Going to Japan

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 11, 2010 1:12 AM GMT
    I'm heading to Japan for 10 days next Tuesday and I was wondering if anyone has gone and what are some tips you had for traveling in the Cities. The fellas at work said that a lot of the signs don't have English which I expected (duh!) but was it difficult to move around on your own?
    Any weird shops you recommend? I know that they aren't keen on buying second hand retail but I hope I find a few stores that do sell second hand books and clothes and markets too.

    I think I'm in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Mum's taking the family on a tour with her mates but I'm going to go around on my own while I'm there for a bit. It was a spur of the moment thing, I wish I was more prepared 'cos I was learning Japanese but forgotten what I've learned.
  • KepaArg

    Posts: 1721

    Aug 11, 2010 4:48 AM GMT
    jim_e saidI'm heading to Japan for 10 days next Tuesday and I was wondering if anyone has gone and what are some tips you had for traveling in the Cities. The fellas at work said that a lot of the signs don't have English which I expected (duh!) but was it difficult to move around on your own?
    Any weird shops you recommend? I know that they aren't keen on buying second hand retail but I hope I find a few stores that do sell second hand books and clothes and markets too.

    I think I'm in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Mum's taking the family on a tour with her mates but I'm going to go around on my own while I'm there for a bit. It was a spur of the moment thing, I wish I was more prepared 'cos I was learning Japanese but forgotten what I've learned.


    My grandma is from tokyo, and have been there a few times. It would help if you learned some of the katakana and hirigana as its not too difficult and would help you manuever better.

    1) the subway is efficient and pretty easy to navigate.

    2) second hand shops are pretty huge in japan. Someone gets paid to travel to look for books and clothes to take back and sell in japan. You can even find mildly used electronics. Check out- shinjuku, akihabara, harajuku

    3) the gay area is centered in chrome-2 in shinjuku. There are lots of bars catering to different taste, but be warned if you aren't japanese you might not be allowed in some places.

    4) i do speak japanese myself, but i gurantee you it wont be hard to find someone who speaks english, but getting them to speak it. So just learn some basic phrases

    Just pm me if you have other questions, like food or anything more specific.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 11, 2010 9:18 AM GMT
    good advice so far icon_smile.gif

    getting around isn't too hard, travelling in larger cities. though signs may not be in english, stations, street names, landmarks, places et.c are mostly transcribed with roman letters (like these).
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    Aug 11, 2010 9:28 AM GMT
    Yeah I would agree with the given information. I wish I could find the articles I have about the second hand stores in Japan. They are a lot more organized than what we have here (in Seattle). I am sure you will be fine, 10 days will go by really fast, a lot of people know at least some english.

    Make sure you go to Mr. Donuts. Maybe I just remember it being delicious because I was a kid and a teen both times I went.
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    Aug 11, 2010 9:34 AM GMT
    Each shitloads of sashimi.
    Ok I've never been there, but that would be my first order of business. icon_razz.gif
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    Aug 11, 2010 1:31 PM GMT
    Awesome, thanks y'all. I'm glad there's heaps of second hand stores, I tend to avoid buying brand new things (besides socks and jocks of course!).

    My Japanese singing is better than my near non existent spoken word which doesn't help icon_lol.gif

    The one thing that sucks the most is that I've recently started having allergic reactions to shellfish so I can't eat anything prawn, lobster, clam and oyster-like icon_cry.gif though I might pop a few anti histamines and live on the culinary edge! And I only just tasted my first lobster this year too icon_sad.gif
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    Aug 11, 2010 1:37 PM GMT
    You will have absolutely no trouble getting around on public transportation. It's incredibly easy to use and bilingual in all three cities.

    As for weird shopping, I recommend heading to any store in the following neighborhoods:

    TOKYO: Harajuku, Shibuya, Akihabara, Ueno, Jimbocho (for second hand books)

    NAGOYA: Osu Kannon, Sakae

    OSAKA: Namba, Shinsaibashi

    Have an awesome time
  • Starboard

    Posts: 242

    Aug 11, 2010 1:55 PM GMT
    There are some great "day trips" out of Tokyo that you might want to check out. Yokohama and Kamakura are both worth a visit. Omotesando is between Shibuya and Harajuku...beautiful tree-lined street that's kind of become the Rodeo Drive of Tokyo.

    If you're nervous about getting around, stick to the Yamanote Line for a while...it just runs a big loop around the city so you will eventually get back to where you started! And most of the Tokyo destinations that have been mentioned so far are on the Yamanote (Harajuku, Shinjuku, Omotesando, Akihabara).

    I would also recommend buying a Suica card -- it's a pre-paid card that will get you on all of the JR trains. There is a small fee for setting it up, but it's worth the hassle of standing in line at the kiosk trying to figure out fares to each destination. All you have to do is wave the card in front of the sensor that's located at every entry point to the gates at the station...the fare is deducted automatically when you exit from the station at your destination.
  • looktothesky

    Posts: 13

    Aug 11, 2010 2:28 PM GMT
    Some shops that you may find cheap or second hand items are

    BOOKOFF - a second hand book shop http://www.bookoffusa.com/

    Uniqlo - a cheap clothing shop i remember the prices being reasonable http://www.uniqlo.com/

    Don Quijote - a cool discount shop with tons of random stuff, costumes, dvd's , toy's electronics etc...it's kinda like a huge spencer gifts
    http://www.donki.com/index_en.php?lang=

    100en shops are great too, tons of cool stuff for cheap cheap cheap and it's a lot better quality then the dollar stores we have here.

    can't think of any other shops off the top of my head right now but i do remember walking into random places and seeing stuff that was second hand, so shop around for the best deals!
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    Aug 16, 2010 1:20 PM GMT
    Thanks looktothesky,

    My mate just said to check out the 100yen shops too and I just discovered the Book Off website so I'm on the right track! I printed off some book covers that I hope to find and I found a lot of addresses and dates on Markets that are around the main cities and temples. Book Off sounds like a wet dream to me.

    I'm going to Osaka first, then Kyoto and Tokyo. And spending one day before and after this trip in Hong Kong which is a whole different experience. A friend that's traveled there a few times said I need to eat their bread and go to all the lane way shops that specialize in one item.
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    Aug 30, 2010 4:47 AM GMT
    I hope you had a good time in Japan. I had a 1-day stopover in Tokyo on the way back from Viet Nam in July, and saw enough to be convinced I should put the country on my list for an extended exploration in the next 10 years.

    I'd love to hear your experiences -- where all you went and what you did there.
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    Aug 30, 2010 4:48 AM GMT
    ohh enjoy the Japanese men for me. rawr.
  • tigrisblue

    Posts: 113

    Aug 30, 2010 4:56 AM GMT
    http://jisho.org/ is an amazing resource for kanji finding/translation, if you're ever in need. It has some mobile phone access for here and over there.
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    Aug 30, 2010 2:58 PM GMT
    I wish I found that Jisho site earlier! Thanks, ruvlkng, I'll use it in the future.

    Japan was really great. Stayed there for 7 days (Osaka, Kyoto & Tokyo) and 5 days in Hong Kong. If I lived in Japan I'd live in Osaka, more slower paced than Tokyo but just as lively. It was really easy to get around Tokyo with the Tokunai pass (unlimited one day pass on the Yamanote line). The Yamanote line is a circle line that goes to all the main suburbs/stations, it's the only one you need to use unless you go to the 'local' train stations. And all the train lines are color coded and have English names and directions underneath the Kanji so I never got lost but the main stations are like labyrinths!

    I went to Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Ginza and Ebisu. It was really hot there though, usually around 35 degrees Celsius but no one I saw was wearing thongs (flip flops) or singlets (wife beaters), a lot of people were even wearing light cardigans and jeans.

    A friend took me to dinner at this tapas bar in Ebisu near the train station that was amazing. The thing I quickly realized was that you can't judge a store by its name or storefront, you just go in and see for yourself, Japan has really odd names for their shops. I don't remember the name of this bar but the outside looked like an apartment block but interiors were really earthy and warm and was packed full of what looked like business professionals, but the best thing was that if you looked to the stucco on the walls they had full sized casts of vaginas, assholes, boobs and lips! My kind of bar!
    But it wasn't such an alien world to me, I felt quite comfortable being around places and people despite understanding only every two thousandth word. And everyone was incredibly polite.

    My main purchases were from Uniqlo which I knew was going to happen icon_smile.gif Amazingly priced quality clothing that has great design and fit. The secondhand (recycle) clothing stores were pretty expensive but you walk into the stores and wouldn't realize that the clothes were secondhand, amazing quality.
    I didn't end up going to Book Off but found the books I wanted in a store in Ginza and bought heaps of magazines too.
    The food was the best I've ever eaten hands down. With the same of everything there (architecture, personal and work attire) the food was diverse and everything was considered, from presentation to what food 'tastes' were eaten together.

    If anyone is considering going to Japan, don't consider it and do it!