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Japan UnderGround >> Going to Japan Finally


2/4/07 11:44 AM
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TheGregor
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Edited: 04-Feb-07
Member Since: 12/25/2002
Posts: 1608
 
It's been my dream to visit Japan since i was six years old. I am finally going from April 6-15th. I have a couple questions: 1.) in a week's time, what is feasible to see without rushing? 2.) how do you make this trip on a budget? I've heard of Ryokan. I emailed one Ryokan in Tokyo and they were booked solid 3.) where are some cool BJJ stores in Tokyo located? Isami and such?... The whole Japan thing is a bit overwhelming. Any help would be much appreciated!
2/4/07 11:54 PM
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Solidus
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Edited: 04-Feb-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 635
Are you planning on sticking to just Tokyo? It sounds like it. You won't run out of places in just ten days though. I'm sure there will be more recommendations, so I'll just say that you should see the Yokohama area, particularly the Sakuragicho/Kannai stations. Chinatown and the Landmark Tower (tallest building in Japan, 1000yen to get to the 69th floor I think) is around there. Even if you don't go up, it is still a cool place with a nice view of the harbor, and there are a bunches places to shop. As far as getting away from the city areas, you could take a day trip to either Kamakura or Nikko. Both are historic and should be interesting if you are into temples and such. Kamakura is a few hours south (?) and Nikko is north.
2/5/07 4:37 PM
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TheGregor
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Edited: 05-Feb-07
Member Since: 12/25/2002
Posts: 1613
Ryokan seem to be the more reasonably priced places to stay. I am doing research online. Today i went on Amazon.com and bought a Japan guide book, a Tokyo guide book, and a Tokyo City Atlas (i heard it is confusing to find places). I am thinking of possibly seeing two more places such as Kyoto and (Maizuru?). Hopefully, there are good places to eat fresh sushi. Texas has none!
2/6/07 9:55 AM
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antifret
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Edited: 06-Feb-07
Member Since: 06/21/2006
Posts: 150
Tsukiji fish market area for the Sushi.
2/6/07 1:34 PM
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TheGregor
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Edited: 06-Feb-07 01:34 PM
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^^is that the one that opens early in the morning and from there fish is shipped all over the world?
2/6/07 5:38 PM
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wres157
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Edited: 06-Feb-07
Member Since: 02/04/2003
Posts: 4522
cheapest place in tokyo to stay: newkoyo.com
2/6/07 6:05 PM
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antifret
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Edited: 06-Feb-07
Member Since: 06/21/2006
Posts: 152
TheGregor, Yep, biggest wholesale fishmarket in the world I believe. I have yet to go but plan to go tomorrow morning. It's best to go real early like at 8am.
2/6/07 9:26 PM
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TheGregor
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Edited: 06-Feb-07
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antifret - let me know the details of the fishmarket. I don't want to have to wait in line for the freshest sushi. I'll get there earlier if need be. wres157 - i made a temp. reservation at Newkoyo. Is this place in a good location? How was your stay?
2/6/07 9:41 PM
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stampy
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Edited: 06-Feb-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 180
8 a.m. is dinner time at the fish market! Still some activity, but nothing like there is earlier. Ryokan often try to pack as many people to a room as possible--the charge is per person, not per room, so renting to one person doesn't make sense (for them!). That link from wres157 looks awesome. Take some earplugs, though, no matter where you stay. Solidus has some solid recommendations. Great food in Chinatown. And Kamakura is cool, read up on the history of the area before you go and you'll get a great deal more from it (the era of interest is called the Kamakura Era). There is a ring trail that encircles Kamakura, pretty nice to get out and walk there, though you can't really see the sights from the trail. Head to Shinjuku station and get out the south entrance, go to the Takashimaya Times Square building for a bit of shopping experience. Get there right at opening time (10 a.m.?) and walk through the department store. In the first five-ten minutes after opening, every employee stands outside their area and bows to all the customers. It's impressive to receive so many bows. It's also impressive to see how dressed up Japanese get on a normal day. Takashimaya is a very expensive department store, but in the same building on the opposite end is Tokyu Hands, where prices are more reasonable (and has a section of souvenier type stuff that caters to foreigners). Head to the basement floors of Takashimaya (or any other department store) around lunch time and get free samples of food, a cheap and entertaining source of nutrition. Games that you can play while you're there include spotting the most expensive melon and finding the most expensive cut of beef. Isami is also in the same general area. Head to Harajuku station for a sea of young Japanese trendsetters, and then around the corner to Meiji temple for a more traditional view of Japan. Kyoto is well worth the trip if time allows, taking the bullet train is itself a neat experience but may blow any budget ideas you had. If you do go, sit on the right side of the train going, and left coming back, for awesome views of Mt. Fuji. And purchase your bento and beer on the train for the full shinkansen experience. Enjoy!
2/6/07 11:44 PM
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wres157
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Edited: 06-Feb-07 11:47 PM
Member Since: 02/04/2003
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New Koyo isn't a bad place. It's kinda small and rundown but is really great for the money. I stayed there 4 nights until I found an apartment near harajuku. You can't shower after 10pm, or hang out in the Lobby. If you are bringing a laptop you can steal from their WiFi connection (instead of sitting in the lobby and paying) just above their office on the 2nd and 3rd floor. Rooms are small, I had the smallest western style, but it was liveable. Everyone was friendly and helpful. Western toilets, but the bathroom on the third smelled of something awful, luckily you don't shower in there. You aren't supposed to bring any guests past the Lobby but there are so many people staying there I'm not sure they'd actually notice. Minowa is far from being a night life capital , it's mostly an older residential area, although just south across the river I believe it picks up a little. You might find the side streets sketchy at first, but there is no reason to worry, just like the rest of Tokyo. You are close to Ueno, Akihabara, and Suidobashi which could keep you busy for a couple days. When you get there they have free maps of the area to check out the temples and parks. One of the temples south west of New Koyo (about a 15 minute walk) is a really famous shrine.temples with a beautiful park and a little line of mom and pop stores. There's also a 100yen ramen shop near Minowa station that I went to a couple times because it was cheap and tasted like any other ramen I've ever had.
2/7/07 9:38 AM
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antifret
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Edited: 07-Feb-07
Member Since: 06/21/2006
Posts: 153
The fishmarket is wholesale only. There are a ton of sushi restuarants directly around it that have sushi. I would just pick one that looks like it has alot of older japanese people around it and go for that one. They should all be pretty good. It's located on the Hibiya Line. Look at the map when you exit the station and you should see it. I'll post more details after I go.
2/7/07 3:39 PM
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TheGregor
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Edited: 07-Feb-07
Member Since: 12/25/2002
Posts: 1620
thanks for the tips antifret, wres157 and stampy. you have no idea how much this information helps. I will print it and take it with me.
2/17/07 11:20 AM
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ilk
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Edited: 17-Feb-07
Member Since: 12/17/2005
Posts: 263
cool
2/19/07 9:15 AM
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TheGregor
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Edited: 19-Feb-07
Member Since: 12/25/2002
Posts: 1654
where is Isami store?
2/21/07 7:29 AM
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Opash
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Edited: 21-Feb-07
Member Since: 03/14/2002
Posts: 2732
They have a few one in Tokyo (Suidobashi), one in Yokohama and I think one in Osaka. If you check out there web-page it should have maps and directions. Although, they have stacks of gloves, weights, gi's etc etc. If you are looking for souvenier type of stuff, you might be a little dissapointed. General sports stores are probably better in that regard.
2/25/07 7:05 AM
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Groove Holmes
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Edited: 25-Feb-07
Member Since: 06/05/2005
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Isami store is in Shinjuku. Best to get out at New South Exit (shin Minami Guchi) and turn right. Follow the slope down besides the road and turn right at the end by the crossing. There's a convenience store on the corner(Sankus if I remember right). Go along that road and you should see a sign. Suidobashi has Pro Fitness shop. I reckon Isami is better, certainly for choices of gis.
2/27/07 5:00 AM
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Opash
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Edited: 27-Feb-07
Member Since: 03/14/2002
Posts: 2736
There is a Isami and Fitness shop in Suidobashi (and a bunch of pro-wrestling stores that carry MMA stuff). Didn't know there was an Isami in shinjuku too - might have to check it out someday.
3/15/07 3:04 PM
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mestregruber
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Edited: 15-Mar-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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The New Koyo is owned by a friend of mine. His mom has a nice ryokan in the same area, if you are willing to spend a little more money. New Koyo is cheap, but you get what you pay for, to a certain extent. It's fun to hang out there and meet foreigners from all over, though. Andon is much classier, and has a nice breakfast in the mornings (I usually walk over there for breakfast even if I stay at Koyo.) There's also a neat little bar between the two that is run by a friend of the family. As was stated, there isn't much to do in Minowa proper but it is convenient to Ueno, Asakusa, etc. Yuki Nakai's main dojo (Paraestra) is in Western Tokyo, west of Shinjuku. World Sports Plaza (tons of locations) has lots of MMA videos, T-shirts, etc. Be warned: that stuff is ridiculously expensive in Japan. My buddy told me some disgusting rumors about 100 yen ramen places. I've never eaten at one, personally. http://www.andon.co.jp/
3/15/07 9:43 PM
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wres157
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Edited: 16-Mar-07 03:09 AM
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"My buddy told me some disgusting rumors about 100 yen ramen places. I've never eaten at one, personally." should be just across the street from minowa station. Wasn't bad at all, not the best, but it's cheap.
3/16/07 6:28 PM
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mestregruber
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Edited: 16-Mar-07
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Yeah, there is one right there. My buddy said the old lady in there got pissed at a customer for putting too much pepper in his ramen. The implication was that she wouldn't able to re-use the soup if it was too peppery. I'd rather pay 5 bucks for a great bowl of ramen, than a dollar for subpar ramen, personally.
3/19/07 3:04 AM
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MayheM
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Edited: 19-Mar-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 3766
I am also making my first trip. So my threads for later..
3/31/07 11:20 AM
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TheGregor
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Edited: 31-Mar-07
Member Since: 12/25/2002
Posts: 1738
I leave to Japan in less than a week. I am so excited. I've wanted to go ever since i was a little boy and the Karate Kid came out! Thanks for the tips. I am keeping them for the trip!
3/31/07 2:35 PM
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Bunnymonster
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Edited: 31-Mar-07
Member Since: 07/14/2003
Posts: 735
Good Luck, I hope everything works out well... Listens to the pouring rain....

Keep us posted.

Paul
4/4/07 8:41 PM
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kung_pow
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Edited: 04-Apr-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 2656
Japan is awesome. I can't wait to go again. My advice is to have a general plan of what you want to do but never hesitate put the plan aside to explore and let new experiences find you.
4/13/07 10:21 PM
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TheGregor
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Edited: 13-Apr-07
Member Since: 12/25/2002
Posts: 1774
I`m in shibuya right now. I have been in Japan for one week now. I`ve been to over 10 countries and i have to say that Japan is the best overall experience. I visited Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo. There just isn`t enough time to do it all before i go back.

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