I will be arriving in Osaka on 12/29/12 and just plan to spend the night and then head to Tokyo the next day. I don't plan to do much in Osaka but figure I may as well be in the action that night. Any recommendations on where to stay or what to do that night and or the next day before leaving for Tokyo? Thanks!
I'll be in Tokyo between 12/30 - 1/3 over New Years. I know the place to Party is Shibuya, but I'm trying to figure out if I'm better off staying near Shibuya station or Shinjuku station. I know Shinjuku is the biggest and not sure if makes it any more or less convenient. I'm looking for the most convenient location with the most stuff in walking distance as well from where I stay. Thanks!
- Torishige４丁目-１２−４ Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo, Japanrecommended TorishigeAwesome yakitori-ya (a restaurant that serves skewered chicken - yakitori - and other dishes). One of my favorites is the skewered gingko nuts. Also the shitake mushrooms. A real culimary treat in a ... read morewelcoming environment. On meguro dori
- Osaka Castle1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-kurecommended Osaka CastleWhile it might be a ferro-concrete reconstruction, this traditional medieval Japanese castle in the heart of Osaka makes a decent introduction to the form. Better yet, the park that surrounds it is ... read morequite pretty, and even if it's an effect you'll eventually see done better elsewhere, Japanese castles in general are simply cool enough that you're unlikely to really care.Matthew Crompton
Yeah, it won't change your life. But still very cool.
- Osaka Aquarium1-1-10 Kaigandori, Osaka-Shi, 27 552-0022 Japanrecommended Osaka AquariumI am not normally a big fan of aquariums, but for some reason, Osaka's aquarium does it for me. Located in the city's charmingly rough wharf area, there's enough variety here (pinnipeds, sharks, and ... read moreall the other usual suspects) that it's well worth an hour or two of your time.Matthew Crompton
Eating takoyaki on the pier after going to the aquarium was pretty great.
recommended ShinjukuShinjuku is what many people think of when they imagine what Tokyo must look like: towering buildings (some with futuristic architecture), tons of flashing neon, and no shortage of crowds. One of the ... read morecity's major commercial and entertainment centres, it's a great place for shopping, dining, and people-watching, particularly in the evenings, when the neon turns the district into a scene straight out of Blade Runner.Matthew Crompton
For what it's worth, I quite like Shinjuku, and virtually anything you could ever want is right at your doorstep.
- Meiji Jingu Shrine1-1 Kamizono-cho, Tokyo, 13 151-0053 Japanrecommended Meiji Jingu ShrineWhat's not to like about central Tokyo's Meiji Shrine (located in the Shibuya neighborhood)? The centerpiece of a beautiful, shady urban park (the Japanese know design), it's an oasis in the concrete ... read morejungle of the heart of Tokyo. Lined with wooden Shinto torii gates, the approach to the shrine is beautiful, and the sight of women in kimono drifting between pools of light and shadow on the approach to the shrine (itself a lovely collection of pavilions) is a classic postcard of Japan.Matthew Crompton
This is the big spot for NYE in Tokyo, and Shinjuku is only three stops (albeit with a transfer for a total of 13 minutes) away. If you can find a reasonable hotel in Shibuya, that's fine, but it's Tokyo and NYE, whether in Shibuya first or Shinjuku afterwards, is going to be a party.
recommended Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji)BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!! This golden temple ranks pretty highly for me amongst the various temples around Kyoto. It is so stunning and the location by the water makes it so picturesque. It's usually a common ... read moretour bus stop so if you hop on a temple tour, you will most likely have a stop here.travel33
If you are in Kyoto, this is a must see!
- AsakusaAsakusa, Taito, Tokyo, Japanrecommended AsakusaI loved visiting this area. There was fun shopping, beautiful cherry blossoms (only at the right time!) and the beautiful senso-ji buddhist temple. I was there a few months ago and had such a great ... read moretime walking around the area. It was super crowded and very lively. I'm not sure if it's always that crowded if the cherry blossom season brought people out but whatever the case, it was really awesome. Next to the temple/shop area is the Sumida River, it was lined with cherry blossoms and families (I mean hundreds) were sitting under cherry blossoms having a picnic...or more a party because they were downing the sake's. This is an awesome place to visit! It was about 20 minute train ride from Shinjuku.
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What kinds of things are you most interested in? There is so much to see in Japan and such great variety. what interests do you have or are you specifically looking for, eg. more cities or nature, food, museums, history, art, gardens, hiking, temples/shrines? Anything that might help us tailor our answers for you.
recommended NikkoTruly magical if you can get there! Located only a couple hours north of Tokyo up in the mountains this little town has a lot to offer. The main town is located at the base of a mountain with several ... read morevery sacred temples and shrines. If you take a ride up the mountain you'll be treated to several waterfalls, big beautiful glass like lakes and incredible scenery. And after a day of trekking enjoy one of the many onsen, natural hot spring baths, back in town.Yogic Traveler
In the country, one of my favoritesrecommended NikkoIf you've ever enjoyed a Studio Ghibli movie, then Nikko will give you everything you want. Cool mists drape over high, forested mountains and low valleys cut by slow rivers. The hiking here is easily ... read moretop tier, and it's only about an hour from Tokyo by bullet train. Nearby is also Kamakura, with the famous giant bronze Buddha, and the ride from Nikko Station to Kamakura is very serene.
recommended TokyoAn amazing city to see! Growing up outside of New York City Tokyo is the only place in the world I've ever been with a similar feel to NYC. There are so many unique things this city has to offer I ... read morecan't even begin to list them all here.Yogic Traveler
Of course, so much to see!
recommended KyotoLoved Kyoto! There is so much to do there and with such variety. I would have to say I liked it even better than Tokyo and I was glad I chose to spend an entire week there. There is so much to see ... read moreeverything from traditional Japan to modern. I recommend people base there trips out of Kyoto and focus as more of their time here. Kyoto has a sampling of pretty much everything Japanese all in one location.Yogic Traveler
The best place to base from for a trip to Japan!recommended KyotoCrown jewel of the Japanese tourism scene, Kyoto is above all known as a city of temples, but that's really only the beginning of what it has to offer. Spend a day or two hopping between wonders like ... read morethe stunning Kiyomizudera temple and the Fushimi Inari shrine, but don't neglect a wander up Hiei-zan (a mountain in the city's north), or an evening of geisha-spotting and haute kaiseki cuisine in the precincts of Gion. Kyoto has a fabulous public transit system, but you'll find - weather permitting - that a bicycle is perhaps the best way to get around here.Matthew Crompton
- Hama Rikyu Garden1-1 Hamarikyuteien, Tokyo, 13 104-0045 Japanrecommended Hama Rikyu GardenThis garden is beautiful, with lots of trees and lakes. I was there in November, so there weren't any flowers blooming, but it was still very peaceful and calm. There is a tea house inside the garden ... read moreso that you can learn to drink tea int he traditional Japanese way. Pay an admission fee to the tea house, sit on a tatami, and learn how to eat your dessert and drink your tea the right way (they have a page of instructions in English, if you choose to try the traditional method).
- Takano Fruit Parlor1-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japanrecommended Takano Fruit ParlorTakano Fruit Parlor is a must try if you love desserts. They have a number of locations, but I found it easier to find the one inside of Takashimaya Times Square. Their fruit parfaits all look so ... read moreamazing from the window it is hard to choose just one. Inside, they even give you little forks at your table so it's easier to enjoy your dessert. The pear parfait was amazing! It had so many layers of different fruit mousses and gelatin and nuts. The flavors and textures went so well together and each bite was slightly different depending on what your spoon picked up.
- Asakusa Shrine2-3-1 Asakusa, Tokyo, 13 111-0032 Japanrecommended Asakusa ShrineThis is a huge temple and one of the oldest in Japan. The temple itself is beautiful and interesting to visit, but the fun part is the quarter mile long street of vendors selling all kinds of food and ... read morecrafts in front of the temple.Kevin Cheng
Cool place to visit.
- Sushi Dai日本, 東京都中央区築地5-2-1recommended Sushi DaiMake good use of your jetlag and get up early (like at 4am) to get to Sushi Dai when they open at 5. Otherwise be prepared to wait up to 4 hours in line. We got there at 5:20 and ONLY had to wait 40 ... read moreminutes. The sushi is top notch and the omakase is a fairly good deal.Kevin Cheng
If you're into sushi, this is the place to hit up.
- Tsukiji Fish MarketTsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo, Japanrecommended Tsukiji Fish MarketSpectacular fish market and ground zero for the Japanese seafood industry. A must visit if you're in Tokyo. Hit up the sushi restaurants in the market (Sushi Dai) or in the neighborhood around it ... read morewhile you're here. They serve sushi as breakfast.
recommended Toyama PrefectureJapan's Toyama prefecture is an ideal place to discover the simplicity of traditional Japanese culture. The remote mountainous region, located along the West Coast, facing the Sea of Japan, boasts an ... read moreincredibly diverse range of attractions, from national treasures and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gokayama village, to contemporary attractions like the popular Tonami Tulip Fair and exciting winter sports, like alpine skiing.
- Eiheiji Temple５−１５ Shihi, Eiheiji, Yoshida District, Fukui Prefecture, Japanrecommended Eiheiji TempleFounded in 1244, Eiheiji is the head temple of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. Visitors can visit the awe-inspiring religious site, nestled in the wooded hills of Fukui (about 15 kilometers from Fukui ... read moreCity) for a morning guided tour with a senior monk, stay overnight (which includes baths, meals and meditation sessions) or even participate in the temple's active monastery training program.
recommended KanazawaKanazawa, located on the coast of the Sea of Japan, is the capital city of the Ishikawa prefecture and offers visitors a wide variety of cultural attractions to experience. While the city is modern ... read moreand cosmopolitan, the ancient castle town boasts historical sites like the traditional samurai district and houses, geisha entertainment districts, a bamboo museum and the city's most famous cultural product: gold leaf. Kanazawa produces 99% of Japan's gold leaf and there is a strong local tradition of infusing gold leaf into everyday life, whether it's used in the paint of the traditional laquerware, floating in a cup of hot tea or sprinkled on top of a green tea ice cream cone, Kanazawa visitors have the opportunity to get a real taste of the local culture.Ramona Flume
Hi Forest! Japan's West Coast is absolutely incredible if you're looking for a slightly more quiet, more traditional Japanese experience. Kanazawa is my favorite city in the region!
recommended Kurokawa Onsen VillageKurokawa Onsen village is everything a traditional Japanese hot spring village should be - tranquil, pretty, relaxing, and charming without being hackneyed. An hour's drive from the rail junction at ... read moreAso, the village manages to find a balance between the neon and concrete sprawl of larger onsen towns, and the ultra-expensive exclusivity that makes others inaccessible to all but the well-heeled. The two dozen traditional ryokan inns in town have banded together to allow day visitors to visit on the 'onsen passport' system, a 1200Y pass that grants access to any three of the onsen in the village. Personal favorite? -- Yamamizuki ryokan's stunning riverside bath, a short walk from the town center.Matthew Crompton
And CERTAINLY visit an onsen (hot spring) village, here or elsewhere. Good luck! =)
recommended HiroshimaAt once a pleasantly relaxed and quiet city, and a potent symbol of the destructive horrors of the modern age, Hiroshima is practically an expected visit for anyone with a JR pass and an extra day or ... read moretwo. Still, some things are popular for a reason, and a morning spent in quiet reflection in the Atomic Bomb Memorial Museum and surrounding Peace Park should probably be a required experience for citizens of 21st-century Planet Earth. However, after this sobering meditation is over, Hiroshima's still a pretty great place. They've got a lovely old-style tramline, some nifty shopping arcades, and plenty of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki: a savory local pancake that's out of this world. Also, the people are some of the nicest in Japan.Matthew Crompton
recommended Nagano and the Japanese AlpsThe Japanese Alps in central Honshu are one of the highlights of a trip to Japan, and one that most visitors miss in their classic Tokyo-to-Kyoto circuit. Jaw-dropping scenery, gnarly trekking, and ... read moreamazing resorts for skiing and snowboarding are all to be found here, just a five-hour ride away from the neon lights of Tokyo. Personal favorite? The 3-day circuit in the North Japanese Alps topping Yarigatake and Oku-Hotaka-dake, Japan's 5th- and 3rd-highest mountains, and crossing the thrilling knife-edge ridge of the Daikiretto. Bring a tent and a stove and rough it, or tote nothing more than a daypack and stay in the fully-furnished mountain lodges.Matthew Crompton