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[Travel] Japan

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by getsmartnow, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. getsmartnow

    getsmartnow Contributing Member

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    Going to Japan with my buddy in January next year. Need some advice, particularly about weather, and what to see and do. Flying into Tokyo, then will be going to Kyoto and Hiroshima. Nothing else has been planned yet.
    We're planning on arriving on about the 3rd/4th and leaving about the 23rd. So about 20 days all up.

    I've heard accounts that Japan basically shuts down for a week over New Years...is everything shut, or mainly businesses?

    Also need advice on good breweries :)

    Thanks!


    Oh yeah, we're going to Studio Ghibli too.
     
  2. s land balla

    s land balla Contributing Member

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    It will be cold.
     
  3. getsmartnow

    getsmartnow Contributing Member

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    Thanks! :)

    I'll be coming straight from an Australian summer to a Japanese winter...fun times!
     
  4. calcium

    calcium Member

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  5. Chamillionaire

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    I live in Tokyo. Any questions you have, I'd be happy to answer for you. Most of businesses are shut down for New Years. Banks too. We usually have to take out however much cash until the bank opens after the New Year break so make sure to have enough cash. It'll be cold, but some put on a jacket. Trust me, winters here aren't nearly as bad as the humid a$$ summers.

    Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima... all nice. I recommend a quick trip to Nara. Only like 20 minutes from Kyoto.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tōdai-ji

    Definitely spend a night in Osaka.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dōtonbori


    If you're interested in adult entertainment aspects of Japan, PM me.

    Definitely try the Okonomiyaki in Osaka and Hiroshima. Also Takoyaki in Osaka.

    That's just the tip of the iceberg. I guess it all depends on what you're looking for, your budget, etc...
     
  6. MystikArkitect

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    Wife and I are going to be in Tokyo for a week in September. Will hit you up with a PM for some advice if that's cool.
     
  7. Jugdish

    Jugdish Member

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    If you go to Hakone to see Fuji, don't miss the Hakone Open Air Museum. It's an beautiful sculpture museum in the mountains.
     
  8. dumbartonbass

    dumbartonbass Contributing Member
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    I went to Japan earlier this year and it seems like you've got a good itinerary planned out. I'd recommend buying the JR Pass before you go; this will get you unlimited rides on the bullet train and any JR-owned railways (like the Yamamote Line in Tokyo). The bullet train will only take you 20 minutes from Kyoto to Osaka. As Chamillionaire said, Nara is a short train ride from Osaka/Kyoto and definitely worth the day trip.

    As far as food goes, make sure you visit the okonomiyaki building in Hiroshima. It's 4 stories of nothing but food stalls serving okonomiyaki and it was my favorite thing I ate in Japan.
     
  9. Dream Sequence

    Dream Sequence Contributing Member

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    I went this past April. I was ignorant about how little English is used there!

    So, I would suggest a couple of things:
    a) Get the JPR app - it will help with the train system a lot

    b) There are several good travel apps (free) for Japan that I would use a ton! They would help me understand how to walk to different tourist sites, useful markers (like banks, bars, etc). Free WIFI isn't really ubiquitous so having this app that had a lot of information downloaded was useful

    c) I used google translate on my phone (and screen capped the images since no WIFI) to get some key phrases out there (we had dietary restrictions).

    d) We started off in Tokyo, so I started my JP Rail pass a few days into our trip since you pay for it by the day. It pays off if you are traveling between cities, so I didn't want the clock starting while I was in Tokyo (you can use it in Tokyo though, so just see what the pricing looks like per day)

    e) We stayed in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hakone. We did a day trip to Nara from Osaka (hotels in Osaka tend to be pretty cheap vs Kyoto, the other city you can easily visit Nara from).

    Hakone is really awesome - hot baths and a very very cool outdoor art museum. I'd highly recommend hitting Hakone up.

    Go to the fish market in Tokyo - it will be easiest to wake up your first day. Surreal seeing all the types of seafood, etc.

    Japan has some phenomenal restaurants - our 2 week trip was as focused on eating as it was on seeing the country. Take time to find great places to eat - you'll burn it all off walking around anyway.
     
  10. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    Also for cell phone access, Its almost impossible to get a prepaid SIM in Japan. T-Mobile and Sprint both offer data roaming in japan for next to nothing. T-Mobile's is free but capped at 2G speeds (useable for Google Maps, social media and pulling up websites here and there) and Sprint charges $5 to access Softbank's network at much faster speeds (and give you unlimited talk and text). T-Mobile is 20 cents a minute with unlimited texting as well.

    AT&T and Verizon will also sell you international access at higher prices. Figure out your cell phone situation before you leave. You probably wont be able to buy a SIM in Japan.
     
  11. Wakko67

    Wakko67 Contributing Member

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    Get the Hyperdia app. It is huge for the train system.

    I'd also look into learning a little Japanese before going. I used both Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone. Pimsleur is nice because it's 30 minute lessons and covers a lot of what you'd need to get around.

    Try sushi (obviously), ramen, chu-hi yaki-niku (korean bbq) and yaki-tori (grilled meats).
     
  12. Jugdish

    Jugdish Member

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    There's a company called Pupuru that rents mobile hot spots. It was pretty expensive when I used it, but the speeds were ridiculous.
     
  13. ROXTXIA

    ROXTXIA Contributing Member

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    There's a train that runs south to Kamakura. About....I can't remember; 1 hour outside the city? 1.5 hours? A big Buddha statue and temple(s) surrounded by bamboo forests overlooking the sea. A tranquil getaway from the Tokyo sprawl, which just might blow your mind.
     
  14. dumbartonbass

    dumbartonbass Contributing Member
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    Stay in Air BNBs, too. Many of the owners will provide "pocket wifi" routers that you can take with you as you walk around in case you need to pull your phone out and check something.
     
  15. hvic

    hvic Member

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    try horse and whale sushi lol
     
  16. getsmartnow

    getsmartnow Contributing Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. We're going to be AirBnB'ing it most of the way.

    Looking to also check out Himeji, any other castles that are worth it?

    Also, has anyone tried fugu?
     
  17. jev5555

    jev5555 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Kobe beef

    Thank me later
     
  18. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Easter Egg Hunter - Tell me why? نحن عائلة

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    Bean Bryant approves
     
  19. dumbartonbass

    dumbartonbass Contributing Member
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    Nijō Castle in Kyoto is worth seeing, if only because Kyoto was spared bombing during WWII and things in that city are much older than other places in Japan. I don't believe any part of the castle had to be rebuilt, unlike others in the country.
     
  20. YourSecretLover

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    whatever you do. dont fly with malaysia airlines
     

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