Going to Japan, anybody with some interesting places to visit?

Discussion in 'Community' started by CrackedButter, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #1
    As the title says, i'm heading off to Japan in September, i posted a topic a few weeks ago about making a trip and I did it, went through with Expedia, cost me less than £800 or $1,486.

    Anyway, i'm going on my own since nobody wants to come with me, and i'll be pretty much doing what i want. I WILL be going to the Ginza Apple Store (who wouldn't?) and Mount Fuji (hopefully) but anybody with any lovely locals they can recommend while over there, in and around Tokyo?
     
  2. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #2
    You might want to change "locals" to "locales" unless you're looking for "women of the night"... :cool:
     
  3. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

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    #3
    mt. fuji is tricky. it's covered in clouds a lot, so don't expect too much...

    touristy stuff below, but i'd do tokyo to hakone daytrip once. it will cover mt. fuji. buy odakyu rail co.'s hakone free pass at shinjuku (or anywhere on odakyu line). go to hakone yumoto, change to mountrain rail to gora, then cable trolley up, switch to cable car. spend a bit of time at the mountain, smelling sulfur and eating blackened eggs, cable car back down to ashino-ko (lake). take a boat on ashino-ko back to hakonecho, bus back to hakone yumoto. (all this while mt. fuji being visible if the weather is good.) pay for a day access to one of the onsen's at many hotels in hakone yumoto. take train back to tokyo.

    kamakura is also a good day trip.

    nikko, if you have the time, is a great "japanese" place to visit. a couple of hours from tokyo...

    asakusa is a good fun area to stroll around within tokyo.

    also, fall sumo tournament runs in tokyo from sept. 12th to 26th. that's a good experience... (see http://www.sumo.or.jp/eng/index.html)

    also, consider getting the JR rail pass if you think you'll use JR a lot.

    have fun!
     
  4. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

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    #4
    First, look into getting a Japan Rail Pass. This is a very cheap way to get around on Japans excellent mass transit rail system.

    As for site seeing, it depends on what interests you have. If you are into art and music I would definitely take in a Kabuki performance. Taiko drumming is also a good choice.

    If you are interested in religion or architecture, the Kamakura Buddha is quite impresive.

    If you are like me and are a Disney fan, be sure to check out Tokyo Disneyland. Even if you've been to the two domestic resorts, Tokyo Disneyland is unique and this year a lot is going on in celebration of the 20th anniversary.

    Bearing a strong (intentional) resemblance to the Eiffel tower, there is the Tokyo Tower which is a nice site seeing trip.

    Other than that, the only advice I can offer is to grab a book on some basic Japanese phrases if you don't allready speak Japanese. It is a challanging language and you probably won't learn more than the most basic, but the Japanese people will really appreciate it and go out of there way to help you, probably in English just for showing the respect of taking the time to learn even a little Japanese.
     
  5. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #5
    I don't think you'd want to miss out on Akihabara in Tokyo where most electronics are available. If you're interested in cameras, two of the greatest stores are in the Shinjuku area. Ginza is okay, but just. The lively areas are Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Roppongi.

    My personal favourite is Himeji Castle, which is near Osaka and Kobe. I always got a feeling of how huge life was at that time from that place.

    Closer again to Tokyo, the Asakusa area has a great temple, even if the best are in Kyoto.
     
  6. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #6
    Thanks alot for the info, the JRail pass is something i was told about, i think it is best if i get it.

    @jxyama where is the info for this day trip to Mount Fuji?

    Its only a week i'm spening there, so i'm going to have to plan my time carefully, at this moment in time, sleeping is not a top priority!
     
  7. scem0 macrumors 604

    scem0

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    #7
    If you fly into Narita go to the Naritasan park, it is wonderful.

    That is my only recommendation, Have fun in Japan.

    scem0
     
  8. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #8
    You may find this website helpful: http://www.tourism.metro.tokyo.jp/english/

    The rail pass isn't all that useful in Tokyo since many private companies own the train lines, such as Odakyu but if you take longer trips, it comes in handy.
     
  9. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #9
    I will be flying into Narita thankyou.
     
  10. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #10
    If this helps anybody to help me, i will be staying at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel which from all accounts is near Tokyo (don't know myself).

    If the rail pass isn't worth it then how would one get around Tokyo? Walk? Is it possible?

    But the one day trip to Fuji still stands.
     
  11. 5300cs macrumors 68000

    5300cs

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    #11
    I stayed at that hotel once, it was really nice. It's almost on top of Shinagawa station, which is pretty close to Akihabara and Shibuya.

    If I remember correctly, there's a TGIF's in the lobby :D made me homesick seeing it
     
  12. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #12
    Wow, a Prince Hotel! You must have tonnes of money. Will you take me with you?

    When using private company trains, you used to buy tickets by machine or by going to a window and stating a destination. I'm not sure how things work currently, but going to the window was the only option for those who didn't read Japanese.

    If I remember correctly, the Yamanote line was JR but few others were. I'll look for my old map or the TRTA website.
     
  13. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #13
    I thought a JRail card would solve all my troubles with regard to rail but how hard and expensive it is going to be getting on different trains around Tokyo?

    I wasn't aware that you had to be rich to stay at the Prince hotel? Is this considered rich?
     
  14. 5300cs macrumors 68000

    5300cs

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    #14
    I ain't rich, and I stayed there. Of course, we stayed there using my wife's company's name which gave us a discount, but even without it's not that expensive.
     
  15. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #15
    Maybe, it was just considered rich for me. I stayed in Tokyo Green Hotel in Kanda when I wasn't staying in a friend's house and I was in Tokyo.

    The map on this page shows a limited view of the transportation: http://www.tourism.metro.tokyo.jp/english/access_top.html

    You'll notice that Yamanote line circling the city and another line from Shinjuku to Akihabara. In the legend, you'll see that they're marked JR lines. I believe that there are more missing than there are shown, but the majority are not JR lines.
     
  16. The_Dood macrumors member

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    Japan
    #16
    The Shinagawa area is one of the richest sections of metro-Tokyo. You'll have a great time! Don't worry about riding the trains... all signs and stops are in English, and on the ticket machines you can press the "English" button to figure out which ticket to buy. If you get totally confused, just buy the cheapest ticket (usually about 130yen) and when you get to your destination, the stationmaster or the fare exchange machine near the exit can figure out the difference for you. No worries.

    A week isn't that long, but if sleep isn't a major priority then you'll be able to get a lot of sightseeing/cultural stuff in before you take off for home.

    I definitely agree with Krizoitz and jxyama about taking a day trip to Kamakura to see the Great Buddha, and in Kita-Kamakura (north Kamakura) there are many Zen Buddhist temples. Everything is within easy walking distance from their respective stations.

    A must-do day trip is to Nikko, considered a sacred place by the Japanese. If you leave early in the morning, you can check out the temple area, then take a bus from the station for a short ride up to Kegon Falls - one of the three most famous waterfalls in Japan. There are a ton of wild monkeys running around there, so if you want some great pictures (people driving with monkeys sitting on their cars, monkeys stealing snacks from shops, etc.), check out that area.

    For places around Tokyo everyone else already mentioned, I also recommend Asakusa and the temple there. There's a long strip of vendors selling touristy Japanese stuff in front of the temple, so you can pick up all your souveniers there. In the afternoon you can head to Harajuku to see Japanese kids sporting crazy and trendy fashions (goth, punk, etc.) near the Meiji Shrine (shinto religious shrine) and in the evening you can go one trainstop from Harajuku to Shibuya and see the best of Tokyo's nightlife. Everything (including Shinagawa) is on the Yamanote Train Line, which will probably be your main transportation while you're in Tokyo.

    Good Luck!
     
  17. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

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    #17
    if you won't be leaving tokyo metro area and are staying in shinagawa, then JR pass won't be worth it. i'm not sure if you can use it on the metro, but yamanote/chuo lines are not awfully expensive to make JR pass worthwhile. then there are private lines too, as others have mentioned.

    plan well your first "trip" from narita to shinagawa. that's at least an hour and you will not want to be making plans when you will be heavily jet lagged. the easiest but expensive way is to take Narita Express (N'EX) to tokyo station and then switch to yamanote to shinagawa.

    also: DO NOT take any taxis. waste of time and money. big time.

    if you are on a budget, the area you can save the most money is in food. if you can handle mix of american/japanese fast food, each meal could be had for less than 1000 yen, if not lower. transportation, you have little choice. except for few areas, urban tokyo is not very interesting to walk around.

    btw, remember that you will need your train ticket to enter AND exit the stations. it costs money to just enter the station as well. example: to go from A to C via B, if you get off at B in between, it will cost you more than if you had gone straight from A to C. (this is contrary to many european/american transportation systems.)

    here's a link to the english page describing various odakyu line passes. hakone pass i mentioned is in there too.

    http://www.odakyu-group.co.jp/english/sightsee.html
     
  18. imac_japan macrumors member

    imac_japan

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    Japan
    #18
    I live in Japan

    Well, Since I've lived in Japan for 5 years...I would suggest Kyoto and Nara !

    Kyoto has alot of temples and is very very beautiful....kiyomizudera is one of the best - kinkakuji and ginkakuji are two of the famous ones...and if you go before the middle of March - you can see a Star Wars exhibit at the kyoto national muesum.

    Nara has todaiji temple and it has the biggest buddha statue inside it. Nigasudou has one of the best views that Ive ever seen..

    Tokyo is a waste of time ! Spend two days there..its just a big ugly city and is not the real Japan.

    Hiroshima is a good place to go...not only to see the atomic bomb peace park but its muesum as well !

    I hope that I helped you
     
  19. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

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    #19
    Re: I live in Japan

    i don't disagree with you as a general suggestion. but considering how much time he has, this is the first time (i believe) in japan and where he's staying, i don't think it's worth the time/expense.

    tokyo has its charm. it's unlike any other city in the world especially if coming from the western world. since this is his first visit, let's not bash tokyo - i wouldn't want him to not be excited about visiting.

    ADDITIONS:
    if dates overlap, i recommend sumo tournament again. couple it with Edo Tokyo museum - highly recommended as well. both in ryogoku, across the river from asakusa.
     
  20. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

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    #20
    i was about to be naughty and suggest a mushroom trip over in shibuya, but my gf has informed me that they've closed the loophole allowing it to be sold.

    Super Mario Bros makes perfect sense now...
     
  21. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #21
    Re: Re: I live in Japan

    Besides, you can get an example of almost any type of Japanese food there. For that matter, the department stores have amazing foreign-style pastries.
     
  22. CrackedButter thread starter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #22
    @The_Dood

    I definitely agree with Krizoitz and jxyama about taking a day trip to Kamakura to see the Great Buddha, and in Kita-Kamakura (north Kamakura) there are many Zen Buddhist temples. Everything is within easy walking distance from their respective stations.

    A must-do day trip is to Nikko, considered a sacred place by the Japanese. If you leave early in the morning, you can check out the temple area, then take a bus from the station for a short ride up to Kegon Falls - one of the three most famous waterfalls in Japan. There are a ton of wild monkeys running around there, so if you want some great pictures (people driving with monkeys sitting on their cars, monkeys stealing snacks from shops, etc.), check out that area.


    This is IN Tokyo right?

    With regards to the nightlife, i'll give it a try, but i'm not one for smoking venues and smelly drunks, or is this a different thing over there?

    @jxyama

    if you won't be leaving tokyo metro area and are staying in shinagawa, then JR pass won't be worth it. i'm not sure if you can use it on the metro, but yamanote/chuo lines are not awfully expensive to make JR pass worthwhile. then there are private lines too, as others have mentioned.

    I have the impression that you cannot walk around Japan easily since they don't name the streets, how hard is it to just walk around Tokyo?

    Edo Tokyo museum

    Of course, i forgot you would have one of those, thats somewhere else i want to go to!

    @imac_japan

    I can understand where you are coming from, i've lived in England for a few years and if you came to where i lived i would also point elsewhere. I work in a hotel and people come here for some strange reason which i cannot fathom. But there is something for everyone i guess, you might think the same when i go but its all good to me, of course on a second trip, i wouldn't maybe stay in tokyo for long and get into the country.
     
  23. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

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    #23
    nikko is north of tokyo. a few hours on the train - can be done in a day, if you wanted to.

    kamakura is south-west of tokyo. also possible day trip...

    if you have time for just one trip to venture out of tokyo metro area (both of above are), then i'd recommend nikko, esp. in the fall.

    walking tokyo is not too bad, but it could be very boring. very uninteresting architectures for the most part. just massive urban sprawl...

    walking for one station along yamanote line is not too bad, but any longer than that, i'd take the train. do try to map out your plans because it will definitely help streamline your itenerary and get the most out of the day.

    for example, i did this one day in Oct. last year when i was visiting my grandparents/brother in tokyo.

    i was in western suburb tokyo so it took me an hour to get to shibuya. (from shinagawa, it'll be much quicker.) from there, i went to asakusa (by subway) and spent the morning walking around the area. then to ryogoku (by JR) to check out the sumo museum and edo tokyo museum. after museums closed, i went to shinjuku (by JR/subway) to see the tokyo pref. office and kill some time. after that, i met up with my brother in Ochanomizu where he works.

    so you can cover a lot in one day - but planning is the key to saving both time and money. if you don't streamline your transportation plans, 300 yen here, 600 yen there and you'll be out of massive amounts of yen very quickly.

    good luck!
     
  24. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040

    CmdrLaForge

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    #24
  25. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

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    #25
    if you're into it.. dont forget the Ramen museum. :D
     

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