Travel Tips for Japan?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 20, 2009 10:08 PM GMT
    A couple of friends and I are planning to take a two-week holiday to Japan this coming October. We haven't done too much research yet on what we should see, where we should go, etc... But, we want to do everything we can to truly experience the culture and landscape of the country.

    Has anyone been there/live there/know a lot about Japan that could provide some tips? We're really open for anything.

    Thanks in advance.
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    May 20, 2009 10:25 PM GMT
    well, if you'd like to experience more of the traditional Japan, then go to Kyoto. Lots of temples, gardens etc. to see.

    Tokyo of course because of its own style

    and very traditional old-fashioned but lovely: Magome

    Enjoy icon_wink.gif
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    May 20, 2009 11:11 PM GMT
    I have lived and been there many times.... October is an EXCELLENT time to go there. Not too hot and muggy, and the rainy season is usually over by then. I've lived in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagano and Aichi Prefecture, and go to Osaka and Kyoto for work very regularly. I know lots of great places to eat and things to see. Email me directly for more info.
  • timgoblue

    Posts: 71

    May 20, 2009 11:28 PM GMT
    AWESOME! Bring a lot of money. The shopping is fantastic. Defintely go to the giant toy store in Tokyo in the Ginza area. Clothes shopping is fun but if you have shoulders at all you might have a tough time finding things that fit. The gay bars are strange, not particularly cruisy or sexy and some of them don't allow foreigners. The best one I went to was Arty Farty in Tokyo. The sex club I went to was full of guys mostly sleeping - literally sleeping - together. Can't remember the name. Went to a kabuki performance and after about 15 minutes was bored to death and it went on for 3 more hours. Still, respect the culture and the people and their traditions and quirks and don't break any laws AT ALL... we spent about 4 hours apologizing and bowing over and over again to police and japanese citizens for double parking.
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    May 20, 2009 11:33 PM GMT
    Haha.. Yeah, I agree with money. Bring lots of it. Not necessarily for shopping. It's just that things are more expensive in Japan, particularly food/drink. There's no tipping/gratuity there.. It's all rolled into the cost of the food.
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    May 21, 2009 12:12 AM GMT
    I've only been to Tokyo. What I enjoyed most is the Meiji-jingu Shrine. I was disappointed to learn it was a post-war reconstruction, but its still beautiful. Nearby is an small street closed to traffic where kids hang out/shop (its called Takeshita-dori). I loved it because I found a shop that only sold Ultraman stuff. For someone interested in Japanese pop culture, its a great experience.

    Oh, and try to go to one of the large department stores and ride an elevator.
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    May 21, 2009 12:22 AM GMT
    American Visa Cards don't work anywhere except a few banks, so get your currency exchanged before you go. I was able to use my debit MasterCard at all but one place, and fortunately had Yen so I was able to pay.

    Take good shoes and be prepared to walk.

    Hit up the little "fast food" Japanese restaurants as well as other sit down types and don't be afraid to order by picture or request that the hostess choose something for you. Everyone was very helpful in Tokyo, when I went a couple years back.

    The Japanese do have places that cater to Nihon-jin (Japanese Natives) only, so if you stop by one of these places, it's best not to go in.

    Tipping is unnecessary and considered rude in most places.

    Have a good time!

    Check out the following website too:

    It has excellent information on how not to behave like a silly American. ^o^

    Oh! and here is a link to pictures of the trip when my partner and I went in 2006.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 21, 2009 2:52 AM GMT
    miyu jima for the floating torii and Hiroshima is an unforgettable experience. Kyoto is best place overall.
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    May 21, 2009 3:07 AM GMT
    I was in Japan when I was in the Navy. The bigest help to you will be someone that can speak the lanquage and know their customs.
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    May 21, 2009 5:22 AM GMT
    i went to both tokyo and kobe on a study abroad program i did.

    best advice i can give you is to get lost... literally.

    the best times my friends and i had were when we would get lost in some small neighborhood in either city. Along the way we would find the small local hangouts that (i felt at least) gave us more of an idea of the real culture of the area. Given, some of the more "touristy" attractions are quite amazing in their own, but i'd definitely suggest just taking a day or two where you just wander.

    (plus, i found that japanese people for the most part were so willing to help in any situation if asked so even if you're totally lost you'll be able to find your way back!)

    hope this helps!

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    May 21, 2009 9:10 AM GMT
    I lived in Japan for a year and I went pretty much everywhere.

    I loved Himeji Castle.
    Okayama castle and gardens were fantastic.
    Kagoshima was my favourite city in Japan, but I couldn't tell you why, I just loved it. It did have one amazing volcano that was very enjoyable. Also, from Kagoshima, it's only a short trip to Yakushima which is quite a fantastic island with onsens on the beach.
    Beppu is a city full of onsens - hot springs - and I did like Beppu a lot because of the sheer range of onsens.
    Noboribetsu was also an amazing onsen.
    Takamatsu has stunning gardens, but Okayama's castle gardens are good enough.

    Those are all things that I loved.

    Let me say that Hiroshima (and Miyajima) and Kyoto are probably unmissable though, those two cities are pretty special. Skip Nagasaki, it's not a patch on Hiroshima.

    Tokyo of course, the gay area is close to Shinjuku station and is called Ni-chome. Vastly, gay Japanese men speak English and are terribly helpful.

    You've made me want to go back.
  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    May 21, 2009 1:22 PM GMT
    I was there for about 2 week in 1995, The way I remember Japan, it very expensive in comparison to other Asian country. The country is very crowded especially in Sinkyuku area. It very modern and clean though.

    The airport, shopping mall everywhere in Tokyo is overflowing with people.
  • nadaquever_rm

    Posts: 139

    May 22, 2009 12:47 AM GMT
    Don't stay in Tokyo too long. Beppu has great onsen. Mastercard and Visa are accepted western chains (McDonald's etc...), department stores, and many hotels. You ATM card will work, so you should always have access to cash, but your bank may charge a hefty fee per transaction. You can eat/sleep very cheaply shopping at markets and grabbing food at little stands around the city. Traditional hotels are cheap and feed you soooo well, but I always needed help from Japanese friends to find/book rooms. I lived in a fairly remote area and never met a single person who couldn't speak English at all- just be really polite and persistent.

    Finally, when in doubt, find a teenage girl! The all are dying to speak English.icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 22, 2009 12:54 AM GMT
    Roppongi is awesome for bars. Just stay away from the ones with big islanders as bouncers, they're not very tourist friendly, or female friendly (ended up in lockup after a scuffle with one after they hit a female friend).

    Eat out at small takeaway wagons, really cheap, really fun.

    Try food that you haven't/wouldn't (fried crickets taste really good).

    Learn a little bit of the dialect, it'll take you a long way, people will be very impressed. (Japanese tend to hold a bit of a grudge against Americans because of the naval/airforce occupation, so I'd say try to avoid Yokosuka/Fussa to avoid political protests where you'll be pointed out.)

    Avoid the Korean honches.

    That's all I can think of for now. icon_smile.gif
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    May 22, 2009 2:52 AM GMT
    If you go to Roppongi, check out the Absolute Ice Bar.
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    May 22, 2009 2:57 AM GMT
    I forgot about Hijemi Castle! I second that suggestion! Watch "You Only Live Twice" to see it on film. It will make you want to go see it in person
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    May 08, 2010 2:43 PM GMT
    Hmmmmm, this all sounds so exciting, can't wait till I vacate
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    May 08, 2010 4:04 PM GMT
    Here's one I learned...

    If the subway train stops at 1am... It's stops at 1am. It does not continue on to the terminus or any predetermined station it stops wherever it is at 1am

    Oh and never, never, try and win an argument by raising your voice
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 27, 2010 4:49 PM GMT
    Headed to Tokyo this week, July 2-12. Could use an adventure buddy. icon_rolleyes.gif