Japan Ideas


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Hey all,

I am going on holiday to Japan Monday for three weeks, and I was wondering if anyone has suggestions for what to do while I'm there. I've got a general plan, but I'm open to suggestions. I'll mainly be around Tokyo.


Congratulations!

My only suggestion is: enjoy!

(Because I've never been. Hope it's awesome!)


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Thanks Tacticlion, it's the result of 2 years of saving, my first time even off the ground, yet alone overseas.

PS. I know no Japanese

Scarab Sages

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Take a train to Kamakura and go see the statue of the great Buddha.


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See the life size Gundam.

Silver Crusade

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Make sure to get gum for the flight. Having your ears be messed with is really annoying.


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great suggestions, adding them to the list

lucky7 wrote:
Make sure to get gum for the flight. Having your ears be messed with is really annoying.

Never flown before, what happens to your ears?


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Kyoto is considered the spiritual center of Japan, so it's something to consider if you want to soak up culture.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Get a Japan Railway pass before going there. They are well worth it but you cannot buy them in Japan

Out of Tokyo : Kamakura, Nikko, Yokohama for its chinatown, Izu peninsula near Mount Fuji, Hakone lake

In Tokyo : Odaiba, Shinjuku, Shibuya (and walking to Omote Sando), Akihabara, Meiji -jingu, Ginza, Roppongi by night, visit Tsukiji at 4-5 am for the tuna auction and eat fresh sushi for breakfast

Eat in street shops, in ramenya, in sushiya, in nomikaya

Eat cold soba, strange ice creams, try natto if you dare

Go to public baths : onsen if you can, sento otherwise

Spend some time in a minshuku, or even a ryokan if you can afford it


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Diminuendo wrote:

great suggestions, adding them to the list

lucky7 wrote:
Make sure to get gum for the flight. Having your ears be messed with is really annoying.
Never flown before, what happens to your ears?

Ever gone up the express elevator to the Sears Building or the Empire State? Now imagine the same thing happening only faster and higher. You don't need gum, all you need to do is swallow so that the Eusatachian tube opens allowing pressure to equalise on both sides of the inner ear.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Kyoto, Nara and Miyajima are great but far from Tokyo. Hokkaido is even further away


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The Raven Black wrote:
Kyoto, Nara and Miyajima are great but far from Tokyo. Hokkaido is even further away

Two words..

Bullet Trains.

Japan has literally the fastest trains on the planet. They make the fastest Amtrak lines look like a loinel train set. Something you may want to have a try with. Their 90 plus percent on-time performance is also something for the US to envy.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Diminuendo wrote:

great suggestions, adding them to the list

lucky7 wrote:
Make sure to get gum for the flight. Having your ears be messed with is really annoying.
Never flown before, what happens to your ears?
Ever gone up the express elevator to the Sears Building or the Empire State? Now imagine the same thing happening only faster and higher. You don't need gum, all you need to do is swallow so that the Eusatachian tube opens allowing pressure to equalise on both sides of the inner ear.

I'm Australian, so don't know what happens there either.


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The Raven Black wrote:

Get a Japan Railway pass before going there. They are well worth it but you cannot buy them in Japan

Out of Tokyo : Kamakura, Nikko, Yokohama for its chinatown, Izu peninsula near Mount Fuji, Hakone lake

In Tokyo : Odaiba, Shinjuku, Shibuya (and walking to Omote Sando), Akihabara, Meiji -jingu, Ginza, Roppongi by night, visit Tsukiji at 4-5 am for the tuna auction and eat fresh sushi for breakfast

Eat in street shops, in ramenya, in sushiya, in nomikaya

Eat cold soba, strange ice creams, try natto if you dare

Go to public baths : onsen if you can, sento otherwise

Spend some time in a minshuku, or even a ryokan if you can afford it

I'm googling every second word, lol

Scarab Sages

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Aberzombie wrote:
Take a train to Kamakura and go see the statue of the great Buddha.

To expand upon Kamakura....Somewhere just of one of the beach areas is a German restaurant. At least, it was there back in '04. Can't remember the name. Old German lady, an ex-pat, ran the joint. Good food.

Other than that, most of my knowledge consists of Yokosuka and Sasebo.

Scarab Sages

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Oh yeah, try a real ramen shop. Those are all over the place.


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we actually were concidering skipping the rail pass, as it would cost nearly a grand each for the 3 weeks, an that would take up a huge amount of our savings.

Is there any way to get one quickly before we leave?


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Depending on how far afield you can roam, one place I would like to visit if I were in your position, is Izumo for its relation to Shinto. In particular the final separation of the religion's founding deities.

Also, if you are a Persona 4 fan you might take a look at the real town of Inaba.

Perhaps also visit a traditional Japanese inn (you'll have to enter through the side) and participate in a tea ceremony.


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Thinking of ordering a rail pass and having it posted to my hotel, because of all your suggestions. Keep them comming :)


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...but getting it for only a week - 9th-16th, we want to be back in Tokyo for the firefly festival on the 18th

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Eating shabu-shabu is great too. In Kyoto, the Gyon ancient area is a must see. Kyomizudera temple, Sakura imperial villa, the Gold pavilion and the Silver pavilion are a few of the many wonders of the city.

In Tokyo, the area around the Kannon temple is nice too


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Rail Pass ordered and being sent to our hotel, Plan is to travel Tokyo>Osaka>Hiroshima>Kyoto>Tokyo (possibly in backwards order) in 7 days.

If the trains take a lot out of us we might skip the Hiroshima leg of the trip, but it's important to us we go for the history.

Slowly making a map of all the places we want to see, in no particulart order. The sadest part for us was when we discovered the Ghibli Museum would be closeed during entire stay.

If anyone would like to add to our map with suggestions, here is a link.

Scarab Sages

Diminuendo wrote:

I'm Australian, so don't know what happens there either.

That's good, so you won't have to worry about our STOOPIDSTOOPIDSTOOPID airport security theater we're still stuck with in the US (it's getting better by inches, but Clinton-era security worked fine, and I won't be happy until Bruce Schneier is appointed head of Homeland Security - or maybe if the TSA was replaced by superior-in-every-way Disneyland security).

Don't be afraid of the plane ride; be excited! Liftoff is fun! Your ears may pop, but you probably won't need gum or anything like that; just make a good normal swallow, and that's enough for most people.

I certainly want to go to Japan someday. The caveat I've heard, of course, is "crowded and expensive" - it's also not designed for the convenience of foreigners, so I understand; the layout is idiosyncratic, and people get around because the same way you get around your house - you know where stuff is because it's your place!

I've heard that the letter of the law is taken much more seriously than elsewhere (i.e. don't be surprised if you're apprehended for jaywalking), and while I consider the whole notion of "they're lawful whereas the West is individualistic" to be utter nonsense based on Western misunderstanding of both Japanese culture and itself

related anecdote:
Several years ago now, I took a couple Japanese classes from a Japanese grad student who had been a malcontent at home, and described his countrymen as "sheeple." He was thus was excited to come to America - "Land of the Free," right? - only to discover, guess what? Americans are "sheeple" too! He was a character. I loved him.
, their Lawfulness is at least much closer to a credible "Lawful Good." They say that if you lose your wallet on the bus there one night, get on the same bus the next day and it will be right where you left it.

President Obama just visited Hiroshima (I don't know about Nagasaki offhand) - the first American President to do so since World War II. There's been a memorial there ever since it was rebuilt, if sobering war memorials are your thing at all, but that recent paradigm shift might make it a more interesting place to go now.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

If you want to get really close to wild Japanese Macaques, the Iwatayama Monkey Park in Kyoto is really good.

The Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo is pretty awesome if you are into Natural History. Although I am biased working there for a summer.

Definitely try Teppanyaki. Single best thing food I tried. Also hot Udon is pretty awesome.

Akihabara is already on your agenda and pretty awesome (although also sometimes really disturbing). Be sure to grab lunch at one of the random themed cafes in there. The Gundam Cafe though had ridiculous lines every time I went by it, just as a word of warning.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Eat yakitori and yakiniku too

Avoid the Imperial Palace area in Tokyo. I found it both uninteresting and extremely time consuming : there is nothing and you need to walk a lot to get there


It shouldn't come as a surprise, but most people running sushi bars in the West are not educated sushi chefs. If I were going, good Japanese sushi would be on my to do list. Sukiyaki, sashimi, beef tataki, tempura, yakiniku and gyoza would be on that list as well.


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I just want to take the time to thank everyone who has (and might in future) post on this thread, you're all great


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I hope that you have a wonderful time. Bring back lots of pictures and stories.


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here in Japan!

Flight was pretty good, other than the fact I've never been able to sleep sitting (in cars, buses, trains, and now jets), and how incredibly dehydrated I got.

I've been attacked by only one toilet; apparently the jets are strong enough to hit you in the face while standing, and they aren't smart enough to tell you've gotten up, and are nowhere near said toilet.

We got our tourist SIM card posted to the hotel; we received the wrong card size, nano instead of micro, so we are hunting out an adapter today.

I have flailed with what very little Japanese I know, and have been using google translate to communicate (as I have no phone credit ATM.)

We are staying in Asakusa today and tomorrow, so if anyone has suggestions for what to do here, Im all ears.


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Diminuendo wrote:

here in Japan!

Flight was pretty good, other than the fact I've never been able to sleep sitting (in cars, buses, trains, and now jets), and how incredibly dehydrated I got.

I've been attacked by only one toilet; apparently the jets are strong enough to hit you in the face while standing, and they aren't smart enough to tell you've gotten up, and are nowhere near said toilet.

We got our tourist SIM card posted to the hotel; we received the wrong card size, nano instead of micro, so we are hunting out an adapter today.

I have flailed with what very little Japanese I know, and have been using google translate to communicate (as I have no phone credit ATM.)

We are staying in Asakusa today and tomorrow, so if anyone has suggestions for what to do here, Im all ears.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


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I lie in Tokyo.
So like, I guess we could hang.

Liberty's Edge

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Enjoy!

Rippongi is the party spot in Tokyo, you might want to check it out.

Have a small notebook with you. The restaurants will usually have a display window that has plastic sculptures of their menu items for people to look at. Just copy the name of what you want into your notebook and show it to the waiter when they come to take your order.

Some of the sushi places have conveyor belts that they place their items on that move the sushi past where the customers are sitting. The color of the plate the item is on indicates what the price is. Keep the empty plates by you so they can figure out your bill when you leave. I found that the octopus was good.


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Stay in a bathhouse instead of a hotel one night. It's cheaper, and you would be amazed at the variety of hot springs type pools to soak in. Sulfur, herbal tea, a column of water massaging your shoulders from 3 stories up, and 4 or 5 more that I can't remember anymore. FYI: Naked, you have a robe for outside the pool, and men and women are separate.


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meatrace wrote:

I lie in Tokyo.

So like, I guess we could hang.

Im so sorry meatrace, I didn't realise people were still posting on this thread, I've only got one more day, so Ill have to give meeting you a miss, but Ill keep you in mind when I come back (Ive loved it here so much I AM coming back)

I'll do a proper sum up on my trip when I have a keyboard in front ofme.

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