So, as you may have seen in Chad's blog, we are going to Japan for Worldcon and making a major trip out of it. Our tentative plan is to arrive in Osaka on Sunday August 19, spend about a week in Kyoto, then head to Yokohama (30 min. outside of Tokyo) to the con hotel and do stuff in Tokyo and environs (Kamakura) until the con, which is Thursday August 30 through Monday September 3. We'll probably stick at the hotel until Tuesday, to both relax and get in some last-minute fannish socializing, and then do . . . something . . . that would get us back to Osaka to fly out that Saturday.
(The plan is structured this way because other commitments make this block of time the best one, and we want a good chunk of time in Kyoto.)
So! Tell me about traveling to Japan. We are planning to hit the major museums, gardens, temples, and shrines in Kyoto, maybe Nara, Tokyo, and Kamakura; what else should we see, particularly in the post-con period? Note that low-stress things would be particularly valued at this point in the trip.
Other things I'd like to know, off the top of my head:
- Is an East Coast travel agent from a big chain going to be able to help us with booking airfare, hotels, rail passes, baseball tickets, etc.? Are there agencies that are better at travel to Japan than others?
- Is there any likelihood at all that business fares will drop below five digits? Chad could really use the extra leg room, but when he looked quick at fares, they were in the $10K range—which was way more than when we looked at this several months ago. Maybe we were just looking at the wrong dates?
- If I'm not willing to sleep on the floor, does that rule out hotels like Crossroads of rachelmanija's icon?
- What can I eat if I don't like soy sauce and raw fish? (Yes, I know. This is one of the reasons it took Worldcon for Chad to be able to drag me to Japan.) Do you have restaurants you particularly recommend?
- Souvenirs. Besides stuff I just like, are there particularly good things to bring back as gifts for people? Are there things to avoid?
- What learning-Japanese audiobooks do you recommend?
- What's the wireless internet situation like? I'm contemplating getting a Palm with wireless to carry around and possibly replace the laptop for the trip.
- Besides kabuki, what live performances should we try? Would, say, the equivalent of a minor-league baseball game be worth trying, considering that we're really not that into baseball but enjoy live games?
- Who else is going to Worlcon? What are your plans? Are you sticking around before, after, where are you going when?
- What should I be asking that I don't know enough to?