Spring in Japan: where and for how long?

  • Spring in Japan: where and for how long?

    Posted by Jay on August 17, 2022 at 11:24 pm

    By way of introduction, in a previous thread I wrote:

    “My wife and I are in our mid-70’s, and I am somewhat mobility impaired in that (a) I suffer from COPD and (b) I use a walker whenever feasible (and a cane otherwise). We would truly love to spend two to three weeks in Kyoto with a focus on Hanami and the performing arts. I’d like to know if this is even possible.”

    I get the sense that “two to three weeks in Kyoto” may be overkill, but I still sense that Kyoto is a prime candidate given our interests. This begs the questions: what additional city/cities should we consider, and how might we best allocate our time? Other than cost, a major issue will be navigating between cities with the luggage required for a stay of that length.

    I have one additional question which I am somewhat hesitant to raise. I’ve heard anecdotal reports ranging from “the Japanese are very rude to Americans” to “the Japanese are incredibly polite and helpful.” (BTW, I’ve heard much worse about the Chicago area.) Our past experience traveling abroad has been more than positive. Can I assume much the same in Japan?

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Rob Dyer replied 1 year, 10 months ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Rob Dyer

    August 18, 2022 at 12:52 am

    Hello @jay_frank ,

    I don’t think 2-3 weeks in Kyoto would be ‘overkill’ as such, it would just be a missed opportunity to explore nearby areas or more of Japan more widely.

    I have a post on my blog that I suggest you take a look at. It’s called (rather ironically) How To Spend A Week In Kansai (and Not Visit Kyoto)!:

    As for travelling between cities, largely depends on how far and how often you plan to switch destinations.

    You can cover a lot of Kansai on day trips, so could easily use a city like Kyoto (or Osaka as somewhere a bit more central to the region) as a base for, say, a week. Then your luggage can saty in your hotel while your wife and you are out day tripping.

    Also, many hotels will willingly hold on to luggage if you want to spend a few days away and return. Alternatively, there are plenty of luggage lockers at main train stations if you can get by with ‘overnight’ bags for a couple of days. There are also luggage forwarding services you cand use to make travelling far easier. Hotels will hapilly arrange this for you.

    Broadly speaking, and based on more then 20 years of travelling throughout Japan, I can say with confidence they are polite and often extremely helpful.

    Just make an effort to blend in rather than stand out like that loud foreigner and you’ll be fine! See also this post: Top 7 Etiquette Tips For Travel in Japan https://www.therealjapan.com/top-7-etiquette-tips-for-travel-in-japan/

    Hope that helps!

    • Jay

      August 18, 2022 at 9:26 pm

      Thank you, Rob, for your very helpful post. Your reference to “luggage forwarding services” is particularly appreciated, as are the links offered. Thanks again.

    • Rob Dyer

      August 18, 2022 at 10:07 pm

      Good to hear. You’re welcome!

  • schroth-sensei

    August 18, 2022 at 3:45 am

    Hello Jay,

    Spending 2-3 weeks in Kyoto would allow for a more leisurely exploration of the area, within that time you may also be able to explore nearby areas, so I’d recommend researching sightseeing places in Osaka, Kobe, Nara, etc. just in case.

    As for attitudes toward foreigners, just like Rob said above, I have never had an issue and it has been quite the opposite actually. I discovered on my first trip that people were very helpful, and not just train/shop staff (who were always extremely nice), one time I got caught in a light rain and some sweet elderly woman shared her umbrella with my brother and I without hesitation (I wish I understood Japanese at the time because whatever she was saying sounded nice). Like Rob said, don’t stand out or be rude and you shouldn’t have any issues.


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