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Japan (Tokyo and beyond) Master Thread

Japan (Tokyo and beyond) Master Thread

Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:38 am
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Japan (Tokyo and beyond) Master Thread

I think it's time to update this thread to reflect the fact that many people now enter Japan via Haneda Airport (HND). If you think that there are any particularly helpful Haneda threads, please send me your suggestions. I'll try to compile a list and post it here.

Last edited by jib71; Apr 2, 2013 at 7:44 am
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:39 am
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NARITA AIRPORT - ARRIVALS, TRANSITS, LAYOVERS
>> Don't take a taxi from NRT to downtown Tokyo! (Costs about 20K yen)

Background:

Narita International Airport (Japanese: 成田国際空港 Narita Kokusai Kūkō ) (IATA: NRT, ICAO: RJAA) is an international airport located in Narita, Chiba, Japan, in the eastern portion of the Greater Tokyo Area.

The airport is located far from central Tokyo (at least 40 minutes by express train or 90 minutes by bus). A little planning can make your arrival / transit / layover more comfortable.

Narita Airport Official Website:
http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/

Travel related information for Narita Airport (From Wikitravel):
http://wikitravel.org/en/Narita_Airport

Travel between NRT and downtown Tokyo:

** Don't take a taxi **

What works for you will depend on where you want to go in Tokyo, and your situation (arrival time, luggage, etc.)

Guide to getting cash, SIM, transport etc.
https://trulytokyo.com/arriving-at-t...ional-airport/

Informative discussions on Flyertalk:

NRT - Shinjuku Area (Roughly 9pm on the circle of central Tokyo)
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

NRT ~ Asakusa (East end of town - beyond central circle - 2pm direction)
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

NRT ~ Roppongi (Inside central Tokyo)
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

NRT ~ Downtown (Downtown?)
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

Limousine Bus Homepage:
http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/e/index_l_m_pass.html

JR East - Narita Express (N'ex) information
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/

Keisei Railways - Keisei Skyliner
http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetud...ei_us/top.html

Travel between NRT and other parts of Japan:

Even if you are not heading to Tokyo, you still might have to pass through Tokyo on your way to your destination in Japan.

Informative discussions on Flyertalk:

NRT ~ Hitachi (in Ibaraki prefecture):
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

NRT ~ Sendai (Way up in the North East of Honshu island)
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ght=sendai+nrt

NRT ~ Nikko
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

NRT ~ Tokyo Disneyland
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

NRT ~ Kawasaki
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

NRT ~ Osaka/Kyoto (The "Kansai" area):
General Advice:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

Train to Kyoto:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

How easy to travel to Kyoto with luggage and health issues?:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

How to handle a layover at Narita:

Informative discussions on Flyertalk:

NRT day hotel:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

17 Hour Layover + Young passenger
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

NRT Hotels:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/japan...l#post11198273

General Information about the airport

Wikipedia's General Information:
Includes: 1 History / 2 Terminals and airlines / 3 Ground transportation / 4 Miscellaneous / 5 External links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narita_...tional_Airport

Phone Rental at NRT:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

Car Service/ Baggage Storage:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=NRT+hotel

Last edited by jib71; Oct 15, 2023 at 8:16 pm Reason: deleted out-of-date links
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:40 am
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HANEDA AIRPORT (HND) - ARRIVALS, TRANSITS, LAYOVERS
Officially known as "Tokyo International Airport."

Background:
The airport is located in Ota ward, in the south of Tokyo. Compared with Narita, it's relatively close to central Tokyo. Unlike Narita, it is officially a 24 hour airport. This means that, unlike Narita, there are some very late and very early departures and arrivals. It's possible to stay airside in the international terminal overnight if you have a connection.

The airport has three terminals. Terminal 1 is for domestic flights only - mostly for JAL and related airlines. Terminal 2 serves domestic and international flights - mostly for ANA and related airlines. Terminal 3 is for international flights.

To travel between terminals, you can use buses or - if you prefer - get a free connection ticket from an information desk to use the monorail or keikyu train. (Free between terminals only).
https://tokyo-haneda.com/en/access/t...als/index.html

Haneda Airport Official Website:
http://www.tokyo-airport-bldg.co.jp/en/

Travel related information for Haneda Airport (From Wikitravel):
http://wikitravel.org/en/Tokyo#Haneda_Airport

Early arrival - What to do?
Arriving in Haneda International Airport at 4:45 AM. What is there to do?

Travel between HND and downtown Tokyo:

Options include monorail (to Hamamatsucho), Keikyu railways (to Shinagawa with some services that connect through the Asakusa subway line), and limousine bus (number of routes has been cut back since the pandemic),

You can take a taxi from Haneda to points in central Tokyo for a fixed fare, depending on which ward of Tokyo you're heading too. It's more expensive than any of the public transit options, but not as expensive as taking a taxi from NRT.


Connections between Haneda airport (HND) and Narita airport (NRT):
If you're flying into one of Tokyo's airports and out of the other, the bus is generally the simplest and most efficient way to travel between the airports. There are also rail connections:

Best is to take a direct bus from NRT to HND (or vice versa)
http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/e/time...t_tokyu_h.html

Rail is another alternative but sometimes more hassled with few direct connections, see:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=300545

Consolidated HND - NRT transfers thread:
Consolidated Haneda (HND) to/from Narita (NRT) transfers thread

Last edited by jib71; Oct 15, 2023 at 9:23 pm
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:40 am
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GETTING AROUND TOKYO

Tokyo has a very advanced public transportation infrastructure - with JR trains (mostly above ground), subways and buses. Using Google maps for directions generally works well - Buses can be a little intimidating at first, but Google does a good job of providing multi-modal directions that involve buses and trains.

Some good information on Wikipedia about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_Subway

Most foreign visitors to Tokyo become very adept at using the subways and JR lines. If you purchase an Integrated Chip (IC) card, you use it to pay fares on all subways, train lines, buses, and most taxis. It saves you the effort of calculating fares for each trip that you make and it makes transfers between lines very simple.

The two main IC cards that you're likely to encounter in Tokyo are SUICA (issued by JR) and PASMO (issued by the subway companies). Both cards work on all lines in the same way. The differences between the two are too minute to discuss here.

At the moment (October 2023), due to a shortage of chips for the IC cards, the issuing companies for IC Cards in Tokyo are only offering "WELCOME" cards to visitors. On the plus side, there is no deposit required for these cards. On the negative side, they expire after 30 days (and any remaining credit will be lost).

- Tokyo has two main subway companies, but if you're using an IC card, you needn't worry about which one you're using:

Tokyo Metro:
http://www.tokyometro.jp/e/

Toei Subway:
http://www.kotsu.metro.tokyo.jp/english/index.html

JR Lines:

JR Trains, Subways and Buses now all accept IC contact cards for payment. Cards can be charged up with 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000 or 10,000yen of credit.

When ordinary (not "WELCOME") IC cards become available again, it will be possible to buy one which does not expire. In that case, you will pay a 500 yen deposit for the card.

The deposit is returnable - but JR charges about 210yen in admin fees if you have some money remaining on the card. So it is best to completely use up any credit that you have on the card. (And then you will get the full 500 yen returned).

So if you purchase a "SUICA" card at a JR station - it will also work on the subway. And vice versa if you purchase a "PASSMO" card at a subway station. (However, supply of PASMO cards is currently limited so you may find it easier to buy a SUICA card).
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=646228
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suica

Taxis are readily available in Tokyo - but it may be worth noting this advice:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=469063

Last edited by jib71; Oct 15, 2023 at 8:29 pm
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:41 am
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FOOD & DINING

Michelin starred restaurant advice

Tokyo - Great Deal Gourmet Lunches

Osaka Dining Options

Last edited by jib71; Oct 15, 2023 at 9:06 pm Reason: Added Michelin thread
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:41 am
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MONEY, CASH, CARDS, ATMs

Japanese businesses increasingly accept credit cards. There are still a few cash-only restaurants. In rural areas, some small family-run hotels and hostels may also be cash-only.

How much money should you carry? How easy is it to find an ATM which will accept your foreign-issued card?
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=492796

ATMs at 7-Eleven (7 and i) convenience stores accept many foreign issued cards. The same is true of ATM's at Lawson convenience stores, but not ATM's at some Family Mart stores:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=693884

Make sure that your cash card has a "CIRRUS" or "PLUS" logo on the back. If it does, then it should work fine at ATMs in Post Offices and Seven Eleven stores. Unfortunately, foreign cards will not work in many banks' ATMs.

Last edited by jib71; Oct 15, 2023 at 9:10 pm
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:42 am
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DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES

- Personal safety

Japan can lull you into a feeling of security - Some Japanese people even leave their mobile phones unattended to indicate that a table is taken. Japan's generally good level of safety does not mean that you can forget about danger. Some visitors develop a false sense of security and get into trouble. Drunken brawls can happen, molestations (and worse) can happen, and bicycles do get stolen.

Exercise the same level of caution as you would if you were "downtown" in a major city in Western Europe or America. If you do that, then you won't go far wrong - and along the way you may be pleasantly surprised by the helpful courtesy and friendliness of the Japanese people.

- Culture Shock (Lost In Translation - with the blues)

Your visit to Japan may not turn out to be everything you expected.... You may feel strangely alone in the middle of the millions of strangers... You might chance upon some rude people who seek to disabuse you of the illusion that this is a polite and cultured country... You might find that the strangeness and ugliness of everything just gets you down.

The following is perhaps the classic story of "culture shock" and disillusion:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=341899

The following thread offers some tips from folks who've been through it too:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=344755

Last edited by jib71; Oct 15, 2023 at 9:13 pm
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:42 am
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ACCOMMODATION:

Reasonable Cost Hotels in Tokyo:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=831525

Luxury Hotels in Tokyo:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=487255

Last edited by jib71; Aug 24, 2008 at 8:00 pm
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:43 am
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RENTING MOBILE DATA SIM

Railroad Tycoon's prepaid SIM guide:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/japan...de-buying.html

Last edited by jib71; Apr 13, 2013 at 5:34 am
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:44 am
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

More complete lists of festivals are here:
http://www.frommers.com/destinations...tID=0229030003

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/TD/

And here are some things that FTers have mentioned:

Jan

New Year's - National Holiday - People pay homage at shrines in their neighbourhoods.... Businesses tend to be shut..:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=300480

Feb

3/4 - Setsubun -People throw dry soy beans to drive out demons and bring good luck

Early Feb - Sapporo Snow Festival
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...+snow+festival

Mar

Cherry blossoms
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=529758

Apr

- Kawasaki Iron Penis Festival (First Sunday in Apr)
- Takayama Matsuri Part 2 - Floats and parade - (Part 1 in April)


29th - Golden Week starts

May

Mid-May - Kanda Matsuri (Tokyo) - Parade in odd-numbered years on the Saturday and Sunday before May 15

Jun

Jul

Through July - Gion Matsuri - Peak of celebration on July 17
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=536831

Aug

Sep

Oct

22/Oct - Kyoto Jidai Matsuri (festival of the ages)
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=462291

22/Oct - Kurama Hi Matsuri (Fire festival in Kurama, near Kyoto)
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=462291

- Takayama Matsuri Part 2 - Floats and parade - (Part 1 in April)

Nov

Dec

Last edited by jib71; Apr 13, 2013 at 5:35 am
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:44 am
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HOW DO I FIND THAT PLACE IN TOKYO

Google Map of Tokyo Hotels and Restaurants
As discussed in this thread, rjh created a map of Tokyo restaurants, hotels etc. Please add your favorites:
Hotel Map
Restaurant Map


English Language Interface for Google Maps
Diddlefinger lets you look up Japanese addresses without typing Japanese. Created by variable (a.k.a Nick May). Instructions are here

English GPS for Tokyo
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=797935

Last edited by jib71; Apr 13, 2013 at 5:50 am
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:45 am
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OTHER ISLANDS

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/japan...endations.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/japan...ys-kyushu.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/japan...u-shikoku.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...ghtseeing.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/japan...best-time.html

Last edited by jib71; Apr 13, 2013 at 5:56 am
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:46 am
  #13  
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TRAVEL AROUND JAPAN


RAIL PASSES
Some out-of-date guidebooks might recommend a Japan Rail pass for travel around the country. However, prices for the national pass increased by around 60-70% in October 2024. Today it is cheaper, in most cases, for tourists to purchase individual rail fares than to pay the 7-day national rail pass. (If you are a rail enthusiast, who plans to make one or more long-distance journeys by rail every day, the national rail pass might still pay off).

Nonetheless, there are a number of rail passes for regions that can be attractive. A good overview of the gamut of discounts and passes is available here:
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html

AIR FARES
Domestic airlines cover the entire country. Purchased 30 or more days in advance, fares are often competitive with rail fares. Airports can be frustratingly far from city centers, but there are usually shuttle bus services to connect airports to their closest cities.
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2365.html

JAL and ANA offer discounted fares for tourists. They're slightly more expensive than the cheapest advance fares, but cheaper than last-minute fares. However, only a limited number of seats on each flight is available in these fare classes:
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2364.html

HIGHWAY BUSES (LONG DISTANCE BUSES)
Cheap, slow, and with varying degrees of comfort:
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2366.html


SPECIAL NEEDS TRAVEL

With disability

Looking for advice for a wheelchair user

Handicapped/ Disabled Looking to live in Tokyo?

With children
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/japan...-children.html

Last edited by jib71; Oct 15, 2023 at 11:16 pm
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 3:46 am
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CAR RENTAL AND DRIVING

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=572094

Last edited by jib71; Apr 13, 2013 at 5:57 am
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Old Jul 7, 2006, 10:17 pm
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Staying in Ryokan or Monastary

To stay at a traditional Japanese hotel (Ryokan) or a monastary (such as at Koyasan), there is a great site with a free booking service at:

http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/index.htm

The information is accurate, helpful to the Westerner. They will even book for you at places not listed. Their service is great!

You should really try to spend at least one night at a ryokan!

Last edited by gretchendz; Jun 30, 2008 at 7:26 am
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