• Register
  • TOS
  • Privacy
  • @NeoGAF
  • Like

hwalker84
Member
(04-12-2013, 03:20 PM)
hwalker84's Avatar


This thread has now become the official Gafer's visiting Japan question thread.

Below are some resources to help you plan your trip:

WebsitesAccommodationsAirline Tickets
There's tons of websites available for this, I would check as many websites as you can, as well as the specials on specific airliner websites.
In general, the most expensive time to visit seems to be Dec and Jan close to New Years, April to May, and August.
Try out some of these to compare prices:Arrival
Narita International Airport (NRT) will most likely be the airport you arrive in if you're going to Tokyo. There's a few ways to get to Tokyo from there:Currency Exchange
  • Narita Exchange Rate Table - You won't need yen before you go to Japan. The airport generally gives a very decent exchange rate, just go to any of the banks there after you arrive.
Transportation
  • JR Rail - Most likely your main mode of transport, it's very easy to use and gets you around very quickly. Just purchase tickets and go into the station. Trains do NOT run 24 hours, the latest ones are usually around midnight and they start back up around 5:00AM so prepare accordingly.
  • Suica Card - Can be purchased in from the ticket stations, or with the Suica & NEX deal from the airport. Streamlines everything by allowing you to just swipe your card at the entrance and exit (if you know which rails you need to take already). The amount deducted will be calculated automatically based on where you traveled. ¥500 deposit is required and you can add money from almost any ticket station. You can get your deposit back if you return the Suica Card.
  • JR Pass - Available in either a 7, 14 or 21 day pass, this allows you to use any JR rail as much as you want for a number of days. Pretty much an amazing deal if you decide to travel anywhere outside of Tokyo. If you plan to stay within Tokyo, most likely it won't be worth the money.
  • Tokyo Metro Subway - Works just like the JR Rail, might be needed to reach certain areas, e.g., Asakusa.
Data
  • B-Mobile Data Only Visitor Sim - A sim card that allows for data use only, both versions last for 14 days. Very useful for maps on your phone if you get lost or want to pull up your "My Places" of google maps. The sim MUST be purchased online and can either be picked up at the airport or delivered to your hotel.
  • Japan-Wireless
  • Global Advanced Comm
GAF Picture Albums

Credit goes to RapidCancel for the majority of this post
Last edited by hwalker84; 04-26-2017 at 02:03 AM.
Blimblim
The Inside Track
(04-12-2013, 03:24 PM)
Blimblim's Avatar
For travel inside Japan, this is a must have:
http://www.japanrailpass.net/eng/en003.html
hwalker84
Member
(04-12-2013, 03:28 PM)
hwalker84's Avatar

Originally Posted by Blimblim

For travel inside Japan, this is a must have:
http://www.japanrailpass.net/eng/en003.html

I appreciate it. Definitely something I didn't know.
Fivefold
Banned
(04-12-2013, 03:29 PM)
Get a JR pass and do the Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka - Hiroshima itinerary, if you can, try to postpone your trip late Nov / early Dec so you can see the autumn colors, summer in Japan is kind of a miserable time to travel, its very hot, humid and rains a lot.
andymcc
Member
(04-12-2013, 03:34 PM)
andymcc's Avatar

Originally Posted by Fivefold

Get a JR pass and do the Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka - Hiroshima itinerary, if you can, try to postpone your trip late Nov / early Dec so you can see the autumn colors, summer in Japan is kind of a miserable time to travel, its very hot, humid and rains a lot.

and on top of being hot and humid, the amount of establishments that don't have AC makes it even worse!
equap
Banned
(04-12-2013, 03:35 PM)
I stayed at K's House in Tokyo and Kyoto. pretty nice and clean hostel.

check 'em out.
Chao
Member
(04-12-2013, 03:38 PM)
Chao's Avatar
Went this February with my gf. We stayed at Sakura jimbocho hotel. It was cheap, included breakfast and free wifi and it was close to subway stations, supermarkets and restaurants.

If you are going to Tokio, subway is the way to move around town, get a suica pasmo card and charge it. I put like 5000 yen for ten days, and I still had like 1500 left at the end. You can transfer between one area to another easily and you won't get lost ever.

If you are going to visit Japan in general you should get a Japan railpass to save on train trips, because trains are fucking expensive.

Food is cheap, you can eat at most places for like 600 yen or less. You can find sushi places (obviously small places) serving 2 pieces of sushi for 150 yen They will always offer you fresh water so you don't even have to pay for a drink.
hwalker84
Member
(04-15-2013, 07:59 PM)
hwalker84's Avatar

Originally Posted by Fivefold

Get a JR pass and do the Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka - Hiroshima itinerary, if you can, try to postpone your trip late Nov / early Dec so you can see the autumn colors, summer in Japan is kind of a miserable time to travel, its very hot, humid and rains a lot.

So would most people agree on the November timeframe?
andymcc
Member
(04-16-2013, 01:30 AM)
andymcc's Avatar

Originally Posted by hwalker84

So would most people agree on the November timeframe?

November or December are wonderful months to go.
sfedai0
Member
(04-16-2013, 01:36 AM)
Japan, much like most of Asia, is a cash based society. So assume to pay in cash and utilize the ATM's in 7-11 as those are open 24-7.

JR pass is good if you intend to visit other cities other than Tokyo. If not, you wont need one and you can just ride the Yamanote line to get around the city.
gotoadgo
Member
(04-16-2013, 02:39 AM)
gotoadgo's Avatar
I recently went there (late January for a couple of weeks with the gf).

Where to stay? If you go anywhere that has a Ryokan(old Japanese style accommodation) I'd recommend doing it for at least one night. Fun experience and they usually have some traditional ceremonies for you to attend as well. We were there for two weeks all up and our itinerary was Osaka(2 nights)->Mount Koya(one night, really pretty and recommended)->Kyoto(4 nights)->Hiroshima(one night, no need for more here as you'll only see the peace park and museum really)->Takayama (one night, really nice little town too but kind of out of the way. Great if you want some Sake)->Tokyo(5 nights, probably too much but depends on what you want to see and do I suppose).

Should I take one of those tours? If so which one? No idea on tours as we travelled everywhere by ourselves.

How would I travel to different cities if I don't take a tour? Train is basically how Japan works. You'll use it a lot so I'd recommend a rail pass for the times you'll be moving large distances, as that's when you want the bullet trains and they're not cheap(we activated ours after Osaka and it lasted until we got in to Tokyo). Once in Tokyo travel is pretty cheap by train.

Etc? Food is cheap despite what the internet says. Sushi is everywhere and the sushi trains are REALLY cheap and awesome. In Kyoto my gf and I found a place called Sushi-Roo and it was 120 yen a plate. We ate there three nights in a row.

Kyoto is a bus town for travelling, Hiroshima uses trams and everywhere else is usually trains.

Don't expect a lot of English speaking natives(we did, we were wrong).
leadbelly
Banned
(04-16-2013, 02:40 AM)
leadbelly's Avatar
I'm interested in going to Japan myself so quite interested to hear what people have to say.
Fivefold
Banned
(04-16-2013, 04:37 AM)
There's a lot of information out there since it's pretty much a holy grail destination for nerds but I'll add to this:

Don't expect a lot of English speaking natives(we did, we were wrong).

And say that while you can do relatively fine with just English and a phrasebook, if you know just a bit of Japanese, you'll have so many new doors open to you. For people planning to travel in 6 months or more, I think it's worth to try and learn a bit of the language. While reading and writing are of course a bitch, IMO conversational Japanese is not really that hard - a program like Pimsleur can be easily done in 6 months or so and will make your trip much more enjoyable.
gotoadgo
Member
(04-17-2013, 11:27 AM)
gotoadgo's Avatar

Originally Posted by Fivefold

There's a lot of information out there since it's pretty much a holy grail destination for nerds but I'll add to this:



And say that while you can do relatively fine with just English and a phrasebook, if you know just a bit of Japanese, you'll have so many new doors open to you. For people planning to travel in 6 months or more, I think it's worth to try and learn a bit of the language. While reading and writing are of course a bitch, IMO conversational Japanese is not really that hard - a program like Pimsleur can be easily done in 6 months or so and will make your trip much more enjoyable.

Yeh that's true, luckily I'd studied Japanese in high school and some of it obviously stuck so it helped me to read signs and know what some foods etc were when reading things.
sleepytrees
Member
(04-17-2013, 11:37 AM)
Can't speak to tours as I never took one, but the wonderful Ghibli Museum is worth a look, in Mitaka, just outside Tokyo, if you have any interest in the films of Miyazaki. Should be noted tickets need to be arranged beforehand.

I enjoyed time spent in Tokyo, and in Naha (Okinawa), and would love to go back and go further afield at some point.

Maybe there are certain aspects that you'd like to focus on? Arts, culture, music, theatre, films, video games, food. I'm sure people here could probably speak to many of those aspects. In any case wish you a wonderful trip.
lobdale
3 ft, coiled to the sky
(04-17-2013, 11:38 AM)
lobdale's Avatar
Buy a lot of natto, especially if it is summer, and carry it all around in your backpack.
Cheesecakebobby
Banned
(04-17-2013, 11:42 AM)
August is bloody hot. I don't recommend it, my sister fainted on her first day visiting me in Kyoto and my gf who is from the country tries to spend summer elsewhere.

Do feel free to ask me anything though, I live in Tokyo and spent a year in Kansai :)
TCRS
Member
(04-17-2013, 11:44 AM)
TCRS's Avatar
I'm so jelly of all you guys going to Japan, I want to go too. :/ I'll definitely do that before I settle down or anything. I've been watching videos of these two guys to combat my wanderlust:

http://www.kydeanderic.com/Tokyo/
hwalker84
Member
(04-17-2013, 01:37 PM)
hwalker84's Avatar

Originally Posted by Cheesecakebobby

August is bloody hot. I don't recommend it, my sister fainted on her first day visiting me in Kyoto and my gf who is from the country tries to spend summer elsewhere.

Do feel free to ask me anything though, I live in Tokyo and spent a year in Kansai :)

Thanks. I'll probably throw some ideas at you guys in a month or so. You've now all convinced me to go in November. Would the last 3 weeks of November be an ideal time you think?
Sigma722
Member
(04-17-2013, 02:15 PM)
Sigma722's Avatar

Originally Posted by Fivefold

Get a JR pass and do the Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka - Hiroshima itinerary, if you can, try to postpone your trip late Nov / early Dec so you can see the autumn colors, summer in Japan is kind of a miserable time to travel, its very hot, humid and rains a lot.

This is what I will be doing this late November. It'll be my second time in Japan. It'll be awesome.
Ratba
Member
(04-17-2013, 02:24 PM)
Ratba's Avatar
If you come I'd do move your way from West to East. Save Tokyo / Kamakura for the end of your trip. I live in Osaka and it's a nice town, but it's definitely nicer to live in than to visit.
Fivefold
Banned
(04-17-2013, 05:25 PM)

Originally Posted by hwalker84

Thanks. I'll probably throw some ideas at you guys in a month or so. You've now all convinced me to go in November. Would the last 3 weeks of November be an ideal time you think?

Late november is pretty much the best time to visit, you'll see the autumn colors all over the country, late march/early april is fantastic as well because of the sakura blossoms, but you can always save that for your second trip (and believe me, there will be a second trip).
ToLateToLove
Member
(04-17-2013, 06:02 PM)
ToLateToLove's Avatar
Any cool jazclubs in Tokyo? Or fancy restaurants worth visiting?
hwalker84
Member
(04-25-2013, 03:40 AM)
hwalker84's Avatar
I think the best time work wise is November 8th - November 30th? Good time?

One question I have is how the hell do I wash my clothes? No way I can pack for 3 weeks!
Cheesecakebobby
Banned
(04-25-2013, 03:44 AM)

Originally Posted by hwalker84

I think the best time work wise is November 8th - November 30th? Good time?

One question I have is how the hell do I wash my clothes? No way I can pack for 3 weeks!

Some areas might be in 'autumn colours' around then which makes a lot of places beautiful (but busy), you can check online forecasts from previous years to get an idea of which areas are prettiest at which time.

There are plenty of laundromats in Japan, but if you are staying somewhere there's a good chance you can do washing there. I've done washing in cheapo youth hostels a few times.
Platy
Member
(04-25-2013, 04:09 AM)
Platy's Avatar
A friend is going to japan next month ... does art gaf knows if stuffs like Copic Markers are cheaper there ?
Ratrat
Member
(04-25-2013, 11:55 AM)
Ratrat's Avatar

Originally Posted by Platy

A friend is going to japan next month ... does art gaf knows if stuffs like Copic Markers are cheaper there ?

Around 300 yen I hear.
Edit comparing he prices from copicmarkers.com and amazon.jp I'd say theyre roughly half the price which is insane if your getting say the 72-set...
Last edited by Ratrat; 04-25-2013 at 12:04 PM.
dhatt1
Member
(04-25-2013, 12:04 PM)
dhatt1's Avatar

Originally Posted by equap

I stayed at K's House in Tokyo and Kyoto. pretty nice and clean hostel.

check 'em out.

+1 on this, best hostel I've ever been to.

Make sure you take cash with you when you go about the place since not many places accept cards.
shorty_symd
Super Nintendo Chalmers
(05-06-2013, 01:21 PM)
shorty_symd's Avatar

Originally Posted by jackbugs

Can't speak to tours as I never took one, but the wonderful Ghibli Museum is worth a look, in Mitaka, just outside Tokyo, if you have any interest in the films of Miyazaki. Should be noted tickets need to be arranged beforehand.

Got any idea when's the best time to visit? I'm planning on ordering a ticket for when I head to Tokyo in September.
sleepytrees
Member
(05-06-2013, 01:27 PM)

Originally Posted by shorty_symd

Got any idea when's the best time to visit? I'm planning on ordering a ticket for when I head to Tokyo in September.

Wow what happened to me with all the swearing these days. You kinda got me here dude though I am really tired and should be asleep. But if you're going in September...

did i miss something?

oh like morning or evening or something... ive been there twice, probably both were weekdays

sorry i feel like i wanna say more, but tired really tired :) will get back to ya!

PMd
Last edited by sleepytrees; 05-07-2013 at 02:11 AM.
hwalker84
Member
(05-26-2013, 02:46 PM)
hwalker84's Avatar
Tickets have dropped to the lowest I've seen them $1250. Should I jump now or do you think it could go lower?
LordCanti
Member
(05-26-2013, 03:08 PM)
LordCanti's Avatar
Suddenly I'm realizing that I could take a two week vacation to Japan for less than $2000 plus the cost of food/souvenirs/train pass.
Phoenix4
Junior Member
(05-26-2013, 03:16 PM)
Http://www.japan-guide.com is a great resource that helped a lot on our trip from Kyoto to Tokyo through the Japanese Alps last March.

I would definitely recommend Kyoto for the 'old Japan' sights and it's a great city to explore by bike. We rented ours at J-Cycle (do reserve a day in advance)

Also be prepared to carry a lot of cash. Most shops don't accept plastic and our European card was only accepted at ATM's at some convenience stores (7-Eleven) and post offices.

When travelling by train, use the takkyubin (ta-q-bin) service. They delivered our luggage overnight to our the room of our next hotel 200km away for around 10 euro. Don't be the guy with huge suitcases in an extremely crowded train.
Last edited by Phoenix4; 05-26-2013 at 03:22 PM.
Fritz
Member
(05-26-2013, 03:23 PM)
Fritz's Avatar

Originally Posted by Phoenix4

Http://www.japan-guide.com is a great resource that helped a lot on our trip from Kyoto to Tokyo through the Japanese Alps last March.

I would definitely recommend Kyoto for the 'old Japan' sights and it's a great city to explore by bike. We rented ours at J-Cycle (do reserve a day in advance)

Also be prepared to carry a lot of cash. Most shops don't accept plastic and our European card was only accepted at ATM's at some convenience stores (7-Eleven) and post offices.

That website is super helpful. Thank you!!
Kwixotik
Member
(05-26-2013, 04:14 PM)
Kwixotik's Avatar
When I went to Amsterdam there was a book called Get Lost!: The Cool Guide to Amsterdam, which focused on modern subcultures and places more interesting to get the feel of everyday life. Does anyone know of a similar guide to Tokyo?
FreeMufasa
Junior Member
(06-06-2013, 12:51 PM)
FreeMufasa's Avatar
How's the planning going?
jonnyp
Member
(06-06-2013, 01:09 PM)
jonnyp's Avatar
I'd go to Kyoto, Hiroshima and travel Kobe just to try authentic Kobe beef, it was worth every penny!
hwalker84
Member
(06-06-2013, 01:49 PM)
hwalker84's Avatar

Originally Posted by FreeMufasa

How's the planning going?

Honestly slow. Work has me swamped all I know is my flight information but haven't planned out each days activities. I arrive in Tokyo at 5pm Saturday November 9th. Wherever I stay I just want to drop my bags and head out asap. Then I want to hit up some awesome Japanese hip hop club. Then see whats up Sunday and move to a new city Monday. Then keep on doing that for a few weeks coming back to Tokyo for the last few days before I leave.

Mufasa you want to go on a 3 week journey with me? Two black men in Japan!
Last edited by hwalker84; 06-06-2013 at 01:55 PM.
FreeMufasa
Junior Member
(06-06-2013, 11:22 PM)
FreeMufasa's Avatar

Originally Posted by hwalker84

Honestly slow. Work has me swamped all I know is my flight information but haven't planned out each days activities. I arrive in Tokyo at 5pm Saturday November 9th. Wherever I stay I just want to drop my bags and head out asap. Then I want to hit up some awesome Japanese hip hop club. Then see whats up Sunday and move to a new city Monday. Then keep on doing that for a few weeks coming back to Tokyo for the last few days before I leave.

Mufasa you want to go on a 3 week journey with me? Two black men in Japan!

Haha yeah, just lemme know when u arrive.
Chuckl3s
Member
(06-06-2013, 11:28 PM)
Chuckl3s's Avatar
Is it wise to get a Japanese interpreter or just try to wing it?
hitoman
Junior Member
(06-07-2013, 12:01 AM)
hitoman's Avatar
I booked a trip for the end of this October through mid November. We're going to do Tokyo-A couple days in Kyoto-A couple days in Hiroshima-back to Tokyo for a week. We're going to get the JR pass and have already booked our hotels. Hasn't been nearly as bad as I thought in figuring things out using various websites. Hiroshima was surprising easy to plan when I searched. Almost got all of our activities down and starting to just figure out which rail to take where. Also you start considering converting money. I meant to do so when the dollar was above 100 yen but didn't and now it's down again :(
gotoadgo
Member
(06-07-2013, 12:49 AM)
gotoadgo's Avatar

Originally Posted by Chuckl3s

Is it wise to get a Japanese interpreter or just try to wing it?

Wing that shit son, way more fun and interesting that way. Take some sort of phrase book if you're really worried.
ChefRamsay
Member
(06-08-2013, 07:00 PM)
ChefRamsay's Avatar
OCD-Travel GAF representing here.

Does anyone have an itinerary they could share? I'm drawing one up in Excel and it would be awesome to see other successful trips as inspiration. The more specific, the better! :D
shorty_symd
Super Nintendo Chalmers
(06-09-2013, 10:28 AM)
shorty_symd's Avatar

Originally Posted by Chuckl3s

Is it wise to get a Japanese interpreter or just try to wing it?

Just learn a few phrases and you'll be fine. Would be awkward having an interpreter follow you around and do all your talking. Like Michael Jackson shopping or travelling in North Korea.


I booked a very similar trip to hitoman's. Couple of days in Tokyo then a couple of days in Kyoto via rail and then spend the last days in Osaka and fly out from there.
Last edited by shorty_symd; 06-09-2013 at 10:32 AM.
Formless
Member
(06-09-2013, 10:33 AM)
Formless's Avatar
At pretty much every subway station there'll be an officer who either knows a bit of English or should have an English map.
marcurius
Member
(06-09-2013, 10:48 AM)
marcurius's Avatar
I highly recommend ordering a pocket-wifi in advance. You pick it up at the airport and when you're leaving, you just put it in a post box. When I was in Japan this spring three of us used the same wifi without any problems at all, just have to be a little careful with the battery if you use it a lot. Having access to Google Maps wherever you went was indispensable, makes planning any trips inside the country an absolute breeze, since it tells what platforms trains depart from, etc.

It cost 15k yen or so for 12 days.
Gromph
This tag is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance...
(06-09-2013, 12:05 PM)
Gromph's Avatar

Originally Posted by marcurius

I highly recommend ordering a pocket-wifi in advance. You pick it up at the airport and when you're leaving, you just put it in a post box. When I was in Japan this spring three of us used the same wifi without any problems at all, just have to be a little careful with the battery if you use it a lot. Having access to Google Maps wherever you went was indispensable, makes planning any trips inside the country an absolute breeze, since it tells what platforms trains depart from, etc.

It cost 15k yen or so for 12 days.

You can buy a portable battery and have the pocket wifi running all day. ( I did that with a friend Pocket wifi prior moving to live in Tokyo.)

I also recommend to the OP one of the best places of Gyoza (dumplings) (¥290 6 pieces) in Tokyo

Harajuku Gyoza Lou - 原宿餃子楼.
Chao
Member
(06-09-2013, 12:37 PM)
Chao's Avatar

Originally Posted by marcurius

I highly recommend ordering a pocket-wifi in advance. You pick it up at the airport and when you're leaving, you just put it in a post box. When I was in Japan this spring three of us used the same wifi without any problems at all, just have to be a little careful with the battery if you use it a lot. Having access to Google Maps wherever you went was indispensable, makes planning any trips inside the country an absolute breeze, since it tells what platforms trains depart from, etc.

It cost 15k yen or so for 12 days.

I believe they are giving free wifi to tourists now, so I guess you don't need to rent those pocket wifi anymore:

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/indepth/ex...l/ntteast.html
Desmond
Member
(06-09-2013, 12:39 PM)
Desmond's Avatar
Hey guys, similarly I'm flying out to Tokushima prefecture on Friday on a two month exchange programme. I just have a quick question regarding average weather there. I've heard it is very warm and humid but does it rain often too? I've only packed shorts/shirts to wear.
shorty_symd
Super Nintendo Chalmers
(06-10-2013, 10:09 AM)
shorty_symd's Avatar

Originally Posted by Chao

I believe they are giving free wifi to tourists now, so I guess you don't need to rent those pocket wifi anymore:

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/indepth/ex...l/ntteast.html

Thank you for sharing this!
Last edited by shorty_symd; 06-10-2013 at 10:22 AM.

Thread Tools