1. And... we're back. You'll notice that all of your images are back as well, as are our beloved emoticons, including the infamous :foo: We have also worked with our server folks and developers to fix the issues that were slowing down the site.

    There is still work to be done - the images in existing sigs are not yet linked, for example, and we are working on a way to get the images to load faster - which will improve the performance of the site, especially on the pages with a ton of images, and we will continue to work diligently on that and keep you updated.

    Cheers,

    Fok on behalf of the entire Styleforum team
    Dismiss Notice

One week trip to Japan

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by nahneun, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. blackjack

    blackjack Senior member

    Messages:
    437
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    I'm very sorry for the bum recommendation on Tentake. Next time, if here during the season for wild fugu (Oct -April), would probably recommend a place like Hamato, gourmet livedoor review - Jpn , map ... I would hate to think they did so, but I am wondering when you heard the words "gaijin" (foreigner; informal or can be slightly derogatory depending on the context) and "kirai" (hate) in one sentence whether she was indicating that she "hated foreigners". It's something I've unfortunately witnessed or had happen to me a few times albeit rarely in Japan. The sauce you had with the fugu was probably ponzu OBon holidays will start from the 13th but the rush will probably start a bit earlier so don't be surprised if you suddenly encounter jam-packed Shinkansen (bullet train) rides as people first try to visit their hometowns or head for overseas vacations. Hyperdia and Jorudan can be useful for figuring out trips throughout Japan, however they aren't perfect. Usually at most large JR (Japan Rail) stations like Tokyo and Shinjuku, there are also affiliated travel agencies who can help you figure out trip logistics to places like Hakone. If just going to Tokyo to Kyoto however, it's a lot simpler ... just go by Shinkansen.
     
  2. nahneun

    nahneun Senior member

    Messages:
    8,068
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    +1 on the Sushibun uni. That is what good, Japanese uni tastes like, and it doesn't have to come right out of the shell. Was the other sushi you couldn't identify sort of white/creamy? If so, that is another one of their specialties, called "shirako." Congratulations! You just ate sperm filled testicles of the anglerfish [​IMG] Actually, if you did eat that, you were lucky, because this one has be very fresh and high quality to get that excellent taste. It's difficult to get uni and shirako any better than one you had in Japan, and probably impossible in other countries.

    [​IMG]


    Ah, yeah that was what I had! Thanks [​IMG]
     
  3. nahneun

    nahneun Senior member

    Messages:
    8,068
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    I'm very sorry for the bum recommendation on Tentake. Next time, if here during the season for wild fugu (Oct -April), would probably recommend a place like Hamato, gourmet livedoor review - Jpn , map ...

    I would hate to think they did so, but I am wondering when you heard the words "gaijin" (foreigner; informal or can be slightly derogatory depending on the context) and "kirai" (hate) in one sentence whether she was indicating that she "hated foreigners". It's something I've unfortunately witnessed or had happen to me a few times albeit rarely in Japan.

    The sauce you had with the fugu was probably ponzu

    OBon holidays will start from the 13th but the rush will probably start a bit earlier so don't be surprised if you suddenly encounter jam-packed Shinkansen (bullet train) rides as people first try to visit their hometowns or head for overseas vacations.

    Hyperdia and Jorudan can be useful for figuring out trips throughout Japan, however they aren't perfect. Usually at most large JR (Japan Rail) stations like Tokyo and Shinjuku, there are also affiliated travel agencies who can help you figure out trip logistics to places like Hakone. If just going to Tokyo to Kyoto however, it's a lot simpler ... just go by Shinkansen.


    No worries! It was still a really fun experience. I had a lot of fun at Tsukiji regardless [​IMG]

    I just arrived at Kyoto about two hours ago after stopping by Hakone around noon. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go to Mt. Fuji directly since I didn't have enough time [​IMG] I was originally planning on going to Lake Ashi to see it, since it's only 40 minutes from the Hakone-Yumoto station, but it was too cloudy today. I did stay at an onsen for a little bit. It was so comfortable that I almost fell asleep in the outdoor bath. Much cleaner than the saunas/spas in Korea. Since I couldn't go to Mt. Fuji, I decided to walk around and ended up at Senso-ji. It was nice walking around there, but I think I could have spent my time a bit better if I had gone to Hakone Shrine instead. If only I didn't spend so much time walking around and eating manju [​IMG].

    Since the Shinkansen to Kyoto was connected to Odawara, I decided to go to Odawara Castle. I only had about an hour to walk around, so I just looked at the castle from outside and walked around the temple near there. It was very annoying because all the coin lockers were full, so I had to carry around my luggage for the hour I walked around.

    The Shinkansen was very nice, but I wish they had an electric outlet like they do on the NEX. They were out of reserved seats, so I got a seat on the green car because I thought you had to stand if you got a non-reserved pass. I definitely did not want to stand for the entire two hour+ ride. I got one of those bento boxes at a store in the terminal to eat on the Shinkansen. As expected, it wasn't that great, but it was enough to satisfy my empty stomach.

    My hotel in Kyoto was very easy to find, so I'm just relaxing tonight. Probably going to catch up on the sleep I missed earlier tonight. I don't really know what to do in Kyoto besides visiting the Ginkaku and Kinkaku Shrines. I don't think I have the time or the money to enjoy kaiseki-ryori in Kyoto, so what are some other options that would be worth indulging in during my last few days in Japan? Thanks for all the suggestions [​IMG]
     
  4. blackjack

    blackjack Senior member

    Messages:
    437
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    If your budget, won't allow a $200+ kaiseki dinner at a place like Hyotei (review), there are plenty of alternatives. For example, Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen is a 400 year-old summer mansion of some former samurai daimyo and offers very reasonably priced kaiseki fare. When I went with a few friends, they guided us through a very nice Japanese garden - complete with waterfall - out to a riverside terrace. (Something tells me one needs to specifically request the riverside deck although the other dining rooms are also nice and overlook the garden). I think if the weather was nice, it would also have be an awesome place to enjoy lunch. All the restaurants in that area back out onto the Kamo river and have similar riverside decks from May to September - they are referred to as "yuka".

    Another type of regional cuisine you might want to check out is "yuba" This restaurant chain (owned by a yuba maker) offers full course tasting menus from $30 to $70 depending on the restaurant. This reviewer went to the Komame-ya Nijyo branch and chose a $30 course.

    The bento.com Kyoto guide is worth skimming for ideas. For example, while it won't have near the impact and appeal of Tsukiji, walking through Nishiki Market to look at the various delicacies like pickles, sweets, tea, crackers, spices etc might still be worth it. More here.

    Also, I'd definitely recommend the tour at the Geikkikan Sake Museum (they will close for OBon so best to call and make sure they're open). It's a working sake brewery that is over 400 years old.

    Another option might be to tour Kyoto on a bicycle.

    Check out any festivals that appeal to you on these English-language schedules: here and here.


    Finally, if for some silly pathetic reason, you cave in and visit the British pub Pig & Whistle, you might run into a fat old obnoxious Canadian dressed in yukata perving on 16 year old Japanese girls.
    [​IMG]
    His name is Peter Macintosh. A search on the Internet yields some choice comments:


     
  5. nahneun

    nahneun Senior member

    Messages:
    8,068
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Thanks for the suggestion on the kaiseki-ryori! It was a really nice place.

    Also just wanted to say that I saw like three people wearing that ugly leopard print shirt that Uncontrol wore in Tokyo. I can't believe people wear that shit.
     
  6. Schizm

    Schizm Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2010
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Ah, Peter Macintosh. People in Kyoto either love him or hate him.


    I can't stand the bastard. He's the most hated gaijin in Kyoto for a reason.
     
  7. Alter

    Alter Senior member

    Messages:
    4,539
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Ah, Peter Macintosh. People in Kyoto either love him or hate him.


    I can't stand the bastard. He's the most hated gaijin in Kyoto for a reason.


    Never heard of this guy but I agree that the weirdest gaijin do seem to congregate in Kyoto.
     
  8. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

    Messages:
    14,457
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    The Temple of Jawnz
    I somehow have met more of the Peter Macintosh types than I'd like to have in my time. I know exactly what that dude is like without having even met him.
     
  9. Schizm

    Schizm Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2010
    Location:
    Kyoto, Japan
    Never heard of this guy but I agree that the weirdest gaijin do seem to congregate in Kyoto.

    It's true. We do.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. nahneun

    nahneun Senior member

    Messages:
    8,068
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Hey all,

    Thank you all for the great recommendations. Japan was a fantastic experience for me and I hope to find the time and money to visit again, perhaps during a different season so I can actually see Mt. Fuji. It was too cloudy to see during my stay [​IMG]

    I'm kind of upset that I missed the Obon festival, but I saw everyone preparing for it in Kyoto. Everyone in Japan was so nice and friendly. I was running late on my last day, so some guy kindly drove me to the nearest subway station from Ginkaku-ji so I wouldn't risk missing my flight.
     
  11. hboogz

    hboogz Senior member

    Messages:
    1,581
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Location:
    Between Two Pillars of Ivory...
    Taking a quick look at the room rate for a single there (~9,975 yen ), two other recommendations for similarly priced hotels in Tokyo:

    Hotel Excellent in Ebisu Depends on what you're into, but Ebisu has a good vibe and not a bad place to plant yourself for half a week.

    Slightly more but alot trendier inside, The b Akasaka (NYT review here) , b Roppongi and although the location is central, it's a bit quiet the b Ochanomizi. There is a b in Ikebukuro but unless you like the area, it's stuck up in the NW corner of Tokyo and not the best location for getting around.
    [​IMG]


    I'm slowly going through all the great information in this thread but want to at least get some basic information on a few things. First, I plan on going to Tokyo for 5 days/6 nights in October and am really considering the b Akasaka. I'm a bit older (30) and not quite keen on sleeping in a capsule but don't have an unlimited budget on a hotel. b Akasaka seems like my kinda hotel but how central is its location? How close is it from a rail station? I want to explore all the major cities in the surrounding areas: Shinjuku, Harajuku, Aoyoama, etc. Are there similar type hotels that you guys would recommend? Ideally I'd like a hotel where i can walk out and be close enough to a lot of great options day or night.

    I don't know a lick of Japanese, how difficult is it to navigate the Japanese Rail system? How far is the train ride from Narita to b akasaka?

    I want to explore all the great shopping districts, wherever they are. I heard the filson, MMM and Levi's, APC and Neighborhood stores are amazing, amongst many others. of course I'd like to experience a uniqely Japanese dinner, maybe even splurge on something upscale on a night (even though i've heard that my best option is to go for lunch instead)

    looking forward to any all recommendations.
     
  12. JTK

    JTK Senior member

    Messages:
    219
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    I would recommend the Shinjuku New City and Sunroute Shinjuku, both obviously located in Shinjuku! The Sunroute is a bit nicer, but the New City is perfectly fine for a clean place to sleep. The real perk to these hotels is that they are both located w/in a few minutes of Shinjuku Station, and the Yamanote Line, which would be a perfect base to explore Tokyo from. As far as navigation goes, the subway map is a bit intimidating at first, but you should be able to figure it out fairly quick. The Yamanote Line, which will be the green colored line on the maps, connects to most of the key sites in Tokyo. Other areas are easily accessible w/ in a stop or two from this line.
     
  13. hboogz

    hboogz Senior member

    Messages:
    1,581
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Location:
    Between Two Pillars of Ivory...
    JTK,

    Thanks! The sunroute looks and sounds just about right. Thanks for the info.

    I like sushi but i'm looking forward to trying french and italian cuisines in Japan, since i heard they are amazing -- any recommendations?

    I want to take a day trip out of tokyo via the shinkansen? I hear people recommend Kyoto, is that a reasonable day trip type of location?
     
  14. blackjack

    blackjack Senior member

    Messages:
    437
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Online train route calculators:

    HYPERDIA http://www.hyperdia.com/
    JORUDAN http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/

    Some English-language information on restaurants in Tokyo and rest of Japan (searchable):

    http://www.bento.com
    http://www.gnavi.co.jp/en/destination/ (more advert/commercial influenced)
    Reviews in JapanTimes: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fg-rs-all.html


    You could do a one-day trip to Kyoto. About 2.5 hours on the bullet train (Shinkansen) each way though, so an early start followed by a late return.

    For about same price as what the Tokyo-Kyoto roundtrip bullet train fare would cost you anyways, you can get a guided tour from JTB thrown in for free:

    http://www.jtb-sunrisetours.jp/JTB.S...fCode=TYOOVJK1
     
  15. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

    Messages:
    14,457
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    The Temple of Jawnz
    Shopping in Japan; the yen is killin it right now, so don't go to Japan to actually buy any clothes apart from Japanese brands and really unique Japan-only items; APC is expensive, MMM is about double what it costs in the US, which is marked up over what it costs in Europe... Levi's, on the other hand, you can get some interesting pre-washed jeans for a good price if you like Levi's, all of the Japanese low to high fashion labels are game, some have even dropped their prices locally. Some CDG stuff has been going down in price this year, compared to last year. That CDG eYe X Vanson leather jacket I've always wanted was high fashion-priced the first season, then it dropped to 189,000Y last year, and it's like 159,000Y this year.

    Do as the locals do nowadays in this economy, and spend all your money on food. Everybody is putting out good food in Japan, for near-nothing to high end (but high end isn't as expensive as it was before)... Eat high-end (neo-French, Italian, Chinese) at lunch at the Michelin starred places for around $50 or a little more, low end for dinner (i.e. this would be the time you go look for the ramen joints, other cheap Japanese food, etc), seek out snacks (bakeries, dessert cafes) in the midday, drinks+small bites in the evening until night, midnight snacks at some of the late night holes. You could do that for $100-150/day/person if you keep it tight and get to try some of the best in Tokyo.
     
  16. hboogz

    hboogz Senior member

    Messages:
    1,581
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Location:
    Between Two Pillars of Ivory...
    Impolyt, Thanks man. That's exactly what I had in mind. As far as shopping: I really want to check out the local Japanese stuff, cdg, the denim game, neighborhood, undercover. I want to check out the malls or shopping centers that are apparently wild. IIRC, there is an amazing filson store somewhere in Tokyo inside of a shopping center. I just can't spend a fortune on gear, but want to defintely explore their scene and pick up an item here and there. As far as food, that's how i want to try and do it. I'll use a day or two to eat lunch at a Michelin rated place for lunch (before 11:30 and after 12:45 to avoid the rush?) and eat good but affordable food otherwise. There are a few places in NYC called Taisho, Yokocho, Kenka that serve food that I want to experience in Japan. Yakatori, pork belly over rice and all kinds of, let's say quick street-foods, that are fairly inexpensive but good. Do you or anyone have recommendations for these type of places? I have this thing for Japanese Curry, either in soup or otherwise, would love to hear where i can score good curry in tokyo. Thanks BlackJack. I've looked at this Map: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/info/map_a4ol.pdf And not quite sure which line i should be focusing on for my stay in Tokyo. I'm probably over-thinking the rail system, but just want to get a better grasp of which trains i should be focusing on. I understand they sell an all day rail pass for tokyo travel for around $8 -- My thinking is i should kop those daily. Thanks again,
     
  17. nahneun

    nahneun Senior member

    Messages:
    8,068
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    My best friend raved about Coco Ichibanya, a really big curry chain, before I went, but I never actually had a chance to go. I'm sure others could chime in more about curry, as I didn't really get a chance to eat it.

    Contrary to popular belief, English is not that prevalent in Japan. You should be able to get by with gestures and body language, though. Knowing a few key phrases should help. What I did was I wrote the name of the place in Japanese on a notebook and once I got around the area, I showed them the name and asked if they knew where it was. Definitely check out Tsukiji for the sushi at lunch. Amazing amazing amazing.

    Kyoto was nice, and as you can imagine, it's much more steeped in traditional Japanese culture than Tokyo is. The subway system is a bit more annoying in Kyoto because there are fewer maps in English and the ticket machines are older, but it's pretty much the same thing. If you do go, you should definitely check out Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen. Very nice experience and food for the price, though I think you pay a bit more for the presentation than you do for the taste. I walked from Karasuma Oike since my hotel was around there, and that was about a 10-15 minute walk. You can walk by the shrine where Nobunaga died on your way there.

    As for hotels, I was actually planning on staying at Sunroute Shinjuku but my travel agency couldn't get rooms there for a good price, so I just went to New City instead. I didn't walk by Sunroute while I was in Shinjuku, but New City is not that close to the subway; it's about a 15 minute walk. The nice thing is that it's near a park and it's quiet, though. As for the subway itself, just go to the information desk and ask for an English map. There are several different railway systems, but you'll most likely be taking the JR while you're there (Tsukiji is on a different track though. I forgot which one it was, though). Subway fare is pretty pricey, and you pay more the farther you go. It sounds like you live in NY, so you should have no trouble getting used to the subway system.
     
  18. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

    Messages:
    14,457
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    The Temple of Jawnz
    Curry, 'street food' (although street food is all inside and expensive in Japan now), cheap Japanese staple food; that stuff, IMO tastes better when you're in the midst of exploring and happen upon a place. Doesn't have to be the absolute best or worst, it's Japan man, you're eating a meal in a different country; that alone is good enough for me to enjoy.
    I ate some yakitori in Ebisu, down a block from MMM with Cotton Duck and winq from superfuture; that was awesome yakitori. I don't even know how it stacks up against every other yakitori-ya in Japan, but it was good man. Got seconds or thirds of harami, negima, sasami, tomatoes and shishito, all the right condiments (lemon wedges to yuzugoshou) with each dish, it was great eating, and I knew at the time it wasn't the ultimate, but really, really satisfying nonetheless. Plus, it was between a bunch of great clothing stores - Julius, MMM, Warehouse, Kapital, etc, etc.

    Curry is one of those things that is everywhere - if you can smell it, you have found it. The smaller the place, the more people, the better. Look under train stations and overpasses for places like this. Cocoichibanya is indeed a huge chain, and they do have good curry, but if you want to branch out, try Coco, try some other places as well. Curry is in no short supply. We have a CocoIchi here as well, it's good for being the kind of curry place that gives a bunch of customization options in terms of add-ins, sides, spice level, rice, etc, and I like to have some veggies in there rather than a full plate of sauced meat, but the indie places will probably have no choice - you just put your money down and get a ladling of what they make.
    CocoIchibanya does sell some boxed, ready-made curry packs you just boil and serve for like 500 yen, so be sure to stock up on those and take them home - they have a soup curry that is pretty damn great for an instant convenience food.

    I've been to Japan maybe 8 ,9 maybe 10 times now, I have lost count and my old passport was stolen so I'll never know now, but I've never been to Kyoto. I have plenty of interest in it, but I just never found my way out of Tokyo, it's a huge beast that I still feel will keep me in the city for a long time, if just traveling. there's so much to do in Tokyo, if you're just going to Kyoto to take pics and sightsee, I think your 250 bones is better spent in Tokyo on your first trip to Japan, at least to shore up some souvenirs for people and an extra day to see the free stuff that takes some time to get around to - architectural tours, shop visits, going back to those one or two places you really liked and getting a second or third helping, maybe trying some stuff you weren't planning on. If anything a daytrip to Yokohama might be better, IMO - there's some touristy stuff down there, Minato Mirai, the ferris wheel, Chinatown, Yamate, that architectural park (can't remember the name of it) on the harbor, it's a good day on its own and only costs a small train ride to get down there on the Toyoko, rather than a plane-like fare on the shinkansen.

    Seeking out at least one example of the other more popular Japanese foods while you're there wouldn't be bad either - get some great tempura and it'll blow your mind, budget $50-60 and try a good A5 wagyu (Mishima, Matsuzaka, Kuroge, etc, etc) either teppanyaki-style or as sukiyaki at lunch (it can get to be double or triple that for dinner)... Maisen near Omotesando for tonkatsu (budget $40) at least once, go to a monja-yaki place and get monja or make some yakisoba, etc, etc.

    If you have local friends, all the better, but even if you're dining alone, that's not a problem in Japan, so don't sweat that.
     
  19. hboogz

    hboogz Senior member

    Messages:
    1,581
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Location:
    Between Two Pillars of Ivory...
    Thanks man. If you were in Japan I'd totally like to link since it seems we have a few things in common. But I'm defintely going, gonna explore Ebisu,Harajuku,Ometesando and possibly purchase an archtectirual tour and just do as much discovering i can for 5 days.

    I forgot to ask, but let's say i do find myself out and about at a bar or wherever until say 1-2am --- could i still take the train back to hotel or do i have to fork it over for a cab?
     
  20. blackjack

    blackjack Senior member

    Messages:
    437
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Thanks man. If you were in Japan I'd totally like to link since it seems we have a few things in common. But I'm defintely going, gonna explore Ebisu,Harajuku,Ometesando and possibly purchase an archtectirual tour and just do as much discovering i can for 5 days.

    I forgot to ask, but let's say i do find myself out and about at a bar or wherever until say 1-2am --- could i still take the train back to hotel or do i have to fork it over for a cab?


    The last trains are usually until 0030. If you're staying in Shinjuku, a taxi from Roppongi or NishiAzabu for example, might set you back Y3000. Maybe half that if you stay in a place like Ebisu (eg Hotel Excellent) or you could even walk back to a place like Akasaka (eg b Akasaka). Same if in Roppongi (eg b Roppongi ... although it's an area I kinda hate due to all the annoying Nigerian touts).

    JR trains start from around 0500 and subways from around 0520 if you want to stay up all night.

    If so inclined (and jetlagged), consider an early morning tour of Tsukiji Market. (calendar for 2010). If you are not sure how to avoid the retarded new anally-retentive rules to screen out tourists, just figure it out yourself with a little online research or pay these pros Y7,500 for a guided tour that starts from 0400.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by