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Japan Plans

If all goes well, I’ll be visiting Japan next spring. I’ve just started planning out the trip (so I can be ready if tickets go on sale :) ). There are a few places I know I have to see, because the trip is partly for book research, but it’s also for fun. This is where you all come in!

Visited or lived in Japan? Know someone who has? Let me know the things I should be sure not to miss. I love cities and forests, modern stuff and history, food of all sorts, performing arts… And I’m always open to checking out things I don’t know whether I’ll enjoy!

If you happen to know particularly good places to stay, or other tips (especially for saving money), those are much appreciated, too.

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Originally published at Megan Crewe - another world, not quite ours. You can comment here or there.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
karenhealey
Sep. 23rd, 2009 12:10 pm (UTC)
MEGAN I LIVED IN JAPAN FOR TWO YEARS. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT JAPAN?

I AM SO EXCITED I GET TO SHARE THIS KNOWLEDGE THAT I CANNOT FIND TEH CAPSLOCK KEY.
megancrewe
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
YAY KAREN YOU CAN SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE I AM EXCITED TOO!!!! :D

What I would like to know? Hmmm...

What places in Japan would you say anyone who goes there really ought to see/experience? (If you have, like, 50, give me the top ten.) Either whole cities/towns/areas or specific places in a city/town/area. (We are definitely going to Tokyo and almost certainly Kyoto and Osaka, but I'm open to seeing any part of the country.)

Any places with particularly good food? Or interesting clothes that are not horribly expensive?

And any other tips to having the best time possible? :)
karenhealey
Sep. 25th, 2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
You have to go to Tokyo Disney, which on my first trip I labelled "the crackiest place on earth". I went back twice. It is amaaaaaazing to anyone with a sense of irony and hilarity, particularly Frontierland.

I recommend Hiroshima, which is my favourite Japanese city, especially the Hondori (main street) and the Peace Park/Museum. Warning, take dark glasses, because you will cry your ass off. While you're down there, head to Miyajima! Play with deer! Look at the red gate! Go "ooooh!"

I recommend also Hakone, which is a resort town nearish Tokyo, famous for its hot springs and ryokan, (although you won't be allowed in a lot of public baths if you have any tattoos).

All places have awesome food, though you have to eat okonomiyaki in Hiroshima it is the BEST. And all clothes are horribly expensive. I do not know how wee you are, but unless you are *very* wee, you won't be able to buy clothes anyway - you won't just be too big, but the wrong shape.

Other tips - learn some of the language, even just greetings and thank you, and "can you speak English?", and you will find everyone SO VERY HELPFUL. It helps also to learn the kanji for "exit", "entrance" and "toilet" (they are very easy). If you're going to be travelling a lot, a JR rail pass is a very good idea - you have to get them before you leave, but they are much cheaper and involve much less screwing around at train station ticket booths.
megancrewe
Sep. 26th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
Oooh, thanks for all the tips! Sad to know the clothes are all expensive--I wouldn't expect to find bottoms (I have a hard enough time finding pants that fit well here in N. America, being a person who has hips), but I'm pretty petite on top and found shirts that fit me no problem in China.

And thankfully I already know most of the important phrases (years of watching anime and Japanese movies will do that)--the reading kanji will take a little more work, though! :)
astres
Sep. 23rd, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
Heya. Of course you know I've been lately :P

Do not miss Kyoto. Block off a few days there because you'll use one of hte days to take a tour to Nara. Tokyo is pretty insane. I didn't like it there. Osaka...if you spend a day there, it should be good. I know Air Canada lands there so just plan to stay a night and hit Osaka's castle.

Oooh, In Kyoto, do not miss the Handicraft centre. So much fun stuff :) and Computers on the top floor if you need to send a few e-mails.
megancrewe
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
I've read lots of great things about Kyoto so expect we'll end up there for at least a couple days! Will make sure to check out the Handicraft centre--thanks for the rec!
authorwithin
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)
Sounds like fun! I've never been to Japan, but my brother lived there for several years. He's in the Navy and was stationed there for several years. I'll send him an email and see if he has any suggestions (though I'm not sure how much he got away from the Naval base). =D
megancrewe
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
thunderchikin
Sep. 23rd, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
*Kyoto, ditto.
*Himeji Castle, the finest surviving example of a shogunate castle. Himeji is not far from Osaka.
*The Peace Park in Hiroshima. Stay at the Aster Plaza International Hiroshima. Great hotel with good rates and laundry facilities.
I wasn't taken with Tokyo, except for the Emperor's garden, and everything there is more expensive.
megancrewe
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
About a third of my story takes place in Tokyo, so I have to spend at least a little while there. But it sounds like many people didn't love it. Thanks for the recs!
mersipan
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
Hi! I wandered over from libation's LJ - I think all of these so far are great suggestions! If you can, it's great to go to places off the mainland too - Okinawa is awesome, as is Hokkaido. Both places are really rich in history and there's a lot to see and do there!

As for the mainland, one of Japan's best kept secrets is Kanazawa - it's a little town on the west coast, full of resorts, gardens history - natives call it a little Kyoto, but it's more manageable for a day trip. I loved it :)

Otherwise, I lived 2 years in Japan in both Nagoya and Toyama, with frequent trips to all places nearby, so if you have any specific questions, let me know :) Have a great trip!!!
mersipan
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
If you can, stay in a ryokan - it's kind of like a Japanese B&B, usually very traditional, and often (but not always) less expensive than better-known hotel chains. It's a great experience, but definitely do some research on what to expect - my parents were not fans :)
megancrewe
Sep. 24th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions of out of the way places! I'm always happy to go off the beaten track. :) Are there any spots in Okinawa and Hokkaido you'd particularly recommend seeing (I'm not sure how long we'd have there)?
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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