Japan Journals

Two Weeks in Japan

A February 2008 trip to Japan by wasa girl

Hotel Granvia Kyoto Photo, Kyoto, Japan More Photos
Quote: My husband and I spent two weeks in Japan in 2008

Two Weeks in Japan

Overview

Mori Tower Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
I had never planned on traveling to Japan, but it was a dream of my husbands so we set out to see a bit of the country. It was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had. I learned a lot about myself and how I fit into the world. It inspired me to want to try traveling to more places than the standard cruise ship ports.When we stayed in Koyasan, it was really cold (February in the mountains) but it was also calm and reflective. We listened to the monks perform their morning prayers and I felt that I had completely left the world I knew about and was seeing something that so beyond new to me. While we only stayed one night, hope that I have a chance to one say return and stay...Read More

Tokyo

Asakusa View Hotel

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Hotel | "Askusa View Hotel "

Asakusa View Hotel Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
I rate my lodgings on a few things; size of the room for the cost, cleanliness, friendliness and helpfulness of the front desk staff and proximity to other things to see and do in the area I am visiting. The Asakusa View Hotel did very well in all the categories for me. The size of the room was great, we had plenty of room for the two of us and the large amount of luggage we tend to travel with. There was a sitting area and a closet that could actually hold a fair amount of things if you did want to unpack, had there not been the Japanese room standard hot water heater I would have thought I was in any of the mid-range hotel in the United States. We did have internet access in our room for o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 5, 2008

Asakusa View Hotel
3 17 1 NISHIASAKUSA TAITO KU
Tokyo, Japan 1118765
813 38471111

Mori Tower

Attraction | "Tokyo City View"

Mori Tower Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
When we arrived in Tokyo we were given the option to visit the Tokyo City View or the Tokyo Tower to see a view of the city. Our guide explained that the observation deck at the city view at Roppongi Hills was higher than the one at the tower so that was the one we selected. The location was very easy to get to by the subway system, but it seemed very expensive (1,500 yen, which did include the art museum on the same floor). We were very lucky and the day was clear so we were able to see Mt. Fuji, however if you have a hotel room several floors up (we did in Asakusa and Ginza) you will have the same view. Another downside was that the floor to ceiling windows made the desk VERY hot. With the...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 16, 2008

Mori Tower
6-10-1 Roppongi
Minato, Tokyo 106-6182
03/5777-8600

Tsukiji Fish Market

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Attraction | "Nice Lunch and Great Feel for the City"

Tsukiji Fish Market Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
I cannot comment on the early morning experience that all the guide books say you must try, since getting up that early was not in my plan. I can say that by lunch time the area was still humming and worth the few blocks walk from the Tsukijishijo metro station on the Toei Oedo line. If you are interested in getting a feel for the speed of life that is Tokyo with out the Neon glow found in Ginza or Shinjuku, this is the place to go. The streets leading up to the dock provide a great opportunity to fill your kitchen cabinets with bowls, dishes and any other necessity. The stalls are filled from the floor to ceiling and those not selling wares are packed with workers getting a quick meal. Ba...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 7, 2008

Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Station Stop (subway)
Tokyo, Japan

Imperial Palace

Attraction | "To Go Not To Go"

Imperial Palace Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Time of year and day of the week are key in visiting the imperial palace, unfortunately for me neither were in my favor. Unlike Windsor Castle or some other palaces since you cannot actually tour the palace or go main gate at this "attraction" is really a photo-op. The placement of the palace, the surrounding area and the moats are very impressive, not to mention photogenic. The potion with in the city does make it easy to see without having to go "out of the way". If we had been able to walk through the gardens (only open on specific days) I may have left with a more positive review of the stop. That being said, f I have not gone to see it since I was already in Tokyo I would also been di...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 14, 2008

Imperial Palace
Kokyo Gaien
Tokyo, Japan 100-0002
+81 (3) 3213 1111

Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine)

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Attraction | "An Oasis of Calm"

Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine) Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
This was my first shrine, so I had no idea what to expect and only looking back can I have anything to compare the experience to. Located in Tokyo, the shrine is nestled back in a beautiful park that is made up of trees from all over Japan. While there may not be sweeping views of the area, you immediately feel calm when entering the park. The gravel path that cuts through this forest and weaves under a series of Tori Gates allowing you to forget that you are in such a busy city and let all your stress and negativity remain behind. We visited on a Monday, late in the day, and while there was a steady stream of people entering the park, never did it feel crowded. This I found was not the ca...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 10, 2008

Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine)
1-1 Kamizono-cho Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo, Japan 151-0053
+81 (0)3 3379 5511

Harajuku Area

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Attraction | "Youth of the Nation"

Quote:
I am completely torn as to whether I would recommend the Harajuku area of Tokyo to anyone visiting Japan. Travel websites and guide books all say to visit the Harajuku area to see the youth culture, the street fashions and an alternative to the corporate Tokyo and there are so many popular culture references to the area that it does make you feel like you cannot miss the experience. Since we were already in the area after visiting the Meiji Shrine it seemed as it was the thing to do. We walked from the Harajuku station to Omotesando, down Takeshita Street, lined with small shops and food stands. The people, more precisely, the teens are what put Harajuku on the map were very few. It might have been th...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 18, 2008

Oriental Bazaar

Attraction | "Little of Everything"

Oriental Bazaar Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
If you consider your self a traveler, the souvenir takes on a different meaning than the $15 T-shirt or kitchen magnet. For my husband and I finding the right thing to represent that travel experience is always a challenge, but the Oriental Bazaar offered us some good options. The location we visited was near to the Harajuku area and a short walk from stations on the Hanzomon, Ginza, Chiyoda, Fukutoshin metro lines. With three floors the store has a very wide selection and it very open compared to the other shops selling Japanese gifts. Like all souvenir shops you can pick up chopsticks and tea pots, but there was a very wide range, both in style and in price. What really impressed me was ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 5, 2008

Oriental Bazaar
5-9-13 Jingu-mae
Tokyo, Japan
+81 (0)3 3400 3933

Kiddy Land

Story/Tip

Quote:
We had been walking around Tokyo for 8 or more hours and were very tired, but we had to check out Kiddy Land. I was looking for a place to sit while my husband bought dragon ball z toys (we are forgetting that this is a grown man) and he says I have to check out the register. Shopping with us was Bjork! She was buying tons of Barbies and other dolls for her daughter. The store clerks were taking all the toys out of the packages and the little girl really did not seem to care. Anyway, I could not believe that here we were in Japan with Bjork!

Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Kannon)

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Attraction | "Asakusa Back to Front"

Quiet Time Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
The Asakusa area of Tokyo is talked about as an area with some of the older building of the city, a place to see old Japan and is the home of the Sensō-ji Temple. The best way to get to the Sensō-ji Temple is to take the subway to the Asakusa station and walk the few blocks. From this direction you enter the complex from the front, walking up the street in through the Hozo-mon gate. We were staying at the Asakusa View Hotel, which was pretty much parallel to the main hall, so we walked the few blocks we walked the few blocks and entered in the back of the complex. Unknowingly we made a good decision to head out of our hotel early; we arrived at the temple complex before it go...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 4, 2009

Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Kannon)
2-3-1, Asakusa, Taito-ku
Tokyo, Japan 111-0032
81 (0)3 3842 0181

Kyoto

Hotel Granvia Kyoto

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Hotel

Hotel Granvia Kyoto Photo, Kyoto, Japan
Quote:
I rate my lodgings on a few things; size of the room for the cost, cleanliness, friendliness and helpfulness of the front desk staff and proximity to other things to see and do in the area I am visiting. The Hotel Grand Via in Kyoto did a wonderful job in all these categories.The room itself was reasonability sized room, with two chairs and a small oval table to make up a sitting area, a desk and a low dresser with a large flat screen TV, with both CNN and the Discovery Channel available in English, and of course the Japanese room standard hot water heater. The desk was curved, which for navigating an unknown room in the dark is a very nice thing and the counter space in the bathroom was g...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 29, 2008

Hotel Granvia Kyoto
JR Kyoto Station, Karasuma Chuo-guchi
Kyoto, Japan 600-8216
81 753448888

Koya-San

Shojoshin-in

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Hotel | "Escape from the City"

Shojoshin-in Photo, Japan, Asia
Quote:
Clearly staying at a Buddhist temple is not your typical hotel experience, it is an experience that any true traveler should put on their "while in Japan" list, however they may want to wait until a warmer time of year. Prior to going to Japan I will admit that I knew nothing about this option or had the idea ever crossed my mind. When my husband suggested the stay it seemed like the right thing to experience. A bus stop is directly in front of the temple and the main entrance to the Onikon Cemetery so it was not hard to find and we did not have to do a lot of walking. When we arrived at the front entry, there was a very helpful young woman that spoke enough English to ta...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 5, 2008

Shojoshin-in
556 Koyasan, Koya-cho
Ito-gun
+81 648-0291

Osaka

Swissotel Nankai

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Hotel | "Swissotel - Osaka"

Swissotel Nankai Photo, Osaka, Japan
Quote:
I rate my lodgings on a few things; size of the room for the cost, cleanliness, friendliness and helpfulness of the front desk staff and proximity to other things to see and do in the area I am visiting. While this hotel did well in all these categories, if in Osaka again we might select another hotel.This hotel is designed for the business traveler, and it had that feel. It did not bother me, but for anyone looking for a more relaxed / vacation feel, this may not be the best choice of hotel. It was clean, looked very new and maintained. The lobby was open with many places to sit and several places to eat, which was nice since when we arrived our room was not yet ready. The front desk staf...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 30, 2008

Swissotel Nankai
5-1-60 NAMBA
Osaka, Japan
81-666461111

Return to Tokyo

Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier Tokyo

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Hotel | "Mitsui Garden Hotel - Ginza"

Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier Tokyo Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
I rate my lodgings on a few things; size of the room for the cost, cleanliness, friendliness and helpfulness of the front desk staff and proximity to other things to see and do in the area I am visiting. Aside from a few points for the nice view of the city and the clean sheets on my bed, I would not give this hotel any positive remarks.The room was beyond small, and even if I were traveling alone would have felt that there was little space to move in the room. We had a king size bed which was about four inches from the wall on one side, and connected to the nightstand / minibar and the wall on the other. One chair, a small round table and square ottoman made up the only other furniture, w...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 31, 2008

Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier Tokyo
8-13-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Tokyo, Japan
03-3543-1131