Japan tips?

  • Silvermoth 6 Mar 2012 11:15:50 46 posts
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    I'm heading to Japan! Has anyone been there before? What did you like the most?

    I'm so excited. I can't wait to see Tokyo and visit Akihabara
  • Genji 6 Mar 2012 12:24:00 19,682 posts
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    If you see a "snack bar", DON'T GO INSIDE. You will lose most of your money, and have very few snacks to show for it.
  • Deleted user 6 March 2012 12:26:45
    Get a City and Train map
  • Metalfish 6 Mar 2012 12:30:34 9,191 posts
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    There you go.
  • henro_ben 6 Mar 2012 12:33:43 2,343 posts
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    Japan is still very much cash based - but most cash machines won't accept foreign cards. Post Office & 7-Eleven machines will however - handy to know if you run short of the spending stuff.

    Take a trip out of Tokyo & visit Nikko - you can get a 3 day ticket as a tourist which covers your return fare plus the buses etc. in Nikko & Kinugawa. Very lovely place, well worth a visit.
  • Deleted user 6 March 2012 12:35:20
    Not all the 7 eleven cash machines work, good shout man, can be a nightmare trying to get cash if you don't plan ahead.
  • Genji 6 Mar 2012 12:45:24 19,682 posts
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    Kamakura is nice if you're in Tokyo. Lots of temples and a giant Buddha, if that's your thing.

    If you spend any time in Kyoto, you can take a day trip down to Iga-Ueno, famous for a ninja museum. You can go to a shuriken throwing range (!), take a tour through a ninja house (with secret doors and such), and see a great weapons demonstration twice a day.

    (I used to live there, so am a bit biased here)
  • uiruki 6 Mar 2012 12:51:50 4,491 posts
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    Akihabara is a shell of what it used to be even ten years ago. Shinjuku is pretty boring now, too. Go to places like Kichijoji or Nakano for a more interesting experience. What games do you like? Different game centres cater to different tastes. Visit Yokohama, it's far more relaxed than Tokyo itself. If you're going with someone who speaks Japanese, check the online rating sites for food. Tokyo has the best noodles, in fact most food you will get there is great. If you're going with a significant other, the walk from Ginza to Tokyo station was always nice, and Tsukishima is a good place for couples to eat.

    Some of my old haunts:


    Fu'unji, Shinjuku (noodles)
    Souryuutoukyokudou, Meguro, Kichijoji (noodles)
    Musashiya, Kichijoji (general noodles and rice dishes)
    Village Vanguard, Nishiogikubo, Kichijoji (burgers)
    Gold Rush, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro (hamburg steaks)
    Dzyurumen Ikeda, Meguro (noodles)
    Nakamoto Ramen, Kichijoji, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Meguro (super hot noodles)


    Delirium Cafe, Kasumigaseki
    Belgo, Shibuya
    Frigo, Shinjuku

    Game centres

    Club Sega West Shinjuku (VF)
    Sega High Tech Land, Shibuya (VF)
    Hey, Akihabara (SF4 and Konami music games a long time ago)

    Stuff to see

    National Museum, Ueno (in fact, most stuff there)
    Inokashira Park, Kichijoji~Mitaka (Ghibli Museum is nearby)

    There's more, of course, but that will do you for a couple of days. Be patient and if you don't know the language or culture, do a bit of research. You'll generally get a very positive reaction if you look like you've made an effort, unless you're holding people up at a hardcore salaryman noodle bar!
  • IMO 6 Mar 2012 13:07:11 6,614 posts
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    +1 for Yokohama. Especially if you're minted.
  • nickthegun 6 Mar 2012 13:13:48 73,296 posts
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    Make sure it really is a karaoke bar and not a scat show before you pay money to go in.

    The shows kind of start the same but end very differently.
  • Deleted user 6 March 2012 13:18:02
    My favourite places were Matsushima, Kanazawa and Hakone, although not sure how they'll be since the tsunami. Not sure Hakone is even still there :(

    Japan generally though is one of those places where you make of it what you will. Nobody I know has had the same experience.

    I think my one tip would be avoid Japanese breakfasts. They suck. As much as I detest Starbucks, that place was a lifesaver at breakfast time.
  • Deleted user 6 March 2012 13:20:37
    Oh yeah, you have to do Karaoke pissed up, such a giggle.
  • Deleted user 6 March 2012 13:49:31
    Book marking this thread. Looking to spend a month somewhere later in the year. Looking at either japan, peru, iceland, east coast usa, or west coast usa, nepal or a part of india. Havn't decided yet. Problem with japan its expensive to do. but its the place i think i like most to go.
  • jakuande 6 Mar 2012 13:59:31 192 posts
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    If you have time head West and visit Kyoto, Nara and Osaka which are all very close together. If you make it that far its also worth making a day trip to Hiroshima to check out the atom bomb dome and the Miyajima shrine (the one where the red shrine gate is out in the sea).

    If you're in Akihabara check out the massive game/hobby store with the BB gun shooting range on the 5th/6th floor. Sadly I think they banned the maid cafe girls from hanging out on the street and in general the area is less seedy and fun. Last time I went they had just banned smoking on the street too which seemed a bit facist. Oh, and a tip : in Akihabara "PC/pasocon game" often refers to a very specific kind of PC game so when you're shopping its best to look out for any age related notices on the "PC game" floor if you don't like that kind of thing.
  • simplerotation 6 Mar 2012 14:04:26 332 posts
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    I really enjoyed a stay on Miyajima, in a ryokan, it was the highlight of my trip in fact. The torji gate (red one) is nice, but the tame monkeys and deer in the forest and the cable car trip up the sacred mountain were absolutely fantastic. I also loved staying in the ryokan, the old lady who ran it was fantastic, her son gaves us lifts to see the gate at sunset and served the most amazing dinner ever. So lovely to have a tranquil night away from city crazyness.
    Also as much as I enjoyed Tokyo, I enjoyed Kyoto much more, it's so incredibly beautiful and unexpected temples, shrines and random stuff around every corner. I just walked around for hours discovering stuff!
  • Deleted user 6 March 2012 14:06:11
    Maid cafe girls are still there on the street :D
  • Silvermoth 7 Mar 2012 08:54:43 46 posts
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    This is fantastic! Thanks guys
  • Phattso 2 Mar 2013 10:01:25 22,905 posts
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    I'm taking a trip to Tokyo in late April - anything new/changed that's worth checking out? Any other suggestions in addition to the above? Happy to take day trips or extended visits outside of Tokyo, I'll be there six nights all told.

    I'm giddy with excitement, which is a nice change. :)
  • Mola_Ram 2 Mar 2013 10:09:23 17,576 posts
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    You could go to the suicide forest, Aokigahara. The locals aren't very happy with the image it's gotten, but it looks like a nice forest! You might even see a dead body there!
  • Phattso 2 Mar 2013 11:35:19 22,905 posts
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    Good way to potentially cover up a murder, too. Good tip!
  • the_dudefather 2 Mar 2013 13:34:49 10,726 posts
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    CrispyXUK wrote:
    Oh yeah, you have to do Karaoke pissed up, such a giggle.

    If you want to get out of the city (assuming you're going to Tokyo), Hakone is pretty cool place to take the train out for the day, it's got volcanic vents and hot springs, a few shrines and temples. Feels a bit touristy (not a lot of westerners though), but was a lot of fun

    If you haven't sorted accommodation yet, I would recommend staying in a Ryokan, which is more of guest house than a hotel (which is going to be the same as a hotel anywhere else really), cool atmosphere, sleeping on futons on straw mats, rice paper walls etc. Can be dead cheap too.

    The landlady who ran ours was nice, she give us some cakes and some presents when we left :)

    Edited by the_dudefather at 13:37:43 02-03-2013
  • Syrette 2 Mar 2013 13:36:02 49,784 posts
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    Get yourself a hostess or 3.
  • oldskooldeano 2 Mar 2013 14:15:57 2,888 posts
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    I'm off to Japan too. Getting a rail pass and hopefully going Tokyo, Kyoto/Osaka. What I am interested in finding in Tokyo (or elsewhere) are the 'cool' places to shop. Not your Regents Street, Kings Road or Oxford Street (if you know London) but more Portobello, Camden, Covent Garden? I want cool interior design shops, secret bars and eating holes, and be surrounded by Japanese hipsters. Call me a wanker if you wish but that's what I want. :)

    Any ideas?
  • Syrette 2 Mar 2013 14:32:49 49,784 posts
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    Ask T_G.
  • oldskooldeano 2 Mar 2013 14:40:25 2,888 posts
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    I will ping him. Ta.
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