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man o' the year

Japan advice

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OK - we are off to Japan this year (end of July and early August). We have been before so know that it is going to be very Japanese (it's not as daft a statement as it sounds. I would appreciate any input from others. We will be going to Takayama (up in the Japanese moutains), Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Osaka and a few days in Tokyo. Any recommends or avoid advice from the DOSBODS community I would be grateful for. 

Last time we were there we saw cormorant fishing (Ukai) and would like to do that again. we saw it in Iwakuni but I cannot find it advertised there recently. has anyone seen it in Kyoto (Arashiyama) ?

 

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I have zero advice but Council Dweller on ToS lived and worked there for a long time and has a (nuts, according to him) Japanese wife.  If you're not a member you could join and PM him.

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1 minute ago, TheBlueCat said:

Fresh sushi at the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo is worth getting up early for.

yes we love sushi so that is a great tip. last time we were there (our honeymoon in 1997) we ate what I was about to say was50% burgers and 50% sushi. Truth be told there was a little more variety than that but sometimes it didn't feel like it. We had an amazing meal in Kyoto, looked after by a local who ordered for us. Somehow it all worked out fine even on our own. I even booked a room in Japanese over the phone just using a phrasebook. 

The google translate camera app looks amazing but of course was not available then.

We went to Nara last time which we will give a miss to this time and also climbed Fuji which again we will not do this time. 

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14 minutes ago, man o' the year said:

yes we love sushi so that is a great tip. last time we were there (our honeymoon in 1997) we ate what I was about to say was50% burgers and 50% sushi. Truth be told there was a little more variety than that but sometimes it didn't feel like it. We had an amazing meal in Kyoto, looked after by a local who ordered for us. Somehow it all worked out fine even on our own. I even booked a room in Japanese over the phone just using a phrasebook. 

The google translate camera app looks amazing but of course was not available then.

We went to Nara last time which we will give a miss to this time and also climbed Fuji which again we will not do this time. 

There’s lots of amazing food to be had in Tokyo but, outside of the super high end famous places, you really need a local to help locate it for you. Having said that, the hole in the wall tiny ramen places near the big stations - which means they’re mostly full of demanding commuters - are nearly always excellent in my experience. I’ll ask my Tokyo friends for a few recommendations for other places.

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2 minutes ago, TheBlueCat said:

There’s lots of amazing food to be had in Tokyo but, outside of the super high end famous places, you really need a local to help locate it for you. Having said that, the hole in the wall tiny ramen places near the big stations - which means they’re mostly full of demanding commuters - are nearly always excellent in my experience. I’ll ask my Tokyo friends for a few recommendations for other places.

Thank you.

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It will be very hot and humid, I have never been so hot as August and September in Japan.

I would recommend the white castle in Himeji it is really worth a visit. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himeji_Castle

The gardens arounf the royal palace are nice too. Roppongi is a good place for the night life and the Sky Tower and Tokyo Tower also have to be seen. 

Oddly I really enjoyed disneyland tokyo there too especially disney sea and it is very cheap compared to the other disney places 

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2 minutes ago, man o' the year said:

Thanks I will look into those. We were there at the same time of the year in 1997 so I know exactly what you mean. The humidity was really oppressive.

It really was I went from AC building to AC building and tried to limit being outside. the evenings where lovely though. I went 12 times in 2015 I really need to find a reason to go back 

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The language shouldn't be a problem in the big cities. Take google maps, a spare battery and a data-only SIM from http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/ or similar. That will find you the right train etc, even giving the correct platform. Google translate is not bad at all, especially if you need to ask a question.

Get a Suica card if you're using the underground a lot, or a JR Rail pass if you think you'll just be using the JR Line; it will also get you on (most) of the shinkansen.

I'm a great fan of Shinjuku / Harajuku / Shibuya / Akihabara. Go to Shinjuku and up the Metropolitan Government tower. It's free, and the view is fantastic. Then, you can make your way to the Shinjuku Gyo-en park / Meiji Shrine / Harajuku / Shibuya (for the crossing etc). Akihabara is great for manga / anime / games / electrical stuff.

There's a fantastic ramen place in Shinjuku. We got there a bit too early, before it opened, but there was already a queue!

Fuunji (風雲児 lit. Lucky adventurer)
東京都渋谷区代々木2-14-3
Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Yoyogi 2-14-3 (Near Shinjuku Station)

Go to Fushimi Inari shrine, Kyoto. Absolutely fantastic. Kyoto and Osaka are very close, so we stayed at one of those capsule hotels for a night. Quite an experience.

PM me for more.

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 Once I'd got over my initial western bashfulness, I loved using the onsen (communal baths)

I was only there for a week, I wish I'd planned a longer stay. Still a good excuse to return. Perhaps a hike around Mount Fuji.

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3 minutes ago, mooncat69 said:

The language shouldn't be a problem in the big cities. Take google maps, a spare battery and a data-only SIM from http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/ or similar. That will find you the right train etc, even giving the correct platform. Google translate is not bad at all, especially if you need to ask a question.

Get a Suica card if you're using the underground a lot, or a JR Rail pass if you think you'll just be using the JR Line; it will also get you on (most) of the shinkansen.

I'm a great fan of Shinjuku / Harajuku / Shibuya / Akihabara. Go to Shinjuku and up the Metropolitan Government tower. It's free, and the view is fantastic. Then, you can make your way to the Shinjuku Gyo-en park / Meiji Shrine / Harajuku / Shibuya (for the crossing etc). Akihabara is great for manga / anime / games / electrical stuff.

There's a fantastic ramen place in Shinjuku. We got there a bit too early, before it opened, but there was already a queue!

Fuunji (風雲児 lit. Lucky adventurer)
東京都渋谷区代々木2-14-3
Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Yoyogi 2-14-3 (Near Shinjuku Station)

Go to Fushimi Inari shrine, Kyoto. Absolutely fantastic. Kyoto and Osaka are very close, so we stayed at one of those capsule hotels for a night. Quite an experience.

PM me for more.

Great stuff - thank you. We have rail passes ordered.

Fushimi Inari is definitely on the list as we didnt visit there last time. I have 2 teenage daughters so feel too nervous of capsule hotels. We do have accommodation booked already and some of the places look amazing.

Have you been to Takayama/Hida Folk village? It is a bit out the way but would give us a different experience I think.

4 minutes ago, sleepwello'nights said:

 Once I'd got over my initial western bashfulness, I loved using the onsen (communal baths)

I was only there for a week, I wish I'd planned a longer stay. Still a good excuse to return. Perhaps a hike around Mount Fuji.

Fuji was an amazing experience. At 36 it was fine but would be a struggle now 21 years later.

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27 minutes ago, man o' the year said:

I have 2 teenage daughters so feel too nervous of capsule hotels

My daughter stayed in one with no problems. There was a separate floor, with an access code. The only issue was making sure she was up and ready before kicking out time.

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