Travel Japan

Holy Rioli

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Turn left with care is a northern state thing in Australia right? Saw people turning left against the red in NSW once and thought WTF was going on.
I only know one set of lights here in QLD where you can turn left with care if it is red (I'm sure there are others). The issue with Japanese lights, and I'm sure you know this, there isn't this type of setup (pretend there are lights at the intersection)

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Cockliff38

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Heading over on Sunday for 3 weeks - can't wait and the weather looks favourable heading into sakura season.

The trip is bookended with stints in Tokyo (Shibuya and Ginza) but we're also going to Lake Kawaguchiko, Hakone, Magome (as per a recommendation I read in here), Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka - most likely a day-trip to Nara at some point too.
 

TDHawks1

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Heading over on Sunday for 3 weeks - can't wait and the weather looks favourable heading into sakura season.

The trip is bookended with stints in Tokyo (Shibuya and Ginza) but we're also going to Lake Kawaguchiko, Hakone, Magome (as per a recommendation I read in here), Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka - most likely a day-trip to Nara at some point too.
I enjoyed Hakone, take advantage of the free pass. Hopefully you get a clear day and can see Fuji from Lake Ashi
 

bixente

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How good is the public transport? I'm planning on going later this year, I know the jr rail pass is a must. Is going from place to place via train easy?
 

crafty_bernardo

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How good is the public transport? I'm planning on going later this year, I know the jr rail pass is a must. Is going from place to place via train easy?
Public transport is one of the best. You only need JR Pass if you're travelling around from cities to cities. If you're staying in Tokyo you only need the Pasmo card.

The train system can be bit confusing at first, but it's not that hard getting used to, after a few goes.
 

swingdog

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How good is the public transport? I'm planning on going later this year, I know the jr rail pass is a must. Is going from place to place via train easy?
There's Japanese public transport, then there's light years of daylight, some more daylight, a bit more daylight, and then there's Australian public transport.
 

Igloo

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Contemplating going for another short trip by myself in July-ish to places I may have missed in my other trips. Thinking about Hokkaido, but being summer i'm not sure.
 

ESKIE

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How good is the public transport? I'm planning on going later this year, I know the jr rail pass is a must. Is going from place to place via train easy?
Down load the app ‘Tokyo Subway’ makes it all very easy, just enter where you are going and it tells you which line to take where to transfer, all colour and number coded, fantastic tool

Otherwise - hyperdia is a good website for intercity and around the country side of japan
 

basashi

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Down load the app ‘Tokyo Subway’ makes it all very easy, just enter where you are going and it tells you which line to take where to transfer, all colour and number coded, fantastic tool

Otherwise - hyperdia is a good website for intercity and around the country side of japan
Hyperdia is very good. I prefer it for a long planned journey as it includes all the granular stuff like reserved seat prices, green car etc. For basic stuff, searching your journey on google maps is pretty good. If I am doing an 80k day trip to a seaside town for a lunch I will definitely plan my trip on Hyperdia the night before. If I am going to a shop 5km across town in the middle of the day I will use Google maps.

- A good rule of thumb is that the 7 day JR pass roughly costs the same as a return bullet train tokyo / osaka fare. This means that if you were going to do that anyway then the pass is worth getting so you can do a bit of local travel as well.

- In Tokyo and other big cities there are JR trains (which are almost always surface) and there are private lines which in the middle of the city are almost always subways. "Suica" is the stored value prox card sold by JR east and Pasmo is sold by the private lines. It doesn't matter which one buy because they fully integrate. In Osaka the version of the Suica is called Icoca. but that also doesn't matter because they integrate across cities. (I imagine in a billion, trillion years time you will be able to use a Myki in Perth and a Smartrider in Me...... ha, I can't even type that with a straight face!)

- a good rule of thumb in Tokyo is that when you are covering any real distance its best to get onto a JR line. They are faster and have fewer stops.

Suica can be used in a lot of shops and convenience stores.
 

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basashi

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I succumbed to cheapish flights. Going again July 11th-26th. I am prepared to sweat.
Don't forget to spend a couple of evenings at outdoor all you can eat / all you can drink yakiniku (Japanese version of Korean barbecue).

There is a great Park in Tokyo that is kind of like the "Homebush" of the 1964 games. Each year from May to September they allocate an area for a 1000 seat beer garden.

http://mbg.rkfs.co.jp/

Just looking at the above, dates have not been announced for 2018. I am hoping this is coming but I fear the the redevelopment of the adjacent stadium may interfere this summer. Let's hope, anyway. As the evening progresses they usually set up the kegs around the garden and let you pull your own beers. Responsible service of alcohol doesn't get any more responsible than that.

The Japan tradition of summer evening outdoor yakiniku is awesome. Several department stores allocate roof space to this. In the heat of summer you can usually get an awesome deal and the locals really let their hair down.
 
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Contemplating going for another short trip by myself in July-ish to places I may have missed in my other trips. Thinking about Hokkaido, but being summer i'm not sure.
I just watched the Bourdain on this last night after never hearing about it; weird. Looks alright in winter but he didn't seem to love it and the woman on his guide was a stern ass bitch who tried saying the best thing about Hokkaido is how rude and careless the people are???? wtf. Food looks alright though if not a bit all over the place.
 

Peter Sidorkiewicz

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For the Tokyo Subway ?
Yep. Google maps will also do the same in Osaka and Kyoto if you are catching public transport in those cities. It will tell you which line, which platform etc. There are English signs everywhere (even on the trains where they announce the upcoming stop in English), so it very easy to navigate.
 

ESKIE

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Yep. Google maps will also do the same in Osaka and Kyoto if you are catching public transport in those cities. It will tell you which line, which platform etc. There are English signs everywhere (even on the trains where they announce the upcoming stop in English), so it very easy to navigate.
Thanks, yes I was in Japan last October very easy to get around, signage was good but we didn’t use google maps, we used the app and hyperdia but good to know for next time thanks
 

Aussie Joe

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Just got home today from Japan trip. Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo (8 days). The cherry blossoms were very cool. Damn I love that country. Didn’t want to leave. Their trains are straight up awesome. Forget renting a car. And the food.....I sadly know that I will never have Japanese food as good again until I go back.

Japan is straight up underrated by Aussies. This is a place you need to put on top of your country visit list.
 

crafty_bernardo

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Just got home today from Japan trip. Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo (8 days). The cherry blossoms were very cool. Damn I love that country. Didn’t want to leave. Their trains are straight up awesome. Forget renting a car. And the food.....I sadly know that I will never have Japanese food as good again until I go back.

Japan is straight up underrated by Aussies. This is a place you need to put on top of your country visit list.
Really? I've seen and met many Aussies on my trips to Tokyo and Hokkaido. And yeah my standards for ramen and sushi are so high I rarely eat them here :'(
 

Aussie Joe

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Most of my friends who travel a lot eventually go to Japan. But I think it should be very high on a travel list. It’s actually such a great country to go to if you want to dip your toe into Asian travel.
 

Cockliff38

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Got home on Friday from 21 days in Jap.

Started off based in Shibuya. Lots of shopping around Shinjuku and Harajuku, also checking out various parks even though sakura wasn't quite in full bloom. Highlights were Golden Gai (freaking love that place) and Piss Alley (yakitori alley). Also ate the best pizza of our lives near Shibuya (will dig out the name on request).

From here we drove to Kawaguchiko, Hakone and Nagiso, staying at onsen resorts and enjoying different types of kaiseki. We didn't know about the unexpected late snow in these areas, so driving turned slightly more stressful than anticipated but still worthwhile. Mt Fuji looked beautiful and we were quite fortunate in terms of visibility.

From Nagiso we drove to Kyoto via Mie for a delicious sukiyaki lunch - one of the best meals of my life, and while expensive was worth every penny.

We managed to time Kyoto perfectly for sakura, the parks and even the main streets were beautiful - definitely the most livable city imo. Also tried basashi here, and really enjoyed it. Kyoto is notoriously expensive for accommodation so we went with a modern capsule hotel... it was okay but doing it for three nights was probably excessive.

From here we caught a train to Kobe. Not my favourite city in Japan but the beef certainly lived up to expectations - wow.

Then caught a train to Osaka and reveled in the shopping before heading back to Tokyo, this time based in Ginza. Ginza almost didn't even feel like Japan, more New York so much so was the high-end nature of all the shops. Highlight of this stint was dining at Jiro's second son's restaurant - a two michellin star sushi place... amazing, don't think I will be able to eat sushi in Australia again.
 

Igloo

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Got home on Friday from 21 days in Jap.

Started off based in Shibuya. Lots of shopping around Shinjuku and Harajuku, also checking out various parks even though sakura wasn't quite in full bloom. Highlights were Golden Gai (freaking love that place) and Piss Alley (yakitori alley). Also ate the best pizza of our lives near Shibuya (will dig out the name on request).
So did I! I wonder if it's the same place. Pretty small, just a row of stools along the one bench with the wall super close to your back?
I can't remember the name, or exactly where it was, but I feel it was somewhere to the left of the Hachiko statue maybe under a footbridge and down a street or two.
 

Cockliff38

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So did I! I wonder if it's the same place. Pretty small, just a row of stools along the one bench with the wall super close to your back?
I can't remember the name, or exactly where it was, but I feel it was somewhere to the left of the Hachiko statue maybe under a footbridge and down a street or two.
Sounds different. The restaurant we went to was called "Seirinkan". It was in an old apartment building and you use the fire stairs to go up and down the various levels and the chef is obsessed with the Beatles haha.

I was watching David Chang's Ugly Delicious on Netflix days before we left and he sited it as the best pizza in the world, so put it on the list to check out.

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Helfarch

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I am so le sad I haven't seen this thread before.

I have been to Japan several times. Love it.

My favourite food is a straw grille place in Shinjuku. Sweet baby jesus is that good food. Cheap for what it is too.

From here we caught a train to Kobe. Not my favourite city in Japan but the beef certainly lived up to expectations - wow.
Did you do the 7 sake breweries? I loved Kobe and will go back. Was the ropeway still closed?
 

evo

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good thread.

I live in Hakuba during the Japanese winter. Currently looking at buying a small hotel here.

Main interest for tourists are

Snow monkeys...



Matsumoto Castle



and of course some of the worlds sickest powder...

 
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