Visiting Japan Page 10

  • FanBoysSuck 12 May 2017 15:15:36 1,649 posts
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    Any recommendations on stuff to do in Sendai? I'm going to Tokyo for two weeks in September (second time going to Japan) and I've asked my friend to get me tickets to a gig there. I was a bit daft and assumed somewhere called the Tokyo Electron Hall would be in, you know, Tokyo, but it's apparently about a 2-hour shinkansen ride away. I thought I might as well stay the night and see what Sendai has to offer the next day!
  • RyanDS 12 May 2017 15:23:51 12,838 posts
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    I did a baseball game (only game I have ever been to) which was great fun. Pro tip - take your own cans of beer, at the entrance security will give you plastic cups to pour it into.

    From there do a day trip to Mitsishima (spelling?). A lovely bay, one of the 3 most beautiful traditional areas in Japan iirc. Along with Miyajima (near Hiroshima) and somewhere near Kyoto. Lovely boat trips around the bay.
  • Kay 12 May 2017 16:45:49 20,149 posts
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    Cheers once again for all the recommendations/ideas!

    I guess I should start getting the accommodation sorted. Any recommendations for particular areas to stay in Osaka/Kyoto?
  • RyanDS 12 May 2017 17:54:46 12,838 posts
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    I would say stay near the train station so you can jump easily to the Shinkansen to cut down on your travel time for the long day trips. When exploring the city Kyoto the buses, and Osaka the tube, just make it easy to get around so don't worry too much.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 12 May 2017 19:09:19 3,564 posts
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    What type of accomodation are you after? I always go basic but private getting a small room that is cheap and central to train lines. In Osaka I usually stay in Hotel Chuo as it is next to the midosuji (and 1 other line) subway and Shin Imamiya (IIRC) on the JR line (direct train available to Shin Osaka for the Shinkansen). Easy 5 minute walk to DenDen town too if you want to see the electronics town.

    The hotel is plain and simple but has some English speaking staff and 24 hour access (and even some laundry equipment if you need it). Also should still be pretty cheap. There are other cheap hotels in the area too but that is the one I know.

    Edit - also a choice of beds or futon too. Family size rooms also available for a little more cost.

    Edited by One_Vurfed_Gwrx at 19:10:21 12-05-2017
  • kimchibaka 12 May 2017 22:27:25 223 posts
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    @Zidargh Nara is absolutely gorgeous and I think one of my parents favourite memories of Japan. If you can get connected to the international centre there (tell them you're on a research project or something!) you can book the double room which has (private) landscaped garden views and basically an onsen in the bathroom. Stunning. The people are lovely, and after a few nights in neon cityscapes any short term visitors will love it there when night falls and there are just a few lights around the temples (which are stunning themselves) but otherwise it's countryside (away from the one main road). Just don't buy the food to feed the deer (only tourists do that and the Japanese watch on with great amusement as the whole herd attacks you)!

    I think the best place I ever visited in Japan (and I did all the 'big ones' on Honshu) was Hakone, again when my parents came. We spent two nights, which is perfect imo. It's very quiet, but you can't quite beat going to a Picasso/Henry Moore museum in the morning, taking a tram down the side of a mountain, a stunning cable car to get you down the rest, and then a pirate ship (only Japan!) across a lake with Mount Fuji in the background!

    I didn't mind Arashiyama much myself as it has no pretentions as being anything other than a tourist trap and I only went for a day out, so that was what I was expecting really. If you want an expensive rickshaw ride or want to see ladies pretending to be geisha then that's the place!

    I'm glad a poster had fantastic experiences with a few people in Kyoto, but you can't judge a whole area's historic reputation going back over a thousand years on that - in fact I would bet a decent amount on none of those folk being from Kyoto at all!
  • Kay 15 May 2017 13:14:39 20,149 posts
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    One_Vurfed_Gwrx wrote:
    What type of accomodation are you after?
    I've booked a hotel for the first night but, as I'm travelling solo, I'll be using hostels for the rest of the trip, and perhaps a ryokan if I can fit that in somewhere.

    Just been reading about Hakone - think I'll want to check that out as well...
  • RyanDS 15 May 2017 13:17:51 12,838 posts
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    Have a look at capsule hotels. They are actually really nice sometimes. You go in, change into provided pjs in a locker room then have a relaxation area, a bath area, a bar etc. Can get a massage. Sure when you sleep it is only the tiny space but that is all you need. And often the pods have built in tv etc.

    Edited by RyanDS at 13:18:01 15-05-2017
  • Kay 18 May 2017 10:53:09 20,149 posts
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    I've looked at some capsule hotels, but often they seem to be like hostels but without the social atmosphere - the ones I've seen, anyway.

    I've pretty much figured out the itinerary now, and there's plenty of accommodation available, so that shouldn't be an issue. But I still can't decide whether to get the 7-day or 14-day JR pass!

    I've pretty much settled on:
    Three nights in Tokyo
    Four nights in Osaka
    Two nights in Kyoto
    One night in Hakone?
    Three nights in Tokyo

    I can fit most of the travelling in to a 7-day pass (activating it on the day I go to Osaka), but I'm wondering if it'll also come in handy for day trips out of Tokyo in the beginning and end of the trip...
  • uiruki 18 May 2017 11:07:50 4,899 posts
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    It should be useful but remember that a lot of the lines into and out of Tokyo are run by other operators. I don't think it'd work on the Toyoko line, for example, so you'd have to take an alternative route to Yokohama. Obviously in that case, depending on where you're staying, the Shinkansen should be a more than worthy alternative!

    Edited by uiruki at 11:13:44 18-05-2017
  • Kay 18 May 2017 11:37:02 20,149 posts
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    Yeah, that's what I'm trying to figure out... it looks like the 14-day pass will cost me just under a 100 more, and I'm trying to work out if any day trips out of Tokyo would justify that extra cost, or if it'll be cheaper just buying train tickets as I go.

    Aside from the usual - Nikko, Nagano etc. - any recommended day trips out of Tokyo?
  • uiruki 18 May 2017 11:39:36 4,899 posts
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    You considered Kamakura? Shrines, beaches and the big Buddha. A good day's walk. If you are having lunch outside watch out for the red kites - they'll nick your food and you won't even hear them coming!

    The Shonan area might be nice if the weather is good. Start out somewhere like Zushi, I remember heading out to the coast and visiting a nice art museum then watching the sun set over the sea. That's one stop on from Kamakura on the Yokosuka line.

    I remember going to Odawara once too, that is also on the Shinkansen. I can't remember much about the castle but there's one there!

    Edited by uiruki at 11:47:02 18-05-2017
  • Mola_Ram 18 May 2017 11:43:24 21,194 posts
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    The Kyoto Bakpak hostel is amazing. The rooms are cheap, the shared spaces are comfortable, and the rooftop has an amazing view out over the river. It's probably the best hostel I've ever stayed in.
  • Kay 18 May 2017 11:52:49 20,149 posts
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    Cheers, noted (to both)!

    At the moment, the main day trips I'm considering are Nara, Himeji (both from Osaka), Arashiyama (Kyoto), and possibly Nagano from Tokyo. Hakone too, but I'm looking to stay overnight there. I might try to fit in Hiroshima if I can.

    The rest of the time will be spent in the main cities. I'll have just under five full days in Tokyo (one of which will be spent in Nagano), so wondering if that's sufficient for the main city itself...
  • uiruki 18 May 2017 12:01:47 4,899 posts
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    It depends on what you want to do. I always like to spend a day in Yokohama but when I go across it's more just so I can exist there, go to the park, walk around, drink at my usual haunts and catch what's on in general. It's worth seeing what's on; try and grab a copy of Metropolis magazine and have a flick through. Try and attend at least one festival, especially in the evening.

    Last time I enjoyed a run through Kappabashi, the place where they have all the plastic model food and stuff like that. It's walking distance from Asakusa station so you can take both in during a single day easily.
  • Kay 18 May 2017 17:32:53 20,149 posts
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    After an afternoon of research and calculating individual train journey costs (quiet day at work), I've decided that the 14-day pass is the best option. It'll cover all the day trips I want to do, as well as the round-trip from Narita airport to Tokyo.

    It seems that both Nagano and Hakone are not that far and doable as day trips from Tokyo, so I think Nikkon will be a good place to stay overnight...
  • DanoFNG 28 Jun 2017 14:37:36 346 posts
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    Currently in Japan for the next 2 months on a research trip. I have an apartment in the Takanohara area, which is in Kyoto prefecture but right on the border with Nara, I think I could walk to it in about 5-10 minutes.

    My Japanese is terrible. I've been able to get by knowing some common phrases, but it feels a bit shit having interactions with cashiers at the mall consist of 'hello', me pointing like a numpty for a bit, then 'thank you'. Quite motivated to try and learn some Japanese while I'm here.

    I don't actually start work until Monday so I'm going to try to do some touristy stuff over the next four days. There's a temple not too far from me but sadly Google maps can only find me a route by car. I could fairly easily get to Nara for a day trip - 40 mins by bus to Nara park - but getting to the city of Kyoto is a less palpable 7 hour trip, so likely a 2-dayer.

    Any further recommendations from anyone familiar with the area? About to read through this thread in more detail.

    Edited by DanoFNG at 14:48:54 28-06-2017
  • uiruki 28 Jun 2017 16:44:52 4,899 posts
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    Nara is a laugh. Definitely spend a day there. I like Osaka too, that's not far from Kyoto. Try and see Himeji as well. I liked seeing like Biwa in Otsu but I was with someone who had a car.

    How come Kyoto is 7 hours? It's less than an hour from Nara on the train. Try and see what train station is nearest to you. If it's called Takanohara then it's a 33 minute direct train on the express for the Kintetsu Kyoto line, 560 yen each way.

    Definitely try and pick up a few words too, if you can get to a city then most big bookshops have sections with English language books. People really appreciate it when you go to the effort, even if it isn't perfect. In Kyoto and Osaka there's a decent chance someone who can speak English will be around to help you.

    Edited by uiruki at 16:48:01 28-06-2017
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 28 Jun 2017 17:14:48 3,564 posts
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    Hyperdia used to be my go to website for checking train routes and times (and is available in English too). As uiruki says you should have pretty easy train access around Kansai (and further) and Kansai is in my opinion one of the best areas to be based in with regards to access to a range of historical, touristy, or big city locations. I spent 8 months there in Hirakata.

    Definitely look up some beginner Japanese courses. Even if you just start with greetings, thanks and numbers it will show some effort on your part (and "How much is it (Ikura desu ka?) of course). Bot sure best site for your needs though as I tended to look for more grammar based sites whereas you need basic phrases etc. You could grab a cheap Genki I (again not my usual recommendation for long term but for quick speech it could be handy and should be a lot cheaper in Japan than overseas)from a bookshop or Amazon Japan (which was one of the few places to take foreign credit cards when I was there).
  • DanoFNG 30 Jun 2017 14:03:56 346 posts
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    Cheers guys. No idea how I came up with that 7 hour trip. I'm off to Nara for a day trip tomorrow, probably roughly following this itinerary:

    http://www.insidekyoto.com/nara-itineraries

    Not too fussed if I miss stuff really as as I said I'm here for a couple months and since I'm so close by train I can always head back another weekend! I'll try to get a weekend trip to Tokyo in at some point too.

    I've learned a small set of phrases to try and get by/show I'm putting in some effort. Also have started trying to learn Hiragana (following Tae Kim's guide which was posted) - in a more concerted effort to start learning Japanese.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 30 Jun 2017 16:11:35 3,564 posts
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    Tae Kim is good if you want to take your studying seriously. I wasn't sure exactly what your goalposts were so played it safe witg Genki (which I am not personally a fan of but would suit some situations).

    Just enjoy exploring places. Nara is oretty easy to navigate.
  • Zidargh 3 Jul 2017 23:18:26 2,003 posts
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    Different topic, but as people on this forum have more nuanced insight into Japanese culture than most, who would like to live there? Or for some of you, live there again?

    For me; If I could secure a job with an international company and so receive benefits of generous holiday, our view of working hours etc, it's a resounding yes.
  • Zidargh 3 Jul 2017 23:18:27 2,003 posts
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    Post deleted
  • FWB 3 Jul 2017 23:25:41 56,178 posts
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    3 years and not again. It was fun, but it's a bubble; you will always be limited in what you can do work wise and will never be able to fully integrate.

    You'll be working like a dog too.
  • Deleted user 3 July 2017 23:47:06
    FWB wrote:
    3 years and not again. It was fun, but it's a bubble; you will always be limited in what you can do work wise and will never be able to fully integrate.

    You'll be working like a dog too.
    Would definitely agree with this. I've been living here for two years but I think it's time to head back. While the country has a lot of merits to it, the cons outweigh the bad. Staying for more than a year will see a huge increase in your bills too (City tax, insurance fees go up etc) and you begin to notice the element of xenophobia too.
  • FWB 3 Jul 2017 23:49:32 56,178 posts
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    I'd also point out that they are seriously fucked age wise and someone is going to have to pay for that huge older population.
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 4 Jul 2017 18:02:12 3,564 posts
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    I was just there for a year as a student. Unfortunately it was 2008/2009 where the collapsed so becane very expensive. I would live there again (short term at least) but finding a decent job isn't too easy. I spent 3 years in Korea which was a lot easier to live in and made trips to Japan instead.
  • oldskooldeano 4 Jul 2017 19:51:44 2,966 posts
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    I have friends who have made Japan their permanent home including an afro-caribbean mate. He has (or had to develop) an extremely thick skin. Some of the stuff we've overheard as they didn't realise he spoke fluent Japanese was appalling. That is one unsavoury part, of a few unsavoury parts, of a great place to experience.

    If you want to live there, why not do what most seem to do initially and do some English teaching on the JET Program?
  • DaM 1 Aug 2017 14:33:23 17,373 posts
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    Nearly at the end of our 3 week trip, just 4 nights in Osaka, then home (if they typhoon doesn't delay us!).

    What a country, loving it. I think they are going to rock the Olympics and open a lot of people's eyes to Japan.

    The complete lack of litter is such a refreshing change. Makes me sad about going back to the UK, it's such a miserable, dirty place. With shitty trains. And food.
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