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Old 07-23-2012, 08:39 PM   #1
battymum
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3 Teens in Tokyo! A PTR

I thought I should start my own PTR as I keep hijacking others with my questions and random thoughts.

So we are a family of five from Sydney Australia, Mum Dad (both in their 40's, while not especially fit, should have no problem covering a lot of walking, and maybe some cycling)

DD 17 will be in her last year of high school, so we have had to coincide our trip with Australian school holidays, which means we leave on April 10 so may miss peak hanami time.
When she is good, she is very, very good, - when she is bad she is xxxxxxx. Sometimes a little demanding, but very excited about the trip, even though she has been given alternate offers.

Twin DS - 15 - (why do I always group them as one?) Generally easy going - and excited to see a new country and culture - one is an extremely fussy eater - so we shall see how he survives also a daredevil and is keen for the most extreme rides at Fuji Q.

The other a little less addicted to adrenaline but is looking forward to the quirkiness factor and has already started saving "for all the crap I am going to buy!"
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:58 PM   #2
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So in Sept -2011 we had our "last hurrah, once in a lifetime" family trip to WDW, A carribean cruise and New York City!!

I spent the best part of 18months - meticulously planning that trip - we had a great time, and everything went without a hitch!

But, it gave me a severe addiction - the post holiday blues was quite bad for me, so i started dreaming about another possible trip.

We decided the school holiday in April would be a good time to travel - DD will be in final year, but hopefully not under too much pressure at that stage.

Now where to go - going back to mainland USA would be great - but to make it worthwhile for Australians - you have to make it at least a 3 or 4 week vacation - we couldnt afford to take the kids from school for that amount of time - let alone it is obviously a lot of money to take a vacation for that long.

We considered Hawaii - and it is still definitely on my bucket list - but airfare is just as expensive as going to mainland USA - and I figured it was a lot of money to pay for a "beach holiday" when we have so many glorious beach destinations within driving distance.

I wanted the children to experience a different culture - Vietnam and Thailand were considered - we have been to Thailand without the children and while we enjoyed it there - I wanted something different .

DH has always said that he would love to go to Japan one day - he may as well have said he wants to go to the moon - I never really took it seriously and that we may actually go.!

But then I started reading some TR's on the DIS and reviews of Tokyo Disney and Disneysea and have to admit -the parks are my prime motivation for exploring this destination further.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:10 PM   #3
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First things first, we are reasonably sensible with money - we are just average wage earners, with three kids and a mortgage - there is no way that I would take a holiday that we couldnt afford.

This is the problem with Japan - there is no way to determine where the saving goal posts are - most hotels dont take bookings until 3months out - and the ones that do I guess you are paying full "rack rates" for, and finding accommodation for a family of five - somewhat limits your choices - (this can be a good thing) .

I am still flying a little blind on this one - but am planning to stay at the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay - at this stage the price on their website is 24000yen per night, maybe it will come down - maybe it will go up - I hate that!

They have rooms that accomodate all of us, and while I wouldnt want to live permanently all in the one room - for a week, it is a more economical option than getting two rooms.
There are no hotels in Central Tokyo with rooms this size, and I dont really want to change hotels mid trip - so we will do our city based touring from here as well as our Disney days.

So we will spend 8 nights here - the first four travelling into the city and the last 3 days at the Disney parks. Although it is going to be hard to resist going into the parks when we are so close I want to wait until Tuesday before starting our three day passports.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:21 PM   #4
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Next we will head to Kyoto - we plan on getting 7 day rail passes - if it were just DH and I, I would probably get 14day passes to have a little more flexibility - but buying 5 really adds up.

We need to be back at Narita for our flight home on Thursday 25th so we can start our 7 day passes on Friday 19th. We may stay for a fourth day in the Disney parks, or DH and DS may make a trip to Fuji Q Highland on this day, while the scaredy cats play at Disney!

I have researched accomodation in Kyoto and think we will stay in a self contained machiya rented through VRBO -for a more authentic experience. (and it will suit our family better)

I have never rented through VRBO and am a little apprehensive about this. I spent a lot of time on tripadvisor planning our New York trip - and am now fully aware that apartment rentals are illegal in New York, I wouldnt have known that except for tripadvisor - so I am assuming it is legal in Kyoto as I havent read otherwise.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by battymum View Post
First things first, we are reasonably sensible with money - we are just average wage earners, with three kids and a mortgage - there is no way that I would take a holiday that we couldnt afford.

This is the problem with Japan - there is no way to determine where the saving goal posts are - most hotels dont take bookings until 3months out - and the ones that do I guess you are paying full "rack rates" for, and finding accommodation for a family of five - somewhat limits your choices - (this can be a good thing) .

I am still flying a little blind on this one - but am planning to stay at the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay - at this stage the price on their website is 24000yen per night, maybe it will come down - maybe it will go up - I hate that!

They have rooms that accomodate all of us, and while I wouldnt want to live permanently all in the one room - for a week, it is a more economical option than getting two rooms.
There are no hotels in Central Tokyo with rooms this size, and I dont really want to change hotels mid trip - so we will do our city based touring from here as well as our Disney days.

So we will spend 8 nights here - the first four travelling into the city and the last 3 days at the Disney parks. Although it is going to be hard to resist going into the parks when we are so close I want to wait until Tuesday before starting our three day passports.
If you want to go lower on the hotel price I really recommend the Oriental hotel. It's located right next to Shin-Urayasu station which is one stop from Maihama (5minutes travel time) and about 15 minutes from Tokyo station. They have buses that run to the parks of course and it should be much cheaper.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:29 PM   #6
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All this research, and it was still only a maybe!

I had brought the subject up with the children to get their thoughts - because we all know if you drag teenagers somewhere they dont want to be - everyone is miserable!

I had two in the car one day and asked them their preference, Japan or Hawaii - DD enthusiastically said " Japan, Japan, do you know how much cool stuff there is there" while DS just as excitedly said "Hawaii" .

The other DS did not get a vote -

As DD is the most contrary - I knew DS could be brought around.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamSweetsLove View Post
If you want to go lower on the hotel price I really recommend the Oriental hotel. It's located right next to Shin-Urayasu station which is one stop from Maihama (5minutes travel time) and about 15 minutes from Tokyo station. They have buses that run to the parks of course and it should be much cheaper.


Yes, but can you fit five in the room? or would we need to get two rooms. ?
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:37 PM   #8
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just going to sit back and learn from you how to do Japan with a family
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by battymum View Post
Yes, but can you fit five in the room? or would we need to get two rooms. ?
No idea, we only stayed a couple of nights after the earthquake. Another option might be a weekly mansion which is an apartment you can rent by the week. I know there is one within walking distance of the station. I'll ask dh to look into it tonight when he gets home.
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:02 PM   #10
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A couple of weeks ago the budget airline Jetstar had a sale - heavily advertised fares to Japan for $199.

What it didnt advertise so clearly - these were one way fares and the return was not as cheap - bags were additional, there was no inflight meal, no inflight entertainment, the flight from Sydney left at 6:00am which would mean a 3am departure from our home., and there was a 3hour layover in Cairns - (i have also read that because you have a layover in Cairns you pay baggage fees twice, once for the domestic leg and then for the international)

I priced these fares and it would cost $3750 for our family (including baggage, but not meals)

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

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.

So we are booked and definitely going - I go through waves of excitement and then to nausea.


I will have to update my ticker!!
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:13 PM   #11
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Japan like anywhere else can be expensive when you want to splurge but if you want to spend less it's absolutely doable! I'm taking the kiddo to Tokyo Disneyland to go play for a little bit but I'll write down some tips when I get home this evening!
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:49 PM   #12
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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.
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:40 AM   #13
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I too am going to sit back and learn from your experience as my family of five may well be a family of teens by the time we ever get to Japan!!

Oh and yes, make yourself a ticker- that's a good feeling
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:52 AM   #14
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:56 AM   #15
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Another PTR

Looking forward to it becoming a TR too
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