Japan Travel |OT| We have to go back

Rahvar

Weight Loss Champion 2018: Most Lost
Member
Oct 25, 2017
750
Sweden
Any particular picks for pocket Wi-Fi? We used japan-wireless last time (Easter 2018) and it was pretty good - we had two between the four of us

Open to other suggestions or even data sim options (we all have iPhones) but they’d need to support tethering for our iPads
We used Ninja Wifi through Voyagin. Never any issues through 3 weeks there. We had two phones and a tablet connected to it.
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,649
Any particular picks for pocket Wi-Fi? We used japan-wireless last time (Easter 2018) and it was pretty good - we had two between the four of us

Open to other suggestions or even data sim options (we all have iPhones) but they’d need to support tethering for our iPads
All the ones in the OP :P
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,649

More and more onsen (hot-spring baths) have been popping up in urban areas of Osaka Prefecture, reflecting their popularity among foreign visitors hoping to experience Japanese culture and residents looking for places to relax.

Both new and existing facilities at hotels and spas are fighting to win customers.

The number of public hot springs in Japan hit a record high of 7,935 as of the end of March 2018, according to Environment Ministry data.

Solaniwa Onsen, which doesn’t offer overnight stays, opened in the city of Osaka in February.

The largest onsen facility in the Kansai region is themed after the country’s Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1573-1603), during which the country was unified under a single warlord.

The facility, touted as an onsen-style theme park, has large baths looking out on a garden and seven different bedrock baths. Customers can also watch shows and wear kimono or samurai-style costumes.

The facility has been highly rated by foreign customers, according to the operator.

But there is a problematic side behind the success of those onsen facilities.

In late August, the Osaka Prefectural Government warned local public health centers after some bathing facilities were found to be misrepresenting the quality of the water.

“We’re beginning to see promotional messages that are in a gray area,” a prefectural official said.
 

Forkball

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,421
Has anyone ever stayed in Mie before? I plan to be in Mie for three days two nights, then stay in Kyoto. Ise Shrine is the main attraction, but should I actually stay in Ise? Matsuzaka is 40 minutes away by train and it seems like a better place.

Also what should I see in Mie? My current list consists of Ise Shrine and a bunch of food.
 

Excellence

Member
May 15, 2019
5
So how serious is the ''No bachelor / bachelorette '' rule in Ryokans ?

I plan to stay at least one night in them , yet many of them have that rule in fine print but I see some reviews written by solo travelers .
 

aOlafsson

Member
Oct 27, 2017
34
So how serious is the ''No bachelor / bachelorette '' rule in Ryokans ?

I plan to stay at least one night in them , yet many of them have that rule in fine print but I see some reviews written by solo travelers .
I just stayed at a ryokan as a solo last week. It was pretty hard to find a spot that would take a booking with only 1 person and the place that did didn’t serve dinner to solo. Otherwise it was a great experience with access to the baths and breakfast.
 

Mendrox

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,456
I have vacation for the next three weeks starting next week and I am thinking about traveling back from 16th to the 30th (only dates where the price is okayish for about 630€ from Hamburg, uff), but I could also plan a bigger trip in April/May, but I don't know what to do three weeks with myself without having felt that it was wasted time. I can play games when I don't have vacation and daily working out and japanese learning doesn't fill out all those days. :(((( Would have immediately booked if the prices after January 1st would have been the same as before.

Still recovering from Jet lag but I'll post my pics and general thoughts on my Japan trip.
\o/ tell us everything (and when you will go back :P)
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,752
I have vacation for the next three weeks starting next week and I am thinking about traveling back from 16th to the 30th (only dates where the price is okayish for about 630€ from Hamburg, uff), but I could also plan a bigger trip in April/May, but I don't know what to do three weeks with myself without having felt that it was wasted time. I can play games when I don't have vacation and daily working out and japanese learning doesn't fill out all those days. :(((( Would have immediately booked if the prices after January 1st would have been the same as before.



\o/ tell us everything (and when you will go back :P)
Just go - we'll fill in your itinerary as you go :P

Or why do you even have to 'do' stuff - just go and absorb
 

Mendrox

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,456
Just go - we'll fill in your itinerary as you go :P

Or why do you even have to 'do' stuff - just go and absorb
No that's not it. In Japan itself that wouldn't be a problem. It's about staying here in Germany for once in my vacation, but I would feel like that this is a waste when I could travel. Thing is that I was just there last month and want to go in April/May and well I have the money, but there are also a few things I would like to buy for my home now etc.

1st world problems. Thing is also that I would have immediately done it for the 350€ prices on Black Friday, but my parents told me that I can't fly because of their dog and a few days later they told I could have booked and now the prices went up and doubled >_>
 

hyouko

Member
Oct 27, 2017
840
Speaking of wi-fi and data, does anybody know how Google's Project Fi does in Japan? I have used it in most of my international travels, sometimes with varying degrees of hiccups and coverage issues.
 

Razgriz417

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,784
going back with 3-6 other people in March, can't wait. Looks like we'll be doing Tokyo and Osaka. I went with 7 other guys in March 2018 and it was great, though we wasted too much time on the trains.

This time it's looking like me, my buddy, his wife and maybe 3 of her wife's friends (a lot of our friends dropped off :/). Hoping to see more and eat more and spend less time on trains than last time, though we'll probably spend alot of time in shinjuku lol

Last time I had to rely on 2g Tmobile to navigate everywhere. Definitely getting a pocket wifi this time around.
 
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MikeHattsu

MikeHattsu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,649
For everybody who's going to be in Tokyo around new years:

Tokyo’s busy Ginza Line, which runs from Shibuya to Asakusa on a route that connects two of the capital’s top spots for tourists, will be partially suspended for six days over the New Year’s holiday due to construction of a new platform at Shibuya Station, operator Tokyo Metro Co. has said.

From Dec. 28 to Jan. 2, trains won’t run between Shibuya and Omotesando stations or from Aoyama-itchome to Tameike-sanno stations.

Trains will run every 12 minutes between Omotesando and Aoyama-itchome and every three minutes from Tameike-sanno to Asakusa, stopping at all stations.

The new platform for the Ginza Line at Shibuya Station will open on Jan. 3 and full services will resume immediately.

The line, which currently has two platforms and is located on an upper level within Shibuya Station, will move outside along the tracks 130 meters away, above the busy Meiji-dori avenue. The new stop will have just one platform.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,752
going back with 3-6 other people in March, can't wait. Looks like we'll be doing Tokyo and Osaka. I went with 7 other guys in March 2018 and it was great, though we wasted too much time on the trains.

This time it's looking like me, my buddy, his wife and maybe 3 of her wife's friends (a lot of our friends dropped off :/). Hoping to see more and eat more and spend less time on trains than last time, though we'll probably spend alot of time in shinjuku lol

Last time I had to rely on 2g Tmobile to navigate everywhere. Definitely getting a pocket wifi this time around.
Flying into Kansai and doing Osaka (Kyoto?) for cherry blossoms and then fly out of Tokyo? Keeps trains down to a single journey
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,752
For everybody who's going to be in Tokyo around new years:
thanks - my wife is probably going to want to go shopping in ginza/omotedando so will let her know. wonder how much this will affect travel generally in that area as we're there 21-3rd
 

Croc Man

Member
Oct 27, 2017
830
All booked! Basically a week in and around Tokyo and another in and around Kyoto.

My last holiday I went too hard with multiple stops over two weeks, this time I want to limit moving accommodation so plan on day trips from those bases and will build in some more chilled days.

So with that said is Hiroshima and Miyajima really ok as a day trip from Kyoto? Anybody done it? Seems a long day but doable.
(Might drop Miyajima if the best parts are under scaffolding )
 

Razgriz417

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,784
Flying into Kansai and doing Osaka (Kyoto?) for cherry blossoms and then fly out of Tokyo? Keeps trains down to a single journey
That is a potential option if we don't do the jr pass. There are baggage fees for the flights right? I guess we'll have to see how much those are and whether the ladies want to ride the shinkansen
 
May 31, 2018
96
Still looking to visit Osaka for a day from Tokyo on December 30th. Is buying a plane ticket($200 RT) here in the states my best option or could I find a last minute plane ticket or other transportation in tokyo for a cheaper price?
 

Laevateinn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
993
Chicago
Still looking to visit Osaka for a day from Tokyo on December 30th. Is buying a plane ticket($200 RT) here in the states my best option or could I find a last minute plane ticket or other transportation in tokyo for a cheaper price?
Is that from Narita or Haneda. It's only 27,240 yen for a round-trip on the Shinkansen to Osaka from Tokyo. If you're at Narita, you'll have to add about an hour or more depending on where you're at to get to Narita plus the cost of that train. If you're going from Haneda that might be a good deal.
 
May 31, 2018
96
Is that from Narita or Haneda. It's only 27,240 yen for a round-trip on the Shinkansen to Osaka from Tokyo. If you're at Narita, you'll have to add about an hour or more depending on where you're at to get to Narita plus the cost of that train. If you're going from Haneda that might be a good deal.
The flight is out of Narita. I see the $250 train ride from Tokyo and I feel it would be a better option for me vs boarding a plane that's an extra hour away.
 

Quaker

Member
Oct 27, 2017
84
Speaking of wi-fi and data, does anybody know how Google's Project Fi does in Japan? I have used it in most of my international travels, sometimes with varying degrees of hiccups and coverage issues.
I was in Tokyo for a week in October and it worked seamlessly without issue on a Pixel 3 the whole time I was there. Even drove to the mountains in Nikko without any drops(I was using Google Maps the whole way.)
 
Oct 29, 2017
467
I unknowingly walked by the Poop Museum in Diver City today thinking „nah they wouldn‘t“ when I caught it from the corner of my eye and I‘m only realizing now what exactly I missed out on.
 
Here my photo album
https://flic.kr/s/aHsmK1CseW

Overall I really enjoy my time in Japan. Few things that I took from my trip.
1. Small groups - because of the small size of certain places it hard for a large group to sit together. This is very true for traveling the train system when it gets pack
2. Best for old kids - the current age of my brother's and friend's children were not good since they weren't willing to eat certain foods or able to sit down quietly
3. Cash on hand - While certain modern department stores or places to eat can take cards it far fast and flexible using cash when you have to check the balance on your suica/pasmo

More thoughts soon.
 

RadicalR

Member
Oct 27, 2017
300
Just got back from Japan myself last month.

Great trip - not doing it again for at least 2 years. It's expensive and traveling is hell on me.

I went from Nagasaki to Fukuoka to Kobe (Arima Hot Springs) to Osaka and finally Tokyo.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,752
Any things to look out for around new year - eg shops being closed? My wife was thinking to visit a friend on the 31st and that’s fairly close to Nagano broadway so could be convenient if we all go - but will shops there be closed early? Or if we put it off to the 1-2 Jan?

and Nintendo store in Shibuya seems to have long wait times - are there good times to go or Should we expect a wait whatever?
 

Laevateinn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
993
Chicago
Any things to look out for around new year - eg shops being closed? My wife was thinking to visit a friend on the 31st and that’s fairly close to Nagano broadway so could be convenient if we all go - but will shops there be closed early? Or if we put it off to the 1-2 Jan?

and Nintendo store in Shibuya seems to have long wait times - are there good times to go or Should we expect a wait whatever?
I arrived just before new years a few years ago. A lot of shops do special new years sales immediately after but the week following the new year is pretty dead. Tons of shops were closed up for the holiday. If I could do it again, I would’ve ended my trip on the third instead of starting it on the 30th.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,752
I arrived just before new years a few years ago. A lot of shops do special new years sales immediately after but the week following the new year is pretty dead. Tons of shops were closed up for the holiday. If I could do it again, I would’ve ended my trip on the third instead of starting it on the 30th.
We fly back on the third. Just hoping 1-2 are still normal enough for shopping etc

My son wants to do a day trip to Mt Fuji too - we’ve done last ashi before a couple of times but this is just to see the mountain. Doable as a day trip from Chiba I hope. We’ll check the weather forecasts so we can react if it looks good.

many good recommended spots for seeing it close and beautiful? Like I said we’ve only done hakone /ashi before
 

Razgriz417

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,784
anyone been to the cup noodle factory? My friend's wife really wants to go. Oh the Yamizaki factory is worth the visit if you're a fan of their whiskey and really want to taste the expensive stuff. It was all lost on me but i tasted some of the 24 and 30 year whiskeys last time, was good but still felt it was wasted on me
 

Laevateinn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
993
Chicago
anyone been to the cup noodle factory? My friend's wife really wants to go. Oh the Yamizaki factory is worth the visit if you're a fan of their whiskey and really want to taste the expensive stuff. It was all lost on me but i tasted some of the 24 and 30 year whiskeys last time, was good but still felt it was wasted on me
I haven't been there but my friend who lives in Yokohama really recommends the Ramen Museum so i'll be hitting that next time.
 

Razgriz417

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,784
I haven't been there but my friend who lives in Yokohama really recommends the Ramen Museum so i'll be hitting that next time.
thanks, yeah we'll probably end up checking it out.

side note so google pushed out the google interpreter function to google assistant. Haven't tried it in japanese yet but chinese works quite well. Hoping to try it next year

 

guill

Member
Nov 14, 2017
37
Hi guys, I would appreciate your input on something, im going to Japan with some friends on march-april, we are a group of them, so we have the following issue, we stay 3 days in tokyo first, then 7 in osaka and then 8 more in tokyo. As we are ten, we want to avoid going to osaka with 2 bags and carry on each, so our intention is to leave behind one bag each, so lets say 1o bags.

What is the best way you can recommend to store them? I tried looking for luggage storege, i saw a company called sasagawa, but they have a 5 day limit, and it would be best to avoid looking for lockers at the stations, renting a room or an airbnb for them is kinda expensive, any ideas for this?
Thanks!
 

Laevateinn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
993
Chicago
Hi guys, I would appreciate your input on something, im going to Japan with some friends on march-april, we are a group of them, so we have the following issue, we stay 3 days in tokyo first, then 7 in osaka and then 8 more in tokyo. As we are ten, we want to avoid going to osaka with 2 bags and carry on each, so our intention is to leave behind one bag each, so lets say 1o bags.

What is the best way you can recommend to store them? I tried looking for luggage storege, i saw a company called sasagawa, but they have a 5 day limit, and it would be best to avoid looking for lockers at the stations, renting a room or an airbnb for them is kinda expensive, any ideas for this?
Thanks!
If you're staying at the same hotel that you started at you might be able to leave a bag there. Send an email and ask what their policy is.
 

HulkMansfield

Member
Dec 29, 2017
878
Hi Japan Travel OT!

I traveled to Japan a couple months ago and forgot this thread existed :( I got by without it though. Overview of my trip

1 week in Kyoto
Sights:
-Hiked Mt Arashiyama and fed some monkeys checked out the ridiculous view, shopped in the stores below the mountain, and checked out the bamboo forest
-Visited the Inari shrine. I was blown away by this one. We started off in the crowded temple portion with tourists from all over taking selfies, and then kept hiking through Torii gate after torii gate until there were only a few people left around and the quietness of the forest took over. The ancient shrines are beautiful
-Visited Kiyomizu-dera. A beautiful Buddhist temple with far-reaching grounds and a great view of the city. We also walked through the busy shopping street that weaves in front of it, had a beer and people watched (Japan isn't nearly as into craft beer as the US, but Kyoto Brewing Co. makes some good stuff)
-Hanimikoji - only strolled down. took care not to harass the Geisha
Some food and drink recommendations:
-Ichikawaya Coffee - Small coffee house a little away from the busier portions of the city. They make delicious egg salad sandwiches and some sort of grape sandwich that they load with grapes and whipped cream and then cut at angles to make it look pretty. The coffee there was phenomenal and the service was excellent.
-Teuchi-Udon Kendonya - the Oyakodon and Udon here were excellent, and a ton of food.
-L'Escamoteur - high-end cocktail bar with a magic theme. This place was incredible, from the atmosphere and the presentation, to the drinks themselves. Highly highly recommend. Get there at least 15 min before opening to get in line and try to get a seat at the bar
-Kyoto Beer Lab - A tiny craft beer joint stylized like one you'd find in the US. Bonus, it's only a couple blocks from the original Nintendo HQ location

Day trip to Osaka:
Sights:
-Aquarium - This was worth it. The aquarium is mostly one massive tank with multiple viewing angles and a vast assortment of fish, including whale sharks
-Dotonbori - ultra touristy but also a lot of fun. lots of bright lights and a nice bridge to view it all from
Food and drink:
-Kobegyu Steak, Ken - This was the main attraction, the famous Kobe beef. Did not disappoint. And Chef Ken is super polite and excited about his craft (needless to say, expensive as hell)
-Gundam Cafe - why the hell not?

1 week in Tokyo
Sights:
-Shinjuku/Shibuya - The famous crosswalk, the lights, the Godzilla, the Hub Pubs, Hachiko memorial (goodest pupper), arcades, and Robot Restaurant (ridiculous and over-the-top fun show)
-Sunshine City - Cool view
-Akihabara - arcades and videogame merch shopping. I'm not into anime which is a large chunk of it, but there were good board game stores there too.
-Takeshita Street - the land of the harajuku style. just a tourist street now. but there's a Shiba cafe and it was awesome
-Asakusa - the Skytree... Skytree was absolutely worth it for an unbelievable view.
-Odaiba - Gundamn statue. Dude is huge. Didn't get to see the show though. Teamlab Borderless Digital Art museum was incredible. There is also some good food over there and a small beach to view core Tokyo from afar. Toyota museum was neat

Food and Drink:
-Butagumi (in Roppongi) - Tonkatsu restaurant with crazy menu of options to choose from. pick your cut of meat, level of fattiness, and source region. Also the best miso soup I've ever had
-Cafe Reissue (Shibuya) - Lattes with art. Show them a picture and the artist will draw it into the foam in your drink. Great for dog/cat owners
-Teppanbaby Hiroshima (Shinjuku) - Okonomiyaki restaurant. Awesome soul food
-Happy Pancake - a small chain, but super fluffy pancakes
-Spirit Bar Sunface (Shinjuku) - We were hoping to try the famous Bar Benfiddich, but it was closed for remodeling. This place was in the same building, and some reviews said they even liked it better. They weren't kidding. This place was great. A true mixology joint with no menu. They just ask for a flavor profile and then concoct something. Their primary focus is tequila, but I had a couple good whiskey drinks.
-Golden Gai (Shinjuku) - crazy bar-hopping in a few alleys with a large number of tiny bars. The downside is that beer is expensive as hell and it's hard to bar-hop as they all have a cover charge or minimum. We ended up having a few beers in the street with people from all over the world just around the corner thanks to the Rugby world cup taking place then ( drinking in the street legal, if uncommon)

Other travel notes:
-JR Pass - this came in handy for the duration of the trip. We were able to ride the shinkansen to Kyoto and back to Tokyo, while also using it constantly all over Tokyo and for the day trip to Osaka. Some notes: A lot of the local trains in Kyoto don't take it, and those will cost you a few backs each way depending on how far you're going. That's easy to figure out at the ticket machine. The map and price is right above it. In Tokyo, the Yamanote line is included and will take you anywhere in the core city. The lines the cut through it are also included, which is great. The train over the rainbow bridge to Odaiba is unfortunately not included
-Passport... carry it on you. A lot of touristy places have discounts if you show it, including the Skytree
-I was hoping to go to Nara, and we were hoping to go to the five lakes at Mt Fuji, but the typhoon prevented that :(
-I'm sure a lot of these details are already in this thread, but if anyone wants some more details on my experience let me know!
 

hyouko

Member
Oct 27, 2017
840
Hey all. Still planning that trip for April, getting ready to start exploring / booking some hotels. I am thinking of mostly doing AirBnB for Tokyo and Kyoto, but I wanted to do a ryokan in Hakone for the night we're there. Anybody have suggestions? A coworker mentioned going to a place there that had private onsen (which she liked) and large spiders (which she did not like), but she didn't have the name offhand; will try to follow up with her and see if she can identify it.
 

Subpar Scrub

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
3,290
Hey all. Still planning that trip for April, getting ready to start exploring / booking some hotels. I am thinking of mostly doing AirBnB for Tokyo and Kyoto, but I wanted to do a ryokan in Hakone for the night we're there. Anybody have suggestions? A coworker mentioned going to a place there that had private onsen (which she liked) and large spiders (which she did not like), but she didn't have the name offhand; will try to follow up with her and see if she can identify it.
I stayed at the Fukuzumiro at Hakone earlier this year and it was really nice. Not too long of a walk from the nearest train station. Had a Male and Female bath with a private “family” bath that anyone can use. Baths swap every morning and night iirc. The sound of the river next to the ryokan is really relaxing imo. I can post pics if you’d like.

I went for an afternoon at the Tenzan onsen in Hakone as well. They have massage and spa services iirc as well as like 6-9ish baths per wing, separated by male and female. Only recommend on a weekday and if you don’t mind getting nude around others, cause there was like 12-15 other people walking between the baths and saunas when I was there. Was a chill experience though.
 

Worthintendo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
725
Finally booked my flights and hotels for my trip in a month
Flying into Tokyo on the 16th of January, then on the 23rd heading to Hakodate for 2 nights. After that staying in Sapporo from the 25th until the 1st of Feb. I know I just miss out on the Snow Festival but hotel prices were too much to justify staying. Then it's heading down to Aomori for 2 nights, 1st to the 3rd. After that spending 6 nights in Nagoya. On the 9th then heading down to Fukuoka until the 12th and then finally finishing up in Osaka until the 18th. Epic Japan trip here I come :)
 

Stuart444

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,635
Counting the days until our trip. 14th of Jan.

Fun way to spend my birthday... on a plane to Japan haha.