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24

I'm afraid I can't find any government numbers to back up my anecdotal evidence, but Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ikebukuro are all very safe - much safer than their equivalents in London, New York or any other 'world' city. I've spent many nights in each, in varying states of sobriety, and never had any problems at all. I've lost my wallet a few times (on trains, ...


11

I doubt that a JR pass will be worth it for just travel within Tokyo; usually with most rail passes, you need to be making several long-distance trips for it to break even. JR pass would make sense if you planned taking the shinkansen to/from Tokyo, and then you can consider the rail travel within Tokyo to be a "free" benefit. According to this site, a ...


11

I'm not sure about the visa part, but about the time: By the cheapest train I seem to recall Narita airport is about two hours from Tokyo. Also you might well have to be back at the airport at least one hour before boarding, and quite possibly more. And the train system in Japan is notoriously complex. It will be very easy to get a bit lost and miss your ...


11

Cycling is generally very safe, particularly in Taito-ku. There aren't any bike lanes really but you're free to cycle on the pavement, as long as you dismount when it's too crowded. Furthermore drivers are used to cyclists, just keep tight to the left on bigger roads. Helmets are seldom worn, even by mothers with a kid on the front, one on the back and one ...


10

EDIT: I realise this actual is rather off-topic, more dealing with places to get various Japanese foods than the food itself. Hopefully still useful. Just to give a bit more specific detail on particular places, and specifically the cheap places... Generally speaking breakfast comes in 2 varieties - Japanese or "Western". I won't go into crazy detail ...


10

Here's a site with reviews of many amusement parks in Japan, that can probably give you more information than is possible here. The biggest one is probably Tokyo Disneyland. However, most amusements parks in Japan seem to be relatively small (at least the two I visited were) and cram lots of attractions into very little space - sometimes literally ...


9

Can only answer question no 1 & 2 : Tokyo Metro is accessible for the disabled. Maps of World claims that "In the Tokyo Subway, there are special wheel chair access arrangements and ticket counters for the disabled passengers" Seems that not all stations support accessibility for disabled persons, even for major stations like Shibuya and ...


9

A typical Japanese breakfast consists of rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables and/or salad, fish, and possibly poached/cooked egg or natto. The price for this kind of breakfast starts at around 400 yen (at a family hotel or cheap restaurant). Lunch might be out of a bento box (with contents quite similar to the breakfast minus the soup), or in a restaurant ...


8

So, you're basically out of luck, as the pros do not compete outside the tournaments. You'd need to catch an exhibition or temple game, but I'm not aware of any handy schedule for these. Edit: Found a list on Japanese Wikipedia, but the regular ones listed there are only in February, June and October. What you can do, though, is head to Ryogoku in Tokyo ...


8

For the visa part, the rules are (from Timaticweb): Visitors continuing their journey to a third country within 72 hours can obtain a Shore Pass/Transit Pass on arrival, provided: being able to prove to Japanese immigration that Shore/Transit Pass will be appropriately used; and departing from the same airport of arrival; or departing from ...


8

No, Tokyo is not a disaster area during golden week. However, flights out of Tokyo may well be more expensive, crowded, or already sold out on the first weekend, and queues may be longer. Another factor is that on the national holidays, some (not all) stores will be closed down, as will be banks (and that includes ATMs in most cases). Possibly also some ...


8

This is a great question; I'm travelling to Japan next month and I'm tempted to add this to our itinerary. Codinghands did a great job of covering the basics. I read Japanese, so I can clarify some details. There is an English-language overview of the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel tour on the official website. It has links to ...


7

For the truly cultural Japanese accommodation experience you need to stay in a traditional Japanese inn, called a "ryokan", but they are not cheap. I just found a website via Google to help you choose a ryokan that covers both Tokyo and Kyoto. A cheaper option which won't be as traditional but will give you more cultural immersion than a hotel is to stay ...


7

I'll try to answer on the assumption that you're asking mostly about the relative practicality of a day trip, rather than asking for a sort of value judgment on the merits of an overnight. You can see a number of popular tourist destinations on a day trip to Kamakura from Tokyo. Additionally, it's a somewhat sleepy city that, in comparison to much of Tokyo ...


7

This page lists what lines the JR pass is valid for - it includes buses operated by JR, but that's not all of them, especially not in cities. More importantly, the JR pass is not valid for subway lines in any of the cities you mentioned. In Tokyo at least it can be used for some metropolitan JR lines, most importantly the Yamanote circle line. The rule of ...


6

The fastest way is by Shinkansen - anything else is much slower. Highway buses can be less than 5000 yen (one way), but take over 8 hours. The cheapest (reliable) option would be the Seishun 18 ticket, which allows 5 (unconnected) days of unlimited travel, but only using local trains. Partially used tickets can be resold, so it comes out to 2300 yen (one ...


6

A colleague has traveled to Okinawa from the US twice to teach a class. Each time, he flew to Tokyo (Narita, I believe), and transferred to another flight that stopped in Osaka before heading to Naha. A list of ferries are listed on this Japan-Guide website, including ones from Kagoshima or Tokyo. Travel times are over a day.


6

A close alternative would be 'Yoyogi Park' which is just two stops south on the Yamanote line or you could even walk or run from Shinjuku. I walked around in Yoyogi and I am pretty sure I did not have to pay there. There are tons of other parks in Tokyo. I don't remember seeing any parks in Osaka, but that could just be me.


6

I would try the Hanazono Shrine Antique Market in Shinjuku. In addition to kimonos they offer used books, hanging scroll art, prints, and accessories. Like anything secondhand it can be hit-or miss on what is available when you are there. Alternatively if you are willing to travel a bit (4.5 hours) the Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya is one of the best places ...


6

If you're wanting to save a little money on extortionate Tokyo taxi fees there is a direct monorail service from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsucho, cutting the distance required by taxi significantly. Outside Hamamatsucho (the main 'departing to Haneda' station) are a huge fleet of taxis. The monorail is fast and the station is inside the terminal.


5

My experience with public holidays in Japan is that traveling via the roads is a disaster. If you are not driving or taking a bus it should be busy but tolerable, else expect to be moving at a few kilometers an hour-even on the more popular country side roads outside of Tokyo. Getting a car park is also near impossible. Accommodation is also very difficult ...


5

Shinjuku-Gyoen is really nice and well worth the 200 yen at least once. The only closeby alternative would be the park around Meiji Shrine, which has fewer open spaces IIRC. The park east of Osaka Castle is reasonably large and quite nice if you don't mind the (many, but very orderly) homeless campsites there. An alternative would be the riverside. On ...


5

I presume you’re looking for something in English. The main English-language listings magazine in Tokyo is called Metropolis (メトロポリス). The concerts section includes some J-Pop: http://metropolis.co.jp/listings/concerts/?concerts=1


5

Fuji-Q Highland is also rather excellent, wooden rollercoasters and more. Update - I went again last month. It's absolutely fantastic and strongly recommended, though only go on a good day as they're very safety-conscious and everything pretty much shuts down on the first sign of rain. Eejainaika is a particular highlight (an absolutely terrifying 4D ...


5

I'll buy a Japan Rail Pass, but I didn't understand if I can use it on nearby subway stations such as Ningyocho, Kodenmacho and others. Is it possible? No. These are part of the Tokyo Metro, which is not operated by JR, and thus the JR pass is not valid there. The nearest JR station is Shin-Nihombashi on the Sōbu line, but it's a commuter line that ...


5

Unfortunately "No need for Japan resident card" and "Japan phone number" (along with voice and SMS) are not compatible. Non-residents aren't able to buy voice SIMs. B-Mobile appears to be the best option in most cases. There's some info in English at Japan Mobile Tech that looks to be up to date. There are no high-speed unlimited options but the Chamelon ...


5

Their old English website (WBWM iFrame, click 'English' in the bottom right to view) seems to have gone (the last record the WayBackWhenMachine has is from February 4th this year) However, after a bit of hunting it seems they have now moved to this address, which I only got by sticking '首都圏外郭放水路 見学会受付' into Google (the tour name, I believe). The site has ...


5

You're looking for a pretty obscure bit of kit, most Zen temples I've been to in Japan frown on frippery like comfortable cushions for meditation. But you should be able to find these in a well-stocked Buddhist goods store, and here are a couple with an online presence that claim to have them in stock: Butsudanya Takita Shoten (仏壇屋 滝田商店), Kotobuki 2-8-11, ...


4

Right, so you're from London. One of the top attractions in Kobe is, ironically, a concentration of Western-style houses(!). But that's probably not going to be a huge attraction for you. However it's claimed by many sources, including Wikitravel, to be the must see attraction, so if you want to, head to the Ijinkan - near the Shin-Kobe station. These ...


4

Many visitors in your situation find their time in Tokyo quite disappointing. Tokyo is far from Narita*, confusing, and crowded. The best sights in Tokyo are the temples, but there is a superb temple complex in Narita city. Stay in Narita. *This should improve when the new train line is completed.



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