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Things to do and Visit in Tokyo (And to prepare for)

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#1 chinoyboi



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Posted 08 January 2006 - 04:22 AM

I'm planning on visiting Tokyo either this Christmas or this Summer, this WILL be my first time in Tokyo, but there will be a follow-up trip to Hong Kong (which I've been to many times). I'm most likely going to stay there for 10 days (I already have an ongoing thread about hotels either at Tokyu Stay or Tokyu Excel). I definetely plan on shopping for clothes (ie Neighborhood, 45rpm, bapes, etc.) in the Shibuya and Harajuku area. Is there any places that I should definetely check out (as a tourist)? Is there any other hot spots or popular and interesting places I should visit? Is there other cities I should visit, like Okinawa or Kyoto? I plan on bringing about $5000 USD ($2000 going to hotels alone), will this be enough to bring, provided that I do intend on buying Japanese clothing? Is there anything that I should prepare to expect? And anything else I should know going into Japan? And this is not the first time I'll be going to an Asian city/country, I've visited Hong Kong many times, so asian culture is not a suprise to me. And I'm going to take a beginner's language class for Japanese during the summer (for 11 weeks, 33 hours).
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#2 herpsky



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Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:04 AM

when you say tourist stuff, are you talking about doing the whole "american tourist" thing
e.g. checking out asakusa, watching sumo wrestling and kabuki

if you are not into that kind of stuff, you could

-shibuya - i dunno... check out Q-front, "center gai", and 109 (japanese school girl hangout), there's the new era flagship store... (theres none in the US right?)
-well id suggest shinjuku/akihabara for electronics but its really crazy
locals can even get lost sometimes. you wont really find anything interesting
unless you are interested in videogames and anime. most of the electronics
sold there eventually reach the US anyway.

Some things you will NEVER be able to do outside of japan (besides shopping)
-check out shrines/temples... im fucking serious.
-ultimately, go to some fuzokutens (please google this). it will blow your mind
-eat ramen, get japanese fast food from matsuya, tenya and etc
-check out convenience stores like lawson and 7-11. try some rice balls and bentos
japanese candy & drinks are great
-take a subway or train during the rush hours!
-go to clubs when world-renowned DJs are playing. ex) air, ageha, yellow
-go to clubs in roppongi. check out clubs like vanilla where chicks
who are trying to get laid with gaijin dudes hang out
-go to department stores and check out the basement/bottom floor - they are filled
with AMAZING food(they will have every type food imaginable) <-- i highly recommend this
-check out the girls who hang out near the 109 building. flirt with them... they love gaijins
-check out the video game arcades. almost every game in
an arcade is connected to the internet, allowing you to compete with other players from arcades across the country. you purchase ID cards to save your records/progress
-high tech karoke boxes
-find a chick (if you are a female, then find a dude) and hit a love hotel
-PLAY some pachinko and slot! you can actually win money and prizes. official gambling of japan (well theres horseracing, boatracing and etc as well).
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#3 Guest__*

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 12:30 AM

If you are there on Dec 23rd, go to the Imperial Palace. The Emporer speaks to the people on that day...his birthday. It's pretty cool. My wife and I found some cool bars in some back alleys in Asakusa. Personally I didn't care for Roppongi...saw many drunk ass white idiots acting like they own the place. Roppongi caters to those people...I like out of the norm clubs bars etc. Go to Harajuku at night...it's pretty cool. There is a good restaraunt called ExCafe down one of the side streets in Harajuku...damn good food and cheap. Plus they make good drinks. Ueno was cool for tons of cheap stuff to hand oout to friends when you get back.

Remember if a resturant dosn't post prices it might be very expensive. Most meals cost us 800-1500yen ea. We ate alot of Sobe/Udon and revolving sushi. Coffee can be insainly priced. It was 800yen+ at many resuraunts, yet can be bought out of a vending machine for 120yen. Mixed drinks cost between 500-1500yen, beers 300-800yen. Saki, 350-1500yen. Cigs, 180yen.

We did a crap load of subway travel on Tokyo Metro, for an all day ticket of 710yen. Only ocassionally did we hit private lines, where it cost us maybe another 200yen. If you fly into Narita, take the Limosine Bus for 2800yen, which will take you to most major hotels. We stayed at the New Otani in Akasaka, which had a great subway hub (Akasaka-Mitsuke).

Tokyo kicks ass.....

PM me if you have any questions.
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#4 samsikle



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Posted 13 January 2006 - 09:14 PM

hahaha. ahhh that list brings me memories :D

- get to the asakusa station go to the kaminarimon. it's the temple with the fatty lantern. you know you've seen it in pictures
- if you want to get the full effect of this country, go during winter. new years is hella big so go breathe in the japanese culture. mochi, block parties (haha just jam packed streets) by the temples, festivals and girls in kimonos galore!

tokyo metro during rush hour.. INSANE! when i went, we got off the plane and tried to get to our hotel lugging all our luggage around. um, definitely experience that. just to say you're a champ.

don't pack too much, it'll be easier on you when you travel from city to city or hotel to hotel. ESPECIALLY SHOES. you'll buy shoes. once you get to ABC-mart it'll be all over. i was gonna buy hella sneakers but i didn't have any room for them in my luggage.

kyoto is very.. old school? lots of temples to check out if you wanna go there you can go to the inari shrine, kiyomizu (my fav.) and gion (the geisha district i believe). lots of nice little shops by all the places.

don't worry too much about getting lost because.. people are pretty much willing to help you out. we got lost trying to get to our hostel in kyoto and some little old lady on a bike asked us if we were lost and walked us to our hostel.

you'll have so much fun :D
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#5 gomi no sensei

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:00 PM

I've been to Japan a couple times... My main recommendations are:

Take a day to just walk around and get lost in Tokyo. You'll find some pretty interesting/bizarre stuff this way.. I did this, ended up stumbling on a head shop, some skater kids who could kind of speak english, a store that specialized in japanese Oi/Street punk/skinhead stuff, an old temple that looked like something from the jungles of vietnam in the middle of some apartment buildings, a czech hare krishna in the basement of a department store hanging out with a japanese kid in a youth of today hoodie who got thrown out by security after telling me to check out the free lunch at the Boston temple, and a place that was putting on a japanese production of Annie. This is especially great to do in the first couple days after you get there, when you're jetlagged, culture-shocked, and still in awe of it all.

If you manage to get to Kyoto, I'd highly recommend the Heizan temple-complex... it's in the mountains, and you need to take a cable train to get there.. There's enough stuff up there to easily consume an afternoon, and you can see all of the different manifestations buddhism takes in japan.

But yeah, japan is a blast.
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#6 poly800rock



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Posted 19 January 2006 - 04:17 AM


I fucking agree. I spent all my time in tokyo alone (it was a week before i met up with a buddy in singapore) and without a map. it was the most amazing thing ever. I remember waking up and taking the train to shibuya at like 7 in the morning. sat around and was wondering why everyone said that was the place to be (i saw very few crowds) walked around for a bit and EVERYTHING OPENED at once, it became a madhouse!

same thing in UENO, got lost on some side streets by the trainstation and stumbled across all these amazing tents with shopping galore, it was insane. I say, have an idea of what you want to do/go, get the places you really want to go, then just fuck it, go out and get lost, there is nothing better than doing that in that city.
tons of stuff for sale now on ebay: corpus, Rag & Bone, Helmut Lang, levi's premium, Gap, vintage etc.
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#7 tintin



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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:45 AM

if you're looking for funky areas for shopping, i love shimo-kitazawa. (two express stops from shinjuku on the odakyu line). most guidebooks tend to overlook it, but there's tonnes of great funky shops, wild second-hand stores (i bought a crazy t-shirt from east germany once), great restaurants, etc. harajuku is full-on madness, but shimo-kitazawa has a really great atmosphere and cool vibe.
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#8 herpsky



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Posted 31 January 2006 - 06:26 AM

playing "lost in translation" sounds like a lot of fun...
shinjuku sounds like a good place to do this but it can be unsafe (parts of kabukicho)

if you get lost and have no clue what to do, just ask for a kouban (police box)
the term police box might scare you but its actually a pretty nice feature of japan
police officers in the box can give you directions, lend you $ (im not kidding),
it also serves as a lost and found... they are particularly nice to gaijins and elderly
they might even escort you to your destination if they got nothing better to do
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Be Advised: Morgan Nixon AKA Moman631 AKA Moman6040 is a fraud.