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I'm going to Japan. First time, any tips/advice?

Craw

Monkey
Mar 17, 2002
715
0
I'm planning on going to Japan for two weeks or so in March. I'm most likely going to go by myself, unless I can convince a friend to go with me, but it's a trip I've wanted to take for a while, so I'm going to go regardless. That and I'll be done with my current job around then so I'll have time.

I'm just beginning to research the trip, and so far it's overwhelming. For those of you that have either lived there or have visited, can you suggest places to see, eat, or stay?

I'm thinking of doing a mix of hostels, hotels etc, depending on where I'm visiting.

I'm not going to make a rigid plan for this trip. I kind of want to leave it open to just bum around and make things up as I go along.

Any suggestions or guidance would be much appreciated!
 

rooftest

Monkey
Jul 10, 2005
612
0
OC, CA
I was there for 2 weeks this March. saw Tokyo and Kyoto. Had a great time, and saw everything, even though I worked about 45 hours the first week. It's a fun place - food is actually pretty resonable, and there's restaurants all over. One thing you should be aware of is English speakers are rare over there.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
28,739
2,732
stay at ryokans. eat curry. allot a good deal of time for tokyo and kyoto. if you can swing it get a JR Pass, specifically a nice one that will get you into the Green Cars on the shinkansen.

here are my japan pics (http://toshiclark.com/images/trips/japan/all/ -- 4 pages, use the arrows). let me know if you have any questions about locations in the shots.

 

Craw

Monkey
Mar 17, 2002
715
0
Toshi said:
stay at ryokans. eat curry. allot a good deal of time for tokyo and kyoto. if you can swing it get a JR Pass, specifically a nice one that will get you into the Green Cars on the shinkansen.

here are my japan pics (http://toshiclark.com/images/trips/japan/all/ -- 4 pages, use the arrows). let me know if you have any questions about locations in the shots.

Those are nice pics. Good idea on the JR pass, i plan on getting one before I go..
 

Changleen

Paranoid Member
Jan 9, 2004
9,900
5
Hypernormality
Take a LOT of cash. There are next to no cash machines that take international credit cards. Secondly you are extremely unlikely to be robbed.

Food is expensive but good. Everything is pretty expensive actually.

It's an awesome place. Enjoy. I challenge you to find a dirty toilet. Be sure to visit Kyoto, Tokyo and a few Onsens. See how far you can walk across Tokyo without coming above ground. Walk around the edge of Kyoto, there are some awesome walks.

Oh and the trains rule. Although getting a JR pass is pretty much a must unless you are hyper rich.
 

firetoole

duch bag
Nov 19, 2004
1,910
0
Wooo Tulips!!!!
if you go to Tokyo and want to save some cash,
find a comic house (you get your own room with a couch and lounge char and video games and its only like 3$ an hour no limit on how long you can stay)
 

rooftest

Monkey
Jul 10, 2005
612
0
OC, CA
Changleen said:
Take a LOT of cash. There are next to no cash machines that take international credit cards. Secondly you are extremely unlikely to be robbed.

Food is expensive but good. Everything is pretty expensive actually.

It's an awesome place. Enjoy. I challenge you to find a dirty toilet. Be sure to visit Kyoto, Tokyo and a few Onsens. See how far you can walk across Tokyo without coming above ground. Walk around the edge of Kyoto, there are some awesome walks.

Oh and the trains rule. Although getting a JR pass is pretty much a must unless you are hyper rich.
Go to the local Citibank for cash. There's plenty of them around - you'll have no trouble getting cash.

As for toilets, the ones in the subway are pretty grungy (as expected)

Again, food is pretty reasonable (8-10 bucks will get you full, $30 will get a good sushi meal for 2), and hotel prices are comparable to what you'd pay in the US.

RE JR passes - There are many subway companies in Tokyo, and few of the lines will take JR passes. I'd advise mapping out when you'll use the passes before you purchase. (I would have broken even if I bought one.)

Also, for any long train rides, spend the extra 10 bucks and go first class - you get more room, and they're more likely to help you out.
 

Ciaran

Fear my banana
Apr 5, 2004
9,844
11
So Cal
boostindoubles said:
beer in vending machines. i was 15 and it was awesome.
:thumb:
When my inlaws went they asked if we wanted any souveniers I said, "Beer from a vending machine!"

It sits on a shelf in my living room. :D
 

rcoh

Chimp
Jun 2, 2005
36
0
I stayed for a while in Tokyo earlier this year & had a ball.

With the ATM, make sure you have a VIsa or Mastercard 'Debit' card (or credit card) as even the citibanks will not accept the 'cirrus' or 'maestro' standard. There are only 2 ATMs in central tokyo that do accept these standards & they are very difficult to find.

Go to Harajuku either on a Tuesday night ot Sunday morning, as this is when the most people are dressed up in their chosen fetish (for want of a better word). Plushies, Goths, punks, Anime-fans, they are all there & it is fantastic to see.

Visit 'electric city' (Akihabara district) for some nuts retail therapy. The toy/hobby stores sell the best figurines & old school toys (transformers etc) & they are not *that* expensive. Also there are a couple of huge sex shops (6 stories) that cater to everyone & for everything. Has to bee seen to be believed. I was there with a mistress/dominatrix & she bought a blow up matress with built in wrist & ankle restraints.

The food is not expensive if you stick to the small noodle bars/curry house & fast food outlets, some of the smaller restaurants can get pricey & there are some exclusive places that charge like wounded bull, but they are hard to find without a guide.

Check out a love hotel, especially if you get lucky. There is awhole district dedicated to them behind the main retail centre at Shibuya.

Don't get a Taxi, they are very expensive & the taxi drivers don't know where they are going half the time, as there are no real street names or numbers. The trains are fantasitc, clean, safe & so reliable except they shut at midnight & don't open again until dawn.

Not many people speak English but the the basics are easy to pick up & if you smile & bow then people will go out of their way to help you.

Don't go to Rappongi unless you like lots of westerners acting like drunken fools & spruikers trying to get you into their overrated nightclubs/stripclubs.

I stayed in an international hostel run by a jamaican in Azabu-juban, it was clean,comfy & about AU$20 a night & met some of the best people.

I really want to go back to Japan, & explore more of Tokyo & the rest of the country.

I hope this post provides some assistance.
 

rooftest

Monkey
Jul 10, 2005
612
0
OC, CA
I agree with everything rcoh just said. The sex shop in Akihabara confirmed the "used schoolgirl panties" rumor (yes, they do sell them)
Harajuku - go on Sunday from 9AM to noon - the folks in costumes are at the entrance to the temple near all the overhead bridges. (when you walk out of Harajuku station - look right & you'll se what I mean.) This was a bitch to find because nobody understood what I was asking.
 

Changleen

Paranoid Member
Jan 9, 2004
9,900
5
Hypernormality
rcoh said:
Visit 'electric city' (Akihabara district) for some nuts retail therapy. The toy/hobby stores sell the best figurines & old school toys (transformers etc) & they are not *that* expensive. Also there are a couple of huge sex shops (6 stories) that cater to everyone & for everything. Has to bee seen to be believed. I was there with a mistress/dominatrix & she bought a blow up matress with built in wrist & ankle restraints.
Definatley do this!
 

Bldr_DH

Monkey
Aug 8, 2003
767
0
NO BO CO
Take a look into the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. It's a great exhibit of old samurai-era homes up to World War II buildings. It's in the middle of a nice park and is a great place to go if you want to excape the bustle of the city -- less crowded than the temples, etc.

Definitely check out some of the major temples/shrines, as well -- they're worth seeing.

If you're not too shy, go to an onsen, just for the experience. It's very refreshing.

The Edo-Tokyo Museum is also interesting -- You can see all sorts of stuff from the period, not only the buildings.

As for food, you absoluetly have to hit up at least one ramen shop. I cannot tell you how incredible genuine ramen is compared to the instant crap we have here. :drool:.

Hope that helps some. If I can think of anything else, I'll post again.
 

valve bouncer

Master Dildoist
Feb 11, 2002
7,791
36
Japan
Changleen said:
Onsens make most westerners feel fairly 'secure' about themselves... :)
Well if having hundreds of middle aged Japanese men staring at ya nads makes you feel good about yourself then good luck to ya.;) To the OP don't worry about the ATM thing. You'll need to find a post office ATM (post office has similar functions to a bank in Japan) and they're literally everywhere but you'll need to learn the symbol- basically a T with a line over the top.

Get the JR pass, best travel deal going. Inquire as to whether you can arrive in Tokyo and leave from Osaka, will save you time and money. Use business hotels, expect to pay between 4000 yen and 7000 yen a night.

If money is tight get out of Tokyo as soon as possible. For food go to supermarkets and get the lunch boxes- called "bento" in Japanese. When going out inquire if the restaurant in question has an all you can eat and drink option. Usually for around 3000 yen you can eat and drink to your hearts content for 2-3 hours. Beers will cost you around 200 yen for a 350ml can in the shops, little more in the vending machines. In a restaurant/bar expect to pay 400 yen plus for a size a bit smaller than a pint. Ciggies are 270-300 yen a packet.

It'll still be a little cold in March but not too bad. If you come at the end of March you'll arrive in cherry blossom season so you can look at the pretty flowers.
 

Changleen

Paranoid Member
Jan 9, 2004
9,900
5
Hypernormality
valve bouncer said:
Well if having hundreds of middle aged Japanese men staring at ya nads makes you feel good about yourself then good luck to ya.;)
Once I realised they were staring in awe I didn't have much problem with it...
 

valve bouncer

Master Dildoist
Feb 11, 2002
7,791
36
Japan
Changleen said:
Once I realised they were staring in awe I didn't have much problem with it...
Laughing and pointing while holding your thumb and forefinger close together also goes down well. Throw in the "mangina" and you're all set to go.
The other day when I went there was a guy with only one arm and a kid with what looked like a vestigal tail. Quite an unusual situation for me, only being the 3rd biggest freak in the onsen.;)
 

oly

skin cooker for the hive
Dec 6, 2001
5,119
6
Witness relocation housing
Im in japan now!! Although i wont make it out of the airport. Next stop Hong Kong.....

I might get a trip in Feb though where i can actually go see Tokyo... and maybe even snowboard here...
 

zahgurim

Underwater monkey
Mar 9, 2005
1,101
12
lolAsia
Japan is fun! I've been to Osaka (so-so) and to Fukuoka (awesome!)

Def try and hit Fukuoka, it's cheap compared to the rest of the country, even compared to home. I ate like a king, grocery shopping and cooking in the hotel.
Nice beach/canals in the city, cool castles/fortresses to hit up, lots of friendly/hot women, good night scene, good shopping. Even found a decent bike shop when I was riding there.
Shimano stuff is cheapest in Korea though, if you want to stock up on bike parts...
 

partsbara

Turbo Monkey
Nov 16, 2001
3,996
0
getting Xtreme !
japan... ehhh, ya can keep it...

but i can t wait to go back to hokkaido... even tho the snow is ****e :)

had a good time living there for 16 or so months... VB and i set the place on fire !!!!!!!!!!