Japan in summer

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davidsorensen32
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Japan in summer

Post by davidsorensen32 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:45 am

All, planning for a family summer vacation in Japan. Here is our tentative itinerary

*Tokyo - 4 nights
* Kyoto - 4 nights
* TBD (Osaka? / Buddhist monastery/ Hiroshima? Fuji ?) - 4 nights

Planning to get the japan rail pass soon.

Any tips/recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

tigermilk
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by tigermilk » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:56 am

When in the summer? Japan can be brutal in the summer m months due to high humidity. I live in the Houston area, so I know humidity. Japan, however, can be a real drag because everything feels wet, even the train from Narita to Tokyo. But summer also means long daylight hours, though since Japan doesn't do daylight savings you get more daylight in the morning.

I assume day trips from your bases are the plan. As such, when in Kyoto you can take a trip to Nara or other areas, When we took my parents a few years back we actually used Osaka as a base for Kyoto and Nara. We also spent a few nights in Hiroshima stopping at Himeji on the way. From Tokyo, and with the JR Pass, going to places like Kamakura and Nikko are worthwhile. Nikki could provide some relief from the heat, though honestly I've only been in milder months (btw, late June is when the weather starts getting stickier),

Does your familymlike baseball? Going to a game there is a blast. Check the listings for festivals as that could affect your timing for which cities to be in. There are some really nice festivals there that you should make every opportunity to catch. Like any trip, the destinations in country will depend on your interests.

One last thing- start watching NHK. They have on demand videos of some of their programs at their website. Tokyo is one of my favorite cities in the world, and I watch Tokyo Eye religiously for our next trip. But there are other travel shows showcasing other parts of Japan.

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peterinjapan
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by peterinjapan » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:04 am

Have fun! Workout ahead of time what to see, so you don't miss anything. My one favorite thing in Kyoto is Sanjusan-gendo or the Hall of 33 Bays. It's breathtaking, 1000 carved Buddha statues. Kyoto in the summer is super hot though.

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kramer
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by kramer » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:22 am

I was just there in mid-September for 2 weeks, not a problem in the slightest with the temperature. And same goes for my French friend who is used to cool weather.

You can plan your itinerary to get just a one week Japan Rail pass (spend first day or two and last day or two within the city you are in). That is what I did and it worked out perfectly.

Visiting the Hakone open-air art museum was one of the best experiences of my life. ... totally unexpected.

In between Kyoto and Tokyo, we stayed at a high end Ryokan in the Hakone area (hour south of Tokyo) -- we spent two nights but I would only recommend one night, while still highly recommending the experience (Fukuzimoro). And it was a real chance at truly traditional meals plus hot tub experience. I can see teenage kids really enjoying something like this.

We did a day trip from Kyoto to Miyajima to Hiroshima to Kyoto -- it was a long day but it was worth it. The city of Hiroshima really appealed to me, I thought it would have been nice to spend more time there. I think the construction of the Hiroshima Atomic bomb museum should be finished by your visit, but you should check (one half was closed for my visit). If you do a day trip, leave on the earliest possible train.

Fortunately, I was able to fly into Kansai airport (Kyoto/Osaka) and fly out of Tokyo. Since my friend did a round trip to/from Kansai, a 2 week rail pass was necessary for her.

I got a sim card ahead of time from the same place I got the Japan rail pass. It worked well and I am real happy I did it that way. (Japan Rail Pass by Japan Experience) My friend did not pre-order, and we had to go to a certain electronics store to get my friend a sim card, it was a bit of a pain... and we had to just guess that it would work (which it did, fortunately) but we couldn't be sure even though I had done a lot of research ahead of time.

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robolove
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by robolove » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:35 am

Summers are brutal. Not recommended.

Pay more and purchase the Green Car Rail pass. The Regular seats are very small and uncomfortable for Americans. ;)

Pack light. Plenty of shopping here.

Robot restaurant in Tokyo! (Skip the food option)
tigermilk wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:56 am
Osaka as a base for Kyoto and Nara. We also spent a few nights in Hiroshima stopping at Himeji on the way.
Osaka as a base for Kyoto/Nara /Kobe/Hiroshima is a good tip.

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Tamarind
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by Tamarind » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:55 am

Plan well ahead for your rail passes and sim cards. For little things that you forgot, 7-Eleven is a strange and magical place in Japan. In urban areas they will have surprisingly decent prepared food, hygiene products, small electronics, and an ATM.

YMMV but consider a short stint in an AirBnB that lets you get out into a real neighborhood, ie go grocery shopping and try some different foods, visit a public bath, stop by a local restaurant, etc.

I second the unpleasant weather. Bring lightweight, breathable rain gear and pick up cheap foldable hand fans at a local shop. If you're visiting many temples, think ahead about how you'll dress respectfully (long sleeves and pants are most appropriate for all ages and genders) while not roasting. I live in an area that is supposed to have muggy summers but Tokyo in June/July was a different matter entirely. Expect 80+ degrees and 110% humidity (ie it will randomly rain or fog at intervals because it's so moist the water just condenses out of the air).

Feel free to PM me.

davidsorensen32
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by davidsorensen32 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:27 pm

Sounds like a terrible idea because of bad hot/humid weather. We're freezing this idea for now. Will warm it up later. Thanks for your advice !

SrGrumpy
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by SrGrumpy » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:47 pm

^ Wise. I found this climate travel web site very useful:

https://www.climatestotravel.com/climate/japan

It inspired me to go to Tokyo last January when fares were super low, and the weather wasn't that bad (no rain as I recall). It also allowed me to see the sumo wrestling. You might want to time your eventual trip accordingly:

http://www.sumo.or.jp/EnTicket/year_schedule

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gravlax
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by gravlax » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:05 pm

Try to see if you can fly into and out of Haneda airport instead of Narita. Getting from the Narita airport to Tokyo takes about and hour and a half by limousine bus. Not fun after you've flown all the way to Japan!

tigermilk
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by tigermilk » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:29 pm

davidsorensen32 wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:27 pm
Sounds like a terrible idea because of bad hot/humid weather. We're freezing this idea for now. Will warm it up later. Thanks for your advice !
Not a terrible idea, but more knowing what you are getting into. We definitely plan to be there for the 2020 Summer Olympics. That said, try to swing it for Spring Break. Nothing better than cherry blossom time.

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GerryL
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by GerryL » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:04 pm

davidsorensen32 wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:27 pm
Sounds like a terrible idea because of bad hot/humid weather. We're freezing this idea for now. Will warm it up later. Thanks for your advice !
I was also about to mention the hot/humid weather (mushi-atsui, is the Japanese term). Also, going from steamy outdoors to overly chilled air conditioning is not fun. (Made me sick when I lived there. I was checked for pneumonia.)

Spring is a great time to visit Japan, but you need to check the calendar to avoid "Golden Week," when several holidays come in quick succession and many Japanese travel, jamming trains and hotels/inns. Early autumn is also a great time.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by SrGrumpy » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:11 pm

tigermilk wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:29 pm
We definitely plan to be there for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
It's my plan, too. 24 July to 9 August ... oh dear.

crazygrow
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by crazygrow » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:16 pm

Japan is an amazing country to visit. Yes, it has its temperature extremes, but if this is your chance to go, I wouldn't let it deter me unless you absolutely detest hot weather/humidity...

takeshi
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by takeshi » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:53 pm

GerryL wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:04 pm
Also, going from steamy outdoors to overly chilled air conditioning is not fun.
Where did you encounter over chilled air conditioning in Japan? Most placed seemed very warm to me. Overly chilled AC is definitely an issue here in Houston though.

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GerryL
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by GerryL » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:01 pm

takeshi wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:53 pm
GerryL wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:04 pm
Also, going from steamy outdoors to overly chilled air conditioning is not fun.
Where did you encounter over chilled air conditioning in Japan? Most placed seemed very warm to me. Overly chilled AC is definitely an issue here in Houston though.
Well, this was back in the early 1980s. I was living in Shimonoseki. Maybe their A/C tech was not optimal. I'd walk into the post office and immediately start shivering and getting a stomach upset. Some other businesses were the same way.
When I was in Texas with the Air Force in the 1970s, if you saw someone walking in the August heat with a sweater draped over their arm, you knew they were headed to the movie theater.

davidsorensen32
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by davidsorensen32 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:16 pm

You’re “toast” (pun intended).
SrGrumpy wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:11 pm
tigermilk wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:29 pm
We definitely plan to be there for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
It's my plan, too. 24 July to 9 August ... oh dear.

davidsorensen32
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by davidsorensen32 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:16 pm

I do detest humid heat
crazygrow wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:16 pm
Japan is an amazing country to visit. Yes, it has its temperature extremes, but if this is your chance to go, I wouldn't let it deter me unless you absolutely detest hot weather/humidity...

Shikoku
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by Shikoku » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:09 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:45 am
All, planning for a family summer vacation in Japan. Here is our tentative itinerary

*Tokyo - 4 nights
* Kyoto - 4 nights
* TBD (Osaka? / Buddhist monastery/ Hiroshima? Fuji ?) - 4 nights

Planning to get the japan rail pass soon.

Any tips/recommendations will be greatly appreciated.
Davidsorensen32,
Recommendation depends on your interest -- kind of things you want to see or activities you want to do. If you are in Hiroshima, Peace Memorial is a good place to visit. Why not also visit Shikoku? (BTW it is my screen name!) Following website provides a lot of information on Shikoku.
http://www.tourismshikoku.org/
"I don't worry too much about pointing fingers at the past. I operate on the theory that every saint has a past, every sinner has a future." -- Warren Buffett

halfnine
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by halfnine » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:55 am

A night in a Ryokan. Baseball, Sumo, and any festival.

Cruise
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by Cruise » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:00 pm

OP: No sense to spend nights in Osaka if you are bedding down in Kyoto. It is a short and frequent train stop between them.

There is no perfect time to go to Japan. Could be too hot, too rainy, too crowded with tourists, etc. Go when your schedule allows, because you will return many times!

brainstem
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by brainstem » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:43 pm

Ignore comment about transport in from airport
Key thing is to get your japan rail pass at the airport when you arrive ... it is good for the train to Tokyo and goes to several major stops in town.
Might also get an internet hot spot at the airport ..not very expensive and can help you navigate while touring .. google maps etc.

brainstem
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by brainstem » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:44 pm

Also ..if in Kyoto consider a day trip to Nara ... very worthwhile but not for overnight .. use rail pass to and from.

EagertoLearnMore
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by EagertoLearnMore » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:50 pm

Do you ever watch NHK World tv live from Tokyo? If you can't get it on your tv channels google the website and stream it. They produce very good quality shows (in English) regarding the culture of various parts of Japan. Recently they had an entire show about the tea ceremony. It was extremely intricate in formality and customs. NHK tells you about the area of Japan, highlights of the area, and then travels there to demonstrate. Excellent resource prior to a visit.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by SrGrumpy » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:52 pm

brainstem wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:44 pm
Also ..if in Kyoto consider a day trip to Nara ... very worthwhile but not for overnight .. use rail pass to and from.
Nara is excellent! More memories of that than Kyoto.

TxInjun
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by TxInjun » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:30 pm

We spent 2.5 months in Japan, from end-June to early September. We were based in Tokyo. The weather is as advertised: in addition, there is a short rainy season at the end of June for 2 weeks. Mysef, wife and 7-year old daughter sweletered, but enjoyed more than suffered our time there. If this is your big chance, I wouldn't let the weather alone stop you. Japan is definitely a great place to visit.

Takayama is a small town up in the hills near Kyoto, very cool even in the summer. A ryokan in Takayama was fun. Kyoto has great locations to visit like Kinkakoji, Kiyomizu Dera come to mind. In addition to the passes you can get when you are abroad, you can also get a 2-week pass (which can be used for any 5 days in those 2 weeks) for JR-East (and JR also I believe).

Get a Suica card (or alternatively Pasmo card), which is great for Subway travel, buying water / soda from vending machines, etc. It's a prepaid card that you can refresh at automated machines at the Subway stations. An incredible amount of transactions are still cash in Japan.

TxInjun

knick17
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Re: Japan in summer

Post by knick17 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:20 pm

I used to live in Tokyo and I would say...

4 days in Tokyo
3 days in Tokyo
i love hiroshima specially for the memorial of the atomic bombing.
If you are interested in monastery not far from Hiroshima there is the Koya-san, a huge complex of temples of the Shingon sect and is stunning.
The Fuji iis nicebut expect a heavy hike! i would recommebd also reniting a car and drive from Tokyo to Kyoto. Nagano-ken and Yamanashi-ken are beautiful and you usually have a great view of the fuji as well

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