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  1. Post
    #1

    Japan

    Anybody going to Japan for the RWC?

    Also, can anyone suggest a rough 2 week itinerary or recommend must see attractions (2 weeks is long enough to get a good first time feel of the country) given just how much there is to do in Japan? From what I've heard, Japan is just a magnificent country to visit - so I can't wait.

    I'm planning to book my tickets next week - Air NZ $1,700 currently so want to take advantage of the price before it gets out of hand (travelling with work mates who will be there for the RWC, but me I cannot afford and didn't win the ballot, so I will be watching at a bar during the semi and finals).

  2. Post
    #2
    PM Pyronical

  3. Post
    #3
    Or look at the other substantial thread/threads in this sub with the exact same question.

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    #4
    Went late last year.
    It is ****ing amazing, best place i have ever been by a wide margin.
    Get a Suica card for public transport, you can top them up at local machines.
    Get a JR pass if you are going any distance, they pay for themselves quite quickly if you go down country. They also have local lines in Tokyo and other major cities you can use your pass for rather than use your suica card.

  5. Post
    #5
    go to JTB in queen street if you're in Auckland. They'll help you out with organising decent hotels and give out some good ideas and also go to the Robot restaurant show (Don't eat there, overpriced food) There's crap ton of stuff.


  6. Post
    #7
    WarZoner wrote:
    go to JTB in queen street if you're in Auckland. They'll help you out with organising decent hotels and give out some good ideas
    I bought my JR passes from there but I dunno why you'd want anything else from them if you could just look it up on the internet.

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    #8
    Quasi ELVIS wrote:
    I bought my JR passes from there but I dunno why you'd want anything else from them if you could just look it up on the internet.
    It was easier to book almost everything through them and it was our first time visit to Japan. What if we booked some shitty as hotels etc. We even had some day tours through some of the places around Japan and spent most of the holiday with everything planned. Went to Studio Ghilbi museum, Disneysea. Only the last 3 to 4 days we had stuff unplanned so ended up at Joypolis (awesome indoor theme park that's based on Sega properties) and the shopping centre with the huge as Gundam.

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    #9
    Travel agents aren't a free service, I'll put it that way.

    AirBnB ftw.

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    #10
    Lived there for a year, been back a few times.

    Get an Airbnb in Shinjuku, best area imo. JRL pass is a must to travel around, I recommend Kyoto and Hiroshima.

    In Tokyo, check out Yokohama, Harajuku, Studio Ghibli, Disneyland, and Akihabara.

    Pretty hard to **** up a trip to Japan IMO.

  10. Post
    #11
    bradc wrote:
    Lived there for a year, been back a few times.

    Get an Airbnb in Shinjuku, best area imo. JRL pass is a must to travel around, I recommend Kyoto and Hiroshima.

    In Tokyo, check out Yokohama, Harajuku, Studio Ghibli, Disneyland, and Akihabara.

    Pretty hard to **** up a trip to Japan IMO.
    Yeah Kyoto and Hiroshima were pretty cool. I'd skip Disneyland and only go for disneysea, more rides aimed at a older audience. For my next visit to Japan, (big maybe on that) I'd visit Kyoto a bit more (Only had about a day there) and visit Osaka for Universal Studios. I agree with you with Shinjuku being the best area for Tokyo heaps of food and heaps of shops.

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    #12
    If Tokyo were Auckland, Shinjuku would be Queen Street.

    I haven't been to Disneyland in Tokyo but Universal Studios in Osaka was cool, particularly Harry Potter world.

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    #13
    I went for 2 weeks a year ago and had the best time ever. We loved it so much that my wife and I are looking at a way for us to live there permanently through teaching english on the Jet programme.

    I followed that thread that Quasi Elvis made and it has a heap of great suggestions from heaps of people who have been there more than me. I am no expert and only scratched the surface. But here's where we went anyway:

    Tokyo - Akihabara for electronics and games, Studio Ghibli Museum, Shinjuku and Shibuya for shopping
    Kyoto - Gion suburb is amazing for cultural stuff like shrines and geisha
    Nara - check out the roaming deer and large Buddha statue
    Kobe - for some of the best steak ever at Steak Aoyama restaurant
    Osaka - amazing food and shopping

    I wish I did the bike ride across the inland sea like this guy did - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVcf5iOszjc&t=28s - Abroad in Japan has a bunch of great videos with helpful info about Japan.

    JR rail pass is a must have if you plan to travel long distance because you can save money if you do a large number of long distance trips. It was extremely useful and stress-free. Just wave your pass at the gate at the train station and off you go. You'll need a Suica card for the other non-JR trains, so make sure you pick one up at the same time you get your JR rail pass.

    Get a pocket wifi device so that you and your friends can share it for an unlimited internet connection. You put the device in your backpack, and you and your friends connect to it like normal wifi at home or the office. For groups, it's better and cheaper than getting individual sim cards. Pocket wifis cost about $100nzd for 2 weeks and you can get it sent to your airbnb/hotel when you arrive or pick it up from the airport post office. Then you post it off when you're finished at any post box.

    Try to be respectful and do as the locals do. Japanese people are super polite and respectful, and they respond really well to tourists who show respect and manners back to them. Customer service is impeccable and even though you don't need to speak the language, try to learn some Japanese greetings and phrases which will help when ordering food and catching trains. No loud talking on the trains, go up the correct side of esculators, pick up your rubbish, don't eat while walking. Just be a good tourist. I saw heaps of tourists from other countries acting loud and rude, and it was just embarrassing...

    Have fun! I am extremely jealous. But f*ck me $1700 for flights is crazy. I have seen flights for $600 return flying out of Auckland with a layover in Fiji (of all places). If bills weren't so tight for me, I'd be going again this year.
    Last edited by JoeSkie; 26th April 2019 at 11:12 am.

  13. Post
    #14
    ^good advice, especially making an effort to speak the language. That applies in most countries, you'll always be treated better if you half-ass a bit of the local language, it's a sign of respect and just ranting English when you first encounter someone is the opposite.

    I'm not sure if a Suica card is worth the trouble, it's only a couple of bucks for a metro ride and they're often owned by competing companies which means it doesn't work on certain lines. A JR pass perfectly covering your days of long distance travel is mandatory though. It's so smooth and fast to ride around the country on the bullet train, to have an unlimited ticket (only available for tourists) is bliss.

  14. Post
    #15
    If you're in Tokyo and an Gran Turismo fan, could check out the Tokyo R246 location in real life

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    #16
    It's not always worth getting the JR pass and there are a few different types, it pays to check one of the online tools to see if and which pass you should get. AFAIK Suica/Pasmo work pretty much on all lines, especially within cities.

  16. Post
    #17
    Hiroshima was my favourite, Rabbit Island is well worth the trip and you can rent a car to explore the local towns without drama like in Tokyo. We were just there in March for a fortnight, the JR passes we had were basically worn down to a thread.

    We mostly stayed in serviced apartments booked on the fly and it was well worth it, although you're going for a major event so probably need to book in advance. Flew in Tokyo for a few nights, train down to Osaka for a few, Kobe for a day trip and some beef, Kyoto for a few nights, Tosu (below Hakata) for cheap accommodation and a couple day trips into Hakata, then train down to Kagoshima and the onsen in Shibuya. Then train back up to Hiroshima for a few nights and out from Hiroshima.

    Hiroshima was definitely the highlight, $1700 for flights seems pretty pricey but yeah, major event so you'll just have to suck it up. Singapore airlines gave us return flights to Auckland for $830 with a 2 week stopover in Singapore.

    Avoid mall food, not that it's bad (we didn't have a single bad food experience) but you can usually walk down any side street and find a small family run place that makes the same food from scratch in front of you for the same price or less with larger servings and a more amazing flavour.

    And get used to giving rounded change (eg if it's 1204 yen, give them 4 single yen coins at least, if not another two 100 yens on top of your notes, like 10,204 yen if you only have large notes), else you'll end up with a mountain of small change because they don't round. If you're told it's 199 yen, you'll get 1 yen back if you hand them 200 yen.

  17. Post
    #18
    ^ Yep the coins get out of control. Your wallet is gonna fill up fast. Unfortunately we were supposed to go to Hiroshima but we ended up a bit tired on the day we scheduled to go.

    I forgot to mention that I also went to Gujohachiman, which is a small town in the Gifu region. It was way out in the wops, with the train running in between a picturesque gorge. It's a beautiful rural town with not many tourists and a very traditional way of life. The streets are lined with water streams which have heaps of koi fish swimming in them. We had the best ever deep fried chicken and creamed corn balls at an izakaya for $1 each, which was located right next door to our ryokan. The ryokan was a great way to experience a traditional Japanese hotel, and the onsen was brilliant.

    I never thought it would be that fun to visit but it ended up being my favourite destination. If you've ever seen the movie Your Name, Gujohachiman is very similar to that movies' fictional rural town where the girl Mitsuha lives. Reason I mention this is that I would highly recommend going somewhere rural to get a more well-rounded and traditional experience even for a day.
    Last edited by JoeSkie; 27th April 2019 at 3:55 pm.

  18. Post
    #19
    Japan’s neat and clean left a deep impression on me.

  19. Post
    #20
    nile wrote:
    It's not always worth getting the JR pass and there are a few different types, it pays to check one of the online tools to see if and which pass you should get. AFAIK Suica/Pasmo work pretty much on all lines, especially within cities.
    If you're not getting mad value out of the JR pass then you're structuring the trip wrong. You want to be activating it only for the section of your trip that has a lot of long distance and then just using local trains otherwise. The Shinkansen can be mental expensive if you have to buy direct tickets.

    That said: if you don't care about the bullet train, you can get everywhere on the rubbish non-high-speed lines and that likely would end up being cheaper. The Tokaido main line and the Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka follow about the same route but there are completely different tracks. I'm a train fanboy though so my priorities are probably different.

    Here for example you can see the black and white older line and the green striped bullet line, both called Tokaido.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@34.7891...0905433,12.79z

    The main lines are actually more scenic to be fair, they're just slow and comparatively shitty and stop too often. Those extra couple of hours and discomfort can sap a lot of opportunity out of your day.

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    #21
    The trains show up as these strange artifacts on the satellite images: https://www.google.com/maps/@34.7617.../data=!3m1!1e3

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    #22
    Speaking of the JR Rail pass, you'd have to order it from the website and they mail it to you right? For $450 for the 7 day pass more or less it's quite expensive, but I suppose its the most economical way of travelling if seeing Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo and Nara?

  22. Post
    #23
    WakeForest wrote:
    Speaking of the JR Rail pass, you'd have to order it from the website and they mail it to you right? For $450 for the 7 day pass more or less it's quite expensive, but I suppose its the most economical way of travelling if seeing Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo and Nara?
    Yep, there's plenty of websites that sell them. Japan-Rail-Pass.com was the cheapest at the time when I went. There's a couple kiwi ones.

    Chuck your bullet train itinerary in here:
    http://www.hyperdia.com/

    I would estimate if it makes up at least 80% of the cost, it's worth it provided you make a point of using JR trains and don't mind a bit of walking (or booking your accommodation near JR stations).

    Hyperdia will become your best friend, Google has a lot of the data as well but it was difficult to distinguish if it is covered under JR pass on Google Maps.

    JR lines are the dashed lines on Google Maps, so make sure you get accommodation within walking distance to a station on a line to maximise your pass. But not all trains on these lines are JR trains (hence using HyperDia). If the line isn't grey and white dashed, it won't be covered by your JR pass.
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  23. Post
    #24
    Oh, and if you want limited data for cheap, I have a GlocalMe G2 that I'm happy to lend out. It just sits in storage waiting for my next trip.

    You buy regional data packs, and when you get into cell service for that region it automatically activates and acts as both a WiFi hotspot and 6Ah power bank. It can also take 2x SIM cards and feed you local data from them if they're cheaper (like in Cambodia and Malaysia).

    You don't get unlimited data like you would on a Japanese pocket WiFi, but they're about 10USD per day and you have to return it to specific places (that Hiroshima airport doesn't have). During our 15 day trip I bought 3x 3GB data packs for $30USD. Would have been $28USD if I had bought 10GB up front, vs $150USD for pocket WiFI. Was more than enough for the four of us to use Google maps and casual browsing whilst out, and accommodation WiFi when at home.

    Data pricing here:
    https://www.glocalme.com/data_packag...=en-US&giso=NZ

    Offer actually stands for anywhere in the world, not just Japan. As long as I get it back when I need it. Please don't be a dick.

  24. Post
    #25
    Prepaid sims aren't too expensive there and you can get them from vending machines at the airport for pretty much the same price as anywhere else, from memory around $30 got me 5gb.