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Visiting Tokyo

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by panda81, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. panda81


    Feb 7, 2008
    Hi folks - I know we have a lot of diverse people in this crowd, so I figure it wouldn't hurt to ask for people's opinions here. My wife and I are going to Tokyo for a few days in late November (actually Thanksgiving week). I've been to Tokyo myself about 6 years ago, but I didn't make any of the travel arrangements, so I'm still pretty unfamiliar with the area.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on where to stay in Tokyo? Or places to avoid, if any? I think both of us are more interested in visiting the historical, cultural, and artistic parts of the city, not necessarily the modern city/urban side. I remember the city was huge, but I don't remember if all of the historical and cultural parts are clustered in one area or completely spread apart. If you guys have any suggestions on where to stay or any must-see sights, please share your thoughts.

  2. Sangetsu


    Apr 18, 2009
    There are limitless options in the metro area, and a lot depends on your budget. If you don't mind spending a couple hundred dollars a night, you can get a good, quiet room at the Intercontinental Hotel at Tokyo Bay. The Intercontinental is a high-quality hotel which offers great views of the bay or the city, depending on which side of the hotel your room is located. It is also convenient to a train station (Takashiba Station) which ends at Shimbashi Station.

    At Shimbashi station you can connect to the Yamanote Line train, which runs in a circle through the middle of the metro area. Most of the places worth seeing are located on the Yamanote line. You can start at Ueno station, home of Ueno park, where you'll find the Tokyo Zoo, the National Museum, and the Museum of Western Art.

    The next good stop on the Yamanote Line is Akihabara, home of "Electric City". At Akihabara you can check out the latest in Japanese gadgets and entertainmant.

    After Akihabara comes Tokyo Station. From Tokyo Station you can walk to the Imperial Palace and tour the gardens. On the other side of Tokyo Station you can walk to Ginza, famous for it's high-end shops (and used camera shops, such as Nikon House).

    After Tokyo Station you can stop at Shinagawa station and visit the Aquarium (worth seeing, but on a weekday as the weekends are busy). Past Shinagawa is Shibuya, which is the most famous part of the city. You can visit Hachiko (the statue of Hachi, the famous dog, who's story was made into a movie with Richard Gere). After Shibuya is Harajuku, where you can visit Yoyogi park, and the Meiji Jingu shrine.

    If the Intercontinental is too pricey, you can stay at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. It is more reasonably priced (often less than $100 a night), and is located right next to Shinagawa Station (on the Yamanote Line, as previously mentioned).

    From Tokyo Station you can take the Asakusa Subway line to Asakusa, home of the famous Sensoji Temple. The temple is surrounded by thousands of gift and souvenir shops, as well as one of the few old-town neighborhoods reminiscent of Old Tokyo. You can take a rickshaw tour if you like, and the restaurants (however large or small) serve good food. There is even a restaurant that specializes in whale meat (in case you've ever been curious).

    If you are arriving at Narita Airport, I recommend you avoid the Narita Express train which takes most passengers from the airport to the metro area. The airport limousine bus service is better, and can drop you off at most major hotels. You'll see the signs and/or bus ticket counter once you exit customs and enter the main lobby of the airport.

    Have a great time. I enjoyed visiting Tokyo so much that I eventually moved here.
  3. Sell your 21 now Jerry, it will pay for the hotel(s) and meal(s)! BUT, then what will you use form imaging the scenery? What a conumdrum :confused: (better you than I :cool: )
  4. dluusional


    Feb 10, 2009
    Pearland, TX
    +1 one what he said :smile: I stayed with a friend in yokohama but if you can't afford the high dollar hotels, look into hostels.
  5. I was there in June and stayed in Shinjuku as you can get just about anywhere easily by subway or train from there. Narita Express stops there, which makes it easy to get to/from airport.
  6. cliburn

    cliburn Guest

    The only place I would NOT stay is Roppongi (too western). Shinjuku has lots of action, but parts are pretty seedy. I WOULD take the Narita Express (you should buy a joint ticket with a Suica (which is a pre-loaded subway card) as you will save money (google it)). There are some pretty nice/reasonable places to stay at Shiodome -- but not much in the immediate area. How much do you want to spend? I would just make sure the hotel is close to a subway or train stop -- Tokyo easy to get around.
  7. Sangetsu


    Apr 18, 2009
    The reason I take the bus instead of the Narita Express is that I usually carry a lot of gear when I travel, and the train platform is not particularly close to the terminal. I don't like maneuvering my bags through the barriers, onto elevators, or on the escalator. The bus is close, costs less than the train, and goes to 5 times as many destinations.

    The Suica pass is a good idea, it's more convenient than buying tickets for each trip, which involves looking at the map, finding your location, your destination, and putting the indicated fare into the ticket machine. A discounted JR railways pass is available to foreign tourists, but if you aren't going outside the metro area, it really isn't worth it. On my busiest commuting days in Tokyo, I rarely spend more than 1000 yen for train fare.

    Roppongi is not a bad place to stay, provided you are staying at such places as the Grand Hyatt or Ritz Carlton. Both hotels have easy access to the subway/train system. Roppongi Hills has endless things to see and do, and is walking distance from Aoyama Cemetery, and pretty close to Shibuya (I often go cycling in those places), as well as Tokyo Tower.

    Panda, you can PM me if you have any specific questions about places.
  8. panda81


    Feb 7, 2008
    Everyone - thanks so much for all your input! Much appreciated.

    Sangetsu, I will definitely PM you in the near future about more details.
  9. DangerKilo


    May 14, 2009
    I would avoid staying in shinjuku myself. just stayed the night there myself a few days ago. Shinjuku butts up agains Kabukicho, a great place to see during the day, but it turns into Yakuza (Japan's Mafia) hangout at night. If you are out past 10 it can get dicey dealing with the hosts and gangsters. Especially with camera gear.

    During the day Shinjuku is a great place to go, just dont stay there.

  10. Jdizzy92


    Jul 19, 2009
    Newark, CA
    ^I actually stayed in Shinjuku for 10days in a row and never had a problem with gang or people. My very white *** even walked around at night there with my camera. Almost all Japanese people are very friendly. I would stay away from any kind of gang though and they are easy to spot. I'm a big guy so I wasn't bothered. First thing you should visit is Ginza and go to the JNTO Tourist Information Center. Travel Information Center is a really good place to go before you do anything in Tokyo. They help me out a lot and got me organize for the whole week. They have tons of information of Japan and they speak English very well. It's located in the Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan building next to the JR. Get a Suica Card also.
    I went to Tokyo and Kyoto back in June this year and took lots of pictures. You can see them here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdw-photo/sets/72157620571037660/
    I type a bunch of notes of information in each picture.
    Here is a list I made before I left to Tokyo.
    Shinjuku(新宿区) - Tama Ryokan
    - Metropolitan Government Office(View)
    - Yodobashi Camera
    - Kabukicho (歌舞伎町) - is a red-light district
    - Shinjuku Gyoen - Park

    Shibuya(渋谷区) - Mall
    - Omotesando Hills
    - Takashimaya Times Square
    - Shibuya 109

    Harajuku(原宿 "meadow lodging") - Sunday Cosplay
    - Meiji Shrine
    - Harajuku Street

    Nokogiri Yama Mt.(鋸山) - Historical sceinic place

    Mt. Fuji(富士山) - Volcano

    Ginza(銀座) - JNTO Tourist Information Center
    - department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses

    Roppongi(六本木) - Foriegners night life
    - Roppongi Hill
    - Mori Tower/Tokyo 360 degree View

    Akihabara(秋葉原?)("Field of Autumn Leaves") - Electronic Stores

    Iidabashi(飯田橋駅) - Lots of French people, famous for old time Japan - Kaburazaka, Canal Cafe

    Asakusa(浅草?) - most famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon

    Odaiba(お台場?) - is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, Japan, across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo.
    - Daiba (台場?) formally refers to one district of the island development in Minato Ward. The Odaiba name is commonly used to refer to the entire Tokyo Waterfront Secondary City Center (東京臨海副都心, Tokyo Rinkai Fukutoshin?) which includes the Ariake and Aomi districts of Kōtō Ward and the Higashi-Yashio district of Shinagawa Ward.

    - Transportation: 1. Two Shuto Expressway lines access Odaiba: Route 11 enters from central Tokyo crossing the Rainbow Bridge, while the Wangan Route enters from Shinagawa Ward through the Tokyo Port Tunnel and from the bayfront areas of Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture to the east.
    2. By public transport Odaiba is accessible via the automated Yurikamome transit system from Shimbashi and Toyosu. The privately-operated Rinkai Line runs between Shin-Kiba and Ōsaki but many trains connect directly to Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro. City buses provide cheaper if slower access. Ferries connect Odaiba with Asakusa running along the Sumida River and the Kasai Rinkai Park in eastern Tokyo.
    Tokyo Tower(東京タワー) - is a communications and observation tower located in Shiba Park, Minato, Tokyo, Japan.
    - Transportation: 1. The closest subway stations to Tokyo Tower are Onarimon Station on the Mita Subway Line and Akabanebashi Station on the Oedo Subway Line. You can also walk there from Hamamatsucho Station on the JR Yamanote and JR Keihin-Tohoku Line in about 15 minutes.

    Tsukiji fish market(築地市場, Tsukiji shijō?) - is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind. The market is located in Tsukiji in central Tokyo, and is a major attraction for foreign visitors.
    - Location: The Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, commonly known as Tsukiji fish market is located near the Tsukijishijō Station on the Toei Ōedo Line and Tsukiji Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. There are two distinct sections of the market as a whole. The "inner market" (jonai shijo) is the licensed wholesale market, where the auctions and most of the processing of the fish take place, and where licensed wholesale dealers (approximately 900 of them) operate small stalls. The "outer market" (jogai shijo) is a mixture of wholesale and retail shops that sell Japanese kitchen tools, restaurant supplies, groceries, and seafood, and many restaurants, especially sushi restaurants. Most of the shops in the outer market close by the early afternoon, and in the inner market even earlier.

    Ameyoko - Ameyoko is a busy market street along the Yamanote line tracks between Okachimachi and Ueno Station, the site of a black market after World War Two.
    - The shopping street runs from Ueno to Okachimachi Station along the train tracks of the JR Yamanote or JR Keihin-Tohoku Line.

    Sorry for the long read.
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