Asia - Japan

General Suggestions

This is a blog post assuming you'll be spending a bit of time around the entirety of Japan (e.g. few days in a few cities). Know your geography in Japan. Since everything is easily accessible by high speed train, you can plan your trip by region.

Important Links

If you need airbnb (you'll get a free $40 off):

https://abnb.me/e/jRvXPz3dUH

If you need uber (you'll get a free ride!):

https://www.uber.com/invite/lffud

Airports

Tokyo:

1. Narita airport

This is the main international airport near Tokyo. To get to and from here, you can take the Narita express for ~30,000 yen ($30 USD).

2. Haneda airport

This is the domestic airport near Tokyo. You can get between the airports for ~$15.

Osaka

1. Kansai airport

This is the main airport near Osaka. It is easy to get to and from here using the metro.

Cultural Notes

Japanese people have an incredible sense of respect, which is engrained into their culture. Don't take this to mean that they are pushovers, but simply be grateful and observant of this. For example, I felt like a super rude American when I was rushing to get to the escalator, when I realized everyone filed in single-file line!

Sights

Tokyo:

1. Shibuya Walkway

This is the famous walkway that you see in Fast and Furious and a bunch of time-lapse videos. I like going to one of the surrounding shops and watching from the window. It's pretty cool and then maybe going into the crowd to walk where as many as 2500 people cross every signal change.

2. TV Tower

A great view (night, or day) of the city.

3. Mount Fuji (day trip)

Mount Fuji is actually very doable in the summer time! You can take public transport a significant portion up the mountain and then climb the rest of the way. There is also an option of hiking up with a tour guide and then seeing the sunrise (haven't done this, but will TBD).

Osaka:

1. Osaka Castle

Really nice looking castle with a lot of history in the multi-level museum inside. There are also a bunch of street acts always around, including animal trainers (I caught a great photo of an owl once).

2. Dotonburi

A really famous area that shows an entire street of Japanese lanterns. It's really beautiful at night time.

Kyoto:

Probably one of my favorite cities because of how beautiful and culturally different it is. I would even recommend getting a bike and going around the city that way.

1. Kiyomizu-dera Shrine

Famous water temple.

2. Kinkaku-ji

Famous temple that is golden.

3. Arashiyama Forest

Really sick forest that houses local monkeys!

4. Fushima Inari-Taisha

Really incredible temple/area/shrine that has incredible history and culture behind it. Also home of local monkeys!

Nara:

1. Nara Park

Famous area where you can feed the local deer! They smell by the way. The best time to go is definitely in the morning before they're super full from the loads of tourists overfeeding them.

Buy bread/lettuce beforehand, or you end up getting ripped off by the local carts.

Food

Here, I briefly describe a couple of food places that are worth the HYPE. For locations, just use google, tripadvisor, or yelp.

1. Gen Sushi

Great turnstyle sushi place that I've been probably 3-5 times every time I've been in Tokyo.

2. Ichiran Ramen

Great ramen shop that you order from a vending machine and sit in a "cubicle" like area to eat. Absolutely... great.

3. Omakase (Find a sushi restaurant with good reviews)

This is a style of sushi where essentially the chef picks what to serve you. Kind of pricey, but absolutely delicious.

Nightlife/Drinking

1. Roppongi

Ratchet area.

2. Shibuya (Izakaya)

This is a Japanese way of eating and drinking over a meal. It's basically a very cool pregame and a good way of socializing and getting drunk. Order a lot of beer and get some japanese finger food.

Getting Around

The best way to get around each city would definitely be using the subway system. Getting between cities is extremely easy with the Japanese high speed train system.

To get a taxi (and you don't have the japanese app), you can always ask the restaurant/bar/store you are at to order a taxi. They are always perfectly happy to call the taxis for you using their app.

FAQ

  1. Q: How do I get around? A: I highly suggest getting the Kansai pass ahead of time if you are going to be traveling in that region.