Japan: Advice needed

To: <>
Subject: Japan: Advice needed
From: "Jenny Stiles" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:29:52 +1000
Hi All,
I would very much appreciate some advice on travelling to Japan at the end of October this year after my youngest son finishes the HSC. Normally I pick the holidays and have very definite goal in mind, but this time my "men" have chosen but their goals are vague [weird vending machines, cool castles, weird people, snow monkeys, Mt Fuji, Hiroshima, Kyoto] This will be a family holiday, so the only birding will be incidental or to a place that everyone will enjoy! Of course I do hope to sneak some [lots?] in and would also like to see some of the native mammals!! My sons are 23, 21 [has autism] & 18 and are pretty tolerant of birding stops. So far the rough itinerary is as follows: Tokyo [2 or 3 nights], Nikko [1 night], Nagano (to see the snow monkeys*) [1 night], Hakone [1 night], Kyoto [3 nights or maybe 2 & 1 night at Nara], Hiroshima [2 nights], Osaka [1 night] & fly home from there. There is still scope to add in a few more stops or extend the ones I have selected.

I have found it all a bit overwhelming actually, especially thinking about travelling by train and bus rather than a car [used to just stashing suitcases in the hire car, not having them with us!] and I have no idea how to choose hotels, so any recommendations would be extremely welcome. I gather there are not going to be rooms that sleep 5, so I assume we will need 2 rooms? One for my husband and myself & my son with autism & another for my other 2 sons. I hope there are rooms that fit 3 people?

Has anyone been out to see the Snow Monkeys at Jigokudani Yaen-koen? We are really keen to see some Japanese Macaques and it sounds like the scenery is pretty & I hoped to see some birds too, but there is another monkey park in easy reach of Kyoto, so wondered if the Jigokudani Yaen-koen park is worth the extra effort. Lonely Planet gives it a terrible review but visitors posting on Trip Advisor seems to be very happy on the whole.

Any advice of where in the various Tokyo parks would have the best chance of birds would be good too. I have looked on Eremaea to get the names of likely spots, but since I will be dragging non birders about it would be great to have some specific instructions! For instance, the moat around the Imperial Palace looks pretty big so it would be great to know if there is a section that is more likely to have ducks.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email.

From Jenny Stiles, Sydney

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