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Old 26th February 2013   #151
sorethroatdonor
 
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Ryokan look amazing! Just the type of thing that I am looking forward to.
Hoping to spend a week or so walking in the mountains, one of the main things I can't wait to do.

Be great if you could send across a vague budget if that's ok?

Really keen to visit some of the old potteries like Shigaraki and Bizen too.
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Old 26th February 2013   #152
Sugoidonor
 
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I'm doing 4/5 days or so in Hokkaido for the walking. I was thinking of doing a few national parks, but realised I might as well stick to one and just take it easy.
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Old 26th February 2013   #153
mandsdonor
 
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Budget in Fuji Rock Festival!
One of the best festivals I have been to and everyone was so so nice!
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Old 26th February 2013   #154
sorethroatdonor
 
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Not a big fan of festivals, especially not if last years lineup is anything to go by.
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Old 26th February 2013   #155
chw0112donor
 
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If not, then the theme park is good! Or just keep it simple and walk up the volcano.
I met Franz Ferdinand on the plane when they were going to play at that festival around 3 years ago. \csb
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Old 26th February 2013   #156
nankatsudonor
 
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I've travelled a bit on my own over there.
It helps if you can speak a little bit of the lingo.
Although Japan isn't necessarily expensive, transport really can be, especially the bullet trains.
You can get a Japan rail pass for 3 weeks which costs about 60,000 Yen.
(You could stay in Tokyo for a bit and then activate it later.)
ryokan / minshuku will probably cost at least 3,000 Yen a night probably closer to 5,000 Yen.
Ramen etc are cheap for lunch and you can get reasonably good food from convenience stores pretty much everywhere. Budget 5,000 Yen a day??
Summer is good because Fuji is open for climbing from about July to August only.
But it's also ridiculously hot everywhere except Hokkaido.
You ok with 35-40 degrees and 100% humidity?
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Old 27th February 2013   #157
Sugoidonor
 
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Oh god, the humidity is horrendous.
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Old 27th February 2013   #158
mandsdonor
 
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^ this. Suntory C.C lemon drink helps a little!
God I love that shit.
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Old 27th February 2013   #159
I am Hingisdonor
Nah, it's all about Pokari Sweat, the clue's in the name. And taking a change of t-shirt with you everywhere you go.
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Old 2nd March 2013   #160
jadias
 
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Aquarius is the best summer drink. You can buy FROZEN bottles of it in convenience stores that will thaw out over the course of a couple of hours. Pretty cool.

Traveling Japan alone is awesome. I did it for 3 months back in 2008 and had no problems whatsoever. People are amazingly accommodating and patient as long as you are likewise.

Summertime is indeed absolutely awful. 35-40 Celcius and 100% humidity is not an exaggeration.
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Old 2nd March 2013   #161
I am Hingisdonor
...and the sweet melody of the semi.
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Old 5th March 2013   #162
Felixyz
Japan is amazing
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Old 5th March 2013   #163
t.b.
 
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Highlights of my trip (travelling around using a JR train pass):

Sagano bamboo forest, Kyoto.
Sushi made from that mornings catch near the Tokyo fish market.
The sheer ridiculousness of Akihabara ("electric town"), Tokyo.
Vending machines. Everywhere.
RAMEN.

There's a billion other things that I liked, just going into a supermarket is an experience in itself. We went in July/August and the heat was brutal though.
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Old 5th March 2013   #164
nankatsudonor
 
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When it's really hot it's a perfect excuse to eat kakigori (similar to a slush puppy)


apparently they've even worked out what temperature people prefer to eat kakigori instead of ice cream
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Old 5th March 2013   #165
slammdonor
 
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Just out of interest sorethroat, are you planning on taking a bike?
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Old 5th March 2013   #166
sorethroatdonor
 
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Nope. Haven't had a holiday without a bike for a long long time.
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Old 5th March 2013   #167
Sugoidonor
 
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2 months today until I fly out!
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Old 6th March 2013   #168
Almightyshoe
Try and time it with Ozzfest! Black Sabbath headlining in Tokyo... I'll be there!

Also bear in mind that travel is ridiculously expensive within Japan. I would highly recommend the JR rail pass for tourists. You can only buy it outside of Japan, so you will have to get it before you leave. It seems pricey but if you're all over the place, you can just jump on any train (even the bullet train), go anywhere in the country and not have to worry about money during you're trip!

http://www.jrpassonline.com/?gclid=C...FQRapQodPUUALw
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Old 6th March 2013   #169
chancertime
send me a pm.

if your stuck for something to do (that's not likely to happen).

i know some superb Ramen shops and some ok rides.

I work in Tokyo and live in Yokohama.
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Old 6th March 2013   #170
sorethroatdonor
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Almightyshoe View Post
Try and time it with Ozzfest! Black Sabbath headlining in Tokyo... I'll be there!

Also bear in mind that travel is ridiculously expensive within Japan. I would highly recommend the JR rail pass for tourists. You can only buy it outside of Japan, so you will have to get it before you leave. It seems pricey but if you're all over the place, you can just jump on any train (even the bullet train), go anywhere in the country and not have to worry about money during you're trip!

http://www.jrpassonline.com/?gclid=C...FQRapQodPUUALw
Holy fuck! That's almost the cost of a return flight!
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Old 6th March 2013   #171
sorethroatdonor
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chancertime View Post
if your stuck for something to do (that's not likely to happen).

i know some superb Ramen shops and some ok rides.

I work in Tokyo and live in Yokohama.
Cheers chancertime. I may drop you a pm re. ramen shops.
To be honest I haven't planned anything yet. I am trying to organise starting an MA, quitting my job and this Japan trip all at once.
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Old 6th March 2013   #172
Sugoidonor
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sorethroat View Post
Holy fuck! That's almost the cost of a return flight!
definitely worth it.
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Old 7th March 2013   #173
chw0112donor
 
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I can highly recommend the Mori tower for getting a view over Tokyo at night. Managed to snap this while up there, forgot my tripod so just had to use a railing and swivel.

Bigger version on Flickr if you want zoooooms.

You really can't conceive the size 'til you get up high. Would've liked to get up Tokyo tower, but alas time did not allow.
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Old 7th March 2013   #174
chw0112donor
 
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I also invested in a knife. The guy in the shop engraved it with my (Japanese) middle name for free, on the spot. Amazing to see someone like this at work.
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Old 7th March 2013   #175
Almightyshoe
You'll end up paying 3 times that if you were to buy as you go... My friend came to visit recently, and we got the bullet train from Oita in Kyushu to Osaka and that was \17,000 ( about 150 squid) for a one way ticket.

Worth it for the ease of mind as well though!
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Old 7th March 2013   #176
Sugoidonor
 
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Great photo of the skyline!! Will try that myself. the skytree is worth a trip I hear... need to get a travel tripod too.

A friend's dad is a sushi knife salesman, and she sent me one. Incredibly sharp! I would love to get an everyday japanese knife. I think I'll invest in one when I go
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Old 7th March 2013   #177
chw0112donor
 
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Do! It makes me chuckle every time I use it. So ridiculously sharp. We went to the area just west of asakusa, there are loads of kitchen shops and specialist knife shops around there.
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Old 8th March 2013   #178
jadias
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugoi View Post
2 months today until I fly out!
Awesome! Offer of a ride still stands when you hit Kyoto. Should be able to find you a bike to use, assuming you're not of truly bizarre proportions.

PM me your Facebook or whatever and we can keep in touch, if you're interested.

sorethroat, likewise. I know you're having a bike-free holiday but if the mood takes you... ;)
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Old 11th March 2013   #179
Sugoidonor
 
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great, I'll be in touch. cheers pal
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Old 11th March 2013   #180
sorethroatdonor
 
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Cheers Jaidias, may well take you up on that when I'm over!
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Old 15th March 2013   #181
Sugoidonor
 
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Long shot, but can anyone recommend good accommodation in Sapporo and elsewhere in Hokkaido?
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Old 15th March 2013   #182
jadias
 
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How much are you looking to spend? The cheaper business hotel chains are always reliable and reasonable, if rather bare-bones (and rooms are small, but welcome to Japan). Try Toyoko Inn and Super Hotel.

Have a browse around on Jalan(.net) - they even have an English site (albeit with more limited options). I've booked many a cheap hotel room through that site.

Where else in Hokkaido will you be? Outside of peak times you can get some killer deals. I stayed in Sounkyo onsen town for a climbing trip last winter. No-one goes there in the winter because it's balls cold (think -25C at night). I got a huge room (more like a suite) in a modern-traditional (new, but tatami floor, futon bed, etc) place with 2 enormous, excellent buffet meals and unlimited hot spring access for ¥7000 per night, sharing with a friend. Even picked me up for free from about 90 mins away. Crazy value.
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Old 15th March 2013   #183
Sugoidonor
 
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Sounkyo is a place I was thinking of setting up base for some walking.

cheers for the info. Have found a hostel in sapporo so all good there
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Old 15th March 2013   #184
jadias
 
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Sounkyo is amazing and I would totally recommend it. We based ourselves out of the town and had 3 days of phenomenal climbing there. Hands-down one of the most amazing places I've been, especially when all the waterfalls are frozen. Walking should be amazing too, in the summer when everything is green and the falls are flowing.











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Old 20th March 2013   #185
Sugoidonor
 
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Wow! That looks amazing. I am not an experienced climber/mountaineer and the people up that way advised me that they still have pretty heavy snow during the days I'm there so I'd need proper equipment. Have decided to stick to southern hokkaido and I am going to Toya-ko and Noboribetsu for some onsen hopping.

Oh well, at least I will have an excuse to go back there in the future. That frozen waterfall is stunning
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Old 20th March 2013   #186
jadias
 
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Toyako is amazing. The Usu volcano stuff is worth a visit if you have the time - I think it's spectacular enough even if you're not a volcanologist like me. You can easily walk around it all in a day. There are sections of road lifted several tens of metres, buildings and vehicles riddled with lava bombs, a huge lava dome... and a neat museum that sort of explains some of it. You can take a cable car up to the most recent crater. I seem to remember there being some English literature around.
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Old 20th March 2013   #187
Sugoidonor
 
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It was a toss up between a day in Otaru or Toyako. You've made up my mind for sure.
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Old 21st March 2013   #188
jadias
 
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Otaru is really nice but I think it needs to be snowy to be particularly charming - the ice lanterns in the winter are neat but probably won't be there when you go. I'd pick Toyako/Usuzan volcano.
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Old 22nd March 2013   #189
Sugoidonor
 
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ah righto. good to know. I was wondering what you were living over there for. can't pick a better place to be a volcanologist I suppose!
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Old 26th March 2013   #190
Sugoidonor
 
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@sorethroat: re budget.

I have all my accommodation booked.mostly staying in cheapish hotels. some nights in a hostel and one night in a swanky onsen complex. I had to have one night of luxury!

average price a night of about £25-£30 I reckon. Not as expensive as I feared. I personally don't like dorms at all (have done plenty of trips in them before, but definitely rather have a private room), and have been able to find hostels that do private rooms. Hostels obviously good for meeting people too. I'm not that fussed as I will be hanging out with people I know out there. You'll find a hostel will cost you around £20-£25 a night in a dorm. maybe cheaper.

If you're going for a hotel, try going via quidco. Nearly all my hotel rooms were booked on hotels.com via quidco, who are doing a 10% cashback on bookings.

Last edited by Sugoi; 26th March 2013 at 20:23.
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Old 26th March 2013   #191
sorethroatdonor
 
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Thanks very much Sugoi, very helpful.
I am still waiting to book my flights/train ticket/hostels. Handing in my notice is yet to happen, it will though, soon.
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Old 10th April 2013   #192
sorethroatdonor
 
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Notice handed in, place on MA course secured. All set for Japan. Can't fuckin wait.
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Old 10th April 2013   #193
jadias
 
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Awesome! What are your dates? :)
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Old 10th April 2013   #194
jakemcree
 
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Hey guys, I'm going to Japan for 10 days in June. We fly to Tokyo and are then thinking of going to Kyoto and Osaka. Can anyone recommend another place as we still have a couple of spare days? We're getting that railcard so should be pretty easy to travel around I guess...
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Old 10th April 2013   #195
jadias
 
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I'd plan of spending most of your Kyoto/Osaka days in Kyoto. In fact I'd recommending basing yourself in Kyoto and doing Osaka as a day trip (or two), really. There isn't that much there - it's mainly just a big, grey, uninspiring city.

Nara is worth a day trip (can do this easily from Kyoto too) and Himeji possibly if you dig castles (the one there is original and really very impressive - again, can be done in a day from Kyoto, especially with the railcard).
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Old 10th April 2013   #196
pipwish
 
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A good day trip from Tokyo is Nikko

You can see some stunning temples there.

Personally I can use 10 days in Tokyo very easily.
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Old 11th April 2013   #197
jakemcree
 
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Thank you both. Much appreciated.
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Old 11th April 2013   #198
drøndonor
 
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if you're into art and/or architecture you really should visit the benesse art site islands http://www.benesse-artsite.jp/en/
they're in the inland sea so not that far from osaka and well worth the trouble of getting out there.
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Old 14th April 2013   #199
Sekai
 
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Kyoto's pretty awesome, really beautiful city with so many scenic places and buildings! Kiyomizudera, Arashiyama, Gin/Kin-kakuji, Nijojo, Heianjingu, Ninnaji.
Didn't have enough time to see Fushimi-inari Taisha.

On another note, I'm planning to go for 10 days during August and I'm thinking of checking out Okinawa for a couple of days, does anyone have any particular recommendations?
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Old 15th April 2013   #200
jadias
 
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All of Okinawa - that's my recommendation!

If you only have a couple of days then you might be limited by transport, but some of the smaller islands are incredible. I went all the way down to Iriomote-jima and it was like paradise.

My ex was Okinawan and I loved going there. I should really go back. Such an amazing place, and so different from the mainland. It's like the Caribbean crossed with Japan or something.

Also, make sure you drink awamori.
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