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8 night Feb trip (some advice on itinerary) 2019/10/18 06:34
Hi!

Background: This is not our first trip, daughter is on #5 I am on I forget which number. We got decent airfare during her February break so now we're going then. I've been to Japan in February before, she has not. Daughter is now 9, it's just the two of us and we do have dietary restrictions. We are probably going back for trip #6 in June-July.

Trip goals: I want to go to a rotemboro in the snow and do something I've not done before and possibly visit Mito for ume. (I've done it before, but if you want to do the big 3 gardens, Kairakuen really isn't as interesting outside ume season. This would give daughter 2 of 3.) Daughter wants to play in snow because we've moved to someplace that doesn't get snow, see school friend also coming to Japan when we are there, and shop.

We're currently planning to get the Nagano-Niigata 5 day Flex Pass and do:

Sunday February 16th late afternoon arrival , if kid doesn't want to just sleep maybe shop when we get to Tokyo (overnight in Tokyo) (Pass day 1 for NEX)
Monday February 17th See school friend in Tokyo for shopping (overnight in Tokyo)
Tuesday February 18th Possibly Mito? (Pass day 2 for Mito)
Wednesday February 19th do some shopping in Tokyo and then head to Nagano (overnight in Nagano or Shibu onsen or? Pass day 3)
Thursday February 20th Shiga Kogen (overnight Shibu onsen)
Friday February 21st snow monkeys then head back to Tokyo and do what we like in the afternoon (over night Tokyo Pass day 4)
Saturday Team LabBorderless and seeing a friend (overnight Tokyo)
Sunday possibly see friends or sightsee and shop in Tokyo or possibly go to Yokohama to see Camellias. (overnight Tokyo)
Monday Last minute shopping, take a 15:00~ NEX to airport and fly home Pass day 5.

I figure the trip to Nagano is going to run me about 16,000 yen and a round trip on the NEX even discounted is 4000 which takes me over the 17, 310 yen for the pass even if we don't make it to Mito.

So... would you do two days Shibu onsen and stay in the same place or change places or do one night in Nagano. or just come up directly from Tokyo the day we want to go to Shiga Kogen or should I be thinking about somewhere else like Karuizawa or even Kusatsu for the night before. I'm hoping everything regarding the monkeys will have recovered from the typhoon by that point since it's 4 months off. I've heard Karuizawa has skating which is something we both know how to do. We are more interested in sledding, possibly a snow mobile tour, than full on skiing, cause my one time skiing I sprained my ankle and daughter has never gone.

BTW for those curious, for trip #4 we did do ninja training and ended up going to the UK at the end of the Summer vs. doing a round the world ticket.

Thanks in advance,

by rkold  

Re: 8 night Feb trip (some advice on itinerary) 2019/10/18 14:48
I liked Shibu onsen. Itfs a nice village and when I went (also February) there were even monkeys in the village. So I personally would stay there 2 nights. The one limitation in Shibu Onsen might be food. I found a very nice Karaage shop, but I donft know if they do vegetarian as well.

I would also visit obuse on the way.

However you seem to be very much into shopping. So maybe delete one of the Tokyo shopping days for one in Karuizawa. Itfs a lovely, high class village. Quite different from other areas of Japan. I have only been once in summer, but I saw the ice skating lake which is in a nice Forrest and therefs an onsen just across the road.

The Onsen in Shibu onsen are all in doors (at least the semi public ones) and some are really hot. Like boiling...

Enjoy your trip in February!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 8 night Feb trip (some advice on itinerary) 2019/10/19 00:25
@LikeBike, I think Karuizawa is more high class shopping than we do. lol We do like to shop, but we tend to shop for very specific things My daughter and I both collect Licca (the Japanese fashion doll) and lately my daughter has started making her own dolls from Azone. There are a lot of used doll stores in Tokyo as well as Takara has a small doll exclusive store in Nihombashi for when you don't or can't make it out to Ononiimachi for their factory/larger retail space. We're probably going to go over the Summer to Ononiimachi since I'm unsure how accessible it is right now with all the flooding in Koriyama and Fukushima-ken, otherwise I would need to rent a car in Nasu-Shiobara since that is the furthest I can go with my pass and I don't think it is worth it to get the full JR Pass.

But I admit our last few trips I've only had 1 to 1.5 days to shop and it feels like a rush trying to get to all the different shops since some don't even open until noon. My daughter is also into Pokemon, so likes to go to the various Pokemon stores. I would also really like to have time to go to a few gardens and Team Borderless. I heard the gardens in Chizanso are famous for their camellias which should be in bloom. In Kyoto, we did a few craft activities and I think it would be fun to have time for that in Tokyo. I just really don't want this trip to be a huge rush. I think normally we do rather fast pace touring and I'd like a little more time this time to just enjoy.

I like hot, (I loved Hirayu) my daughter does not. I was planning to splurge and stay at Senjujaku for at least one night. They seem to have rotemboro and specifically say they will cater to vegetarians. There are a few places that have vegetarian food in Shibu Onsen, not including ryokan where you can pay for meals and get vegetarian. I was really surprised when I went to a lot of accommodation's webpages and they said they offer vegetarian options, it was very surprising. It makes Shibu osnen rather appealing.

I thought about Obuse, but I am unsure how much my kid would enjoy it.
by rkold rate this post as useful

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