Originally Posted by MMarston
Did not realize this was a separate thread so I'll just repost this here from JapanGAF.
- Don't stay a week. Stay at least 10 days. Otherwise you don't get to see enough and suffer jet lag a bit when you wanna go see things and then are only left with 6 days.
- Get the Japan Rail Pass because you can use it for a week?(or was it 5 days? someone correct me) and it saves A LOT of money IF you take trains from Tokyo to Kyoto/Osaka/Nara. Or continuing to Hiroshima.
- When you go to Kansai area and visit Kyoto. Always visit Osaka and Nara too. They are so close that people just miss them because they want to visit Kyoto mostly.
- Nara is a half day trip. Go to see the deers, Todaiji temple, the smaller temple next to it on top of the mountain. Then ride back to Osaka or Kyoto.
- In Osaka go to Namba or "Minami" area. All the nightlife is there. Visit bars like Cherry bomb for metal music, Chinquecento for all drinks 500 yen. People in the bars can guide you to the next place. The local irish pub, Blarney stone, etc. Staff knows english. You should be fine.
- Never go anywhere where the staff on the street is trying to physically drag you in. Do not trust them. It's a scam. An illegal one but they don't care. But I've never done this. Just heard some people actually went, and paid a ton to get out.
- ATM's like Japan Post bank most likely will take your credit card. If not, best option is 7-11 ATM. My card is ok at Lawson or Family Mart too. Just try. You need a shitload of cash all the time so always be prepared. JP Post ATM's close early. Around 18:00. 7-11 and other convenience store ATMs are open all night.
- Get a SUICA (Tokyo area) or ICOCA (Kansai area) card for easier payment at train gates. Both cards should work 90% in both prefectures. Just pick the one card where you'll be staying mostly. You can load cash into them so you don't have to look at the how much is it to each station and pay separately. You can charge them at the ticket machines. Machines most likely have english in them. Cards you can get from special booths. Don't know where in Tokyo. I think ICOCA was offered at Osaka-station. Can't remember. 5€ deposit.
- Get a pre-paid sim from Yodobashi camera, Bic camera or other bigger electronics stores, if your phone is sim-free one. Saves money compared to renting an expensive pocket wifi from the airport.
- Airbnb is usually trouble free. And selection is huge. In Osaka maaaybe Daikokucho is fairly cheap. It's close to Namba by walking so after drinking it's easy to get back home to sleep. Or, if you don't drink it's close enough to everything so you don't need to take trains all the time. Renting a bicycle is fairly good idea too. At least in Kyoto. Leaving them at spots that are not allowed will end up with the bike being impounded. You need to pay to get it out from a far away location.
- Renting a car is an option if you have an international licence. Trust in Google maps navi and try to avoid road toll roads. This is a good way to visit Awaji-shima close by to Osaka.
- Capsule hotel is a good idea if you got no other place to sleep in. Capsule 501 in Shinjuku is 3200 yen per night. Check-out at 12. 300 yen for an extra hour. Has a public bath included in the price which is common for all capsule hotels mostly.
- People might not speak english that well but everyone will help regardless. Also stop foreigners because if they live in the area, they can guide you. Pick the ones that look bored to look at anything because they've lived too long in Japan and they tend to walk too fast.
- Kaiyuukan the aquarium in Osaka is nice but it's a bit crowded. USJ theme park in Osaka is nice too but a bit expensive and most of the backstory/explanations are in Japanese. Might be waaaay too crowded during Golden week.
- Try every food you can. Everywhere. Yakiniku, raamen, okonomiyaki, monjayaki, izakayas for different variations of smaller dishes, just eat eat eat. Tabehoudai = all you can eat, Nomihoudai = all you can drink.
- Go to Karaoke boxes and order nomihoudai with beer. You need beer while singing. Or visit Kamasutra in Osaka for a Bar-Karaoke experience.
- HUB or ALE 82 is where foreigners go to drink for a cosy atmosphere.
- Yoyogi park is nice to have a picnic with friends.
- If you're alone, just use meetup.com to find some company or events. You can find dance lessons, pub crawls or anything with the app.
- If you have any problems or have an emergency and do not know anyone in Japan, just send me a private message here. Police are super helpful in all cases even though they might not spean english but they'll sort that out too via translation services.
- Google translate has AR translation. Just open it up, use the camera function to point at text and it translates it to you in real time. Works on pics too from your phone. USE IT. Especially aircon unit buttons, or washing machine.
- Miyajima (island) is so nice place to visit when in Hiroshima. It takes a day or a half. Go early so you have a chance to visit the mountain top. First visit the top, then visit the temple area. If you first go to temples, everyone else will wait in line before you to the cable car. Or you can walk to the top slowly.
I'm just trying to write in general and recommend foreigner friendly things. And I am not focusing on making this at all organised. Hope it helps at least a bit. It's a nice country to visit. Just remember to leave so breathing room and don't overdo everything with a too detailed plan. Just go and have fun.