Joining point

Hotel Park Side Ueno
2 Chome-11-18 Ueno, Taito 110-0005
Taito-Ku
Tokyo
110-0005
JAPAN
Phone: +81 3-3-836-5711 

Joining point description

Located right across from Shinobazu Pond, and conveniently close to Tokyo’s vibrant Ameyoko-cho district and the museums and galleries of Ueno Park. Check in time is 14:00. If arriving after 21:00, please telephone us your time of arrival.

We are unable to offer additional accommodation at Hotel Parkside. For additional nights please book online:
www.parkside.co.jp 

Joining point instructions

Narita airport is approximately 60 km from Tokyo and a taxi would cost you around US$250. 

For a cheaper option we recommend you take the train. It's not complicated and there are plenty of people around to help you if you need to ask for directions.

There are two railway companies that run trains from Narita Airport to Tokyo: Keisei Railways and Japan Rail. The train stations for both companies are located under the airport, very close to the exit from immigration. There are English signs.

If you do not have a Japan Rail pass or don’t want to validate it yet we suggest you take the Keisei Railways train and get off at the final stop, Ueno. The fare is 1,920 yen for the limited express Skyliner train (about 1 hour) or 1,000 yen for the regular express train (about 1.5 hours). Get off at the final stop, Keisei Ueno Station.
When you exit the ticket gates at Keisei Ueno Station, turn immediately right. You will be at Ikenohata exit. Cross the small street in front of you, and turn left. Keep walking until you see a Circle K Sunkus (convenience store) on your right and turn right at this corner. You will see a large pond on your right, and a concert hall just past the pond. Look across the street, and you’ll see an illuminated sign that says ‘Hotel Parkside’.

If you have a Japan Rail Pass and want to validate it you can do this before you get on the train at the rail pass office in the station. Then use your pass to take the JR 'Narita Express' train to Tokyo station. At Tokyo Station, change on to the Yamanote line (look for green signs) going toward Ueno (platform 4). This is also a JR line so you can use your JR Pass. From Tokyo station Ueno is the 4th stop and should take about 8 minutes. On arrival at JR Ueno Station, go out the Shinobazu exit. When you get out of the station, you should see pedestrian crosswalks in front of you and on your right. Turn right and cross the street, then turn left. On your right you'll see stone stairs leading into Ueno Park. Walk past the stairs. Soon you'll see a blue and white sign for Keisei Ueno Station. Walk past the station, and look for a small police station on your right, just at the entrance to Ueno Park.

Keep walking straight, and look to your right. You should see a Circle K Sunkus (convenience store). Walk to the right side of the store and you will see a large pond on your right, and a concert hall just past the pond. Look across the street, and you'll see an illuminated sign that says 'Hotel Parkside'.

Problems and emergency contact information

For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

Intrepid's Local Kyoto Office: +81 90 6531 9269

Finishing point

Matsubaya Ryokan

Nishi-iru, Higashinotouin,
Kamijuzuyamachi-dori,
Shimogyo-ku,
Kyoto-city
600-8150
JAPAN
Phone: 81-75-351-3727 

Itinerary disclaimer

Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

MUSEUM OPENING TIMES
Please note that many sights, attractions and museums are closed on Mondays.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travelers.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Essential Trip Information

Important notes

JAPAN RAIL PASS
A 7 day Standard/Ordinary Japan Rail Pass is included in the price of your trip and will be validated on day 3. For those wishing to stay and travel longer in Japan, a Japan Rail Pass extension (total 14 days) is available. Please contact us at time of booking regarding this service.
Please note that Japan Rail Passes are only valid for foreign tourists visiting Japan from abroad for sightseeing under the entry status of temporary visitor (tourist visa).
ADDITIONAL ACCOMMODATION
Accommodation in Japan can be difficult to secure at short notice. If you are traveling in Japan before or after your trip, we recommend booking accommodation at least 1 month in advance of travel, especially in high season (March to May, September to November).
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is not available to be purchased on this trip.

Passport and visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

JAPAN VISA
Citizens of the USA, Australia and New Zealand are granted 90-day temporary visitor visas, while stays of up to three months are permitted for citizens of Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and a number of other countries.

Stays of up to six months are permitted for citizens of Austria, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Switzerland and the UK. Citizens of these countries will almost always be given a 90-day temporary visitor visa upon arrival, which can usually be extended for another 90 days at immigration bureaux inside Japan.

Medical and health information

All Intrepid travelers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveler is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Food and dietary requirements

While we will endeavour to cater to dietary requirements where possible, please note that many meals and food activities on Real Food Adventures are set in advance in order to deliver a well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. In many countries, dietary restrictions are uncommon and not well understood. If you have dietary requirements and are concerned about whether this may impact on your ability to participate fully in all food-related activities on this trip, please contact your agent at time of booking for further information. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, you must notify your booking agent prior to departure so it can be determined whether your dietary requirements can be met.

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights), Ryokan (4 nights), Monastery (1 night) 

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers traveling on our different trips than your own. 

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
RYOKANS
Japanese-style inns (ryokans) involve sleeping on futons or mattresses on tatami mat floors, with bedding often packed away during the day. Attached bathrooms/toilets will usually be very small and many ryokans will have shared bathing facilities with certain hours, or times available for booking at reception. Your leader will explain etiquette involved in using the shared facilities. 

As this style of accommodation will often not have furniture (ie. chairs or beds) in the rooms, please consider choosing a different trip style if you have difficulty getting up from the floor or have knee, hip or back issues.

Some ryokans may have a curfew when travelers need to be back in the accommodation - this is usually around midnight.
There are shared bathrooms at some of the accommodation on this trip.

Transport

Bullet train, Bus, Train 

JAPAN RAIL PASS
A 7 day Standard/Ordinary Japan Rail Pass is included in the price of your trip and will be validated on day 4. For those wishing to stay and travel longer in Japan, a Japan Rail Pass extension (total 14 days) is available. Please contact us at time of booking regarding this service.
Please note that Japan Rail Passes are only valid for foreign tourists visiting Japan from abroad for sightseeing under the entry status of temporary visitor (tourist visa).

Money matters

SPENDING MONEY:
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveler is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

The official currency of Japan is Yen (JPY).

Japan is predominantly a cash society and locals carry large amounts of cash for daily business. 

International credit cards can usually only be used at major department stores or large restaurants but cash from non-Japanese bank accounts can be withdrawn via the Cirrus and Maestro systems by direct debiting (as well as Mastercard and Visa cash advance). This is now available at all post office ATMs around the country, as well as 7 Eleven convenience store ATMs, making it very easy to get access to cash throughout the trip at each location 24 hours a day.

BUDGET:
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest USD360.00 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveler feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

TIPPING:
If you are happy with the services provided by your group leader tipping - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please consider this when budgeting for your extra expenses on this tour.

The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$1-2 per person, per day can be used.

Tipping is not customary in Japan in restaurants and for other service providers.

DEPARTURE TAX
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

CONTINGENCY FUNDS:
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

Packing

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are traveling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

Many travelers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are also convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

MAIN LUGGAGE
On this trip you will need to carry your own luggage for up to 30 minutes at a time. Train stations are quite complex and usually require a lot of stair climbing, especially when doing a quick transfer from train to train. Elevators aren't always available and cannot accommodate many people at a time, so if you are choosing to bring a suitcase, please ensure you are able to lift and carry it up and down stairs yourself without difficulty. A backpack is often preferred by travelers for this reason. Some ryokans don't allow suitcases with wheels into rooms with tatami mat floors. Japanese transportation is often quite small and cramped so it's best to pack as light as possible so that you are not blocking aisles or taking up extra seats on trains. 

DAY PACK
A day pack for carrying essentials when exploring destinations as well as for short overnight stays will be useful. On trains packing this with the essentials you need to access during the trip will also be very useful.

WATER BOTTLE
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when traveling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

WATER BOTTLE
Cold tap water in Japan is generally safe and good to drink so you can avoid the purchase of bottled water by bringing your own bottle and refilling from the tap or public water fountains.

OTHER USEFUL THINGS TO TAKE
- reusable shopping bag for buying supplies for long journeys
- travel mug, cutlery, plate/bowl for preparing any self catered meals
- plastic lunch box for storing food & snacks
- slippers or flip flops
- torch/flashlight
- travel wipes
- small towel
- ear plugs & eye mask

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
- check weather in destinations you are traveling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing
- laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash

Group Leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. You can expect your Intrepid Food Adventures group leader to be passionate about the local food scene and keen to share their insider knowledge on the best authentic local food and drink experiences throughout your trip. 

Your leader will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while traveling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while traveling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before traveling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While traveling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

A couple of rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travelers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders, local operators or locals. 

Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.

Traveling on a group trip

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travelers booked on your trip prior to departure.

A single supplement is not available to be purchased on this trip.

 

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When traveling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

 

Responsible Travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveler.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

CLOTHING
While Japan is known for its 'out there' fashions overall it is quite a conservative country. Please remember that we spend time at temples, working monasteries, holy shrines, recreated villages and castles, cooking schools and ancient gardens. At these places it is important to be respectful to the staff and other visitors by wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.

WHALE MEAT
Intrepid Travel is a big supporter of the protection of endangered species around the world. It is against Intrepid’s Responsible Travel policy for our leaders to take passengers to places that use cruel practices or supply or serve foods that are on the endangered species list, such as whale, turtle, tiger, bird’s nests, pangolin and shark.

Although a global ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986, approximately 1,000 whales are still being killed every year. We do not visit places that serve whale meat on any of our trips, nor will your leader guide you to where it is offered.

For more information on our Responsible Travel policy, see our website:
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/about/responsible-business

CLOTHING
While Japan is known for its 'out there' fashions overall it is quite a conservative country. Please remember that we spend time at temples, working monasteries, holy shrines, recreated villages and castles, cooking schools and ancient gardens. At these places it is important to be respectful to the staff and other visitors by wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.

The Intrepid Foundation

Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travelers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travelers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way. 

The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/