Ben's Bizzare TGS Adventure!

  • Thought it would be cool to come up with a thread with some touristy ideas, helpful hints, and suggestions for Ben on his epic bucket list trip to Tokyo/TGS!

    Real life mariokart in Akihabara

    Visit Akihabara Super Potato

    Robot Cafe, in Shinjuku/Kabukicho obviously

    Kabukicho is the real life analog to Yakuza's Kamurocho neighborhood, and is worth poking around a bit in for a fan. Just be aware that kind of like in Yakuza, that's what passes for "not the best neighborhood" - but it's super tame in comparison to like Compton or whatever, Just don't go into any hostess clubs.

  • Tips:

    There's both light rail and subways, and getting around can be somewhat challenging for people just because of the overall complexity of the map overwhelming them.

    There are quite a few ways to get tickets, but this is generally one of the basic ways:
    Youtube Video

    I probably wouldn't bother with getting a Suica or Pasmo card for a short trip.

    Japan is getting better about credit cards, but Japan is/was pretty much a cash society, and some places still dont take cards. So it's a good idea to pick up cash at the airport for a short trip, or to find in advance where you can withdraw money while in Tokyo. Most of the time when I'm in Tokyo I use the Citibank or ATM's at 7-11, but depending on your bank card's network there may be other options you have to use. Also, not all ATM's in Japan will read your savings account info for some reason, so you'll have to make sure the money is in your checking account. Businesses have random hours sometimes and that means banks are just sometimes weirdly closed. It's always a good idea to get cash before you run out, rather than running out and then having no idea where to find an ATM/being able to get to one/hoping that it's accessible. :)

    One of the most useful phrases in Tokyo is "Toire wa doko desu ka" Which phonetically is kind of like (Torre-wa dokku dess'ka) That means "Where is the bathroom". You will thank me later.


  • I'm excited for Ben being able to go to Tokyo for TGS and think this is a really good idea. Some of my thoughts to add to TokyoSlim's:

    Odaiba Gundam


    Shibuya (Crossing)
    I remember Ben really enjoying Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE. For anyone whom is playing it (I am currently loving it), you spend a lot of time in Shibuya so it'd be neat to see this in real life having visited the in-game location a lot.

    Another place visited in TMS FE. If you find yourself here it's usually to see the fashion, but there's also an awesome ramen shop here:

    Observation decks:
    Sometimes you just need to get higher vantage point to really take it all in after wandering the streets. Tokyo is amazing to see be it day or night. Here are some observation deck options should you have the time:

    Tokyo Tower -
    Roppongi Hills Mori Tower - (If you wanna boo Konami their office is not too far from here in Tokyo Midtown -
    Tokyo Skytree -
    Sunshine City -
    okyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatories (FREE of charge) -

    Other things to consider when going:

    1. See if you can rent a SIM card to get data over there for your cell phone or rent a pocket wifi (you should be able to rent this at Narita or Haneda airport - whichever you are arriving at)
      Haneda -
      Narita -

    2. I wouldn't sweat the JR train system or any of the train/subway/monorail lines for that matter. If my memory serves correct, destinations are always spoken in Japanese and then in very clear English so you know where you are going. I think things would have to get better with English signs as Tokyo is prepping for the 2020 Olympics

    3. Remember to bring a pack of small tissues with you and a small hand towel. There are no paper towels/toilet paper in some bathrooms! You may find people handing out small packets of tissue as a form of advertisement out on the streets. They come in handy!

    4. Post offices also have ATMs for use. Make sure to notify your bank/credit cards that you are traveling to Tokyo - wouldn't want your accounts frozen if they suspect fraud when you need money out there!

    5. If your wallet doesn't have a coin pouch inside, you may want to have a little pouch to collect all the 1, 10, 100, and 500 yen coins you'll most likely be getting throughout your trip. You may find yourself ending up with more coins than paper bills.

    6. Gratuity, or tipping is not really a thing in Japan so while it may seem odd at first to not leave a tip it's okay.

    7. I recall September weather still being super humid at times. Just another reinforcement that you'll want a small towel to wipe yourself down as it can feel pretty gross at times.

  • If you go to Odaiba to see the Gundam or to visit SEGA Joyopolis, you can get there by train, ORRRR you can get there by taking a river cruise from Asakusa.

    I will definitely +1 getting a coin pouch.

  • Coin pouch is just about a necessity here. The JR is quite friendly once you're on the train, but it can be tricky sometimes figuring out exactly how much it will cost due to the maps. Highly suggest getting a SUICA or a Passmo so that one initial difficulty can be ignored, but it will cost 500yen extra. Also suggest Asakusa to see a beautiful and famous temple in Tokyo. I also have a ton of food suggestions, but idk if I should keep those to myself.

    Will anyone else be in the area? I have my GREs Sunday morning but would love to meet some of you all in the evening if you're available!

  • Also if he's willing to wake up early to see the fish markets at Tsukiji that's always an experience. If not, he should still check out the area since it's pretty cool. I'll never forget the first time I saw a giant Tuna head just chilling in the middle of a street. Plus the sashimi and dashimaki tamago in the area is top notch.

  • @naltmank They haven't moved the market yet?

  • @TokyoSlim I think the move doesn't happen til November but I could be mistaken.

    Another tip: carrying around a small bag so you can hold onto your trash. Tokyo is a very clean city with very few trashcans. A terror attack a while back made use of them, so there are times where it seems like you're walking forever without finding one. Train stations and convenience stores (also awesome in Japan) tend to have them though.

  • Definitely agree with a visit to Tsukiji Fish Market - sushi for breakfast is pretty good if you can stomach raw foods :)

  • Did they say where in Tokyo he was staying? If so, I'll try to think of some easy/convenient places close to where he is. Tokyo is a huge city and the commutes are often the biggest barrier to seeing it all. On that note, rush hours are INSANE in Tokyo. I'm originally from New York, which also has some brutal rush hours, but there's really nothing like seeing a station worker shoving people onto the train so the doors can finally closed!

  • I'm so exited for Ben! It almost feels like my first time to Japan too =)

    Some suggestions:

    Tokyo 1-day Unlimited Pass - It's like $8 USD and you can use any JR east train within Tokyo.

    JR Rail Pass - If Ben is going to go outside of Tokyo and do some extensive traveling, this might be worth a look. Does not cover certain Shinkansen (bullet train) lines.

    Must eats:

    Takoyaki - little balls of heaven
    Taikayki - fish shaped breaded goodness
    Yakisoba - grilled noodles basically
    Yakitori - grilled chicken
    Mitarashi dango - mochi(?) with a type of teriyaki sauce on top
    Okonomiyaki - japanese style pancakes for lack of a better term.
    Unadon - grilled eel rice bowl (SO GOOD)
    Conveyor belt sushi - Cool and fun place to get sushi on a budget. Still good!
    There's some great places that serve Indian food as well!

    A personal favorite is a Sri Lanken place called Court Lodge in Shinjuku (close to the southern exit IIRC). I never leave Japan without having some. :yum:

    There's also all sorts of Japan only menu items at fast food restaurants. I hope we can get some footage of Ben eating the black, squid ink hamburgers (if they're still available)!

    Also, it's September in Tokyo so it'll be kinda hot, very humid, and more than likely, very WET. Prep accordingly.

  • The train system in Japan isn't too difficult to understand. We were kinda clueless the first 2 train trips, and we got lost the first time in the massive Tokyo Station, but it gets a lot easier.
    I primarily used Google Maps for our trip and it pointed us to numbered and color coded platform and train stops to get to our destinations. (we rented a pocket wifi device from the airport. around $60 for a week)
    You can alternatively use some more dedicated Japan Rail apps or the Hyperdia app to get the cheapest routes though.
    Side note: we bought some JR passes for like $250 that gave us free access to all JR line trains (even the bullet trains), so getting the cheapest rides weren't really a concern. We also used it to get to Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Osaka but you'll need to order the pass 3 weeks in advance.

    5 days is a lot too! you can pretty much spend a whole day in each hub!
    Akihabara is obvious for the anime and gaming stuff. There's a gundam cafe there. Look for SuperPotato for retro games! 6 floor Anime shops and gatchapon machines! Try out some crane games and get yourself a copy of Persona 5!

    Harajuku is a great experience too! You'll see plenty of weird fashion. I saw this person all dress in gold and had her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes painted/dyed gold. Shibuya isn't too far too. a train ride away and you'll be at the crossing. You'll get to see Hachiko and be at an iconic anime/videogame setting.

    Odaiba is near Tsukiji. The sushi in Tsukiji is like nothing you've eaten. It's extremely fresh and the wasabi the use has a lot of kick. Go extremely early though (we went there at 4-5am), try to find this shop Sushi Dai. People line up 2-3 hours to eat there. The set meal is kinda pricey (probably $150 per person) but the experience is one of a kind. It'll be closed on September 14 though, so plan accordingly if you're gonna go there. Otherewise, get some of those cheaper Otoro sashimi/chirashi.
    Then go to Odaiba and visit Gundam Front Tokyo!

    Go to a Pokemon Center too! It's just really jolly!
    Most of the temples we visited were in Kyoto but there a couple of really good ones in Tokyo! It's a really fun experience to wash your hands. Get an Omamori charm!
    Tokyo Disney Sea is also a really really beautiful place, but you'll need an entire day for that.
    Sadly, it's a bit too late to plan a visit to the Ghibli museum. You'll need to get tickets there a week in advance, but that place is just magic and it has the best/worst money sink gift shops ever.

  • @Mechanoid Great rundown! I'd add kamameshi (kind of like a rice hot pot I guess?) to the list. Plus there are tons of snacks and every kind of Kashipan ever that I'd also add. My favorite restaurant in the world is a place called Torigin. It has incredible yakitori and kamameshi, and is about a 5 min train ride followed by a 5 min walk from Tokyo station.
    Also, since we're at the tail end of the summer, I think places will probably still have Kakigoori (Japanese shaved ice), which is just delightful. There's an excellent place in Asakusa with really good kakigoori and melonpan (Japanese melon bread). The best kakigoori in the world, though, is at Mt. Takao which I think might be too much of a trek for Ben.

  • @Gamo There's also a little gift shop inside Tokyo Station that has a lot of the same stuff as the Ghibli gift store! And to make sure you get a similar experience, it's just as (if not more) expensive as the real deal!!1! :)

  • I need Ben to cosplay as P5 guy and walk across Shibuya Crossing for a bit. I need it so bad.

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  • I want Ben to buy a stack of Manga, just for the sake of it.

  • its a shame no one could have got a yu suzuki meeting and sent huber along

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    Im just super excited for him going to Japan! I squealed in joy last night when I watched the announcement! Ben are such a cool guy and deserves it! I will follow the videos that ought to come from this!

    Also a huge thank you to each and everyone of YOU pattern guys! without you this would not have happened! Love & Respect :heart:

  • @Nillend said in Ben's Bizzare TGS Adventure!:

    just for the saké of it.

  • @Axel Oh, I see what you did there ;)