Planning a Trip to Japan! (help)

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by illegalprelude, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. illegalprelude macrumors 68000

    illegalprelude

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    #1
    Hey guys and gals, im planning a trip to Japan for next month. Now ive never been there and do not speak Japanese so I was wondering if anybody has been there and has some good tips or info. I cant seem to find any good maps of Japan or Tokyo when I do a Google search.

    The only good thing ive found so far is www.Hostelworld.com what an awesome website

    so yea, just a little overview of my up coming adventure
     
  2. macboy62 macrumors regular

    macboy62

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    Tokyo
    #2
    This is a great English guide to Tokyo.
    http://www.metropolis.co.jp/
     
  3. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    You're welcome to read my planning thread from 2005. My trip to Japan was far and away the best vacation I ever took. I don't speak Japanese either, other than what I learned on that trip.

    You can find tons of useful information at the site of the Japan National Tourist Organization. If you have specific questions, perhaps other forum members (some of whom live in Japan) and I can help.

    For starters, it would helpful to know how long your trip will be, what cities you'll visit, and what you are interesting in doing/seeing there.
     
  4. ruku macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    #4
    im an australian who has been living in japan for more than 3 years. im not in tokyo but id help you out if youre in need.
    also i still dont speak a lot of japanese and im doing fine.
     
  5. Berlepsch macrumors 6502

    Berlepsch

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    #5
    If you are planning to travel within Japan, you should probably have a look at http://www.japanrailpass.net/.
    The Japanese rail system is one of the most effective in the world, and you can travel nearly everywhere on the main islands using it.
     
  6. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000

    yoyo5280

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    #6
    Ahhh! A trip to Japan. WOOHOO!!

    Lol, most people I know stay in Hotels in Shinjuku. I don't really know what your budget is and how much stuff cost but Hey im only *soon to be* 14.

    My favorite hotel is the Southern Tower Hotel Century

    Things that I recomend to my friends and family that visit are:

    Take the Yamanote Line!. You will probably do this anyways but it is great fun :D

    A day trip (Take shinkansen or Romance Car) to places like Hakone

    Shibuya crossing. Just take the Yamanote LIne to Shibuya and boom your at the worlds busiest crossing! :D Also Apple

    Oriental Bazar Omotesando A place to buy cheap Japanese gifts and even a Kimono.

    HarajukuJust out behind Harajuku station (Yamanote Line) their is a spot where Japanese school kids dress up, hang out, and beg to photographed. Unfortunately sometimes the Gaijin (foreigners) take over the fun.

    YoYoGi Koen There is nothing very unique about a giant park, but the people at the park really make the difference. It is on the Yamanote Line. Again.

    Don't worry about speaking not Japanese. Many Japanese know enough English to get by, but are very shy to use it. Click here to learn some hopefully helpful phrases. You will probably want a phrase book though. Public transport is probably the best way to get around, but you will probably want to Purchase Suica. It makes things a lot quicker.

    I didn't really say much here, so if you need help don't be afraid to PM me! :D
     
  7. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    totally cool
    #7
    Wow. How many "planning a trip to Japan" threads can there be?

    We should all go! :)

    Good luck in Japan its a great place.
     
  8. asxtb macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    #8
    Do research!!! Where will you go? Lots of shinkansens or just mostly around Tokyo? I really don't think the railpass is a good deal unless you plan to take a lot of shinkansens. Remember, the railpass is only for JR Lines. In Tokyo you'll spend a lot of time on the subway where the railpass is no good and you'll just end up wasting money.

    You think the Yamanote is fun? It's convenient, but I don't think I would call it fun. In fact, I just 'groped' some woman's butt with the back of my hand tonight on the Yamanote coming home from work. (No, it wasn't intentional!!! The train was packed and she backed up into the back of my hand. :eek:)

    So not to confuse the OP, Yoyogi Koen is at Harajuku.

    As many as possible! ;)
    There does seem to be quite a bit recently. But I enjoy them. I always love helping fellow MacRumor folks when it comes to Japan. (I certainly can't help people with the Mac. :(;))
     
  9. kumbaya macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #9
    two words: lonely planet!

    check the website for a flavour
    buy the book and take it with you

    took me to so many incredible places and experiences and safely back again! includes some japanese words and phrases

    things to try:
    sumo watching
    onsen or hot springs
    stay at ryokan or traditional japanese inn
    climb to the top of mount fuji and watch the sun rise

    go to:
    akihabara in tokyo - the heart of cyberspace; toys and gadgets galore
    tsukiji in tokyo - best sushi on the planet
    see the big buddha in kamakura
    tokyo disneyland

    enjoy!
     
  10. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    Nov 11, 2005
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    Stuck in the middle with you
  11. illegalprelude thread starter macrumors 68000

    illegalprelude

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    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    #11
    woa! I did not expect to get so many replies! Im gonna have to sit through and sort through all the info you guys and gals! :D

    On some more info, lets see.

    Ill be going to from March 22-30. Ill be visiting Tokyo, Osaka, Chibi and maybe one more city. My friend who has been studying in Korea for the last 8 months will be meeting me there (hopefully, if all works out) but thats why im also trying to plan this in case that dosent, cause ill be on my own. "where is that HELP ME Smiley" (edit: found it [​IMG] )
     
  12. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000

    yoyo5280

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    Feb 24, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    #12
    Yes! I have a love-hate relationship with the Yamanote Line. Its so packed and really BLA but I do feel it is something that you can only do in tokyo.

    Anyways, Onsens (Public Baths) are interesting.
    Forgot about Akihabara! (Yamanote Line) But if traveling half an hour on a packed train with no seats ain't your thing my favorite geek shop is Yodabashi Camera in Shinjuku.

    DISNEY SEA!!!! Disney Sea is actually not owned by Disney and it is the only Disney in the world with 'Sea' in its name. If you go on weekdays at the right time it is not even that busy...

    A tool that you will probably need is the Tokyo Metro Route Finder. You just input where you are starting and ending at it will tell you multiple ways of getting there. You may be able to get this on a rental phone (I get it with softbank)
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #13
    Watch out for ninjas.


    And the Yamanote line is the perfect place to grope others, and be groped.
     
  14. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    For travel by train and some further traditional accommodation stuff, seat61.
     
  15. furious macrumors 65816

    furious

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    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Australia
    #15
    remember to use your gaijin power. I hope I have that right.
     
  16. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000

    yoyo5280

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    Feb 24, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    #16
    Gaijin Power as in using the excuse
    ? I use that alot.
     
  17. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    May 18, 2004
    #17
    that's such a great site for train travel info......for anywhere! I've used it for info for several countries and found it to be an extremely useful site
     
  18. asxtb macrumors 6502

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    Sep 1, 2005
    #18
    Hyperdia is a lot easier on the computer. I don't know about on a phone. I just use the Yahoo! home menu.
     
  19. MacSamurai macrumors regular

    MacSamurai

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    Jul 5, 2006
    #19
    would help to tell us what you're interested in...
     
  20. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #20
    We used Hyperdia (clicking "English" first thing) to plan all of our inter-city train trips before we even left the U.S. When we picked up our rail passes, we got our Shinkansen tickets then too, some of them weeks in advance. We knew exactly what time we'd leave or arrive at each station, and in some cases we even knew where to stand on the platform. And of course the trains run on time, so you don't have to worry about that.

    Having all that homework done ahead of time made life easier during our vacation.
     
  21. illegalprelude thread starter macrumors 68000

    illegalprelude

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    #21
    so im still sorting through this information. Im wondering, how much does a taxi ride cost? Like an average.

    Big reason is, Im going to be arriving at Narita Airport and the place im staying at is 5-2 Katamachi, Shinjuku-ku. I have no clue how to get there (ive been looking at some Train Lines) but I wouldnt mind, for my first day, to take just a Taxi ride but it seems far and I dont wanna suddenly fork out $400 for a trip.

    Any clue how much a ride like that would cost?
     
  22. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #22
    From what I remember...

    Narita Airport buses and taxis

    Trains to/from Narita airport (see map):

    * Narita Express to Shinjuku - fares

    * the Keisei Skyliner to Nippori - fares. Nippori is a stop on the Tokyo Loop Line. From there you can take an inexpensive ride to Shinjuku on the Loop Line. That's what we did, although it can be tough traveling with lots of luggage on the Loop Line. Travel light!
     
  23. illegalprelude thread starter macrumors 68000

    illegalprelude

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    #23
    hhmm...Im going to have to sort through that see if i can make sense of it.

    Let me first say, I just finally got done reading through your threads and then your pictures threads and ive gone from being indimidated to go to back to being excited as hell! and again, thanks for the info there and the info your contributing here.

    Some more clear info on my travel.

    ill be leaving LA from March 21 and arrive in Narita on March 22.
    Ill then be leaving March 29th.
    So trip is from March 21-29th.

    Im going to be staying in a Hostel as its the cheapest way and only way to make this trip happen. Ace Inn is where I have in mind so far.

    Now, my friend has been studying in Korea and he will be also meeting me there. So my concern is again, being able to make it to the Hostel that I have listed from the airport. (while keeping in Mind, I dont speak any Japanese).

    So this also begs the question, as Dr. Q pointed out, travel light. My main weapons for the trip are going to be a
    16GB Memory Stick Pro Duo,
    Sony Cybershot T200,
    MacBook Air.

    The big reason for the MacBook Air is that it gives me a place to dump my 1,000,000+ photos I shall take. But also, there is alot of Wi-Fi in Japan so it will help me stay in touch (aka, find my way around town)

    So having said that, I can throw that stuff in a backpack no problem. But where can I keep my main luggage as I believe my friend wants to stay in Tokyo for 2-3 days and then visit Chiba and Osaka. Can the hostels hold on to luggage (aka just my clothes as the electronics are gonna stay with me)

    Another question. Cash or Credit? As in, ill be taking cash of course but is my Visa or MasterCard excepted there and if so, is there a huge charge because im out of country?

    And Last current question :D, how about cellphone. ive again heard mixed things about this. getting a calling card here, get one there, the airports rent phones out. My phone is also my iPhone, if I got there (and I have alot of roll over minutes, like 1,300) will that be enough to just of set the extra charges or what? Im really confused on the phone as im not so much worried about getting a hold of somebody in the states as much as, I want to be able to get a hold of my friend in case we get split apart.

    WOOO lots of questions. Again, thanks for the info so far.
     
  24. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000

    yoyo5280

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    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    #24
    it is best to carry a lot of cash on you. You see people pull out hundreds of dollars worth of ¥¥¥¥ out. Many places don't take card full stop.
     
  25. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #25
    Luggage: You don't want anything big and heavy at all, since you'll have to carry everything up and down stairs in train stations. But if you want to stash a backpack or a small rolling suitcase while going elsewhere, you can put it in a locker at a train station. We did this while doing a day trip to Okayama on our way to Kurashiki, so we didn't have to carry our stuff with us during the day.

    Cash is easiest, and it's one of the safest countries for tourists to carry it. I used an ATM to resupply our cash every few days, and we used credit cards only for hotel bills. Yes, I got charged a foreign transaction fee by my bank.

    Being an overplanner, I figured out exactly how much cash we'd need as we neared the end of the trip, and paid for the last hotel stay with the last of our cash, with just enough leftover to get to the airport. That way, we could carry lots of cash up until that last day, and didn't have to exchange it all for U.S. currency again. It worked out perfectly and we ended up with only pocket change by the time we got to Narita. We spent it on Japanese candy to take home as gifts for relatives. :)
     

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