Those omiyage regional fancy kitkats are intended for bringing back to work for the communal snack table, so I feel like really they should get some for every member here. It’s only fair
The spanish galleon? Yup. We couldn’t go on the cable cars due to seismic activity, so had to catch a bus on that bit, so we only managed to rack up the train, switchback train, funicular and boat on that day…
The open air art museum and the onsen at the end of the day were probably the highlights.
Also there’s a regional stereotype that I found to be somewhat true- people from the east of Honshu, which includes Tokyo, being more buttoned up and introverted, and people in the west (Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima etc) being more loud and chatty.
An old lady on a tram in Hiroshima decided to give me an unprompted guided tour of various sites through the window after she saw me looking at a map.
Alright Phoebe Bridgers x5
(Japan sounds rad)
Tokyo you could spend as much or as little time as you like, it has a bit of everything but is also confoundingly huge and lacks the specific character of some of the other cities.
If you’re going to western Honshu, it’s an option to stay in Osaka and do day trips to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe etc. Works out since there’s not much to see in Osaka during the day, but the nightlife is excellent, while the other places are relatively dull at night.
I’d spend a night or two in Hakone, it’s a great place to do some hiking and there’s plenty of ryokans with naturally fed onsen.
If you want a radical option, do Kyushu for two weeks. The cities are a more manageable size, the landscape is gorgeous, and people were much more pleased to see tourists on the whole.
went 4 years ago want to go back.
Lived there for seven years so feel free to ask anything specific. I think a lot has been answered already and I second most recommendations (sumo, Kyoto, Hiroshima), one to add to the Seto Inland Sea if you like cycling is the Shimanamikaidou, a cycling route between Honshu and Shikoku that goes across lots of bridges between little islands.
The main thing I tell people is to get out into the countryside/mountains and stay at a ryokan with an onsen or routenburo (outside hot spring). They’re expensive but one night is worth it. I think Marckee recommended Koya and there are some nice ryokans around there in Wakayama.
Tokyo is great to live in but I don’t know what to recommend doing there if you’ve only got two weeks. Might be best to just spend a couple of nights soaking it up. Koenji and Nakano were my favourite neighbourhoods for eating and drinking.
It goes through Onomichi where I stayed, and the guesthouse people were confused first of all that we didn’t have any bikes with us and didn’t need to store them there, because most foreign tourists there are cyclists. (Japanese people visit for the retro charm)
Haven’t been but have wanted to for years and have done research. If you Google cheeserland blog, this woman visited every prefecture in Japan and talks about it in great depth. Used to read her blog about 12 years ago and have decided when I finally do go to intensively research her website for tips. As for racism, it depends massively. White/white passing people tend to, as Em mentioned, be spoken to in a friendly manner/as English practice buddies. The black experience is wholly different from what I have heard, with a lot of unpleasant staring, startled swerving and empty seats on either side despite rush hour train travel.
I’ve had a plan for a while to go to Japan when I turn 50. In 2027. International travel should be ok by then, right?
Lots of stories about language schools in Japan and Korea being very racist in their hiring policies and also a weird refusal to believe that a non-white person could be British or Canadian for example.
Even if you’re white/white-passing I think it depends how much your appearance differs from the average japanese person what kind of reaction you’ll get. I don’t really stick out from the crowd there, so although people knew I wasn’t Japanese they just talked at me in Japanese and hoped I understood something. My friend was more of an exotic novelty, so she got a different kind of attention that could sometimes be annoying or intrusive. It felt sometimes like I just got accepted as a background person, and she was always on show.
I only went to Tokyo, Edo Open Air Architecture Museum. Hamarikyu Gardens. National Art Centre.
Just wander round. Can recommend so craft aley places too if youre into that.
Been twice. Both times we spent around a week in Tokyo (recommend switching hotels halfway to explore different areas) and the rest of the time travelling around. First time West through Kyoto and second time to the North to check out some sakura.
Hiroshima was an unexpected highlight. Friendly people, six million versions of okonomiyaki and get pissed on by deer.
Don’t miss the Kanegawa phonograph museum.
You can eat very well for not much money but bevvying will cost you.
Gigs start early. Tried twice to get to one and they were already packing up at 9pm.
Bars open late. Went to a few random, tiny ones that I’d never be able to find again. Listened to Sensational Alex Harvey Band and watched an Einstürzende Neubauten live video with some goth guys.
One night in a love hotel is fun.
Cash is very much king.
Downside. My partner is very tall and European which attracted some unpleasant attention from one drunk salaryman.
Also a former resident of that amazing country, so ask me anything specific. My wife and I are particularly hot on the peculiarities of pregnancy and giving birth in Japan, as well as the best paces to buy baby clothes
I’ve previously said loads in the threads that have already been linked to, so I won’t go on here, but as people have said upthread, Hakone is an essential day trip from Tokyo and the open air sculpture museum is amazing. Kamakura is also a good day trip from Tokyo, a coastal town with lots of temples and also a giant Buddha.
Oh, you reminded me of my favourite day trips from Tokyo: Enoshima! If you go to Kamakura it’s a must. There’s a really cute train called the Enoden that runs from Kamakura to opposite Enoshima island and you walk over a bridge from there. Had a strong Ghibli vibe.
Such a great place, was a nightmare to plan though as wanted to go everywhere. Will certainly be going back as so much more to see, went with
5 nights Tokyo
3 nights Takayama
5 nights Osaka
5 nights Koyoto
3 nights Tokyo
They were mainly bases, with the rail pass did lots of day trips out so didn’t actually spend all that time in Tokyo as went to Yokohoma, Kobe, Hakone, Nikko etc. also picked up a car to explore more rural areas in Takayama. Some of the stand highlights were spending a day at Miyajima island and walking up Mt Misen for the views and taking the last ferry home with deer just wandering about the terminal. As mentioned above Enoshima is lovely and easy to get to from Kamakura, so peaceful sitting watching the sunset over the coast.
Had no really issues with language, had a pocket wifi to help with any translation but plenty of English about. At Nara had multiple children from school trips come and ask questions and to sign their books and their English was amazing, they also gave origami gifts for taking part. Even in Takayama got by fine when going to local bars and restaurants, so friendly as well drank the one out of a brand of beer so the next round was free…
On the money front certainly recommend a card like Monzo or Starling as everything was cash heavy and the ATMs could be weird. Was certainly odd going to gigs out there, Why? were touring out there when I visited and just emailed the promoter and they reserve a ticket that you pay with cash when you arrive.
You can buy tickets to gigs in advance, but it’s not straightforward, and it’s a good idea to get your head around the whole numbered tickets, beer token etiquette:
They bought what was state of the art in 1993, and no they are not getting rid of it.
See also- cash machines with little phones on them
If you do want to get razzed on the semi cheap, look for places that do senbero - you get a few drinks and some food for 1,000 yen (~£7). Once per place per evening, but where there’s one there’ll be another nearby.
Some places do all you can drink for 1,500 yen if you want to ruin your evening.
Also shochu based drinks are way cheaper than beer, and you can get some absolute rocket fuel in a can for dead cheap in most shops.
Yeah, it’s one of the things I love about Japan. Bumping into some of the remnants of the bubble-era technology or design that are still there, like a stylised film.