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Japan

BGleader

Veteran (100+ posts)
GuiderPlus
#1
Has anybody taken Rangers to Japan before?

I'm trying to organise a trip and i'm looking for suggestions/recommendations. I haven't been there in 15 years so i'm sure things are quite different!

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#2
I think the thing to do is wait I until after the jamboree, there will be plenty of recommendations then.
 

emmaluvseeyore

Brownie Leader and Ranger Assistant
#3
I went to Japan with my boyfriend last year. Happy to help with suggestions of places to go. I was there for 3 weeks, so did quite a lot (although one of the weeks I was attending a scientific conference).

One of my highlights was a visit to the Japanese Girl Scouts HQ in Tokyo. The ladies were lovely there.
 

BGleader

Veteran (100+ posts)
GuiderPlus
#4
Thanks for replying! I'm looking a Tokyo, Hiroshima, Osaka and Kyoto - with hopefully 2.5 weeks. I'm not sure about Disney and Universal - did you go to either? I know that the girls will want to go, but everything i've read says that they are so busy and the wait times are ridiculous.

What is at Tokyo headquarters? Offices and a GS shop?
 

emmaluvseeyore

Brownie Leader and Ranger Assistant
#5
Thanks for replying! I'm looking a Tokyo, Hiroshima, Osaka and Kyoto - with hopefully 2.5 weeks. I'm not sure about Disney and Universal - did you go to either? I know that the girls will want to go, but everything i've read says that they are so busy and the wait times are ridiculous.

What is at Tokyo headquarters? Offices and a GS shop?
We did Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto. Spent a week in Tokyo and a week in Kyoto. We did a day trip down to Hiroshima from Kyoto, but it was a long day. There was a big storm on the way back and we had to sit on the bullet train for over an hour waiting for the lightning to pass! We had no idea what was going on because all the announcements were in Japanese.

We didn't do any theme parks as we have been to them in Paris and Florida. But you would have time to go in 2.5 weeks if your girls really wanted to. The queue times will be long, but it should be ok if the girls are prepared to wait.

The headquarters have a small shop and also a lovely museum. I hadn't contacted them ahead of going, I just turned up, but then it was just me and my boyfriend. I didn't even realise they had a museum. We went to the shop which is round the side of the main building. We went to walk off and someone ran after us and asked if we wanted a tour of the museum. So a lovely lady showed us around and told us everything about the history of the Japanese Girl Scouts. She was really interested to hear all about Girlguiding in the UK. She even gave us an origami bookmark for each of my Brownies! I would definitely recommend going, but it is out of the way of the tourist areas. It is probably a 15 minute walk away from the closest metro station through a residential area. It took us longer to walk though as it was incredibly hot when we were there. We had to keep stopping. You may be more used to the heat though!

Another one of our highlights was this amazing boat ride in Arashiyama (near Kyoto). This is the link on tripadvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attrac...Boat_Ride-Kameoka_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html. We got the tourist train up which gives you wonderful views of the river. Then we got this 2 hour boat trip back down and it was amazing. The river has some rapids in it, so you do get splashed a bit, but it isn't anything like white water rafting. The scenery was beautiful and we saw lots of wildlife. The 3 Japanese men who row the boat down the river were good at pointing out things to see, although they don't really speak English. It is a bit more expensive than most things to do in Kyoto (a lot of the tourist stuff is free), but I would 100% recommend doing it.

Also recommend going up Tokyo Tower and Kyoto Tower around the time of sunset. You get day and night views of the cities then. We did these on our first day in each city - it gives you a feel for what it is like.

Make sure you check out one of the electronics stores in Akihibara. Great way to see all the crazy stuff you can buy in Japan. We bought some tweezer like things you use to eat crisps without getting greasy hands!

For transport, you will want to get a Japan Rail Pass for each person BEFORE you travel to Japan. You can't buy them in Japan itself as they are for foreign tourists only. If you are doing a return trip from Tokyo to Kyoto on the bullet train, you already save the money it costs to get the pass. You can also use it on the bullet train to Osaka and Hiroshima. For travel in each city, I recommend you get everyone a Pasmo card (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasmo). It is a smart card than can be used on transport throughout Japan (although we couldn't use it on the buses in Kyoto). You put a 500 yen deposit on it when you get it, and then top it up on the machines that sell tickets. When you leave Japan to go home, you return it at the airport station and get all the money returned to you that is left on it, including the 500 yen deposit. It saves you having to buy tickets on the transport network all the time. It essentially works like an Oyster card on the London transport system, but not sure if you have anything similar in Aus.

For your money, we used ATMs in the 7/11 convenience stores as they allow withdrawals from international accounts. You may be aware that Japan is still predominantly a cash country, so you need to be prepared to pay in cash. We did use our cards a lot, but some restaurants we went do didn't take card. Nothing worse than running up a bill and not having enough cash to pay for it! We had both a Visa and a Mastercard which covered us in all the places that did take card, but some places didn't take one kind.

We did so many things, it is hard to remember everything now! Do feel free to ask me anything you want, and I will try and remember what else we did!
 

BGleader

Veteran (100+ posts)
GuiderPlus
#6
Oh wow!! Thank you, thank you!!

I'm sure i'll have more questions once I start planning more. This is a great start on things I hadn't thought about yet!