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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:18 am 
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Jojo, if you have a seamstress friend, you may want to hit up Yuzawaya (very large craft and fabric store) - they do tons of really gorgeous traditional (and less traditional) prints.


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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:44 pm 
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aelle wrote:
Jojo, if you have a seamstress friend, you may want to hit up Yuzawaya (very large craft and fabric store) - they do tons of really gorgeous traditional (and less traditional) prints.


Such a great tip, thank you!

vijita wrote:
I'm SO jealous, jojo, but I'm so glad you are having a nice time!

jojo wrote:
So far I love everything about Japan (okay, almost everything, I really wish I could fit into all of the adorable dresses I'm seeing but that's what my seamstress bff is for!!) and I don't want this trip to end at all.

Haha, I hear you. I have some Japan dresses that are scandalously short yet I still wear but them, but for some stupid reason I spent 2000 yen in Harajuku on amazing steals on piles and piles of tights and leggings, only to remember that I am tall and "one size fits all" in Japan means "horrifyingly saggy crotch" to me.


Yes! I tore all of the tights I brought with me within the first three days and I can't find any that fit me at all, I've given up & I'm just gonna wear leggings for the rest of the trip!

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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:13 am 
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I thought I'd pop my Japanese Convenience Store food guide in here.

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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:47 am 
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I'm flying to Tokyo in 97 days (yes, I'm counting) and I am so excited. This has been a long-awaited trip for my bf and I. We're going for two weeks and will spend a few days in Kyoto. I'm going to troll this thread to help me make plans. We're airbnb-ing it the whole way, but I'm very curious about which neighborhood to stay in while in Tokyo. So many choices!


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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:54 am 
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Woo hoo!! Sounds awesome!! What kind of options do you have in Tokyo?

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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:31 pm 
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So exciting PT!! I'm already desperate to go back to Japan.

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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:37 am 
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We just booked our lodging for most of the trip. We're staying the first half in Shimokitazawa and then we planned to go to Kyoto for three or four days, but then we discovered this awesome little lake house Otsu near Lake Biwa, which is about 35-40 minutes away from Kyoto. We booked that! I'm excited to split some time between the hustle of Tokyo and this lakeside area. The place has two bikes to use, life vests, canoes, etc. I'm so excited!

I didn't take any of the vegan options into consideration, but I figure I'll manage somehow. We're staying in apartments with cooking equipment.

JoJo, I'm totally confused about the rail tickets, though. What did you purchase while you were there?


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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:57 am 
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If you're just going to Tokyo and Otsu with side trips to Kyoto, Osaka etc I don't think any rail pass makes sense. It should be cheaper to just get on the shinkansen once and then use local trains in Kansai. In Tokyo you're using the metro and many different train lines anyway. You could just buy train tickets at the station then (if you don't reserve a seat on the shinkansen, it's a little cheaper)

So MUCH FUN!!

pickledtreats wrote:
We just booked our lodging for most of the trip. We're staying the first half in Shimokitazawa and then we planned to go to Kyoto for three or four days, but then we discovered this awesome little lake house Otsu near Lake Biwa, which is about 35-40 minutes away from Kyoto. We booked that! I'm excited to split some time between the hustle of Tokyo and this lakeside area. The place has two bikes to use, life vests, canoes, etc. I'm so excited!

I didn't take any of the vegan options into consideration, but I figure I'll manage somehow. We're staying in apartments with cooking equipment.

JoJo, I'm totally confused about the rail tickets, though. What did you purchase while you were there?

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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:21 pm 
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i agree entirely- unless you're talking repeated or long-haul shinkansen rides it isn't worth it. Also, YAY SHIMOKITAZAWA!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:31 pm 
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torque wrote:
i agree entirely- unless you're talking repeated or long-haul shinkansen rides it isn't worth it. Also, YAY SHIMOKITAZAWA!!!


Really? When I price the trains with Google maps they seem costly. How much is a Shinkansen outright? Isn't it over 100 euro one way? I'm so confused about this! I thought the JR pass was good for the subway too.

Haven't ordered yet, but want to make an educated decision...just having trouble finding info!


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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:22 pm 
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are you going back and forth between tokyo and kyoto or doing it just once? maybe worth calculating, the last time i bought the pass was a million years ago, but surely you can figure out whether it is worth your while (i totally missed the kyoto part, i got a bit focused on Tokyo!). for Biwa, just be sure the trains are JR- sometimes these little side trains are not JR and not covered in the passes, which happened to me in Yamagata, for example. The site in English is kind of complicated but should at least let you know for sure if the train you want to take is covered (I know some of the kansai shinkansens are not covered). http://www.japanrailpass.net/eng/en004.html
The subway is not included, but the JR trains operate throughout Tokyo (like the famous yamanote sen) so if you wanted to you could probably go most places on JR and then the local transfers for the metro are cheap.

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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:30 am 
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Thanks, torque. I'm still researching this. Only about two weeks away!

This is what we have planned in terms of longer travel:

Haneda airport to Shimokitazawa
--the usual tourist traveling around Tokyo, which I'm assuming is by train and metro--
Shimokitazawa to Lake Biwa house
day trip from Lake Biwa to Kyoto and back, at least once
Lake Biwa to Shimokitazawa
--traveling around Tokyo last few days--
Shimokitazawa to Haneda airport

I'm trying to calculate things, but I'm using Google maps and I'm concerned the prices it's quoting me aren't correct. At least, I hope they're not. Seems really expensive! Which is why I considered the rail pass, though those are also really expensive. I need a good overview of the transport options. I keep hearing about JR versus non-JR and other things. I need to get my head around it.


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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:44 am 
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For example, Google Maps is quoting me 14,250 yen to get from Shimokitazawa station to the house in Lake Biwa. That's one way, per person about 115 euro, so roundtrip for both of us together will be 460 euro.

The other little trips are about 50 euro in total, per person. That doesn't include traveling in and around Tokyo, which I haven't figured out yet.

I suppose that's on par with the cost of the JR passes. Last time we checked it would cost us about 700 euro for the passes, which I don't really want to shell out since they're not valid on all trains.

What would you do?


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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:10 am 
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Wow, my JR pass was not that expensive! There's still the thing where if you buy it outside of Japan it's way cheaper, right?

For me, it way more than paid for itself, but I can't remember what I paid. A couple hundred CAD dollars, I believe. I was in Japan for four weeks though and I travelled around a tonne and took shinkansens a lot. Everyone I met in hostels had the pass.

I am feeling a travel itch for Japan so intensely right now. A FB friend just went and her photos are killing me! I also came across my beloved JR rail pass the other day and nearly wept. You are going to have such a great time!


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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:25 am 
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yeah, i remember it being about a quarter of that price but i am old and the last time i bought one was 10 years ago. And i have no bloody clue what the currency has become.
if it were me and it were close, i would get the pass for the convenience. That way your plans can change or whatever and it is no big deal, and less hassle getting tickets. it really comes down to whether there are non-included trains in your itinerary.

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 Post subject: Re: Japan - Tokyo / Kyoto / Osaka / Hiroshima
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:28 am 
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vijita wrote:
Wow, my JR pass was not that expensive! There's still the thing where if you buy it outside of Japan it's way cheaper, right?

For me, it way more than paid for itself, but I can't remember what I paid. A couple hundred CAD dollars, I believe. I was in Japan for four weeks though and I travelled around a tonne and took shinkansens a lot. Everyone I met in hostels had the pass.

I am feeling a travel itch for Japan so intensely right now. A FB friend just went and her photos are killing me! I also came across my beloved JR rail pass the other day and nearly wept. You are going to have such a great time!


You can't buy it in Japan at all. You have to buy it ahead of time and then activate it when you get there since it's not available to locals. But I just checked and a 14-day pass is 348 euro. Maybe it was way cheaper when you took it!

However, I think the majority of our travel will be local in and around Tokyo except for the Lake Biwa/Kyoto trip. We only have 13 days and we wanted to keep it simple. Even though that rabbit island is tempting! I think with more long trips it would pay for itself, but right now it's seeming like more of a risk. We could buy it and then not be able to use it for certain trips and have to shell out more money on what is already not a cheap trip! I'd also like to not have to worry about planning out every bit of transportation ahead of time, which is what I'd have to do to ensure I get the most out of the pass. I'm lucky that we've saved enough to have that flexibility.

Now onto the fun stuff - figuring out the food! :) I'm going to try my best, but I'm resigned to the fact that sometimes I may not know exactly what has gone into the food and I don't have the language to know for certain. I imagine there will be some dashi somewhere along the way. Sigh. But I'm excited about trying out one of the Buddhist temple dinners. They seem pricey, but I've never had a 14-course vegan meal on tatami mats in Japan, so I'm willing to splurge.

I want to know all the yummy spots in Tokyo and Kyoto! I've got JoJo's posts bookmarked, of course.


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