Visiting Japan

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Nagoya will take you 90 mins to get to direct on the Shinkansen so if you go there or stay in Tokyo really depends on what you want to do with your time. I have never been to Nagoya and two days in Tokyo really only allows you to scratch the surface, but it's a surface well worth scratching.

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worth mentioning that the fare for a train is both the fare for the route and an additional 'seat fee', which seems to be a bad translation for what is really an express surcharge.

 

Some lines (not always express) have a separate carriage in which you have to pay an extra fee for a seat. Although the seats are often all already taken so you end up paying just to stand. But at least you're standing in a less crowded carriage than the regular ones.

 

 

One thing I'm curious about - for changing trains how do you know when to get off? I'm sure none of the station names will be in English outside the main hubs so are the trains really punctual enough just to get off at the right time?

 

In 4 years here I've not yet seen a station that did not have its name written in English on the platform.

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Nagoya was one of the main targets during the war, so sadly is quite low on the historical places to visit compared to the likes of Kyoto, and can seem a bit sterile. That said, it is a city that boasts three of the most famous samurais in Japan (Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu), as well as wealth of cultural spots, a lot of them funded by the local giant Toyota.

 

Some sites in the city:

- Nagoya Castle

- Tokugawa Art Museum (highly recommended if you are interested in old Japanese artifacts and traditional gardens)

- not a physical "site" but Nagoya is one of the best places in Japan for traditional Japanese theater, Noh and Kabuki

- Toyota Municipal Museum of Art is stellar and has a nice garden

- the former Aichi Expo ground CAN be interesting to visit...? (haven't personally been here)

- There is a huge festival in October by the castle, else there are random fireworks and night markets/ festivals that run in the summer months through September or so, on which your local colleagues might have a better idea.

- If this is your first time in Japan, a quick stroll through a shopping arcade and a pachinko parlor can be quite amusing.

 

Suggested trips outside of Nagoya:

- Kyoto is an obvious choice for the quintessential "Japanese" experience, and can be reached in about an hour (I think) if you take the express train

- Gifu is a bit off the beaten track, but is a lovely town with a long tradition of craftsmanship, complete with hot springs, old wooden buildings and a temple that hosts one of the biggest Buddha statues in Japan.

- Ise Shrine is the most important Shinto shrine in Japan and is easily reached from Nagoya.

 

The staple dishes to try are kishimen (chicken noodle soup, Nagoya-style) and chicken dishes made from koochin (special kind of chicken only from Nagoya), and miso katsu (schnitzel with red miso sauce).

 

Hope you have a great trip!

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In 4 years here I've not yet seen a station that did not have its name written in English on the platform.

 

Very different to the mid-90s. You can even get Marmite in the Sūpa at Shinagawa-eki now. I could sense it all the way from Yachiyo-Midorigaoka ;)

 

I'll be back out in about 3 weeks... again.

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historical places to visit compared to the likes of Kyoto

 

Just because you mentioned it we found Nikko was, for temples and historical buildings, much more fascinating than Kyoto. Nikko only has one site worth a look, but it is huge and stunning. I would happily have shaved a day off our Kyoto itinerary to have had a second one in Nikko, but that's all history now.

 

Oh, and I found a really quite good bottle conditioned ale there too.

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Hi all, I've read through this thread and have gotten tons of ideas for my upcoming trip to Japan in October! I really want to see Mt. Fuji and it sounds like a shy mountain. Some of you have seen the mountain by chance from Tokyo or while flying in or taking the train. I will be traveling from Kyoto to Tokyo by train (probably a high-speed train but don't know which one yet). Does anyone know of a town in between where I could get off for a few hours to get a view of the mountain?

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It would be quite lucky to see it from Tokyo but Fuji should be a fairly simple day trip from Tokyo on the train, if you can't work it in to your itinerary on the way past. There are several towns you can stay in near the mountain, we stayed in Kawaguchiko and had a fairly easy trip back to Tokyo. Once you get up close it's very hard to miss! Kawaguchiko is a fairly small place but we survived there with no trouble. We stayed in this big white hotel here, it's a shame the Streetview car went past on a cloudy day as otherwise Fuji would be framed perfectly in the background, and they also have a really good Onsen hot bath.

 

Train times you can check on Hyperdia, as I guess you know.

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I'm planning to visit Japan next month, and this thread has some fabulous suggestions and information, although some of it seems outdated. Has anyone visited Japan recently and can give some advice or suggestions? Especially regarding travel within or to/from Tokyo. I'm planning to catch the cherry blossom blooming season in late March and would love to know if anyone here has done this before!

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14 hours ago, Coconut Cream said:

I'm planning to visit Japan next month, and this thread has some fabulous suggestions and information, although some of it seems outdated. Has anyone visited Japan recently and can give some advice or suggestions? Especially regarding travel within or to/from Tokyo. I'm planning to catch the cherry blossom blooming season in late March and would love to know if anyone here has done this before!

 

Nate lives and teaches in Japan has lots of non political information on day to day life on his channel.  

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