Mostly because if Toby's still at his current job in 1 or 2 years, his vacation does NOT roll over like mine does. So traveling over the New Year break means he can take vacation days from two different years and we can get up to 3 weeks available for traveling with him still having a few days off during the rest of the year for visiting friends and family and whatnot.
Partly it's because I am SO NOT going to Japan in the summer again, as the heat and humidity were MISERABLE. I'd like to go in the fall, but I'd like more to have a longer time to travel, so I'll happily go in winter.
I did live in South Dakota for a year. I can handle snowstorms, and we're not planning on traveling in out-of-the-way areas anyway.
Anyway. Now I get to embark on almost the best part of traveling: dreaming and planning what to do!* And budgeting it out.
So...what sort of stuff do you recommend in Japan? We don't have ANY plans yet except for staying in Tokyo at least a few days. If we go to Kyoto I am OF COURSE showing Toby the mysterious fox shrine (read the entries chronologically from the bottom for maximum impact). We would probably stick to Tokyo-and-south-and-west, to get away from the worst of the snow--I hear it mostly gets dumped on the east side of the mountains--but OTOH, there's appeal in going north to Hokkaido and going wildlife-spotting.
The possibilities are open!
Also, recs for hotels, especially in Tokyo. Last time I went, rachelmanija and I stayed at the cheapest hotel in Tokyo, which was fine at the time but now I'd rather have our own bathroom instead of sharing.
*Note to anyone who's about to get busybody and tell me that I shouldn't plan too much: I know what I like. And what I like is coming up with a bunch of possibilities so that each day at the destination, we can pick and choose what we want to do, and months of dreaming and mulling over them. Sorry** for being bitchy about this, but one of the things I truly hate is people telling me I'm vacationing all wrong. (I also like hiring private guides for a couple of days! They always take you to stuff you'd never find on your own or with a guidebook! It's like hiring a local friend, only you don't have to keep in touch with them afterwards!)
** Not really.
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