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Travel to Japan - reco

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Mesta, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. djblisk

    djblisk Senior member

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    Thanks for the recs guys! gonna go to both.
     
  2. belizblitz

    belizblitz Member

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    Bought my tickets at a steal from wego travel online, i usually use these sites to help me find these kind of deals. Gonna go Japan - Tokyo in August, although it is the hottest month but I intend to climb Mt Fuji and that is the best time to go.

    Also check when is their golden week because that is when the Japanese travel in hoards and it might not be the best time to travel as all the hotels are going to be fully booked.

    In Tokyo, there are only a few things i wanna do:

    The first is to track down all the stores that sell street wear : commes de garcon, superdry, porter bags etc.
    Eat as much as I can. Wonder how everyone stays so slim with so much food
    Check out a sumo wrestling match
    Stay in a capsule hotel
    meet a japanese chick
     
  3. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    Week in Japan (All Tokyo except for two days in a ryokan outside Nagano). Incredible experience. Loved every second.
     
  4. akatsuki

    akatsuki Senior member

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    I'd say if you are there in winter - go out to the mountains and do an onsen. Sitting in a warm spring, having a bit of sake and having the snow melt a couple of feet above your head and just mist your face is flat out amazing.

    I've also bike toured which was great - but you really need some Japanese once you leave Tokyo. Sapporo beer factory tour is actually pretty fun if you are up that way.

    Try and get a group together and do some nomihodai at some crappy karaoke place.

    Shinjuku is perfect because when you get tired you just head on over to the Meiji shrine and chill out.
     
  5. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    I did spend some time in the Onsen in the mountains outside of Nagano -- that was my few days outside of the city -- it snowed while I was sitting in an onsen, which was really, really incredible. "Flat out amazing" is a good way to describe it! The Shinkansen just makes it too easy to get out of the city, and the spine of Japan is too beautiful to miss.
     
  6. Coin

    Coin Member

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    I'm sure all the recommended restaurants are top-notch. However, if you end up stuck for a place to go in Tokyo, I do suggest the Izakaya chain called "Himonoya". There seems to be one of them everywhere, and pretty good as far as chain stores go. They specialize in half dried and grilled fish as well as other snacks to accompany drinks. They all have unique and cozy interiors, and I feel the atmosphere is female friendly.

    I'm not saying it's a must visit place by any means, but I always look for their sign if I don't know where else to go. That being said, I would rather not go there alone. Their layout does not lend well to solo drinking in my opinion.
     
  7. ChicagoRon

    ChicagoRon Senior member

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    I'm back in Tokyo this week, til Sunday. Anybody else happen to be around? Also - Huntsman, anyplace you went that I should check out?
     
  8. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    Ah, damn -- gotta be a work thing, yes? Lucky dog.

    I didn't do any high-end eating in Tokyo; only high end drinking. Loved Star Bar and Bar High Five in Ginza. For a spirits geek, Bar Tram in Ebisu had an incredible selection of Absinthes that I reeeeaaaalllllyyy enjoyed (esp. the Jade Nouvelle Orleans). Have good memories of Bar 6 in Asakusa (great view!), but that was probably more the time and the company, though I drank HP25 on the cheap there.

    Are you a scotch freak at all?

    ~ H
     
  9. ChicagoRon

    ChicagoRon Senior member

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    No - my whiskey drinking is mostly American. Speaking of, have you tried High West Campfire?

    Yes - work. I'm in Asia for a few months, actually - so I figured out a way to do one more week here. I'll be in Shanghai in a few weeks, as well.

    Glad you enjoyed your visit.
     
  10. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Ah you went to Star Bar, Huntsman?

    Ron, Japan has an equally good Bourbon selection too - you'll find them at the same bars as the Scotch selections, and at stores. There are quite a number of lowbrow Bourbons that are Japanese market-only, as well. I.W. Harper 12y is a decent Japan-only Bourbon that isn't firewater. Yellow Rose of Texas and J.T.S. are also Japan-only but poison.
     
  11. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    Yes, I did. I read your post on it and remembered that you preffered a bar called (I think) Bar K, but not going to Star Bar to me would be like going to NYC and not trying PDT (even though I don't think PDT is the best cocktail bar in NYC). All the same, I had a GREAT time. The service was fantastic, the cocktails excellent, and our bartender was so willing to engage and talk about how he felt about his cocktail philosophy, despite the paucity of our Japanese and his English. It was a wonderful, wonderful time. Really, the only annoying thing about it was this table of boorish Americans who came in later in the night and were shitty company.

    Ron, for bourbon, in Shinjuku there's a bar called Bar Hermit (there are several in the area), but this one on the second floor in Shinjuku is like twinned bars; a scotch side and a bourbon side. It's like a candy store. I sat in the Scotch side and drank like 1.5 oz pours of fabulous whisky for (what I thought was) very very decent prices. Service was again spectacular all for a 500Y cover, which is ridiculous. I hated not tipping the bartenders very well.

    Anyway, just south of Shinjuku station there is a major road that runs mostly E-W that cuts through the station (I think it is Rt. 20). Just West of the station on this road there is one of those Tokyo-only ridiculously massive intersections. If you go north at that intersection, sort of along the side of the station, make the first left, and go into the rabbit warren of stores. Hermit is a couple of short blocks down on the right. Totally recomended if you like a nice quiet bar experience. I loved the place.

    Oh, and no, I have not tried the High West; my spirits budget has been slashed due to other commitments, so I am coasting along and keeping up with restocks, but that's about it.

    ~ H
     
  12. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Star Bar is pretty good, though I think prefer K still. I don't remember the head bartender's name at Star Bar but I also felt he was doing a great job of hosting (bar opened at 6 and had filled up by 6:30) and kept everything regimented, mixed most of the drinks ordered, although the bar backs had some very decent skills . One of them cut into that Akita jamon-style ham leg for us and did a nice job carving it, and then turned around and did a longarm pour of sherry from a jigger with a 2 foot handle from what must've been 3 or 4 feet from jigger to sherry glass - and not a drop was spilled.
     
  13. djblisk

    djblisk Senior member

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    I need some help here you guys.

    I am going to hakone for a day. Well I am actually trying to get to

    Taiseikan
    72 Miyanoshita, Hakonemachi, Ashigarasimogun, Kanagawa

    it also say this: Hotel Access : Hakone Tozan Railroad to Miyanoshita Station, then 3 mins.
    via hotel cable car.

    I am going to be near the shinjuku station so I will be leaving from there.

    Which ticket should I buy? I don't care about saving money on the train either.

    Help.

    Also: I am getting in around 10 pm on Sunday night. Should I take the Narita Express or the Limo Bus? I'm a noob at this.
     
  14. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Take the Narita Express if you actually are walking out of arrivals at 10pm, otherwise, past that, it's too late to hope to catch a connecting train from Ueno or Nippori. If you actually land at 10, you probably won't be out the door til 11.
    The bus can take awhile, and sometimes the timing is bad and they run only one bus per hour by the time it gets that late on a Sunday, but it's your only option.
     
  15. ChicagoRon

    ChicagoRon Senior member

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    Went to star bar tonight.. great place. Thanks Huntsman (and Anthony Bourdain, and Departures magazine, and the NY Times) = but I wouldn't have gone if it were not for Huntsman - for real.
     
  16. djblisk

    djblisk Senior member

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    Thanks for the tip.

    Any late night eats near shinjuku station on a Sunday night?
     
  17. ehkay

    ehkay Senior member

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    If my flight gets into Haneda at 10:15 PM, there's no reason to stay near the airport and head into the city in the morning, right? The monorail to Hamamatsucho takes like 20 minutes?
     
  18. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    Yeah the monorail is nice and quick and they run every 5 minutes or something. Get a cab from Hamamatsucho if you're not staying too far away. I live like 10 minutes from Hamamatsucho so I love flying into Haneda, makes flying so easy. If you are too late for the monorail, a cab to Shibuya area or Roppongi is about 5600-7000 yen before the meter switch at midnight, so not too bad. I often carry rolls of fabric or have loaded suitcases so I just cab it down there from Azabu oft times.
     
  19. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    I hardly go up to Shinjuku at night, but you should be able to find ramen. There's a yakitori alley in Shinjuku someplace but I haven't been.
     
  20. ehkay

    ehkay Senior member

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    Thanks. I f'ed up my planning slightly; I was in a rush to liquidate my Hilton points the day before they were to halve in value, so my reservation at the Conrad starts a night or two after I get in, so I just need to find a hotel in Ginza/Shinbashi for those nights before moving over.
     

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