.

Where are you flying from?

You can get by on about $100 a day in Japan, unless you take cabs everywhere and drink a lot of coffee. And like to shop. Just walking around your first visit is stimulating enough.


I'm flying from Kentucky, US. I won't be taking any cabs but I'll probably do a little shopping. Does the $100 include staying at a hotel? Its good to know that I should be able to get by with my level of japanese though.
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby Orcrist » Sat 12.15.2007 6:56 am

Get informed about backpacker hostels. There should be plenty of them in Japan aswell, and getting a bed in a 4 to 8 man dorm is pretty cheap. 100 dollars a day is _a lot_. Read some backpacker guides how to keep yourself alive at a minimum cost and just walking around, eating/drinking and sleeping won't cost you anymore than 30 dollars a day. Try to get your hands on an up to date Lonely Planet if you really wanna travel around.
Ofcourse you have to decide for yourself by what means you want to get by. If you want to have fancy sushi everyday, a private room, and buy freaky electronics than it will add up very quickly.

My advice is that you first determine how much you can save up, than determine what exactly you want to do and is within your budget (with a few extra hundred dollars for unexpected situations).
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby beaker » Sat 12.15.2007 7:42 am

Hi.
My first post, probably should have inrotduced myself in the proper thread...

I visited Japan for a month in 2006. I was there over golden week (which I spent in Okinawa). I stayed in Shimonoseki, Fukuoka, Hiroshima and Tokyo. Had a fantastic time and managed to get by on very basic Japanese. I'd say that mastery of Katakana is most useful, I hardly knew any as I spent my time learning Hiragana to find that I was unable to read menus half the time lol.
My first night I was taken out for dinner by a business man and his wife who got chatting to me in the hotel bar, they bought me expensive drinks all night and Sashimi ! Thought this would be a one-off but I was wrong.
I used a mixture of Ryokans and Hostels for my lodgings. The hostel in Hiroshima is nice, no frills but for £10 ($20) a night... I really liked Hiroshima but only stayed there one night as I was on my way to Tokyo.
Tokyo is pretty intense for the first couple of days, so many people !! I stayed at Ryokan Kangestu for a week, cost me £140 (~$290) I got a bit frustrated at times with my inability to communicate fluently but the locals seemed pretty tolerant of me and my pocket phrasebook. In some cases rather than give me directions I was taken where I wanted to go which was rather useful.
I intend to go back next year for the sakura and stay for longer and see the north of Japan.
Get yourself a railpass and see as much as you can, bullet trains rule B).
Have a great time. !!

EDIT:
Oh and 100 dollars a day was pretty spot on for a budget estimate, I took £3000 (~$6000) and spent about half of it.
Last edited by beaker on Sat 12.15.2007 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 12.15.2007 10:49 am

If $100 a day includes hotel, that's not that bad. If you're talking about $100 + hotel that's pretty steep.
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby beaker » Sat 12.15.2007 11:33 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
If $100 a day includes hotel, that's not that bad. If you're talking about $100 + hotel that's pretty steep.


Yeah that was the average over the whole trip including all food, accomodation and travel. I had a Japan rail pass for two weeks which saved me a fair bit.
I Accidentally got on the Nozomi 1st class for half my trip to Hiroshima, pass is for shinkansen only but the attendant let me off at the next stop without paying B)
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby kayuu » Sat 12.15.2007 11:46 am

That's cool to know that you can get by on $100/day, I was asked the other day if I'd like to go with an old schoolfriend (who I haven't seen in three years, a nice surprise) in 2008/09 - but I imagined I'd need to save up thousands of £. From what I can see, the main costs would be the flight - I can't seem to find anything cheaper than £600 ($1200) from the UK (in comparison, I can fly to France for £30 :P).

Does anyone know any good budget airline services that go to Japan from the UK?
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby beaker » Sat 12.15.2007 12:14 pm

kayuu wrote:
That's cool to know that you can get by on $100/day, I was asked the other day if I'd like to go with an old schoolfriend (who I haven't seen in three years, a nice surprise) in 2008/09 - but I imagined I'd need to save up thousands of £. From what I can see, the main costs would be the flight - I can't seem to find anything cheaper than £600 ($1200) from the UK (in comparison, I can fly to France for £30 :P).

Does anyone know any good budget airline services that go to Japan from the UK?


lol france is 18 miles across the channel mate. I flew with JAL for a little under 600 it's an 11 hour flight they have TV's and nintendo games, food is decent enough.
If I can afford it next time I'm going out 1st or business class, being over 6 feet tall sucks when your on a plane.
I dont think you will find it under 550 I searched real hard when I went. Virgin and British Airways are extortionate I think JAL and ANA will be your best bet.
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby kayuu » Sat 12.15.2007 12:16 pm

1hr flight to France = £30, 11hr flight to Japan = £600

Despite the difference in distance, it's still a steep cost.

Thanks, though. I'll check out JAL.
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby Ken Pro » Sat 12.15.2007 6:54 pm

Xuande wrote:
I'm flying from Kentucky, US. I won't be taking any cabs but I'll probably do a little shopping. Does the $100 include staying at a hotel? Its good to know that I should be able to get by with my level of japanese though.


I flew from Boston to Tokyo and back (connecting in New York) for $785, including all fees and fuel taxes, using http://www.iace-usa.com. Check it out, they offer rates to/from Louisville.

And yes, the $100 budget/day would include hotel. But if you have minimal baggage you can rough it for less, especially in big cities. Cybercafes have relaxing leather-lined booths you can rent for the night for $20 or so. There are a lot of options for cheap lodging. In big cities they really cater to people who missed the last train or need a little private space for the night.
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RE: Planning First Trip to Japan.

Postby miaumiao » Sat 12.15.2007 7:27 pm

kayuu wrote:
Does anyone know any good budget airline services that go to Japan from the UK?


A quick search returned: cheapflights.co.uk.
I entered "from London to Tokyo" and was surprised to see prices ranging from about £450 to £600. Of course, you'd have to check it yourself for the exact date(s), but the price range already sounds promising (with return + charges).
Last edited by miaumiao on Sat 12.15.2007 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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