Japan Travel |OT| One does simply not visit just once

I was going to take $500 USD with me initially and get that exchanged for yen. What's the best way to do this? Wells Fargo is my bank, and I know there can be some crazy fees for just swiping that card everywhere I go.

For everything else I was going to use my Discover card. Zero fees. They're partnered with JCB now, so I think it's a little more widely accepted that it has been in the past. Anyone have any experience using Discover over there?
I had absolutely no problem when I used my Discover card on previous trips. I couldn't use it on my recent one because I accidentally brought the one that had just expired. I imagine it is just as good as it was two years ago though.
 
I'd love to go in 2018, too. But I'm totally lacking the time in that year. Soonest option is 2020.. :(
Gf and I've been reading this awesome compilation of German travel journals to Japan from the 17th to the 19th century. I'll get you the isbn no. Now she wants to hike on those ancient highways from Nagasaki to Tokyo and beyond. I am so lucky. Might happen in 2018 since we will both be freelance/self-employed next year.
 
So its called "Reisen in Nippon" and has been published by Verlag der Nation in the GDR. It compiles reports by 3 German explorers: Engelbert Kaempfer, Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff and Philipp Franz von Siebold.
The texts are printed in the original language and have only been adepted where absolutely incomprehensible by modern standards.

Its really awesome and enlightning. There is so much described that survived from the 17th Century and I have seen myself. Really cool if you have been there but also incredible if you haven't since the descriptions are very vivid and first hand.
 
So its called "Reisen in Nippon" and has been published by Verlag der Nation in the GDR. It compiles reports by 3 German explorers: Engelbert Kaempfer, Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff and Philipp Franz von Siebold.
The texts are printed in the original language and have only been adepted where absolutely incomprehensible by modern standards.

Its really awesome and enlightning. There is so much described that survived from the 17th Century and I have seen myself. Really cool if you have been there but also incredible if you haven't since the descriptions are very vivid and first hand.
Ha, von Siebold is from my university's town. I know both other aswell. Thank you!
 
Well, the easiest/cheapest way is if you know somebody who lives in Japan that can buy a prepaid voice SIM in their name for you.

Other than that you can rent a SIM card with voice options:
http://www.globaladvancedcomm.com/simrent.html
http://www.softbank-rental.jp/e/rental-plan-ib03.php

Quite expensive though :p
Wow, that's super expensive. guess i'll just go with a data sim. Any suggestions on carrier or where to buy a data SIM?

Probably looking for like 8GB or more so I can do some tethering with my friends.
 
Holy s*** you guys were not kidding with the heat x_x
But still I get to drink Pocari Sweat yay

Going to Akihabara today, my wallet and credit card will probably cry :p
 
Speaking of nerdy anime shopping, part of my hobby when traveling is to buy a figure, manga or something
maybe even adult goods
from whatever places nerd/adult/entertainment district.

Gotta give some real advice though, if your in Japan for maybe a week or two and want to buy some anime goods, Amazon that crap lol. At least if your options are Akihabara in Tokyo or Dontonburi in Osaka. They are amazingly fun to run around but the prices are not good and have not been for a long time thanks to all the tourism. You can easily find stuff for a solid 2,000+yen cheaper in most cases, aside from things that came out of the UFO catchers.

You can have things sent to the closest convenience store and pay for it there which I totally recommend unless there is something you just have to have.
 
Speaking of nerdy anime shopping, part of my hobby when traveling is to buy a figure, manga or something
maybe even adult goods
from whatever places nerd/adult/entertainment district.

Gotta give some real advice though, if your in Japan for maybe a week or two and want to buy some anime goods, Amazon that crap lol. At least if your options are Akihabara in Tokyo or Dontonburi in Osaka. They are amazingly fun to run around but the prices are not good and have not been for a long time thanks to all the tourism. You can easily find stuff for a solid 2,000+yen cheaper in most cases, aside from things that came out of the UFO catchers.

You can have things sent to the closest convenience store and pay for it there which I totally recommend unless there is something you just have to have.
I'm more planning on getting games (current and retro) and yes the price are not really better than eBay in Akihabara but at least I dont pay shipping.
And last year I got some famicom games for ridiculous price like Mappy land cib for 500 yen, on ebay it went for something like $40 CDN cib when I was checking at the the time.

But I like figures but due to lack of space in my backpack I can't really buy some .... but I did not know you could do that so I can go on amazon.jp and ask for something to be sent to a convenience store ?
 
I have a feeling I'm going to be posting in this thread a bunch over the next month or so. I'm planning a trip with my wife at the end of August and beginning of September. It'll be 10 full days with 2 bookend half-days arriving and leaving. This will be my 3rd time in Japan and her 1st as an adult (she went as a kid with a group).

I'm trying to put together a mix of some of my favorite things (so I can share them with her) and some new things (so I'm not just rehashing my previous trips entirely). I've previously been to Tokyo, Kyoto, Mt. Koya and Hiroshima/Miyajima.

For now, I'm just trying to lock in a high-level travel itinerary so we know where we'll be each day and can book hotels and maybe make some dinner reservations.

Day 0: Arrive in Tokyo @ 3 PM. Get to the hotel, unpack, relax, and have a nice dinner.
Days 1-2: Tokyo
Day 3: Kamakura
Day 4: Tokyo
Day 5-6: Kyoto
Day 7: Mt. Koya (stay at a monastery overnight)
Days 8-10: ??? (need to be back in Tokyo the evening of Day 10)
Day 11: Fly home from Tokyo @ 5 PM : (

I'm having trouble deciding what to squeeze into those last 3 days. I'm thinking 1 day in Osaka because I've never been, I hear the aquarium is amazing (whale shark!), and it has great food. The museum in Hiroshima is a pretty powerful experience, it looks like we could potentially catch a baseball game there, and I'm a big fan of Miyajima as well. I hear great things about Nara too, and that would be new for me.

Trying to do all 3 with only 1 day each feels pretty ambitious, especially because Hiroshima is pretty out of the way compared to the other 2. What would y'all recommend? I could potentially sacrifice 1 Tokyo day to make more room, especially we can still make use of a good chunk Day 11 there before having to head to the airport to leave.

Also, we'd really like to splurge and go to a nice onsen and spa (maybe spend the night if it's part of a hotel). When/Where would it make sense to squeeze that in, and any recs?
 
I'm having trouble deciding what to squeeze into those last 3 days. I'm thinking 1 day in Osaka because I've never been, I hear the aquarium is amazing (whale shark!), and it has great food. The museum in Hiroshima is a pretty powerful experience, it looks like we could potentially catch a baseball game there, and I'm a big fan of Miyajima as well. I hear great things about Nara too, and that would be new for me.

Trying to do all 3 with only 1 day each feels pretty ambitious, especially because Hiroshima is pretty out of the way compared to the other 2. What would y'all recommend? I could potentially sacrifice 1 Tokyo day to make more room, especially we can still make use of a good chunk Day 11 there before having to head to the airport to leave.
Could do Nara in the morning and Osaka in the afternoon/evening in 1 day and then Miyajima in the morning and Hiroshima in the afternoon/evening the other day. Or skip either Nara or Miyajima. Depends on which one you'd want to visit the most of the 2.



Maybe... was thinking October/November though.
Join me for the Comiket lines instead. That'll be... fun... ;P
 
I have a feeling I'm going to be posting in this thread a bunch over the next month or so. I'm planning a trip with my wife at the end of August and beginning of September. It'll be 10 full days with 2 bookend half-days arriving and leaving. This will be my 3rd time in Japan and her 1st as an adult (she went as a kid with a group).

I'm trying to put together a mix of some of my favorite things (so I can share them with her) and some new things (so I'm not just rehashing my previous trips entirely). I've previously been to Tokyo, Kyoto, Mt. Koya and Hiroshima/Miyajima.

For now, I'm just trying to lock in a high-level travel itinerary so we know where we'll be each day and can book hotels and maybe make some dinner reservations.

Day 0: Arrive in Tokyo @ 3 PM. Get to the hotel, unpack, relax, and have a nice dinner.
Days 1-2: Tokyo
Day 3: Kamakura
Day 4: Tokyo
Day 5-6: Kyoto
Day 7: Mt. Koya (stay at a monastery overnight)
Days 8-10: ??? (need to be back in Tokyo the evening of Day 10)
Day 11: Fly home from Tokyo @ 5 PM : (

I'm having trouble deciding what to squeeze into those last 3 days. I'm thinking 1 day in Osaka because I've never been, I hear the aquarium is amazing (whale shark!), and it has great food. The museum in Hiroshima is a pretty powerful experience, it looks like we could potentially catch a baseball game there, and I'm a big fan of Miyajima as well. I hear great things about Nara too, and that would be new for me.

Trying to do all 3 with only 1 day each feels pretty ambitious, especially because Hiroshima is pretty out of the way compared to the other 2. What would y'all recommend? I could potentially sacrifice 1 Tokyo day to make more room, especially we can still make use of a good chunk Day 11 there before having to head to the airport to leave.

Also, we'd really like to splurge and go to a nice onsen and spa (maybe spend the night if it's part of a hotel). When/Where would it make sense to squeeze that in, and any recs?
You can do Hiroshima + Miyajima in one day pretty easily if you're just seeing the museum, I did that last time when I was staying in Osaka for a week. Nara can be a half day trip, I got Himeji castle done on the same day but it was slightly rushed in Nara and I did have to go back and forth, so a day in Nara should be fine tbh

Hakone and Nikko were really good, though the latter would mean staying overnight. If you want a good onsen then I'd consider spending one of your Tokyo days in Hakone, you'd be able to get everything done there and be back in Tokyo by around 8pm, if you're particularly relaxed after the onsen you can still do something else in Tokyo that night.

If it were up to me though I'd try and somehow fit in Nikko in one of those three days, it was the highlight of my trip last time and you'd be closer to Tokyo before your flight.
 
Starting to look at places to stay now for Tokyo that's a bit nicer than a hostel and around the $200 per night range or less. The last time I visited I stayed in a great AirBnb in Roppongi and it was pretty reasonably priced. Are they still considered trustworthy, or are there hotel options we should be considering?

I've also heard that a lot of nicer restaurants require a reservation to be made through the hotel. Would staying at an AirBnb prevent us from having access to those?

You can do Hiroshima + Miyajima in one day pretty easily if you're just seeing the museum, I did that last time when I was staying in Osaka for a week. Nara can be a half day trip, I got Himeji castle done on the same day but it was slightly rushed in Nara and I did have to go back and forth, so a day in Nara should be fine tbh
Ok now I'm thinking I might do it this way:

Day 8: Osaka
Day 9: Hiroshima + Miyajima (spend the night in Miyajima)
Day 10: Head back to Tokyo and stop *somewhere* (Nara for half a day?) on the way OR head to Hakone or Nikko for onsen + overnight and head back to Tokyo the morning of Day 11

Hakone and Nikko were really good, though the latter would mean staying overnight. If you want a good onsen then I'd consider spending one of your Tokyo days in Hakone, you'd be able to get everything done there and be back in Tokyo by around 8pm, if you're particularly relaxed after the onsen you can still do something else in Tokyo that night.

If it were up to me though I'd try and somehow fit in Nikko in one of those three days, it was the highlight of my trip last time and you'd be closer to Tokyo before your flight.
This is the first I'm hearing about Nikko. Is it the type of place we'd want a full day in, or could we spend the afternoon and overnight on Day 10, and then head back to Tokyo on Day 11 for our flight? Does it also have good onsens (since you mentioned it alongside Hakone)?

I went to Hakone on my last trip and did the whole loop with the pirate ship and the cable cars. TBH it felt pretty kitschy to me and I wish we'd spent the time elsewhere, but now I'm wondering if we just did the wrong things (it was too cloudy to see Fuji, and we didn't check out an onsen).

If you have specific onsen recommendations for either place (particularly somewhere we could stay overnight) please share : )
 
I'm going back to Tokyo in november. Last time was a nice ride, but in the end didn't had much time to visit all the places I wanted to. I'm planning to visit Tokyo better and go to places like Nikko, Takaosan and Enoshima. Of course I have some questions:

- I really liked Kamakura, but in my day trip had time to visit only Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Hase-dera and the Daibutsu. Some others places/shrines/temples I should go in Kamakura ?

- Same with Yokohama, went to Osanbashi, Yamashita Park, Hikawamaru and Chinatown. I was thinking about Minatomirai and Sankei-en...

- Opinions for Showa Kinen Park and Kawagoe ?

- Did anyone went to Ushiku ? That Daibutsu seems really big :eek:
 
I went to Hakone on my last trip and did the whole loop with the pirate ship and the cable cars. TBH it felt pretty kitschy to me and I wish we'd spent the time elsewhere, but now I'm wondering if we just did the wrong things (it was too cloudy to see Fuji, and we didn't check out an onsen).
That's like 50% of the reason for going to Hakone in the first place!



- Opinions for Showa Kinen Park and Kawagoe ?
Showa Kinen Park is massive. Any particular reason why you want to go there though?
 
Well, I've started seriously planning my next trip which I'm pretty sure is going to be in December. More specifically sometime between the 10th and 23rd. Mostly because being a student, I'm limited to summer break, a week in march for spring break, and about a month for winter break. And I've already been there twice during the summer.

Currently flights are also cheap, as in under $900, so that's another deciding factor. Though being close to Christmas, am I going to have to worry about hotels filling up early? I also don't have an actual plan of where I want to go yet.
 
Starting to look at places to stay now for Tokyo that's a bit nicer than a hostel and around the $200 per night range or less. The last time I visited I stayed in a great AirBnb in Roppongi and it was pretty reasonably priced. Are they still considered trustworthy, or are there hotel options we should be considering?

I've also heard that a lot of nicer restaurants require a reservation to be made through the hotel. Would staying at an AirBnb prevent us from having access to those?



Ok now I'm thinking I might do it this way:

Day 8: Osaka
Day 9: Hiroshima + Miyajima (spend the night in Miyajima)
Day 10: Head back to Tokyo and stop *somewhere* (Nara for half a day?) on the way OR head to Hakone or Nikko for onsen + overnight and head back to Tokyo the morning of Day 11



This is the first I'm hearing about Nikko. Is it the type of place we'd want a full day in, or could we spend the afternoon and overnight on Day 10, and then head back to Tokyo on Day 11 for our flight? Does it also have good onsens (since you mentioned it alongside Hakone)?

I went to Hakone on my last trip and did the whole loop with the pirate ship and the cable cars. TBH it felt pretty kitschy to me and I wish we'd spent the time elsewhere, but now I'm wondering if we just did the wrong things (it was too cloudy to see Fuji, and we didn't check out an onsen).

If you have specific onsen recommendations for either place (particularly somewhere we could stay overnight) please share : )
So Nikko you'll ideally want to spend the whole day there and stay overnight, just because of how much there is to see and how the train times are set out. It was my highlight mainly because of how much it had to offer, there were great hiking trails, waterfalls, lakes and temples, so many photo opportunities. It's known for its onsens too, but I didn't go to them when I went so hopefully someone else will be able to advise you about that. If you are planning to go then in order of importance (imo) I'd check out 1) Senjogahara hiking trail + Yumoto Onsen 2) Toshogo Shrine 3) Shinkyo Bridge 4) Kegon Waterfall 5) Kanmangafuchi Abyss 6) Akechidaira Plateau 7) Ryuzu Waterfall
Since how much you get to see will depend on when you get to Nikko and what time you leave the following morning. Because of the way the different sites are placed, I'd recommend doing Toshogo Shrine and Shinkyou Bridge on the morning of the 11th (they shouldn't take too long) and everything else the day before (just the hiking trail + onsen if you can only get there in the afternoon). You'll want to pick up the leaflets showing the bus routes when you get your train tickets to Nikko, this site is pretty helpful too. The Senjogahara trail took about 3 hours, it's not particularly strenuous since it's mostly walking on flat surfaces, there are plenty of opportunities to sit down and admire the scenery, you'll get to see mountains in the distance and get taken through woods. At the end, I'd continue on, go up Yudaki Waterfall to Yunoko Lake, by that point you'll be close to the Yumoto Onsen area so you can relax in an onsen there after a long day. This is helpful if you want to do the hike (Link)

There are probably better places to visit than Hakone if you have already been and weren't impressed with the more touristy bits, even if you did miss out on the main draw of the place. If you still want to go back and experience an onsen though then I went to Tenzan Onsen which was well priced, had about 5 different pools to choose from with different temperatures and it wasn't too crowded.

Oh and for Tokyo hotels, I stayed in APA Hotel. They have quite a few branches and it was pretty good value, rooms were nice, couldn't complain.
 

Syroc

Tarsier Studios
Can anyone give me some recommendations for places that can serve as a good base for day hikes? I don't want to spend all my time here in the cities. Anywhere in Japan.

Most national parks seem kinda hard to reach unless you have a car. I could rent one but I'd rather not. Too expensive.
 
Seems like a relaxing park you can roaming around with a (rent) bicycle, and easy to reach from Tokyo. Do you recommend it ?
If you want to cycle around in a park then it's perfect, so yep, you should go there.


Can anyone give me some recommendations for places that can serve as a good base for day hikes? I don't want to spend all my time here in the cities. Anywhere in Japan.
Can go up to Mt. Takao or check out Chichibu, Hakone or Nikko if you're staying in Tokyo.
 
Random question, but is there an etiquette about eating in hotel rooms in Japan? Just wondering because I know last time I was in Japan, after spending 7 hours on a train, I just went to Family Mart, bought a bento, and at it in my room. But the garbage bins in the rooms are so small. My one bento box filled it up. That and I felt bad about not being able to separate the trash either. I'm sure I'm overthinking this, but just wondering.
 
Booked my Tokyo hotel finally :D
Staying at the Sakura Hotel in Ikebukero again, Aussie dollar sky rocketing at the moment has really helped with the price of the place. Nagoya Hotel was booked months ago, Osaka AirBnB all booked and flights done ages ago.
Now just need to get rail pass, data sim card, travel insurance, hotel for one night in Nagasaki, trip to Battleship Island and a few other odds and ends and I'm done and ready to go :D
 
Random question, but is there an etiquette about eating in hotel rooms in Japan? Just wondering because I know last time I was in Japan, after spending 7 hours on a train, I just went to Family Mart, bought a bento, and at it in my room. But the garbage bins in the rooms are so small. My one bento box filled it up. That and I felt bad about not being able to separate the trash either. I'm sure I'm overthinking this, but just wondering.
When we were there, there were always only tiny trash bins in the hotel rooms (we stayed at Toyoko Inn most of the time). But we had daily room service so it's not a problem.
 
So when I get to Nagasaki I will be going to Hashima Island, has anyone been to it before out of interest? If so which company did you go with? Any details I need to keep in mind when I get there?
 
It seems like I've missed the chance to buy Ghibli museum tickets for the end of August by about a week. Are there any 3rd-party StubHub-esque services I could use to get tickets at a premium, or am I out of luck?
 
They check passports/ID at the entrance now to see if the tickets match somebody in the party to combat resellers, so you're out of luck.
Damn, that's pretty intense for a museum.

I could shuffle things a bit so I have an extra day in Tokyo at the end of my trip. Is it worth it? I wish it weren't like 45 min away from Tokyo Station and in the opposite direction from Narita, because otherwise I could probably check it out in the morning before my 5 PM flight out. I think it would be a bit too tight though.
 
Got our tickets and hotel reserved for early October. Currently have Asakusa Hotel Hatago reserved because of the location and price. Working out a loose itinerary that i'll post once i'm finished if that's cool. Will be my 2nd time going but last time I went I wasn't really involved in any of the planning and was more just along for the ride. Had a blast but looking forward to hitting up things that my wife and I are really interested in. Going as a late honeymoon trip since we've both been busy with work.
 
Damn, that's pretty intense for a museum.

I could shuffle things a bit so I have an extra day in Tokyo at the end of my trip. Is it worth it?
If you really like Ghibli movies and the process of animation, then sure. If you're just there to buy goods or something, then no.


Edit: More tourism numbers:
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20...eign-tourist-visits-spending-hit-record-2017/

The Japan Tourism Agency said the number of foreign visitors in the January-June period grew 17.4 percent from the same six-month period a year earlier, reaching a record 13.76 million due mainly to an increase of South Korean tourists.

By countries and regions, visitors from South Korea accounted for the largest portion of foreign tourists in the period at 3.40 million, up 42.5 percent, followed by China at 3.28 million, up 6.7 percent, and Taiwan at 2.29 million, up 6.1 percent.

Those from Hong Kong also showed a notable increase of 24.8 percent to 1.08 million, according to the agency.

There have been more travelers from South Korea and Hong Kong due in part to an increase in flights offered by low cost carriers, the agency said.

Foreign tourists spent a record ¥2.05 trillion in the half-year period up 8.6 percent from the previous year, according to the agency, marking the first time spending has topped ¥2 trillion.

Britain topped the rankings of spending per visitor in the second quarter of 2017 at ¥251,171, up 36.2 percent, followed by Italy at ¥233,110, up 25.2 percent, and China at ¥225,485, up 2.5 percent.

In June alone, a record 2.35 million foreign tourists visited Japan, marking an 18.2 percent increase from a year earlier, the agency said.
 
Would I be better off going to Mt Fuji on Friday or Monday? Seems like lots of things are shut down on Mondays, but are Friday's more packed than other days? Probably want to avoid the weekend days I'm guessing.

Edit: I'm staying in Tokyo, so is there somewhere close to here that provides a good view rather than actually going all the way there?
 
Would I be better off going to Mt Fuji on Friday or Monday? Seems like lots of things are shut down on Mondays, but are Friday's more packed than other days? Probably want to avoid the weekend days I'm guessing.

Edit: I'm staying in Tokyo, so is there somewhere close to here that provides a good view rather than actually going all the way there?
What things are shut down on Mondays?

As for view. You can see Fuji from Mt. Takao. About 60 minutes away from Tokyo.
 
Would it be daunting to travel to Japan alone or should you try to bring someone? I'm trying to go sometime in 2020 or after, so I do have some time to find someone.