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Old 03-29-2018, 04:02 PM
Status: "Re-edit status" (set 13 days ago)
Location: Was Midvalley Oregon; Now Eastside Seattle area
4,135 posts, read 1,883,639 times
Reputation: 3154


Arrived in Shanghai on 3/27, old district/central core. One night. Eat street food.
Out 3/28 to PVG to Narita. Huge backup on planes. We 1hr stuck on shuttle bus out to plane (A330) AirChina. The line of planes was an amazing sight. Another hour taxi to runway.
Arrive NAR two hours late and long lines to exit. Missed last shuttle Richmond Hotel but convinced sister to take taxi. Inexpensive and fast. Restaurant breakfast US$12, was excellent.
Made friends with a white lady eating alone and who has been in Japan for 4 days. Together we toured the river park (Cherries in full bloom) and Naritas shopping mall. She sold us unused 72 hour Tokyo train passes. Train stations few blocks from Richmond Hotel. I highly recommend for its amenities and location. I rate 4.5* of 5.0 for value.
Took train to coast city Choshi. JR train. Yen$1410. Choshi is terminus for this route. Walk to Kamome Hostel 500-700meters, straight out station down their mainstreet. . No bidet 😢 .
Heading towards Tokyo in 5hours.
So far we have found food to be about what a nice US restaurant would charge. And grocery food
-meat, fish, fresh fruit, vegetables comparable to Safeway or Kroger.
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Old 04-04-2018, 03:23 PM
2,273 posts, read 1,557,690 times
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Just an update incase anyone else is thinking about touring with a tour group like Affordable World to Japan and/or China. We finished few weeks ago and I still day dream about Japan and miss the place. Everything about it was wonderful and much better than expected including the group tour. Yes it is a lot jammed pack in but you cover so much, its worth it. They also got my lazy butt out the door by 8am ready to explore and ended most days by 3pm so we had the evening to explore on our own.

Tour - I loved being part of tour group, they managed everything while giving us enough free time to self explore. At each location, we were given specific time to explore on our own typically 1-2 hours. that means some people spent the time waiting in bathroom line while others spent souvenir shopping while others spent people watching or taking it all in...enough time to view as you choose.

Tokyo felt very metropolitan and often times we forgot we were in another country. Very easy to get around. After our tour ended , we took train to visit 3 other locations and then crawled into bed late night because my feet was killing me from all the walking. I wish there was one extra day in Tokyo. Our flight came in late, had we got in earlier & had another half day to explore I would have been satisfied. Other people in our tour group did get an extra day but our plan did not bring us back to Tokyo. There is so much more I wish I had chance to see.

Mt. Fuji, Hakone and Lake Ashi was relaxing day. We spent lot of time in bus and then observing nature. The weather was bit cloudy so we didn't not get good view of Mt. Fuji until later afternoon and I was not dressed for the cold weather. But our hotel in Lake Kawaguchi gave us mountain view room (its amazing to turn around and see Mt. Fuji beautiful and clear from hotel room). The hotel also had natural hot spring bath. Enjoying hot spring Japanese style (means no bikini allowed) while starting at Mt. Fuji is amazing. Hotel also provided cotton Kimono to wear for dinner which was exciting

Long drive to Kyoto (6 hours) was utilized by our tour guide by giving us information on Japanese culture, letters, spoken language, cost of living and answering any of our questions. 6 hours of knowledge from local expert and a stop at road side shop was an important experience to see local away from tour district. I am glad I had the tour guide for this long drive, I learned a lot.

Our tour also squeezed in a day trip to Nara to see Todaiji temple and Osaka to see Castle and Dotonbori street. Had I been planning on my own, I don't think I could have got those in. But I am so glad I did get to see them. I feel like I had enough time in Kyoto to explore as I want and did most of my gift shopping in Kyoto. what surprised me most is Japan is very similar to what I imagined it to be from years of watching TV & reading. People ride those old bikes with baskets or baby, they walk slow, quiet, clean and polite culture, and lot of funkiness in Tokyo.

After 5 days we spent a day flying to China. Custom took 3 hours, it was horrible. I am glad 13 out of the 32 people I met in Japan came to China. I met lot of interesting people in the trip, wish I got contact information of more people. Beijing was nothing like what I imagined it be like. Everything was over the top, everything was so not Japan . I am glad I had the experience and now I have semi idea of what Beijing is like but I would not feel comfortable traveling China without a tour guide and I am glad I was only there for 2 days/3nights because I did not want to be there longer.

Over all I loved it, all of it: the good, the bad and the crazy (shopping in Silk Market)
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Old 04-04-2018, 03:45 PM
2,670 posts, read 1,536,269 times
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Thank you for the followup it's not common to learn how things actually went. I'm glad you had a great trip.

Interesting, isn't it, to contrast Japan/Tokyo with China/Beijing?
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