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ESL teacher needs help to plan a japan holiday!

 
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jobin



Joined: 09 May 2006
Posts: 49
Location: china

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:10 am    Post subject: ESL teacher needs help to plan a japan holiday! Reply with quote

Am teaching now in china and next 'spring holiday' (February) i plan to visit japan. Take a ferry from qingdao to shimonoseki,near hiroshima, then travel north by train or bus to gunma province, do some hiking and visiting rural spas/baths. I hope to see less of the western mode and more of traditional japan. here in china really starved for nature and wild places. so some questions: trains convenient? what about language, any english spoken or written in train stations? cost of trains? cost of cheap food in small shops? sleeping rooms? hotel or hostel? cost per night? bath places in the mountains, easy to hike to and cost per night? weather at that time and place really cold, like minnesota, or only mild like home in tennessee? thanks and if you can offer any help or hospitality i will be grateful.
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Apsara



Joined: 20 Sep 2005
Posts: 2142
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a look at www.japan-guide.com and the Lonely Planet website's Japan branch- especially the Japan FAQs in the North-East Asia main branch. Most of your questions should be answered there Smile
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Quibby84



Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Posts: 643
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hostelworld.com is good to to look for hostels. You will be surprised how affordable it is...you could plan your trips with that.
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David W



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 457
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If nature/traditional Japan is what you want I'd be heading in a different directio from Shimonoseki and go to Kyushu. Much nicer than Yamaguchi/Hiroshima imo.
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GambateBingBangBOOM



Joined: 04 Nov 2003
Posts: 1892
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:02 am    Post subject: Re: ESL teacher needs help to plan a japan holiday! Reply with quote

jobin wrote:
so some questions: trains convenient? what about language, any english spoken or written in train stations? cost of trains?


Trains are convenient, but run by private rail companies so it can be really confusing at times, and it can take a long, long time to get anywhere outside of the major cities.

English- uh, in the big cities there are usually information booths that speak English, and if you stand around staring at a train map looking lost, then often a Japanese person will try to help you. A lot of train stations (not sure of the percentage, I don't need to look for English at train stations any more) have their name in roman characters. Often the trains have big route maps, but often these route map are only in Japanese. Not all of the stations have roman character names listed, especially outside of the big cities. The best method for getting around is to take some time to plan a trip beforehand, write down the names of the stations, write out the kanji for the stations, write out the costs involved. Learn to get on a train, immediately go up to some random Japanese person who looks like a decent enough person and ask them if this train stops at X station (sumimasen. Kono densha wa X eki ni tomarimasuka?-Excuse me. Doe this train stp at X station). They will normally know. Occasionally middle aged men will totally ignore you and pretend you don't exist if you go up to them, and that can lead to you being trapped on a train going the wrong way, though.

Quote:

cost of cheap food in small shops?


A bowl of ramen and a beer is a little over 1000Y (1000Y is roughly $10) but sometimes it's a lttle less than that.

Quote:
sleeping rooms? hotel or hostel? cost per night? bath places in the mountains, easy to hike to and cost per night? weather at that time and place really cold, like minnesota, or only mild like home in tennessee? thanks and if you can offer any help or hospitality i will be grateful.


Hotels are really expensive in Japan. Hostels don't really exist outside of the big cities. Onsens are expensive places to stay and really aren't rustic hiking types of things. The Japanese version of camping is staying in a cabin that is usually much nicer than their apartments, has electricity etc. I have seen people with tents, but I don't know where they actually go camping, though. I suspect they just walk into a forest and set up.
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David W



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 457
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:53 am    Post subject: Re: ESL teacher needs help to plan a japan holiday! Reply with quote

GambateBingBangBOOM wrote:

Hotels are really expensive in Japan. Hostels don't really exist outside of the big cities. Onsens are expensive places to stay and really aren't rustic hiking types of things. The Japanese version of camping is staying in a cabin that is usually much nicer than their apartments, has electricity etc. I have seen people with tents, but I don't know where they actually go camping, though. I suspect they just walk into a forest and set up.

Business hotels are cheap, a lot of ryokans are reasonable. Accomodation can be very reasonable in Japan. Camping grounds are extensive in Japan but tend to favour those with transport.
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