Nippon Excursion
  • Howdy everybody.

    I have been thinking for awhile now about taking my first trip to Japan. Being a novice traveler in the lands of East Asia, I was just wondering when is the best time to go? I imagine the seasons are relatively similiar to here as they are in central Honshu. (I live in VA, US.) I only say that because we both lay on roughly the same latitude, but I am sure places such as in Hokkaido it can get much colder. I am not sure where I want to go yet, but I do know I would like to go within sometime this year. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    It seems to me everyone always wants to go to Tokyo. For my first time, I don't think I want to go to ONLY Tokyo. I would probably want to go to several places. Also, for me, money will be a factor. So for all of you who are frugal, suggestions on locations would be great.

    Thanks.
  • Definitely to the Sakura bloom!
  • I seriously don't think you want to spend 2 weeks in 東京。 東京 is nice, but I find it boring in the end. Then again, I did not grow up in a metropolis, but the countryside. I loved visiting 日光 (ideal for with 紅葉, so more towards October/November). 広島 was a very interesting visit as well, I really like that city. But I think I like the 関西 region the most. 大阪、京都、奈良。 Very beautiful environment. Oh, if you go to 広島 make sure to visit 厳島, very beautiful.

    Oh, avoid the summer months in the hot areas, humidity will kill you...
  • Hey thanks asmodai. Yeah, I will more than likely breifly visit Tokyo at one point. I am more of a country bumpkin myself. I plan on eventually going on a cross country "adventure" so to speak, but in the meantime I would just like to visit someplace cozy and interesting. Maybe someplace where the fishing is good. Know of any good beaches? I'm a sailor so I love the water.

    Is the springtime nice? I would really love to go in the spring if it is. I may just go in the fall, that would probably be my best bet.

    Sorry for the mountain of questions, my interest is peaked.
  • Yeah, that sounds nice. Going on a trip, Love Hina style. xD
  • Mmm, good beaches... Well, you might like the area around Miyajima (厳島) near Hiroshima (広島). Beaches vary a lot in Japan, some are sandy, but others are merely rocks, try to research well in advance. Well, if you can, postpone Nikko (日光) until kouyou is in effect (just keep in mind the entire freaking country will try to visit as well, so avoid the weekends).

    I sincerely loved the countryside near Nara (奈良), especially to visit the jinja and see the daibutsu. Kyoto (京都) is also very beautiful, many many jinja (金閣寺 and 銀閣寺 come to mind), but also a lot of gardens. Osaka (大阪) actually ranks worldwide as the number #1 city, as far as I remember, with the least vegetation. But it is one hell of a nice place. And man, it has authentic okonomiyaki! Try it with some mochi if they have some. If you go to Hiroshima make sure to try the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, it is a tad different. If you try Nagoya try the eel. Also, when in Kyoto, try those triangle-formed sweets made from anko and a sort of transparent dough (sorry, cannot remember the name now, I need to ask Reiko about it). Also, when in Osaka try takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼).

    いらっしゃいます!
  • Ah yes, 京都 delicacy: 八つ橋 (やつはし).
  • Personally I recommend Tokyo as the first big visit for anyone. One getting bored of Tokyo in 2 weeks is hard to imagine, I lived there for a year and I've still MUCH to see there. I mean, if you're an old man and can't take the stress etc that comes with such a huge city, of course you're not going to enjoy yourself much, but otherwise... I mean there's temples and nature in the parks, there's wild nightlife, there's SO many historical places, the various parts of Tokyo are also very varied, going to Shibuya then Takadanobaba is like going to another city, even though you just took yamanote line for 5-6 stations.

    This doesn't mean you should miss Nikko of course, but if you make Tokyo your main visit you'll have no problem visiting Nikko, Yokohama, Kamakura and Chiba. Now, I certinly recommend Kyoto and Osaka aswell, they are extremely nice cities, but it's very hard to visit both kansai and kanto in 2 weeks, so I recommend focusing on Tokyo the first visit.

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