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Going to Japan

RamiRami Registered User regular
I'm going to Japan for the first time, looking for some recommendations for places/areas to stay in, things to do and general [Japan] travel tips.

Journey is -> Osaka, then taking the bullet train to Kyoto for a bit, then Tokyo for a bit.


I know about the JR pass, though I'm not sure about the extent of its use outside of the intercity lines. I believe it doesn't work for Tokyo subways etc.?
I was a bit concerned about hauling my suitcases everywhere but it seems like there are some delivery services that will transport your stuff between hotels/airports so I can be free to take the train without luggage.

I haven't really planned anything specific, though I'd like to hit a nice mix of the real touristy stuff with some non-touristy areas. I'll probably visit Nara, that's about the only firm decision I've made.

Budget is...middleish? I'm not backpacking between hostels, but I'm not exactly the monopoly man.

Any recommendations or etiquette lessons welcome

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  • DemonStaceyDemonStacey TTODewback's Daughter In love with the TaySwayRegistered User regular
    edited July 15
    Are you staying at one place in each of the cities?

    If so don't worry about luggage on the bullet train. They have plenty of space and are for people with luggage.

    My last trip was exactly the same path you are taking with one extra swing up to Sapporo before Tokyo.

    You are correct in that the rail pass is not for the subway system but is still super useful for traveling between those cities. And on the off chance you want to take a day trip somewhere else (since it goes real fast) you have that option as well.

    My personal suggestion is to just have a few thing you want to do but don't over plan. There is so much to see and do while just wandering around that you will want to take your time. Plan to go to general areas and then just explore from there.

    In Kyoto you obviously want to hit up a few temples. They have a lot there. Try to hit up one of the gardens while you are there as well.

    In Tokyo just explore. You will find endless stuff to see and do.

    Ramen recommendation (besides going to every ramen shop possible because they are all unique): Fuunji Ramen in Shinjuku. Get the special ramen with the special seasoning ball. Seriously don't miss this. It's incredible.

    DemonStacey on
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  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    Agree, JR pass was useful for getting around tokyo in my experience. Stations aren't as prevalent as the subways, but still pretty common and convenient.

    Ramikime
  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    The recommendation my friends always give is to set up a pocket wifi rental before your trip.

    CauldRamiSkeithCaedwyrOrcaDrovekMysst
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    Yeah, the pocket WiFi things are real good. Also be prepared to pay for things with cash like 90% of the time, even at hotels and stuff.

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  • GarickGarick Registered User regular
    My biggest recommendation is don't come in the summer if you can avoid it, it's way too hot and humid here, but if you do, google Japan firework schedule and make sure you are in one of the towns that has a display going on... they are utterly amazing and blow anything I've ever seen in America out of the water.

    The rail pass is quite nice, but if you don't feel like being limited to just JR lines, pick up a Suica card at most any station and put some cash into it... much easier then trying to figure the ticket price of every place you wanna go, just swipe it at your start and end point and it takes a discounted price automatically.

    Stuff to do is a bit harder without knowing what you like, since there are so many options available.

    DemonStaceyRamiOrca
  • RamiRami Registered User regular
    I'm going for the end of august and first half of september, since I'm a student that is my only available time aside from december (and I probably will go in december next year)

    I did completely forget to mention the wifi thing, it's very important! My phone is dual SIM so I can easily slot in a second card to use wifi if that's a good option?


    I have not booked accommodation yet because, frankly, I hate organizing this stuff so I only do one thing at a time (and flights came first). But given the great public transport systems available, it doesn't seem like it's a big deal whether you can stay directly in a trendy spot or whatever.

    Transport smart cards: yes, I saw those mentioned with the JR pass and it's the same thing as the oyster card we use here in London so that should be fine.


    Here's a list of things to do I have written down:

    Osaka
    Day trip to Himeji
    Day trip to Nara

    Kyoto
    Temples
    Gardens

    Tokyo
    Shinjuku
    -'Honey bread'
    -Fuunji Ramen
    Harajuku
    Sky Tree
    Roppongi
    Ikebukuro
    Pokémon Centre

    [fireworks/festivals?]

    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I am very anxious (going alone), but very excited too

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  • DemonStaceyDemonStacey TTODewback's Daughter In love with the TaySwayRegistered User regular
    edited July 15
    For places to stay definitely look at the airbnb options. Lot's of very nice and cozy places to stay for very reasonable prices.

    Seems like you have a good little list of stuff to do and see!

    FYI: Roppongi, See it for the sake of seeing it but imo there are so many better places to be and see. You will be getting called out by all sorts of people trying to get you into their weirdly empty little bars and people are expecting to be pulling in tourists and out of towners there. It was the closest to feeling like a city over here in the US and I don't say that as a particular compliment.

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  • TexiKenTexiKen that boy can sing! Jackson HeightsRegistered User regular
    edited July 15
    Went to Tokyo last year on a whim around the same time you're looking at (end of Aug-early Sept), 10 days there, loved it, people were really nice and friendly, became the real Drift King, one of if not the best place I've been to in the world and trying to go back this year but definitely next year.

    ramblings/musings and photos below to try and help you out:
    -since I was just in Tokyo I just as Pasmo card, which is identical to Suica and interchangeable really. It works on both the rail and the subway. You can get one in the subway station at a machine and do it all in english, and you charge it up in any reasonable amount. I put like 4,000 yen on it and still had about 1,000 when I left because the fares are really cheap, but you can also use it at certain vending machines for payment.

    -the subway lines are color coded and named in Tokyo, and I found the Ginza line the best way to get used to travel since it connects to a lot of tourist spots and is easy to get to. It feels daunting at first but once you get your feet wet it's a breeze compared to other subway systems.

    -I have Sprint and didn't need a wifi hotspot at all, I was on free wifi/4G from some company that Sprint partners with there, SoftBank. And it was great, no problems even underground.

    -even living in Texas the humidity got me in Tokyo the first day, could have been because I didn't sleep on the plane and maybe had a light fever (for convenience bring your own advil or aspirin, you can't get it at 7 Eleven there it has to be a pharmacy and it's just easier) and was still trying to acclimate. But the way the city works it's humid as hell in the morning (bring a handkerchief or buy them there cuz everyone has them) but the sun sort of burns it out and you get nice seabreeze in the evening, and it's delightful at night. During the day I really don't recommend trying to walk on the street to a place that's any more than a quarter mile or you'll be sweating.

    -if you're 6'2" or taller, watch your head on some subway entrances and exits, I noticed it in a few places in Asakusa and Shinjuku.

    -If you're a large shirt in 'Merica, you're an extra large in japan and if you have any muscle or chest don't try getting a button up shirt there. I had to sort of make due with getting a few shirts at the Uniqlo in Ginza since it was more european stuff, unless you wanted cheap screen printed tourist type shirts. And I don't thing you could even try and get jeans or shorts from places outside of custom tailors. And they don't really go above XL in places either for the larger people, so pack accordingly.

    -Ueno park is where all the big museums are, I felt the best one was the Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. The National Museum is a bit stuffy and sort of dated. The Tokyo art museum is free to the public but it also had a Foujita retrospective at the time which was interesting but you had to pay to see.

    -there is a Liberty Bell replica in Hibiya Park, which is a quiet park on the other side of the street to the south of the Imperial Palace. 'Merica:

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    -there is a Statue of Liberty replica on Odaiba. There is also a vending machine with Dr. Pepper nearby. So fuck that Gundam robot there, this is 'Merica:

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    -Sky Tree was my favorite tourist spot. It's 25 bucks to go up to the nice observation deck and another 15 for the top (which kinda wasn't worth it). Odaiba has more stuff to do since it's basically a big shopping/family fun island with the mall and the ferris wheel and the Toyota car museum. But the view up top, even on a cloudy day, was amazing and you shoot up the Sky Tree so fast in the elevator it plays with your sense of height. And the area right below and around the Sky Tree is new and filled with shops (you can have your first japanese McDonald's there), and even an Aquarium below.

    sSi5z12.jpg

    -pocari sweat is the best

    -use 7 Eleven for the ATMs (and breakfast, they have hella good and cheap custard buns and onigiri), best exchange rate and service charge and they have an easy english touch screen option that will dispense 10 - 1,000 yen bills, which is the perfect denomination because a few places won't break a 5,000 yen. So for 10,000 yen, including my service fees and whatnot, it cost me like 93 bucks American each time. And convenience is so nice it's worth it. And really, the city wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be, it's reasonable for the average portion size for an average japanese person. Granted rent and other things don't factor in when you're a tourist.

    -Probably bias, but in terms of the areas of Tokyo I really liked Ginza the most, which was where I stayed. Hyatt Centric was fantastic and really made it easy to do things. A little pricey but a nice new clean classy hotel and they liked trying their english on you because it's the more western/business part of town. And Ginza is a more expensive place but not pass out expensive like I thought; there's a clear difference in quality not just from the shops but the restaurants as well. Plus the people don't try and get you into their shops and restaurants like over in Asakusa, which was really the only place where they were really soliciting hard. If you need to shop for gifts for family and friends and it's not weeb shit, there's Tokyu Plaza in Ginza that has a floor of Japanese made souvenirs and gifts, real stuff you'd use too like lacquered goods.

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    -I only knew the generic yes please thank you excuse me stuff in japanese, and was able to get around just fine. The people don't know a lot of english and is a clear generational thing but they can help just by doing hand stuff and really, your phone's map will help you out a lot. Key things are always in english below the japanese.

    -Akihabara is a treat, weeb heaven and OMG some places had dreamcast games and I wept. Plus just looking at the statues for consignment in some places will kill hours for you alone. And if you want to see a maid cafe Maidreamin has a location on like every corner and is the respectable choice. And it was a fun experience, it's not this salacious thing it was kind of maid out to be a pun.

    -Tsukiji was interesting but I went on the day a typhoon came in so it was a wet day, but there's some good places to get higher end gifts there in terms of cutlery. A few less reputable places right at the entrance there, but down a more japanese street I found these people to be the best and they were nice and helped me get what I wanted for friends and family. A nice quality stainless steel chopping knife for like 250 bucks, it's still sharp and does all the cutting, better than anything in my knife block. Here's there information, I think they're still there even though the fish market is moving or did already move because tourists were getting in the way:

    zJsEzh8.png

    -just a head's up, the only bourbon you can find outside of higher end bars where you're paying for the cache/experience is Jack Daniels and Maker's Mark.

    Have fun! Now I feel like checking airline dates....

    TexiKen on
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    RamiLocal H JayDark Raven X
  • RamiRami Registered User regular
    I'm definitely looking to get some serious drifting in, do I just head down to the docks at night or what?

    Also you reminded me about that shop that has all video game stuff ever..Super Potato? Yeah I definitely need to put that on the list.

    The heat will probably kill me tbh. I got sunburnt the other day in England so I'm probably going to need to shower in sunscreen each day.

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited July 16
    There's a few other threads like this I can try to find also full of good advice. I went to Osaka/Kyoto in 2016 and I'm going to Tokyo this March.

    The big thing for me is budgeting. To be honest I didn't set aside as much money as I'd like the first time I went, I ended up overspending my daily budget. As a huge nerd, there's just stuff everywhere I want to buy. This time I'm going much more prepared that my first trip, which was very wasteful.

    Agreed with everything said so far. AirBnB is a godsend. I stayed at a hostel in Osaka for 10 days, 18 bucks a night. Loud and jovial Australian host and had onsite showers and laundry. My tip for finding the best prices is to book early. Since my trip is far off, I have a the widest selection possible for cheap lodging.

    There's a few options for your phone. The portable wifi worked wonders for me, but it is an additional ~10 bucks a day. You have to keep it charged up and usually only get like, a gig for data. Alternatively you can get a SIM with a week's worth of data from vending machines in the airport. It's about the same cost as the wifi and you can toss it when you're done.

    Food? Use Tablelog. It's like Yelp of Japan but not sucky, and has the ever important hours of operation. Each restaurant has its own wild schedule you'll need to look up before heading out. Some, you'll need to make reservations for. In Osaka I went to an all you can eat/drink place with friends, we had to call ahead to reserve a booth. Extremely worth it, about 40 bucks a person for unlimited food drink for two hours.

    Edit:
    https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/202620/suggestions-for-vacation-in-japan
    https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/217184/visiting-japan-what-to-see-what-to-bring/p1

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  • KetBraKetBra FISTS OF JUSTICE! Registered User regular
    edited July 17
    Rami wrote: »
    I'm going to Japan for the first time, looking for some recommendations for places/areas to stay in, things to do and general [Japan] travel tips.

    Journey is -> Osaka, then taking the bullet train to Kyoto for a bit, then Tokyo for a bit.


    I know about the JR pass, though I'm not sure about the extent of its use outside of the intercity lines. I believe it doesn't work for Tokyo subways etc.?
    I was a bit concerned about hauling my suitcases everywhere but it seems like there are some delivery services that will transport your stuff between hotels/airports so I can be free to take the train without luggage.

    I haven't really planned anything specific, though I'd like to hit a nice mix of the real touristy stuff with some non-touristy areas. I'll probably visit Nara, that's about the only firm decision I've made.

    Budget is...middleish? I'm not backpacking between hostels, but I'm not exactly the monopoly man.

    Any recommendations or etiquette lessons welcome

    I just moved to the Kyoto area a month ago so I've been learning a bunch of stuff, but I'm by no means an expert. Having said that:
    • You don't need a bullet train to go from Osaka to Kyoto. There are a variety of regular train lines which will take you there in under an hour (depending on where you want to go). I believe JR has a calculator on whether it makes sense to buy a pass, use that to see if it makes sense. If the only shinkansen you're taking is from Kyoto to Tokyo, you probably won't need one. Keep in mind the Nozomi (fastest train from Kyoto to Tokyo) does not allow JR pass holders to board.
    • You don't need to take a bullet train to Tokyo, there are also a variety of night buses which will do the same for a fraction of the price.
    • Nara is a fun day trip, doable from either Kyoto or Osaka. You can see the Great Buddha, feed the deer, visit the local shrine(s) and temple(s), wander the park. It would be a pretty cheap day trip
    • I haven't spent much time in Osaka, but from what my friends tell me, you probably want to spend more time in Kyoto than Osaka, *unless* you are coming for the nightlife (and the okonomiyaki)
    • Capsules are cheap, they're clean, and a pretty good deal if you're looking to cut corners on accommodations. My friend recommends the Anshin Oyada Premier in Kyoto (they also have Tokyo hotels), but they are on the more expensive side for capsules. Depending on how heavy you've packed that may or may not be an option
    • Kyoto is great! Everyone will tell you this, but it's 100% true. Pick a couple of neighbourhoods for a day, and pick some temples you'd be interested in seeing. Gion is nice. Arashiyama is a great place to spend a day, between the temples/shrines, hikes, shopping, and monkey park. Definitely set a few days aside for things to do in Kyoto.
    • I won't bore you with a list of temples and shrines because (Kyoto especially) has a billion of them, but in general keep in mind that the big ones will get very busy mid-day. You can get around this by either going very early, or very late, if you do not mind missing. Personally, I like Fushimi Inari Taisha more at night, because it is not so crowded, and also quite nicely lit in a few places.
    • Turn your phone to silent on trains, do not talk on it unless you want some dirty looks.
    • Buy an umbrella.
    • Get an icoca card (Western Japan's version of Suica), you can use them (pretty much?) anywhere, including Tokyo.
    • Your daily food budget is about as expensive as you want it to be. You get michelin star ramen for 1000 yen, you can do a decent amount of conveyor sushi for the same amount, and most street food will run you half-ish or less than that. You can also blow 20,000 yen in a meal if you're a madman. Combini's are surprisingly good for being cheapish convenience store food, but it's not exactly fine dining.
    • Go to an onsen (if you don't have tattoos. They're everywhere and an amazing experience if you're not super hung-up on the naked thing. Make sure you wash before going in.

    Oh also legit if you want to get some drinks whenever you're in Kyoto hit me up.

    Also, remember to listen to the vending machine monkey:
    cqd5yzsz7rry.jpg

    KetBra on
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  • MrBlarneyMrBlarney Registered User regular
    Local H Jay already posted previous times the Japan trip thread has popped up here in H&A, but I'm still obliged to mention Fushimi Inari since the topic of Kyoto came up. I'll also re-post my anecdotal ramblings on Tokyo despite the fact that they need to be updated with my most recent short visits (walked up Mt. Takao, saw Mt. Fuji, it was great).

    I think everyone else covered whatever points I might be able to offer. I've been on an four times streak of visiting Tokyo approximately every two years, and it was only my most recent visit this past April when I picked up a Suica card. So much easier to get around with a train card, highly recommended.

    4463rwiq7r47.png
    Rami
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    I probably said this on the other threads, but I'm going to put in a contrary point to see if you really need a wifi hotspot. My carrier gave free internet throughout Japan.

    Slow, for sure, but free. Enough to look up directions on Google maps and some ideas on the travel sites, and I didn't really want it for anything else.


    Nara is a fun experience, glad that's on your list.

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  • WhiteZinfandelWhiteZinfandel Registered User regular
    I was just there earlier this year!

    Is the luggage you're bringing going to be especially cumbersome? All the trains I took had plenty of space for the luggage I brought.

    If you have any interest in the subject at all, check out the Kyoto International Manga Museum. The entry fee is only like 800 yen and it's pretty cool. The place is set up with the usual displays on specific subjects like other museums (I liked the casts of mangaka hands a lot), but it's also like a library in that you're welcome to pick out any manga you see and sit down to read it wherever there's space.

    I have a complete set of the Venture Bros. Season 7 t-shirt club medium-size t-shirts for sale. PM me if you're interested.
    Rami
  • RamiRami Registered User regular
    I'm taking 2 suitcases and a backpack, it sounds like if I avoid commute rush hours it should be okay on the train

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  • BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    edited July 21
    I've been on the train at rush hours. It really is as bad as people tell you.

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  • baudattitudebaudattitude Registered User regular
    edited July 23
    Rami wrote: »
    I'm taking 2 suitcases and a backpack, it sounds like if I avoid commute rush hours it should be okay on the train

    You are almost certainly bringing too much stuff. August is miserably hot so it is shorts and t-shirts all the way while the salarymen look at you in envy.

    Drink more fluids than you think you need and if you use the restroom and are like, wow, that is the darkest I have ever seen the water turn then you are very close to passing out from heat stroke. Liter bottles of vitamin C water are super cheap at any corner store and there are vending machines every couple of blocks. Seriously. Hydrate early and often.

    In Osaka I stay at a Capsule place a lot, the Capsule Hotel Asahi Plaza Shinsaibashi. It’s very close to Dotonbori which is the famous restaurant and shopping district with the Glico running man etc and it’s like Y3000 a night.

    In Tokyo I like the Shiba Park hotel which is a little run down and away from a lot of touristy stuff but is very close to Zojoji temple and Tokyo Tower and like three stops away from Akihabara on the Yamanote line if you plan to go there. There’s also a post office around the corner from it if you want to ship stuff home.

    Edit: Also I recommend this NHK World program on the various trains that get you from the airport to the city proper. It may help with the initial omg I'm in a foreign country where do I go? disorientation. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/video/2049035/

    Osaka starts about halfway in so skip ahead if you are flying into KIX.

    baudattitude on
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  • RamiRami Registered User regular
    I'm there for 3 weeks so I need a decent amount of clean clothes. But also room for all the stuff I going to buy

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    I would get a smaller duffel bag that can fit in your main bag, that's what I did. I even got one with roller wheels that could lay flat on the bottom of my larger case. So going there I had less to tote around but coming back could check both bags.

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  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    edited July 24
    Rami wrote: »
    I'm there for 3 weeks so I need a decent amount of clean clothes. But also room for all the stuff I going to buy

    Me and my friend did a month travelling across Japan in August 2008, I had a single backpack that I took on the plane as carry on, packed a weeks worth of clothing which was more underwear than anything. Wore a pair of KEEN sandals, no socks. Had a light rainjacket, shorts and tshirts. My friend was the same. We did laundry when we needed to.

    Everything that we bought ended up in a box that we shipped back to Canada. It got home before we did.

    IF you are going to be travelling alot go light, if you have a hub location where you will be travelling out from then stow your shopping there until you head home, take an additional bag you can fold up into your main bag.

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    Shipping stuff back can be costly though, it is usually cheaper to just bring things back with you. With an AirBnB you can just drop your goods back at your spot and move around pretty freely. It'll only suck getting to the airport which you'll probably want give yourself more than enough time to get there.

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  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    Shipping stuff back can be costly though, it is usually cheaper to just bring things back with you. With an AirBnB you can just drop your goods back at your spot and move around pretty freely. It'll only suck getting to the airport which you'll probably want give yourself more than enough time to get there.

    Yea its certainly the more expensive option, we had the cash and the desire not to carry a ton of crap around so it was worth it.

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  • RamiRami Registered User regular
    I may end up shipping stuff anyway. I mean if I walk into the pokémon centre and there's a 5 foot charizard or snorlax plush I can't really be held responsible for any irresponsible spending that may occur.

    What's the state of public toilets? I assume most sitdown restaurants would have them available, and train stations. Is it the type of thing you're going to want to keep a stack of coins for?

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    Toilets are common but many of them are the "squat" variety where it's just a hole in the ground. A lot less common in the city but you'll still see it. One thing to keep in mind, not all bathrooms there have sinks to wash your hands, so maybe keep hand sanitizer on deck.

    Another hot tip, there's like.... No trash cans anywhere. Only really place to find them reliably is outside convenience stores. It's remarkable how clean everything considering the lack of public use trash cans.

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  • DemonStaceyDemonStacey TTODewback's Daughter In love with the TaySwayRegistered User regular
    Rami wrote: »
    I'm there for 3 weeks so I need a decent amount of clean clothes. But also room for all the stuff I going to buy

    Another good benefit of airbnb is finding places with washers.

    And as for bathrooms surprisingly on my trip through Osaka, Kyoto, Sapporo, Sendai and Tokyo I never came across a squat type bathroom.

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  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    I'm in the light packing group. I only bring 1 small backpack. But, if you want to buy a lot of stuff bring more. It's not too much of a pain to bring luggage around, as long as you're not changing hotels every day. Not sure if it's been mentioned, but the only place I could get an ATM to work was 7-11.

  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    Cauld wrote: »
    I'm in the light packing group. I only bring 1 small backpack. But, if you want to buy a lot of stuff bring more. It's not too much of a pain to bring luggage around, as long as you're not changing hotels every day. Not sure if it's been mentioned, but the only place I could get an ATM to work was 7-11.

    yea, when I was there finding an ATM that would hit my bank in Canada was tricky, post offices and 7-11 was where I found them.

  • RamiRami Registered User regular
    I actually just saw a youtube vid about the lack of bins around Tokyo. I don't think it will be a huge problem since I'll always have my backpack with me so I can stuff any wrappers in there until it can be thrown away properly.

    Other things I will carry at all times: water bottle, sunscreen, small roll of TP and hand sanitizer I guess

    Steam / Xbox Live: WSDX NNID: W-S-D-X 3DS FC: 2637-9461-8549
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  • TexiKenTexiKen that boy can sing! Jackson HeightsRegistered User regular
    When I went I used this REI Rucksack 28 which wasn't cumbersome, and a Duluth duffel bag that's been my mainstay travel bag for awhile. And both worked really well, essentially I put all my gifts in the backpack at the end and crammed all the clothes into the duffel with a few of the knives I bought. I didn't bring a lot of tech with me, just my phone, tablet, and some headphones which I would probably just switch out for the standard earphones you get with your phone these days.

    I did the lazy flyer thing of wearing my best clothes on the plane (jeans, business casual shoes and a long sleeve button up) and then just hung them up at the hotel and went around everywhere in shorts and t-shirts/polos that were rolled into the duffel. I used the backpack all the time for sightseeing and shopping and it wasn't a nuisance or getting in people's way, but I just had to learn to simply take it off and place it at my feet on busier subway rides even when I was standing.

    I will say I sorta cheated coming back by stuffing some things in my duty free bags when I was at the airport geting the usual kitkats and Tokyo Bananas, and just carried it on with me without any objection from the airline (ANA is exponentially better than anything stateside).

    eo3k6D0.png
    Rami
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Toilets are common but many of them are the "squat" variety where it's just a hole in the ground. A lot less common in the city but you'll still see it. One thing to keep in mind, not all bathrooms there have sinks to wash your hands, so maybe keep hand sanitizer on deck.

    Another hot tip, there's like.... No trash cans anywhere. Only really place to find them reliably is outside convenience stores. It's remarkable how clean everything considering the lack of public use trash cans.

    My understanding is that it's rude to be doing something that generates trash while on the move. Like, you don't eat a candy bar while walking. You eat the candy bar where you got it, and you throw the garbage away there.

    As for spare luggage for shipping, my approach has historically been to pack light and either ship or, if necessary, buy cheap luggage to check for the return. This is partially because it was often $100 to check the bag going one way for me, so fuck it.

    What is this I don't even.
    Rami
  • baudattitudebaudattitude Registered User regular
    Rami wrote: »
    I may end up shipping stuff anyway. I mean if I walk into the pokémon centre and there's a 5 foot charizard or snorlax plush I can't really be held responsible for any irresponsible spending that may occur.

    What's the state of public toilets? I assume most sitdown restaurants would have them available, and train stations. Is it the type of thing you're going to want to keep a stack of coins for?

    Public toilets are typically train stations, department stores, big stores like Yodobashi Camera. I don't think I've ever tried to duck into a restaurant to use their bathroom, but I would guess McDonalds in a pinch.

    MOST toilets are free to use. I ran into some pay toilets in Tokyo station on my last trip and they were only labeled as being pay toilets in kanji so that might be a surprise if you can't read much and walk into the men's room and are surprised by the woman taking payment.

    Train station restrooms are generally but not always in front of the ticket gate.

    Osaka restrooms are notorious for having toilet paper vending machines as you walk into the bathroom and no TP in the stalls but again that seems really rare. Carry a packet or two of tissues with you (actually this is good advice for Japan in general).

    The state of the floor in a lot of train station bathrooms is... well, dire. I would not walk into one in open sandals or with any pants where the cuffs came anywhere near the floor. Department stores will be much cleaner.

    You may run in to the occasional squat toilet but they are getting less and less common. One of the funniest things I have seen in Japan was a restroom with five traditional stalls and one western stall and all five traditional stalls unoccupied with a line of Japanese dudes waiting on the western stall.

    Local H JayKetBraRami
  • KrathoonKrathoon Registered User regular
    There are some Metal Jesus videos about Japan that might be useful.
    You can mail stuff back if you buy things.

    JaysonFour
  • NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    edited August 1
    double check the price of bullet train tickets vs. the JR rail pass. I think you need to use it 3 or 4 times to break even.

    Also on the first day you get to japan (or second or whatever) go to a JR office. You'll have to, to activate your rail pass anyways if you get one. But what you need to do is reserve seats for the bullet trains you want. Think of them like flights. They fill up. But usually not till the day of, if at all, unless it's a holiday. Rail offices are usually very helpful and very used to English speaking people, even if their english isn't great. Rely on em for questions. You'll probably get lost in a train station at least once. It's ok to ask people that look like they work in the station. They'll point out where to go. Get used to pointing at your own maps.

    Pointing at things and saying onegai (please) is the best form of communication.

    If you like biking, renting a bicycle can be really fun and a much better way to see the cities and find interesting places to stop at.

    I'd spend around 10-15 dollars per day on subway tickets.

    Check calendars for when Japanese holidays are and avoid going that week if you can.

    Overall Japan is a really easy country as long as you are willing to ask strangers that don't speak english very well for help. If you don't know how a restaurant works or where to put your shoes or anything else, looking confused and pointing at things will work fine. What doesn't work is when you're to shy too look stupid.

    NotYou on
    baudattitudeRami
  • baudattitudebaudattitude Registered User regular
    Oh yeah, the greatest power of all is to look foreign and lost. I have used that in some situations where I really should not have.

    Drovek
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