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Japan Travel Thread

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  • Jun 22nd, 2017 2:16 am
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Looks like there's another Tokyo deal!
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Jereina wrote:
Jan 6th, 2017 9:00 pm
Are you a snow sports person? If you are, spend a day on the slopes!

This was my itinerary for my Hokkaido trip back in Feb 2015. Was there for about 5 days in total.

1st day arrive in sapporo and took the train to Noboribetsu Onsen town. Spent the night there relaxing in the hot springs and saw the jigokudani where the hot spring water comes from
2nd day headed for Hakodate. Went to the top of Mount Hakodate at night for the view. Went to the morning market the next morning. Best seafood/sushi i've had ever. Better than Tsukiji in my opinion
3rd day headed back to Sapporo.
4th day went to Otaru for half a day
5th day Sapporo

I arrived in Sapporo a week before their winter festival started so I saw a lot of the huge snow sculptures being carved.
Thanks for the info!

Was planning on doing a day on the slopes in Niseko. Couple of other questions if you don't mind

- I was thinking of heading to Hakodate for a day but seemed kind of difficult to get from Niseko. Anything else to do other than going up for a view? Trying to see if it's worth it

- was planning on doing onsen and debating between the lake toya area and noboribetsu. Any thoughts between those 2 areas?

- did you travel on train mostly or rent a car? Would you recommend getting a JR pass for 5 nights in Hokkaido?

Appreciate it!
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alvinp187 wrote:
Jan 8th, 2017 10:31 am
Thanks for the info!

Was planning on doing a day on the slopes in Niseko. Couple of other questions if you don't mind

- I was thinking of heading to Hakodate for a day but seemed kind of difficult to get from Niseko. Anything else to do other than going up for a view? Trying to see if it's worth it

- was planning on doing onsen and debating between the lake toya area and noboribetsu. Any thoughts between those 2 areas?

- did you travel on train mostly or rent a car? Would you recommend getting a JR pass for 5 nights in Hokkaido?

Appreciate it!
There's the star shaped fort goryukaku and the red brick warehouses there. I went because of the morning market.

I've only been to norboribetsu so I can't really comment on Lake Toya. Heard that area is nice too but I thought it was a bit hard to get to with public transportation so I decided on Noboribetsu instead.

I took the train mostly in Hokkaido so I got a Hokkaido pass for 5 days. Renting a car would be better timing wise since trains in Hokkaido aren't as frequent. Just be careful driving and make sure the rental has snow tires.
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alvinp187 wrote:
Jan 8th, 2017 10:31 am
Thanks for the info!

Was planning on doing a day on the slopes in Niseko. Couple of other questions if you don't mind

- I was thinking of heading to Hakodate for a day but seemed kind of difficult to get from Niseko. Anything else to do other than going up for a view? Trying to see if it's worth it

- was planning on doing onsen and debating between the lake toya area and noboribetsu. Any thoughts between those 2 areas?

- did you travel on train mostly or rent a car? Would you recommend getting a JR pass for 5 nights in Hokkaido?

Appreciate it!
Here are some perspective for you to consider.

1. Do not worry about transportation to and from onsen. When you book the at onsen, ask the property where the closest JR station is. Most of them will have vans or buses that can pick you up from the station. It is called 送迎バス souge basu . When you have arrived at the station, just give the property a call and the reservation name and they will come. Alternatively, if you know the train that you will be coming from, just tell them the train number and arrange to have them meet you at that time. When you buy a ticket for a limited express train, it will have the train number. For example, Super Hokuto No 15 .

2. Noboribetsu has more things to see. There is a bear farm there if you want to kill time. Lake Toya has a ropeway for the better view.

3. There is a Hokkaido Chuo Bus that will drive you directly from Niseko to Hakodate. http://www.chuo-bus.co.jp/ Otherwise, from Niseko, you will have to change trains at Oshamanbe. There are lots of things to see at Hakodate as it is one of the few places in Japan that opened to foreign trade. Seafood is nice. If you want to see things outside of the city (like milk farms and sea cliffs), there are many day tours you can book. http://hokuto-hk.jp/midokoro_oneday They are pretty cheap, but they may not have English guides.

4. Driving Hokkaido in the winter is not easy. While a car is much more efficient in terms of seeing more sights per day, ask yourself how comfortable in driving on snow. Hokkaido roads are not salted. You will have studless tires and 4WD for most rentals. Yes, even compacts likes the Mazda Axela has 4WD. However, going down to sea level from 500m above sea level on mountain roads are not easy. Hokkaido has the number 1 fatality rates in Japan for car accidents. JR Hokkaido pass is only useful if you are travelling between cities. JR is not used for transportation inside Hakodate, Niseko and other small towns. They can get you in and out of town.
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Hairball wrote:
Jan 4th, 2017 4:09 pm
Just a comment, but JapanRailPass.ca is a legit place to buy the rail pass. I ordered and it was delivered within a few days! It's from a legit travel agent. They will send you an exchange order that you can exchange for a pass at JR in Japan.

The site looked a tad questionable, but it works!
Thanks for this. I was wondering myself because they are not listed as one of the authorized dealerships
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Is Kantor still one of the best currency exchange spot for yen? Any other recommendations? I reside in Markham/Richmond Hill
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UNDFTDss wrote:
Jan 18th, 2017 7:21 am
Is Kantor still one of the best currency exchange spot for yen? Any other recommendations? I reside in Markham/Richmond Hill
how much CAD$ are you exchanging?
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For me, 4g.
mkjr wrote:
Jan 19th, 2017 12:02 pm
how much CAD$ are you exchanging?

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
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eastyorkstudent wrote:
Jan 4th, 2017 1:56 pm
Don't cheap out while in Hakone / Gora.

We paid close to 500 per night for a really nice hotel with a private onsen on the balcony. The hotel had most 30 rooms and the service was just unbeatable.

GlobalAdvancedCommunications is what we used for the pocket wifi. Superior coverage!
i would argue the satisfaction varies as long as it fulfills your expectations (and start to wow). First time to hakone, we just want a taste of it... went for $100/per person - definitely on the cheap side. Buffet, outdoor public onsen with a small view. My mom loved the buffet of crab legs and the onsen experience she couldn't stop talking about even after 8 years. Last trip to Arima, paid a bit more at $150/person, still very good... a different kind of experience, 6 onsen, personal greetings, great view with welcoming tea, an order of tajima beef with buffet, great super Fall red leaf views. Next one will be kinosaki, haven't really decided price range yet but sure it will be visiting all the public onsens.

The thing with Japan is you don't have to spend a lot to get good/great experience - and that goes for everything in JP since their customer service standards are noticeably higher. Onsen ensuite is considered a premium anywhere, and a good portion of your money went to that - which to me, i rather put it on food as I was looking for a more local onsen experience. I'm sure your experienced was superb. I just prefer to experience it slowly than just one big jump to awesomeness - then i'll have to compare everything onwards to that-one-time. I also visit Japan at least once a year so it's not like this time or 10+ years later.
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eeto wrote:
Jan 19th, 2017 12:30 pm

i would argue the satisfaction varies as long as it fulfills your expectations (and start to wow). First time to hakone, we just want a taste of it... went for $100/per person - definitely on the cheap side. Buffet, outdoor public onsen with a small view. My mom loved the buffet of crab legs and the onsen experience she couldn't stop talking about even after 8 years. Last trip to Arima, paid a bit more at $150/person, still very good... a different kind of experience, 6 onsen, personal greetings, great view with welcoming tea, an order of tajima beef with buffet, great super Fall red leaf views. Next one will be kinosaki, haven't really decided price range yet but sure it will be visiting all the public onsens.

The thing with Japan is you don't have to spend a lot to get good/great experience - and that goes for everything in JP since their customer service standards are noticeably higher. Onsen ensuite is considered a premium anywhere, and a good portion of your money went to that - which to me, i rather put it on food as I was looking for a more local onsen experience. I'm sure your experienced was superb. I just prefer to experience it slowly than just one big jump to awesomeness - then i'll have to compare everything onwards to that-one-time. I also visit Japan at least once a year so it's not like this time or 10+ years later.
If you'll go back every year then obviously it's not a priority at all, but most people who go to Japan will only visit the country maybe 2 times in their entire lives so they might as well experience awesomeness ;)
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kenze wrote:
Jan 19th, 2017 6:09 pm
If you'll go back every year then obviously it's not a priority at all, but most people who go to Japan will only visit the country maybe 2 times in their entire lives so they might as well experience awesomeness ;)
Right, but it also gives many people who've heard about these awesome experiences the wrong impression that JP has to be expensive. I swear its always the first question/comment to people who has never been to JP - that going there is very expensive.
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Nah, you can eat 7-11 for breakfast lunch and dinner.....cheap!
eeto wrote:
Jan 19th, 2017 6:27 pm
Right, but it also gives many people who've heard about these awesome experiences the wrong impression that JP has to be expensive. I swear its always the first question/comment to people who has never been to JP - that going there is very expensive.

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
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Cheapo-Findo wrote:
Jan 19th, 2017 6:59 pm
Nah, you can eat 7-11 for breakfast lunch and dinner.....cheap!
Even bento boxes from local supermarkets are ridiculously affordable. Smiling Face With Sunglasses
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Don't forget department stores basement closing sale.
eeto wrote:
Jan 19th, 2017 7:04 pm
Even bento boxes from local supermarkets are ridiculously affordable. Smiling Face With Sunglasses

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!

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