Japan Travel Suggestions?

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karageko
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Japan Travel Suggestions?

Post by karageko » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:38 am

Hi folks,

With very high likelihood I will be visiting Japan late March to early April. The last time I was there was in 2015 for my third summer in a row before realizing I didn't actually want to live and work in Japan. Also unfortunately as a consequence, I didn't go out of my way to make use of those summers to actually check out Japan. I assumed I'd have plenty of time in the future :oops:

I already have Nakano Broadway (my favorite place in Japan) and Nerima Ward (somehow I didn't know about this place until after my 2015 visit) scheduled.

Any other must-go-to old school otaku spots?

I guess I'll probably do a trip to Akiba but if I'm being entirely honest every time I go I find it pretty boring, seeing as things I would actually want to buy are usually in Nakano Broadway.

Also any non-otaku culture suggestions are welcome too. I kinda realized I've done very few typical-Japan-travel things so I kinda want to dip into those activities a little as well.

Oh also, if anyone knows about cel vendors outside of Nakano Broadway that would be very useful information.

I guess any suggestions are fine really. Doesn't have to be restricted to the Tokyo area. Thanks!
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Akage
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Re: Japan Travel Suggestions?

Post by Akage » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:09 pm

I was last there in October. Cels have pretty much dried up, even at Nakano Broadway. There's Mandarake with a handful of cheap rando 1000 yen and under cels for sale and twin_angel's shop across from it, but it was very much dead. TA had lots of douga and only a small selection of cels. Once Mainland China started getting in to the cel hobby, a lot of that supply just escalated in price and disappeared. It definitely wasn't like when I went in 2009 where I could come out with stacks of 1000 yen and under cels from Mandarake.

If you're in Akiba, I recommend Radio Kaikan. Great one stop shop for all your Japanese Kit Kat needs. They also sell a lot of the UFO prizes, so if you're not great at these machines but want the stuff inside, this was the way to go.

If you want to do an anime theme café, I'd recommend looking at what's around and booking them before you go. I went to a few including the Cardcaptor Sakura (CCS) one at Mori Tower in Roppongi, and that was pretty nice. The Pokémon Center DX café was probably the best of the cafes I visited. I recommend going there. Food was pretty good, though just like any café, pricey for what you get. Watching someone dance in a cute Eevee costume was worth it.

I took my friend along and as she's an anime fan too, we ended up visiting a lot of places that were featured in the series we liked. We visited Tokyo Tower and the shrine nearby, Zojo-ji, as both play a big part in CCS. There was a small museum at Zojo-ji with some nice cultural treasures. Kaminarimon is Asakusa is another place I'd recommend. If there's any series that you enjoy that incorporate parts of Tokyo, I'd recommend looking them up ahead of time to visit.

For day trips, since Nikko is under repairs, I'd recommend Kamakura. It's about an hour away from Tokyo by train. Big Buddha statue there as well as a really nice bamboo forest.

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Re: Japan Travel Suggestions?

Post by Daniel » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:46 am

You'll be going around the time when the cherry trees blossom. :)

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Re: Japan Travel Suggestions?

Post by Drew_Sutton » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:51 am

If you're into plamo, I wish I could remember the name of the shop in Akiba I stumbled upon when I went in '09. I remember them having several new or recently released kits (where I got my Aoshima Garland and Bandai R3 Layzner) but they also had a treasure trove of really old kits (like my DYRL Strike Valkyrie for ~250Y) for dirt cheap. Had I more room (or less manga) in my suitcase, I probably would have picked up more stuff there than I did. If you're not into plamo, I think I remember a couple of display shelves that were worth a peak. If I remember, it was the place with the large Mazinger Z outside but being nearly 10 years ago now, who knows what's happened in the meantime.
Karageko wrote:Also any non-otaku culture suggestions are welcome too. I kinda realized I've done very few typical-Japan-travel things so I kinda want to dip into those activities a little as well.
Things I often recommend:
I'll second Akage's suggestion of Mori Tower in Roppongi/Roppongi Hills (Minato-ku Roppongi 6-chome 10ban-1gou) - hit the observation deck on 50-ish and you can get a 360 degree panorama all around Tokyo (at least). While Tokyo Tower is prominent in anime, the only pics I have of it are from above in Mori Tower. Website doesn't say how much the tickets for Tokyo City View are, but I don't remember it being more than 3000Y. I've paid more for other observation decks in North America.

If you're travelling within the country, I'll be the weirdo that recommends staying in a capsule hotel, especially if you're in between stops. By far one of the most fun and unique travel experiences I've had. I wouldn't try to book my entire trip in capsules but it made a lot of sense when I had a very early flight the next morning and the friend I was staying with didn't live in the city I was flying out of.

Last but not least, a Nippon Professional Baseball game. Even if you don't like baseball, the crowd and cheering sections/ouendan are usually really into it and makes the whole game a spectacle. If you're in Tokyo, you might save yourself a bit of money and opt for a game at Meiji Jingu Stadium where Yakult Swallows play, rather than drop bigger money on a Yomiuri Giants game. Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto/Hyogo have a couple teams between them but there are a few other designated cities and large cities that have franchise teams, depending on where else in the country you are thinking about heading.
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Re: Japan Travel Suggestions?

Post by zimmerit » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:59 am

Just got back from a trip and honestly, aside from what I picked up at Wonderfest, I didn't find a ton that really interested me. Older stuff is (unsurprisingly) getting harder to find. Surugaya just opened a massive 8-story building in Akiba, so that and the Mandarake there make it a worthwhile visit even if you're just running into those places.

Late March/early April might be cherry blossom season, so I'd definitely recommend an afternoon in a park doing hanami. If you haven't been before, check out some of the towns on the west side past Nakano -- particularly Koenji and Kichijoji, they're fun to wander around.

If you get a chance, get the hell out of Tokyo. Osaka is great. Other towns are great, too. I spent a few days in Nagasaki this past trip and loved it.
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karageko
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Re: Japan Travel Suggestions?

Post by karageko » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:50 am

zimmerit wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:59 am
If you get a chance, get the hell out of Tokyo. Osaka is great. Other towns are great, too. I spent a few days in Nagasaki this past trip and loved it.
Yeah I've been meaning to explore way outside of Tokyo, but it's been a while since I've gone back so it's sorta just to keep logistics simple & also because I'll likely be meeting a bunch of people in Tokyo (I have been to Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto in the past although those are pretty standard tourist stops as well).

I was planning to stay the hell away from Japan in 2020 but that might be a good opportunity to check out places far, far away from Tokyo and the impending flood of foreigners.

By the way, how'd you get around in less urban areas? I'd have to rely entirely on public transport because I don't know how to drive, so I was wondering if I had to be concerned at all about public transport accessibility in such areas.
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Akage
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Re: Japan Travel Suggestions?

Post by Akage » Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:43 pm

karageko wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:50 am
By the way, how'd you get around in less urban areas? I'd have to rely entirely on public transport because I don't know how to drive, so I was wondering if I had to be concerned at all about public transport accessibility in such areas.
There are buses in more remote areas of Japan. Kyoto also has a very extensive bus system that you can use to ferry you to temples and other places of interest. Buses can be very crowded, but they're clean and cheap.

I found myself walking a lot in Japan, particularly in more remote areas. It's sometimes faster that way.

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Re: Japan Travel Suggestions?

Post by usamimi » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:56 pm

I've heard GREAT things about Osaka and Kyoto, especially if you want to see more cultural stuff and eat way more food for cheaper. I also recommend not doing one of those big guided tour things...a friend of mine spent a lot of money on one because they thought it'd be the best way to see all the big highlights of Japan, but they ended up having a pretty dreadful time because they'd spend only a little time at each place, then rush quickly to the next...And of course, they'd end up going to a lot of really boring touristy places they had no interest in, so those parts felt like a huge waste. It seems like you'd be better off just picking a few things you REALLY want to do and going on your own to really take your time to enjoy it.

I'd also recommend seeing if there's any art exhibitions going on while you're there! I have friends who've gone to exhibitions for Rumiko Takahashi, Naoki Urusawa, Hirohiko Araki....different ones seem to pop up all the time, so it's worth looking into!

Speaking of cafes, there IS an Urusei Yatsura cafe in Japan currently, here's more info if you want to go: https://www.dangonews.com/caf-calendar/ ... atsura-caf A friend of mine went and said it was super fun, lots of cool things to see, eat, and buy if you like UY.
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