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Old 07-24-2012, 06:12 AM   #16
Luisa
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If you have time a trip to the Ghibli museum in Mitaka is well worth it. It's a wonderful museum and so well set out so it holds everyone's interest. My uncle has always called Ghibli the 'Japanese Walt Disney' and to me visiting the museum gave me that same feeling of being a kid again that I get on the first day at a Disney park.
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:13 AM   #17
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Looking forward to reading the rest

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Old 07-24-2012, 08:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by battymum View Post
Qantas seemed to have regular fares for circa 1k return, this was what I was budgeting for - these were not yet available for our dates and what was available was 1k each way.
I was not paying 10k for our family to fly to Japan. But I wanted the Qantas benefits - and the schedule and direct flights suited much better.

I hate playing the airfare game - but was quietly just watching them every couple of days - then it came Qantas to Narita $999 return and for our dates
We were exactly the same

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DH had become apprehensive about going to Japan with the teens - may be pushing them too far out of their comfort zone - which will make me stress and no one will be having fun. He is concerned as Japan seems to have the reputation of being incredibly expensive - I keep telling him, "sure - if you walk into the Sheraton in Sydney and order coffee it will cost $8 - so I think we will survive by avoiding those type of places"

I was adamant that I am not going to let them become "stuck in suburban rut" and want them to take a risk - so I booked!!!

We had accrued a lot of QF points on our trip last year - so I was able to use "points + pay " so the total for our family came to $4200. The flight is direct and leaves Sydney at 9:30pm - so we will go to work/ school and then leave for the airport after an early dinner. (it all sounds so much more civilised)

While we dont sleep very well on planes I think it is better on an overnight flight - there is no time difference between Sydney and Tokyo so hopefully we will catch up the first night. Jet lag really knocked us around in WDW.
That's a great price for flights! There's currently 1 hour difference between Sydney and Tokyo, I'm guessing that changes in April though?

Worst comes to worst, there is always McDonalds if the kids are starving and won't eat anything It's exactly the same as in Australia, and they have the menus on the counter where you order, so you can just point at what you want. Easy as pie

The flight between Sydney and Tokyo is a lot easier then the one between Sydney and LA. It's enough for a movie, a couple of broken naps and two meals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisa View Post
If you have time a trip to the Ghibli museum in Mitaka is well worth it. It's a wonderful museum and so well set out so it holds everyone's interest. My uncle has always called Ghibli the 'Japanese Walt Disney' and to me visiting the museum gave me that same feeling of being a kid again that I get on the first day at a Disney park.
I thought about going to the Ghibli Museum too, but decided against it as I don't really know any of his movies/characters. I think not knowing what everything is would spoil this museum a little for me
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:35 PM   #19
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I'm here! And following very carefully as a fellow family of 5!
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:30 PM   #20
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Thank-you Dreamssweetlove - I would appreciate that - are you an expat living in Japan?

I am especially interested in affordable food options, trying to avoid the american chains, but with a fussy eater I am sure we will end up there!

What to do on our Tokyo days, at this stage I have nothing except Disney planned - we will have Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to explore Tokyo.

Oh, and internet access for smart phones. Looking at U300 visitor sims.
It's no problem! Yup I'm an expat living in Japan just 15 minutes by bike from Tokyo Disney Resort actually! Ok, according to the website the Oriental should have rooms able to accommodate up to 6 people. As for cheaper food options I really recommend one stop away from Maihama at Shin-Urayasu station. There is a big grocery store with many prepared meals from pasta to sushi, to udon, to curry, etc. Also many family restaurants such as Saizeria and a big food court and if you want McDonalds or Subway it has those as well. The super market at Maihama is a specialty market so the prices are higher than usual. Hope this helps a little! What kind of things are you interested in seeing in Tokyo?
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:29 AM   #21
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I'm Japanese, live in Hawaii, and I think Honolulu is more expensive than Tokyo so please don't let cost deter you from visiting Japan. Overall, Tokyo is a much better value if you research and plan your trip.

In both cities, there are expensive and cheap options. However, a $100/night room in Tokyo will likely be in better condition than a $100/night hotel room in Waikiki.

If you are willing to stay in Tokyo, try looking into the Villa Fontaine chain - cheap, clean, and they have REAL double beds, not semi-double beds. I'm paying $80/night including taxes for a double room and the hotel is across from a station - great deal! The rate even includes breakfast

I'm not certain, but I don't think you're going to find a room that holds 5 people unless you're going to splurge on a suite. The Sheraton Tokyo Bay runs frequent specials - they just had one for $120/night with breakfast. I almost booked it, but like you, I didn't want to switch hotels mid-trip. And since I'm travelling for work, I couldn't justify staying near Disney for the entire trip

I would suggest finding a Japanese/English speaking travel agent. Domestic hotel deals are often published only in Japanese and you may or may not find them on kayak, orbitz, etc. JTB and HIS may also offer package deals. JTB just had a Honolulu/***uoka roundtrip for $400 (about $500 discount)!

As far as food goes, $6 will buy a horrible breakfast buffet in Waikiki or a delicious bowl of ramen in Tokyo. Japan has far more quality options for budget-minded travelers. Yes, there are good, cheap eateries in Waikiki, but they are not as abundant as they are in Japan. (Outside of Waikiki, there are many good restaurants.) In Tokyo, there are usually many good, cheap establishments within walking distance of a station. However, I can't think of any cheap places to eat on Disney property. Ikspiari is pretty overpriced as are the hotel restaurants and cafes.

Another cost you might want to factor in for Hawaii is that you will need a car, gas is $4+ on Oahu (more on neighbor islands), parking is $8-$25/night, and if you want to travel to neighbor islands, airfare is $130+/person.
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:05 AM   #22
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So this whole trip hinged on getting affordable accommodation for our family, I was sold when I came across this picture on Sheratons website


Being able to fit in one room (yeah, I know ) made it possible for us to go. Having to get two rooms, obviously doubles our accommodation costs.

I had emailed the Sheraton and they confirmed 5 people would fit in their "2 double, 2 single" rooms (which makes me think that there is another bed out of shot in that room) as long as the bed sharers are under 17.

Yep, we have kids under 17.

Anyway I emailed today to confirm and was told that max 4 people in the room!

So this made me pretty , I knew I had received an email about this, so trawled through my inbox looking for it - it was a couple of months ago, and I didnt know who the sender would have been - this was on my work email - I get heaps and heaps of email -and I delete them after 2months.

Luckily, I dont empty the recycle bin, so trawled through there, and found it .

So a couple of exchanges and it is confirmed, they will accept 5.
(Although I havent actually booked as yet - still waiting for better pricing. )

The person I had emailed today was in a central reservations department, rather than the hotel itself.

So, phew, crisis averted!!!
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:02 AM   #23
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While on the subject - when should I book a room?

Our trip is not until April - at the moment the room is advertised at 24000yen per night (about A$300 )- the price seems to be the same for all their standard rooms.

Anyway is the price likely to change? If that is what we have to pay, then so be it - but I would hate to see it at $120 later.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:49 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by battymum View Post
While on the subject - when should I book a room?

Our trip is not until April - at the moment the room is advertised at 24000yen per night (about A$300 )- the price seems to be the same for all their standard rooms.

Anyway is the price likely to change? If that is what we have to pay, then so be it - but I would hate to see it at $120 later.
It depends on what the terms are. I'd book now if you are able to cancel closer to the date without penalty. Then keep checking for a better deal. Especially since it's not like there are a zillion hotels that can accommodate your party size.

If the rate doesn't allow for cancellation, then it's a tougher call.
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Old 07-29-2012, 02:17 AM   #25
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Yes I think I will do that this week - I know that is where we want to stay, and I think that there is no cancellation penalty - so I can cancel and rebook should the price come down.

I was hoping to give my credit card time to get over purchasing airfare this month!

http://www.vrbo.com/298841#features

This is the place I am thinking of booking in Kyoto - anyone had any experience using VRBO?
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:37 PM   #26
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OK - Booking at the Sheraton confirmed -

They took credit card details, but only for security - they dont charge it yet

I can change the booking should a cheaper rate come out.

For anyone with a family of five that is interested - I had another email confirming that we will be accommodated in the one room, but they stated we could choose a room with 3 beds (2doubles, 1 single) as it is OK for children to share.

I think we will stick with 4 beds, so only DH and I have to share. I have seen a travellers pic where they seem to put another bed where the table and chair is in the picture I posted, and then the table and chair is awkwardly put infront of the TV unit. -

It looks a little crowded, I wont show DH, and I will pretend I didnt see it, but will be mentally prepared. If they can remove the table and chairs from the room, it wont be too bad.
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:49 AM   #27
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Just reading the fine print on the booking for the machiya in Kyoto -

I noted that smoking was not permitted inside this building and read in the contract that there is a $US 700 (yep, seven hundred) cleaning fee if you smoke inside!!

This is a good thing, as we are not smokers, so feel confident there will be no lingering smoke odour, as has been reported in a lot of the hotels (inc. the Sheraton)
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:50 AM   #28
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That's really good. We only stayed in non smoking rooms, so we couldn't smell anything, but there must have been a smoking elevator (????) in the hotel we stayed at in Kyoto, because every time we got in it smelt like someone had been smoking in there just before we got in
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:19 PM   #29
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I really love planning travel - but I seem to be a bit ahead of myself on this one, there is no urgency for any of this stuff but more of a list that I can add to/tick off.

I need to do more research on how we will be filling our days - the family is urging me to just take each day as it comes and we will "wing it" - but that just goes way against my OCD.


To do list:

1: Confirm booking in Kyoto Machiya - concerned as it requires non refundable deposit - of Y22000, although balance is not paid until arrival. Need to make a decision on this one.

2: Organise travel insurance.

3: Purchase JR rail pass vouchers. (cant do this until February as they need to be used within 3months)

4: Organise Sydney airport transfers. (got a guy that took us last time - need to book him in)

5: Narita / Sheraton transfer (limousine bus, buy tickets on arrival)

6: Suica / Pasmo card (load them up and use as needed )

7: Disney tickets ( can be purchased from Sheraton)

8:
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:16 AM   #30
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I'm so glad to hear the Sheraton can accommodate 5! I do sometimes travel with a party of 5 and will definitely remember that tip.

The Sheraton rooms are very large by Tokyo standards, so it shouldn't be too tight. And if it does start to feel a little cramped, there is a huge lobby and an area with free computers/Internet where your kids can be comfortable lounging around.
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