Japan Travel |OT| We have to go back

AllenShrz

Member
Nov 6, 2017
205
You got any places that you would recommend in a heartbeat? I have half of my itinerary nailed down (Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone, Nagano, Takayama, Kyoto). I was going to skip Osaka as nothing as actually grabbed me , but researching it a bit more thoroughly it seems their are actually loads of good day trips (Asuaka (I like history), Mount Koya, plus Nara would be easier from their) which would cut into my time there a little bit. I was going to go to Kyushu after Naoshima (I like art) and some time spent in Okayama (again mainly day trips) and Hiroshima/Miyajima but I wonder if I'm selling my time in Kyushu a little short so I might turn back on myself and leave Kyushu for another time. I kind of want to fit Nikko in as well before I leave.

Man there are too many places I want to visit. Going for two months, but I like to travel slowly and enjoy ambling around. You think it would be enough but it isn't haha!
Have you been to Japan before?

If you go to Koya, visit Enryakuji too (is not open in winter) , is like 40 mins from Kyoto sta coming up from Shiga. Also Ise shirne and Izumo taisha are super special, quite unique and not at all like your normal temple complex.

I would not skip Osaka unless you have been there before.

For pretty castles, if you are into that, visit Himeji, Matsumoto castle are some of the most striking.

In Kyoto you should visit off the beat temples and what not. Not only you will see very few tourists but if you are lucky maybe not even anyone at all and they will be yours to admire without the crowds. For example, last week I visited Komioji, Biodojin and Taikokuji and they were empty.

Kyushu, well of course Fukuoka is a must but you dont need that many days there, Nagasaki is gorgeous and well worth the visit.

If you whant something more specific let me know. I highly recommend spend more and stay at ryokans if the area you visit have them.



I’m going back to Japan in April (because we have to go back..) and on a whim I booked Kanazawa for a few days. Any strong recommendations while I’m there? I haven’t done much research yet, but the wife and I are always up for anything.

If it is you first time there, visit the tourist places, they are quite beautiful, the castle of the Maeda, the gardens, etc. When you go to the Higashiyama area, visit the gold leaf museum, is small but wroth it and very close to the area and for what ever reason not many people visit it. Maybe consider since you will up there, to visit one day Toyama city, it was quite beautiful and close to Kanazawa.
 

Fei

Member
Oct 25, 2017
164
If it is you first time there, visit the tourist places, they are quite beautiful, the castle of the Maeda, the gardens, etc. When you go to the Higashiyama area, visit the gold leaf museum, is small but wroth it and very close to the area and for what ever reason not many people visit it. Maybe consider since you will up there, to visit one day Toyama city, it was quite beautiful and close to Kanazawa.
I’ll check these out - thanks so much!
 

JoelStinty

Member
Aug 15, 2019
175
Have you been to Japan before?

If you go to Koya, visit Enryakuji too (is not open in winter) , is like 40 mins from Kyoto sta coming up from Shiga. Also Ise shirne and Izumo taisha are super special, quite unique and not at all like your normal temple complex.

I would not skip Osaka unless you have been there before.

For pretty castles, if you are into that, visit Himeji, Matsumoto castle are some of the most striking.

In Kyoto you should visit off the beat temples and what not. Not only you will see very few tourists but if you are lucky maybe not even anyone at all and they will be yours to admire without the crowds. For example, last week I visited Komioji, Biodojin and Taikokuji and they were empty.

Kyushu, well of course Fukuoka is a must but you dont need that many days there, Nagasaki is gorgeous and well worth the visit.

If you whant something more specific let me know. I highly recommend spend more and stay at ryokans if the area you visit have them.






If it is you first time there, visit the tourist places, they are quite beautiful, the castle of the Maeda, the gardens, etc. When you go to the Higashiyama area, visit the gold leaf museum, is small but wroth it and very close to the area and for what ever reason not many people visit it. Maybe consider since you will up there, to visit one day Toyama city, it was quite beautiful and close to Kanazawa.
Thanks for the reply. No I haven't been to Japan before, it will be my first time. Really looking forward to it. Thanks for the recommendations. Ise shrine looks really pretty. Like that the design looks different from other shinto (seemingly, yet to see any in real life) and buddist temples, seems to be a fair few curves in its design.

Yeah I plan to visit Himeji. Not sure whether to add it to Okayama or Osaka. Probably the former as it will mean an extra evening somewhere else after a few days in Osaka. Planning to do a day visit from Nagano for Matsumoto, perhaps do the castle in the morning and then the Yayoi gallery in the afternoon or vice versa
 

AllenShrz

Member
Nov 6, 2017
205
Thanks for the reply. No I haven't been to Japan before, it will be my first time. Really looking forward to it. Thanks for the recommendations. Ise shrine looks really pretty. Like that the design looks different from other shinto (seemingly, yet to see any in real life) and buddist temples, seems to be a fair few curves in its design.

Yeah I plan to visit Himeji. Not sure whether to add it to Okayama or Osaka. Probably the former as it will mean an extra evening somewhere else after a few days in Osaka. Planning to do a day visit from Nagano for Matsumoto, perhaps do the castle in the morning and then the Yayoi gallery in the afternoon or vice versa

If you go to Koya and Ise, depending if you want to spend a night in those places, Osaka as your base is not a bad option.

For Nagano besides Matsumoto, also visit Zenkoji and the surroundings and the Hokusai Museum, that area is supper beautiful and close the museum there is a shrine with an original dragon painted on the ceiling by Hokusai
 
Oct 28, 2017
3,549
manchester
hello all!
bit of advice - off to japan on the 19th and was thinking about the most convenient way to buy things. here in the UK i'd use my debit card 99.9% of the time, but i was thinking cash might just be the easiest and cheapest way.
other options would be to use a pre-loaded visa/mastercard type deal, are those commonly accepted and has anyone had any experience with them?
 

JoelStinty

Member
Aug 15, 2019
175
hello all!
bit of advice - off to japan on the 19th and was thinking about the most convenient way to buy things. here in the UK i'd use my debit card 99.9% of the time, but i was thinking cash might just be the easiest and cheapest way.
other options would be to use a pre-loaded visa/mastercard type deal, are those commonly accepted and has anyone had any experience with them?
I’m not sure about card use etc but I’d have a look at getting a starling or monzo card as they are free to use in foreign countries (cash machines will still charge you but you won’t get charged on top of that by your bank). They’re standard debit cards (MasterCard).

I’m not sure about card use etc. Reading online it seems cash is still king there but you should be ok with visa/MasterCard . 7/11’s in all Asian counties are great places to withdraw money
 

TheAggroCraig

Member
Nov 6, 2017
1,029
I used 3 forms of payment during my trip.

1. Cash - You can not go wrong with this, but check to see what your bank charges for ATM/foreign transaction fees. Mine does not do any of the latter and I got hit with a couple of ATM charges the whole trip, no big deal. Pull out as few time as possible to avoid those.

2. Credit Card w/no foreign transaction fees - I have a travel card that I used whenever I could just so I could use cash when I needed to. I definitely geared myself to go to places that took cards because I hate dealing with cash, but it greatly limits where you can go for food, especially outside of the main Tokyo area. I also got a backup card for the trip in case one got denied, the Capital One Quicksilver iirc, which gave me $150 back in rewards after spending $500 as well, which I just paid off after the trip and don't really use it now.

3. Suica card - In the city quite a few places took Suica as payment, so I'd just load money from my phone via my credit card and would pay right there.

This is just my personal opinion though since I know not everyone has a CC/likes them, but again, you can't go wrong with cash whatsoever.
 

thepenguin55

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,164
Fantastic/helpful thread! I just booked a flight to Tokyo for October 21st as the price was too good and it's the time of year that I wanted to go. Excluding Canada, this will be my first trip outside of the US and it's one that I've dreamed of for years. I'm going solo and I'll be there for 3 weeks. Admittedly I don't have all my other ducks in a row just yet (where I'll be staying, my passport, bus pass, etc) but thankfully I have time to nail that stuff down.

I'll be watching and pouring through this thread over the next 10 months but I'm sure I'll still end up with a bunch of questions, like this one: what the hell does "return/onward ticket held" mean? United has a form you can fill out if you don't already have a passport and one of the fields is labeled "Ticket" and it has two fields to select: "return/onward ticket held" or "no return/onward ticket held". I did a quick Google search but that didn't help me much (it has something to do with round trips maybe?) so any help would be appreciated.
 

Worthintendo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
726
Watching a video today in Aomori, recorded really recently and the place is covered in snow. I think my plan of just using my normal walking shoes and covering them in water resistant spray is a very very dumb idea.

Now I'm gonna have to spend the next day trying to find if there is anyway I can get size 16 shoes suitable for walking in the snow that will be able to be delivered to me before I fly out on the 14th :\

Otherwise I'm going to have to try the stores in Tokyo that cater to larger shoe sizes when I get there.
 

Rahvar

Weight Loss Champion 2018: Most Lost
Member
Oct 25, 2017
750
Sweden
Watching a video today in Aomori, recorded really recently and the place is covered in snow. I think my plan of just using my normal walking shoes and covering them in water resistant spray is a very very dumb idea.

Now I'm gonna have to spend the next day trying to find if there is anyway I can get size 16 shoes suitable for walking in the snow that will be able to be delivered to me before I fly out on the 14th :\

Otherwise I'm going to have to try the stores in Tokyo that cater to larger shoe sizes when I get there.
Odds of finding something even remotely close to a size 16 is miniscule at best.
 

AllenShrz

Member
Nov 6, 2017
205
Watching a video today in Aomori, recorded really recently and the place is covered in snow. I think my plan of just using my normal walking shoes and covering them in water resistant spray is a very very dumb idea.

Now I'm gonna have to spend the next day trying to find if there is anyway I can get size 16 shoes suitable for walking in the snow that will be able to be delivered to me before I fly out on the 14th :\

Otherwise I'm going to have to try the stores in Tokyo that cater to larger shoe sizes when I get there.
Amazon is your friend.
 

ahdurian

Member
Oct 25, 2017
593
Hey all
so I'm thinking of heading back to Japan in the next few months.
I've been to Osaka maybe 2-3 times in the past 6 years, for a total of just under 4 weeks.
I've been to Tokyo for total of 8 days last year by myself just to get lost in the city.

If I was planning to go back to either, which would be more of an "ideal" time for sightseeing; March->April or May?
I'm more into the cultural/nature aspect of visiting Japan, as I've really liked visiting all the different shrines/temples, as well as the parks while I was there, compared to the cities, but doesn't mean I'm not open to exploring those more.
 

TheAggroCraig

Member
Nov 6, 2017
1,029
Hey all
so I'm thinking of heading back to Japan in the next few months.
I've been to Osaka maybe 2-3 times in the past 6 years, for a total of just under 4 weeks.
I've been to Tokyo for total of 8 days last year by myself just to get lost in the city.

If I was planning to go back to either, which would be more of an "ideal" time for sightseeing; March->April or May?
I'm more into the cultural/nature aspect of visiting Japan, as I've really liked visiting all the different shrines/temples, as well as the parks while I was there, compared to the cities, but doesn't mean I'm not open to exploring those more.
March/April is cherry blossom season, so given what you're into I'd say that.

They bloom in different parts of the country at different times, the more north you go the later they are, just fyi, but that window you'd be able to see them somewhere anyways.
 

Rahvar

Weight Loss Champion 2018: Most Lost
Member
Oct 25, 2017
750
Sweden
When is the Golden Week and what is it?
Golden Week is a group of holidays in Japan that means that most members f Japan have an extended time off of work. It is highly recommended that you do not travel in Japan during it because A. Some things will be closed. B. There will be a lot of domestic tourists everywhere.

It usually takes place around the first week of May. You can google golden week 2020 to see the exact dates. I just woke up and on my phone so don't feel like linking :p
 

mantis

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,208
Haven been to Japan during Golden Week two times. Also last year when it was especially long. Wasn't too big a deal tbh. Touristy spots are always crowded, not just during GW. You will only see more locals than usual there.

As for the exact dates. You can find em here.
 

Bad Advice

Member
Jan 8, 2019
371
Most fitting thread title. I want to go back so badly. But now with kids etc. my wife are planning for a second Japan trip in... 20 years lol.
 

Lapsed

Member
Oct 31, 2017
5,380
I'm flying out to Japan for the first time on Thursday. 5 nights in Tokyo (but the first night we arrive very late), 3 nights in Kyoto, 2 nights in Osaka, 1 night in Koya and 2 nights in Fujikawaguchiko.

Thanks to everyone for so much helpful advice throughout the thread.
 

Fei

Member
Oct 25, 2017
164
I'm flying out to Japan for the first time on Thursday. 5 nights in Tokyo (but the first night we arrive very late), 3 nights in Kyoto, 2 nights in Osaka, 1 night in Koya and 2 nights in Fujikawaguchiko.

Thanks to everyone for so much helpful advice throughout the thread.
Awesome, have fun! I’d love to hear how Fujikawaguchiko is specifically when you get back!
 

ElMexiMerican

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,093
Hey all! Me and a group of friends are going back to Japan in March, and I was wondering what are some of the better areas to search for retro games that are off the beaten path a bit? We're staying in Tokyo, but I don't mind making a day trip out of going somewhere far if the pickings are a little better.

Edit: Since I'm posting already - what's a good backpack to use while im there? The one I used last time was kind of big, and I'd like to get something a little more compact.
 

Valkerion

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,337
Fantastic/helpful thread! I just booked a flight to Tokyo for October 21st as the price was too good and it's the time of year that I wanted to go. Excluding Canada, this will be my first trip outside of the US and it's one that I've dreamed of for years. I'm going solo and I'll be there for 3 weeks. Admittedly I don't have all my other ducks in a row just yet (where I'll be staying, my passport, bus pass, etc) but thankfully I have time to nail that stuff down.
You got 10 months to think about it which is awesome! My biggest advice is get your passport ASAP haha. People who don't have one/a valid one always wait til the last minute. It can take like a month to get it so knock it out well in advance, particularly before summer.
 
OP
OP
MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,649
Hey all! Me and a group of friends are going back to Japan in March, and I was wondering what are some of the better areas to search for retro games that are off the beaten path a bit? We're staying in Tokyo, but I don't mind making a day trip out of going somewhere far if the pickings are a little better.
Just check any Book Off/Hard Off/Hobby Off in whatever areas you explore and see if they got stuff :P
 

Lapsed

Member
Oct 31, 2017
5,380
I suppose before I go I should ask, and I apologize if I have overlooked this, but can anyone recommend a nice kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto? I think my travel companions and I are comfortable spending around 15-20K each. It is really kind of hard to tell where would be worthwhile, so if any of you have any suggestions I would appreciate it greatly.
 

aOlafsson

Member
Oct 27, 2017
34
I suppose before I go I should ask, and I apologize if I have overlooked this, but can anyone recommend a nice kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto? I think my travel companions and I are comfortable spending around 15-20K each. It is really kind of hard to tell where would be worthwhile, so if any of you have any suggestions I would appreciate it greatly.
This place is my favorite restaurant in the world. It's kaiseki but not quite the traditional Kyoto kaiseki style if that's more what you're looking for. Will note that for the majority of the kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto you might have to book ahead.
 

JoelStinty

Member
Aug 15, 2019
175
I'm flying out to Japan for the first time on Thursday. 5 nights in Tokyo (but the first night we arrive very late), 3 nights in Kyoto, 2 nights in Osaka, 1 night in Koya and 2 nights in Fujikawaguchiko.

Thanks to everyone for so much helpful advice throughout the thread.
I been juggling my itinerary around a little bit and I may have a spare week in mid to late April.Exactly the same time the shiba Sakura festival is on at fujikawaguchiko. It may have to be done!
 

Laevateinn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
993
Chicago
Hey all! Me and a group of friends are going back to Japan in March, and I was wondering what are some of the better areas to search for retro games that are off the beaten path a bit? We're staying in Tokyo, but I don't mind making a day trip out of going somewhere far if the pickings are a little better.

Edit: Since I'm posting already - what's a good backpack to use while im there? The one I used last time was kind of big, and I'd like to get something a little more compact.
It's getting a little harder to find retro games in out of the way places unfortunately. I'm pretty sure a lot of those sellers have moved online mostly. Hard Off and Book Off are ubiquitous but you might get lucky and find something more unique or interesting. Outside of Akiba, there's a Super Potato in Ikebukuro that a lot of people don't seem to know about.
 

abellwillring

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,760
Austin, TX
Hi all -- wife and I went to Japan for our honeymoon in 2013 and we're planning to go back again in June with our friends who we often travel with. My wife is more of the planner and has worked out a general framework with a few days in Kyoto, a few days in Osaka (some time in Nara in here as well) and a number of days in Tokyo at the back end. We'll go to Tokyo DisneySea for a day and potentially Universal in Osaka as well for the Nintendo World but I guess that might be a bit touch and go.

It would be nice to maybe visit another city or two (last time we spent a day in Hakone) if only to really get the most out of our JR Pass, but since our friends have never been we want to make sure they get enough time to experience Tokyo. It'll obviously be a bit crazier than normal with the Olympics imminent as well which should be fun. With that being said, I've learned a bit about Nikko (which I was unfamiliar with) through some Youtube videos recently and it looks like it would be an amazing place to visit. I'd also really like to visit Hiroshima while we're part of the way there but that would mean 5 hours to get back to Tokyo rather than 3.5 which might come off as a lot of "wasted" time depending on when we did the ride. Looking for some thoughts/input from folks who've been to both or either place (Nikko and Hiroshima) and whether we really shouldn't miss one or the other. I don't think we can do both unfortunately.
 

ElMexiMerican

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,093
It's getting a little harder to find retro games in out of the way places unfortunately. I'm pretty sure a lot of those sellers have moved online mostly. Hard Off and Book Off are ubiquitous but you might get lucky and find something more unique or interesting. Outside of Akiba, there's a Super Potato in Ikebukuro that a lot of people don't seem to know about.
Thanks! I'll have to give it a look when I'm over there. I got a lot of the things I was looking for my last time around, so I'm hoping I'll have the same luck this time.
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,649
I'd also really like to visit Hiroshima while we're part of the way there but that would mean 5 hours to get back to Tokyo rather than 3.5 which might come off as a lot of "wasted" time depending on when we did the ride.
Why not just do it as a day trip from Osaka? Could possibly skip Nara (if you've been before) and check out the deer at Miyajima Island near Hiroshima instead if you go early in the day.
 

Luckett_X

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
1,182
Leeds, UK
I went to TGS back in 2005 so the world has changed a lot and smartphones make trips like this a lot easier. Looking at flights this weekend, aiming to go in May with my wife. Trying to squeeze way more in this time, still focussing on Tokyo, but also trying to work out how to go to Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki as well. Never done a plane flight trip inside of another holiday before. Also kinda stressing out over the number of things I'll have to try and score tickets for the month beforehand through table booking sites. Ghibli, various theme cafes, that sorta thing. KINDA STRESSING OUT A LOT.

Going for a full 2 weeks I think. Didnt get a JR Pass last time, but wondering if its worth it this time or not. Not currently planning on going too far out of Tokyo other than the Nagasaki trip.
 

abellwillring

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,760
Austin, TX
Why not just do it as a day trip from Osaka? Could possibly skip Nara (if you've been before) and check out the deer at Miyajima Island near Hiroshima instead if you go early in the day.
We actually did not visit Nara last time but wanted to be basic this time and see the deer, so this seems like a great compromise. I knew about the island as well but hadn't really considered it as a full alternative. Thank you so much for this suggestion!

If anyone has some strong thoughts on Nikko and why it can't be missed though, please feel free to share them.
 

abellwillring

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,760
Austin, TX
Going for a full 2 weeks I think. Didnt get a JR Pass last time, but wondering if its worth it this time or not. Not currently planning on going too far out of Tokyo other than the Nagasaki trip.
When we went last time, we were there for about 11 days or so but only did the 7-day JR pass and just waited to activate it so to speak until we went to Kyoto a day or two in. The cost to take the train to and from Kyoto exceeded the price of the JR Pass so it was a no-brainer. I would look at the cost of flying from Tokyo to Nagasaki vs the train costs and decide that way. If you're considering riding the train there though, I am confident you'll get your value out of the JR Pass (be it 7 or 14 days).
 

Luckett_X

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
1,182
Leeds, UK
When we went last time, we were there for about 11 days or so but only did the 7-day JR pass and just waited to activate it so to speak until we went to Kyoto a day or two in. The cost to take the train to and from Kyoto exceeded the price of the JR Pass so it was a no-brainer. I would look at the cost of flying from Tokyo to Nagasaki vs the train costs and decide that way.
I think we're definitely going to have to do a flight because otherwise its like 7 hours just to get there that eats up an entire day+ on trains in whats supposed to be a holiday. And also the only reason we want to go to Huis Ten Bosch is to go on the 30 minute One Piece ship, so, lol?

If it was feasible I'd try and squeeze the Tezuka museum in, but its only a small place, I don't think we'll be trying to fit Osaka in and I don't want to break the budget beyond its already tight limits.
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,649
Trying to squeeze way more in this time, still focussing on Tokyo, but also trying to work out how to go to Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki as well. Never done a plane flight trip inside of another holiday before.
Well, check the discount flights info in the OP. FUK is the biggest nearby airport, but both HSG and of course NGS is closer to Nagasaki itself.
 

DeusOcha

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,222
SoCal, US
Hey all. So its 2020 and Spring is just a few months away. I actually got a date to be in Japan by the company I'm hired at (Interac) which says to be at Hanamatsu City at most by the 22 of March with training at the 23rd. And while I still have to get my Visa sorted out I've been given the okay by the company to go ahead and book a flight in advance.

Just wondering which airline I should pick, and since I'm essentially moving, tips for carry-on luggage. As a requirement I am bringing over my custom PC rig as carry-on (just the tower, not the monitor) but will disassemble it which will probably be its own suitcase. For you all who first moved over to Japan how much luggage did you bring both carry-on and checked baggage? Also any recommendations for hotels would be appreciated!
 

Razgriz417

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,785
ok so a bit of a change in itinerary for my March trip. Now my group wants to hit Sapporo, while we're in Japan. Any restaurant and attraction recommendations? I know crab and ice cream are great there but any specific recommendations?
 

mantis

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,208
Ramen Shingen

Was pretty good Ramen and there was always a long queue. So must be a good place.
 

thepenguin55

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,164
You got 10 months to think about it which is awesome! My biggest advice is get your passport ASAP haha. People who don't have one/a valid one always wait til the last minute. It can take like a month to get it so knock it out well in advance, particularly before summer.
Yeah, honestly I'll probably nail that down before I book a place to stay and get any train or bus passes. With it being my first international travel I definitely wanted to make sure that I wasn't under any sort of time crunch to get everything together.

With that in mind I'm trying to figure out what would offer me the most flexibility as it relates to trains and buses. It seems like the prepaid cards like Suica, Pasmo and Icoca would be the best way for me to go but I'm having a hard time discerning what the benefit of getting one card over the other is as the all seem the same? Is it just best to go for the card nearest to where you land?