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Tokyo Questions  
User currently offlineATCtower From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 540 posts, RR: 3
Posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4084 times:

Hey all-

I have never been to Tokyo and am headed there in a couple months and flying into NRT.

I only have a few days in the city and am curious what the 'best' hotels are around things to see, what should we check out, and how far is NRT from these places?

I dont need 'Ritz' best but I want a nice hotel and want it to be around things we want to see but I dont know what those things are either...

Thanks for all the help!


By reading the above post you waive all rights to be offended. If you do not like what you read, forget it.
14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4014 times:

NRT is quite some distance from the city of Tokyo.
Different railway companies and some bus / coach companies offer services.
Buses take longer, trains vary from commuter-style to more modern cars. (URL at the end of this reply)

Tokyo has many "centers" and touristic sights are to be found all across the mega-city.
For neighborhoods to stay in you will get as many recommendations as you people.
Keep in mind that public transport in Tokyo is efficient but during peak hours trains are more than full (especially on section of the Yamanote ring railway line).

Here is my view as a long distance traveller:
If you are flying into and out of NRT, and have no preference to stay in any specific neighborhood, I would select a neighborhood & hotel that allows easy transfer to NRT.

For the March 2011 TYO A.net Meeting that was canceled last minute due to the Tohoku Earthquake and the resulting Tsunamis, I had opted to stay in the neighborhood of Inaricho, northeast of the very city center (if you take the royal palace as center of the city). Access to NRT then can be to / from Ueno station (actually Keisei Ueno station).
The Keisei Skyliner surely is not the cheapest of options but is said to be fast and comfortable.

For hotels I had chosen Chisun Ueno, as it had been offering acceptable rates for a room that is larger than a shoe box. Always look at the square meter (or sqft) statement when reserving a hotel room in Tokyo !

As I have a preference to use public transport on rails over using buses in foreign cities, the train stations at Ueno as well as the Metro stations Ueno and Inaricho would give options for getting around.

Much more valuable information for getting around etc. can be found on japan-guide.com. Transport between NRT and Tokyo.
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4013 times:

Quoting HT (Reply 1):

I, too, am interested in NRT myself. I was curious to how much these hotel costs are in your experience. Ballpark figures??

Quoting HT (Reply 1):
NRT is quite some distance from the city of Tokyo.

In miles, how far away is NRT from Tokyo?? Is NRT a much nicer area than Tokyo is? Or is Tokyo the place to be?



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4002 times:

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
In miles, how far away is NRT from Tokyo??

36 miles. But getting to / from NRT is time consuming and expensive (depending on operator / service chosen). Details see japan-guide.com (URL at end of reply #1).

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
Is NRT a much nicer area than Tokyo is? Or is Tokyo the place to be?

From what I have read there is not much of interest for foreign tourists around Narita airport; the city of Narita shall have a few old sights. But for *normal* tourists Tokyo is the place to be.
For the A.netter who intends to spend lots of time spotting around NRT it arguably is better to stay in a NRT-hotel rather than to commute from downtown Tokyo, which either will be expensive or consume around 3 to 4 hours (return) per day.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
hotel costs

Hotel rates vary. Be advised that the more affordable, but still acceptable hotels in Tokyo do sell out months in advance. Check the usual independent sites for hotel rates; one I found very helpful for travel in Asia is Agoda.com which appears to have a larger selection of hotels than the competitors I have checked,

Hotels at Narita airport appear to sell out less fast than in downtown Tokyo.
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4000 times:

Quoting HT (Reply 3):
But for *normal* tourists Tokyo is the place to be.

Then why would UA decide to debut the 787 to NRT from DEN instead of Tokyo?? That kinda confuses me.

But then again, Japan is Japan..... Seems like an interesting country nonetheless!

Thanks for the info, good sir!  



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3989 times:

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 4):
Then why would UA decide to debut the 787 to NRT from DEN instead of Tokyo?? That kinda confuses me.

NRT is the primary intercontinental airport for Tokyo.
Intercontinental service into HND was allowed only about a year ago after its fourth runway was opened. Still slots for intercontinental flights are limited as are times (generally off-peak).
Furthermore, NRT is the traditional hub for UA and all other U.S.-airlines.
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9580 posts, RR: 52
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3976 times:

It's a hard question. The good thing is transportation in Tokyo is very easy once you master the subway system.

My recommendation would be stay near Tokyo Station. Ginza is a very popular area. Last time I stayed at the Yaesu Fujiya hotel. It's a short walk from Tokyo Station and a good central point to start out at near Ginza. That specific hotel is like most in Tokyo. Rooms are clean and on the small side without the glitz found in cities like Dubai or Hong Kong, but perfectly acceptable and reasonably priced.

I would not stay in or near Narita if you are a tourist. The Narita Express takes you nonstop to Tokyo station in under an hour and while expensive is well worth it.

If you book early, you can usually find a reasonable hotel around 10,000 Yen ($120), but expect to pay up to $200 for something reasonable.

[Edited 2012-12-08 14:49:22]


If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineATCtower From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 540 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3963 times:

Thanks for the responses so far, please keep them coming!

I am going as a tourist and plan to stay city center, not near Narita, it just so happens UAL is flying the route AS mentioned earlier into Narita. Given the context of this trip, I have budgeted 250-350/nt for the hotel.

Somewhat to piggyback off my earlier post as well, most everything I am reading is that Japanese are not particularly friendly to gaijin and English is not widely spoken, is this a correct ascertation? I have never been to Japan and know zero Japanese but will have a 'pocket translator' (laugh if you need, they really do help a lot). I have NO idea what to really do while I can usually keep myself entertained, I have never been to Asia without an itinerary. I have given thought to the zoo, maybe a sumo match... Only there 3.5 days so I cant go wild but.... Advice here could help too please  



By reading the above post you waive all rights to be offended. If you do not like what you read, forget it.
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25049 posts, RR: 46
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3963 times:

The Tokyo metro area is one of the world largest and most populous (35mil+). I cant understate the vastness.

So I don't think there is a simple answer of where to stay. The city is broken down into different districts with each having lots of individual things to offer. Basically cities within a city.

As first time tourist, I suppose one area to look at is central Tokyo with districts like Chuo(Ginza), Shinjuku, Shibuya, Minato. But even each one of these districts is quite large themselves.

As far as staying out by Narita, its basically a town out in the country. Not much to do there, and would require often time consuming transportation back and forth to the city. Can get tiring and expensive after a few days.

My best advise is to go look at web sites such as Tripadvisor and see what what various people suggest. Often there are lots of photos and reviews of locations, hotels and activities. See what strikes you interesting.

Safe travels.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinegocaps16 From Japan, joined Jan 2000, 4339 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3894 times:

Quoting ATCtower (Reply 7):
Japanese are not particularly friendly to gaijin

False statement. I live in Japan and been here for over 5 years. When a Japanese sees a westerner walking about Tokyo, they'll probably just stare at you but in their mind, they are not thinking "oh, he's probably an american, I don't like him."
Sure, some older Japanese may not like american but hey, that was the past, this is now. The tensions between our relationship right now is due to americans commiting stupid and selfless acts like vandalising, rape, displaying public drunkiness. That's what is pissing these people off right now. Other then that, if you respect them and their culture, they'll show their respect to us and you'd be amazed how generous these people would do to you. Sure, if you go to a public establishment and the owner kicks you out at a bar becuase your a "gaijin." Don't feel bad, walk out and find another place to drink.

Quoting ATCtower (Reply 7):
English is not widely spoken, is this a correct ascertation?

Come on! You're going to Tokyo whereas english is a second language to most or knows enough english for to meet tourist. At least you're not visiting the rurul areas like the farmlands, where english speaking Japanese are hard to find. Hence when I first met my 5 years ago.

Just a tip. If you are traveling with a friend, most Japanese hotels charge per person instead of a room. So if the rates are 6,000 yens a night and with 2 people in a room, the total will be around 12,000 yens/ per night for two people.

[Edited 2012-12-09 16:59:18]

User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7394 posts, RR: 17
Reply 10, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3886 times:

I love Tokyo, so I hope you have a lot of fun!

Check out the Prince Hotel in Shinjuku or the Washington Hotel in Shinjuku. Stay away from Roppongi and Kabukicho  

I'll be in Tokyo come March actually~

Check out the following: Odaiba, Akasaka, Asakusa, Sky Tree, and Mintano-Mirai in Yokohama (about 20 minutes from Shibuya)

For transportation, take the NRT Express. It's the easiest way to get to the major stations, albeit the Keisei Skyliner is quicker, it only goes to Ueno Station.

[Edited 2012-12-09 17:16:24]


次は、渋谷、渋谷。出口は、右側です。電車とホームの間は広く開いておりますので、足元に注意下さい。
User currently offlineDL_Mech From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 1932 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 3862 times:

Another tip:

I had trouble finding an ATM in Tokyo that would take my card. If your ATM card is not a "smart" card with a visible chip, you may have trouble using yours.



Most guide books tell you 7-11 stores have ATMs that work with foreign cards, mine did not. It took us about half a day to find a Citibank branch where our cards worked. I later found out that there was a Citibank ATM in arrivals at NRT.

[Edited 2012-12-09 22:25:46]


This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
User currently offlinegocaps16 From Japan, joined Jan 2000, 4339 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3856 times:

Or go to any JP ATMs (Japan Post Office) which they accept foreign cards. Always works for me whenever I travel around Japan.

User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9580 posts, RR: 52
Reply 13, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3773 times:

Quoting ATCtower (Reply 7):

Somewhat to piggyback off my earlier post as well, most everything I am reading is that Japanese are not particularly friendly to gaijin and English is not widely spoken, is this a correct ascertation?

Other than Singapore and India, Tokyo is one of the best cities for finding English Speakers in Asia. With that said it is nothing like the US or Western Europe, but far better than Bangkok or Shanghai. Fortunately signs are often in English, and when asked people in Japan will usually help. People rarely approach and offer help, but when asked are usually very willing to help.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineBraybuddy From Ireland, joined Aug 2004, 5678 posts, RR: 32
Reply 14, posted (1 year 8 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3431 times:

Quoting ATCtower (Reply 7):
Somewhat to piggyback off my earlier post as well, most everything I am reading is that Japanese are not particularly friendly to gaijin and English is not widely spoken, is this a correct ascertation? I have never been to Japan and know zero Japanese but will have a 'pocket translator' (laugh if you need, they really do help a lot).

Having spent a bit of time in Tokyo less than two months ago I can tell you you have absolutely NOTHING to worry about. Japanese are very friendly and polite, and often go out of their way to help a tourist with directions. A lot of younger people seem to speak some English, and are eager to help. The metro is easy to navigate with a lot of signs and notices in English, so it's well worth taking the time to master it. One handy tip: if you are unsure of what fare to pay, buy the cheapest ticket (either 160 on Tokyo Metro or 170 on Toei) and, if you travel further than you should, look for the "Fare adjustment" machine at your destination and pay the difference there. One thing to remember is that there are a couple of metro systems, and the tickets are not interchangeable, so, when you look at a map and plot your route, you must make sure the line you want to change to is on your system. You're probably best taking either the Tokyo Metro or Toei system initially, as they are the biggest.

One very enjoyable thing about travelling around Tokyo (and Japan) is the lack of petty crime. It must be the safest large city in the world for tourists (and residents) and it is extraordinary to see people leave their bags, laptops, cameras etc lying exposed on racks and tables on the metro and trains. Women will often leave their handbags hanging on the walls in noodle bars without even a backward glance while they enjoy their food. And speaking of food, when you want to pay, don't look for the bill by pretending to write on the palm of your hand, simply catch the waitress's eye and simply cross your index fingers. And tipping is not part of Japanese culture (I've read that Japanese consider it rude to give money unless it's wrapped in paper), so, even though you may feel you should, nobody expects it and nobody will be offended if you don't.

You'll love it!


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