questions & answers: general japan travel

osaka-kobe-kyoto

Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto

Hi

I am planning a trip in Feb 2013 during the Chinese New Year, some questions:-

  1. Do the Japanese celebrate the Chinese New Year, its from 10 Feb 2013. Will shops & restaurants be closed?
  2. Hows the weather like during this time?
  3. Am planning to visit Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto for 7 days. Is it sufficient & do you recommend any other small interesting towns to visit?
  4. If I get the JR pass, can I use it to go to these places?

Thank you.

regards
Wai

sookie
sookie

Hi there!

Here are some answers for you:

  1. Though the Chinese new year is recognised, it is not celebrated in the same way as New Years Day (31st Dec - 1st Jan).
  2. The weather in Feb will be pretty cold, with Kyoto's average temperature hovering between 42F/5.5C to 45F/7C. On the other hand, the winters in Japan are very dry (most of the rainfall occurs during the summer monsoon months).
  3. I think you'll find a lot to do for 1 week in these locations, but I recommend visiting Nara which is nearby and Koyasan which is also a short train away from Osaka or Kyoto. If you want to travel further afield and have a JR Pass, I recommend a trip to Miyajima/Hiroshima, Kinosaki onsen and of course, Tokyo!
  4. If you stay within the Kansai area, then I don't recommend the JR Pass to you. I would only recommend the pass if you thought you'd do more travel - for example, your return to Tokyo. If you did this, then a rail pass would pay for itself. For the area, I recommend you look into the Haruka + ICOCA combined deal when you land at Kansai, and possibly look into day passes on the metro's and buses in each city while you travel around. Visit the tourist information centres in the stations of all these cities for more information on these passes (and possible discounts depending on the time of year).

Hope this helps!

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mari
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Thank you!

sookie
sookie

Hi Sookie,

1.)Yes the Chinese New Year is celebrated in Japan but it is not a national holiday, meaning that stores and restaurants will be open during normal business hours (except for some Chinese establishments perhaps).

2.) In February it is Winter in Japan and it can be cold, so pack carefully.

3.) Since you are in the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto Area (Called the Kinki Area) consider visiting Nara and/or making a day trip to Shikoku by crossing the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge.

4.) If you fly in on Kansai Airport (Osaka) then it is most likely not worth getting a JR Pass. Consider buying the Kansai Area pass. http://www.jr-odekake.net/en/jwrp/kansai.html. You could also use this pass to go to Himeji and visit the castle there, I think it is one of the most beautiful castles in Japan.

Also for the best place to Celebrate the Chinese new year go to Kobe, the Chinese community it quite big and the local China town is famous for being the most extravagant in Japan.

Enjoy your trip!
Daniel

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Daniel-san
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