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Discussion Starter #1
My friends and I are planning to go to Japan later this year. None of us have ever been there, and obviously have little language and other skills to get around there. I'm thinking of hiring a private tour guide, and we can have that person show us around places where we're interested in going. My questions are:

1) Can someone recommend me a good and reasonable prices private tour guide company? And if they have any experience dealing with this company?

2) For a two week trip, how much yen per person should people bring?

3) Any suggestions of a must-see destination for those who have gone to Japan in the past?
 

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I spent a month in Japan a few years ago with negligible Japanese skills and got by without problems. I am fairly experienced at navigating foreign countries, so it was fine. Many Japanese have some English skills, and they are very patient with foreigners. Many restaurants have picture menus. Trains and subways were pretty easy to navigate.

Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima/Miyajima and the Japanese Alps (I recommend Matsumoto for its samurai castle) are the obvious places to go on Honshu. One of the highlights for me was seeing sumo wrestling in Tokyo even though I am not a sports fan. Do your research and get tickets on line before you. Enjoy.
 

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I've been to Japan a few times and just got back from a snowboarding trip there. If you're going while it's cold, head to Nagano (3 hours train from Tokyo) where you can enjoy amazing snow, great onsens (public baths - be warned, no bathing suits allowed), and the best rice in all of Japan.

Japan is an amazing place, you're going to love it.
 

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Definitely, Japan is pretty awesome place for spending vacations where you will see some extraordinary places, buildings and many more. I visited couple of times and enjoyed throughout my trip especially I was very impressed with people who think regarding real estate investing business plan which is pretty good I think that is why people are happy with their life.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Any suggestions on where best to stay for 2 weeks that will somewhat preserve the wallet? After all, we're in the money forum...

Our objective of going there is to visit different cultural places. Any suggestions on that front?
 

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Any suggestions on where best to stay for 2 weeks that will somewhat preserve the wallet? After all, we're in the money forum...

Our objective of going there is to visit different cultural places. Any suggestions on that front?
Cultural places... Osaka and Kyoto come to mind.

If you want to save money, know this - the shinkansen (bullet train) is VERY expensive! I went once on a day trip from tokyo to Kyoto and back, only to realize that the $150 I paid in tokyo was only a one-way ticket. It cost $300 to go there. So take a slower train if you have the time, or if you're taking the shinkansen, at least stay a few days and make it worth your while.

The great thing about Japan is that it's a cultural experience no matter where you go. I've lived in China for about 4 years and can say that Japan truly feels different in a way that China does not.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Any advice on lodging, Janus? Tokyo may be where we stay, but we haven't committed to that or any specific hostels or other lodging accommodations.
 

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I booked through homeaway.com. You could try airbnb.com as well. I was happy with my first encounter with them in December.

If you want hotels, there are chains of cheap, clean hotels that cater to Japanese business travellers.

Toyoko Inn is one that I remember.

If you are into hostelling, K's House if a chain across the country that is pretty good -- it has private rooms too, not just dorms. It caters mostly to foreign youngsters.

For a very Japanese experience, try a cube hotel in Tokyo -- about $40 per person for the night. Surprisingly comfortable.
 

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For 2 weeks, you will be covering beyond Tokyo, including Osaka, Kyoto, Nara etc. So get a rail pass which will give you unlimited journeys including the Shinkansen. Taxis are pricey. There are lots info about Japan travel on the budget.

Altho not absolutely cheap, prices locally haven't gone up much because of deflation. You will rue the quality of what we are getting back in Canada after your trip. Japan also has the most Michelin stars restaurants in the world if you fancy giving yourself a treat. Another thing I like about Japan- tipping is not required but service remains excellent.
 
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