Going to Tokyo in September (tourist advice)

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by gauchogolfer, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #1
    As the thread title suggests, I'm going to Tokyo from France for a week-long conference in the first week of September. I'll have a couple of evenings free, as well as an extra day after my conference is over. I thought I'd poll the MR crew to see what's not to be missed while I'm there, although I realize that my time is too limited to really see much.

    The conference is being held at Waseda University, and I'll be staying at a hotel about 5 minutes away by metro.

    Thanks in advance for the help.
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #2
    I am also going to be in Tokyo for around a week in September on holiday. Get those suggestions rolling in!
     
  3. irmongoose macrumors 68030

    irmongoose

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    #3
    Not really much for sightseeing, but if you want to have an introduction to one of the greater aspects of Japanese culture - the Tea Ceremony - I know an excellent place. The Hotel Okura, located in Azabu, has a great Tea Ceremony service for foreigners. It's all done in English, immerses you into the whole Japanese atmosphere, but doesn't linger on for hours as is the real custom. To top it all, it costs only 1000 yen (about $8.5) so it's a really good deal.

    If you're interested, the nearest subway station to the Hotel Okura is Roppongi-Itchome on the Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line. When I went for the Tea Ceremony there the other day, on my way out I met Emmy Rossum (of The Phantom of the Opera fame) as she was entering the Tea Ceremony place, so it's definitely good enough for word to have gotten around. The Hotel Okura itself is an old, historic place where both Clinton and Bush have stayed so you'll be in good hands.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. What kinds of things do you want to see? Interested in seeing shrines or anything of the sort?



    irmongoose
     
  4. auyongtc macrumors member

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  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #5
    Crazy, I'm planning on going there in December!!

    Suggestions would be great. :)
     
  6. okwhatev macrumors 6502

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    #6
    check out Tokyo DisneySea, the most expensive theme park ever built, complete with attractions like Journey to the Center of the Earth (which is inside of a 200ft Erupting Volcano!!), and recreations of Venice and New York in scary-detail. They spent over $4 billion and it shows. Tokyo Disneyland is fun too, with the world's first 'trackless' attraction (Pooh's Hunney Hunt).

    Tokyo itself is my favorite city in the world. ;)
     
  7. asxtb macrumors 6502

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    #7
    And after that, Apple Store Shibuya!!!

    I would hit up a few shrines. Meiji next to Harajuku Station is probably the most famous. Plus you get to see all the high school kids dressed up in gothic and other strange outfits. Asakusa also has a famous shrine. Forget the name.
    Tokyo Tower has a nice view of Tokyo but it is expensive to go up. The Tokyo Metropolitan Building in Shinjuku takes you up to the 45th floor and it is free! Unfortunately you're on the west side of the city, but still good view.
    Akihabara is the electronic district.
    Baseball is wrapping up then. You have the Yomiuri Giants and Yakult Swallows in Tokyo.
    And I believe there is a Sumo tournament in Tokyo around September. Not sure. Maybe someone else knows.
     
  8. gauchogolfer thread starter macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #8
    Thanks for the tea ceremony tip, that sounds like something I'd like to do while I'm there. Can you arrange for Miss Rossum to be there again on September 4th? :cool:
     
  9. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

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    #9
    Asakusa and Meiji are both good to check out, and if you've got a bit of time in one day free, you might want to check out MeSci at Odaiba. It's a science museum, but the best part is Asimo (actually might have replaced with the new one, forget the name), their fully autonomic robot. He's pretty cool.

    jW
     
  10. d wade macrumors 65816

    d wade

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    #10
    i've never been.. but my dad went last year on a Toyota business trip, and he loved it so much.. he wants to go back. i'm sure you will have a blast!
     
  11. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #11
    You can only see that on a Sunday. There are a few other days, but not quite the freak-fest of Sunday.

    Anyway, depends what you like. My favorite haunt was (and still would be if I were there) is the Pit Inn in Shinjuku 3-chome (to get there, it's a block away from Isetan department store). There you can catch a lot of the upcoming and reasonably well established Japanese Jazz and avant-whatever musicians jamming and experimenting with tunes for upcoming albums. Otomo Yoshihide is there a lot.
    Shimokitazawa is also good on Friday's and weekends. There used to be a lot of street bars with live musicians (ever seen waffu-rock?).

    Oh, and if you're into food, go check out the department store food halls. They are always on the B-floors. A lot of people like Isetan's.. dunno why. I thought the best one was Seibu's in Ikebukuro. Actually, check out Seibu to see a grossly oversized department store! - I should say that while you're there, you should try the famous tempura restaurant in Shinjuku, the name of which I've completely forgotten (it's in all the guidebooks).

    Oh, and Akihabara - mainly full of windows geeks now the apple store (s?) are running. But good place to find any other gizmos. LAOX has an international electronics section for anything you might want to bring back (they also sell region-free dvd players) - go to the 8th (top) floor.

    Personally, I'm against all the tea ceremony stuff. That's Japan in denial IMHO.

    More suggestions if you want...

    yt
     
  12. e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

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    #12
    The last place i would tell someone to go is Roppongi..

    Akihabara is nice, but i tend to spend hours oogling the electronics and then spending way more than i had ever intended on spending.

    Tokyo Disneyland is well disneyland.. It is actaully in Chiba, but depending on where you are staying it shouldnt be too far for you. DisneySea is a sight to see in my opinion, i would reccomend that over Tokyo Disney.

    Take the bullet train out of tokyo and see rural japan, i loved this and it has some of my fondest memories and photos from Japan.

    I enjoyed wandering around and taking photos, Tokyo is relatively safe although i would not recommend roaming in some areas at night with a DSLR dangling off your neck. I can say its one of the only places that ive drank too much passed out and woke up without a single possesion in my pockets missing :D

    What are you looking for in your trip, that would help the advice a little more.

    Ed
     
  13. killuminati macrumors 68020

    killuminati

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    #13
    If you can, I would try staying at a hotel in the Ginza. Don't remember where I stayed but it was very central and most importantly, close to the Apple store.

    Head on down to that electronics district (forget name) because you can get some wicked cheap stuff. I bought a 50 pack of blank dvds for $10 canadian.

    Oh yea, if you can get up at 4 in the morning I'd suggest going down to the fish auctions. Every morning they have these tuna auctions and it's the craziest thing I've ever seen. All these japanese people screaming out stuff, wow it's hilarious. And if you're staying in the Ginza, it's a short and very nice walk down there in the morning.

    Tokyo is the only city I've ever been in where it's not scary to walk down deserted streets downtown at 4 in the morning.
     
  14. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #14
    akihabara

    Not sure what's funny about Japanese people screaming out stuff. Kind of like American's (or anyone really) speaking louder in the hope that volume will make them understood?... Anyway, this is Tsukiji. Awsome place to catch some fish blood! (actually, if you can stomach sushi early in the morning, I would recommend it ... very fresh.)

    yt
     
  15. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #15
    Homework assignment: Read or re-read my Doctor Q's Japan Photos thread, because it's not just photos, I also told my stories, and some are about Tokyo.
     
  16. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #16
    When it comes to tourism, opinions can vary greatly. One tourist's delight is another's boring waste of time, so you lucky visitors to Japan (I'm jealous) will have to decide what sites interest you the most.

    When I went to Japan last year, I decided that I wasn't interested enough in seeing the Tea Ceremony. I learned about it by reading but didn't want to take that much time for one small aspect of the culture. I soaked up a lot more culture simply by wandering around, visiting temples and shrines, eating in restaurants, and people-watching. Just riding the main Tokyo loop line can be fun; just don't carry much baggage or anything else bulky at rush hour.

    Speaking of which, the best advice we got before the trip was to take small suitcases, because you have to take them up and down stairs and on often-crowded subways. Use a backpack and/or rolling case that's no wider than your body, and you'll be better off than the people who pack everything they own into huge cases and then find them hard to lug them around.

    I visit any Apple Store can I get to, but Ginza is definitely the #1 store if you have to choose. It's especially great at night with all the nightlife around it.

    That's Senso-ji ("ji" means "temple"). And nearby is Nakamise Avenue, a good place to shop for small souvenirs.

    Roppongi is one of those areas. I heard that some foreigners in that area have been known to target lone tourists, so stay with the crowds in that part of town. But overall Japan is one of the safest countries there is, as killuminati said.

    Listen to Ed H (even if he drinks too much and passes out ;)). With your extra day, gauchogolfer, you might go up to Hakone to see the scenery or to Kamakura to see the big Buddha, rather than stay in Tokyo. I compare seeing Tokyo without seeing any of the rest of Japan to seeing Honolulu without seeing the rest of Hawaii. Even a small sample gives you a better feel for the country, not just the largest city.

    I imagine those hotels are pretty expensive. It's so easy to get anywhere in the city from a subway station, so as long as you are within walking distance of a station I don't think it matters where you stay in town. Hotel rooms can be pretty small, especially if you don't want to spend a lot on your lodging. But the way I think of it, small is fine -- who wants to stay indoors when you can see Tokyo! :)

    It may sound crazy, but this is correct - seeing the auction is popular. Remember that 4am won't feel like 4am to you, depending on what time zone you just arrived from.

    Another tip: Learning to say "where is the bathroom/toilet" isn't critical; they aren't hard to find. More useful to know: sumimasen ("excuse me") and the various forms of "thank you".
     
  17. asxtb macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Thanks. But not to create confusion. The "ji" in Meiji does not mean temple.

    Roppongi is the foreigners district. I really don't like going there. And yes, it is not the safest part in Tokyo. Kabuki-cho in Shinjuku is also another 'semi' dangerous place in Tokyo. Both Roppongi and Kabuki-cho are entertainment districts. (With lots of adult entertainment.) So they attract some real sleazy people. You'll be safe with a group. But I wouldn't wander by myself.
     
  18. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #18
    Of course, the Waseda University campus isn't much to see, but the Shinjuku area has quite a few good restaurants and the Tokyo city building is there.

    It's probably easier to get to Waseda Univ. from the Yamanote JR line at Takada nobaba, rather than a Teito subway line.

    If you're interested in cameras, two of the better camera stores are in Shinjuku near the station: Yodobashi Camera and Sakuraya Camera stores. Odakyu department store has many gifts and I was surprised at their European-style pastries and designer clothes.

    Across town in Asakusa, the Cannon Temple is an extremely famous shrine.

    It might help to know that, in my experience, September in Tokyo goes from hot and steamy to cold and damp.

    If time permits, a trip to Kamakura, Kyoto, Osaka, or Kobe might be worth it. Kyoto is a far better tourist city than any other in Japan.
     
  19. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #19
    I'd suggest you buy lots of gadgets before they come out elsewhere and sell them for a profit once you get back. I remember the PSP going for over $500 on ebay (or something similar to that) in early January before it came out here in the US.
     
  20. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #20
    several museums that will give you some idea of what old Tokyo looked like;

    Edo-Tokyo Museum (a large scale historical museum, lots of grand stuff about the history of Tokyo)

    Fukugawa Edo Museum (a smaller museum with something like 11 period buildings reconstrcuted indoors to give you the feel of a traditional village)

    Shitamachi Museum (a little museum but very charming, adjacent to Ueno Park, focus on life in the older areas of Tokyo)
     
  21. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #21
    Agreed. But I'll point out that if you have only a day to go somewhere out of Tokyo, you couldn't get to Kyoto, see even a fraction of the great sites there, and get back again in a single day. And it would be too expensive to make it worthwhile.

    To see Kyoto, spend a least a few days. I was in Kyoto a week and I need to go back someday to "finish" seeing the city!
     
  22. auyongtc macrumors member

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    #22
    By the way, about the 4am fish market auction in Tsukiji... forget it, it's no longer open to public since June last year. Though you can still get super duper fresh sushi at restaurants around the market in the morning.

    I still couldn't bring myself to wake up so early for such treat, despite being here for over 6 months already. :p
     
  23. asxtb macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Update on the Sumo tourney. It is September 10-24th. And the 'stadium' is next to the Edo-Tokyo Museum that Macky-Mac mentioned. So you could hit up both things in one day.
    Here's a link: http://www.sumo.or.jp/eng/index.html
     
  24. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #24
    Just to add to which part DOES mean temple is 'jingu' of Meiji Jingu (actually, big/major shinto shrine). Perhaps the other poster was thinking of 'jou' (or however you romanize it) - castle.

    My heart has just sunk. Tsukiji is no longer open to the public:( ?! WTF Can I blame Ishihara for that too? (I blame him for everything that goes wrong in Tokyo) EDIT: You can still go. It's 'just' the Tuna auctions that are closed. Still a shame.

    RE Going to Kyoto/outside Tokyo: I thought tourists could get massively discounted tickets for any of the shinkansen trains. No? I think the tickets have to be bought in advance, possibly from the home country...

    Kamakura is worth the visit. The OP is coming from France, so I'd hazard that seeing another Disney colony is not on his agenda... could be wrong. gauchogolfer?
     
  25. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #25
    if your a gamer pick up some DS games from japan(or what ever system you play assuming it will work with your system at home)
     

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