Japan Travel |OT| We have to go back

Aftervirtue

Member
Nov 13, 2017
984
Anyone going to be in Tokyo this weekend? I’m flying in to attend the 20th anniversary Chrono Cross concert with Yasunori Mitsuda. It’s on Saturday the 25th in Nanako at 3pm. Actually have two extra tickets due to winning more than I need from the reservation lottery.
 

AllenShrz

Member
Nov 6, 2017
211
what's a visa discount?

You can buy tax free on those stores with your passport BUT oh boy.... Im afraid to tell you games here and specially from nintendo are more expensive than in the rest of the world if you buy them new.

About the headphones, If you really want to see the good stuff visit the https://www.e-earphone.jp/ store at Akihabara.
 
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Worthintendo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
732
what's a visa discount?

You can buy tax free on those stores with your passport BUT oh boy.... Im afraid to tell you games here and specially from nintendo are more expensive than in the rest of the world if you buy them new.

About the headphones, If you really want to see the good stuff visit the https://www.e-earphone.jp/ store at Akihabara.
Meant the visa credit card discount, and I dunno, Nintendo stuff seems way more cheaper here than back home. Switch will cost me about $50 Australian more back home than here, so it's not that bad in the grand scheme of things.

Thanks for clearing that up Mike :) so you get the visa discount on Nintendo stuff at Yodobashi?
 
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Kendrid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,373
Chicago, IL
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.
How do you load a Suica from your phone? I was there last August and loaded it with cash at train stations. I am probably heading back in a month or two for work, I’ll have 4 days to be a tourist. Last time I had 4 days and did quite a bit in Tokyo and one day in Hakone. Hakone was rushed and I should have stayed the night.
 

Whatislove

Member
Jan 2, 2019
643
Hi everyone.

I'm going to Japan after the Olympics this year (last week of October & first week of November) and have some questions. Currently, we're planning on spending some time in Akihabara. Doing some digging on this and there seem to be a LOT of stores and locations listed as things to do but I'm not actually sure what's worth taking the time to visit. Can anyone give me an idea of what to expect and maybe recommend things to see?
 

TheAggroCraig

Member
Nov 6, 2017
1,071
How do you load a Suica from your phone? I was there last August and loaded it with cash at train stations. I am probably heading back in a month or two for work, I’ll have 4 days to be a tourist. Last time I had 4 days and did quite a bit in Tokyo and one day in Hakone. Hakone was rushed and I should have stayed the night.
I think you can only do it with an iPhone, as my friend has Android and there was no option so he got a Passmo card. I had it set as my default "tap to pay" card, and when I click on it you have an option to reload it up to 20,000 yen (500-20,000 yen in various increments).

If you do have an iPhone, download the SUICAENG app in the US App store. I think there's a JP Version too just called SUICA and it's the same thing in Japanese and should work. DM me if you have any other questions though and I can show you screenshots or something.
 

Cádiz

Member
Oct 27, 2017
38
Washington D.C.
I'll be going to Japan for the first time in August for two weeks, intending to spend some time in Tokyo and Kyoto. Is it worth it to go to Kyushu or other regions/towns?
 

Kendrid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,373
Chicago, IL
I think you can only do it with an iPhone, as my friend has Android and there was no option so he got a Passmo card. I had it set as my default "tap to pay" card, and when I click on it you have an option to reload it up to 20,000 yen (500-20,000 yen in various increments).

If you do have an iPhone, download the SUICAENG app in the US App store. I think there's a JP Version too just called SUICA and it's the same thing in Japanese and should work. DM me if you have any other questions though and I can show you screenshots or something.
Thank you for the detailed response. I have a Google Pixel 3a so I guess I am out of luck. I saw a lot of locals put their phones on the turnstiles and I thought maybe they had their card in their phone case. Dumb me. :)

I'll just use cash my next visit. It makes it so much easier to expense anyway, it is all "train expenses" if I buy water or play a crane game. I'm actually very honest so I didn't do arcades on the card but I did use vending machines, I was there for work so it is allowed.
 
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Kendrid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,373
Chicago, IL
Kamakura question. Last time I was in Tokyo my favorite experiences were random alleys. I will most likely be going again in the next few months for work and I'd like to explore more. There is a $100 USD tour of Kamakura that visits many shrines. Can I do similar solo doing what I want within a day? They sell that you will "see more" if you do a tour.

Some photos from my previous visit.
 

Valkerion

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,430
I'll be going to Japan for the first time in August for two weeks, intending to spend some time in Tokyo and Kyoto. Is it worth it to go to Kyushu or other regions/towns?
Only if you got a plan I'd say. I'm always an advocate for people to escape the usual tourist stuff of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka just because its so well documented it kinda feels like you have already seen everything even when you are there personally. There's a lot of unique stuff in a ton of areas in Japan and the smaller or different than usual cities have some unique charms and quirks but usually only if you have an idea of whats up.

Least thats how I feel about Tokyo when I go.

Anyone going to be in Tokyo this weekend? I’m flying in to attend the 20th anniversary Chrono Cross concert with Yasunori Mitsuda. It’s on Saturday the 25th in Nanako at 3pm. Actually have two extra tickets due to winning more than I need from the reservation lottery.
I'll be at EVO Japan this weekend sadly. As a Cross fan I'd love to go to this but had no idea about it! or maybe just forgot haha.
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,711
I'm going to Japan after the Olympics this year (last week of October & first week of November) and have some questions. Currently, we're planning on spending some time in Akihabara. Doing some digging on this and there seem to be a LOT of stores and locations listed as things to do but I'm not actually sure what's worth taking the time to visit. Can anyone give me an idea of what to expect and maybe recommend things to see?
Depends on what you're interested in :P


I'll be going to Japan for the first time in August for two weeks, intending to spend some time in Tokyo and Kyoto. Is it worth it to go to Kyushu or other regions/towns?
Nah. Could take a day trip to Hiroshima though.


Kamakura question. Last time I was in Tokyo my favorite experiences were random alleys. I will most likely be going again in the next few months for work and I'd like to explore more. There is a $100 USD tour of Kamakura that visits many shrines. Can I do similar solo doing what I want within a day? They sell that you will "see more" if you do a tour.
Well, what does the tour visit :P
 

mere_immortal

Member
Oct 25, 2017
420
Booking as much stuff in advance for my Feb trip. Anyone have opinions on going to both Skytree levels, or just go for the one? Also worth getting the slightly more expensive quick pass ticket?
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,516
Hi everyone.

I'm going to Japan after the Olympics this year (last week of October & first week of November) and have some questions. Currently, we're planning on spending some time in Akihabara. Doing some digging on this and there seem to be a LOT of stores and locations listed as things to do but I'm not actually sure what's worth taking the time to visit. Can anyone give me an idea of what to expect and maybe recommend things to see?
It depends on what you're looking for. You can literally spend a week just browsing shelves up and down, but it's a bit of a waste of time really. At some point it's better to just go on Ebay for that obscure, overpriced item.

Let me know and I can give you some recommendations.
 

Whatislove

Member
Jan 2, 2019
643
Depends on what you're interested in :P
It depends on what you're looking for. You can literally spend a week just browsing shelves up and down, but it's a bit of a waste of time really. At some point it's better to just go on Ebay for that obscure, overpriced item.

Let me know and I can give you some recommendations.
I'm looking ideally for some gaming shops but also anything really iconic in the area since I'll be there with my family (the rest of which don't like gaming).
 

TheAggroCraig

Member
Nov 6, 2017
1,071
I'm looking ideally for some gaming shops but also anything really iconic in the area since I'll be there with my family (the rest of which don't like gaming).
IMO the gaming scene for Akihabara was mostly overpriced, there were very few stores that I actually picked stuff up at. Book Off/Hard Off were probably the best, but Mandarake has a lot as well, and there's a lot of locations throughout the country for each of these so don't restrict yourself to just the Akihabara locations (even though they do have a lot of stock).
 

Kendrid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,373
Chicago, IL
Well, what does the tour visit :P
Kotoku-in (Great Buddha of Kamakura)
Stop: 30 minutes - Admission included

Jomyo-ji Temple
Stop: 40 minutes - Admission included

Hokokuji Temple (Takedera Temple)
Stop: 30 minutes - Admission included

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
Stop: 40 minutes - Admission included

Enoshima Island
Stop: 90 minutes - Admission included

Hase-dera Temple
Stop: 40 minutes - Admission included

You'll end at
1-chōme-7-2 Nishishinjuku

Depart 8:15 am, duration 9 hours 30 minutes. $115 USD.
It adds up to 4.5 hours at the locations so 5 hours travel. The train is one hour each way so if I go solo.

Thanks
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,711
Depart 8:15 am, duration 9 hours 30 minutes. $115 USD.
It adds up to 4.5 hours at the locations so 5 hours travel.
Eh, it's just as easy getting the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass and doing most of it yourself: https://www.odakyu.jp/english/passes/enoshima_kamakura/

The only slightly difficult ones to get to are Jomyo-ji Temple and Hokokuji Temple (Takedera Temple), but you can take a bus if you really want to visit those, or you could switch those out with other temples around Kamakura/Enoshima (like Engakuji Temple and Ryukoji Temple), or spend more time at Enoshima where you could check out the caves and the view from the sea candle as well.

Kotoku-in (Great Buddha of Kamakura) and Hase-dera Temple are located quite close to each-other, so dunno why the tour doesn't do both those at the same time either.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,516
I'm looking ideally for some gaming shops but also anything really iconic in the area since I'll be there with my family (the rest of which don't like gaming).
Okay, real talk. If you're going with family, especially non-gamer family, note that Akihabara is packed and overflowing with anime titty. Like, even on the streets. It's not a great look. You also do not want to do to any of the Trader stores, they have porn upstairs and lots of ads for it. Also, obviously, stay away from places like Toranoana or Melonbooks. The used figure displays in Radio Kaikan and Akiba Cultures Zone are mostly safe, but also take a ton of time to look through and 90% of it will be One Piece, Dragon Ball or generic anime girls.

Many of the places are mostly for browsing for that rare item (which will inevitably be overpriced) and not that "iconic". I guess Super Potato is one, but, meh. If I were to pick out notable places worth visiting:

* Taito HEY (Hirose Entertainment Yard), huge arcade with tons of classics, unlike the Taito Game Stations and Sega arcades that litter Japan. Fairly clean and not TOO noisy either. On the main street.
* Kotobukiya, merch store that focuses on huge brands like Final Fantasy, Ghibli, Marvel, Star Wars etc. Quite safe to visit. On the side street to the west.
* If you're not going to Super Potato, check out one of these:
- Friends (on the 2nd and 3rd floor of a fairly nondescript building to the north at the first major intersection. All kinds of retro stuff and better deals than SP.
- Retro Game Camp (at least two locations on the main street, one in a basement). Retro stuff, decent prices.
- Beep (basement store on the west side street). Really, REALLY obscure retro stuff and a cool, scruffy location.
These are all fairly gaming focused and have little to no anime otaku stuff.

It might be a good idea to drop the family off at Yodobashi (near the station), it's a huge department store with electronics and toys and stuff if you're going to spend any amount of time in Akihabara. There's probably more for them to do there.
 

Whatislove

Member
Jan 2, 2019
643
Okay, real talk. If you're going with family, especially non-gamer family, note that Akihabara is packed and overflowing with anime titty. Like, even on the streets. It's not a great look. You also do not want to do to any of the Trader stores, they have porn upstairs and lots of ads for it. Also, obviously, stay away from places like Toranoana or Melonbooks. The used figure displays in Radio Kaikan and Akiba Cultures Zone are mostly safe, but also take a ton of time to look through and 90% of it will be One Piece, Dragon Ball or generic anime girls.

Many of the places are mostly for browsing for that rare item (which will inevitably be overpriced) and not that "iconic". I guess Super Potato is one, but, meh. If I were to pick out notable places worth visiting:

* Taito HEY (Hirose Entertainment Yard), huge arcade with tons of classics, unlike the Taito Game Stations and Sega arcades that litter Japan. Fairly clean and not TOO noisy either. On the main street.
* Kotobukiya, merch store that focuses on huge brands like Final Fantasy, Ghibli, Marvel, Star Wars etc. Quite safe to visit. On the side street to the west.
* If you're not going to Super Potato, check out one of these:
- Friends (on the 2nd and 3rd floor of a fairly nondescript building to the north at the first major intersection. All kinds of retro stuff and better deals than SP.
- Retro Game Camp (at least two locations on the main street, one in a basement). Retro stuff, decent prices.
- Beep (basement store on the west side street). Really, REALLY obscure retro stuff and a cool, scruffy location.
These are all fairly gaming focused and have little to no anime otaku stuff.

It might be a good idea to drop the family off at Yodobashi (near the station), it's a huge department store with electronics and toys and stuff if you're going to spend any amount of time in Akihabara. There's probably more for them to do there.
This is great, thank you!
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,516
Oh, and it's worth reiterating: Hiroshima is WELL worth a couple of days. If you can get out to Miyajima early (before 10 at least) on a sunny day, it's magical. The city itself is also really nice.

I'd rather go back there than Osaka or Kyoto. Even though I'm probably going north on my next trip, I need to fit Hiroshima into the schedule somehow.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,073
Oh, and it's worth reiterating: Hiroshima is WELL worth a couple of days. If you can get out to Miyajima early (before 10 at least) on a sunny day, it's magical. The city itself is also really nice.

I'd rather go back there than Osaka or Kyoto. Even though I'm probably going north on my next trip, I need to fit Hiroshima into the schedule somehow.
we did 2 days
- Shinkansen to Hiroshima from Tokyo
- spend rest of day in Hiroshima
- okonomiyaki :)
- street car down to Ferry terminal to Miyajima
- stayed overnight in hotel right across from the ferry
- early start next day to Miyajima while it’s quiet
- back around lunchtime
- Shinkansen back to Tokyo

Hiroshima might be doable in a day but would be a long day. 2 days definitely recommended if you can as Miyajima is well worth it
 
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Oct 27, 2017
750
I’m going to Japan apr 26th to may 8 for the first time and had a question about hotels, we’re doing 1 week in Tokyo and 1 week in Kyoto, we will also be getting the rail pass. The budget for hotels is around 1k, I’m looking primarily at APA hotels right now because they fit my budget, reviews say they are ok but wanted to see if anyone’s had any personal experience with them on here, if so how was it? For Kyoto I’m planning on staying at NEST hotel which has stellar reviews.
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,711
I’m looking primarily at APA hotels right now because they fit my budget, reviews say they are ok but wanted to see if anyone’s had any personal experience with them on here, if so how was it?
Guy who owns the hotels is a war crime denier and an anti-semite. Every room got a book he wrote, both a Japanese copy and an English translated version, where he denies Japanese war crimes.

Other than that they seems to be ok business hotels. :p
 

Lapsed

Member
Oct 31, 2017
5,462
I just got back after two weeks. I'm so exhausted I don't know how I am still awake, but nevertheless a wonderful time was had. I won't go into too many details for now, but the night life in Tokyo can get pretty wild if you let it, even outside of the usual areas people associate with the nightlife. Even small bars and Izakaya in quiet areas. I ended up partying with staff after close, going to other bars and eating with them etc. Super fun experience but drinking till 5AM a couple of days in a row takes its toll too!

We ended with a few days at Kawaguchiko as I mentioned previously. The weather and skies were perfect. Absolutely stunning area and an amazing place to unwind after spending so much time in the busier areas. But, there were a lot of really rude, impolite, pushy asshole tourists there too. A lot. People insulting friendly staff and stuff like that. Outside of that, it is a magical area.

I'll also second HEY in Akihabara. Especially if you like shmups from companies like CAVE, Raizing/8ing etc. I was embarassingly rusty at stuff like Ketsui, Armed Police Batrider etc but still had a blast.
 

Valkerion

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,430
I’m looking primarily at APA hotels right now because they fit my budget, reviews say they are ok but wanted to see if anyone’s had any personal experience with them on here
Used them many times. Like Mike said, the owner is a psychopath but the hotels themselves are fine enough. They are indeed, business hotels however. If you want a no frills room to crash in for a few nights they are great but they are cheap and usually central locations for a reason. They are great for solo or duo travel though never had an issue with them personally.

If your traveling in a group or with family be aware that like most business hotels they feature "fun movies" and a pamphlet for such with all the other usual ads and pamphlets in hotels.

Also their commercials are ... weird haha. Like shockingly low budget for how rich these people are, and feature a what I can only assume is russian lady of the night from 1999 dancing awkwardly in them.

Also on Akihabara, gonna ditto what MikeProtagonist said. Be careful of the nudity there for those traveling with family/are more conservative. It's pretty well sectioned off/has plenty of notices for stores or sections that feature it but usually in Japanese. Every time I go I see or hear embarrassed tourists who moseyed around the wrong corner and curtain to be met with huge anime boobs or worse haha.

Most of the stores on the main street(s) are pretty safe but many of the smaller establishments are not so vigilant about signs and sectioning off things. Even the ones that are still might have any number of things visible to people not paying attention.

Heck even Donkey's tend to have stationary and kids toys next to their adult sections.
 
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Oct 26, 2017
2,516
Nakano Broadway is better than going to a bunch of stores in Akiba if you're looking for something rare, but it's not at all a scenic place, just a vast, cramped, partly deserted shopping mall. Like, if it was in Shenmue you'd expect to have a fight marathon through the place.
 

Valkerion

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,430
IIRC half(?) of Nakano Broadway is Mandrake at this point right? But yeah it felt more flea market than anything when I went. Interesting building though especially if you played Digimon Cybersluth and the area around it has some shops too.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,516
Actually, last time it felt like non-nerdy stuff was taking over. But yeah, most of the shops are the specialized Mandarake outlets.
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,711
Seemed mostly the same to me. There's the Lashinbangs, Robot Robots, Havikoros, the Cube shops, the other vintage toy shops that's not Mandarake, that other game store, the overpriced figure store, the Formula One store, the wrestling store, the military goods store, the model train store, the model car store, the cel store, and that little arcade on 4F.
 

mere_immortal

Member
Oct 25, 2017
420
Assume 10,000 yen notes are pretty common and I won't struggle to use them in normal shops? Just got my money in and it's mostly 10k notes.

Counting down, 3 weeks today!
 

thepenguin55

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,283
Hi everyone.

I'm going to Japan after the Olympics this year (last week of October & first week of November) and have some questions. Currently, we're planning on spending some time in Akihabara. Doing some digging on this and there seem to be a LOT of stores and locations listed as things to do but I'm not actually sure what's worth taking the time to visit. Can anyone give me an idea of what to expect and maybe recommend things to see?
Nice! I'll be there during that time frame as you. My first trip as well and i'm really looking forward to it. I don't knwo if you have noticed this but the weather for that time of year has been interesting to plan for. On average (in Tokyo at least) it seems like the low temps can get as low as the low 40s or high 30s while the high temps can get as high as the low 70s.

Not sure if you were planning to build an itinerary or not but if you were Tripit seems to be a great free app for that based on my usage of it. What's great about it is the app lets you get as granular with it. You can enter everything custom (name of the activity, address, phone #, URL, ect.) but it also has a really nice search function. It's funny as I generally hate being so structured or rigid with, well, anything I do in life but because I have SO much stuff I want to do on this trip I think having this itinerary is really going to pay off for me while still allowing me to be flexible with what I'm doing there day to day. Something that's annoying about planning this trip so far in advance is that a lot of the stuff that I want or even need to lock down in advance I just simply can't because the trip is too far out.
I think you can only do it with an iPhone, as my friend has Android and there was no option so he got a Passmo card. I had it set as my default "tap to pay" card, and when I click on it you have an option to reload it up to 20,000 yen (500-20,000 yen in various increments).

If you do have an iPhone, download the SUICAENG app in the US App store. I think there's a JP Version too just called SUICA and it's the same thing in Japanese and should work. DM me if you have any other questions though and I can show you screenshots or something.
I'm still ironing out my itinerary but as an iphone user the Suica card is quickly sounding like the only card I'll need for travel I plan to do around the country and convenient stores. How widely accepted is the Suica card beyond transportation & convenient stores? I ask as I kind of just want to get a sense of how extensively I'll be able to rely on it because the Suica card seems like a great way to minimize international transactions fees and ATM visits as much as possible. Obviously I still plan to have a credit card (I happen to have one that is good for international travel) and my PNC bank debit card for emergencies & whatever cash I'll need as I know there are still many places across the country where I'll need cash but the more I can rely on my Suica & credit cards the better.
Kotoku-in (Great Buddha of Kamakura)
Stop: 30 minutes - Admission included

Jomyo-ji Temple
Stop: 40 minutes - Admission included

Hokokuji Temple (Takedera Temple)
Stop: 30 minutes - Admission included

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine
Stop: 40 minutes - Admission included

Enoshima Island
Stop: 90 minutes - Admission included

Hase-dera Temple
Stop: 40 minutes - Admission included

You'll end at
1-chōme-7-2 Nishishinjuku

Depart 8:15 am, duration 9 hours 30 minutes. $115 USD.
It adds up to 4.5 hours at the locations so 5 hours travel. The train is one hour each way so if I go solo.

Thanks
Eh, it's just as easy getting the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass and doing most of it yourself: https://www.odakyu.jp/english/passes/enoshima_kamakura/

The only slightly difficult ones to get to are Jomyo-ji Temple and Hokokuji Temple (Takedera Temple), but you can take a bus if you really want to visit those, or you could switch those out with other temples around Kamakura/Enoshima (like Engakuji Temple and Ryukoji Temple), or spend more time at Enoshima where you could check out the caves and the view from the sea candle as well.

Kotoku-in (Great Buddha of Kamakura) and Hase-dera Temple are located quite close to each-other, so dunno why the tour doesn't do both those at the same time either.
I've been looking at some tours trying to determine what the benefit of doing the tours over just going to the things in the tours myself would be and it really feels like the Cons of tours outweigh the Pros namely due to the rigid nature of them. I've been using most of the tours I come across as reference points for stuff to add to my itinerary.