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We went to the Tsukiji fish market two days in a row (my boyfriend is a chef). The place is fascinating, and has the best sushi in the world (if you like sushi, this is the place to go). That was one of our highlights. We visited friends in Kagurazaka, which is in NE Shinjuku. This is a little known, but wonderful section, full of fantastic restaurants, bakeries, and great shopping areas, but with very few tourists and crowds. It is an ex-pat area with a lot of French and German people living amongst the locals. They all speak Japanese fluently as well. I highly recommend it.
I made Kyoto my base and was easily able to take day trips to Hiroshima, Hemiji and Miajyma. From there you can easily access other places especially with the JR Bullet Train. As trains are expensive in Japan I made the most of the JR Travel Pass which is available to tourists. With it you don''t have to worry about buying individual tickets and you can reserve your seats at all JR trains for free. It also entitles you to unlimited travel on JR Trains (except the Nozomi Super Express) JR Buses and JR Ferries. You get a voucher from your travel agent which you exchange at a JR office (one is available at the airports). Check out www.japanrailpass.net. for further info.
We visited Kyoto during the last week of July. Enjoyed visiting the Temples, Shrines, and the Emperor''s Palace, but the place is very hot during summer. We found Taxi to be the most convenient way to see the sites in a relatively short time. Don''t miss the evening show of watching fishermen using diving birds to catch fish. Tokyo was tolerable in heat, but humidity was not very comfortable. Metro system is truly outstanding and one doesn''t need to know Japanese to quickly figure it out. Get the 1000 Yen Passnet which almost serves all Metros and makes life a lot easier. It is like having a Metro debit card, thus one does not need to buy tickets every time. During our one week stay, we experienced a 6.1 earthquake, a typhoon, and another 4.7 earthquake, but that is nothing unusual in Japan. Visiting Japan is an amazing cultural experience.
Good location. Just 5 walking minutes from Roppongi Station. Japanese restaurants and international cusine are within walking distance ( 5 - 10 minutes ). For those who look for the Hard Rock Café, it''s 10 Minutes from the Mansion. The only thing is: Have the phone number ready when you come with a taxi. Even though they have GPS they couldn''t find it. They had to call. Take the "Friendly Limousine" Bus Service from Narita Airport to ANA Hotel Tokyo and then take a cap. It''s 3000 Yen for an adult and 1500 for a child (Airport transfer) and the taxi from ANA Hotel Tokyo to the Mansions is about 740 Yen (depends on how quick he finds the hotel - lol). Tokyo Tower one of Tokyo''s attractions is within walking distance. But when you come there, I would recommend that you do one of these day tours to see the highlights. For all families: Disneyland and Disney Sea are very easy to reach from the Mansions. It just takes 30 Minutes. The waterpark "Summerland - Water Adventure" is two hrs. away. But in the summertime a blast for kids. And the train ride is fun anyway.
We visited the A-Bomb Dome and spent several hours at the visitor center at the Peace Park. We went to a Hiroshima Carp baseball game, a movie, and ate at a Chinese Restaurant on Peace Avenue. There were always taxis waiting outside the door.
When in Tokyo, at least visit Tokyo National Museum, Asakusa temple, Meji shrine and Ginza. And always try and visit the beautiful and much smaller cities of Kamakura and Nikko.
Took JTB Sunrise one day tour to Kyoto. You have to get into the hotel nearest Osaka Station, which is the Granvia. Probably easier to take the airport limousine bus to Shin-Osaka station (only about 440 yen.)
I visited the World Expo in Nagoya. It was a fascinating experience. However, I felt that the whole experience was very commercialized and the organizers could have been better organized. At times the Expo seemed a little bit chaotic. If you are going to the Expo, I would recommend that you go for more than a day. The waiting lines for the various exhibits are tremendously long. Wait times greater than 30 minutes are the norm and they give out reserved tickets for exhibits at designated times which you must obtain if you want to visit them. Nagoya Castle is a destination you must visit if you are in Nagoya. It''s an impressive destination and there''s a lot to see and experience. Nighlife in Nagoya is pretty quiet. Don''t expect late night drinking sessions and much frenzied action like you would find in Tokyo. Compared to Tokyo, Westerners and foreigners are not that many and visible in Nagoya. I''m not sure if this is a benefit to you or not, but I found it refreshing not having so many Westerners and foreigners around.
This hotel has one of the best locations in kyoto!! You can walk to all of the shoppong, Gion, and Nijo Castle. The other shrines are all close by with taxi, bus, or subway. The rooms are small, but this is to be expected in Japan. The rooms are a tad run down but clean. The staff are friendly, many of them speak excellent English. The service is great in the conceriege. Many eateries around the hotel and again you can walk to all the shopping and Gion. I would stay here again if in Kyoto. Also the Kyoto train station is about 15 min from the hotel by taxi.
Many things to do and see. I recommend Sam''s by the Sea for great steak and seafood. There are also many Sushi places and the hotel staff is very good about recommending good ones and directions to them.