View Full Version : Tokyo

08-03-2015, 11:33 AM
I'm off to Tokyo with my girlfriend in July. We're going for 10 days and are aware that it will be pretty hot and humid!

Anyway, we're really looking forward to going and have been researching where to go and what to see.

Just wondered if anyone else has been and what you'd recommend? We're quite interested in having a daytrip to Kamakura at some point. We're quite keen to spend as much time as possible in Tokyo since it's such a big city.

Would appreciate any info from anyone who has been :)

The Bedlington Terrier
08-03-2015, 02:28 PM
It really is fantastically expensive.
The shinkansen is an absolute must! Try a ride to Osaka, it is awesome, you really can do it and be back to Tokyo in the day on the Bullet Train.
Yokohama is the busiest port you will ever see, a cruise around the bay is a must.
I would implore you to stay away from the tourist spots and interact with the real people who are fantastic!
Final warning: it is crazy expensive, do try and control your spending because it can really, really hurt.

08-03-2015, 04:41 PM
Thanks for that Claret13552! We will definitely consider a trip to Osaka. I've heard that the fastest train is still 2 and a half hours or so but if we're up early we could still have a decent amount of time there.

Yokohama is much nearer and is one trip I am considering though if we do have a day trip I think I'd prefer somewhere a little more rural (we may well want a break from the city at some point!)

We will probably not be able to help being in the touristy areas at times simply because we want to see some of the sights. However I completely agree about mixing with the locals and so on. We're quite well travelled and usually try to avoid the tourist trap restaurants and bars etc.

I've heard it's expensive! Funnily enough though, the more I've researched the more I've found that it doesn't have to be too expensive. We're going to do our best to keep costs down and eat cheaply etc :) We got the holiday at an excellent price so we should have a little extra pocket money!

When di

08-03-2015, 06:00 PM
Hi Mgill
You will find lonely planet has some useful tips including 20 free things to do in Tokyo. See. Link.
From our trip we were surprised how much concrete there was and little country near Tokyo. The road from Osaka to Tokyo seemed solid concrete. I think you will find 10 days there quite hard. Little is in English. We did the trip to Yokohama went to Disneyworld near Tokyo, went up TV tower, did a river cruise, went to Tokyo beach visited the Emperors Palace and some Temples, markets, Ginza. The people were very reserved and few admit to speaking English though they may . Learn to bow and say Konichiwa- we were still doing it when we got back.
Viator offer Tokyo day trips to Mt Fuji Kamakura and even Kyoto so I would pick a couple that fit the budge to give you a break.
By the way the rainy season in Tokyo runs to 20 July - it can get very wet,
Good luck - view external link (www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/tokyo/travel-tips-and-articles/68977)

08-03-2015, 06:13 PM
I've been a few times but not for a few years now.

It can be expensive but if you're willing to explore and take a risk it's not too bad. There are plenty of cheap restaurants but they won't have menus in English so it's a bit of a gamble as to what you get. Some meals were good, some ended up with me going to McDonalds after.

Similarly, bars in Ropongi (which I'd stay well clear of) are far more expensive than a beer sat on a crate under the railway arches.

If you're planning to take the train you can get a Japan Rail Pass which gives a variety of unlimited train travel.

I wouldn't recommend a day trip to Osaka, it's not that near and if you're going there then you want a proper look around. Plus from Osaka I'd also head to kyoto.

The underground is pretty easy to use in Tokyo once you get into the swing of it.

09-03-2015, 09:01 AM
Hi oldcolner! Coincidentally, I bought the lonelyplanet guide for Tokyo just the other day! I will definitely have a read at that link though as they do have some good info online.

What did you make of Yokohama? Is it worth a visit? Thanks for the tip re day trips. I'll have a look into that - as you say, 10 days in the city might be hard going (especially at the height of summer).

We jet out on the 19th July so we should (for the most part) miss the rainy season! Phew :)

09-03-2015, 09:06 AM
Hi aggi! Yes, I've heard it doesn't have to be super expensive. We're willing to take risks with the food and avoid the pricey tourist traps.

I've heard of Roppongi. Isn't that where a lot of the bars and clubs are? I'm not keen on clubs myself so unless there are things to see in that area then I probably won't be spending much time there!

A Japan Rail Pass is something I've considered. However, we are going to spend most of our time in Tokyo with just a day trip or two. So I'm not sure if that would be as practical. I guess we'll get one of those Oyster-type cards and just top it up as we go.

Osaka is probably a bit far (5 hours there and back in total) but I haven't ruled it out. But as you say, it's nice to have time to actually explore the place. We wouldn't want to feel rushed - especially when it's so hot and humid.

09-03-2015, 12:52 PM
Only went for the day to Yokohama so no expert. We visited the Landmark Tower then the tallest building in Japan and went up what was then the worlds fastest elevator, the large shopping mall and the then only curved escalator. Sure you'll find lots to occupy your time and it's only 50 miles from Tokyo. The harbour area worth a trip if you like ships and the are lots of museums and gardens. They may have a baseball match on if that takes your fancy.

We did a three day Hanku coach tour flying from Tokyo Nariita to Osaka and saw Kobe Kyoto, longest bridge in the world at the time, temples, castles and shrines whirlpools. Wasn't that expensive and featured hotels with amazing toilets . Be careful what buttons you push as jets can appear and spray, music can play. Was difficult as no one spoke English or at least admitted to it as they fear losing face by making a mistake. Quite a few did eventually try, but not the guide so afraid we don't know all we saw!
Restaurants all have displ

09-03-2015, 01:21 PM
Been there a few times but always in winter for skiing so we mainly just pass through it. If you want to get out of Tokyo and into the hills the bullet train is great and not too expensive. Tokyo has a reputation for being expensive but we did not find it too bad (but I do live in Singapore) as we found plenty of restaurants down side street with some interesting food. English can be limited but we found everybody helpul even when we were playing guess the food in restaurant. Palace was intersting to see as its on all the pictures but does not take too long to see.

09-03-2015, 07:57 PM
Don't let the language put you off doing whatever you fancy doing. If you encounter problems communicating write it down and chances are they will understand. Most Japanese can read English but just cannot speak it. Hope this tip helps you as much as it helped me when we lived there. UTC

09-03-2015, 11:37 PM
You could Visit Kyoto and maybe izu peninsula overnight. Kamakura is nice and mount takao but there are a million other people who think the same on the same day, avoid weekends for day trips. You can have a drink between 5-8pm with no entry fee in the lost in translation bar in Shinjuku, spend time in Odaiba via the monorail, harajuku on Sunday and look at weirdly dressed people. Visit the 290 bars and izakyas for cheap food. Roppongi is full of sexpats but worth a visit. Tokyo is cheap enough if you want it to be, have a look at 'timeout Tokyo' online to see what's going on


10-03-2015, 09:18 AM
oldcolner - Thanks for the info re Yokohama! As for the weird toilets, I've heard a little about them! I think our hotel toilet has some sort of control panel with various buttons. I'll try not to break it :D

10-03-2015, 09:21 AM
Claretpenang - Thanks for the info! We are definitely considering taking a bullet train. Should be a good experience. Japanese people do sound friendly. We won't be afraid to ask and hopefully we won't get too lost (though that's part of the fun really!).

I live in Spain and I was watching a travel programme recently about Singapore. I'd love to go there as well one day. Isn't that home to one of the most expensive buildings in the world?

10-03-2015, 09:26 AM
CarlingfordClaret1 - thanks for the tip! I'll have a notepad with me then :D How long did you live there?

JellyBaby - I think Kyoto might be a bit far as we have the hotel booked for Tokyo already. We do want to go there though so I'll look into it. Perhaps we'll have to save it for another trip. Thanks for the tips - I will mention the bar from Lost in Translation to the Mrs and see if she fancies it :) And we'll try to avoid Kamakura during a weekend and maybe go during the working week when it's quieter. Cheers for that!

10-03-2015, 11:10 AM
Ah nice where in Spain do you live? It he train takes 2 hours to Kyoto but if you get the rail pass you have to get it before you enter the country, if you plan stay in Tokyo it's not worth it. The lost in translation bar has great evening views and you can also visit the palace grounds and rent a bike for free on Sunday mornings. I haven't been but a kabuki show is supposed to be interesting and cheap and you have loads of cool parks, sake, karaoke, shibuya, salary men and bright lights so you can't get bored!

10-03-2015, 01:07 PM
I lived in Tokyo for over 3 years in the early 90s. Prices have not gone up since then, in fact some things, such as rent and beer, have gone down. It's difficult to give advice as you need to know the place to avoid the rip-off places. At night izakayas (bar eateries) are the best places to go. It is quite possible if you get a good one for one person to eat plenty of food and drink lots of beer for 4,000 yen, which is 20 GBP. I am thinking of going over for a month, which is the ideal length of time as decent rooms can be had in gaijin houses for what works out at 12 GBP a night (30 days minimum), but I realise that's of no use to you.

To give you more idea of the costs, a big bowl of miso ramen (far better than the s hite you get in London) can be had for 800 yen (4 GBP). In 7-Elevens an onigiri (a triangle of rice with something in it and wrapped in seaweed) costs just over 100 yen (just over 50 pence). Two of those sorts your breakfast out. Ramen at luch and an izakaya in the ev

10-03-2015, 01:08 PM
Roppongi is where a lot of the more western bars and clubs are. Lots of Americans from the naval base, Nigerian guys trying to get you into bath-houses, irish bars, etc.

Singapore's ok but a bit dull. It's like a sanitised version of Hong Kong.

10-03-2015, 01:18 PM
Roppongi used to be brilliant in the early 90s, but now it's overrun by Nigerians and undercover cops. Some of the stories I could tell about all-nighters down there ...

10-03-2015, 01:31 PM
I guess marina Bay Sands is the building you mean. It has 3 towers, which are a hotel and a boat on the top. Although I had a friend who visited who thought it was a train on top but he is from Doncaster which maybe explains that. Singapore is great fun and not at all like its reputation for being sanitised. Hong Kong is fun too but not as culturally diverse.
Forgot to mention the toilet seats as somebody else has done. Fun to work out what the buttons do.
If you walk round on your own you may also get approach by pretty Japanese girls wanting to practice their English with you and this was in decent parts of the city. Had it been Bangkok or other places you would expect it to be a scam but not in Tokyo. Pity my wife was just round the corner.

10-03-2015, 04:28 PM
I was there as a lone traveller in 2002 (WC), one morning I took the underground very early to the famous fish market. What an experience that was, it cost me the price of the underground and I wandered around taking photos of every possible thing you could catch in the sea. The Sushi bars outside were too expensive for me, so as with a previous comment I opted for the rice triangle things. I also found the noodle bars great value. Beware of the Japanese saying YES, they always want to say yes so as not to offend you. They are wonderful people who appreciate you bowing. Enjoy.

11-03-2015, 07:51 AM
JellyBaby - I've been living in Barcelona for 5 years now. Very happy here and I'll probably never live in the UK again. However, one clear disadvantage is seeing less of family, friends and of course, Burnley FC! Thanks for those tips - I'm certainly sold on Tokyo as a destination! I'd not heard of Kabuki before (though I'd seen videos of it) so that could be interesting! :)

Quicknick - You're a braver man than I to live over there! I imagine it must be quite a culture shock at first. Thanks for the tips re food. I've done some research and heard that it can be relatively affordable if we're careful and smart with where we eat. Izakayas sound like a great suggestion - we'll have to them a try!

aggi - I know to approach Roppongi with caution then :) At least we know where the party is at!

Claretpenang - That's the one! The views look great up there though I imagine the drinks are pretty expensive! Hong Kong is another destination I'd like to go to. My Grandparents went a few years b