Trip Coach: August 8, 2006 Lonely Planet guidebook writer Chris Rowthorn answered your questions about Japan Budget Travel Tuesday, Aug 8, 2006, 1:32 PM Budget Travel LLC, 2016
 

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Trip Coach: August 8, 2006

Lonely Planet guidebook writer Chris Rowthorn answered your questions about Japan

Des Moines, IA: I am a nature and wildlife photographer... What are the best locations for this type of photography in Japan? What are the best months to go? I want to go sometime during the next 15 mos and potentially will spend about 2 or 3 weeks or more if needed. What is the best way to plan the trip? Is Japanese necessary? I am just beginning to study the language.

Chris Rowthorn: Hi Everyone,
Sorry for the delay.
The best destinations for nature photography are the Japan Alps, Yaku-shima and Iriomote-island.
The best months for outdoor photography are April and November.
In the mountains, the summer months are best.
You don't need Japanese ability to travel in Japan. But, learning a few pleasantries helps.
Hope this helps!
Cheers,
Chris

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Los Angeles, CA: I have business meetings in Tokyo in mid-October and I finish on a Thursday evening, with an outgoing evening flight at 1830 Saturday from Narita airport. Could you recommend sightseeing destinations where I might spend Friday with an overnight stay and with convenient Saturday public transportation alternatives to Narita -does Nikko work?

Chris Rowthorn: Hi,
Thanks for the question.
Sure, Nikko would work, and it's probably the most rewarding destination close to Tokyo. The train departs from Asakusa. You could stay in Tokyo itself, or stay in Narita. I recommend Tokyo. The Yaesu Terminal Hotel is a good business hotel.
Hope this helps!
Cheers,
Chris

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Williamsburg, VA My husband and I fell in love with Japan during a visit in October 2004. We'd like to go back, perhaps to see the cherry blossoms, but I'm reluctant to get swept up in huge crowds (the Kyoto subways at rush hour were culture shock for me!) What would you suggest? Where in Japan should we go and when to avoid the biggest crowds at that time? Also, we loved the temple at Myajima (sp?) outside of Hiroshima. Any other suggestions for sheer beauty and calming settings? Thanks! Bonnie

Chris Rowthorn: Hi,
Thanks for the question.
I can understand your concern about crowds during cherrry blossom season. However, I still think Kyoto is the most rewarding cherry blossom destination in Japan. Within Kyoto, there are lots of places where you can enjoy the cherries without the crowds. The Kyoto Gosho has some spots with nice cherries and fewer people. You can also head up along the Kamo-gawa River. For scenic beauty, you might try the outlying temples in southern Nara. You might also head up to Kurama and Kibune, or even further up into Miyama-cho, in rural northern Kyoto Prefecture.
I hope this helps.
Cheers,
Chris

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Memphis, TN: Next summer a group plans on visiting relatives in Japan from the southern end to the northern island. There will be 12 of us ranging in age from 11 to 72. Are there group rates for traveling to Japan, and what is the best means of transportation once we arrive there? Christy

Chris Rowthorn: Hi,
Thanks for the question.
I assume you mean that you will go from Kyushu north to Hokkaido. There aren't group rates per se, but you can certainly save money by buying JR Rail Passes, and rail is definitely the way to move around Japan. The train system is among the world's best.
I hope this helps.
Cheers,
Chris

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New York, NY: Hello, We are travelling to Kyoto in the second week of October. We would love to know more about the different neighborhoods. Can you suggest a off the beaten track place to stay? Thanks so much!

Chris Rowthorn: Hi,
Thanks for the question.
You could try Ryokan Uemura. It's not exactly off the beaten track, but it's hidden down a lovely pedestrian lane. It's my favorite place to stay in Kyoto. You have to book ahead, though, to get a place, as there are only three rooms.
Otherwise, Arashiyama is an interesting place to stay. The village of Kibune is another cool spot (literally, as the whole village is air-conditioned by the stream that runs thruough it).
Hope this helps.
Cheers,
Chris

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Pittsburgh, PA: I will be going to Japan as part of a 3 country trip including Australia and New Zealand and want to figure out economically the best order to visit the countries in. I plan to take 4 weeks in total, with approximately 7-10 days in Japan. What are the must see areas outside of Tokyo and within Tokyo itself?

Chris Rowthorn: Hi,
Thanks for the question.
Outside of Tokyo, I recommend Nikko, which is the real must-see in that area, and the Izu-hanto Peninsula. If you are more adventurous, you might also try heading down to the island of the Izu-shoto group. If you are climber, Mt Fuji is also a highlight.
Within Tokyo, you MUST see Tsukiji Fish Market, and be sure to go at 5am for the tuna auction. After that, I recommend Meiji-jingu, Asakusa, East Shinjuku at night, the Tokyo Metro Goverment Office Buildings, and, Shibuya, which is where lots of Lost in Translation was filmed.
I hope this helps.
Cheers,
Chris

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