Visitng Japan, few questions

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by u49aa2, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. u49aa2 macrumors 6502a

    u49aa2

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    #1
    Hi guys

    This is my first visit to the east of Asia so excuse me if i ask few naive questions :). it was a snap decision by the guys as our initial plan was to visit few european cities. I will be spending my 18 days annual leave in Japan and for now the cities that we included in our schedule are Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. So my questions:

    1) do you suggest any other cities to visit and why?
    2) within Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, what are the must see attractions?
    3) we would like to visit mountain Fuji, what is best way to visit. We are thinking to rent a car from Tokyo, visit few of the lakes around the mountain and then try to go as much as we can toward the mountain. Does this seem like a good plan?
    4) as for transportation within AND between the cities I mentioned, what is the most economic way to travel? (e.g purchasing a rail pass?)

    We have started reading about japan few days ago, but I thought by asking people with previous experiences will get a more concise to point ideas.

    Thanks in advance, but this is my first visit to this area and you were very helpful when I asked before about Chicago and Minneapolis, this is what encouraged me to ask again :)
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #2
    Its Tokyo and Kyoto ;).

    On 3) I'd probably stick with public transport. The announcements on the trains are all in English and the buses also automatically announce major stops in English as well.

    You can go to Hakone to see Mount Fuji which I did though it is fairly touristy, you can access it easily by train from Tokyo either on the Shinkansen or on a private rail line from the centre of Tokyo which is cheaper if you don't have a railpass.

    Osaka isn't that exciting, and you can easily travel to it from Kyoto - its only about 20 minutes by Shinkansen or standard train (or you could stay in Osaka and visit Kyoto from there).

    Other than that Hiroshima is interesting, though to do all three justice you'll need 2 weeks.

    The railpass is also generally worth getting, though check the fares on Hyperdia to see if it makes sense for you.
     
  3. u49aa2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    u49aa2

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    #3
    Thanks eraser very helpful answer which enforced some ideas we have :). So you think that taking a train from Tokyo is a better idea than renting a car from their and driving to the mountain and the lakes around? Why do you think that ?
     
  4. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #4
    Well you could take the car, and it probably has some advantages - in that you can go to more remote places. But given how good the Japanese public transport a car has far less advantages than it would in the US.
     
  5. Xavier macrumors 68020

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    #5
    Jealous! I have been dying to take a trip over to Japan!
     
  6. u49aa2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    u49aa2

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    #6
    As i said in my 1st post, this was a sudden change in plan as the initial plan was to visit few European cities. However, when one of the guys suggested Japan something ticked in my mind and i was able to convince the other guys to agree to go. The only negative thing though is the weather, apparently this time of the year the weather is humid and also it will be raining very frequently (mainly in the south). However, we felt that if we don't go to Japan in this annual leave it will be very difficult to go again as group any time soon (if not ever) and we couldn't risk it :)
     
  7. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #7
    In Tokyo, a must see is Shibuya. Its one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world. Go across and hit the Starbucks that overlooks the intersection and drink a Green Tea Frappuccino. Then there is tons of electronics shopping and clothing, ramen shops and music stores. If you see a building named "109" go in and just take a ride up and down the escalators and you'll see some of most gorgeous japanese women in the clothing stores inside. yikes.

    Kyoto is the old japanese capital so there are a lot of old style buildings and food. Try a soba noodle house and eat cold noodles. Also visit the old Kiyomizu-dera temple, it has a great view of Kyoto at night.

    If you're into good steak, take a trip over to Kobe and try some renowned Kobe beef.

    We're going back next april for cherry blossoms and I can't wait.
     
  8. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Japan is awesome. I went last November for 12 days. Here's my advice; I was an American tourist, but I had a sister-in-law living there as our translator/guide, so things went pretty smoothly.

    1. Look into getting the rail pass for tourists visiting the country. Outstanding deal, awesome savings! It is on the Japan tourism website somewhere. Do it far in advance, it takes a few weeks to get sent! It gives you almost unlimited, easy mobility.

    2. Tokyo is nice, and has some interesting things to see, but depending on your travel interests, I would recommend some of the more rural locations. Very beautiful countryside, and great food! Akihabara at night is worth seeing once in a lifetime. Awesome street vendor food too!

    3. Hiroshima's museum is worth seeing. So is Nagasaki's.

    4. Check out the rural pottery shops in Mashiko or similar locations. Japan's pottery is notorious for being amazing.

    5. Hostels. Cheap and awesome.

    6. Hole-in-the-wall eateries can be cheap AND awesome. I promise.

    7. Don't talk loudly on the train.

    8. Pack light. You will acquire things.

    9. Fish markets. Go early. Fresh sushi is uber cheap.

    10. Grocers sell fresh fish for dirt, dirt cheap at night because the picky Japanese women won't buy it! Easy way to have fresh sashimi dinner on the cheap. Keep in mind that this "unwanted" stuff is waaaay fresher than most American stuff. We paid something like 4 dollars for 28 pieces of fresh Salmon sashimi. Awesome.

    That's all I can remember for now.

    A great place to visit!
     
  9. puma1552 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    #9
    I've lived here for two years and visited alone for five weeks prior to living here so I'll shed some light.

    1) DEFINITELY get a rail pass to cover your entire trip. It is absolutely worth it. When I came I rode over $4000 worth of trains for under $1000 (I had a three week pass and a two week pass). Just know though--the rail pass covers Japan Rail (JR) lines only--subways are not covered so you will have to buy a ticket for those.

    Tokyo:

    Getting around:

    The Yamanote loop line and Chuo line will almost certainly get you almost everywhere you want for the most part.

    Districts to see:

    Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ginza, Shinbashi, Minato-ku/Odaiba, Harajuku, Asakusa.

    Places to stay:

    Its kind of hard to go wrong, really. The last time I was there we stayed at The B hotel in Akasaka. Want to see young, affluent, stunning Japanese women at their classiest? Go there. It's just a very, very pretty part of Tokyo.

    Anywhere in Japan you can find a Toyoko in hotel will be a cheap winner with free internet in the room (usually you have to pay extra for internet).

    The first night I was in Tokyo I stayed at the Cerulean Tower Tokyu (yes Tokyu not Tokyo) right in the heart of Shibuya, and looked down over Shibuya crossing on a Friday night at 7 PM at dusk from the panoramic bathroom window from the 24th floor. Expensive, but worth every penny and was the most amazing first impression of the world's biggest city to a kid who'd never been on an airplane prior to that morning. The skyline truly was endless in all directions from both the bathroom and main room panoramic windows.

    Things to see:

    It really is impossible to list them all so here's just a few of my favorites.

    --RAINBOW BRIDGE!! Going over to Odaiba (man made island in Tokyo Bay), and sitting down by the water looking out across the bay with the gorgeous bridge back to the mainland with Tokyo Tower in the background is absolutely stunning. This is my favorite place in Tokyo, and thus--my favorite place in the entire world. Right there, on the water with the Rainbow bridge. Go at night. You need to take the Yurikamome, which is not covered by the rail pass (it's not an expensive ticket, it's just hard to realize it's not a JR line for a newbie--I didn't know what to do since I thought it was covered under the rail pass but there was nobody to show my pass to so I blew threw the gates and embarassingly got caught and directed to the ticket machine).

    --Shibuya crossing (Hachiko crossing) as has been mentioned. Go at night. I believe Shibuya station's West exit is what will put you right in the middle of it, though Shibuya station was undergoing expansion last time I was there during Xmas 2008 so I'm no longer sure. I also second the Shibuya 109 building in Shibuya crossing to see hotter women than you've ever seen in your life.

    --Kabuki-cho in Shinjuku, not far from Shinjuku station. Shinjuku station is also the busiest train station in the entire world. You will see some extremely interesting characters there. Don't take pictures of the people. Kabuki-cho has over 1000 registered yakuza living there (Japanese mafia) and is filled with funky love hotels, soap lands, hostess bars, host bars, kyabakura, you name it anything and everything "mizu shobai" is there. While you could consider it the most dangerous part of Japan, overall it is still safe, and the yakuza have far better things to do than bother some wanker tourist so don't worry, nobody there will care about you. Go at night on a weekend to really see stuff.

    --Just wander around Shibuya/Shinjuku, you'll see and find and hear amazing things. The opening scene from Lost in Translation where Bill Murray is in the cab and wakes up to the endless road of lights is in Shinjuku. Wander around Shinjuku, you'll come across it guaranteed. Go at night.

    --Meiji shrine (Yamanote to Harajuku/Yoyogi station IIRC?)--very nice, large shrine in the heart of Tokyo. Fill out one of those little wood boards you'll see with a wish and hang it up.

    --Imperial palace (Yamanote to Tokyo station)--you can't go in, but may as well go see it to say you saw it. Truthfully though it can be skipped, as there is nothing else to see at all in this area despite being thrown off by the name of the station. Only go if you have time.

    --Ginza--most expensive real estate in the world, and all high end shopping (and high end people). I believe you need to take the Ginza subway line to access it. There's an Apple store there as well (and in Shibuya).

    Roppongi--has a reputation for being the sleazy part of Tokyo, due to the main strip full of illegal Nigerians and meat market clubs. Word is if you just want to sleep with Japanese girls, going to clubs here is like shooting fish in a barrel since easy 'gaijin hunter' girls tend to go here. My only advice if you go there is to wrap it up and ignore the Nigerians. However if you get off the main strip, you'll find numerous very, very classy restaurants and bars and more than a few ferraris rolling around. It's a shame it gets such a bad rap, off the strip I'd consider living there in an instant. Also go to Roppongi hills shopping. You have to take the subway to Roppongi station, but I don't remember what line.

    Shinbashi--(Shinbashi station, not sure if it's Yamanote or not)--Oldest part of Tokyo, very beautiful and oddly enough it neighbors Ginza. Get off at Shinbashi station and walk along the elevated tracks towards Ginza and you will hit an area called "yakitori alley", an amazing place of maybe 10-15 open-air yakitori (delicious skewered chicken) restaurants wedged under the tracks with milk crate seating and red lanterns where the smoke and smell wafts up to the tracks. Get a big old beer with your yakitori, it's amazing. Must eat here. Keep walking, as long as you stay right by the tracks and are walking towards Ginza, you'll hit it in time. Maybe a 15 minute walk.

    Harajuku--(Yamanote to Harajuku station)--Go here to see all the crazy fashion and goths of Japan.

    Asakusa--Another very old part of Tokyo. Go to Senso-ji, very very famous temple in Asakusa.

    There's millions of things you can do in Tokyo, and can eat anywhere. PRO TIP: If a restaurant looks expensive, it probably isn't. Japanese are masters of restaurant aesthetics and ambiance, and they ALL look gorgeous/expensive/date-like, but you'll find cheap food to be had in most all of them. Also as has been mentioned--holes in the wall FTW!!!! Can't go wrong eating anywhere really.

    Most places in Tokyo are best experienced at night, IMO.

    Kyoto:

    Getting around:

    Kyoto is the ancient capital, it was the capital from 1194 until 1868 when the Meiji restoration moved the capital to Tokyo. There are over 2,000 temples and shrines in Kyoto city alone. Unbelievable. Truly Japanese culture at it's absolute unchallenged pinnacle. Due to this, there is not the network of trains and subways like there is in Tokyo, so this means you will be taking the bus everywhere but it's piss easy. Get on on the back of the bus, off at the front, rides for adults pretty much anywhere are a flat rate of 220 yen. There is a big bus terminal right outside the station that has signs in English listing everywhere every bus goes so no problems at all.

    Dictricts to see:

    Gion, Pontocho, Sanjo/Kawaramachi

    Places to stay:

    I recommend again any Toyoko Inn, or the Hotel El Inn right behind the station.

    Things to see:

    It's again impossible to list them all. You can spend months in Kyoto and not even scratch the surface. Here are a couple of the best IMO.

    --The geisha districts of Gion/Pontocho. These are still the most elite geisha districts in all of Japan, and still have practicing geisha. Do not do a disservice/slap in the face to Japanese culture by even thinking for one second they are prostitutes or sell anything sexual. They are curators of Japanese tradition, extremely expensive to be entertained by ($1k an hour for 1-2 in some places), and it takes them about two hours to get dressed each day with the aid of a tradition-guarded trained dresser. So no, they don't flip their kimono up for 10 bucks. They are the guardians of the finest of Japanese traditional culture. If you are lucky--very lucky--you may be able to spot one. I had extreme luck when I was there, and saw and photographed a few. Make sure in Gion you go to the Gion Shirakawa part, it's absolutely beautiful. It is a very closed world, and the architecture of everything will reflect that.

    --Ichiriki-tei: the most prominent and exclusive teahouse (where geisha entertain) in all of Japan. identifiable as it's right on the corner of Shijo-dori and the main road of Gion, and it's huge and has red walls. This was one of the places where the events of the 47 Ronin were planned 400 years ago.

    --Gion/Yasaka shrine. Very close to Gion, at the end of the street (Shijo-dori IIRC)? Beautiful place, when I was there two geisha fluttered in in full regale to pray at the shrine as there was also a traditional wedding ceremony going on. Talk about cultural overload. Pics in my Flickr at the bottom.

    --Pontocho--across the river from Gion, small and narrow geisha district with platform restaurants overlooking the river. Don't think you can just strut into these places--these places ARE expensive (mostly kaiseki ryouri cuisine) and are NOT open to the public--like the geisha world, this is a subculture of restaurants that cater to geisha and geisha clientele, which means longstanding personal introductions (think 20+ years) to access. There are a select few places that are open to the public, but only a couple and good luck reading the menus--they're all archaic old Japanese. Go with a Japanese person if you can.

    --Kiyomizudera--Awesome temple, awesome view overlooking Kyoto.

    --Kinkakuji--the "Golden Pavilion" covered entirely in Kanazawa gold leaf. Go as the sun begins to set, it's amazing. It's a long way from Kyoto station though, just FYI. But one of the most popular temples and when you go you'll see why.

    --Philosopher's path--best done in spring with cherry blossoms, but this is a quiet canal that you can walk in twenty minutes to link (IIRC) Nanzen-ji and Ginkakuji (the "Silver Pavilion").

    --Fushimi-inari--Awesome shrine up a mountain with lots of graveyards off the beaten path along the way. Over 10,000 orange torii. Spend a half day climbing this.

    --Arashiyama--bamboo forest, was used in the Memoirs of a Geisha movie. Beautiful, almost magical place.

    --Sanjo-Kawaramachi--T-intersection in downtown Kyoto with a bit of nightlife. Take the subway.

    --Kyoto station--a marvel of engineering, built in 1997. Spend a little time just cooing over how sweet it is.

    Seriously there are a billion places to go in Kyoto, it's impossible to list them. Do not skip the geisha districts.

    Osaka:

    Getting around:

    Trains and subways. Osaka station is called Osaka station when it's the trains above, but on the subway lines it's called Umeda station, just FYI.

    Places to stay:

    Anywhere central, really.

    Districts to see:

    Umeda, Namba, Shinsaibashi, Amerika-mura

    Things to see:

    --Umeda sky building

    --Osaka castle (though it's a modern museum inside with elevators and AC--talk about a WTF?? moment when I entered that, not knowing).

    --Osaka aquarium--Cool aquarium right by the ocean. About $20 to get in.

    --Shinsaibashi--best night time entertainment district and an Apple store. Also right outside Shinsaibashi subway station exit 7 (take the Midosuji line from Umeda) is Shinsaibashi Opa shopping mall. Want to see more smoking hot women? This is the place.

    --Umeda--in the north, and more of a business district than a night time district.

    --Namba--another good place to go for nightlife and eating.

    Osaka is more of a nightlife place than a touristy place.

    Nice thing about Osaka is it's location--25 minutes west on a limited express (less on a shinkansen) is Sannomiya station in central Kobe, and another 36 west from there is Himeji, with Japan's most beautiful castle. It's also a hop away from Kyoto on the same line.

    Other places to see:

    Kobe:

    the classiest and most internationalized of all cities in Japan. Also the fashion capital of Japan. Truly, truly beautiful city. Foreigners in Kobe rank as having the highest satisfaction with quality of life compared to any other Japanese city. Go here and go to Port Island at night and look back at Kobe port. I would love to live here. Go to China town here as well. Good shopping and any kind of international food you could want, given the internationalized, forward thinking of Kobe and its people.

    Himeji:

    Just go that extra half hour on the train (or less on the shinkansen as that stops at Himeji as well, easy-peasy) to see Himeji castle straight down the street from the north exit of the station. Walk out of the station, boom there it is at the end of the street. The main tower is closed til January for a ten year renovation, but other parts of the castle are open, and the north side of the castle is the most beautiful so spend a little time walking around the north side by the moat (enter the castle grounds from the main front gate and stay right and you will get around to the back where it's quiet and there aren't any tourists.)

    From Osaka you can hit Himeji in the morning, then head back and stop in Kobe for lunch and sightseeing, then be back in Osaka by night time no problem.

    My hands are tired now, but there's a start for you. Below is my flickr to my first trip to Japan in 2007.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aarontdenk/sets/72157605888956776/
     
  10. u49aa2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    u49aa2

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    #10
    Thanks obeygiant

    Xfujinon Thanks, i will try not to talk loudly as i usually do :p

    Puma...YOU HAVE BLOWN ME AWAY with this review. I think you should consider working with the Lonely Planet or something :). Thank you very much, i really appreciate all the effort.

    I will be doing some detail reading of your answers guys (combining it with some travel books i have) in the next few days (starting today) as i need to make a full plan by the middle of the next week (we will be heading to Japan on the 5th of next month and will stay their for about 18 days) so please keep checking back on the thread every now and then as i might have few Japan newbie questions

    again i really appreciate all the answers, i had a bet with the guys that i would get better answers from you than all their search and i think i am winning :)
     
  11. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #11
    The Hiroshima A-bomb museum is almost worth a trip in itself- it's very good. You can stop and see Himeji on the way.
     
  12. u49aa2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    u49aa2

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    #12
    Yeah, we have been discussing visiting Hiroshima for a day trip. Thanks Miles
     
  13. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #13
    If you're there for 18 days its probably worth a couple of days in Hiroshima.
     
  14. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #14
    Unless you spend all your time on the Shinkansen the savings aren't that great. This is because it doesn't cover the numerous private railway lines as well as the subways. I got a 2 week pass for ¥45000, but I probably only saved around ¥10-¥15k.

    If you fly into Tokyo and out from Osaka it would probably work out cheaper to not have a railpass if you're careful - especially as that lets you catch Nozomi Shinkansens which are faster.

    PS Don't bother reserving seats on the Shinkansen - it ties you into a specific train and there are always unreserved seats available.
     
  15. puma1552 macrumors 601

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    #15
    I STRONGLY disagree with both the first and last paragraphs above. True, the rail pass doesn't cover private lines but there is next to zero need to ride private lines when in Japan on a visit to major cities--Japan Rail serves all major places and is the most extensive rail system by far. On a visit you SHOULD be on a shinkansen to travel between cities. A round trip from Himeji to Tokyo is between $200-$300, and it would be a nightmare to travel on local/rapid trains. Besides it makes little sense to advise the OP not to get a rail pass considering ALL JR lines are covered, including each and every local, rapid, and super rapid line...now unless the OP wants to pay 2-4 dollars each and every time he rides even the Yamanote loop, he'd be well advised to get the rail pass. Without one, even the mere 36 minute ride from Kobe to Himeji is almost ten bucks, and that's for local/rapid/special rapids, not even a shinkansen.

    Get the rail pass, otherwise budget travel as you far biggest expense. No offense, but telling him not to get a rail pass is the single worst piece of advice I've ever seen someone give on Japan.

    As for the last paragraph, with a rail pass there is zero reason not to get reserved seats, unless you're scared of the ticket booth guy.

    I don't recall when the OP is coming but August is Japan's biggest holiday--Obon--and the last thing you want is to stand on the shink platform for three hours waiting to get on with an unreserved seat only to wind up in the smoking car...trust me I know--New Years and Obon are terrible travel times.

    OP--cover your whole trip with rail passes and just get reserved seats, its not like they cost money with a rail pass, it's all included.

    Humor yourself with the following site to see how expensive tickets between places are. Then factor in the current strength of the yen and figure out just how expensive it will be to travel from Kanto to Kansai and within each: www.hyperdia.com
     
  16. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #16
    But the railpass is $500/¥45000 for two weeks so its hardly particularly cheap.

    Based on a real trip that would make sense for you to do Tokyo - Hiroshima - Himeji - Kobe - Kyoto - Tokyo and then fly out. The Shinkansen/fastest train costs for that are ¥17540 + ¥7560 + ¥950 + ¥1050 + ¥12710 which is ¥40000 without reservations and slightly less than the railpass.

    Now sure there is local travel and getting to the airport on top of that which could well set you back another ¥10000 to ¥15000 or so, but its not really quite the no-brainer you make it out to be, and if you fly back out of Kyoto/Osaka you'd be saving the final ¥12710 on the Shinkansen back to Tokyo, which would probably mean it wouldn't make sense given another ¥15k of local travel.

    There are also other deals available such as this and this for tourists.

    But there is also not much reason to get reserved seats as it makes it more flexible and you have to waste time going to the station and queuing to get them. There wasn't a problem getting seats for me, even at New Year when I travelled without a reservation from Osaka to Hiroshima - and I didn't have to wait either. There is certainly no problem the vast majority of the time.

    Its a good website and the one I used to work this out.
     
  17. puma1552 macrumors 601

    Joined:
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    #17
    But local travel will still cost far more than 10,000-15,000 yen--you could easily spend 10,000 yen travrling locals for three four days in Tokyo. Even in your example, the rail pass is still cheaper, the least hassle, and you will have more flexibility to change your plans on a whim--the rail pass allowed me to wake up and head to Hokkaido from Nagano on a whim because I knew I could never do it so cheaply again in my life. To me it still seems to be the best choice.

    I'm not sure I understand your comment about not having to queue for seats on the shinkansen. With a rail pass you still have to go to the counter and show him your pass to get tickets so it's just a matter of them asking you if you want reserved seats and you having to actively turn it down. On a visit, personally I'd go the window and do it in person anyway, but that's personal preference I suppose.

    I don't know, I've done both a rail pass and no rail pass as that's not available to me since I live here, and I'd kill for the pass even though I have a car also. Travel in Japan is prohibitively expensive and a massive part of your budget...with a rail pass it's a big thing you don't have to worry about. *shrug*
     
  18. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #18
    I agree that its often a good idea, I did make it clear that the circumstances for not getting one were fairly limited in my first post - and that they mostly involved flying in at one end and out the other :).

    Maybe its changed since you used it, but I just waved the pass at the ticket inspectors and got on the train - the only exception is the few trains without unreserved seats.
     
  19. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #19
    You're going to get a lot of advice by the looks of things. Personally, I wouldn't recommend Shibuya and somewhere to go specifically. If you can find a good map and you like walking, you could walk there from Omotosando/Harajuku. Shibuya's just a place with a lot of young people. Not particularly exciting IMHO. Don't bother with Roppongi (unless you're staying there, of course)

    I know Tokyo better than Kyoto or Osaka, so here's what I'd recommend
    A few things to do:

    Meiji Shrine: Get off at Harajuku (Yamanote line). Take a right and another right. You'll see the gate and the walk there. If you go on a Sunday, you can see the strangely dressed goth kids.

    While you're there, take a walk to Yoyogi park. If you're thinking ahead, pick up a bento before you go to Meiji and have lunch in the park.

    Harajuku. Not exactly my cup of tea, but lots of young adult clothes stores etc.

    You should also visit Ueno. There are a number of museums there and a zoo. The zoo's alright, but if you're not with kids, there's probably no point in going.

    There are lots of other things to do that other posters have already mentioned. I haven't seen Tsukiji mentioned though. You should go there. Get up and go there around 5 a.m. see the market in action, and then have fresh sushi for breakfast.
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #20
    I have to admit I wasn't particularly impressed with the Japanese museums. Not all the signage was in English, and they are very selective about their coverage of their history - much more so than the other countries in the region I have visited.
     
  21. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #21
    I wouldn't disagree with that. I'd forgotten how little there is in English at the Tokyo National Museum in particular. If you want to see lots of Japanese historical artifacts, that's the place to go, but there wasn't (when I was there last - 8 years ago now) much in the way of English guidance, true.
     
  22. u49aa2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    u49aa2

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    #22
    Thanks yojitani.

    Ok guys, this is how the plan is shaping:

    We will arrive at Tokyo on the 5th of July and stay there for 8 nights, while there we will be visiting a lot of the places you mentioned plus day trips to Nikko, Hakone, and Possibly Kamakura. From Tokyo we will leave to Kyoto and stay there for 3-4 nights. Then we will leave to Osaka and stay there for 5 nights. While in Osaka we will visit Hiroshima for 1-2 day, and Himeji and Kobe in one day. We will leave Japan from Osaka.

    So few questions:

    1) We would like to visit Fuji mountain. What's the best (economical) way to do that, would it be through Hakone? Are they any cheap bus tours or something?

    Thanks again guys
    2) the train things is so confusing (a lot of companies, covering different areas) and the rail pass debate got me even more confused. Considering the plan i mentioned what do you advise?
     
  23. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #23
    I agree about the lack of English in many Japanese museums.

    I'ld suggest the Fukugawa Edo Museum in Tokyo as an alternative for those who don't know Japanese. Its main attraction is a full scale reproduction of a 19th century neighborhood. It's not a very big museum but worth a visit

    The much larger Edo Tokyo Museum is another good alternative in that there are a number of exhibits that are interesting for those who can't read Japanese.

    And near Ueno Park is the Shitamaki Museum, another small but interesting place.
     
  24. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #24
  25. nick1516 macrumors 6502a

    nick1516

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    #25
    I've got a question for everybody, I planning on doing my college study abroad in Japan. Is it worth it take Japanese language classes when I get to college, or would I be fine just knowing English for a whole semester there?
     

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