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Smile A few questions for my trip (leaving 28th March) - 03-06-2008, 12:34 PM

Hi all! And thanks for the warm reception I've recieved on this site.
A friend and I will be travelling to Japan on the 29th March, and leaving on the 14th April. While we have some general ideas about what to expect, there are a few things I'd like to know about before we leave, if anyone here can respond to my queries, please do. I'd appreciate any help at all .

Firstly, I'll explain our situation. I'm 18 and my friend is 19, and visiting Japan has been a dream for us for years. I have *some* (limited) skill in speaking and reading Japanese, probably not enough to actually be useful..

Budget: My friend and I are staying for 14 days and have booked all of our hotels etc. For spending money/food money/getting around/"doing stuff" money we each have about £900, is this a reasonable amount to survive on if we budget or should we take out a little loan? This money is for everything except flights/accomodation. We intend on visiting quite a few paid-entry places like Disney-Sea while in Tokyo, but we are also staying in Kyoto for 5 days, I imagine the attractions will be less expensive there..

Weather: We are both from Scotland (which is usually a fairly cold place). Does anyone know what the weather is likely to be like during our stay? For example, should we pack mostly shorts and t-shirts, or is it likely we'll need jackets and jeans?

Trains/Getting around: I believe we will purchase the JR pass as we are going to be travelling around the country a fair bit, but I'm slightly confused as to where it can be used. Is it ONLY for city to city transport or are there inner city lines too? Generally, how expensive is it to get around Tokyo/Kyoto?

Tokyo Nightlife: I'm sorry, I know this has been asked a million times before.. I'm 18 and my friend is 19, from being from the UK we're used to being able to get into bars/clubs. I've heard conflicting reports about the strictness in Japan, some say they are really lax to foreigners while others say we won't get in anywhere. Can anyone here shed some light on this? Also, can anyone recommend any especially good places? We're used to paying huge amounts for booze here in Edinburgh, (£3.00 for a pint of beer in some places!) what are the prices generally like in Tokyo?

Your recommendations: So far we've planed quite a few outings, but we still have many free days. Are there any must-see attractions (we want to experience everything from Temples and shrines to arcades!) you could recommend in Tokyo/Kyoto? I believe we'll also visit Osaka, Nagoya and Hiroshima, so points of interest there would be handy too. We really want to see a cherry blossom festival, if there are any on!

I'm sure I have more questions that have evaded me for the moment..
I'm sorry for asking so many questions! I just want to make sure this trip is as enjoyable as possible.
Any and all responses are greatly appreciated!!

P.S- Who else here is going to see X-Japan on the 29th!?


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03-06-2008, 04:56 PM

Budget: If you're frugal, that should last you considering it doesn't include hotels or JR trains (because of the pass). But it'll be a bit tight, especially if you go out drinking, as alcohol can be expensive in Japan.

Weather: It'll be spring, but the years I was there, spring tended to be fairly short. So it may still be chilly, it may be quite warm, or it may be nice spring temperature. Not sure. I'd check weather forecasts for Japan before you leave and pack accordingly, taking at least 1 light-med jacket for cooler days and evenings, and some t-shirts for warmer days.

Trains: There are some JR trains within some cities, but subways tend to be very useful too (and they aren't covered by the JR pass). A subway ride is usually only about 200-300 yen though.

Tokyo nightlife: Can't help here, I never went to any night clubs in Tokyo, and besides, I was in my mid 20's when I was in Japan, so I'd have gotten in no problem anyway.

Recommendations: Look over some of the Travel Report threads for places to go and things to see. There are some common recommendations, like Nikko, Hakone, Nara, Himeji castle, Miyajima Island, the various temples in Kyoto, Koya-san, etc.


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03-06-2008, 05:37 PM

i think the money will be enough!


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03-07-2008, 04:56 AM

im going to be in tokyo starting from march 28th as an exchange student...4 months there.

anyways...I was also wondering about the clubs and nightlife since i am 19 as well...if anyone could provide some insight on that it would be helpful

Also, to the OP, the drinking age in Japan is 20..it kinda sucks especially for you to go to japan being from Scotland where the legal drinking age is 18? From what i hear...the japanese don't really enforce it.

Besides, they sell alcohol from vending machines...truthfully, who's going to ask you for your ID when you buy it from a vending machine?
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03-07-2008, 05:19 AM

I wouldn't expect too much trouble getting into places unless you are trying to get into a high-end club, which you really can't afford to.

Personally, I would bring a little more money, especially if you plan to go out drinking. If you are going to Disney-Sea and places like that, those are going to be expensive days. If you think £3.00 is expensivefor a drink, then that's probably what you'll be paying (500 to 800 yen a beer).
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03-07-2008, 06:38 AM

Everyone, thanks very much for the replies, you are being very helpful and informative.

I think on the money issue I'll try and bring a bit extra then, I'll beg my relatives for sympathy money; "Please, you don't want me to be sober for two weeks, do you? Have some humanity!"
Or I could just sweet talk some rich Japanese girls into buying me drinks... *cough*.

As for the vending machines, orangedude, I've heard they have dual mounted machine guns. And if you don't present ID, you're in serious trouble - like the ED-209 from Robocop, So watch out man.
I more just want to go to clubs etc to meet people, I'll just buy a couple of drinks to save money and sip them like fine champagne if I have to!

There are a few other things I'd like to know if you guys don't mind me asking;

Firstly, what is the best way of me keeping my money in Japan? I'm aware credit cards aren't widely accepted (at least not as widely as in the west), but I don't really want to walk around Japan with 200,000円 cash in my pocket. Are traveller's cheques or other methods advisable?

Secondly, there are some attractions that you have to book tickets for from your home country, such as the Studio Ghibli museum. Why is this? And what other kind of attractions may I have to do this for?

Lastly, this may be a bit of a longshot.. but my friend and I really want to see a sumo match during our stay, but I've heard it's off-season so there are no matches. I'm aware it would be difficult to get tickets, I'm just wondering if there are small amateur competitions or something we could see instead. Where could I find out about this?

Thanks very much everyone, this information will really help me with my trip.
Cheers!


For relaxing times, make it... Santori time.

Last edited by Lazarus : 03-07-2008 at 02:50 PM. Reason: typo
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MMM (Offline)
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03-07-2008, 07:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus View Post

Firstly, what is the best way of me keeping my money in Japan? I'm aware credit cards aren't widely accepted (at least not as widely as in the west), but I don't really want to walk around Japan with 200,000円 cash in my pocket. Are traveller's cheques or other methods advisable?

Secondly,there are some attractions that you have to book tickets for from your home country, such as the Studio Ghibli museum. Why is this? And what other kind of attractions may I have to do this for?

Lastly, this may be a bit of a longshot.. but my friend and I really want to see a sumo match during our stay, but I've heard it's off-season so there are no matches. I'm aware it would be difficult to get tickets, I'm just wondering if there are small amateur competitions or something we could see instead. Where could I find out about this?

Thanks very much everyone, this information will really help me with my trip.
Cheers!
People in Japan typically carry much more cash than at least we do in the US. 200,000 yen actually isn't atypical in a wallet, but I understand your feelings, totally. A VISA or MASTERCARD is your best bet, pretty widely used. I wouldn't recommend Traveller's Cheques, except for maybe Disneyland and the most touristy places. Usually you have to exchange traveller's cheques for cash at offices in the top floors of departments stores. It's a real hassle, to be honest.

I have never heard of being forced to book tickets in your home country. I have been to at least a few museums in Japan and I have never been turned away.

At about 20,000 yen a ticket for sumo, I'd pass on it. I have never heard of non-pro tickets, but maybe someone else does. I'm going next week, so I'd love to hear about it.
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03-07-2008, 07:28 AM

ghibli is a little bit difficult to reserve.. its best to book while in your country than here. First, you can't buy ticket in ghibli , you have to have it reserve. If you are already in japan you can do it online or in the convenience store which might be difficult for you since it's all in Japanese. If you want to go to ghibli better get the ticket beforehand..


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03-07-2008, 07:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by samokan View Post
ghibli is a little bit difficult to reserve.. its best to book while in your country than here. First, you can't buy ticket in ghibli , you have to have it reserve. If you are already in japan you can do it online or in the convenience store which might be difficult for you since it's all in Japanese. If you want to go to ghibli better get the ticket beforehand..
Really? That's good to know.
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03-07-2008, 12:18 PM

Thanks again for the replies.
Yeah looks like I'm going to have to book the tickets for the Ghibli museum before I leave. What I want to know is the Ghibli museum an exception or are there other places that I will have book before I leave?

Anyone know of any good up to date maps for Tokyo/Kyoto I can buy? I realise I could pick one up when I get there, but are there any especially good ones for slightly inexperienced foreigners?

Also, my friend and I (being Scottish), want to wear kilts while in Japan. For those who don't know, a kilt is basically a tartan man-skirt. Is this likely to be a bad idea or attract unwelcome attention? Surely Japanese people have seen Braveheart!?

Cheers guys.


For relaxing times, make it... Santori time.

Last edited by Lazarus : 03-07-2008 at 12:49 PM.
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