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Going to Japan in Late March to Early April

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by HORNS, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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    So, my wife, her mother, and I are traveling first to Fukuoka to visit the mother in law's home town and ancestors' graves, then we're taking the train up north to Tokyo but will stop by either Kyoto or Kobe. Now, I've spent a couple of days in Kyoto but felt rushed in the food/cooking supply alley they have there and would love to go back, however I don't know if I should scrap that to have the opportunity to visit a new city like Kobe.

    What do you guys think?

    Also, I would love some recommendations on Kobe, Kyoto, and Tokyo - places to shop but not really clothing.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  2. erdawe

    erdawe Well-Known Member

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    Experiencing the trip with time reversed, sure would make it more a more unusual trip... :D

    ..
    ..

    K. no real specific recommendations to give other than to enjoy it!

    Perhaps alter, impolyt, fang ect. can jump on board.
     
  3. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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    :fu:

    Late March to early April.

    I was reading some of the older threaks and saw that Alter lives in Kobe - so Alter, I summon thee.
     
  4. Alter

    Alter Well-Known Member

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    Hey Horns, Sorry I missed this earlier. Yep, I live in Kobe and office is in Osaka...and frequently vist Kyoto.

    Tough call to say which would be better for you...on the surface most Japanese cities are fairly similar. Could you be more specific about your interests? Feel free to pm if preferred.

    Kobe has an easy to walk around downtown area (around Motomachi/Sannomiya station) with ample shopping malls and underground shopping areas. Kobe is well-known as a "fashionable" city so the clothing options are excellent. For sightseeing, there isn't too much going on...the world's longest extension bridge is kind of cool if you like that kind of thing...and there is a nice path from there along the seaside leading to an "outlet" mall. A nice morning or afternoon activity. There is also a particularly nice castle in Himeji but it is around an hour west of Kobe...and it is under some construction at the moment.

    Osaka could be an option too. Just around the Osaka station area, called Umeda, are many many places to eat and shop. But nothing that you couldn't find in Tokyo.

    But...given all of the above, I think I would still opt for Kyoto. There are just so many places to visit there. In one day you can see an amazing temple, eat some great food (traditional or modern) and shop.

    I have some more specific recs for hotels and restaurants in all three cities so let me know if that would be helpful too.
     
  5. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Alter. I think that my wife would enjoy the shopping in Kobe if it is a hot-spot for clothing and design. I, on the other hand, would love to have access to clothing there was a chance that they could fit me but I think that's doubtful. Otherwise I am in love with craftsmanship in whatever form it manifests itself.

    Kobe is a large sake brewing city - is it worth it to visit those places? And any places to eat "land toro" aka Kobe beef would be greatly appreciated!

    We are definitely staying in Kyoto for two days, which is a longer period of time than you might think considering that we have already seen all the temples and palaces.

    What about other places that are on the way from Fukuoka to Tokyo that aren't even on my radar?
     
  6. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Well-Known Member

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    You will be near a number of quality bonsai nurseries. If I were you I would be sure to avail myself of their wares.
     
  7. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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    That's a great idea, edina! I'm goin to research bonsai in general and see what comes up.

    That reminds me, I meant to ask if anyone has ever seen a bonsai sakura?
     
  8. Fang66

    Fang66 Well-Known Member

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    Horns I was going to rcommend some shoe stores but at size 12 you'll be SOL in Japan. Give us some more specifics about what type of thing you're interested in and I'll try to give some recs. Do you play golf?
     
  9. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for chiming in, Fang.

    I do not play golf, which would indeed be helpful. Restaurants, gardens, cooking supplies/knives, and design store recommendations would all be very helpful. A destination that I look forward to is the Commes de Garcons store in Tokyo.
     
  10. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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    Oh, and apparently my mother in law has an uncle in the Fukuoka area who owns an Ikizukuri restaurant, where fish are prepared so quickly that you eat the meat off of the animal while it's still alive. I think we have dinner there planned, but I really, REALLY don't want to go. They're telling me what a great, once in a lifetime experience this will be but I find it repugnant.
     
  11. Alter

    Alter Well-Known Member

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    That restaurant sounds good to me!

    I am putting together some suggestions for you for restaurants in Kobe for Kobe Beef, there are many of course.

    About craftmanship: in Fukuoka there is a leather goods shop that sells stuff by Herz. This website has some of their stuff...I own a few pieces and the workmanship and proces are excellent: http://www.leatherbag.co.jp/05_webshop/index.html . I will find the address butI think it is right at Hakata station.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  12. Fang66

    Fang66 Well-Known Member

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    For cooking gear/knives Kappabashi in Tokyo is definitely a must.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  13. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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    That shop looks niiice!


    Yeah, I spent five hours one day on Kappabashi and was just amazed - there's a wonderful coffee equipment shop there.
     
  14. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Well-Known Member

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    That Herz leather shop has shops all over, saw one in Shibuya I think
     
  15. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to hear some recs from you as well. This will make the SW&D people roll their eyes, but where do you recommend my wife and I both getting a good deal on some jeans?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  16. curzon

    curzon Well-Known Member

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    Yes, bonsai sakura do exist.

    Keep in mind many countries have rather strict policies on the importation of plants (and animals). You may want to check that before boarding a plane with yours.

    Another thing to keep in mind in the cherry blossom festival. Typically the best viewing is in April, and Kyoto is ground zero, so you may have that opportunity, too. Of course competition for lodging and transport will be great, so book early.
     
  17. bwahahahaha

    bwahahahaha Well-Known Member

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    If sightseeing is what you really wish to do, I would try to spend the majority of your time in Kyoto, and take a trip out to Nara as well if you have time. You could easily spend days in Kyoto and not see everything. If you head to Osaka rather than Kobe, I can help you with the shopping recommendations as well, including denim. I've only been to Kobe a handful of times, and am much more knowledgeable about Osaka. I'll second the recommendation to see Himeji castle, as it really is impressive, although it's unfortunate that the main keep of the castle is essentially encased in a giant box at the moment. Osaka castle is beautiful this time of year as well, with the plum blossoms and sakura blooming. In any case, enjoy your trip, it's a great time of year to be visiting.
     
  18. HORNS

    HORNS Well-Known Member

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    Thank you guys! Two years ago we were in Tokyo and Kyoto for the sakura blossoming - just stunning, and I could eat two boxes of the sakura-flavored mochi in one sitting. I love how the television news have updates on the percentage the blossoms are at that time. Serious business!
     
  19. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Well-Known Member

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    Well, depends on what kind of jeans you want - prices are pretty fixed on things like that, so it doesn't matter if you buy them at a specialist's shop, a boutique, at a department store, and it doesn't matter which city you buy them in either.
    The depth of the selection at department stores wouldn't be as good as the standalone shops (though they can order stuff in, as the stores are not really part of the department store, they're just small store in stores representing their own brands), but check the department stores out - Isetan in Shinjuku 3-chome is like shopping heaven. Virtually every brand ever discussed on styleforum is basically carried under the same roof, and the food hall is pretty amazing too. The import stuff is all taxed here a bit, especially shoes, but the domestic stuff is interesting too. You could spend a day without getting out of the basement of Isetan, it's got a food hall next to a men's shoes hall - goes from left to right in price, from like $200 to $2000. Somewhere in the middle it gets good, the Tricker's are next to Aldens, next to the Crockett and Jones, next to the Alfred Sargents, next to the Carminas, and so on. Upstairs the 'young casual' floor has the Visvim is next to the Junya Watanabe, next to the White Mountaineering, next to the N. Hoolywood, next to the Julius, next to the Undercover, next to the Rick Owens, etc, etc. The MC-type stuff is on the next floor. Pretty spectacular sight for shoppers. Would be incredibly easy to drop five figures in there.

    Shopping in Harajuku or Aoyama can happen, but you need a directory or map of sorts, and then be ready to cover a lot of pavement. Doing those places for real shopping is a good day in itself. If you are limited on time you can probably limit yourself to daytime walking between the area bounded by Shibuya station, up to to Harajuku station, then down Omotesando and then back right down Aoyama-dori back to Shibuya, plus the block down in Minami-Aoyama with the Prada store (must be seen) and then CDG and 10 Corso Como and Undercover in the back street. There's not that much daytime stuff to see at Aoyama itchome or Gaienmae, or up in Akasaka. At Gaienmae there's Aoyama Bell Commons - you might want to check out Cibone, it's a pretty cool design shop with a mix of imported stuff and Japanese stuff.

    What are you gonna eat in Tokyo?
     
  20. Fang66

    Fang66 Well-Known Member

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    Second everything impolyt_one said except the shoes. You're a size 12 right? Isetan don't carry much over Japanese size 27.5 (you can get lucky).
     

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