Planning a trip to Japan and just need some help, please?

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Kawaii Kinomoto
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Planning a trip to Japan and just need some help, please?

Post by Kawaii Kinomoto » Feb 1st, '07, 19:35

Hello everyone, I hope I posted this thread in the right place. Anyways I am planning a trip to Japan this July and I just need help finding out planning. Does anyone know:

- where the best places in Japan to site see are? like the really pretty places that a lot of tourists go
- Where are the best Karaoke places in Japan?
- Where is the best place in Japan to stay?

my friend said that you can stay at internet cafe's with beds... and if you go to karaoke from 12 am - 6 am its only $20 for the entire time! :O and she also said that youth hostels are pretty good to stay at as well... but just incase does anyone know of decent and decently priced hotels as well?

hope i can get some help, thanks!!! :cheers:

Enki
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Re: Planning a trip to Japan and just need some help, please

Post by Enki » Feb 1st, '07, 20:13

Kawaii Kinomoto wrote:Hello everyone, I hope I posted this thread in the right place. Anyways I am planning a trip to Japan this July and I just need help finding out planning. Does anyone know:

- where the best places in Japan to site see are? like the really pretty places that a lot of tourists go
- Where are the best Karaoke places in Japan?
- Where is the best place in Japan to stay?

my friend said that you can stay at internet cafe's with beds... and if you go to karaoke from 12 am - 6 am its only $20 for the entire time! :O and she also said that youth hostels are pretty good to stay at as well... but just incase does anyone know of decent and decently priced hotels as well?

hope i can get some help, thanks!!! :cheers:
Where exactly in Japan are you going? That's really broad :lol

Yeah, some internet cafes have beds. It's 12$s to stay for the night, and you can rent DVDs and games during the overnight stay. Some places have showers for an extra 5$s too.

Kawaii Kinomoto
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Re: Planning a trip to Japan and just need some help, please

Post by Kawaii Kinomoto » Feb 1st, '07, 20:16

Enki wrote: Where exactly in Japan are you going? That's really broad :lol

Yeah, some internet cafes have beds. It's 12$s to stay for the night, and you can rent DVDs and games during the overnight stay. Some places have showers for an extra 5$s too.
sorry... i'm not exactly sure where i'll be going yet but i want to go to the main areas of Japan like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagano, etc.

thanks for telling me more about the internet cafes!! :D

Enki
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Post by Enki » Feb 1st, '07, 21:43

Gotcha. Well I've only been to Tokyo so I'll try to tell you what I know from there ^^ I'm planning to go to Kyoto or somewhere else this summer.

Personally, I stayed at a couple of places the times I went there, but my favorite place to stay in Tokyo was Ikebukuro. It's not as well known as say, Shinjuku or Shibuya, but it has a really big entertainment district (tons of video game arcades, pachinko parlors, karaoke places ect.) and the Ikebukuro metro is well connected to the other lines + trains. Plus it's cheaper than than the more well known youth/entertainment districts.

If you want to do the touristy stuff, I guess Asakusa is the best place to visit. The Asakusa temple gets tons of visitors everyday and there's other stuff around. In Ginza they have the Imperial gardens and the like, as well as a Kabuki theatre that gives you headphones which explains in English what's happening on stage :lol

If you plan on shopping, avoid Ginza like a plague :lol All the cliches about Tokyo being an expensive city comes from people who went to Ginza :lol Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ikebukuro has some good stores for clothes, books and CDs. Or go to Akihabara if you're into anime and the like.

err, I hope all this rambling was at least helpful ^^;

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Yekiel
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Post by Yekiel » Feb 1st, '07, 21:56

Harr, I'll be in Japan mostly in September for a month, will be travelling around by train for 3 weeks and staying 1 week in Tokyo. Has anyone got some experience with good places to go out clubbing in Tokyo that don't cost the Earth?

Or has anyone else gone on a trip around Japan by rail yet and got some hints as to what shouldn't be missed?

And what about Japanese etiquette???

Arigatou!
Currently watching: Bull Fighting, Down with Love, Easy Fortune Happy Life, Sunao Ni Narenakute
Favourite Dorama: Love Shuffle, Buzzer Beat, Tatta Hitotsu no Koi, Nodame Cantabile, Itazura na Kiss

Kawaii Kinomoto
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Post by Kawaii Kinomoto » Feb 1st, '07, 22:14

Enki wrote:Gotcha. Well I've only been to Tokyo so I'll try to tell you what I know from there ^^ I'm planning to go to Kyoto or somewhere else this summer.

Personally, I stayed at a couple of places the times I went there, but my favorite place to stay in Tokyo was Ikebukuro. It's not as well known as say, Shinjuku or Shibuya, but it has a really big entertainment district (tons of video game arcades, pachinko parlors, karaoke places ect.) and the Ikebukuro metro is well connected to the other lines + trains. Plus it's cheaper than than the more well known youth/entertainment districts.

If you want to do the touristy stuff, I guess Asakusa is the best place to visit. The Asakusa temple gets tons of visitors everyday and there's other stuff around. In Ginza they have the Imperial gardens and the like, as well as a Kabuki theatre that gives you headphones which explains in English what's happening on stage :lol

If you plan on shopping, avoid Ginza like a plague :lol All the cliches about Tokyo being an expensive city comes from people who went to Ginza :lol Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ikebukuro has some good stores for clothes, books and CDs. Or go to Akihabara if you're into anime and the like.

err, I hope all this rambling was at least helpful ^^;
yes yes!!! all this information was very very helpful:D THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

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Post by kel-kel » Feb 2nd, '07, 02:35

A really useful site to check out is http://www.jnto.go.jp

I used it when I was planning my holiday to Japan earlier this year (I was there for 2 weeks from New Year's Day). Click on the place(s) you are interested in and you should be able to see what are the "touristy" things to see and do there; although you can also probably find that out by looking through a Lonely Planet travel guide. (Personally, I thought the Japan Lonely Planet guide was useless, but that's just me).

Anyway, the really good thing about the JNTO site is that it sometimes has these walking guides which take you to all the sights in a particular area. For instance, the Tokyo walking guide takes you from Tokyo JR station to the Imperial Palace to the National Science Musuem, past the Budokan Stadium, and to some famous shrine (I forget the name, but it's the one the former Prime Minister used to visit... the one that supposedly is the resting place of some war criminals). Another good thing about the site is that it has a listing of all the festivals in Japan, so you can check if there's anything special happening during the time you are in Japan and try to incorporate that into your trip.

If you are travelling to between numerous cities, then get a JR rail pass. If you are just going to be based in one city, then don't bother; it'll be cheaper to just buy tickets at the ticket machines. The usually is one large map with station names printed in English at the station, so use that as a guide when buying your ticket from the ticket machines. Incidentally, the JR pass only covers JR trains, you will have to pay for the private ones (usually subway lines).

Something to consider if you are going to different cities, is using the baggage forwarding service. You can have your luggage couriered to your next destination (it's overnight, so you will have to carry a day bag with change of clothes etc) for about 1,300 yen. It's convenient if you have a large bag you don't want to lug around with you after checking out of your hotel or wherever you're staying at.

It'll be really, really good if you can speak Japanese, cause most people there don't speak English. Although, the people in restaurants and shops generally are quite helpful... just use lots of hand gestures and digital photos.

Umm... is there anything else you want to know?

Kawaii Kinomoto
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Post by Kawaii Kinomoto » Feb 2nd, '07, 02:50

kel-kel wrote:A really useful site to check out is http://www.jnto.go.jp

I used it when I was planning my holiday to Japan earlier this year (I was there for 2 weeks from New Year's Day). Click on the place(s) you are interested in and you should be able to see what are the "touristy" things to see and do there; although you can also probably find that out by looking through a Lonely Planet travel guide. (Personally, I thought the Japan Lonely Planet guide was useless, but that's just me).

Anyway, the really good thing about the JNTO site is that it sometimes has these walking guides which take you to all the sights in a particular area. For instance, the Tokyo walking guide takes you from Tokyo JR station to the Imperial Palace to the National Science Musuem, past the Budokan Stadium, and to some famous shrine (I forget the name, but it's the one the former Prime Minister used to visit... the one that supposedly is the resting place of some war criminals). Another good thing about the site is that it has a listing of all the festivals in Japan, so you can check if there's anything special happening during the time you are in Japan and try to incorporate that into your trip.

If you are travelling to between numerous cities, then get a JR rail pass. If you are just going to be based in one city, then don't bother; it'll be cheaper to just buy tickets at the ticket machines. The usually is one large map with station names printed in English at the station, so use that as a guide when buying your ticket from the ticket machines. Incidentally, the JR pass only covers JR trains, you will have to pay for the private ones (usually subway lines).

Something to consider if you are going to different cities, is using the baggage forwarding service. You can have your luggage couriered to your next destination (it's overnight, so you will have to carry a day bag with change of clothes etc) for about 1,300 yen. It's convenient if you have a large bag you don't want to lug around with you after checking out of your hotel or wherever you're staying at.

It'll be really, really good if you can speak Japanese, cause most people there don't speak English. Although, the people in restaurants and shops generally are quite helpful... just use lots of hand gestures and digital photos.

Umm... is there anything else you want to know?
THANKS a lot!! i'll check that site out! u helped a lot!!

just a question though... my friend says that if i wanna stay in youth hostels i should book them ahead of time... after googling youth hostels in japan i found this website http://www.jyh.or.jp/english/index.html do u think its a good site? it tells a bit about different youth hostels and stuff so i thought it might be kinda useful!! thanks again so much!! u helped a lot a lot!!

kel-kel
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Post by kel-kel » Feb 2nd, '07, 03:18

I don't really know much about the youth hostels, sorry. Although, I can suppose it would make sense that you would have to book in advance. If all else fails, though, you could probably stay at a capsule hotel - ?

One bit of advice, though. It is better to pay a bit more to stay somewhere that is close to transportation than to pay less and stay somewhere further away. I stayed at Ginza (sounds expensive, but it cost the same as an equivalent hotel at Shinjuku or Roppongi) thinking it'd be nice to stay in a upmarkety kind of place, but the distance I had to walk from the JR station to my hotel got rather annoying after a full day of walking about and lugging a bag full of stuff.

Also, trains stop running around midnight, so try to pick a central location to do stuff or you'll waste lots of time shuttling back and forth to get the where you want to go.

Shops open around 10am, so it's usually better to do sight seeing in the morning and the shopping in the afternoon. From memory, most shops close around 8pm... later for the larger department stores.

Err, visit Harajuku on a weekend... that way you'll get to see more of the "kids" playing dress in the park. I went on a weekday so there weren't as many people around. Although I was lucky cause there was a makeshift band performing there, so that was kinda interesting.

The clothes you can buy at Harajuku are kinda iffy. And by iffy, I mean gothic and lolita stores. But have a look around, you might find something in one of the other stores they have there. Harajuku crepes are a must... you should be able to see a couple of stores as you follow the crowd past the shops.

Since you're a girl, Shibuya would probably be a more interesting place for you to check out. The 109 store (right opposite the JR station, you can't miss it) is basically heaven on earth for girls... 90% of that building is dedicated to stuff for girls.

One thing I found when I was in Tokyo was that it was hard to get into a good place to eat, since there are so many people, and I didn't want to queue up and wait. This applies especially to cafes, since the people there (mostly girls I think) love having the desserts. But, if you are heading to Osaka, and you're willing to skip the desserts in Tokyo, head to the very top of the Yodobashi Camera store in Umeda. There's a "food court" just dedicated to desserts; and since Osaka isn't as packed as Tokyo, you're pretty much guaranteed a spot at one of the many dessert cafes in there.

Kyoto is a very quiet place compared to Tokyo and Osaka. Visit the Gion district to check out the shrines and temples, and visit Nijo castle and the Imperial Palace (you can't actually go in the palace, you can only walk around outside; it was a bit of a let down, really... Gion was good though). The Kyoto station is a pretty cool bit of architecture, and there's a bunch of ramen restaurants on the 10th or 11th floor that open til 10pm (they stop serving food around 9.30pm though).

... mmm, way too much to say, and I have to get back to work. I'll post more for you when I have more time. Or you just keep asking me stuff to jog my memory.

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Post by Kawaii Kinomoto » Feb 2nd, '07, 03:36

kel-kel wrote:I don't really know much about the youth hostels, sorry. Although, I can suppose it would make sense that you would have to book in advance. If all else fails, though, you could probably stay at a capsule hotel - ?

One bit of advice, though. It is better to pay a bit more to stay somewhere that is close to transportation than to pay less and stay somewhere further away. I stayed at Ginza (sounds expensive, but it cost the same as an equivalent hotel at Shinjuku or Roppongi) thinking it'd be nice to stay in a upmarkety kind of place, but the distance I had to walk from the JR station to my hotel got rather annoying after a full day of walking about and lugging a bag full of stuff.

Also, trains stop running around midnight, so try to pick a central location to do stuff or you'll waste lots of time shuttling back and forth to get the where you want to go.

Shops open around 10am, so it's usually better to do sight seeing in the morning and the shopping in the afternoon. From memory, most shops close around 8pm... later for the larger department stores.

Err, visit Harajuku on a weekend... that way you'll get to see more of the "kids" playing dress in the park. I went on a weekday so there weren't as many people around. Although I was lucky cause there was a makeshift band performing there, so that was kinda interesting.

The clothes you can buy at Harajuku are kinda iffy. And by iffy, I mean gothic and lolita stores. But have a look around, you might find something in one of the other stores they have there. Harajuku crepes are a must... you should be able to see a couple of stores as you follow the crowd past the shops.

Since you're a girl, Shibuya would probably be a more interesting place for you to check out. The 109 store (right opposite the JR station, you can't miss it) is basically heaven on earth for girls... 90% of that building is dedicated to stuff for girls.

One thing I found when I was in Tokyo was that it was hard to get into a good place to eat, since there are so many people, and I didn't want to queue up and wait. This applies especially to cafes, since the people there (mostly girls I think) love having the desserts. But, if you are heading to Osaka, and you're willing to skip the desserts in Tokyo, head to the very top of the Yodobashi Camera store in Umeda. There's a "food court" just dedicated to desserts; and since Osaka isn't as packed as Tokyo, you're pretty much guaranteed a spot at one of the many dessert cafes in there.

Kyoto is a very quiet place compared to Tokyo and Osaka. Visit the Gion district to check out the shrines and temples, and visit Nijo castle and the Imperial Palace (you can't actually go in the palace, you can only walk around outside; it was a bit of a let down, really... Gion was good though). The Kyoto station is a pretty cool bit of architecture, and there's a bunch of ramen restaurants on the 10th or 11th floor that open til 10pm (they stop serving food around 9.30pm though).

... mmm, way too much to say, and I have to get back to work. I'll post more for you when I have more time. Or you just keep asking me stuff to jog my memory.
SUGOI!! ARIGATOU!! i gotta write all this stuff down!! ur giving me a lot of great tips and places to go...

just another question... i'm really into japanese music, mostly Johnny's Jimusho groups like Arashi, NEWS, Kanjani8, Tackey and Tsubasa, V6, Kinki Kids and TOKIO.... other than HMV and the johnny's shops, do u know any good places that sell stuff like that? liek cds, posters, uchiwas, etc.

thanks again sooo much!! ur helping like crazy!!

fuddleduddle
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Post by fuddleduddle » Feb 2nd, '07, 03:47

never been to japan myself, but im sure you'll find music stores anywhere. popular stuff like that should be easy to find, don't worry. :]

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Post by feedmeister » Feb 2nd, '07, 03:50

This may sound a little on the dorky tourist side but it's worth doing if your going to be in Tokyo.

Go to the TMG (Tokyo Metro Government) complex in Shinjuku. It is something you will probably want to see anyway. You can go to the top of the building (go into the building shaped like an H not the one shaped like three steps) and get a great view of the city that doesn't cost anything. This means you can skip going up Tokyo Tower which costs money.

More importantly, on the first floor of the TMG there is a rack of maps that are free. The single sheet "Tokyo Area Guide" ones will be the most obvious since there are about a dozen of them. They are single page sheets for specific areas (Asakusa, Shibuya, Ueno, etc....) Just don't forget to grab one of the little fold up maps. They should be orange in color (they were this past summer) and say "Welcome to Tokyo Handy Map" on the front. This is one of the best Tokyo maps I have seen. Make everyone you are with take one. I cleaned out the map rack and everyone I was with looked at me like I was a dork. Then the whole rest of the trip they kept bugging me for my maps.

The Handy Map shows the whole city (actually it shows the entire "To" which extends all the way into the mountains in the west and all those little islands to the south) but anyway this map is good for an overall picture. The area guide sheet maps are great for someone who has never been to Tokyo. There's one for all the major areas you want to see in the city so just grab one of each and look through them later at your liesure for ideas on places to go.

The cheapest places to eat are little mom an pop shacks tucked away where they can be hard to find if you are not local. So if you are going to be staying in one area for a while, walk the sidestreets and alleys around you. Yoshinoya is a restaurant chain which is easily identifiable and pretty cheap. You can fill up on a plate of curry rice for as low as 300 yen. After 9 or 10 at night most convinience stores slash the prices of their plastic wrapped meals so that can help too. If you see a sign that says "single coin" that means you can eat for under 500 yen (that's the largest coin size).

Speaking of coins don't go dropping any in the beer vending machines late at night. I forget the exact time, but after a certain hour in the evening they won't vend anything and will still take your money.

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Post by Kawaii Kinomoto » Feb 2nd, '07, 05:04

oooh!! good to know!! thanks!! :lol i gotta write down also this info in a little notebook and take it with me to japan!!:D

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Post by inochi » Feb 2nd, '07, 10:18

wow, this is becoming a great storehouse of information for me too. will continue to lurk on thread for more tips, they've been amazingly clear and useful thus far

Enishi
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Post by Enishi » Feb 2nd, '07, 10:41

ooh what a coincidence, me and a friend are planning to go on a 4weeks - month trip to Japan at the end of the year. Planning to start from the south west of Japan and slowly heading to the north. Probably from Okinawa first =P
If you're interested in visiting the Onsen (hot springs), the north of Japan is the best. There's one prefecture there that is supposed to be really good for hotsprings, but i can't remember the name, My Japanese housemate recommended it to me, she'll probably help out with my itenary XD
But some of the other places besides Tokyo you should visit are - Shibuya, Osaka, Kyoto, Sapporo/Hokkaido

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Yekiel
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Post by Yekiel » Feb 2nd, '07, 11:11

Wow, guys... your information is really insightful! Hope we can keep this thread going for a while ;)
Currently watching: Bull Fighting, Down with Love, Easy Fortune Happy Life, Sunao Ni Narenakute
Favourite Dorama: Love Shuffle, Buzzer Beat, Tatta Hitotsu no Koi, Nodame Cantabile, Itazura na Kiss

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Post by hikkichan » Feb 2nd, '07, 12:28

If you're looking for idol stuff (Johnies), walk around in Harajuku and you'll find some idol shops... they sell everything from photos and rare goods...

As for places to stay... I don't know. I'm in Tokyo, but probably a good 45minutes from downtown...

Clubbing in Shibuya... Ehh... Club Nuts is good as is Vuenos... P was ok and so was Club Asia... I'm not sure what else is around since it's been ages since I've hit up the clubs in Shibuya...

Akasaka is good for "traditional" tourism.

I'd recommend going to Chinatown in Yokohama... always a great time...

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Post by non_atteri_mai » Feb 2nd, '07, 14:16

Hi! Just want to share some info for your trip.
If your traveling on July, be prepared to sweat and be dehydrated (though there are many vending machines here so this will save you).

As somebody has commented if you plan to stay in one area only, it would be pointless to buy the JR rail pass. But if you want to stay for 5 days or less in Kyoto, you can buy the Seishun Juhachi pass ( though this is a seasonal ticket, but you can arrange your schedule to coincide with its availability). This is around 11,500 yen, you can use it for 5 days for ordinary trains only. If you plan to use this, I recommend a Kyoto-Osaka-Nara trip via the Moonlight Nagara (overnight train-requires reservation). It’s a very cheap way to travel in this area.

But if you’ll stay in Tokyo, don’t forget to buy either the Tokunai or Furii pass, it’s a one-day pass around Tokyo (and even Yokohama-just ask the JR ticket office) and would save you a lot of money.

I also recommend the TMG (Tokyo Metropolitan Govt) Bldg, its free and open till 10 pm (or later, I forgot). On the observation floor, on some nights, the best thing is you can view the Tokyo area (and on winter even Mt. Fuji) with a piano music in the background courtesy of the restaurant on that floor. Another weird (but actually very fun)thing we did, was hanging around in front of the TMG at night with beer/wine and just watching the building and the stars!

If you want to go clubbing, Roponggi is the best place to go. Its easy to get around and there so many choices. If you just want to go club hopping, it’s not too expensive. But if you want to get stinking drunk while club hopping, then you will be in a budget problem.

For the CD’s or DVD’s, look for a store named “Disc Union”, I think almost all major areas around Tokyo have this store. It sells cheap discs, (well, sometimes second hand I think), both for foreign and jpop titles. You just need patience and dig in well in their collection. My best find here was a Chemistry CD for 300 yen. And they even sell vinyl, if you’re a collector!

If you’ll stay for a month or so, better go to surrounding areas especially Yokohama, personally, for me this is much better than Tokyo. Just get a map for tourists at Sakuragicho station and you can start your adventure in Yokohama! Visit Chinatown, Minato Mirai Area, Yokohama Bay Bridge and other interesting parks.

Also, since you’ll be here on summer, don’t forget to bring your swim wear! The rest of Japan goes to the beach and pools this time of the year. If you’re a pool person, head to Tokyo Summer Land. If you’re the surfer type – head to Kisarazu in Chiba (my friend said he saw Kimura Takuya here!). Kamakura beach is also good, aside from the beach you could visit shrines and the big Buddha statue in this area. If you have male friends going with you, like my brother said, “summer in Japan is best for babe watching”.

If you still have time, better visit Nikko, this is the nearest place to Tokyo where you can see temples that are declared UNESCO heritage sites (the next place would be Kyoto). To travel cheaply around this area, you need a Nikko Heritage Pass (you can buy it from Tobu ticket offices in Asakusa area).

Another favorite summer activity in Japan is climbing Mount Fuji. It’s a really a challenge. I had to like exercise a month before (it’s because I am a couch potato) climbing it. Since you are new here in Japan, better take a guided tour (JTB would be good) when you want to climb or better yet, make friends who can take you! It may sound to be a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it, really, especially if you see the first sunlight of the day at the summit. And don’t forget to have your walking stick stamped at each station during your ascent!

Summer, is hanabi (fire works) season in Japan. It’s the time where fire works that costs like thousands (I even think million) of dollars are on display. Although, there would be hanabi’s almost every day, the best one’s are in Sumida River in Asakusa and near Yamashita Park in Yokohama area. To get the best view, please come to the site very, very early or better yet reserve a place. Some even reserved their place a forth night (with plastic mats, tapes, with their names – but no profanity please!). I have done this and it worked.

Sorry, I got so caught up, it’s quite long. But one last thing, don’t ever, ever forget to carry a train map, a location map (ie.Tokyo Map) and passport wherever you go. Memorize some survival Nihonggo phrases, it would really help a lot. Don’t ever hesitate to ask if your lost or you can’t understand, because somebody would surely help you.
Enjoy your trip! :cheers:

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Post by nikochanr3 » Feb 2nd, '07, 15:37

are you an otaku? Go to Nakano in Tokyo, on the Chou-Sobu line. Mall right off the train station, cant miss it. Upper (2nd, 3rd, 4th) floors. Great fun.
Please visit my homepage! :w00t: [url=http://nikochanr3.blogspot.com/[/url]

AIM me at Nikochanr3 if you like. I''''m bored.

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sakurakiss
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Post by sakurakiss » Feb 2nd, '07, 16:52

wow ! this is all great info !! im planning to go to japan for a week .. though its still undecided .
tell me , is Akihabara a good place to visit and shop too ??

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Post by ephesus » Feb 2nd, '07, 16:57

I suggest not going to Japan at all. Overrated. haha

... but if you do. Stay in Hida Takayama the whole time. It's the hottest hot of hotness.

http://www.hidatakayama.or.jp/

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ephesus
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Post by ephesus » Feb 2nd, '07, 18:19

By the way, if you leave before FEB 28 from "CHICAGO, CHAMPAIGN, BLOOMINGTON(IL), MILWAUKEE, MADISON, ST LOUIS, INDIANAPOLIS , etc" (midwest)
round trip tickets to tokyo are $399 plus taxes (so probably around $550-$600 out the door.
I say we have a d-addicts party in Tokyo...

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Yekiel
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Post by Yekiel » Feb 2nd, '07, 18:56

Hm, the cheapest flight I could find for end August- end September 2007 is €725 at the moment through the KLM homepage. Flying Frankfurt - Amsterdam - Tokyo (Narita). Just in case some more Germans wanna go this summer :lol
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inochi
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Post by inochi » Feb 3rd, '07, 04:26

wow 399 that is insanely cheap...

non_atteri_mai: what do you consider as summer when you're talking about it here? like..basically july?

some questions of curiosity:
are the swimming places very crowded?
i'm going in may - do you know how the weather would be (as in, still deathly hot and sticky?)
what do you consider survival nihongo phrases? =)

and a general question for everyone...does anyone know how to keep cool in japan during its oh so warm climates?

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Post by nikochanr3 » Feb 3rd, '07, 13:54

inochi wrote:wow 399 that is insanely cheap...

non_atteri_mai: what do you consider as summer when you're talking about it here? like..basically july?

some questions of curiosity:
are the swimming places very crowded?
i'm going in may - do you know how the weather would be (as in, still deathly hot and sticky?)
what do you consider survival nihongo phrases? =)

and a general question for everyone...does anyone know how to keep cool in japan during its oh so warm climates?
um, no different than anywhere else, dress appropriately and drink lots of fluids. fluids are important, its deadly humid there. may is not so bad though, it depends where you are going but ive never been there in may where heat was a huge problem. july it really kicks up and august is evil. i was in osaka once in august, jeez. ITS HOT!
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Post by vulcan300 » Feb 3rd, '07, 15:15

I spend 3 or 4 weeks a year in Japan with my wife's relatives so I get pretty spoiled (and don't have to pay for food or hotels), but when I took my parents there a few years ago we travelled from Tokyo Area down to Fukuoka and even did a side trip to Hong Kong for a few days. I'll share the cities that we went to and some of the stuff to do there. Other people who know the cities better than I do can probably give more info.

If you're going to Tokyo and you want to go someplace low stress to get over the jet lag a 2 day stay in Nikko is a good idea. It's a couple of hours from Tokyo by train (someone mentioned that you can get a cheap train pass in the Asakusa area of Tokyo) and there are quite a few nice and inexpensive pensions that you can stay at. I stayed at one that had really nice private Japanese ofuro (baths) which were the perfect medicine after a long day of walking. The pension was are around 80-100 per night and included breakfast and dinner (The food was great). The thing to do in Nikko is the check out the huge temple/shrine complex, take your camera and take lots of pics :-) There are also some shops selling antiques and other stuff if you walk further away from the area right around the temple.

After Nikko you'll be ready to tackle Tokyo. If you want to see a lot in one day a bus tour may be a good idea. I think there are a few companies but Hato Bus is the most famous. The tours can be pricy though so you can also just follow some of the other great advice in this thread, grab a map and a train pass and go exploring yourself. Akihabara is always a worthwhile stop. There are tons of electronics and toy stores and maid cafes to provide hours of entertainment. Asakusa temple is a worthwhile stop and and a great photo op. If you're in the Asakusa area you can check out the Kappabashi wholesale market which sells alll the cooking gear you'd ever need. This is the home of plastic food, there are a few places that sell to restaurants and they have some cool stuff. There is one place that sells second hand plastic food from restaurants (the new stuff is really expensive) if you want to get someone a unique souveni. Yokohama downtown and Chinatown is worth a visit as is the Tsukiji Fish Market. If you like sushi that area has some of the best you'll find anywhere and some of the restaurants are really reasonable. If you're looking for an inexpensive hotel you vould try the Vista in Asakusa. I think it cost about 80/night and the rooms were great. If you are into shopping for fashion and you don't want to pay too much you can go to Machida. There are a ton of shops and there is even an entire builing dedicated to clothes for the ladies :-)

Kyoto is definitely a worthwhile stop. If you go you should take a bus tour that hits the most famous shrines and temples; Kiyo Mizu, Ginkakujia, Kinkakuji, Heian, and others. You may even see some Geisha wandering around when you're there. I stayed at a hotel near the train station and I remember that it was pretty expensive.

Osaka was all good. Make sure you try the Okonomi since that's the local specialty. There's plenty of shopping in Osaka and a visit to Osaka Castle is a must. Beyond that I don't really know this city well.

Nagasaki is a interesting stop. The museum dedicated to the nuclear bombing is worth a visit as are the gardens and temples throughout the city. It's amazing to see how well that city has recovered after being literally wiped off the map!

And finally Fukuoka and the area around it is good too. I spend most of my time in Fukuoka. THe park on Nokonoshima island is a must. The seafood is great as this city is right on the ocean and fugu can be had here at a reasonable price as most of this type of deadly fish comes from this area. If baseball season is on you can catch a Softbank Hawks game, or you can just check out the park and museum in the area near the stadium. If a trip to a spa is your thing Kyushu (The southern island where Fukuoka is) is the place to be. You can go to Yufuin, Beppu, Unzen or a number of other cities. Yufuin and Beppu are pretty big and have a bunch of hotels with hot springs and they can be reached easily by train from Fukuoka. I can provide hotel names if you're interested.

IF you want cheap places to stay have a Japanese friend search the net for you. Hotels often advertise cheap net rates but you'll generally only find them on Japanese language web sites. And if you'd like to fly from city to city a good (but somewhat expensive) option is to get a flight pack from JAL that allows you to fly to and from Japan and then between a number of cities. If you want to travel from Hokkaido through Honshu through Kyushu this can be a good way to go if you don't want to spend forever on trains. Otherwise train passes to get between cities are best.

Well that's it for now. I hope this helps and please keep asking questions. You'll have a fantastic time when you go!

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Post by kel-kel » Feb 3rd, '07, 17:00

Kawaii Kinomoto wrote:SUGOI!! ARIGATOU!! i gotta write all this stuff down!! ur giving me a lot of great tips and places to go...

just another question... i'm really into japanese music, mostly Johnny's Jimusho groups like Arashi, NEWS, Kanjani8, Tackey and Tsubasa, V6, Kinki Kids and TOKIO.... other than HMV and the johnny's shops, do u know any good places that sell stuff like that? liek cds, posters, uchiwas, etc.

thanks again sooo much!! ur helping like crazy!!

Not really into posters or other paraphernalia like that so can't really help you with that; although I do recall seeing some poster shops in either Harajuku or Shibuya... Shinjuku and Akihabara probably would have some of that stuff too. In any case, you should be able to come across that stuff as you walk around anyway.

Be sure to check out the toy stores - you'd be amazed at the kind of stuff they sell. For instance, they have a huge range of Disney and Toy Story stuff... stuff which I haven't been able to find in other western countries... and this is on top of all the Japanese anime and manga stuff they have.

The comic + internet stores in shibuya are a great place to rest for a bit if your feet need a rest. They charge you 200 or 300 yen for the first hour, then they charge you about 100 yen for each 15 minutes or half hour after that (my memory's vague on that). You get your own cubicle, so you'll have some bit of privacy and the seats usually are quite comfortable (since people there seem to stay overnight and use the net and read comics). A bonus for you is that at some places women pay 100 yen less than men for the first hour.

One other thing, when using their keyboards, if you start typing stuff and Japanese characters appear on screen, hit the "~" key (top left button, under "ESC", next to "1")... that should switch between Japanese and English.

In Osaka, I'd recommend staying at Umeda. There's an undercover mall type area there where there's heaps of restaurants, video game arcades, and pachinko parlours; so you won't be strapped for stuff to do at night. Bonus is that the JR and private subway stations all have a station at Umeda; so you have your pick of train service to get where you need to go in Osaka.

If you're into interesting architecture, check out the Umeda Sky Building. It has a really nice view of the city, but it will cost you 700 yen.

I read that Namba's meant to be a happening place, but when I was there at night I thought Umeda was more interesting. Maybe I didn't go to the right areas.


Back to Tokyo... Ueno Park is famous and all, but I rushed through it cause I thought it was rather dull. Ueno itself is worth wandering around.

If you're into gadgets, check out the Sony Building in Ginza. Entry is free.

The Godzilla statue in Yurakucho (near Ginza) is a waste of time... it's pretty much a one and a half foot tall model stuck on a pedestal. (I still took photos like a dumb tourist, even though I felt cheated.)

Roppongi is expat land. Lots of bars and lots of clubs - Gaspanic, Motown, Wall Street, Velfarre (was being rennovated when I was there), etc... you've probably heard of them. I didn't go in any of them, so can't say how good any of them are, but search YouTube - the videos in there should give you some idea of what each one is like.

Roppongi Hills - it'll cost you 1,000+ yen to head to the top of the tower to check out the view of Tokyo. The viewing tower is open til midnight, so you can go there late if you have other stuff to do beforehand, but just keep in mind trains stop at midnight. I went up at night, so it was quiet but there were lots of couples getting cozy on the benches though. Brilliant view of Tokyo though.

If you want to check out a maid cafe, then you'll be wanting to head to Akihabara. There usually should be at least one girl dressed up like a French maid handing out flyers just outside JR Akihabara station; so grab a flyer and follow the directions on the map. There are probably "school girl" themed cafes there too if you look... but I'm guessing that's not really your thing. This is more for the anime/otaku folk.

Aside from dodgy cafes, Akihabara is pretty much gadgetland - not called Electric Town for nothing. You'll probably get sick of looking at digital cameras and all things "tech" after a few hours... there's that much stuff there.

The Tsukiji Fish Market (as vulcan300 mentioned) is definitely worth a visit. I didn't visit it when I was there, but a friend went, and he somehow managed to get sample some toro for free. With toro (tuna belly), bear in mind that as ridiculously tasty as that is, it is also ridiculously expensive (one piece cost 650 yen at the sushi bar in osaka i ate at). Otoro (the higher grade - it has more fat - toro) costs even more, so if you do end up eating this in a sushi bar, just remember it's expensive.

If you want relatively cheap sushi, then hit up one of the sushi train restaurants (I'm sure everyone knows how the payment works with those places) ... but it's not near as fun as eating at a place where your sushi is made in front of you.

Erm... since I went during the New Year, lots of people were heading to shrines to pray for a good year, etc. And due to that, there were heaps of stalls around the shrines selling stuff like okonomiyaki, takoyaki, yakitori, etc. Not sure if these stalls will be around if there isn't any festival or anything during the time you visit. If there is a festival or something happening during the time you are in Japan, I seriously recommend you try to go to that - if only for the certainty of knowing these stalls will be there... and being able to later watch a drama or an anime with some festival scene and saying "I did that when I was in Japan!"

Anyway, hope all that's helped you that bit more in planning your trip. Whatever you end up doing, I'm sure you'll have a blast... Japan is so beautiful, quirky, and weird... it's awesome!

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Post by inochi » Feb 5th, '07, 01:34

thanks everyone so far, i'm going to make a list of everything you guys said or something before i leave so keep it up :D

the reason i was asking about keeping cool was cause i heard there isnt much central air conditioning in japan, but at the same time on another thread i was told that it's more respectable to not wear sleeveless shirts/to cover your shoulders. if this is the case do they have some sort of way to stay cool? even over here where i live it gets pretty hot, even with tank tops! maybe they have coolant packs or something..(that would be awesome)...?

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Post by Kawaii Kinomoto » Feb 9th, '07, 01:29

wow!! thanks so much guys!! sorry i didnt reply to all these posts but i've been busy with school and trying to plan more lately... this information is ALLLLL so great!! thanks to everyone!! and thanks to hikkichan for telling me about places that sell johnnys things!! hehe!! i'm writing all this great stuff down in a notebook so when I go to japan i'll know all the great places to go!! :D

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sorvani
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Post by sorvani » Feb 10th, '07, 12:13

Can anyone recommend a ryokan/onsen in Hakone? My fiancée and I are planning on 2 nights in Hakone on March 28 & 29. I think the first couple nights we will be staying at her parents house and the balance of the trip will be a hotel in Shinjuku or Shibuya.

Last time I stayed at the サクラフルール青山(Sakura Fleur Aoyama)。It was a decent place only a couple blocks from Shibuya station.

Barring any specific recommendations, we will probably stay in Shibuya again and pick a ryokan in Hakone at random

Oh yeah, what is everyone's favorite place for 花見(hanami)?
Sorvani

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endoftime
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Re: Planning a trip to Japan and just need some help, please

Post by endoftime » Feb 11th, '07, 09:51

Kawaii Kinomoto wrote:Hello everyone, I hope I posted this thread in the right place. Anyways I am planning a trip to Japan this July and I just need help finding out planning. Does anyone know:

- where the best places in Japan to site see are? like the really pretty places that a lot of tourists go
- Where are the best Karaoke places in Japan?
- Where is the best place in Japan to stay?

my friend said that you can stay at internet cafe's with beds... and if you go to karaoke from 12 am - 6 am its only $20 for the entire time! :O and she also said that youth hostels are pretty good to stay at as well... but just incase does anyone know of decent and decently priced hotels as well?

hope i can get some help, thanks!!! :cheers:
If you're going to Japan, absolutely make a list of what you MUST see and go from there. Travel isn't cheap. My friend just came to visit and she was able to buy a special pass that let her ride the JR/Shinkansen/etc. at one set price. I'll try to see if I can find out its name. You can only get it if you live overseas.

Last weekend, we went to Hiroshima, and just going from here [Nagasaki] to there took about 4.5 hours. We transferred from a local train, to the JR at Sasebo, to the Shinkansen at Hakata in Fukuoka before ending up in Hiroshima.

Granted, 4.5 hours isn't so bad, but it would have been much longer if it weren't for the Shinkansen, and when my friend came, it took her nine hours or so to get here from Tokyo via Shinkansen.

This is why it's imperative to make a list of where you want to go, and, preferrably, get that pass!

If you go to http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi, you can get information on train times, etc that may help with your prepartion and your journey.

If you come so far south, I really enjoyed our trip. Hiroshima itself was a history lesson that will never be forgotten, and going to nearby Miyajima Island and seeing historical sites such as the Floating Torii and the Eternal Flame was an amazing experience. We also saw wild deer and monkeys.

Karaoke places, I can't help you with, but there are tons of them in Tokyo.

A lot of JETs stay in hostels. Hostels have a bad reputation where I'm from, but in Japan, they're incredibly safe--and CHEAP, too.

I recommend looking around www.hostelworld.com for some good places to stay. When I was in Tokyo over winter break, we stayed at the Sakura Hostel in Asakusa, which is literally right behind the famous shrine. Since it was almost New Year's, it was really crowded and completely blocked off from Dec. 31st-Jan. 2nd (and probably past this, but that's when we left). http://www.hostelworld.com/availability.php/SakuraHostelAsakusa-Tokyo-15725
It was really cheap and, after meeting up with a friend who was at another hostel in Tokyo, apparently it's one of the nicer ones.

Um, we were really close to...I'm not sure if it was a monorail or a subway or what. I always get them confused. It was the Ginza line (I think?). We were able to go to Ueno from there, where we could transfer to the major JR lines. It was pretty good.

As for books/cds/etc, if you make it over to Harajuku, there is a Book-Off there that sells used stuff. It is the best Book-Off that I've seen since coming to Japan and I got myself into SO much trouble while I was there!

I also agreed with whoever said to try the crepes in Harajuku. There was a place...I think it was called AngelHeart or something? According to some locals, those are the best crepes in Harajuku. It was on the street that had a Paris Kids (cheap jewelry) and signs for Vivienne Westwood. If you go to Harajuku, try to go on a Sunday, because that's when you'll see the most cosplayers.

I also agree that it's worth going to Shibuya just to see the area that is seen in so many movies and shows. It's basically the Tokyo version of New York Times Square. We weren't there very long, though, since we went at night, so I only saw this huge mall (I think it was called Runway 109 or something, but don't quote me), the Square, and this cool restaurant that was designed to look like a church. Supposedly, the decorations even came from real churches!

If you're going during one of the "beautiful" seasons, definitely check out the Ueno Park. The Imperial Palace and the gardens are also a must-see. We also went up the Tokyo Tower, which was so much more daunting in person, and did a lot of other things.

I recommend looking around the web and finding sites where people have gone to Japan. See what they did. Look for the stuff at the top of everyone's lists and go from there. Feel free to PM me if you ever want to talk.

Have fun in Japan!
And will we find our destination
Within a time of resignation
A night of poetry and motion
At 69, until the end of time
*Sarah Brightman*

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sorvani
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Re: Planning a trip to Japan and just need some help, please

Post by sorvani » Feb 11th, '07, 18:31

endoftime wrote:If you're going to Japan, absolutely make a list of what you MUST see and go from there. Travel isn't cheap. My friend just came to visit and she was able to buy a special pass that let her ride the JR/Shinkansen/etc. at one set price. I'll try to see if I can find out its name. You can only get it if you live overseas.
You are talking about the [url=http://www.japanrailpass.net/]Japan Rail Pass[/url], and it is only a good thing to get if you plan on hitting more than one city during your trip.

If you are not going to do more than Tokyo then it is a waste of money to purchase a Rail Pass. A JR is also only good for the JR lines, though that is usually more than good enough to get in the ballpark of your destination.

Someone over on the AnimeSuki forums mentioned that the Suica and PASSNET cards for day to day use in and around Tokyo are being combined into a single reloadable card called the PASSMO. That will make getting around Tokyo even easier for tourists because you will not have to be able to read a fare chart anymore. Or try to keep two separate rail cards and know when to use them where.
Sorvani

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Post by kurokebi » Feb 12th, '07, 01:26

In a country where the Internet is ubiquitous but pretty much your own cheap way of communicating with people (without paying $3 a minute or having to register as an alien even though you're staying less than 3 months...anyway), I highly suggest NOT backpacking. Japan is a country that you will enjoy most when you are spendthrift.

Don't get me wrong: You MUST find a way to cut down costs, but your accomodations should not be one of them. I highly recommend business hotels (i.e. the Toyoko Inn chain) because they're extremely comfortable and straight to the point. A nice big bed, a television, a bathroom, and free Internet, all for less than $60 a night. Add a little more and you can have a twin room. You can also reserve for a few nights in a row or for some days here and there.

Another thing to consider is, if you're going shopping, how are you going to get stuff home? Your luggage maxes out at 32kg for two pieces of stowaway plus whatever fits in the overhead, which is plenty. You can mail your stuff home, which is expensive.

It's your trip, so make sure you get the most out of it. If you're really planning on going nuts you should also make sure your body's up to the task of going everywhere nonstop.

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Post by choco_kinoko » Feb 14th, '07, 14:04

Capsule hotels are the way to go. Usually they're cheaper as long as you're not claustrophobic. There are also a number of decent hostels in all the major cities as well as a lot of terrible ones.

And shopping at the 100 yen stores is a must :)

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sorvani
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Post by sorvani » Feb 15th, '07, 03:12

I booked the Sakura Fleur Aoyama ([url=http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=%E3%82%B5%E3%82%AF%E3%83%A9%E3%83%95%E3%83%AB%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AB%E9%9D%92%E5%B1%B1%E3%80%81%E6%B8%8B%E8%B0%B7&sll=35.659249,139.707642&sspn=0.033055,0.058022&ie=UTF8&z=17&ll=35.659981,139.702739&spn=0.004132,0.010772&t=h&om=1&iwloc=A]map[/url]) again for our March trip. Here are the costs if anyone is wondering.

Single room: Friday ¥9,800, Saturday ¥10,600, Sunday and Monday ¥8,400
Double room: Tuesday, Friday & Saturday ¥14,800
Total 7 nights = ¥81,600 ~ $675

My fiancée is booking our Ryokan in Hakone tomorrow.
Sorvani

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Post by feedmeister » Feb 20th, '07, 00:58

inochi wrote:thanks everyone so far, i'm going to make a list of everything you guys said or something before i leave so keep it up :D

the reason i was asking about keeping cool was cause i heard there isnt much central air conditioning in japan, but at the same time on another thread i was told that it's more respectable to not wear sleeveless shirts/to cover your shoulders. if this is the case do they have some sort of way to stay cool? even over here where i live it gets pretty hot, even with tank tops! maybe they have coolant packs or something..(that would be awesome)...?
To help put the weather in context, the parts of Japan that most people visit are in the same latitude as North & South Carolina and the weather is similar. So if you are not going to go much further north than Tokyo, and you go during the summer, you can expect similar heat and humidity. I always thought Tokyo was further north than it really is, but once I realized that it is further south than Virginia Beach, the weather made much more sense to me.

If you are travelling in the winter, the main island of Honshu is only as far north as NY city so it doesn't get terribly cold. (Hokkaido is in the same region as Wisconsin) When it comes to snow, N/S doesn't matter quite as much as East/West. The (north) Western side of Honshu, especially Niigata, is known as "Snow Country" for good reason. Honshu is a mountain range so weather coming off the Japan sea gets stuck on the western side, meaning that side gets plenty of snow but the eastern side doesn't really get much.

I wouldn't worry too much about things like tank tops. I'd worry more about a bare midriff than bare shoulders. Although people are a bit more reserved there, you will see some Japanese wearing tank tops (maybe not spaghetti strap) especially if they're younger. If it's a hot day and you are a gaijin in a tank top, nobody is really going to pay much mind to it. Basically as long as your own mother wouldn't say you look like a hooker, you'll be fine. It's not like you are going to Saudi Arabia and you might be surprised to see what some people wear at the beach.

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sorvani
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Post by sorvani » Apr 6th, '07, 00:38

Just got back. I must say i like the country more each time I go.

if anyone is interested in the look of the hotel rooms at the Sakura Fleur that i've stayed at a couple times now, I posted a [url=http://sorvani.blogspot.com/2007/03/rm-306.html]video on my blog.[/url]
Sorvani

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Re: Planning a trip to Japan and just need some help, please

Post by Yekiel » Jul 31st, '07, 10:13

If you go to http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi, you can get information on train times, etc that may help with your prepartion and your journey.
@ endoftime:

Sorry, but that link doesn't work... if you still know where you found this train time overview, could you post it again, please? Thank you!!
Currently watching: Bull Fighting, Down with Love, Easy Fortune Happy Life, Sunao Ni Narenakute
Favourite Dorama: Love Shuffle, Buzzer Beat, Tatta Hitotsu no Koi, Nodame Cantabile, Itazura na Kiss

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Re: Planning a trip to Japan and just need some help, please

Post by dochira » Jul 31st, '07, 22:11

Yekiel wrote:
If you go to http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi, you can get information on train times, etc that may help with your prepartion and your journey.
@ endoftime:

Sorry, but that link doesn't work... if you still know where you found this train time overview, could you post it again, please? Thank you!!
There's a trailing comma in the URL. The text part is correct.
http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi

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gohan127
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Post by gohan127 » Aug 20th, '07, 21:45

thx a million for starting this post! exactly what i wanted andi dont have to start it myself.
after reading a post here on d-addicts about anime fans never been/going too japan i got teh great idea of going there, in july 2008, i dont want to spent more then 3000euro, but most all inclusive trips were allready around 3000 euro o.O i need a cheaper place to stay and still get massage everyday, ive been considering taiwan too if japan is just too expensive for a full 4 weeks. ...

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Post by a_petite_azn » Dec 14th, '07, 22:54

Wow there are a lot of useful tips, guidelines and links on this website, thanks very much! I'm planning to go to Japan for about a month next year, probably go to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and spend a few days or a week in each.

I was wondering, do you guys recommend going through with a travel agency/tour or planning out the trip yourself? I have never been to Japan and know next to nothing of the language. However, going with an agency may limit the amount of freedom I would have with where I would go. Also, I may be going alone, so maybe it's safer to go with a larger tour group? I'm still debating...

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Post by aimlesswanderer » Dec 22nd, '07, 08:20

I planned the trip with my brother and I, myself - booked rooms on the net and got a JR pass for all our internal long distance travel. Did plenty of research on the net about where the hotels were (near stations much preferred) and what we might want to see.

Our Japanese is extremely basic, but there weren't any major problems getting around. Learning just a tiny bit (straight, left, right, station, 1-10 etc) and patience will help substantially.

With there being 2 of us, we were fine by ourselves. Just you though is a different matter. We never fealt threatened or anything while we were there, and it is, generally, a very safe and friendly country. We didn't go to any dodgy areas though.

I'd suggest that you organise a few Goodwill Guides, which will help you get around. They speak at least basic English and are an alternative to a professional tour guide. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/arrange/essen ... s_a-n.html

We got a bit bored in Tokyo (1 week), though there was probably lots of stuff we didn't see or were not interested in.

I have lotsa links if you are interested.

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Maryvel
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Post by Maryvel » Dec 22nd, '07, 09:14

When I went to Tokyo a few years back, I stayed in this hotel. Very small rooms, but very cheap. :roll

http://www.juyoh.co.jp/

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a_petite_azn
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Post by a_petite_azn » Jan 4th, '08, 03:51

aimlesswanderer wrote:I planned the trip with my brother and I, myself - booked rooms on the net and got a JR pass for all our internal long distance travel. Did plenty of research on the net about where the hotels were (near stations much preferred) and what we might want to see.

Our Japanese is extremely basic, but there weren't any major problems getting around. Learning just a tiny bit (straight, left, right, station, 1-10 etc) and patience will help substantially.

With there being 2 of us, we were fine by ourselves. Just you though is a different matter. We never fealt threatened or anything while we were there, and it is, generally, a very safe and friendly country. We didn't go to any dodgy areas though.

I'd suggest that you organise a few Goodwill Guides, which will help you get around. They speak at least basic English and are an alternative to a professional tour guide. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/arrange/essen ... s_a-n.html

I have lotsa links if you are interested.
Thanks so much for your input and suggestions! I'm learning some very basic Japanese right now, whatever that can get me through when I go there. From what I hear from other people they also tell me that it is a relatively safe country.

And yes I'll take any links or info you can give me :D Thanks very much!

thanks Maryvel for the link! I'm definitely going to check that out as well.

aimlesswanderer
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Post by aimlesswanderer » Jan 10th, '08, 14:04

Ok, here you go.

Suggest you find the nearest JNTO office and get them to send you brochures of anywhere you think you're interested in.

We made up a list of key japanese words and phrases - which we hardly looked at once we were there. One thing to note is that, if you are speaking English, you need to 'localise' your accent. Eg christmas = kurisumasu.

Info about JR and JR passes. Check the fares and see if it's worth getting a pass. If you do get one you can reserve seats for free, just go to a JR office-a very good idea. We didn't have any trouble booking them. Also get a timetable ASAP. Note that you have to order the pass before you go, through a local travel agent.
http://www.seejapan.co.uk/transport/rai ... lways.html

these sites are a must if you are travelling around by train, gives you times, fares, platforms and more
http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/index.html
http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi

The JNTO has lots of info, here are their guides for various areas.
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/rtg/index.html
Places to see
http://web-japan.org/region/
http://www.japan-guide.com/
http://www.planettokyo.com/
http://www.timeout.com/travel/tokyo
http://www.japan-zone.com/index.shtml
http://apike.ca/japan.html

If you are looking to stay in a traditional Japanese inn, there are lots here. Be aware that most are rather expensive, and if it's just you it seems like you get charged a much higher per person rate. However, they also generally include traditional breakfast and dinner, possibly very elaborate.
http://www.ryokan.or.jp/kinki/eng/
easier to navigate, and with lots more details, but less choices
http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/index.htm

We stayed here with our cousin because her relo recommended it. At about 2.5x (AUD200/night pp!) our normal accomodation budget, it was comparatively very expensive but not great. The dinners were very elaborate and had masses of small dishes, but I don't eat seafood and am not very culinarily adventurous (there was alot of unidentified stuff) so didn't eat much of them. A good experience for a few nights however. Most seem to be rather expensive, and some are alarmingly so.
http://www.yoshi-ima.co.jp/en/reservation/index.html

Found some places to stay from these sites. Used so many because I wanted to find places close to the JR stations we'd be arriving from, as we only stayed 1 night in many places, and because we had trouble getting rooms in some areas. It wasn't expensive, on average pp was AUD80/night, excluding the ryokan. Rooms were adequate at minimum.
http://www.j-reserve.com/index.html
http://www.japanhotel.net/
http://hotel.jp-guide.net/english/index.html
http://www.asiarooms.com/

Stayed the last 3 nights here, a cheap and clean place with shared facilities. There are so many different ways to get to the airport from here (all involving changing trains at least once) we took 2 hours to figure out the best way!
http://www.sakura-hotel.co.jp/index.html

We used CC where we could (some accomodation and a few stores) and took along lots of AUD to exchange over there. However, rates were terrible (huge spread), so we ended up getting money out of post office ATMs (apparently others accept foreign cards), which, logically, aren't open on weekends or outside working hours-so stock up before the weekend.

Take lots of photos, if in doubt take several. I took 1,700 and my brother 2,700 in just over 3 weeks. Might want to take something which you can copy photos directly to as a backup and to free up room.

I think that's enough rambling from me, hope you find it useful. Have fun!

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a_petite_azn
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Post by a_petite_azn » Jan 13th, '08, 18:55

^^wow thanks so much for taking the time to write all the information and links! I'll be saving these and using them when I do my research for sure :thumleft:

aimlesswanderer
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by aimlesswanderer » Jan 14th, '08, 10:38

No problem, hope it's useful and that you have a fun time!

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daisukides
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Post by daisukides » Aug 19th, '08, 18:06

I'm going to Japan for studies, and I'l be travelling around a bit in early september. Any thoughts on where I should go?
I'll spend one week in Tokyo and one week somewhere else yet to be decided.
I'd like to go somewhere with a beach. But I hear it's typhoon season, so... got any recommendations?
ImageImage
gif made by bakki :thumright:

merou2
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Post by merou2 » Aug 20th, '08, 04:36

daisukides wrote:I'm going to Japan for studies, and I'l be travelling around a bit in early september. Any thoughts on where I should go?
I'll spend one week in Tokyo and one week somewhere else yet to be decided.
I'd like to go somewhere with a beach. But I hear it's typhoon season, so... got any recommendations?

don't know much about beaches, but you should give Enoshima island a visit, it has pretty awesome beaches, heres a pic in case you dont believe me. :) awesome stuff
Attachments
JPN11 152.jpg
Great place! also, visit the aquarium! and the dolphin show! good stuff....
JPN11 152.jpg (157.74 KiB) Viewed 9724 times

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daisukides
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Post by daisukides » Aug 20th, '08, 17:45

Thank you merou2 ^^
I just realized, that's not too far from my university, so I'll definitely check it out.
I found a website that says swimming season in this area is from the end of June to the end of August though, so I will probably have to find somewhere further south to go swimming.
ImageImage
gif made by bakki :thumright:

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Jeshka
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Location: Somewhere in New England...for now

Post by Jeshka » Aug 31st, '08, 04:38

Ephesus wrote:
... but if you do. Stay in Hida Takayama the whole time. It's the hottest hot of hotness.
Thanks for the recommendation, Ephesus! I went on a day trip there and had a nice time.:thumright: Visiting Hida no Sato was excellent! If anyone is into trains, my recommendation is the Hida line from Toyama to Hida Takayama. The train passes through deep mountains and the views are BREATHTAKING.

I've traveled a bit in Japan (only Honshu). My suggested route...Hiroshima, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Hida Takayama, Tokyo, other day trips around Tokyo (Nikko, Kamakura, maybe an overnight trip to Sendai/Matsushima). I'm not a fan of Tokyo. Unless you like shopping and clubbing (which you can do in any international city), don't spend more than a couple of days there. You'll spend too much money which could be better spent on day trips around Tokyo.

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