The EZA Travel Thread

  • well I was not aware of this thread when I made the other thread a couple of days ago, but if anyone else has recommendations for Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Hiroshima) I'm all ears

  • @bard91 Having been to Japan six or seven times - Really the most important thing is getting a handle on the rail system, and realizing that you're just going to be lost occasionally/frequently and just go with it. :)

    Castle cities like Tokyo are laid out so that invaders could not march straight to the castle - so the roads are not grid based. Don't expect addresses to make sense. Tokyo's address system is 99% nonsense and literally only your postman can find anything in the area by address. You either find things by GPS or by turn by turn directions from a specific subway station and specific subway station exit. "Take the A-4 exit from Shibuya stn and turn left at the street, walk 200 meters and then make a right at Lawson (a convenience store) then walk a further 70 meters and the Mori building is on the left. Restaurant is on 4F" Is a typical set of directions.

    Take lots of pics!

    Generally when I'm there, breakfast is either a pastry and coffee from the local bakery, or occasionally I'll have miso and tamago gohan at the corner cafe. This is generally going to run between 300-600 yen depending on where you're at.

    Lunch I generally like to have as my "main meal" of the day simply because even fancier restaurants many times have reasonably priced (compared to their dinner pricing) lunch sets. Last time I was in Tokyo for a week, I was splurging and lunched at Michelin Star rated restaurants for lunch almost exclusively. I basically budgeted like 2000-4000 yen for this meal and at the end of the week I had only spent about half my budget. Places like Nakajima and Tsuta are more about getting there early and being in a reasonable location in line more than about the money. Worth it though.

    Dinner was mostly stopping by the local Bento shop/supermarket for discount Bento after 8pm (Bento is usually made twice a day, for the lunch rush (12-2pmish) and dinner (5-8pmish) so if you show up between 3-5 or after 8pm, Bento is usually half off and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Or I'd hit up a local Izakaya, ramen, curry, or donburi place. Generally speaking, this is gonna be like 800-1200 yen, max.

    So... other tips: Get a change pouch of some sort. for practicality sake - one you can open one-handed is a bonus. You may be carrying items in your other hand. You're going to have a crap-ton of coins. I generally use something like THIS. It's also a handy spot to put your subway ticket and etc. if you have one of those.

  • I am gearing up to go to Japan early next year and then again in 2020 for the Tokyo Olympics by the way. SUPER HYPE for Akira Olympics.

    alt text

  • @TokyoSlim funny to hear about the adresses but it makes a lot of sense actually, being from a country where addresses are 100% nonsense I'm used to just using GPS.

    I guess on that note, knowing that a lot of places don't take credit cards, what do you think is a good amount of cash to carry around, I know that overall Japan is really safe and not something that I should be too concerned about, but it seems like 5000-6000 yen is a good amount to carry on a daily basis.

  • @bard91 I honestly generally carry as much cash on me as I need for however long I'm going to be there. I'd rather not have to stress about being able to get a hold of money in Japan. Getting cash out of ATM's can be... inconvenient. Especially outside of Tokyo/major cities. :)

    Most Japanese bank ATM's won't work with foreign cards, so you'll have to either
    A: Find a Citibank branch and get there when the ATM is open (Yeah, ATM's that "close" are weird)
    B: Find a 7-11, who's ATM's are pretty much the only reliable ones I've found that work with non-Japanese bank cards. Obviously there's fees and such for using the ATM's both from the ATM itself, and then also potentially from your bank.

    I mean, there's instances when you don't want to have a lot of cash on you, but as long as you avoid following Nigerian touts into strange hostess bars or get cornered in an alleyway by a bunch of pissed off Yakuza whom you accidentally just hit with your bicycle there's no reason you can't just walk around with 30k yen in your wallet.

    Basically always carry enough money to get back to somewhere where you know you can get money, I guess. :)

  • Things to trust the Japanese infrastructure with:

    Things not to trust the Japanese infrastructure with:
    Pizza toppings

    You've been warned! :)

  • We're flying into Phoenix tomorrow and going to be doing a ton of hiking around Arizona over the next week. I've already got lots of things planned, but I'm always open to recommendations! It's the furthest west I've been beyond Louisiana, so it's a brand new world to me. I would especially appreciate food recommendations in Phoenix, Tucson, and anywhere else in the state if anyone knows a place I should check out.

  • Me and my friends are planning to go to spain this January. We would love to see some nice beaches with clear water and some stunning scenery. We were thinking Majorca,Ibiza and Canary Island, we are up to some adventures and experience a great nightlife in our travel. I came across this great article too here in but i wanted to hear your thoughts first. Can anyone suggest any ideas or tips? Any help is kindly appreciated :)

  • Just ran across this video blog, and while it's on the long side - it's EXTREMELY well done. Worth watching if Japan, especially the general Tokyo area (they spend quite a bit of time travelling around outside of Tokyo, but it's all within a couple hours drive)

    Youtube Video

  • Going back to New York this month! If any Allies want to hang, let me know!

  • Lifelong resident of Vancouver so if you have any questions about, please ask.

    Just booked our flights to Tokyo for September/October. I believe this will be my tenth time in Japan but no celebration tour as it will be the first time for our (by that time) 5-month-old daughter and she will need to meet all the in-laws. That said, I still get super giddy every time we arrive and can't wait to go back. I could probably be a resource for Tokyo as well so, again, please ask.

  • I’ll be leaving for Los Angeles soon! Very excited to be going to E3 again! I think I probably over planned though...

  • Aloha Allies, I am going to be headed back to Osaka, Japan on the 14th of June. This time there will be no business involved so I will have way more time to enjoy myself. Does anyone have recommendations for sightseeing? I plan on visiting USJ again, and will probably hit the Aquarium/Cosmosquare area another day for at least part of the day. I'm also thinking of visiting the Minami Namba/Nipponbashi area. I did Shitennoji Temple, Osaka-jou, and the large park around the zoo/museum last time, so I hope to see some new areas. Mahalo for your help.

  • @tokyoslim Its such a beautiful country. i already cant wait to go back to it

  • @namzor not in Osaka, but Nara is like 30 minutes away in train and I had a great time in Nara park, honestly I enjoyed it much more than anything in Osaka.

  • @namzor Like bard91 says, Nara is super close by train and absolutely worth a visit if only to see Todai-ji. Kyoto is also really easy to get to and I'm sure I don't need to start listing all the stuff there. You're bang on with Namba/Dotonbori/Nipponbashi, solid spot.Personally I like to get off at one end of Shinsaibashi and walk all the way to the other via Dotonbori. This may become a boon to you as June is rainy season. If you like fried things, Daruma in Dotonbori makes good kushikatsu. If you're into cars, there's a parking lot across from Don Quijote where there are usually Lambos/Rolls etc parked.

    Ame Mura (America Town) is also an easy walk from Shinsaibashi. Not the most crazy-exciting spot but it's good to see the famous, sprawling urban park that is Sankaku koen.

    Umeda in the north is somewhat similar to Namba but less exciting, in my opinion - still worth a visit if you have time. Typical downtown core with restaurants, malls etc. Plus Yodobashi Camera.

    Oh and, if you haven't already, I would recommend going to a baseball game. I am not a huge baseball fan but I have had a really good time every time I've gone to a game in Japan and Tigers fans are nuts.

    If you're looking for arcades, I know there is a Club Sega in Shinsaibashi and a few Taito Stations further south around Den Den Town.

    And eat. Osaka is famous for kuidaore (eat till you drop) so if something looks good, it probably is so eat it and eat a lot of it.

  • @bard91 @E_Zed_Eh_Intern Thanks for all your suggestions. I've been tweaking my itinerary abit to make it the most efficient, but I think I can cram in all that I want to see. Don't think I'm going to be leaving the city for Nara or Kyoto though (as much as I would love to). Gonna post a Instagram link for live picture updates from my trip. Going to have to catch up on the last day of E3 coverage on my arrival though. L & R

  • I've finalized all my travel plans for Tokyo 2020. I cashed in all my airline miles and procured a 1st class ticket on JAL SEA > LAX> NRT and a direct Business class flight back from Narita to Seattle (Seattle flights don't have 1st class cabins). I purchased tickets for 10 Olympic events, including 3x3 Basketball, Regular Basketball (both men's and women's), Beach Volleyball, Archery, Boxing, Wrestling, Track and Field, Handball, and Canoe Sprint. 19 tickets in total, at an average of about $120 per piece. Many were much cheaper, but I'm going to a couple of "finals" events that are REAL damn pricey...

    And then I got laid off. :)

    So, with like thousands of non-refundable dollars already invested in this trip, I'm not going to abandon it. The main problem is that I hadn't paid for the major expense yet. Lodging during the Olympics is stupid expensive. I could have potentially stayed with family about 1.5 hours outside of Tokyo, but that would mean 3 hours of suburban commute each day, which is far from ideal. Capsule hotels and shared bunkbed dorm style hostels are running around $100 to $240 a night. Hotels are $300-500 a night. There's no way I'd be able to afford that, and since Japan cracked down on AirBnB's, there's about 10x less of those than there used to be in Tokyo. Less supply = higher prices, and I've seen anything from $250 to $3000 a night for short term rentals like that during the olympics.

    Turns out that staying as long as I did was a blessing, as it opened up the option of a monthly rental. Month to month leases aren't regulated like short term BnB's are, so there were a few good options that weren't charging $10k for my trip. Ended up renting a furnished monthly apartment , all utilities included, no key money, in a new building, aircon, tv/cable, internet, washlet, washer/dryer, elevator, etc.right on the Yamanote line, convenient to many of the venues I'm going to -$83 a night for 33 nights! While that's still a big chunk of change, that's pretty much an unconditional win. Ate up a big chunk of my savings though. lol

    0_1575333665841_nippori apt.jpg

  • ^ Good luck on your Olympic trip! :)

    I had been planning to go, but shortly before Olympic tickets went on sale, one of the family's credit cards got cancelled. I could've still technically afforded it, but it would be beyond stupid to spend money frivolously in a time of financial insecurity (alas, you already put in a ton prior to your own insecurity. :\ ).

    In hindsight, I'm glad I didn't go through with it, because the summer heat and Olympic crowds would've been murder for the older family member I was going to go with.

    P.S. Had been planning to attend Weightlifting, Gymnastics, and the Men's High Jump final.

  • @oscillator Yeah, it's gonna be hot and crowded and insane, but it's also a lifelong dream for me to go to a Tokyo Olympics.

    I didn't get any gymnastics tickets. The only things I really wanted to get tickets for and didn't are Sailing down at Enoshima harbor and Speed Climbing.

    Wrestling, I'm going to be at the Mens' Greco Roman 77kg, 97kg semifinals and the the 60kg and 130kg bronze medal matches and finals. The women's Freestyle 68kg semifinals, and the 76kg bronze and finals matches.

    That was the most expensive ticket I bought.