Travel Advisories: Canada, United States Visa: Travel visa not required for less than 90 days. You should have your outward ticket, accommodations, and proof of sufficient funds organized. Vaccines: Yellow fever is not required, you may want to consider Japanese encephalitis.
Currency: 1 CAD = 84.30 JPY (2020.01.18) A quick way to convert is to just take the last two zeros off of the Japanese price, should get you close enough.
Things to Read:
- A Manga Lover’s Guide to Tokyo Travel Guide – by Evangeline Neo
- Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats and Ramen – by Abby Denson
- Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman
- The Last Kappa of Old Japan: A Magical Journey of Two Friends by Sunny Seki
- Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando by Andrea Wang
- The Beckoning Cat by Koko Nishizuka
- I live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi
Phrases to Know:
- Sumisen – “Excuse me.”
- Hai, wakarimashita – “Yes, I understand.”
- Dōmo arigatō – “Thank you very much!” Domo can also be used as a casual way of saying “hi!”
- Arigatou gozaimasu – “Thank you.”
- Onegaishimasu – “Please.”
I feel like, growing up in Canada, we are exposed to Spanish a lot more than languages from Asia and Southeast Asia. Probably all of that American tv… Living in Japan for a few weeks feels much more challenging than living in Mexico. At least we know some Spanish numbers and how to say yes or no!
Life Where I’m From shares some good advice about ordering food with little to no command of the language:
Stuff to See:
- Tokyo – Studio Ghibli Museum (advance tickets required)
- Tokyo – Robot Restaurant (advance tickets required)
- Tokyo – Imperial Palace (surrounding gardens open to public)
- Tokyo – Disneyland + DisneySea (Touring Plans and TDR Explorer guides). We’ll be using our experience planning a Disney World trip here!
- Tokyo – Ueno – National Museum, Museum of Nature & Science, Zoo, Shitamachi Museum, the Metropolitan Art Museum, and the National Museum of Western Art. Not to mention, the beautiful park itself, the pond, and the temples! You can get a “Ueno Welcome Passport” at any Tourist Information Centre for 2000 yen. This gives you admission to many attractions plus a cool passport, a map, and a stamp game. (Without the pass the attractions cost about 4770 yen.)
- Tokyo – Odaiba – Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Science and Technology) looks really great! There are lots of attractions for kids in Odaiba, like Legoland, which our kids have kind of aged out of, Joypolis, Leisure Land, the giant Gundam statue, weird techno art installations at Team Lab Borderless, and the, ahem, poop museum. Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari (hot spring baths) is also a popular attraction in Odaiba.
- Akihabara, Shinjuku, Harajuku in the Shibuya district…. Phew! So many neighbourhoods in this mega-city! That’s 13 million people in the core and 37 million in the metropolis, in case you were curious. This is the biggest city in the world!
- Kyoto – Temples! Palaces! Gardens! Time to knock 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites off your to-do list baby! I’m hoping that we can see Kyoto with fall leaves?
- Animals – Deer in Nara Park, rabbit island (Ōkunoshima), and cat island (Ao Island). And don’t forget Hachikō!
- We plan on travelling to Osaka to feast on delicious food. I love the fun, oversized signage at some of the restaurants.
- We’re not really sure how much the 8 year-old will understand about Hiroshima but we plan on going nonetheless.
- We plan on crossing at Fukuoka to travel to South Korea by ferry.
The Hangry By Nature Youtube channel has been helpful for us in planning:
PLACES TO SLEEP:
Life Where I’m From shares an excellent break down of the different accommodation options to consider on a trip to Japan:
- Hikari House (Shinjuku)
- Hotel Mystays Asakusa-bashi (Asakusa)
- Sotetsu Fresa Inn Higashi Shinjuku (Shinjuku)
- K’s House Tokyo, hostel in Taito City (Asakusa) with family rooms. Second Tokyo location has less choice of rooms. There are several other K’s Houses throughout Japan.
- Hana Hostel – locations in Fukuoka, Osaka, and Kyoto. Rooms with private bathroom are available.
We took the kids out for ramen this past weekend. Oh my goodness! What a hit! Their excitement for travelling to Japan is “over infinite and the scale broke,” as TRex says.