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Old 03-15-2012, 11:04 PM   #1
Mb2658
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I am taking the SWMBO to Japan this summer for a wedding anniversary/grad school graduation trip. Neither of us have ever been to Japan or Asia. We will be there about 10 days and are starting in Tokyo. Is anyone familiar with the area? I am looking for suggestions of all types including beer, places to see, and good food.

 
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Old 03-16-2012, 02:13 AM   #2
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I spent 2 years in Okinawa. Don't know mainland at all. But if you've never been to Asia before, get ready for a culture shock. Oh, and the vending machines that serve both hot and cold cans of coffee are delicious.

 
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:10 AM   #3
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Take a radiation meter.
Regards, GF.

 
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:12 PM   #4
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Typing of vending machines...

You can buy soiled women's underwear from vending machines in Japan.
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfc View Post
Typing of vending machines...

You can buy previously worn schoolgirl underwear from vending machines in Japan.
Fixed that.

 
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Old 03-16-2012, 05:47 PM   #6
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There's an app and a website called Beer in Japan which has a pretty good listing of where to find craft brew (ji biiru 地ビール). If you can, try visiting one of Baird Brewing's taproom.

You may be shocked to find that meal combos come with beer as an option but it's only half a pint.

Food is amazing in Japan. Some of the best french food, italian food, etc. I've ever tasted were in Japan. The only thing they can't get right (food wise) is American food.

Tsukiji fish market is a great place to start once you get there.

The Imperial Palace, Asakusa, Akihibara, and Shibuya are must-sees.

There's a famous temple in Asakusa and there'll be rickshaws there to tour you around the place. You can take a boat tour around Sumida River too. You'll get to see the new Sky Tower and there's a building shaped like a beer mug complete with the foam/head... I was there last month and there were protestors out in the street. Nothing to worry about - they were very civilized and if my wife didn't tell me they were protesting, I would've never known.

Akihibara is full of the weird stuff Japan is known for. Shibuya is more about the insane crowds and the lights at night. Harajuka is there too.

Ginza is the Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive of Tokyo. Expensive stores everywhere.

Summer time is brutal - hot and humid.

If you can, take the bullet train to Kyoto. Tokyo is modern. Kyoto is more traditional/ancient.

I can post pics, if you're interested.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A4J
There's an app and a website called Beer in Japan which has a pretty good listing of where to find craft brew (ji biiru 地ビール). If you can, try visiting one of Baird Brewing's taproom.

You may be shocked to find that meal combos come with beer as an option but it's only half a pint.

Food is amazing in Japan. Some of the best french food, italian food, etc. I've ever tasted were in Japan. The only thing they can't get right (food wise) is American food.

Tsukiji fish market is a great place to start once you get there.

The Imperial Palace, Asakusa, Akihibara, and Shibuya are must-sees.

There's a famous temple in Asakusa and there'll be rickshaws there to tour you around the place. You can take a boat tour around Sumida River too. You'll get to see the new Sky Tower and there's a building shaped like a beer mug complete with the foam/head... I was there last month and there were protestors out in the street. Nothing to worry about - they were very civilized and if my wife didn't tell me they were protesting, I would've never known.

Akihibara is full of the weird stuff Japan is known for. Shibuya is more about the insane crowds and the lights at night. Harajuka is there too.

Ginza is the Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive of Tokyo. Expensive stores everywhere.

Summer time is brutal - hot and humid.

If you can, take the bullet train to Kyoto. Tokyo is modern. Kyoto is more traditional/ancient.

I can post pics, if you're interested.
Thanks for the suggestions. Our plan is to spend a few days in Tokyo and the head west to Osaka and Kyoto. I figure that Tokyo is good for a few days but any longer might be overwhelming. Do you have any suggestions for the trains and using rail passes? I am still trying to figure out how to best utilize a rail pass. The trains seem to be quite pricey otherwise.

I would love to see some pics.

 
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Old 03-17-2012, 04:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mb2658 View Post
Do you have any suggestions for the trains and using rail passes? I am still trying to figure out how to best utilize a rail pass. The trains seem to be quite pricey otherwise.
I haven't checked fair recently, but if you're only doing Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka and back, the rail pass might be just a little more expensive compared to just buying the tickets separately. It might actually be cheaper to fly to Kyoto (Kansai airport), but I wouldn't recommend that.

My recommendations for the best sushi:
Sukiyabashi Jiro, or Kyubei, or RyuGin, or Mizutani.
You'll probably spend about USD$200+ per person, but it is so worth it.

on to the pictures
(they're in no particular order and all were taken sometime between 2004 up to Feb 2012).

Asakusa

The Asahi building, shaped like a beer mug.



Sumida River boat tour



Nakamise - one of the oldest shopping centers in Japan; leads up to the Sensoji temple (next pic)


not quite the sensoji temple, but you get the idea




The Imperial Palace


Other random parts of Tokyo

Shibuya at night



McD



Domino's menu



Hamarikyu Garden



Yanaka District

Nothing too exciting in this area. It's a ritzy residential neighborhood devoid of high-rise buildings.


An old sake brewery





Akahibara






Roppongi Hills








Kyoto






Geisha houses


This was the setting for Memoirs of a Geisha







Osaka








There are a few more pictures here. Plus, if you're interested in going to the northern island of Hokkaido [Sapporo], I can tell you more about that.
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Old 03-17-2012, 04:34 PM   #9
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The JR rail pass is a pretty good deal for travelers. If you get that, you might as well plan a day to head from Osaka down to Hiroshima to see the peace memorial from the atomic bombing. It's not a long ride from there, especially on the Shinkansen ( or bullet train). I second the recommendation to go to shiny a in Tokyo. There is a Starbucks there where you can get a 2nd story seat to enjoy coffee and watch the crowds cross the street. That might sound like an odd thing to watch, but it's amazing. Also, there is a building in shinjuku where you can go up to the 50th floor or something to see all of Tokyo. I think it's a government building.

In Osaka, the castle is a really popular. Kyoto is known for the temples. If you are in Osaka during baseball season, you absolutely must go to see the Hanchin Tigers play baseball. Its a whole other experience to watch baseball in Japan.

Save your dollars! Japan is not a cheap vacation. I lived in Nagoya for almost a year.

 
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyc318 View Post
Also, there is a building in shinjuku where you can go up to the 50th floor or something to see all of Tokyo. I think it's a government building.
The TMG (Tokyo Municipal Government) building.
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