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March 12th 2008 hope to travel: help!

Japan With Kids - Forums: Traveling to/from and in Japan: March 12th 2008 hope to travel: help!
By Mamasing on Tuesday, January 8, 2008 - 2:02 pm:

I hope to take my kids on a vacation to Japan. It would be myself, my son age 15 and my daughter age 10. I would appreciate any hotel suggestions in decent areas, things a 15 yr.boy and 10 yr. old girl would like to do. Good travel sites and airlines to Japan. What is the best way to do this if one has never been to Tokyo. We would have 10 days.

By Drdo1 on Tuesday, January 8, 2008 - 5:09 pm:

Where are you coming from? What season will you be here? Straight to Tokyo? Right now, NW has a $680 RT deal from Portland, OR USA.

By Drdo1 on Tuesday, January 8, 2008 - 5:23 pm:

Sorry. No real answers, just more questions.

Are you military, by chance? If you are, there is a wonderful hotel in Hirro (Tokyo). The Sanno Hotel is comfortable and so reasonable for this country...but only for military personnel and their family/friends.

Let us know if you are interested in just Tokyo, or if you are going to the northern island, Hokkaido, or areas like: Kyoto, Osaka or Hiroshima. Some people even choose to go to Kyushu or Okiinawa. I know--there is a lot there.

In a 10 day time frame, you will (probably) not be able to do/go/see all those places. Let us know your destination and some ideas of likes/dislikes of your children. A lot depends on how free you are with finances. Traveling (with 3) around Japan can be great fun, but it is not cheap.

By Yuko_k on Tuesday, January 8, 2008 - 6:23 pm:

Drdo 1 is probably talking about the place called the NEW Sanno Hotel.

But I suppose it would help if Mamasing can tell us what the kids "like". As a Tokyo-er of a 15 year old son, maybe I can help, but what kids that age enjoy really depends on his/her tastes, you know!

Still, I think they would love watching local teens which you can see in Shibuya (girls love the "109" shopping mall) and Harajuku (take a walk down Takeshita Dori for shops themed on teen's idols).

All three of you will probably enjoy the Edo-Tokyo Museum. Their restaurants serve quality food too.

By Kit on Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 9:00 am:

Hello Mamasing. More info, please!

There's a huge variety of places to stay in Tokyo (from hostels at about 60/night, to mid-range business-hotels at about 100/night, to full-service hotels such as ANA Zenniku at about 200/night, and right on up into the stratosphere. Got a ballpark figure?

For teenagers and tweens, there's a huge amount to do and see in Japan, but as Yuko points out, it would help us to help you if we knew what your kids are interested in, and whether you plan to stay in Tokyo or travel around, and what season you're shooting for.

In Tokyo, regardless of the season, there are amusement parks (Koraku-en), temples & shrines (Asakusa and surrounding area is a must-see!), mountain-climbing spots (try Takao, one hour from Tokyo), museums (Edo Tokyo Museum is great, as are the ones in Ueno Park), awesome shopping opportunities (Harajuku, Shinjuku, and Odaiba), and "cultural" exucusions (try an onsen, for example, hop a water bus to see the city from the rivers, or reserve a tea ceremony at one of the city's parks, such as Shinjuku Gyoen or Hamarikkyu).

It's tricky to arrange things for kids of this age, but often the stranger, more "wacko" sidetrips I've taken with my 11-year-old are the ones he remembers as being cool.

Best of luck, and hope your trip is a wonderful experience!

By Mamasing on Sunday, January 13, 2008 - 5:15 am:

Thank you all for responding. We are not a military family. We will arrive March 12th from nyc and leave March 21st back to states.
My son likes video games and my daughter she likes almost everything. We will probably go to the electric museum and see that 27" tape worm at the parastic museum. I think we may stay at the Shibuya City Hotel and then a ryokan called Sawanoya. I have been trying so hard to find and review places. Also the Hotel Sakuro in Hatagaya. I would like to do a trip outside of Tokyo but am unsure of how to really do that. I would like to go to an ONSEN or maybe a day ski trip. If you all have any feedback about the above, please let me know. ALso, what about calling back to states? Can I get a phone card to do there? Many thanks.

By Edlyn on Sunday, January 13, 2008 - 7:31 am:

We live in Hatagaya but am unfamiliar where the Hotel Sakuro is. I would also suggest Their 2 bedroom apartment in Nakano would be ideal I think. We really like Nakano for shopping and hanging out and it has a definite local flavor. It is also convenient to Shinjuku on the JR Chuo line. Make sure to get the JR Pass before you come and you can use it on all the local JR trains and also out of Tokyo.

There are many great places to ski. We just came back from a great place in Iwate Prefrecture. Takes about 3 hours with a combination of a shinkansen and bus. I would suggest, however that you go someplace closer. We like a place in Echigo-yuzawa, Niigata, called Garden Cress. Their website is It is a small lovely hotel. They also allow snowboarding at the resort (Iwappara) It is located right on the side of the ski run. It takes 1 hour and 18 minutes by Shinkansen from Tokyo station. They will meet you at the station. You should also check out and for more options. For train information you can check out They will give you route information. In Tokyo I prefer to use

Finally, you might also try I have seen some nice Tokyo apartments and also some Kyoto Machida houses on there. Although you have only a short time and I believe Kyoto is a 5 hour train ride, you might also consider a couple of days there. It is really a fabulous historical place. If that doesn't work most people go to Kamakura for the day. They have some wonderful temples and one of the Daibutsu (Great Buddhas) and you can easily make it a day trip or a nice overnight. Odakyu has one a two day tours of the area and in their Shinjuku travel center at Shinjuku staion (west exit) they have very helpful English speaking agents who will put the whole trip together for you. Same for a two day (or longer) trip to Hakone which is also a very magical trip.

There are so many options its hard to choose!

By Kit on Sunday, January 13, 2008 - 12:06 pm:

Hi there, Momasing. Thanks for the additional details. In March, the weather can be anywhere from gorgeous to slush, but with some luck and global warming, you might catch the early cherry blossoms!

I know the Sakura (it's above a post office a couple streets off the Koshu Kaido; it's pretty new), but the Sawanoya would be my pick, because the the family in charge really welcomes foreign guests, and aside from knowing their own (pretty cool) neighborhood inside and out, they would also be able to help you arrange travel outside the city, if you decide to challenge that.

And like Edlyn mentions, Kyoto is a magnificent place to put on your itinerary (it takes more or less 2.5 hours one way, depending on which bullet train, or "shinkansen" you take), but it's a bit costly. If you think you're going to want to see Kyoto, or any other place well outside of Tokyo, you might want to look into purchasing Japan Rail Passes (your son will be half-price on all transportation in any city, by the way!) Japan Rail passes are an excellent deal (we all wish we could get them here!) but you have to buy them *before* you arrive in Japan. Here's a link to look into it:

Here's a link to one of the best subway maps online, with both English and Japanese, to help you get oriented (excuse unintended pun) in Tokyo:

The following link is very complete on available Onsens and Osento (public bath), but getting to some of these can be a challenge without some English-speaking help:

In Odaiba, you could conceivably satisfy several goals at once. The area features Joypolis, a gigantic gaming center, and the Oedo Onsen (constructed to look like an old-style onsen town, but actually built on landfill!) where you can get your feet cleaned by schools of tiny fish (!) and includes an enormous Ferris wheel and shopping malls. A little kitsch, but it might work! Here's a link to see what it looks like:

Azabu Juban, in the city center, also has an old (real) onsen, and gaming centers nearby--let me know if you want more details on that.

By Isabellove on Sunday, January 13, 2008 - 12:26 pm:

We went to Hakone, it was great. We went to Yunessun, which has an English language webpage here:

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