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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, ...


12

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 ...


12

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 ...


12

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 ...


11

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

I always thought it was to avoid breathing too much pollution or avoid catching diseases from other people. In fact it's the other way around. My Japanese friend always wears one when she has a cold because she doesn't want to infect other people!


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

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 ...


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 ...


9

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 ...


9

The easy, safe and cheap option is train station lockers, which can be found at all major train stations in Tokyo (and Japan). Japanese lockers are usually narrow but deep, so while hard plastic suitcases will not fit into them, backpacks are generally not a problem. Some larger stations (eg. Tokyo stn) also have manned left luggage counters (手荷物預かり所 ...


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

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

I'd go to Kappabashi-dori, conveniently located between Ueno and Asakusa next to Tawaramachi stn on the Ginza line. It's Tokyo's main restaurant wholesale district and sells everything you need for food preparation or presentation at low prices, Wikivoyage has a bit more info. Note that the Japanese term for lacquerware is shikki (漆器), urushi-nuri is the ...


8

You can take the airport shuttle (Airport Limousine Bus) direct from Haneda (International Terminal) to Narita (Terminal 1 then Terminal 2) for 3,100 JPY. It comes fairly regularly (roughly hourly) and takes around 95 minutes. The earliest departure is 06:25. Alternatively you can take the train. The best route depends on time of arrival, but your main ...


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 ...


7

The Tomei expressway (main route between Tokyo and Osaka) will be very crowded at both ends of Golden week in the appropriate direction. Far less at nighttime, and about average mid-week. I assume you have made all your reservations already? GW (this year) has basically begun already, which has the side effect of spreading out the travel. Of course, 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

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

They made a press release in 2010 about this service. The advertised domain for this service, specially targeted at backpackers, does not exist anymore, so I would assume this service is discontinued. If you are willing to pay a bit more (¥2,700), you can use the Airport limousine bus to bring you from Narita to Asakusa.


6

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 ...


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

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 ...



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