This thread is for people who may have vacationed in Japan, or for residents and expatriates currently residing in Japan.
My in-laws, my wife, and I are considering taking a trip to Japan next year in early June when summer vacation hits here in the States. My wife, mother-in-law, nor myself have ever been to Japan. My father-in-law went during his tour of Vietnam for a ten day leave period. However, he stayed in a base not far from Tokyo.
Now here is the rub: I want to go to Japan with as little tour guiding as possible. I absolutely cannot stand tour guides. Going to Italy and Greece with my wife on a tour took the taco with me and I felt rushed. I also felt that I was spoon fed information (a lot of it wrong, too). However, I also want to make this vacation as memorable and as affordable as possible.
Over Tex-Mex tonight, my in-laws and wife made a list of cities they might like to go to. I'd really like to see Nara and Kyoto. The lot of them want to see both Osaka and Tokyo.
Should I just bite the bullet and purchase a tour package knowing I'll probably get the best price? Or is it relatively safe and comfortable to go sight seeing on your own in Japan? (I apologize if the latter statement sounds offensive to those living in Japan. Stupid gaijin here). How difficult is it to find reasonable transportation and hotel accommodations on your own? Any advice on this matter would be appreciated.