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Visiting Japan

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by SoSolid, 17 Jun 2014.

  1. SoSolid

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 28 Jul 2003

    Posts: 1,987

    Location: The Moon

    The girlfriend and I are going to be visiting Japan next month and I am after an recommendations or ideas from fellow forum members. We are flying in to Tokyo where we plan to spend 6 days and then travel around Japan for the remaining 2 weeks on the bullet train before flying back out of Tokyo.

    Our current route plane is; Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka, Okinawa to see amazing aquarium and back to Tokyo.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jun 2014
  2. kindai

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 9 Aug 2013

    Posts: 7,718

    Location: Bromsgrove

    Buy your train tickets before you get there, considerably cheaper.

    If time permits, also get into niigata
     
  3. SoSolid

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 28 Jul 2003

    Posts: 1,987

    Location: The Moon

    Are you referring to the JR pass? Is this pass worth it? It still seems expensive?
     
  4. kayomani

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 19 May 2007

    Posts: 1,228

    Location: The Now

    My two favorite places from my visit are Kamakura and Akihabara
     
  5. Jimbo Mahoney

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 6,563

    I really enjoyed Kobe.

    Kyoto was "meh" - once you've seen one temple...
     
  6. Earth[Tera].bin

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 12 Sep 2007

    Posts: 2,477

    If you're intending a few trips on the Shinkansen then purchasing the JR pass works out.
     
  7. kindai

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 9 Aug 2013

    Posts: 7,718

    Location: Bromsgrove

    Last time I went it ended up ~40% cheaper than buying individual tickets.
     
  8. snips86x

    Capodecina

    Joined: 14 Nov 2012

    Posts: 17,887

    Location: Close to Swindon, but not Swindon

    You're going to have such a good time. I went out for 14 days a number of years ago when I met my wife and it was amazing.

    She's off again this year to see her brother and I wish I could go too. Regarding transport, trains in populated towns/cities run every 2-3 mins and cost about 90% less than they do here. Well, they did about 6 years ago when I was out there :)

    Dont forget to take some pics, that aquarium is insane!!!!
     
  9. SoSolid

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 28 Jul 2003

    Posts: 1,987

    Location: The Moon

    Wow thanks for the advice, I am really excited. The aquarium does indeed sound awesome.
     
  10. Bhoya

    Hitman

    Joined: 26 Jan 2006

    Posts: 560

    If you asked my wife Kamakura is probably her favourite place in Japan (so far). She loves the beach there and the little Hawaiian burger place along it.

    If you go to Osaka, there's a pair of English guys who do a cycle tour around some of the lesser visited spots in town. The city isn't that big, so you can get around a big chunk of it in the four or six hour tours (and the guys are pretty cool and can give you some good Japan/Osaka tips).

    Kobe is a nice place for a day visit.

    In Japan most hotels are much the same size & facility-wise, but one I would recommend in Tokyo if you can get a room on the 27th floor is the Grand Pacific Le Daiba (not that expensive). The rooms are pretty sweet compared to the normal Japanese cupboards and there's a brilliant free-bar room with huge viewing windows looking out over Tokyo bay and the Rainbow bridge. There are a few things nearby like the NHK building and a few shopping centres, and it's handy for the monorail back into Tokyo station. The Capcom shop is in the shopping centre next to the hotel.

    It's hard to go wrong over there really.
     
  11. Ev0

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 13,927

    I spent some time in Kagoshima which is pretty nice as well, can go over to the volcano and cycle round it.

    Mt Fuji also not bad, walk up it over night and down again in the morning.
     
  12. Kosmiche

    Perma Banned

    Joined: 3 Oct 2009

    Posts: 14,036

    Location: North Wales

    Buy some girls underwear from a vending machine
     
  13. Efour

    Caporegime

    Joined: 8 Sep 2005

    Posts: 26,972

    Location: Norrbotten, Sweden.

    Dress up as a schoolgirl inappropriate
     
    Last edited: 17 Jun 2014
  14. memyselfandi

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 10 Oct 2005

    Posts: 8,687

    Location: Nottingham

    Hyperdia is good for working out train journeys (and will show you that a JR Pass is very much worth it.

    From Tokyo you can go out to Enoshima and Kamakura and return in a day (go by train down to Enoshima and go around there then get the little train up to Kamakura and at the end of the day you can get a train back to Tokyo from there). You can also go to Nikko from Tokyo too. From Kyoto you can go to Nara.

    Suica cards are useful for getting around Tokyo (and other places) and save you ending up with loads of change. You can get them from vending machines in major stations (I got mine at Tokyo station). The travel center at the Maronouchi north exit at Tokyo station was very helpful regarding sorting out the rail pass voucher to rail pass and making reservations.

    Never eat in hotels ... Takoyaki in Osaka, Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima (different from the style you get in Osaka/Tokyo.
     
  15. semi-pro waster

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 27 Sep 2004

    Posts: 25,822

    Location: Glasgow

    I'm beginning to think this might be an urban myth, there are vending machines on pretty much every street corner and in the most random out of the way places you can imagine but I didn't see any offering that sort of thing and no-one I know seems to have found them either.

    Definitely an experience worth having and the Peace Park is quite something too, obviously not a bundle of laughs but the kind of thing you should do if you're there.

    I actually quite enjoyed a day trip to Nara - more temples than you could ever possibly need and the deer look a bit scabby but quite nice and relaxing.

    It might also be worth pointing out that Japanese cooking tends to use dashi (fish sauce) in a similar way to our approach to salt in cooking so if you suffer from any fish allergies (or you're a strict vegetarian) then it can be pretty tricky.

    The JR pass is absolutely worth it if you're going to be making more than a few trips on the Shinkansen, apart from anything else there's the convenience element of just being able to show your pass. Do remember though that it isn't applicable on the Nozomi and Mizuho trains which means that you can't just hop on every single train, the vast majority of trains are ok but it does mean you miss out on those two types which are the fastest (mainly because they stop at fewer stations if memory serves).
     
  16. memyselfandi

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 10 Oct 2005

    Posts: 8,687

    Location: Nottingham

    If I remember correctly there was one machine once that sold them and it was quickly removed but of course its reputation has lived on ever since as something which people can use to dig at Japanese culture.

    I thought that the museum in the park was very, very good. Not exactly a fun place but definitely somewhere which was worth a visit.

    Whilst you can't use the rail pass on the fastest Shinkansen it's not really a big deal as you are talking what, less than half an hours difference going from Tokyo to Kyoto which isn't really an issue. The other thing to remember is that if you have time left on it when you return to Tokyo it does work fine on the extensive overland rail system in Tokyo to get around until it runs out (personally I tend to end up using that a lot more than the metro). It is also worth looking around the Travel tips area on jrpass.com as it has some useful travel info in how to buy tickets etc. Oh and the best thing about using the train in Japan ... The station bentos!

    The OP has probably left it a bit late but it is always a good idea to contact the JNTO via the SeeJapan website and tell them what you are interested in and where you are going as they will happily post you a pile of info on the areas and what's on in them (ymmv on the info provided by different cities tourist offices, Fukuoka's was particularly good).

    According to the countdown on my phone it's 110 days until my next trip out there :)
     
    Last edited: 18 Jun 2014
  17. timebomb26

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 26 Feb 2012

    Posts: 1,741

    Location: Hokkaido

    Lots of good stuff already posted in here so I will try not to repeat anything.

    You should go up the Metropolitan government building (東京都庁) in Shinjuku. You can go up to the 46th floor for free and you get a great view. You can see Mt Fuji on a clear day as well.

    If you have time you should look at going to Nikko (日光) as well as it really is beautiful. Go from Asakusa station to Tobu station and pick up a heritage pass, which gets you in to some temples/shrines and on to buses/trains once you get there.

    http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/pass/w_heritage_pass.html

    Most people have mentioned the main areas in Tokyo already, which you no doubt were already planning on going too. Roppongi is pretty crap to be honest. Loads of idiots and massively expensive. I'd go to Shibuya over it any day.

    Also go to Yokohama for a day from Tokyo as it only takes about half an hour to get there. Take the Toyoko line from Shibuya to Minato Mirai. There's loads of good shops, restaurants, ramen noodle museum where you can make your own cup noodles and a large ferris wheel which looks cool at night. There's also the landmark tower, but it's pretty expensive to go up and I don't really think it's worth it.
     
  18. memyselfandi

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 10 Oct 2005

    Posts: 8,687

    Location: Nottingham

    One other thing I'd note is if you want to go up Tokyo Tower or the Sky Tree then first thing in the morning on a weekday seems best for avoiding any crowds, (last time we went mid-morning even had large crowds for the Sky Tree whereas getting there for just after it opened wasn't to bad).
     
  19. [FnG]magnolia

    Pancake

    Joined: 29 Aug 2007

    Posts: 27,203

    Location: Auckland

    Can I make a rubbish joke about anime now because I have a great one all lined up so, you know, let me know when is good :mad:
     
  20. timebomb26

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 26 Feb 2012

    Posts: 1,741

    Location: Hokkaido

    Getting there early applies for nearly any popular tourist attraction. There's nothing more frustrating then spending every moment ducking out of the way of other people's photos.