Author Topic: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?  (Read 2764 times)

TheAnonOne

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I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« on: January 14, 2017, 10:53:11 AM »
Hey Team,

I am going to Tokyo with my wife in early MAY for 8-9 days for no particular reason other than its a bucket list place. We have always wanted to go there and love the culture.

That being said, we have a few things that we know we MUST/WANT to do. (Mt. Fuji, Eat legit foods, visit the gaming district)

Though we have a lot of time to explore the city and surrounding areas. We are just coming up with our "road map" of things to do and when.

We would LOVE ideas on what to do. If you know the relative price of what your proposing we would love that as well. It doesn't have to be super cheap or anything, we just want a general idea of what it will cost. Be it, $500 for the week or $5,000


Thanks!

EconDiva

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2017, 11:23:46 AM »
Mori Tower sky/observation deck for viewing the city's skyline

I wasn't there for long but my most memorable experience was Robot Restaurant.  It was very bizarre and a bit touristy (I think with many Japanese tourists) but I loved it.

BNgarden

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2017, 11:53:01 AM »
DH says Imperial Palace Gardens (free) if you're into landscaping.  Museum costs a small fee.  Palace used by royals so most buildings / areas not public, but he found it a big green oasis in the midst of Tokyo.

Kabuki theatre, be prepared to wait--go early to get tickets, go elsewhere and then come back. Standing room tickets, back of 2nd, 3rd balconies are cheaper, and you can leave when you want (performance takes hours and hours).

Ginza very nice, just to walk around.  Fish market?  Supposedly quite a scene.

He rode the trains counterflow during rush hour and it was wild...(he had a rail pass).  Something to see as everyone's dressed similarly on weekdays.  A crush but not as bad as the subways apparently.

EDIT: Shinkansen to Kyoto is a must.  Fabulous jewel of a place, esp old town and temples...  Taxi drivers there often speak English.  THE tourist destination in Japan, for good reason.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 03:49:26 PM by BNgarden »

Del Griffith

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2017, 03:33:48 PM »
I have gone twice and it's amazing. Lots to see and do, and that is a good time of year to go. Just a few suggestions: check out Tsukiji to see fish market action and have some awesome fresh sushi. Odaiba is a fun waterfront/beachy area with a big sort of boardwalk and indoor mall. We visited the Kill Bill restaurant which was pretty cool and had some interesting foods: http://thecitylane.com/tokyo-gonpachi-aka-kill-bill-restaurant/. Roppongi has some crazy night life if you're interested, the places we went to seemed to stay open all night (I was 20 at the time and could hang). There is so much to walk around and see in the city (restaurants, temples, markets, etc.).

If you are open to travel, Kyoto is an unbelievable city with tons of culture. The first time I went we stayed in Kyoto for five nights before making our way to Tokyo. So much to see. If you do go here, be sure to check out Nara park where you can feed and pet deer just roaming around. Also a solid two hour train ride from Tokyo, but we went to a restaurant called Kayabuki in Utsunomiya where you get to interact and watch monkeys (!!!). This was one of my favorite things, I got to hold a very young adorably feisty monkey and the town is known for their gyoza, so yum to that.

There is so much to check out, you guys will have a fantastic time. Depending on where you're flying out of, bring lots of airplane entertainment -- it's a long one!

pancakes

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2017, 03:53:51 PM »
I love Japan!

You can spend two weeks in Tokyo with no plan, never be bored and wish for more time.

If we weren't sure what to do we'd pick a neighbourhood and spend a day walking around, trying whatever food looked good and checking out the architecture.

I think early may might be a little too early but Sankeien gardens in Yokohama have a brilliant firefly evening. It is inexpensive (train + entry) and was my favourite experience on my last trip.

TheAnonOne

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2017, 06:03:01 PM »
I have gone twice and it's amazing. Lots to see and do, and that is a good time of year to go. Just a few suggestions: check out Tsukiji to see fish market action and have some awesome fresh sushi. Odaiba is a fun waterfront/beachy area with a big sort of boardwalk and indoor mall. We visited the Kill Bill restaurant which was pretty cool and had some interesting foods: http://thecitylane.com/tokyo-gonpachi-aka-kill-bill-restaurant/. Roppongi has some crazy night life if you're interested, the places we went to seemed to stay open all night (I was 20 at the time and could hang). There is so much to walk around and see in the city (restaurants, temples, markets, etc.).

If you are open to travel, Kyoto is an unbelievable city with tons of culture. The first time I went we stayed in Kyoto for five nights before making our way to Tokyo. So much to see. If you do go here, be sure to check out Nara park where you can feed and pet deer just roaming around. Also a solid two hour train ride from Tokyo, but we went to a restaurant called Kayabuki in Utsunomiya where you get to interact and watch monkeys (!!!). This was one of my favorite things, I got to hold a very young adorably feisty monkey and the town is known for their gyoza, so yum to that.

There is so much to check out, you guys will have a fantastic time. Depending on where you're flying out of, bring lots of airplane entertainment -- it's a long one!

We are staying in Odaiba! We got 9 nights free via points and free business class flights round trip.

A lot of these suggestion(s) (not only from post above) are awesome! Keep them coming!

What is the best way to get around? We looked at the train pass but it didn't seem economically worth it. It seemed like just a semi good plan and paying per trip was SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper!

pancakes

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2017, 06:28:24 PM »
The rail pass is only worth it if you are planning to really use it and take advantage of the high speed trains and move around the country. If you are going to spend most of your tme in Tokyo just grab one of the prepaid suica cards.

Tokyo has a number of private rail companies so even with the JR pass you'll still need to buy some tickets separate. When getting around you can save a lot by not transferring between different companies where possible.

TheAnonOne

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2017, 06:30:08 PM »
The rail pass is only worth it if you are planning to really use it and take advantage of the high speed trains and move around the country. If you are going to spend most of your tme in Tokyo just grab one of the prepaid suica cards.

Tokyo has a number of private rail companies so even with the JR pass you'll still need to buy some tickets separate. When getting around you can save a lot by not transferring between different companies where possible.

Thanks! That puts my mind at ease for that one!

TheAnonOne

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2017, 06:33:35 PM »
Big question.

We want to do Mt. Fuji (hike a bit probably not climb the whole thing, plus I think the summit is closed in MAY)

and we want to do "Lake Ashi"/"Mt. Hakone". Fuji and Ashi area are what it looks like, only an hour away. So far we are planning on making these two spots two separate days.

Does this make sense? Has anyone been to these areas? Should/could it be done in one day?

rweba

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2017, 07:27:08 PM »
(1) The Park Hyatt Tokyo bar is on the 52nd floor and has an AMAZING night time view of Tokyo. It was featured in the movie "Lost in Translation" with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansen. NOTE: It's pretty upscale so obviously drinks are somewhat pricy (~$20). Also it closes at midnight.

(2) If you want some adventure consider staying at a capsule hotel for a night. It's not particularly comfortable, but it is a different experience and it's CHEAP!  I got one for ~$35 a night. NOTE: Many capsule hotels are single sex, so make sure to get one with double capsules or with men and women's sections.

(3) I briefly visited 4 cities (Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Tokyo) and out of these Kyoto was my favorite. People there seem more traditional and in touch with the old culture which is just neat to see. Like you might see people just walking around in Kimono's preparing for some ceremony which you wouldn't see as much in Tokyo or Osaka. The Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine is beautiful and if you have time you can hike to the top of Mt. Inari (2 hr hike).

(4) Nara Park is pretty cool. There are a crazy amount of deer there and these deer are very used to people so they will shamelessly beg for food or do tricks. There's also a lot of other shrines and buildings in the park like the buddhist temple Tōdai-ji, which is one of the world's biggest wooden structure and contains the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha and a pretty impressive 5 story pagoda and lot's of interesting historical artifacts in the museums.

I was only there for a week in December, so didn't get to see as much as I would have liked, but I really enjoyed it.

You'll have a blast!



pancakes

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2017, 08:02:10 PM »
I also found some great inexpensive food and ideas (the firefly viewing for example) on this website too https://tokyocheapo.com

lizzzi

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2017, 08:47:51 PM »
It's been a while, but I'd recommend taking the bullet train to Kyoto, as was already mentioned. Also the historic Shinto shrines are memorable. Also Mt. Fuji, and just the Japanese countryside in general. And in Tokyo, it is fascinating just being there. I would just walk around and explore. Look for restaurants that are full of "normal" Japanese eating there after work or whatever...great fun to eat where and what the locals do. And while it's not Japanese per se, some of the best French pastries I've ever eaten were at the patisseries in Japan. Try to see some traditional Japanese theater. (Kabuki? I think it's called.) And you didn't say you were hauling kids, but the Tokyo Zoo and Tokyo Disneyland are fun.

lhamo

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2017, 09:31:13 PM »
Jealous!   I have changed planes in Narita countless times, but only stayed in Tokyo for a few days during a work trip, when I was unfortunately too busy to see much.   Please eat lots of ramen and sushi and those deep fried  octopus balls for me....

I was going to post that the fish market was being relocated, but apparently it has been postponed:

https://www.ft.com/content/f50e33c4-ad73-11e6-9cb3-bb8207902122

Would definitely put that on the list, as most likely it will move eventually. 
Wherever you go, there you are

chrisgermany

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2017, 10:49:00 PM »
There is an onsen at Odaiba. You can spend many hours there and explore. Men and ladies take their bath seperate but can meet at the food and games court. All steps are explained in english and pictures. Busy but very enjoyable and relaxing.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1066449-d532056-Reviews-Tokyo_Odaiba_Oedo_Onsen_Monogatari-Koto_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 03:35:47 AM by chrisgermany »

Del Griffith

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2017, 04:09:47 PM »
What is the best way to get around? We looked at the train pass but it didn't seem economically worth it. It seemed like just a semi good plan and paying per trip was SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper!

We did pay per trip and that worked out well. At times we wanted to take our time and walk to a destination if it wasn't super far and take in the city, other times we just wanted to hop on the train. Their public transit system is amazing as I'm sure you have gathered. Other times after a day of tons of walking, we just needed a pass and would catch a cab (no tipping required). Also forgot to mention, make sure you make time for Harajuku, this area is cool and you'll see some fun crazy outfits. Kudos on planning the trip on points!

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2017, 06:09:49 PM »
Robot sex show in East Shinjuku!

Definitely spend a little time in Tokyo and just soak it in. The big, built up, neon explosion that is the Shinjuku and Shibuya (and the nutty teens around Harajuku) areas are interesting for people watching. Spend a little time in underground train stations. Really. They're worlds in themselves. But, I love wandering the quieter neighborhoods and back alleys.

If you're into cooking, the Kappabashi neighborhood is fun. It's endless blocks of kitchen/cooking/restaurant supply purveyors. Pop in the noodle bars. Be sure to look up or down, because many good things are not on street level. As for the fish market, I kinda felt like I was a dick for being there while people were just trying to work. It's very interesting, but be prepared to dodge forklifts and service trucks flying through.

But yes, Kyoto. That's the priority. Spend at least one night in a Ryokan. Especially after Tokyo, which at times can feel like any big city anywhere, a stay in a Kyoto ryokan will make you feel like you are truly in another place. It's worth the splurge. Just wander the east side of the city and hit the temples and hunt for geishas. Wander the market. Go to Arashiyama (far west side of Kyoto) and wander the bamboo forest. Eat somewhere along the river. I really enjoyed a sidetrip to Nara. From Kyoto you can also do a day trip to Osaka.

BNgarden

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2017, 07:14:07 PM »
And if in Kyoto, there is also the Manga museum, near the palace.  You can read many of their holdings, and they have a cafe.

Also, DH and his nephew were happy they spotted a maiko in old Kyoto.

Carless

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2017, 07:36:59 PM »
I was just there!  There's lots of great mustachian (free) entertainment;

For city views, go up the Tokyo Metropolitan government building.  It's completely free, though it can get a bit crowded at times. 
For green space Meji Jingu is open to the public, traditional and atmospheric, and free.  Don't just hang around the main temple (which is great for people watching, high chance of seeing a traditional wedding on nice days) there are some nice walking paths.

Next to this is Harjuku - on the right days there's cosplayers, on most other days there's the ota memorial museum of woodblock art (definitely not free but very nice, skip the gift shop).  And just outside this is omotesando street with some great stores and a very cheap and tasty gyoza place (but busy)
http://www.ukiyoe-ota-muse.jp/eng
https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g1066456-d1686384-Reviews-Harajuku_Gyozaro-Shibuya_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

Shibuya has a crazy-busy crossing and some great cheap eats.  Sit and people watch for a bit.  All of the above is a walkable route (6 km start to finish) and was one of my favourite ways to spend a day off when I lived there.  If you don't want to meander it's easy to take the train a couple stops instead.

For Hakone, there is a special ticket that includes the return trip, the ferry and the cable car.  Consider visiting the glass museum which I really liked
http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/hakone/
Hakone Glass no Mori

Other things to do free
I'm kind of fond of the museum of internal parasites if you like weird stuff (free)
http://www.kiseichu.org/Pages/english.aspx

Tsukiji is moving, so check the location.

Kappa bashi is wonderful and full of neat kitchen gadgets.  If you go there, don't miss nearby Senso-ji which is my favourite temple in Japan (free).

The Narita view hotel near the airport has amazing outside hotsprings which you can reach by free shuttle from the airport and pay to use.  Narita city itself (20 mins by train from the airport) is a surprisingly nice city for wandering, there's a large interesting temple and garden there.

I love to chat about Japan.  If you want some ideas for cheap places to stay, just ask.  My blog from years ago is http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/jhiscocks/1/tpod.html  but I just went back for the 4th time.  I love the country so much.

cott0n

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2017, 10:31:58 PM »
For transport, like mentioned, just buy and load up a Suica card. Can buy them from a machine at stations. It will work on Subway, Trains, Buses etc. You tap into and out of the system, and it just charges you accordingly. We'd spend maybe $10 between two people per day using the subway a fair bit.

The subway system is amazing. I'm from Adelaide, Australia so it doesn't take much to impress me with public transport though. There are about 12 lines, and with a Tokyo Subway app, or just google, it's really easy to get around.

Rail pass is worth it if you're going to head down to Kyoto and around a bit. We planned it so we only needed the 7 day pass for our trip down to Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima and back.

Some of these mentioned already, but some of the things we did:

Shinjuku (we stayed nearby) has great eating, nightlife, shopping. Shibuya has the famous busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, lots of shopping. Tokyo/Ginza as well, with the Imperial Palace. I'd highly recommend at least walking into a Pachinko Parlor!!! Be prepared for the sight and sound, it's intense! Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine. Fish Markets (go early to see it all in action - we went too late in the morning - did have great Sushi - be prepared for a long wait though). We loved going to the Sumo wrestling. (check if there is a tournament on - only 3 in Tokyo per year - otherwise there might be an exhibition tournament on).

I loved Asakusa - a bit older style Japan, and then the Koppabashi kitchen district. If you need a nice kitchen knife, there is a cluster of several stores selling Japanese knives.

All the food! Yakitori skewers of all types, Teppanyaki, Okonominyaki, Ramen, Rice Bowls, Gyozas, Izakaya, Sushi, Sashimi, Saki, Yakisoba.

We went to the Robot Restaurant... it was an experience... still not sure if it was a good one or not! ;)









Metric Mouse

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2017, 10:49:54 PM »
This sounds like a fantastic trip. I'm sure you'll enjoy.
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

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Villanelle

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2017, 06:21:17 AM »
Big question.

We want to do Mt. Fuji (hike a bit probably not climb the whole thing, plus I think the summit is closed in MAY)

and we want to do "Lake Ashi"/"Mt. Hakone". Fuji and Ashi area are what it looks like, only an hour away. So far we are planning on making these two spots two separate days.

Does this make sense? Has anyone been to these areas? Should/could it be done in one day?

My typical advice to anyone planning a Tokyo trip is to go to Kyoto instead.   :lol 

Fuji summit is only open in ~July and August.  You can circumvent that, but unless you are a very experienced climber, you'd be an absolute fool to do so.  I think you can still hike (up the the 5th station, maybe?), but to be honest, I'd fine other hiking.  if you aren't going to the summit, you can do other hikes with gorgeous views and it seems like there's little point in trekking out to Fuji just to hike for a bit around the base. 

Hakone is lovely.  There's a loop involving a cable car, sky tram, boat, and hike/bus.  That's also where you get the famous black eggs (which I think has been reopened after a closure due to volcanic activity).  It's a full day.  You can hit Odawara castle on your way in or out, but if you are only doing one day in Hakone, that might be tight.  Odawara isn't the best castle, but it's convenient if you are headed to Hakone anyway.  If you decide to stay overnight in Hakone, there are many lovely Ryoken up there, including some with private or in-room onsens (so you can enjoy them with a co-ed partner).  They can be pricey though.

You can eat for very cheap if you look for the small (tiny!) places tucked in little nooks off the beaten path (up a few floors and/or over a few streets).  7-11 here has surprisingly good food (the egg salad is amazing!) and can be a very cheap lunch or dinner. 

As was mentioned, skip the rail pass if you are mostly staying local.  Many lines aren't even included in the pass.  Get a Pasmo/Suica card instead.  (You can do this at most train stations.)  It makes things so much easier.  It doesn't save you money, but it saves you a ton of time.  No buying tickets and having to figure out the correct fare before each leg of a journey.  Just swipe in and out of each gate.  You can also use them at many vending machines and even in convenience stores. 

I like Asakusa.  I don't think you need a whole day there (a few hours if probably fine) and you can then head to other districts.  Midtown has some good museums (depending on your interests).  The Shibuya crossing is impressive and people seem to want to see it.  Really, it's just a super busy pedestrian crossing, but it's sort of on the tourist checklist.  There's are a few places overlooking the crossing where you can get a view, including a Starbucks.  (You buy the coffee on the first floor then go up to the second to get the view, and you can get up there without buying a drink, but I wouldn't stay overly long in that case.) 

gatortator

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2017, 10:37:15 AM »
Japanese Baseball!

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20130624-baseball-and-sub-par-beer-in-japan

We went to a game last year when we were in Osaka, and it was a blast!  We bought tickets for midweek game at a Lawsons convenience store as described here

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298566-i2803-k7232267-Buying_hanshin_tigers_tickets-Osaka_Osaka_Prefecture_Kinki.html  (see response #7)

also

Onsen (Japanese hot springs)

http://wanderlust-japan.com/tokyo-area-onsen/

for a treat after hiking.

arebelspy

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2017, 06:30:12 PM »
Following! 

Great ideas everyone!

We'll be going to Japan in April, probably 1-2 weeks in Osaka, 1-2 weeks in Kyoto, and 2-3 days in Tokyo.
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TheAnonOne

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2017, 06:54:51 PM »
Following! 

Great ideas everyone!

We'll be going to Japan in April, probably 1-2 weeks in Osaka, 1-2 weeks in Kyoto, and 2-3 days in Tokyo.

Ha! We aren't FIRE'd yet so I still have that pesky work thing. 3 years or so to bare bones (3k a month) 4 to 6 years to 4-5 k monthly spending but, we're only 24 and 26 so very early 30s and we should be sitting pretty!

gatortator

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2017, 11:15:20 AM »
We only stayed in the general Osaka area last year, so no advice on Kyoto(yup, everyone in Japan thought we were odd to visit Japan but not go to Kyoto) or Tokyo, but here are some links I found when planning our trip.

http://64map.hostel64.com/  Hostel 64's maps are a great starting point for what to do around Osaka.

http://www.friendsinramen.com  Osaka area ramen review.  One of the few I found for this city (most are for Tokyo).

http://world.jorudan.co.jp/norikae/cgi-bin/engkeyin.cgi.  Useful English version of Japanese train schedules.

https://www.okujapan.com/  inspiration and daydreaming starting point for traveling off-the-beaten path in Japan ( I am not associated with the company but did end up booking a self guided tour with them)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 12:59:29 PM by gatortator »

Secretly Saving

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2017, 11:22:23 AM »
Just a heads up.  You mentioned early May... The first week will be Golden Week.  If you avoid this week, it would be really, really, really better for you.  Everyone and I mean basically everyone is off of work and traveling.  All transportation - trains, roads etc will be packed as will tourist destinations. 

We love Hakone.  It's a great place.  We particularly love the Open Air Museum there. 

TheAnonOne

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2017, 11:43:51 AM »
Just a heads up.  You mentioned early May... The first week will be Golden Week.  If you avoid this week, it would be really, really, really better for you.  Everyone and I mean basically everyone is off of work and traveling.  All transportation - trains, roads etc will be packed as will tourist destinations. 

We love Hakone.  It's a great place.  We particularly love the Open Air Museum there.

Well we get there on the 4th (golden week) and stay through the following week. So the first few days will be busy.

thedigitalone

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2017, 12:05:54 PM »
Following for ideas, because we booked airfare (SEA-NRT) last weekend for Aug 20th to Sep 3rd with no real plan in mind!

arebelspy

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2017, 02:46:18 PM »
Just a heads up.  You mentioned early May... The first week will be Golden Week.  If you avoid this week, it would be really, really, really better for you.  Everyone and I mean basically everyone is off of work and traveling.  All transportation - trains, roads etc will be packed as will tourist destinations. 

Interesting.  We'll probably be leaving before this week anyways, but good to know if not.  :)
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Metric Mouse

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2017, 11:54:34 PM »
We only stayed in the general Osaka area last year, so no advice on Kyoto(yup, everyone in Japan thought we were odd to visit Japan but not go to Kyoto) or Tokyo, but here are some links I found when planning our trip.

http://64map.hostel64.com/  Hostel 64's maps are a great starting point for what to do around Osaka.

http://www.friendsinramen.com  Osaka area ramen review.  One of the few I found for this city (most are for Tokyo).

http://world.jorudan.co.jp/norikae/cgi-bin/engkeyin.cgi.  Useful English version of Japanese train schedules.

https://www.okujapan.com/  inspiration and daydreaming starting point for traveling off-the-beaten path in Japan ( I am not associated with the company but did end up booking a self guided tour with them)

Wow. I'm saving this post, even though I have a local to guide me, I think this will be very helpful.
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westtoeast

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2017, 09:18:35 AM »
Following b/c I might be going in August!

limeandpepper

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2017, 09:25:01 AM »
Posting to follow, have always been interested in visiting Japan (and nearly went there a couple of times but ended up elsewhere instead)! Some really great tips here.

reddityeah

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2017, 05:31:46 PM »
Just a heads up.  You mentioned early May... The first week will be Golden Week.  If you avoid this week, it would be really, really, really better for you.  Everyone and I mean basically everyone is off of work and traveling.  All transportation - trains, roads etc will be packed as will tourist destinations. 

We love Hakone.  It's a great place.  We particularly love the Open Air Museum there.

I actually went to japan over golden week last year (did not know about this until after I booked) and it wasnt as bad as i thought it would be

Zikzin

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2017, 05:42:57 PM »
Following

Lski'stash

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2017, 06:16:52 PM »
I just really want to follow this port, as my husband and I are going there this summer for the same reason!

Villanelle

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2017, 08:59:10 PM »
Just a heads up.  You mentioned early May... The first week will be Golden Week.  If you avoid this week, it would be really, really, really better for you.  Everyone and I mean basically everyone is off of work and traveling.  All transportation - trains, roads etc will be packed as will tourist destinations. 

We love Hakone.  It's a great place.  We particularly love the Open Air Museum there.

I actually went to japan over golden week last year (did not know about this until after I booked) and it wasn't as bad as i thought it would be

Most of this is going to depend on how you travel and what you want to see.  I wouldn't get within a mile of Tokyo Disney or Disney Sea, for example.    Just wandering the streets of Tokyo?  Probably not a significant difference.   The temples of Kyoto?  Busier than usual, but possibly still tolerable.  Hakone?  Probably busy because it's a place locals (Japanese) tend to go, and Golden Week is about locals. 

If I could avoid it, I wouldn't travel to Japan at all in August.  Not only is it busier, but it's hot and humid.  (Further north the weather isn't going to be so much of an issue.)  Winter would be my preferred season.  Yes, it's cold.  But it's off season for most things, and I'm a big fan of off season travel. 


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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2017, 06:06:34 PM »
Highjacking this post a little- What do you all think is the best way to get around in Japan?

Metric Mouse

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2017, 08:50:34 PM »
Highjacking this post a little- What do you all think is the best way to get around in Japan?
Would depend on if you mean inter-city, intra-city or to some of the more far-flung (and awesome) areas?
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TheAnonOne

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2017, 08:52:48 PM »
Highjacking this post a little- What do you all think is the best way to get around in Japan?
Would depend on if you mean inter-city, intra-city or to some of the more far-flung (and awesome) areas?

OP here-

Wouldn't mind knowing people's experiences getting over to Fuji and the 'Lake Hakone' area.

Villanelle

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2017, 09:48:57 PM »


Highjacking this post a little- What do you all think is the best way to get around in Japan?

Trains. What kind of train depends on where you are going to and from, but the answer is pretty much always trains, unless you are trying to get to some pretty out-of-the-way places.




Wouldn't mind knowing people's experiences getting over to Fuji and the 'Lake Hakone' area.

You can take trains to Hakone, and once in Hakone, there is a well-established loop that includes a train, cable car, ropeway, boat, and bus.  That gets you the gorgeous views, the black eggs, and all the main natural sights of Hakone.  For everything else in the area (like the open air museum, and the cool old hotel whose name escapes me), you get use the trains.  We took trains there from our house (so had no car) and got to our Ryoken and everywhere we wanted to be with no problems.

Not sure about Fuji.  Most people I know have go for the climb by group tour bus, or have driven their personal cars.  This answer will also probably depend on what you plan to see around Fuji.  But in general, if there is a train anywhere nearby, that's always the best answer.  I use the regular ol' GoogleMaps app for train ing. 

Kevin S.

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2017, 10:37:34 AM »
Great thread so far !

Tokyo sky tree - go for the wonderful views and atmosphere. A bit pricey if you go all the way up to the top but you don't have to. Long lines - may or may not be worth it to some ?

Since you are in Odaiba check out the mall area and if you in anyway shape or form interested in cars go to the Toyota auto museum there - it's free. Amusment park type area as well with a ferris wheel was cool during the one summer trip. Rainbow bridge at night, Full size gundam. Lots of cool stuff there to see and do ! It seemed like it was built as a tourist trap though...not the cheapest but it wasn't insanely expensive. 

Lots of talk about shibuya and Shinjuku but my favorite was akihabara, if you are a giant nerd like me and like videogames, manga, collectible toys, this is the place for you ! I spent so much time here ( think it was 3 days total) and I still don't feel like I experienced half of it.

If you are a gear head check out Motegi twin ring - Honda museum with ASIMO greeting you when you walk in was awesome! I'm a huge car guy and huge Honda fan. Definitely worth the the trip ! Hard to get to by train. We walked from the train station to the race track but If I had to do it again we would either get a crazy expesnive taxi (they all are super pricey! at least from my experience) or rent a car for the day.

Next trip we will rent a car when we need to go farther out.

We stayed at a cool hotel in asakusa called chisun inn (since torn down) it had not been updated since the 90's. It was great ! 

Also it has been said here but the shinkansen (bullet trains) are worth it ! Kinda pricey but in my mind it's worth it even you just use it once during your trip just for the experience.

It has also been said but get the pass - http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/  its not as cheap as a day card - pasmo / ic card but if you are going to travel outside of Tokyo area I highly recommend it. I think we spent close to the rail pass in about a week worth of travel and we never made it out of Tokyo besides motegi and tsukuba 

Have a great time ! So much great/wonderful things to do and see. I plan to go with my wife next year (hopefully)

« Last Edit: January 30, 2017, 11:47:04 AM by Kevin S. »

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2017, 11:29:32 AM »
Have fun!
I really enjoyed the fish market. Go early.
We also loved wandering around the food markets and trying to guess whether something would be sweet or savory. We didn't always get it right!

Metric Mouse

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #42 on: February 01, 2017, 11:12:41 PM »
Have fun!
I really enjoyed the fish market. Go early.
We also loved wandering around the food markets and trying to guess whether something would be sweet or savory. We didn't always get it right!
This sounds like an amazing travel game!
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AlexK

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #43 on: February 01, 2017, 11:27:00 PM »
I used to work for Japanese company and went there about 10 times. Right before quitting to retire I took my wife on the last business trip and we spent two additional weeks there for fun.

I also recommend Odaiba island.

I regret not eating at the Robot Restaurant. It was so noisy and crazy outside that we didn't go in but we should have just for the experience.

Don't go to a cat cafe, we did and it was lame, the cats didn't even like us and they were fighting.

If you can, get a Japanese sim card so you can use Google Maps to get around using public transportation. There are many apps for the trains and subways but this is the only English one I know of and it works great. You just search where you want to go and it tells you all the ways to get there with travel times, total cost, etc. It is like having a guide and getting around is quite complicated since you will be leaving one subway station, walking a block to another subway station, etc.

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2017, 12:14:46 AM »
I'm following this one as I plan to go soon. Some great tips from people.

I went once before about 13 years ago and I tried to stay in a capsule hotel, however  you had to get changed into a robe, and when they saw I had tattoos they freaked out and told me that I had to leave because "no tattoos, you go! refund"  I guess they thought I was some yakuza gangster or something and I tried telling them that I'm a western guy and not a gangster, but they had non of it and the guy crossed his arms in a kind of defiant martial arts stance shouting "no erezuma" I think it means no tattoo.

So out on the street it was Saturday night and I asked this white guy what to as everywhere was full.

He said go to the subway and put your stuff in a locker, then go on the subway to Ropongi, there you can drink and party until early morning. Then when the bars shut he told me to go to this movie theatre where the movie starts at 4am to 6am. He said people just go there to sleep until everything starts again.

So I went to Ropongi and I was younger then and boy was it a good party...  I woke up in McDonalds about 7am, I never made it to the movie theatre.

The other days I stayed in a ryokan on the outskirts of Tokyo and caught the train in, was a lot cheaper on the outside of town. Nice too.

arebelspy

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2017, 03:34:17 AM »
These ideas were great, thanks everyone.

We're in Tokyo right now and loving it!

We saw the Hachiko statue today!  :D

(I used to read this story with my students--movie is meh. The end of Futurama's Jurassic Bark episode with Fry's dog Seymour was based on this story, and always makes me tear up.)

Bumping in case anyone else sees this while we're still here and chimes in with other ideas (or for future people visiting and reading the thread, even if it's after we've left).

my favorite was akihabara, if you are a giant nerd like me and like videogames, manga, collectible toys, this is the place for you ! I spent so much time here ( think it was 3 days total) and I still don't feel like I experienced half of it.

So this is where we're staying.  About a 5 minute walk from the Akihabara train station. 

But what exactly should we be looking for?  Like, I know this is the electronics district, or something, but aside from wandering in the area around the train station (lots of skyscrapers.. okay?), where do we go in/what do we look for?  Building names or addresses (if you can find on Google maps) you found cool would be appreciated.  :)
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Metric Mouse

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #46 on: March 16, 2017, 03:47:45 AM »
(1) The Park Hyatt Tokyo bar is on the 52nd floor and has an AMAZING night time view of Tokyo.

This! Great memories, and such a fantastic view.
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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #47 on: March 16, 2017, 03:51:44 AM »
went to japan for 2 weeks last year - off the chart awesome. Use google translate and you can show people the characters for basic communication.

We took rail passes for a week in the middle and loved being able to bullet train. Pick up a box sushi lunch and some wine at the station and lunch on the train. But you can only get the tourist passes from outside japan before you go, couriered. You can't buy them once there.

Highlights:
- Instant noodle museum in Osaka (but you have to book weeks/months early for the 3 hr make your own instant noodle thing). A true shine to pastafarianism.
- Bunny island. Spooky juxtaposition of tens of 1000s of cute fluffy bunnies running wild everywhere and a dark history of chemical weapons manufacturing during the war. Get the fried oysters for lunch. Buy lots of bunny food at the ferry station before you go.
- Kobe. Super cool jazz bars, more english (not a lot tho), great Chinatown. Really enjoyed the city. Natural disaster museum empty, cheap, and great for kids.
- Great food. Some of the cheap noodle places near stations are killer value.

We went during Xmas/New Year. Trippy. Japanese love Xmas, but they're buddist, so it's like Xmas without the Jesus.

Safe, friendly, polite to the point of painfulness, but the big cities are crowded esp at rush hour. I now know what a blood corpusle (sp?) feels like.

Can't wait to go back. If you have Netflix, watch the Tokyo Diner series before you go.
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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #48 on: March 16, 2017, 05:03:25 AM »
Glad to see this thread active again because I just booked tickets! Ticket was 900 and I used my Chase Sapphire and paid just 210. Going solo in late June and early July, trying to fit in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I'm nervous and excited! Thanks for tip on Google Translate, now I need to figure out how to use it on my phone without data roaming.


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arebelspy

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Re: I am going to Tokyo! Ideas?
« Reply #49 on: March 16, 2017, 05:21:48 AM »
Thanks for tip on Google Translate, now I need to figure out how to use it on my phone without data roaming.

Download Japanese within the options.  You can't do picture translate without data, but you can type stuff and have it translate to the Japanese characters to show someone on your phone.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."