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First trip questions 2019/3/13 15:26
So I had a perfect storm moment, and now I'm going to Japan May 15-28! Surprise, really excited. But of course with that comes lots of questions, and only limited time to plan a lot. So let's try and dive in.

I'm planning, for now, to stick around Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo. I'm sure there's plenty of other awesome places to go, but realistically I don't think I'll have time to deviate a whole lot. I do wonder though, is there any worthwhile stops between Kyoto and Tokyo? I've not heard much, but I'm wondering if there's a decent hot spring or something between them. Also, do you have to reserve spots on the railway? I see some things about reserving seats, but then it doesn't seem you really need to, especially as I'm traveling solo. And the 7 day pass - sounds like for the most part, not worth it (unless apparently I want to hit Hiroshima, should I be wanting to hit Hiroshima?). So maybe don't buy?

What's the weather like in late May? Like, should I bring a decent jacket, or will a light one do? Can I plan on hikes, or is it already too warm?

Sumo wrestling match. Worth it? No? What about "normal" Japanese wrestling matches? I've seen the youtube clips, just saying. Anyone go to see the Rockabilly Gangs in Tokyo? Also I feel like I've seen pictures of amazing arcades in Japan - how for real are those? What about some awesome dumplings or sushi?

Any other general advice is probably appreciated. I've been looking into a data sim card, but if anyone has specific experiences, that'd be nice. Also any hostel recommendations. in any of the aforementioned cities. Thanks.
by dancside  

Re: First trip questions 2019/3/13 15:49
Two weeks and you just want to hit Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka? That is one of the least rushed itinerary asked to review. It depends on how active you are, but you can do a lot more. There is nothing wrong with slower and more in depth tour, donft get me wrong.

Study this itinerary for reference. https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2400_best.html
by Motto (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: First trip questions 2019/3/13 15:51
Hi Dancside

If you are just heading from Tokyo to Kyoto and return, a JR pass won't be worth it. You might get value out of a pass if you add Hiroshima. Otherwise, these tickets are good, and you can incorporate accommodation as well:

What you should see really depends what you are interested in. Are you a fast or slow paced tourist? Do you like big cities or the countryside? Museums/temples/hiking? This site has a lot of information and suggested itineraries.

We did an 11 or so day first trip and found Tokyo/Kyoto/Tokyo enough.

The weather should be warm by then, particularly if you are going south.

You won't be able to miss amazing arcades, and there is so much food!

Enjoy your trip.
by Who? (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: First trip questions 2019/3/13 15:56
Congrats on the plane ticket. Let me try some answers:
- May weather : itfs one of the best seasons in the year. A very light jacket should be all you need. But itfs already like summerly warm w/o being hot.
- seat reservation: most people will say you should get a reserved seat on the Shinkansen, I personally prefer unreserved not for the money (my company pays) but for the ease. Just show up at the Shinkansen station anytime you want and get on the next train. No rushing , no waiting. I only get reservations in golden week (not your time period) and for the last (or nearly last) train of the day. This is advice for solo travelers. I know many other forum experts will disagree.
- if JR pass pays off or not depends on your itinerary. I personally wouldnft get it for Tokyo -Osaka- Tokyo only because of the attached strings that you canft takr Nozomi Shinkansen (most frequent and fastest) and money wise for this distance only it doesnft make a lot of difference
- onsen: Hakone or Izu peninsula come to mind. Also Arima onsen could be an option. Out of those 3 my preference would be Izu.
- places between Kyoto and Tokyo: Hikone, Nagoya, Kamakura, Enoshima, Yokohama, Hakone

I think limiting yourself to Tokyo and Kansai area for this trip makes sense, so you can see both areas with some dedication.

I canft say anything about arcades (actually I have no idea what that actually is) and if you had other questions I donft remember them anymore.

Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: First trip questions 2019/3/13 16:04
Sorry forgot:
-Nara,Uji and inner Nara Prefecture for places to visit. Potentially if you have the time also Ise.
- I am a slow traveler so for me it doesnft seem youfll go to too few places. I capsule (and actually will) stay a week in inner Nara Prefecture alone w/o going to Nara itself, where I have already been and could easily spend 3 days. So it is really up to you.

-Sumo: if you mean the May tournament in Tokyo , for sure itfs an experience but you need to get your tickets as soon as presale opens. I tried a few years back for Tokyo (but was limited to weekends) and it was impossible because website broke down and phone was unreachable. By the time (30 min after presale had opened) I got to a conbini no tickets were left for weekends. If you can go on a weekday tour chances might be slightly higher.
- gnormal Japanese wrestlingh not sure what that is. But I am not into sports (apart from football)
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: First trip questions 2019/3/13 19:20
Hi. May is one of the nicest times to go, though it can be getting quite hot toward the end of May/beginning of June. Unless you are going into the mountains (which you arent) the lightest jacket you have should be fine, I wouldnt take one at all and would just take a jumper.

I appreciate that you dont want to go off the Tokyo/Kyoto route, but if you manage to get out to Bessho Onsen (not far from Tokyo - shinkansen to Ueda and a little train to Bessho) you should get sakura even in the third week of May, and it is a nice little onsen town with pretty cheap accomodation. Nice for a night away. We stayed at Uematsuya which caters to foreigners really well.

Another option is to stop at Maibara (shinkansen stop before Kyoto) and catch a short train or taxi to Hikone. Hikone (not Hakone) is on Lake Biwa and has a great little original castle. If you want to try an onsen, the ryokans there have some. We last stayed at Hikone Castle Spa Resort, which was really nice (not really a resort, more a nice modern hotel with onsen in it). We have also stayed at Futabaso that was very nice.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

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