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Old 06-15-2014, 10:39 PM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
5,008 posts, read 10,793,962 times
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Top things to do in Tokyo - Lonely Planet

So, this is a pretty short list but it is geared towards people looking for a starting point in the city.

Personally, if they recommend going to the Ryogoku area, I would linger around and check out some of the sumo stables (some offer tours), and you'd probably see one or two sumo out and about even on a slow day with no matches. The area also has the Tokyo-Edo Museum (Edo-Tokyo Hakubutsukan, 江戸東京博物館), which to me is loads more interesting than the Tokyo National Museum, however I am biased towards more historical and scientific interests, rather than artistic. The Ryogoku area is frequently looked over by the hordes of tourists and many locals live nearby, so you'll likely get more of a feel for "every day" Japanese life here, not what the tourist board wants you to see. It's only a 10 minute ride from the Akihabara (anime/manga and electronics nerd heaven) station to boot.

That is one area I'd like to see added more of. I can attest to the Meiji-jingu shrine and the area. I'm puzzled they didn't include Harajuku, which has loads of fashion boutiques and tons of youth strutting the latest fashion trends (and loli goth girls ... never understood that one).

Thoughts? What areas would you say Lonely Planet missed out on?
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Old 06-16-2014, 12:19 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,244,676 times
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I'm going to Tokyo in October, and am rather overwhelmed by all the things to see and do. Any recommendations for a 7 day itinerary, with a day trip to Mt Fuji and somewhere in the Japanese Alps?
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:11 PM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
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There's lots of really good suggestions on the internet for a week's itinerary of going to Tokyo. None of them mention the Edo-Tokyo museum or the Ryogoku area, so if you're into history and sumo, go there.

Just google "a week in tokyo" or something similar and you'll get some really good suggestions.

Some things to remember when reading some of these ...

The Tsukiji fish market has moved but the food market has remained. I haven't been there recently but there may still be many stalls and restaurants to check out. The fish market itself is overrated. But the food stalls and the restraurants were pretty good.

Do get a week pass for the JR trains if you plan on taking the Shinkansen. Just one ticket plus one day makes the cost worth it. But if you're mostly walking and taking the odd train to go from one district to another, then you could probably skip it.

Ginza is a shopper's paradise. It's close to the Imperial household too, if you happen to be there at day it is quite the sight. Nearby is also historic Tokyo station.

Golden Gai is definitely on my to-do list next time I go. I have fears for its survival now that Tokyo has gotten the 2020 Olympics. Visit it if you are a drinker.

DO:

Learn a little Japanese for common phrases. The people have a perception that is halfway warranted that Japanese is some sort of mystical language that only really smart people or those who are a functioning Tower of Babel can comprehend. Not true. So, do learn a little, and not only will they be happily surprised but also grateful.

Take in the train stations, even if you don't take many trains. You'll find all the big shopping, nightlife, even directions are to/from train stations. That said, DO NOT attempt to find your way around town by asking directions. Unless someone lives right close to someplace, or is familiar with the area, they likely don't know and/or will be too nervous about speaking to foreigners with complicated directions, regardless of your Japanese proficiency. They'll just wave "NO ENGLISH!" Even if you say "あの。。。ちょっと 日本語 を 話します。。。” The reason for this is Tokyo is laid out like an ancient city with very few right-angle intersections. So DO learn to navigate by train station and directions from there. The good news is about 99% of all landmarks, stations, streets, and stuff have English on them near Tokyo. The stations themselves usually have awesome shopping right in them, so it's not a waste of time / get from A to B mindset like 99% of Western train stations.

Learn to stand in line. The Japanese LOVE lines. It's sort of like old black and white British film where people queue up to get on trains, buses, etc. Even if you are missing your bus and there's about 100 people in front of you but nobody is going on your bus, don't cut in line, it's just not how they do it.

For that matter, do keep your manners. Remember all those things Mom told you to do but you slowly (or quickly in some cases) just ignored it or forgot it? Remember it and you'll fit in with the general populace.

Also, learn to use coin lockers to keep stuff in. Seriously, do that. Streets, shopping, etc. are very jammed with people and the last thing people need is some clueless foreigner walking around with his 100 lb hiking pack with everything save the kitchen sink in. Unless you plan on hiking around the mountains, use coin lockers.

Do not take offense to certain gestures. Like vehemently crossing arms, sucking air through teeth, etc.

DO NOT:

Curse in vain. Just like in your home country, there's no faster way to get people to ignore you.

Tip waiters/waitresses. If you're an American, that is. Most other places in the world have learned the value of a living wage for most people, so if you're the 96% of the world that isn't American, you likely won't have an issue with this rule.

Take cabs everywhere. While convenient, it is VERY expensive. A short ride between adjacent districts can cost upwards of $30.

Expect much nightlife past midnight. Due to arcane laws and police stepping up enforcement (mostly due to yakuza causing trouble recently), most nightclubs close at midnight. Bars will be open later but there's no such thing as night owl train service. Last trains are usually aroudn 11 PM, some a little later. And last trains are usually jam packed too so ... plan accordingly.

Shout, speak loudly, or otherwise lose your cool. Not only will people scurry away, police might take notice. Don't be "that guy."

Expect super-advanced everything. Only about 50% of places accept cards, and of those most require the security chip now. When in doubt, Carry cash, at least $100-200 each day, especially for museum and shrine admission and train rides. And don't worry about being pick pocketed ... it just doesn't happen much to foreigners especially. Usually happens to the sleeping oji-san salaryman where no one will be the wiser. And do exchange your money at the airport at a Japanese place. There's no better exchange rate than those places and with cash you save on foreign transactoin fees and / or terrible exchange rates on your card. Last time I went to Japan, I exchanged $4000 for a month in country at once using travelers cheques. No one blinked an eye. I dropped $100 actually and some lady frantically ran up to me and said "You dropped this!" I bowed deeply and gave my gratitude. It's just how things are done there.
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Old 06-19-2014, 03:08 PM
JL
 
7,352 posts, read 11,883,509 times
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Postman,

Check out this video so you can visually see.

I like this guy here...he has some really nice top 25 things to do in Tokyo...and ways to save $


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDoLLhswOwY

Last edited by JL; 06-19-2014 at 03:16 PM..
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:27 PM
 
76 posts, read 262,299 times
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Tokyo is an interesting place to visit, I plan to take to visit it in next vocation available. Any suggestion about how to save $ on the trip?
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Old 06-20-2014, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,244,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JL View Post
Postman,

Check out this video so you can visually see.

I like this guy here...he has some really nice top 25 things to do in Tokyo...and ways to save $


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDoLLhswOwY
Cheers

I've seen some of his vids before, yeah great guide, I'll have to keep some of these in mind.
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:55 AM
 
1,569 posts, read 824,203 times
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If you like architecture, I would walk around Daiba. Catch a glimpse of the weather building and ride the monorail for a view of Tokyo Bay. Hardly expensive, and you'll see an eyeful.

I'm not sure if Shinagawa is the largest train station in Tokyo, but it certainly would give you that impression. If you're new to Tokyo/Japan and want to be wowed by modern Asian infrastructure, that's an interesting place to look at.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
17 posts, read 19,179 times
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I can tell you what was certainly memorable... taking a bath at Oedo Onsen Monogatari. It probably sounds strange, but it was a great way to relax while spending a bit of time on Odaiba (not to mention the views from the train). Most expats I know who have lived in Japan claim to like the other cities much better (nicer people, more authentic culture), but I won't be that guy..

Also, go up to the Metropolitan Government Building to get a great *free* view of the city (have to take the stairs down to get into the building, front doors will be locked).
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Old 06-29-2014, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Western Oregon
1,379 posts, read 1,275,038 times
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I would like to visit Tokyo, as I did 30-some years ago, but they seem to make a great distance between themselves and any foreigners. I would probably visit somewhere else instead.

Last edited by WoodstockSchool1980; 06-29-2014 at 07:16 PM..
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Old 07-02-2014, 06:04 AM
 
1,569 posts, read 824,203 times
Reputation: 1652
I'd say there's greater difficulty attempting to make Japan your new home, instead of a place to casually visit. For the latter, you'll most likely be treated well as a guest, but don't be surprised if the positive treatment abruptly ends as a guest/visitor. Depends on the person and the location/circumstances.

There are a lot of interesting modern and historical sights in Tokyo, and for a crowded mega-city, it's incredibly safe and orderly. If you have the means to get there, why not cross it off of your bucket list?
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