A little help to travel to Japan

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queenia4life
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Joined: Nov 27th, '08, 22:29
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A little help to travel to Japan

Post by queenia4life » Nov 27th, '08, 22:46

Hey everyone, first i'm new here, so I decide to say hi to everyone in this forum. Second, I have many questions about travel to Japan. You see, I'm planning to travel to Japan for winter break next year with my friends. This is our first time travel alone to a new place, which is Japan, we have never been there before. We want to know can anyone give us some tips on travel to Japan like how much money should we bring with us? Our desire place is Tokyo, so is there any good deal hotels for students in Tokyo? Also, places that we can hang out, like places that we should go for fun. Any place, 'cause we love adventure... ^^... Those are my questions for now. There will be more coming up. Hope that everyone here can help us out. Greatly appreciate your helps.

aimlesswanderer
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Post by aimlesswanderer » Dec 10th, '08, 13:58

Since everyone else is being recalcitrant, I wil firstly point you towards other similar "going to Japan" threads in the forum.

More specifically, Japan is, in general, a very safe country, though of course you should always be vigilant. If you are polite and speak just a few phrases of Japanese the locals will in all likelyhood be helpful if you ask them things.

As for money, well, it really depends on what you want to do or buy. I just took out money from a post office ATM. Depends on where eat, what you buy, etc. Could be horrendously expensive, or cheap, depending.

When not unofficially crashing in our cousin's hotel room we stayed here, though I don't know how its prices compare with other similar places. It was clean and modern, no complaints.
http://www.sakura-hotel.co.jp/index.html

Since I am most definitely not a party animal I can't help you with that. :D

mitch179
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Joined: Sep 8th, '06, 22:01

Post by mitch179 » Dec 10th, '08, 16:01

I recently returned from Japan. I did go with a school organised group, but I am also planning to go by myself in the future, and I learnt some valuable information by attending the school trip.

Firstly, a much cheaper alternative to hotels are youth hostels. I know it probably sounds bad at first, and I was very reluctant to be staying in one, however, during my trip, I stayed at the Tokyo International Youth Hostel and the Shin-Osaka Youth Hostel. Both were very good, however the Shin-Osaka one was slightly better, as the rooms included a tatami area which was a really nice traditional touch to the room.

The Tokyo International Youth Hostel is located right next to JR Iidabashi Station, in Iidabashi, an area of Shinjuku. It is two floors of the Tokyo International Hotel building. Accommodation is very cheap, and breakfast and dinner are available as well at a small additional cost. I found that we took advantage of the breakfast, but went out to eat for dinner.
*Not that this would be a worry, but youth hostels have some guidelines that need to be adhered to, which include curfews etc. Another is between the hours of 10am-3pm, you must leave the hostel and hand in your key to the office. Although, this really should be no worry as you will be out sightseeing all day* Curfews can be fairly lenient, usually by about 11pm, but I doubt you would be out til that late anyway*

One thing that might make you back away from youth hostels is the fact that bathing is considered public. In the morning, you shower, and there are curtains, and at night, there is a hot spring-like bath, very very hot water which may be good in winter, although it is public, and use of swimmers are not permitted. I think I only used it once, and then for the rest of the time, I just showered. There are allocated times for shower and bathing.

There are seperate bathrooms for females and males, of course. There are computers there for internet usage, 100yen for 15 minutes, which wasn't bad at all.

Another thing that scare people away from them are the fact that rooms are shared, however as you have already mentioned, you are looking at going in a group. The bedrooms are 4 beds per room so if you can get a group of 4, you wont need to share a room.

I just realised I wrote quite a lot just on hostels, I'll try to keep the rest of it a bit shorter.

Money is entirely up to you, keep in mind you will need transport money, food and general shopping money for souveneirs, CD's, DVD's etc. I know that I spent $350 on CD's/DVD's/Magazines alone.

Places I recommend you check out are Harajuku, including Takeshita Dori, Omotesandou for shopping. Outside JR Harajuku station is the park area, where Yoyogi Stadium is visible from a distance. This area, particularly on Sundays, is always packed with cosplayers, people dressed in Gothic Lolita fashion and some awesome J-Rock cosplayers too. I took many photos here. If you go through this area, you will see the entrance to the Meiji Jingu shrine. It's a fair walk, but good photo ops and a chance to see something cultural :P

Akihabra is also good, of course. I recommend Shibuya, I didn't get to go, but a friend of mine did and he said it was awesome, so it will definately be on the list next time.

Going back to money, food is fairly cheap, so if you have breakfast at the youth hostel, I was able to get lunch for about 1000 yen each day and dinner was about the same. Most restaurants will provide free water at your table, but soft drinks can be purchased. Sometimes, it is cheaper to buy a soft drink (if you want it with a meal) from one of the many vending machines that can be seen every 10 metres. There are literally heaps of them.

Transport is awesome! In Tokyo, there is the JR East train system and the Tokyo Metro subway system. I HIGHLY recommend the JR Yamanote Loop Line. This line runs around in one loop and stops at all the major stations in Tokyo such as Akihabara, Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku etc. You could go around Tokyo on that line, the only other line you would have to catch is the Chuo-Sobu Line bound for Chiba from Iidabashi (youth hostel) into Akihabara. From there, you can jump on the Yamanote line and ride around Tokyo and do the reverse to go back.
*NOTE: When catching the Chuo-Sobu, be careful not catch the Rapid train (快速-KAISOKU) as it will NOT stop at Akihabra :P They are easily distinguished as the RAPID is a bright orange train.
*This part is from memory, you may want to confirm, or if someone else knows, please correct me*

Transport is fairly cheap, one thing I will recommend is the use of the SUicA card. Purchasing this eliminates the need to buy a ticket each time you catch a train. Just swipe this at the gate and swipe when exiting the station and it deducts the money from the ammount loaded onto the card. (Just remember to make sure you have money on it) They can be easily topped up at a ticket machine.

I think i have covered everything I really can tell you. It's the basics, however, I'm sure other people may have other things they can tell you. Sorry this was so long.

queenia4life
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Joined: Nov 27th, '08, 22:29
Location: US

Post by queenia4life » Dec 12th, '08, 00:02

Thank you guys, that helps me a lot! Now I have a clear vision of what to expect when I travel there on Winter Break next year. I'll be happy if there are more info, 'cause the more the better. Then I can fully prepare myself for that. ^^

mitch179
Posts: 15
Joined: Sep 8th, '06, 22:01

Post by mitch179 » Dec 12th, '08, 11:13

queenia4life wrote:Thank you guys, that helps me a lot! Now I have a clear vision of what to expect when I travel there on Winter Break next year. I'll be happy if there are more info, 'cause the more the better. Then I can fully prepare myself for that. ^^
Just promise me one thing, get lost at least once in Tokyo, even if it's just in a train station or something. It's no fun unless you get lost at least once.

I remember I got lost with some people in Odaiba, we wanted to find some shop or something, and ended up on the 9th floor of an office building.

Good times! Good times!

queenia4life
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Joined: Nov 27th, '08, 22:29
Location: US

Post by queenia4life » Dec 12th, '08, 21:03

mitch179 wrote:
queenia4life wrote:Thank you guys, that helps me a lot! Now I have a clear vision of what to expect when I travel there on Winter Break next year. I'll be happy if there are more info, 'cause the more the better. Then I can fully prepare myself for that. ^^
Just promise me one thing, get lost at least once in Tokyo, even if it's just in a train station or something. It's no fun unless you get lost at least once.

I remember I got lost with some people in Odaiba, we wanted to find some shop or something, and ended up on the 9th floor of an office building.

Good times! Good times!
lolz.. That's definitely on the list. With all my friends around, we are so going to get lost, 'cause we are all bad with direction.

If we do get lost, I'll let you know about it....

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Forkboy
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Post by Forkboy » Dec 13th, '08, 22:50

Hi, queenia4life. I'm excited for you! I have been twice since last Novemember and am already planning my next trip. Tokyo alone will keep you occupied for a very long time, but I highly recommend at least one overnight trip to someplace such as Osaka, Kyoto or Hiroshima. All so much different than Tokyo. I have small skill in the language and one of the highlights of my trips was picking a small, relatively obscure town in the countryside, and making a day tip out of it. There is no need to worry about getting lost as the train schedules and routes are very easy to understand and there is almost always someone helpful nearby to guide you on the proper route.

As for Tokyo though, I think there is an area for everyone. For people of your age Shibuya on a Friday night would be a great experience. There is lots of good shopping and many great places to eat. For fun all you have to do is walk around and enjoy the hum of activity. Hachiko crossing is also something every foreigner should experience.

If you are looking for night life and want to interact with other English speakers, Roppongi is the place to go. In can be a little intense on the weekend nights. Not sure what it would be like for females, but I was hassled about every ten steps by some guy trying to get me to come meet "his girls". lol They cater to foreigners due to the fact of a large American military presense in the area for many years. During the day you could visit Mori Tower which has a 360 degree view of the city and and heli-pad on the roof that you can access on days that aren't too windy. For a nominal fee you can also see the art gallery which had great exhibits the times I was there.

Asakusa is a great place to stop by for a couple of hours. It is very touristy, but Senso-ji is Tokyo's oldest temple and is pretty impressive.

Uh, I could go on and on about places to visit... :P

mitch179 was right about travel. A Suica card is a must. In some stations I found it difficult to determine fare charges and a charged Suica eliminates a lot of hassles. Also it can be used to swipe for purchases at many convenience stores so the need to carry a lot of cash is gone. Keep the balance low and you don't even have to worry about losing it! For daily budget I planned on $100 for food, travel, and admissions. You will need extra though if you plan on visiting an Izakaya or Yakiniku reataurant. Both incredible experiences, but can quickly become very costly. A days budget could be used up within hours. As for rooms? I'm not too sure. I bounced around a lot due to no real plan for my trips. I averaged, once again, around $100 dollars a night. For this or a little more I had privacy, internet access, TV, and usually a room about 10' by 8'. For two people, $160 could get a large room with two beds in a decent hotel (usually with laundry service and occasionally a free breakfast).

I hope this info was a little useful. You and your friends are going to have a great time! :)

P.S. I traveled alone for the most part and was never bored.

queenia4life
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Joined: Nov 27th, '08, 22:29
Location: US

Post by queenia4life » Dec 13th, '08, 23:36

Thank you very much. Now I have more places to add into my plan trip next year. With your explanations, I pretty sure that I will enjoy my trip to its fullness. ^.^v

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Mikogami
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Post by Mikogami » Jan 9th, '09, 16:30

If you just stay in Tokyo I don't recommend it, but if you wanna see different places and go far away I'd recommend the "Japan Rail Pass".
http://www.japanrailpass.net/
This pass can use everybody except Japanese persons. This is a pass made for people who are visiting Japan for tourism. You can buy this pass from 1 to 3 weeks, in the case you have a tourism visa, but I think it sounds like that. At first it looks a little bit expensive, but if you travel a lot it becomes very convenient. ^^
This pass is very cool because you can use the Shinkansen (except the fastest one the Nozomi, but the other ones are also okay ^^) the JR, some ferrys for "free". The Shinkansen in Japan is very expensive, but with this pass it's very comfortable.

This year on my trip to Japan I used the JRP to go from Kansai up to Hokkaido. Last year I went from Tokyo to Nagasaki. And I always used the Shinkansen with this pass.

Maybe just read it in the link above. There's written everything. ^^

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spacecommand
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Post by spacecommand » Mar 12th, '09, 13:01

I found this good website about trains in Tokyo if you need to use trains in Tokyo.
http://www.tokyosubway.info

whatevername
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Joined: Mar 23rd, '09, 22:41

Post by whatevername » Mar 27th, '09, 00:59

I agree with Mikogami. If you are doing much traveling, the JRail Pass is totally worth it, even within Tokyo. While I was traveling on the JRail pass, I used it for traveling all over Kansai and greater Tokyo. It works on all of the JR trains and I think I remember it working on surface trains within cities and regional buses. You should at least look into it if you are going to be doing any traveling outside of Tokyo. It will pay for itself in a couple shinkansen rides.

Good luck.

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