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Japan – outside of Tokyo!?


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#1 dries

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 10:04 AM



I'm leaving for Japan in a few weeks, and busy checking out what the 'musts' are for that great country. I've got tons of tips for Tokyo, but lacking great stuff on what to do outside of Tokyo. I will be getting one of those one-week-JR-passes and plan to do some travelling. The traditional guidebooks are to focused on temples, there must be more to Japan than that, right?

What I want to know is: Which stylish ONSEN do I visit? Where do I find the remote MUSEUMS featuring modern art etc not to be missed? What ARCHITECTURE is essential, old and modern? Where do find RESTAURANTS with unforgettable food & interior (not to expensive pls)?

My plan is to do stops in Nikko, Matsumoto, Nara, Osaka and Hiroshima. Do I miss any places on this list? I'm greatfull for all tips, addresses and links … Thanks!
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#2 gomi no sensei

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:09 AM



Check out Kyoto if you're interested in excellent Japanese food. It's the captial of traditional japanese cuisine. If you can swing ~100+ for a meal, a ten+ course Kaiseki (the old imperial cuisine) meal is an amazing experience. If not, there are a number of resturaunts that offer mini-kaiseki meals for cheaper. I'm sure any decent guidebook to Kyoto will list a bunch of these. Also, in Kyoto, check out the pickles! The Japanese pickle pretty much any vegetable you can think of, and some of them are amazing.

Kyoto also still has a lot of the old city left, lots of good examples of traditional japanese architecture. Also there are lots of great temples, my favorites being in the Heizan temple complex in the mountains.
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#3 minya

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:12 AM



Osaka is pretty much the denim capital of Japan!
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#4 johninger

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:53 AM




This is an interesting forum as not a lot of westerners I know are interested in travelling to Japan.

So many go to London, Paris, New York, Australia. It is really interesting that I see so many people coming here to holiday.

I wonder why this particular group is like this, surely it is not because of the denim.

But to add to this i think Sapporo would be good in early february, they have a snow festival there.



If loving denim is wrong i don't want to be right.
Edited by johninger on Jan 22, 2006 at 10:56 PM
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#5 minya

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 06:04 AM



I've always been fascinated with Japan, long before I became fascinated with denim. Not sure what it is.
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#6 dries

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 02:27 PM



Thanks guys! Any more suggestions?
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#7 johninger

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 05:34 AM



yes

apply for as many credit cards as you can. the trip will cost a lot of money.
If loving denim is wrong i don't want to be right.
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#8 Ryan

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 07:24 AM



have to do kyoto, you can hit it up on the same line that goes between osaka and tokyo, assuming you take the shinkansen
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#9 dries

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 07:43 AM



Ryan, what in Kyoto?
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#10 Honto

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 11:41 AM



I lived in Tokyo for a year and traveled around quite a bit as my wife is from the north east and we had business in a few of the larger cities.

If you have only a week to travel then you must go to Kyoto. I went there for my honeymoon, supposed to be three days, ended up extending to a week as fell head over heels with the place.

I reckon 4/5 days there and a few in Osaka is the way to go.

There's something like over 100 world heritage sites there and its a lot more gaijin friendly as its more used to tourism. Kyoto is built on a gridiron (modeled on Xian) so you won't spend you're time lost like you will in Tokyo.

Head to Gion at 6pm and follow the tourists to the spot where the meiko and geiko can be seen running to taxis to avoid the likes of us. Make sure you have a fast film in you're camera as its surprising how fast they can run!

Shopping is OK (some good vintage stores, I believe that Hanjiro have a store there now) but you have Osaka close by anyway.

You can take the Nozumi Shin-Kan-Sen from Tokyo; make sure to spend a while wandering around Kyoto station, it's unreal and has a great view from the top.

Mate, I am so jealous if you make it there, I will defo be living ther in the next few years.

Gambateh (good luck)!
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#11 sybaritical

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 12:32 PM



I've lived in and travelled all over Japan and have posted enough general stuff on it up here recently that I could recite it in my sleep - Search first, then if you want PM me and I'll do my best to point you in the direction of whatever you want to do.
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#12 Waddles

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 02:39 PM



When/If you head out to Hiroshima..

The Peace Park is a great historical site and could easily have a day spent there.
My favorite resturant would probably be Mario Espresso. But doesnt really compare to the great places the Ginza area has.
And since youre in the area. Check out Miyajima Island. Its is a great siteseeing spot all the way from the ferry ride there to the deer who will eat the map and train ticket straight out of your pocket as you leave!

Enjoy.
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#13 dries

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 07:58 AM



Thanks all of you. I've taken your advice, Honto, and extended my stay in Kyoto to 3 days. Can't stretch it more. We'll be staying at Granvia, looks great with a great price for JR Pass-holders.

I've just realized I'm going to be superbusy trying to do all the things I want to do in Japan. Thanks everyone for tips.
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#14 tintin

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:16 AM



if you're looking to go into the countryside a bit, takayama in gifu prefecture (in the mountains sort of north of nagoya), is *amazing*. if you're short on time, i'd say drop osaka (which is the same as tokyo only with crazier people and less interesting everything else), and stay overnight in takayama.

takayama's urban landscape is much better preserved than even kyoto i'd say, lots of traditional buildings, nice ryokan, etc. getting out of the big cities is a great chance to see a totally different side of japan.
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#15 sybaritical

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 11:12 AM



Takayama is incredible. A true highlight. But right now even if it's not under about two million tons of snow and ice, it's gonna be inescapably colder than you've ever been .

What's the deal with japanese houses? Steaming hot in the summertime, Ice cubes in the winter. Even in Tokyo I rememeber sitting in the house bent over the kerosene heater on winter evenings with my fleece and hood and coat on, my hands under the grill ... Kinda took me by surprise that the houses are made of mud and timber. Expected them to be star trek sliding doors and toilets that talk to you ( but of course they save that for the shops)
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#16 Kasper

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 12:10 PM



Quote: What's the deal with japanese houses? Steaming hot in the summertime, Ice cubes in the winter. Even in Tokyo I rememeber sitting in the house bent over the kerosene heater on winter evenings with my fleece and hood and coat on, my hands under the grill ... Kinda took me by surprise that the houses are made of mud and timber. Expected them to be star trek sliding doors and toilets that talk to you ( but of course they save that for the shops)


everyday i ask myself the same question and so far, i've seriously asked pretty much every japanese i've talk to since november (that's quite a lot) and i haven't gotten any intelligent answer apart from "living in the cold makes you tougher" i'm really lucky cause the electrical bill is included in my rent so i can affort to have all the air conditioning unit in my house working all the time, but still, i don't understand. you might be interested in reading that article though http://www.davidappl...japan/jp10.htm
it's about the whole house are freaking cold thing.
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#17 sybaritical

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:31 PM



Quote: "living in the cold makes you tougher"


Yeah right. That's what my flatmates said to me. Like, *clapping hands* I'm bushido enough. Go get some proper heating.


I read a couple of similar explanations myself just recently that took it one step further, saying that the japanese attitude to cold and heat is tied up with the idea that they're somehow getting closer to nature ... the idea of separate seasons and elements of Shinto. That may be, but it's still a revelation when you get there, and kind of goes part way to explaining their catastrophic environmental records ... less than 1% of the world's population producing 5% of it's emissions?

Ohhhhhhhh ...
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