Travel anarchy advice


Super Anarchist
Great Lakes
OK, is like this, we are going to be in Japan (first visit) in early October for a couple of weeks. I am doing some early planning - at least establishing what areas we will be be going to. Have done my due diligence with Lonely Planet and some useful You Tube vids so have the famous spots and a few of the more obscure ones on the list. Does anyone have any 'hidden gems' that are worth a visit?

People going to other places, feel free to ask about them.

Ed Lada

Super Anarchist
Where in Japan are you going? If you spend any time in Tokyo, there is a small town on the nearby Izu Peninsula called Odawara. It is a little more than an hourt away on the Shinkansen express train. Odawara is famous for a (rebuilt) traditional Japanese castle, and for skilled woodworkers that produce beautiful items of all kinds with a paper thin veneer. They've been practicing this particular craft for hundreds of years. The Izu Peninsula is also known for it's hot springs and a stay in a traditional inn with hot baths in the Hakone area, very close to Odawara is a great experience. It's a good excuse to ride on the Shinkansen and get away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. If the weather is clar you can see Mt Fuji from both Tokyo and Odawara/Hakone. The city hall in Tokyo has an observation area on the 60th floor, and also the 640m (2,100') Tokyo Skytree tower provides an incredible view in clear weather. The only problem is it's often cloudy and overcast in Japan, bring an umbrella. Insider tip: There are several large department stores in the Ginz, Tokyo's famous shopping district. Think Saks 5th Ave in Manhattan. They have 2 grocery stores in the basement, the one on the first level is usually an incredible variety of gourmet food and many freshly pre cooked items packed in plastic to take with you. The 2nd basement level has a normal supermarket. Usually on the top floor there are a large number of restaurants offering the full array of Japanese food, tempura, ramen, sushi, etc. The food is good and the prices are reasonable. On the roof is a garden and stalls that offer coffee, ice cream, and other snacks, and a nice view of the area. There are benches to sit on and usually a little playground.

What ever you do in Japan, you should really stay in Tokyo for a few days. It's one of the most incredible cities in the world in my opinion. Kyoto the former capitol of Japan is also a short train ride from Tokyo. It is small and full of old traditional buildings and the famous golden pagoda and many postcard views. Unfortunately it's also full of tourists like many places in the world. Tokyo is just full of Japanese people. With 12 million in the city and 40 million in the metro area, tourists are almost not noticeable. Just a bunch of short people with dark hair. If you go to Tokyo, there's no need to go to Osaka, the 2nd largest city in Japan, one big Japanese city is enough. There are expensive western style luxury hotels in Tokyo but the city is full of small hotels with 2 western beds, bathroom and breakfast. The rooms aren't spacious but they usually run around $100.00 a night or less they are very clean, and there are many of them in the center of the city in very nice neighborhoods. I would rather spend my money on food and other things, the hotel is only for sleeping and cleaning up. The Narita Express runs regularly from Narita airport to Tokyo Station and it's about an hour ride. The last time I was there I think the ticket cost $18.00 one way. Taxis in Tokyo are very reasonably priced in the day time, the price goes up quite a bit in the later evening hours. Don't worry about getting lost in the city, your usually never far from a Metro station.

Japanese people are extremely polite and even if they don't speak any English, they will go out of their way to help you. The train system is incredibly good, relatively cheap and is mostly easy to use and goes everywhere. The Metro in Tokyo is also very easy to use, a day ticket is around $6.00 and all of the stations are color coded and the station names are always in English as well as Japanese. The Metro and the Yamanote train line which encircles the city will get you anywhere. I think Tokyo and Japan should be on everybody's bucket list. I lived just outside of Tokyo for 3 1/2 years and was last there in 2015 for a visit. I would love another trip there, but I can't travel anymore.

If you have any specific questions, I'll be happy to help you.

Traditional wood craft

Skytree At the base is a multilevel shopping mall.

Odawara Castle



Super Anarchist
Kyoto. It didn't get bombed so has a lot of older buildings as well as the temples. It isn't "hidden" but a walk down Philosopher's Path from Ginkakuji to Nanzin-ji is great. Lots of little temples and gardens to see along the way. Plus an aqueduct.
The temples have screen paintings that are gorgeous if you are into that sort of thing.


Super Anarchist
Great Lakes
At this point the plan is Tokyo for three or four nights, Hakone for a couple, Kyoto for 3 nights (is this too long?),Hiroshima for 3 nights with only a day trip to Miyajima (couldn't get a hotel, everything booked months ahead). Maybe getting a night at Kusatsu Onsen in the Alps.

My wife spent a couple of months in Japan 30 years ago using a special electron microscope for her research. She said she could speak Japanese a bit and can read many characters since they are basically the same as Chinese. Have to see how much comes back to her.

Really looking forward to the food. Just watched 'The Makanai' on Netflix about a teenager who goes to Kyoto to train as a geisha but is not good at it and ends up cooking in the house where the training is done. Lovely show that is all about friendship and kindness. Seemed very Japanese.

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