This thread has now become the official Gafer's visiting Japan question thread.
Below are some resources to help you plan your trip:
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:
- FlightFox FlightFox is a tad different than the others. You basically pay a small fee and travel agents will compete with each other to find you the best price.
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:
- N'EX TOKYO Direct Ticket (One-way) - 50% Discount going from Narita to the Tokyo metropolitan area.
- Limousine Bus, Keisei Bus, Access Narita Bus - Pretty much all the same except various prices and destinations. The Access Narita Bus will take you to Tokyo or Ginza Station for just ¥1,000.
- Keisei Skyliner & Express - Their welcome set will also give you a 1 day pass for the subways.
- Taxi - Sure baller, go ahead.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Global Advanced Comm
- hwalker84 - 2013
- BronsonLee - 2014 Part 1, 2014 Part 2
- Damaged - 2014
- Desmond - 2013
- Fattony12000 - 2014 NEX-5N, 2014 iPhone 4S
- JRBechard - 2014
- MikeHattsu - 2014 Part 1, 2014 Part 2
- RapidCancel - 2012 - 2014
- Saya - 2014
- ThreePiMatt - 2014
- itsinmyveins - 2013
- openrob - Osaka and Hiroshiman/Miyajima Island, Kyoto, Tokyo, BONUS TRIP - Yokosuka
- Darksol - 2014
- Fritz- 2014
- hwalker84 - 2015
- DCharlie - Collection of pictures from Arcades in Japan, Random Around Japan stuff from 2000 onwards
- rrvv - 2015
- MikeHattsu - Spring 2015, Fall 2015
- Zyzyxxz - 2015
- JKTrix - 2015
- Thriller - 2015
- Laevateinn - 2015, TGS, Meguro Matsuri, Sunshine City, Pokemon Cafe, Ameyokocho and Sunshine City Aquarium, Penguin Bar, Nakano etc, Robot Resturant
- ThreePiMatt - 2015
- Dandte - 2015
- Zatoth - 2015/2016
- Elhaym - 2015/2016
- Stuart444 - Spring 2016
- ThreePiMatt - 2016
- MikeHattsu - 2016
- BronsonLee - 2016
- sechsterangriff - 2016
- Stalk- 2016
- Fireblend - 2016
- Fritz- 2016 Part. I, 2016 Part. II
Credit goes to RapidCancel for the majority of this post