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Tara Jane

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About Tara Jane

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Melbourne Australia
  • Interests
    Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Japan

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  1. We dont bother buying sim or mobile wifi. Just use wifi in hotels and trains etc. We did have to phone our hotel yesterday and just used our mobile for the short call. If you do decide to rent take at look at cruise port navigation website. Owned and operated by heather hopkins Clement who previously was the port lecturer in diamond princess cruises around Japan. We use viber to connect with family back home for free.
  2. If you play your cards right it doesnt have to be expensive. I work on $1000 au per week and always stay within that budget. Last year we were away 3 weeks and total cost was $2300 includes flights, cruise, hotels pre and post cruise, transport and food. We never eat in fancy restaurants, use JR pass and business hotels. Sightseeing can be very reasonable. To enter tourist attractions where we live can be $30 = 50 au very easily. To do the same in Japan might be 600 yen. Many shrines/temples are free but if not certainly cheap 400 - 500 yen. The most expensive we have found in Nikko might cost you 3000 yen for a full day of sightseeing. True Japan is more expensive than Bali, Thailand etc but it is very different to those countries.
  3. I always do my own bookings. We have done last minute cruise bookings one year 9 nights for under $500 aud last year 19 nights for $1185 aud. Always inside. But booking last minute is extremely stressful trying to coordinate everything and sometimes you save on cruise but end up paying more for flights. If you are still working and have commitments you cant just up and leave then last minute isn't a practical thing to do. Also you need to be aware of holidays and peak time in Japan. Peak time =high prices and crowds. You are talking June which is good weather wise. July/August are distressingly hot but also peak time for festivals all over Japan. We suffer the heat for festivals and found our time in port were much longer than non festival time cruises. Some nights were 11pm departures and once midnight. Arriving 7 or 8 am gives you a wonderful long day to get out of the town then come back later in the day for festival activities. non festival cruises had much shorter port time. .I've no idea what weather you are used to where you live. I'm off to Japan end of this week wont be back til end of May and wont be spending time on cc whole travelling. So best if you dont have immediate questions to wait til end May to hit me with all your questions. Have fun planning.
  4. To me you are on the right track but financially 7 days land would be more useful. To avoid boring everyone else would you like to email me gran.of2athotmaildotcom That way I might be more use to help you plan specifics.
  5. In Tokyo or Yokohama? I can recommend hotel edit in Sakuragicho Yokohama. Not 5 star but clean and comfortable. Need to book a long way ahead to get good price. I always book on website with free cancellation option. Be aware that hotels in Japan have small double beds that they sell for 2 people. Definately not 2 westerners. We tend to book twin beds as a true double size will often have one side against the wall. Ok if you dont need a trip to the bathroom during the night.😉
  6. Tara Jane

    Transfers

    Trains. or from tokyo hotels to hotels at NRT the airport limousine bus which also operates a bus transfer from NRT to YCAT. www.hyperdia for all train information. The port provided a free shuttle bus from Osanbashi pier to Sakuragicho station from there you can take a train to tokyo, however if I was planning extra days in TOkyo I would be finding a hotel in Yokohama area and just taking the 31 minutes 470 yen train into Tokyo. Check out the hyperdia link. Most NRT hotels have free shuttles. Also be aware of the wonderful luggage forwarding service in Japan. From hotel to hotel or convenience store to hotel. Depends on distance but usually next day delivery. We have sent our luggage from Yokohama cruise terminal to hotels in various parts of Japan, also to our NRT hotel where we stayed the night prior to our flight. Cost varies but somewhere around the 1800 - 2500 yen depending on size door to door. Just take small hand luggage for the extra days between if only a few days. Hotels provide so much, sleepwear, toiletries, shaver, hair comb, etc etc just about everything except deodorant and make up for those that cant be seen without it.
  7. Definately try hard to spend more than just 7-10 days in Japan. We always include about 2 weeks land travel using a JR pass either before or after the cruise. The itinerary is important we have done 3 and next week heading to do our 4th cruise of Japan but its my 15th trip to Japan. Cruising around Japan often takes you to the smaller beautiful towns where you get to meet the true locals, however it would be a huge shame not to get to see the other places when are more inland, eg mt fuji, Kyoto, Nikko etc. We were on a cruise once that had an excursion to Kyoto but those who went managed to only see the golden pavilion and one castle. It was a very long expensive day to see so little. I also believe no one should go to Japan and not see Hiroshima and Miyajima. A few cruises include it on the itinerary but not many. To save money take the hop on hop off bus although they arent called hoho but more often loop bus or other names. The most important of all is to research research research and you are doing it all right, asking here and planning so far ahead. Other option is a one day bus ticket, often 500 yen for all day buses. Consider using a goodwill guide at ports. They are volunteers who are very happy to spend the day with you taking you around a pre discussed and planned itinerary at no cost other than their fares, entry cost and meals if you are together at meal time. The guides are often students who are studying english but we have also had professionals, homemakers, uni professors and retired folk. Their english varies but all quite easy to communicate. If you decide to ask for a guide apply as soon as possible. A ship with several thousand passengers on board causes a huge demand on the few volunteer guides available. Save more money by buying anything you might want to eat at 7-11, Lawsons. family mart. They provide all you will need snack wise when off the ship, will even heat any pre packaged meals. For any little souveniers go to 100 yen shops or Daisco stores, a few others but I cant remember the names. The Japanese people are extremely helpful and go out of their way to welcome you to their country. English is a bit hit and miss but if you ask for help from a university aged person chances are you will be ok. Another hint is that they dont always understand our accents but they do understand written english. Of course these days with google translate life is much easier for the tourists. You will love the Japanese toilets, I'll leave that little secret to you to discover. The country is spotless, no rubbish, no rubbish bins, they all take their rubbish home with them. Have fun researching and planning. Cheapest way to get to the ship from Narita is the local train 139 minutes 2220 yen no transfers. Just get into the right train which starts at terminal 1 and sit in the corner til you reach Yokohama. Then change trains at Yokohama get off at Nihon Odori and a short walk or taxi to the ship. If you are looking for hotels try and book business hotels which are near stations. No 5 star but all you need at a decent price. I have never paid more than $100 aud for a room for 2 anywhere in Japan since I first visited in 1995. All rooms are basic but comfortable with ensuite bathroom and even provide sleepwear, toiletries much better than Australian hotels. Rooms are tiny but have all thats needed for a holiday on a budget. We have been on Diamond Princess x 3 cruises around Japan and about to go on our first Norweigan cruise line ship. Will be interesting to compare. Many passengers on our diamond cruises were actually Chinese rather than Japanese. After a few days you will very easily work out who is who just by observation. Enjoy one of my favourite countries. https://www.japan.travel/en/plan/list-of-volunteer-guides/ for goodwill guide information.
  8. Another option is to take the airport train/ bus direct from airport to yokohama. Stay at a hotel in Yokohama and travel in to Tokyo 31 minutes 470 yen when you go in to Tokyo. The airport Keikyu train or bus takes 23/40 minutes and costs 450/580 yen from Haneda airport to Yokohama station. The most important thing is to stay close to a station. https://www.haneda-tokyo-access.com/en/transport/ for train timetable information from YOkohama to Tokyo www.hyperdia.com
  9. Yokohama to Tokyo train 31 mins 0 transfer and 470 yen. Not more than an hour as stated above. Of course that does depend where in Yokohama you stay. We are staying next week in Totsuka a suburb of Yokohama hotel is right at the JR station as we are visiting friends nearby. Direct train from airport to Totsuka, then day of boarding easy train to ship. Wherever you choose to stay be it Tokyo or Yokohama find a hotel very close to a station. www.hyperdia.com for train information. example depart Yokohama platform 7 at 8:03 am arrives at Tokyo 8:34 am TOKYO [ Arrival track No.8 ] Add to fa Route1 Take time: 31 Minutes Transfer: 0 Times Distance: 28.8 km Total:¥ 470(TicketFare:¥ 470 Seat Fee:¥ 0) Commuting ticket(1mon:¥ 13,900 3mon:¥ 39,610 6mon:¥ 66,700) Commuting ticket Time Route Fare Seat Fee UsefulLink 08:03 YOKOHAMA [ Departure track No.7 ] Station timetable | Add to favorite Map Hotel Rent-a-car Restaurant [31 Min] JR Tokaido Line for UENO Train timetable | Interval timetable ¥470 Green seat: ¥770Unreserved seat: ¥0 08:34 TOKYO [ Arrival track No.8 ] Add to favorite Map Hotel Rent-a-car Restaura vorite
  10. I would do the opposite, one journey from airport to yokohama. Settle into the hotel then you are free to come and go as often as you want, a short journey into Tokyo, and Tokyo being huge it can take just as long to travel from one side to the other as from Yokohama to Tokyo itself. Price wise hotels are generally cheaper in the Yokohama region too. Restaurants also. Kamakura is worth a visit and again its very close to Yokohama. The Airport limousine bus will take you from the airport to YCAT or a few different hotels in Yokohama for around 3500 yen. If you are over 65 the fare is 2000 yen but to YCAT only. A short taxi ride to your hotel and on cruise day another short taxi ride to the ship. Whatever you choose to do enjoy your time in Tokyo. A trip up the metropolitan government bulding is worthwhile, it is free, open til quite late each night, and there are two different towers. Better views than the skytree and tokyo tower in our opinion.
  11. Katbalou49 We are also a group of 6 seniors, staying one night at YWCA Vancouver thanks to Martincath's recommendation. We have booked a stretch limo (a surprise for our group) at the cost of C $153.60 includes tax and tips from YWCA to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. On the other side we have again booked a 6 person taxi to take us direct from Swartz bay to Butchart gardens where we will store our luggage and spend the afternoon. Price wise its about the same as the connector coach and ferry but avoids the hastle of getting ourselves and our luggage to the bus depot. Origionally we had 2 nights in Victoria prior to flying to Honolulu however our flight was one of the grounded Max 8 and has been cancelled. We now lose half a day in Vancouver and half a day in Victoria but have an extra day in Honolulu prior to flying home to Australia. Had to replan the short time in Vancouver/Victoria. We will either take the public bus or taxi from Butchart to our hotel in Victoria. My research tells me there are very few large cabs in Victoria, most used as wheelchair taxis. I've managed to secure a confirmed booking to Butchart, I just hope they turn up!!! If not I have the bus schedule but as we already have our time in Victoria shortened will go for taxis when we can. We travel very light will have 4 medium suitcases and small hand luggage each for the 6 of us. If you are 6 passengers with 6 suitcases it will be harder. Once again Martincath thanks for all your help. We are now down to one full day in Vancouver possibly doing the hoho bus however its still quite a walk to the totem poles from the nearest hoho stop. As we are planning a visit to the totem pole park in Ketchiken do you think stanley park is essential or can we give it a miss, thereby having a lot more time in Vancouver itself?
  12. Very small item as their homes are extremely tiny. Example pen keyring set. Small purse magnets note pad. Something useful rather than something to clutter their home. I ask our guide if they have small children and grandchildren and if so break my own rules and do take small kangaroo koala for the children but small about 6 inches.
  13. Decide where you want to go then look at www.hyperdia.com it will tell you the cost of the trip you plan to do. Add them up and decide if the rail pass is better value. To us it is always worthwhile getting a pass as we like to travel around. A return trip on the bullet train tokyo to Kyoto is more expensive than a 7 day rail pass. Also there are regional rail passes. Check out the JR website. I helped people on our last cruise around Japan arrange a trip from Osaka to Hiroshima and Miyajima for a day. They only needed a regional pass but it was valid for 5 days if the had needed it and was less expensive than just a return trip on the train. Train travel in Japan is very expensive for anyone other than overseas tourists who are able to buy the passes. I will also be there for 8 days prior to our cruise on 5 May. golden week is going to complicate things a lot in regard to getting around so this time we have decided just to take the bullet train to Kanazawa for 3 nights to explore the area then bullet train down to Kyoto area for 3 nights, then on to near yokohama to be close to the ship. If its your first trip to Japan I would recommend you go to hiroshima/miyajima. Staying at hotels anywhere along that rail line would work for you. We have stayed in Okayama a few times and done day trips to Hiroshima. Also a lovely little town Kurashiki, If you are adventurous you can go over to the other islands from Okayama. About to take my 14th trip to Japan so these days we try to do something different each trip as well as the places we love to visit every trip eg Kyoto and Nara. 5 days you could see a lot between Tokyo and Hiroshima with little detours. Finding hotels this late will be more of a problem. Our 7 day all over Japan pass was $364 au when I bought it last week. It would allow us to go from one end of Japan to the other during those 7 days. If you plan to just stay around Tokyo and Yokohama for 5 days then a suica card would be all you need. The JR pass isnt of much benefit in Tokyo itself, can only be used on one line in central Tokyo but is useful from Narita to Tokyo. If you do buy a JR pass remember that you can get free seat reservations which will be essential in golden week. Plan your trip and book the seats asap. We will be booking our seats when we arrive at Narita and exchange our JR pass prder for the actual passes.
  14. Depending if you have horribly hot days in Victoria but what I bring home for friends is something I havent been able to buy at home. They are a neck tie that you soak in cold water and tie around the neck. We first discovered them about 10 years ago on a trip around Japan in the heat of a Japanese summer. I am still using the one I bought then, its been back to Japan many times since. They have some sort of beads that stay cool when immersed in water. Thats a practical gift but not all that pretty. I also bring back little fans. We travel very light so avoid anything fragile. Little girls like the small wooden dolls, boys like the traditional boys day paper kites. For my grandaughters I couldnt resist the full summer yukata traditional dress, obi, and wooden shoes. They have only worn them the day we arrived home so that was a total waste of energy yen and luggage space. When i go again in a few weeks will be buying on more neck ties, available at pharmacies, but also at 100 yen stores and the like. There are of course the usual, small items, mirrors for ladies, purses, handkerchiefs, wallets etc
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