Always had a notion to see it, and noticed that flights can be had for as little as £600 or so to Tokyo.
Would it be an expensive place to hang out in for a week? Just cheap hotels, totally fine. Is Tokyo the place to go?
I spent three weeks there in 2007 with my wife.
I would go back in an instant.
It's great, Tokyo is a true city that never sleeps, it has that massive feeling like new York, or to a lesser degree London. Japan is a great place for a holiday. The foods good, there's loads to see, it's easy to get around and culturally it's quite different. Get a lonely planet and get going is my advice.
Ps get a Japan railpass, it used to have to be bought outside of japan
I worked out there for a bit last year. It is very expensive, and culturally very different from anywhere I've ever been, including other bits of asia.
I'd love to go there as a tourist and not be stuck in Yokohama (big industrial town south of Tokyo)
Do it - ive been out a few times for varying durations. Japan is expensive but perfectly possible to see it on a budget. Well worth investing in a rail pass to see a bit more of the country. They seem very expensive but much cheaper than individual journeys when your out there.
Even the smallest rural station will tent to have some form of english tourist guide with things of interest.
Had a Japanese ex so used to go there a lot between 2003 and 2007 (and for work) and would highly recommend it, however it's not exactly a 'budget' location but don't let that put you off, it's one of my favorite destinations.
Was just there a couple of months ago for a short MTB trip to the Fujimi Panarama bike park and the yen is rather weak at present plus there's a drive to get tourists to visit so you may find some bargain RE hotel accommodation.
Tokyo is huge, a true mega city , so it's difficult where to recommend but as mentioned above, try using the rail system a little to get out of Tokyo.
Recommend Hakone just south of Tokyo for the fresh mountain air and the onsens, traditional Japanese hot springs.
Not yet but it is inevitable with work - middle management for what is now part of a Japanese giant!
Interested to see the place - but not a fan of fishy food so might struggle a bit.
just as a contrast I hated it. I went out for my brothers wedding in 2005 and my mother half funded the trip. If was paying for it all out of my own cash I would much rather any place in Europe or the states instead of Japan. The food is weird, you don't know what the hell you're eating. Most of the restaurants have plastic mock ups of the dishes available outside the front door, and it's just like some sort of meat product cut into a square and some rice or noodles. The beer is weird and you'll forget things you did much easier. They have lots of strange cultural rules like you're not supposed to eat in public, this is just an example and of course it's usual to adopt cultures and I usually love this but everything there is just weird. The weather's not any better than the UK and if you're spending that sort of money there are far nicer places to visit.
I worked in Osaka for a month. I found it a strange and not very pleasant experience at the time but looking back on it am glad I went. Kyoto is well worth seeing, the bullet trains are excellent, the food's good (there's more than Sushi) and the mountains are spectacular.
The people I worked with were very friendly and took me out at weekends and evenings.
The things I didn't like were how crowded it was, how wed to their work my colleagues were (they appeared to do everything together as a group, whether in or out of work and no-one had ever worked for another company) and the not very subtle poking fun at gaijins.
Do it - it'll be a good memory even if you don't like it at the time.
Had opportunity to visit for 6 days when my partner went for work. Did 2 days in Kyoto, 2 days in Tokyo, 1 day in the mountains (sitting in onsen and watching monkeys). It was very interesting from the perspective of having a completely different culture and having some fantasticly beautiful sites. I found travelling was easy enough once you understood how the signs were arranged, colour coded etc. in the big cities because they have names written in romaji as well as characters.
+1 for getting the rail pass, which you have to buy before you enter the country.
I would go back. But I'm more into nature and wildlife than cities, so would go either north or south.
We went in February and therefore we got hotels for about £50 per night for 3* quality in central locations. I suspect in summer or around the cherry blossom season it will be much more expensive. But eating out was very similar to any western city, you can get a burger for a few quid or you can spend a fortune. We found beer a bit more expensive than here (up to twice the price in quite touristy areas).
If you like cities, you could easily spend a week in Tokyo; it is essentially 7 major centres combined by sprawling housing. You can visit the Mt Fuji area on day trips. Hyperdia is great for planning rail travel to see what you can do in a day and compare the price of journeys against buying a rail pass.
A week in Tokyo a few months back. Really interesting, good food and you can eat well, for less than in UK, without much effort. Alcohol was pricey
A week in Tokyo is more than you need - i'd like to have got out to the country but had some commitments in the middle of the trip which meant we couldn't do more than a day trip.
In Tokyo accommodation was expensive. Don't expect to shop - stuff is no cheaper, if not more expensive than home.
Skiing is meant to be fantastic and reasonably priced.
It's a fascinating country but it can be very frustrating at times and it's certainly not cheap, in fact the contrary it's one of the most expensive places I have ever been and I travel a lot.
If you are going to go mix in Tokyo with sometime outside visiting temples and mount Fuji. It's a long long transfer between the airports so getting to the other island (I can never remember which is which) is very slow, fly to Narita then take the train to Tokyo and then out to another location for a few days. When I first went (1993) there were no signs in our alphabet so it was very hard to get around, that much better now and I can actually use the "tube" . Be aware English is not widely spoken outside Tokyo in many places, that will either add majic to you or p1ss you right off as you cannot find anything or order food.
FWIW if you want a cheap Asian holiday it's South East you need, Vietnam/Thailand/Malaysia/Bali
Been loads of times for work (18) and trip ranged in length from 6 days to 9 weeks.
I love the place, it is weird but they don't get too upset when you don't follow the rules exactly, unless you deliberately do it to annoy them (seen some yanks do this)!
Food is okay, can be the same as here (Italian, Indian, US Burgers etc, even had steak and kidney pudding in a Japanese restaurant) but Japanese food is very good, big fan of the food, both raw and cooked, it helps if locals show you where to eat etc but it's not required.
I rate their beer quite highly, not as good as German but better than the rats piss lager in the UK, even found some nice micro breweries that do some proper ales, this isn't as good as the UK. Just avoid the Shochu, tastes like water, affects you like water, until you go to stand up and can't!!! Bars tend to be open very late, one I frequent when out there closes at 3am, they will eventually kick you out at 6am if you haven't left.
Generally people are friendly and I found they would come and ask if I needed help in the railway station if I was looking at the signs in Japaneses while trying to match the symbols to those in my guide book.
As for places to visit, Tokyo is awesome, loads of places you need to see, Akihabara, Asakusa, Roponggi (If you like all night partying, this is probably about the only place you may see street crime), Ginza, Shinjuku (even if just for how mad the station is). The all new Tokyo Skytree is worth a trip but it is expensive for a trip to the top of a tower, although the views are amazing and show just how huge Tokyo is.
Yokohama is quite nice, especially in the Landmark tower bay area.
Hakone as mentioned above is about 2hrs on a train from Shinjuku and well worth a visit for the mountains and Japanese madness (Pirate ships on the lake).
Kamakura, loads of temples and the 'Big' Buddha.
Further afield Kyoto is the most amazing place I've visited there, amazingly beautiful with stunning temples (and amazingly concrete and horrible in the centre near the station).
Kyoto also gives you an excuse to take a Shinkansen (Bullet train), everyone who visits Japan should take at least 1 journey on one, but they are very expensive, make sure you get the rail pass before you go.
I've never traveled much further as only ever had weekends free.
As for Weather, don't go in August/Sept, it's very hot mid-high 30's and very humid (90%), really horrible! Nov-Dec I found really nice, similar to Sept in the UK. (but it does depend where you are, Hokkaido is very cold in winter)
I've been to many different countries with many different cultures but Japan is the only other planet I've been to. It's one of those places to go where it doesn't actually matter whether you like it or not it's the experience of having been.
and the not very subtle poking fun at gaijins.An old schoolfriend of mine has lived in Japan for many years. He loves it but admits that the deeply ingrained racism can be a problem. It's not like racism over here - everyone in Japan is very polite, friendly and helpful but if you are not Japanese you are a second class citizen (as well as being treated like a zoo exhibit sometimes!). He got a new job in a new city recently and the trouble he had just trying to rent an apartment was unbelievable, despite having lived in the country for years, speaking the language fluently and having a Japanese wife! It sounds like a great place to visit though!
the deeply ingrained racism
It is a recurring theme. But as a tourist I genuinely don't think you see or even realise its there, because you just don't get under the skin at all. The huge differences in the way the japanese are, their culture, their behaviour, the way their society works, particularly with regard to work, were all a bit more obvious to my partner because he visited for work and was given hospitality for 4 days and you get a much better impression of how it all works. But as a tourist you just see the uber-politeness.
The guys I was working with were great, they were fairly amused as I'm a reasonably non-western gaijin, so spent the whole time trying to find food that I wouldn't eat, and goign out on the lash with them in the evenings was pretty good fun as well.
The Korean guys we work with have told me that I'm eating live octupus old-boy stylee next time I'm in Seoul!
I think I would find the fact that my work colleagues viewed me as essentially a performing monkey deeply irritating, but each to their own!
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