Author Topic: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)  (Read 8922 times)

Offline lakewood34

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2019, 05:13:56 PM »
do you enjoy the pre preparation and the packing etc. or do is that a means to a end

Offline mochjas

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2019, 05:14:48 PM »
do you enjoy the pre preparation and the packing etc. or do is that a means to a end
Why is this relevant?

Offline iluv2travel

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2019, 11:08:23 AM »
Question: How were you able to fit each person's clothing into only three of those packing bags? Even if you washed during the trip, my stuff would take up more than 3 of those.

Offline CR

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2019, 05:00:34 PM »
Question: How were you able to fit each person's clothing into only three of those packing bags? Even if you washed during the trip, my stuff would take up more than 3 of those.
These bags (Large ebags type) are much larger then you expect and can really fit so much. We packed all summer clothing so definitely took less space then winter clothing would. My husband and boys took mostly shorts, t shirts. Younger kids clothing bags definitely had extra space. Also keep in mind we each took sweatshirt, sweatpants, kind of stuff on carry on.

Offline lakewood34

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2019, 07:23:14 PM »
Why is this relevant?

your right it's not. I personally don't really enjoy the planning I was wondering overall if others enjoy the planning and anticipation or is it a means to a end.
This is probably the wrong place for such a question as it is not specific to this trip thread and I will try to find the appropriate place to post the question

Offline iluv2travel

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2019, 10:53:53 AM »
These bags (Large ebags type) are much larger then you expect and can really fit so much. We packed all summer clothing so definitely took less space then winter clothing would. My husband and boys took mostly shorts, t shirts. Younger kids clothing bags definitely had extra space. Also keep in mind we each took sweatshirt, sweatpants, kind of stuff on carry on.

Ok, good to know. We're planning a big family trip for next spring so we're definitely not taking winter clothes. I will give these bags a shot, it sounds and feels so much more organized than what I've previously done. Thanks.

Looking forward to your future installments of this  trip report!

Offline CR

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2019, 09:08:15 PM »
Japan

Our arrival to Japan was on time and we departed the plane quickly. Unfortunately, we waited in line over 1 hour at immigration, the large room was under renovation and the was pretty warm. Many people do not speak English in Japan and this was our first real encounter with the reality we were about to experience over the next 6 days. By the time we were done with immigration, our luggage was waiting for us. I must say the airport itself is very nice, clean and the important signs are in English so it’s definitely not hard to navigate. Our first stop was at a money exchange counter. Many places in Japan do not take credit card so we exchanged some money. Little did we realize that we would be needing more cash in a few days because very few places will take foreign credit cards. The exchange rate at the time was around 101 JPY to 1 USD. We bought tickets for the Keisei Skyliner at the ticket counter in the airport. This is the cheapest way to go from NRT to Tokyo. Price is 1380 JPY per person ($13.80 approx.) The counter was very helpful in giving us detailed directions, I told her we were going to the Sheraton Miyako Hotel and she gave us clear instructions where to switch lines. We switched at the Mita station and took another train for about 3 min to the Shirokanetakanawa Station. That station is a 10 min walk to the Sheraton. Total train ride was about an hour and a half. The ride was comfortable and smooth. The train had a storage area for our luggage so that was great. We arrived at our final stop tired especially after schlepping all our luggage up all the steps to get to the street. Our goal was to hail down a cab to take us to the Sheraton from there. We realized we would need 2 cabs to take us all to the Sheraton (6 people + 10 suitcases!) After about 15 minutes of trying to hail down cabs, we gave up and decided to walk to the hotel. I don’t know why it was so hard to get a cab, but many taxi drivers slowed down to look at us and all our luggage and gave up… most taxis are small cars so even though we were willing to split up we had no chance even explaining that to the drivers. I will point out that we also called the hotel to see if they can help. They do have a shuttle at different times to 2 of the bigger stations that are near the hotel. This was not one of them, they advised us to walk. We walked the seemingly endless 10 min partially uphill walk to the Sheraton.

Sheraton Miyako Hotel

We chose this hotel because it is the closest points hotel that is walking distance to Chabad. We were eating with Chabad for Shabbos. Since this hotel is not in the center of the city I wanted to stay in a more central touristy area for the other nights. My plan was to stay here for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. This hotel is 50K Marriott points per night. However, there were no rooms available to book with points via Marriott. (I searched for a few weeks and couldn’t even find one room for the weekend stay and we needed 2 rooms.) So, I came up with plan B. I had a $900 Hotels.com gift card (from Pixel 3/ Google Fi promo in winter) and booked 3 nights with that. (After signing up for the rewards program where you get a free night after staying 10 nights - the free night is an average of all nights booked). The second room was booked on the Chase portal with CSR card. Total for the 3 nights was 34,500 Chase points. Both rooms were 2 queen beds and I emailed the hotel prior to make them connecting rooms and combine the reservation. They promised they would try to get connecting rooms. We checked in to the hotel and were told that there were no connecting rooms available but we were upgraded to recently renovated rooms on the 10th floor and the rooms were next to each other. Luckily, we have older children so this didn’t bother us that much and it was only a 3-night stay. I must say that the room looked brand new and spotless, they must have just been renovated. Everything was perfect and clean, loads of bathroom amenities, mini fridge and comfortable beds and pillows. The hotel stored our cooler bag in their commercial freezer by the way and was very helpful with that. I am not sure how many of the hotel rooms were renovated but the entire tenth floor was redone. Also, I want to point out the tipping is not customary in Japan, our tip was actually refused twice. Here are some room pictures:

IMG_20190704_184118 by cr**, on Flickr

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Hallway on 10th floor

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Bidet toilet- seat was heated and look at the many cool features of this bidet. My kids loved it.

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Since the flush is part of this bidet system, we needed it disabled for Shabbos. The hotel is familiar with Shabbos since they have many observant Jews stay there. They disabled this bidet for Shabbos. We had to pull a string for 30 seconds near the bottom of the toilet in order to manually flush the toilet. It took them about 20 minutes to disable this system for both of our rooms.

General Interesting Info about Japan

Some general info about transportation and life in Japan. Japan driving is on left side of the road (like Australia & England). Tokyo is a big city and most people get around by public transportation, the subway. There is a large railway system in place in the Tokyo Metro area. There are 13 color coded subway lines in this Metro area and one JR Yamanote Line which is a loop line and connects Tokyo’s multiple city centers. Note there are way more subway/ train lines around Tokyo, but these are the ones in the center of Tokyo you will encounter. Easiest way to get around is to purchase a reloadable train card called Suica or Pasmo. We bought the Suica card and it was best thing ever, we took so many trains over the next few days and it saved us so much time and was no hassle. The train system will seem very complicated at first especially getting used to all these Japanese names. My advice is to carry around a subway route map and ask around. However, after 1 day of travel you will be able to do it on your own. Each route is color coded like I mentioned before and the signs in the train station are that way too. The subway train itself has clear maps and will announce and display upcoming stops. People are so polite in Japan, no pushing or shoving to get into busy trains. People are quiet and do not talk loudly in the train (they are not even talking on the phone while they are in the train). Signs will tell you to be courteous of fellow passengers and mute your cellphone ringer and volume. During travel most people will be using their phones, reading books or playing video games (Japan is obsessed with video games btw). We saw a really old lady playing Nintendo on the train and my boys thought it was funny! Another aspect of Japan which is so culturally different than other places I have visited is there obsession with cleanliness. Nobody is eating anything on the train (besides for the occasional tourist), the trains are spotless. All subway stations we have been too on this entire trip were spotless, it was very rare to find a garbage can in the station or on the street. Countless times we took our garbage back to the hotel with us. The streets are clean and spotless even in the busiest areas of the city. People are not eating while walking on the street besides for us crazy Americans! We even saw people sweeping leaves from the sidewalk during our walk to Chabad on Shabbos, and that was in front of a big building (not a private house). Steps are marked with a line halfway through to divide the people going up and down, and everyone is following those “rules” or “guides”. We were amazed how the largest subway stations at rush hour had extreme order and the flow of traffic was pretty smooth and quick. Many sidewalks will have color coded bricks to guide the flow of walking traffic in each direction. Smoking is not allowed on the street and there are designated areas on the street for smoking. In general Tokyo is a very safe city and we felt extremely safe there. I cannot say anything about other cities in Japan because I have not visited them, however I have heard it’s the same way. My son figured out to use Google Translate live (it needs to be downloaded offline) and then you can do live translating. Basically, your phone will scan the foreign language and display it on your phone in English. Pretty cool and we used it a lot as many things weren’t translated to English. Japan is expensive in general. Food is pricy as well, we walked in to a large supermarket and a dozen eggs were about $10. Fruits and vegetables were very pricey as well. All kinds of fresh fish is sold everywhere and was so much cheaper than poultry and meats. The Japanese diet is really the sushi type- fish and rice! One more thing, Japan is getting ready for the Olympics next summer in Tokyo. We saw so many signs all over that have the Olympic logo with words Tokyo 2020 on it.

Thursday

We arrived to the hotel around 5:30 PM. After quickly settling into our rooms we walked to Chana’s Place the only Kosher restaurant in Tokyo which is part of the Chabad house, a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Food was homestyle and delicious. Menu is small and we pretty much tried most things throughout our stay in Japan. We tried the schnitzel chicken, pargit chicken, beef kebabs all served with white or fried rice. This was our first hot meal (airline food doesn’t count) since Tuesday night dinner at Kraving’s in Detroit and it felt really good. Prices were close to $25 per plate of food (main dish + rice). Chabad does take credit cards. We returned to hotel, showered and all went to bed before 9 PM that night. We were definitely jet lagged; Japan is 13 hours ahead from east coast USA where we are from.

Friday

The Sheraton hotel offers free shuttles to Meguru and Shinagawa Stations. They have schedules at the concierge desk. These shuttles were very convenient to us since I wanted to avoid unnecessary walking for our children. I knew our days were full of walking and didn’t want to wear them out. Other option is to walk to the closest station (10 min) and then have to take potentially more trains to get to your destination. So, it was worth it for us to plan our day around these shuttles. They also pick you up from the station and return you to the hotel.

Meguru Train station
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Purchasing the Suica train cards, note the train route maps
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Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden- Japan is famous for its gardens and this one is located in the Shinjuku district. Apparently its very popular during cherry blossom season due to its proximity to being in the Shinjuku district which is one of Tokyo’s busiest business, shopping and entertainment district. Garden was beautifully manicured and was an oasis in this busy city of Tokyo. Park has a small entrance fee.

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Next we walked to the entertainment district, my kids were seeing signs for the Robot Restaurant and it looked cool so we walked to see what the hype was all about. We saw the outside of the restaurant/bar and took some pictures. Definitely not somewhere I would go to again and was a waste of time.

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After a few minutes of being in the entertainment district I had seen enough so we walked towards the Tokyo Metropolitan Building which was our next stop. It is a 20-minute walk and we walked through so many gaming stores and ones like this which we stopped in for few minutes:

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Shinjuku

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We walked through many big shopping areas and eventually making our way to the business district with lots of business and skyscrapers.
Tokyo Metropolitan Building- There are 2 buildings North and South, with free observation decks which provide panoramic views of Tokyo and beyond. The North building observation deck was closed for renovation, so we went to the South building. Observatory is at a height of 202 meters and is one of the tallest buildings in Tokyo. During a clear day you can see My Fuji. Many of the summer days are cloudy and we were able to see it faintly in the background. Note many attractions are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays in Japan. The south tower is closed the 1st and 3rd Tuesday each month. It is a really cool sight to see to gain perspective of the size of this city. Pictures we took really don’t do justice as to the 360-degree view, we had. Here are some pictures of the view:

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We then stopped on the main floor of building so see the Tokyo Olympic Exhibit. This was not something we planned or knew about in advance but it looked interesting so we stopped to look around and take pictures. The Olympic flag is displayed there and there were lots of cool things to see.

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Olympic flag

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Mush of my Japan research and itinerary were from 2 websites, Tokyo Cheap and Japan Guide. One of them had a self-guided architecture walking tour in Shinjuku which I was thinking of doing it we were up to it and had time. However, I still wanted to do Shibuya crossing today and we spent too much time at the Olympic Exhibit so I dropped that plan. We did see some of the cool architectural buildings walking to and from the Tokyo Metro Building. Here are some:

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Shibuya Crossing – We then took train to Shibuya Crossing. This a famous intersection where thousands of people cross an intersection in all different directions when the crosswalk symbol turns green every few minutes. Alternatively, when the crossing symbol turns red cars fill the street from all directions as well and of course not one person is in the street. We were there in the middle of a weekday, definitely lots of people however not like the pictures and videos I have seen online. Since this is a busy shopping district the many screens and flashing lights make this a sight to see at night as well. Obviously, I couldn’t do each attraction at the optimal time, however this was cool for us to watch. The best view is from the Starbucks 2nd floor, which we did. No need to purchase anything there, tons of people just come in for the views.

Shibuya crossing before the crosswalk turns green

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View from Starbucks

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We then headed back to the hotel, made my kids some pasta for dinner pre-Shabbos as the meal was late for them. We took care of getting Shabbos keys at the front desk as well as disabling the bidet/toilet flushing system as mentioned earlier. Hotel is very Shabbos friendly and will keep the room keys at the front desk when you leave on Shabbos and will escort you to the room when you arrive back to the hotel.

Saturday/ Shabbos


We ate all 3 of our Shabbos meals with Chabad of Tokyo. Paid reservations must be made in advance and can be done online. We made reservations online and total cost for our family of 6 (4 adults and 2 children) for 3 meals was $380. Shabbos was beautiful and a very nice experience. We met people from all over the world and got to hear their stories and what brought them here. We had around 40 people for Friday night, 25 for Shabbos lunch and under 15 for Shalosh Seudos. Worth to note that there is a small garden that belongs to the Sheraton in the back of the hotel which is very nice. There is also another really nice garden around the corner from the hotel which people say is very nice. We took naps all afternoon and didn’t make it there.

Sunday

We checked out of Sheraton Miyako hotel and took the free hotel shuttle to Shinagawa Station. From there we took a train to Shinjuku Station, followed by a free Hyatt Regency hotel Shuttle directly to the front door of the hotel.

Hyatt Regency Tokyo

Why did I choose this hotel? There are many points hotel options in the Tokyo area and it was a decision that took me some time to make, in the end I concluded that this would give our family everything we needed and were looking for. First of all, I wanted a brand I was familiar with as I wasn’t taking chances in a foreign country. Since Japan is so expensive many of the luxury points hotels were pricy too with points, keep in mind for every night I am needing 2 rooms. For us this was also not the trip of a lifetime; we travel a lot and will be doing many more God willing. So, no need for us to spend 60K night (2 x 30K) to stay in the Park Hyatt, which would cost us 180K for 3-night stay. It’s obviously different if we were traveling with no kids, but this just made sense points wise for our family. We like staying in hotels and enjoy the amenities it provides. We stay in VRBO/Airbnb places as well, but this made sense for this stay as we were in a foreign country. We wanted a hotel with a pool, gym and free shuttle to the train station. The hotel is in the business district of Shinjuku and across the street from the Tokyo Metro building where we were on Friday. It was near 2 train stations, shopping and in a safe area of town. Hyatt Regency cost 12K Hyatt points per night vs the paid cash rate of $380/ night at that time. So really good value for our points. I used an annual free night (from the Hyatt credit card) for 1 room for 1 night and the 2nd room was booked via Hyatt at 12K points per night, 2nd and 3rd nights were booked the same way. Total cost was an annual free Hyatt night + 60K Hyatt points transferred from Chase UR. There was a Hyatt 10% promotional rebate on points bookings during that time, so I will be getting back 6K points making the stay cost only 54K points+ the free night. I emailed the hotel after the booking to combine the separate reservations, give us connecting rooms and requested early check in. They couldn’t guarantee the connecting rooms, sounds familiar 😊. We arrived at the hotel at noon, a little later than I had originally planned however I knew since it was a rainy day, I had to revise our plans anyways for the day so we weren’t pressed for time. After checking in and giving them our freezer cooler, we were informed we got nice connecting rooms (with a view) but they weren’t ready. I was counting on making lunch in the room with the sandwich maker before we went out to do some activities, but I had to think of plan B. We were getting hungry for lunch and going to Chabad for lunch wasn’t an option (2 trains + walking, would get us there in an hour and by the time we would go do our activities it would be so late in the day). So, we remembered our tradition soups we had brought for this type of situation. Finding hot water in the hotel (without having a room) was challenging. The only place we would get hot water was in a café 1 floor down. When we got there, we were told we couldn’t just get hot water, we had to order something else from the menu. So, we ordered a cup of coffee (cost us $5) and got 6 cups of hot water. Luckily the hotel lobby is very large and has many areas to sit and relax with privacy. We ate our soups, packed up some snack for the way and went outside to wait for the shuttle. The Hyatt has a free shuttle to Shinjuku Station (one of the larger trains station in Tokyo) every 15 minutes in each direction. While waiting we ordered dinner from Chabad to be delivered to our hotel at 6PM. It is very easy to order online. There is a delivery fee, however don’t recall how much.

Streets in Shinjuku

DSC02443 by cr**, on Flickr

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Our original plan for Sunday included Akihabara (the electronics district), Asakusa to visit famous temple and see the old time Tokyo and finally the Tokyo Sky Tree at night. The sky tree is the tallest building in Tokyo for a view of the city at night.
We spent a couple of hours around Akihabara, where practically every building is electronics related. Many of them sell electronics and many of them are video game related, literally buildings many stories high and each floor is packed with video games and more video games. And then you watch the Japanese play these games and it’s really something else. Just seeing the sheer amount of video game stores will make you realize the insane obsession the Japanese culture has with this stuff. We all tried many different games, Mario kart, car racing games, etc. Over Shabbos we met a man who had just visited Akihabara and told us to stop in the Sega store for an amazing VR game (for adults only). So, after getting to Akihabara we found a Sega store, but no VR gaming room. We asked around and were directed to another Sega store which had no VR gaming room either. Finally, we were directed to a 3rd one which had the VR game room on the 6th floor. There are multiple games to choose from. This one is called Mortal blitz and is played with a machine gun. My husband and boys did the game and enjoyed every minute of it. Game takes about 20-30 minutes. I would highly recommend it. Here is a picture of the building:

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Akihabara video- click on picture to watch

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More Akihabara in the rain

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Caption this?

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After going to Akihabara in the rain and spending a couple of hours there, we all decided we had enough and returned to the hotel. At this point we got our room keys and went to check into our rooms on the 16th floor. Here are some pictures of the room and the view.

MVIMG_20190710_071242 by cr**, on Flickr

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Daytime view (was raining)

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Night time view

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Hyatt Regency Lobby

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Around 6 pm my husband waited in the lobby for our food to be delivered after the hotel informed us that they do not accept deliveries from outside restaurants. To his surprise the Chabad Rabbi himself delivered the food! He told us there were no delivery guys available so he came with his own car. Such amazing service. We ordered sandwiches for dinner (lox, grilled chicken, schnitzel and grilled turkey). Food was delicious and then we decided to check out the pool and go for a quick swim.
Hyatt’s pool is indoors and is located on the top floor of the hotel with the fitness center. In order to go to the pool area, you must be in a bathing suit and hold your swim shoes, you then have to pass through an area around 1 foot deep with antiseptic solution for your feet. Then you have to proceed to another area around 2.5 ft deep for further cleansing (this is all after you are technically supposed to shower before entering the pool). There is no way to bypass these areas, plus there is a pool attendant there at all times to make sure you do the right thing. If you are using the pool or hot tub you must wear this ugly green bathing cap as seen in the picture below. Otherwise the pool and hot tub were great. There are some great views of the city from there.

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Hyatt Pool (Note green bathing cap that is required)

20190707_200422 by cr**, on Flickr

Monday

Plan for Monday was to spend the entire day in Odaiba. Odaiba is a man-made island in Tokyo bay which focuses on entertainment and shopping. It is supposed to have a futuristic theme to it as well. Over Shabbos we met some people that went to Odaiba and told us they visited the digital art museum there and it’s an absolute must to see and experience. At first It sounded like an art museum and that wouldn’t really work for our family, but I decided to look it up on Sunday night and boy was I surprised. After reading about it, looking at pictures and videos online I was truly convinced that it would be an amazing experience. I was told to buy tickets in advance but there were no tickets left on Sunday night for Monday admission. At that point I was disappointed and really wanted to visit that place. So, after googling some more, I found a secondary website selling tickets for the museum for Monday (website was called Voyagin). The price was a little more but I didn’t care and was happy to get the tickets.
Odaiba has lots to do on the island. There are even big hotels there and you can be busy for days. Lots of stuff for children and families to do as well as adults. Some of the popular activities are the Mori Digital Art Museum by Epson, Fuji Tv Building, Aquacity, Divercity, Venus Fort, Toyota Mega Web, Ferris wheel and Panasonic center. There is even a mini Statue of Liberty there (1/7 of the size of one in NYC). Note: many attractions (just like in the rest of Tokyo) are closed either on Mondays or on Tuesdays. We went on a Monday and had plenty to do. In order to get to Odaiba you can take a train over the famous Rainbow bridge (you can walk the bridge too btw), drive over the rainbow bridge or take the Tokyo water bus – like a water taxi and enjoy views of the harbor.
We opted for the train over the Rainbow bridge. The train is called the Yurikamome and it is a driverless train. The Suica card will not work for this train. Make sure to be in the first car and you will see views like this:

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Rainbow bridge

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Our main goal in Odaiba was to visit the Mori Digital Art Museum. We got off at the first stop in Odaiba and walked to see the mini Statue of Liberty which is pretty neat. We also got so see views of Tokyo from across the water and was nice too. Here are some pictures of that:

DSC02533 by cr**, on Flickr

All attractions in Odaiba are within walking distance to one another. We then walked about 15 minutes to the digital art museum. It is located near the big Ferris wheel. Admission to the museum is only for pre purchased ticket holders. The line was so long out the door and we waited about 45 min in order to get in, but it was so worth it.

Mori Digital Art Museum by Epson

I will discuss the museum in depth since it was the highlight of our trip to Tokyo and one, I would recommend every visitor to visit. It is unlike anything you have ever seen before. The museum has been open for about a year and has become Tokyo’s top attraction. The museum is over 10,000 sq. ft and has over 500 computers and 470 projectors that creates an experience that will stimulate all five senses. The museum is constantly changing, so stay in the different areas for a while to explore. The music is a very big part of the atmosphere and experience. I honestly can’t describe this place in words that will resemble anything close to what we saw and experienced. Watch the videos on the museum’s website. https://borderless.teamlab.art/ . Honestly, it’s just a fraction of what this experience is about.  Here is another great video I saw on another website https://soranews24.com/2018/07/04/teamlab-borderless-a-visitors-guide-to-tokyos-new-jaw-dropping-interactive-light-museum/amp/.  This also has a good description about the museum and lots of tips for visiting. This website has amazing pictures as well: https://trulytokyo.com/mori-building-digital-art-museum-teamlab-borderless/.  The museum is very family friendly and has exhibits for children too. Plan to stay between 3-4 hours. Here are some of our pictures and videos.

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The next few pictures are from same area, with lights changing colors and different views

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This area you can color pictures and they are scanned into the computer and then incorporated into the artwork on the walls and floor

DSC02949 by cr**, on Flickr

Example of whale that someone colored

20190708_154703 by cr**, on Flickr

Climbing activity

DSC03000 by cr**, on Flickr

Here are a couple of videos we took: You must click on the photo to watch the video on Flickr

20190708_145908 by cr**, on Flickr

20190708_144427 by cr**, on Flickr

20190708_141537 by cr**, on Flickr

20190708_141430 by cr**, on Flickr

20190708_140701 by cr**, on Flickr


After the museum we visited Toyota Mega Web which is next door. Mega web is a car theme park to 'Look', 'Ride' and 'Feel' automobile. There are 3 facilities based on each theme. A hands-on car showroom called Toyota City Showcase. An amusement park with ride studios, is for visitors of all ages with thrill rides, racing simulators, and a 5D movie theater. You can also test drive various Toyota’s on a test track. They have a History Garage, which was interesting as well and a technology zone. There also is a Sports zone where you can experience Paralympic sports that are sponsored by Toyota. Some of them were wheel chair basketball, stick hockey, which we all took turns playing and really enjoyed. Greatest thing is everything is FREE. Very high-tech place and really cool for any car fan. After Toyota we headed back to the hotel via train over the Rainbow bridge, it was evening and we were able to see Tokyo from across the bay and enjoy the rainbow colors that light up the rainbow bridge at night.

DSC02556 by cr**, on Flickr

wheelchair basketball

DSC03012 by cr**, on Flickr

Stick hockey

20190708_171345 by cr**, on Flickr

DSC03049 by cr**, on Flickr

DSC03064 by cr**, on Flickr

20190708_171745 by cr**, on Flickr

Packed subway on way back to the hotel

20190708_185741 by cr**, on Flickr

Tuesday

My original plan for the day was to travel out of Tokyo on a day trip to Hakone. That is a beautiful lakeside town which has amazing views of Mt Fuji. They sell something called Hakone Free pass which includes round trip trains from Tokyo, Hakone Cable car, Sightseeing cruise, Hakone ropeway and more. The pictures online look beautiful and I really wanted to go. We wanted to enjoy some nature and scenery amidst our trip to the big city of Tokyo. It is about 1.5 hours (or close to 1:45 hours) away from the city of Tokyo. Once we came to Tokyo and were sharing our itinerary with people we met and hotel concierge they recommended we skip this day trip. Summer time is cloudy season in Tokyo and we were told our chances of seeing Mt Fuji was about 20%. We were open to switching our itinerary (Sun, Mon & Tues) but it was pretty much the same chances. So, we decided that since it is a long trip not to bother since the chance of seeing Mt Fuji was slim. We were disappointed but nevertheless made the best out of the day.
Our kids were tired in the morning hours and wanted to chill and swim. So, I took advantage of that and quickly googled a laundromat. Today was day 8 of our trip and tomorrow we were scheduled to fly to Bangkok. I needed to do laundry. Luckily, I found a self-serve small laundromat only 10 minutes away by foot. I put all the laundry in a suitcase and walked through a park to the laundromat. I wish I had taken a picture of the massive and interesting machines they had there, all with instructions in Japanese. Not one thing in English. I thought I figured it out and put 1000 JPY in the machine, some detergent and pressed start. About 45 minutes into the cycle it sounded and looked like it was drying the clothes. I wasn’t sure until the cycle was complete and the door unlocked. Sure enough the clothes were dry, go figure. It turns out the same machine washes and dries the clothes. Little did I know I wouldn’t be able to take things out after the wash to hang dry… guess I still learn about new things every day.
After eating lunch in the hotel, we took a train to the Imperial Palace. There are daily tours in English at 10:00 and 1:30 PM. Unfortunately, we missed the 1:30 PM tour, so we were only able to walk around part of the grounds by ourselves. Fortunately, the weather was a perfect 75 degrees so we were able to walk around and explore. We took our time and made some family memories b/c that’s ultimately what counts. I wanted to have happy children with amazing memories of this trip and they were complaining about all the walking we were doing. They are not used to all the walking that needs to be done when you take trains and are in a city. We ended up taking a train to Chabad for our final dinner in Tokyo. It was great to have fresh delicious hot food after a long day. After dinner, we were deliberating doing the Tokyo Skytree but the kids voted to pass it up. I am sure if we were on this trip ourselves, we would have gone to it even though we were tired. However, we were traveling with the family and you need to be ready for changes and can’t always do everything you want to do as adults. We experienced a lot in this city and had a great time and we try to have that perspective even though we may have to change or cancel some plans along the way.

Some of the grounds near Imperial palace

DSC03092 by cr**, on Flickr

20190709_160949 by cr**, on Flickr

Dinner at Chana's Place / Chabad

Chicken Fried Rice

IMG_20190709_181625 by cr**, on Flickr

Pargit with Rice

IMG_20190709_181635 by cr**, on Flickr

Schnitzel with Rice

IMG_20190709_181629 by cr**, on Flickr

Wednesday 

After checkout we boarded the Airport Limousine Bus (regular bus, no limo) which has scheduled pickup at the Hyatt Regency, Park Hyatt and few other hotels on the way, directly to Haneda airport. We booked this shuttle the day we arrived to the Hyatt Regency. The shuttle cost was 3200 JPY ($30) adult and 1600 JPY ($15) for a child. After all the subway traveling and walking around with our luggage on the day of our arrival, we wanted door to door service. I would rate them 5 stars and would do this again even though it was expensive ($150 for all of us). It took us about 45 minutes to get to Haneda.
Next up… we travel to Thailand for 12 days!!! 
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 10:57:35 PM by CR »

Offline 12HRS

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2019, 09:36:41 PM »
This has got to be one of the best TR I have seen here in a long time

Offline BarryLincoln

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2019, 10:14:10 PM »
This has got to be one of the best TR I have seen here in a long time
+100

Offline ludmila

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2019, 10:50:51 PM »
All I can is wow!! Thank you :)
I was the Best,still the Best, and will always be the Best.
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Offline Dan

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2019, 01:29:23 AM »
Great TR! Keep it up!

A few notes about Japan:
-No issues bringing in meat on my 2 trips.
-Costco sells food with a hechsher.
-Don't ask locals where Costco is, as it's pronounced Costoco here.
-The garden by the Sheraton Miyako that I wrote about in my Tokyo TR is great! Wonderful place for Shabbos afternoon stroll.
-Looks like King Felafel is gone, but did you try getting in touch with Kosher Delica for food delivery?
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline MeirS

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2019, 09:08:22 AM »

Offline CR

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2019, 10:31:31 AM »
Great TR! Keep it up!

A few notes about Japan:
-No issues bringing in meat on my 2 trips.
-Costco sells food with a hechsher.
-Don't ask locals where Costco is, as it's pronounced Costoco here.
-The garden by the Sheraton Miyako that I wrote about in my Tokyo TR is great! Wonderful place for Shabbos afternoon stroll.
-Looks like King Felafel is gone, but did you try getting in touch with Kosher Delica for food delivery?

Thank you very much. I wish I would have known about the meat, would have loved to bring in some deli. Great to know about Costco, what kind of kosher things can one find in the Costco there? We did not try Kosher Delica, didn't realize they were open. Glad to know there are more options for Kosher food in Tokyo.

Offline eliteflyer

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2019, 06:18:52 PM »
Respect! Impressive planning an execution!

Offline Dan

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Re: Family trip to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong ( with a stop in Detroit)
« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2019, 06:24:55 PM »
Thank you very much. I wish I would have known about the meat, would have loved to bring in some deli. Great to know about Costco, what kind of kosher things can one find in the Costco there? We did not try Kosher Delica, didn't realize they were open. Glad to know there are more options for Kosher food in Tokyo.
Gotta loop DDF into the trip planning :)

It's been 14 years since I was at Costco in Japan, but I recall them having lots of kosher items like they do in their US stores.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.