First visit to Japan

Feb 5th, 2004, 07:51 AM
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First visit to Japan

I will be taking my first trip to Japan next month. I only have a week but I want to see as much as possible. I know will stay in Tokyo and spend a day in Kyoto - any suggestions on "must see" things in Tokyo, Kyoto, or anywhere else in Japan?
AliDimaio is offline  
Feb 6th, 2004, 07:13 AM
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Tokyo is one of the most beautiful city in the world.
Heres my list of must see/visit in this city:
1. Tokyo Metropolitan Tower: for 360 views of the city and entrance is free.
2. Tokyo Tower - Japans version of Eiffel Tower.
3.Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi. Nice Torii gate.
4. Hachiko statue in SHibuya Station. The story behind this statue is touching.
5. Ginza. Its their Shopping capital.
6. Tsukiji Market - Worlds busiest Fish Market
7. Imperial Palace- Emperor and Empress residence
8. Asakusa Station - Big Lantern in Kaminari-mon and Asahi beer factory just across. The sculpture on top is interesting.
9. Odaiba - this is a must-see
10. Tokyo Disneyland
11. Sanrio Puroland - Hello Kittys home
12. Kabukiza theatre in higashi-ginza.

As side trip from Tokyo, Mt Fuji is a place to see. As some travel guides puts it, Youve never been to Japan, if uve never go to Mt. Fuji.

leniram is offline  
Feb 6th, 2004, 10:37 AM
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OK, how about Kyoto? "Musts" are the Ryoanji temple (the famous zen rock garden), Kinkakuji (the golden pagoda), and Maiko-han (geisha girls in training) seen walking the city streets. Maybe the Toei Eigamura (Toei Movie Studios) if you are into chambara (samurai movies), nearby Nara deer park. Take a day tour to Izu to watch the women pearl divers at Mikimoto Pearl Island. And the food! Noodles and okonomiyaki.
offlady is offline  
Feb 6th, 2004, 07:10 PM
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I highly recommend a day trip to Kamakura, one of my favorite places in all of Japan. It's an easy train ride from Tokyo, but it's a beautiful place (save it for a day with nice weather if possible). At Hase, a five-minute ride on the smaller Enoden train from the main Kamakura station, there is a Great Buddha (not quite as large as the one in Nara, but I think more impressive because it's outdoors), and a gorgeous temple (Hase-dera) overlooking the sea. In Kamakura itself, visit the Hachiman-gu shrine.

In Kyoto, there are so many "must sees," but don't miss Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji (the golden pavilion), Ginkaku-ji (the silver pavilion), and the stunning Heian shrine and its gardens.
aag2000 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2004, 07:22 PM
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Yes, Nijo-jo in Kyoto. And Gion Corner.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 6th, 2004, 08:51 PM
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I would recommend more than one day in Kyoto. We spend 4 days, sightseeing with the public bus system and didn't see everything I'd like to have seen. The major sights are quite spread out. If you are short on time, the most efficient way to see alot in Kyoto would be to take a one day guided tour. I would add to the list of sights in Kyoto:

Kiyomizudera Temple & the nearby Kodiji Temple, plus the pedestrian way in between the two.
Gion District
Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) and the Philosopher's Path
Heian Shrine
Chion-In Temple
Nishiki Market
LeslieC is offline  
Feb 7th, 2004, 05:51 AM
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You say you only have one week. This being the case, I suggest you limit yourself to Tokyo, with a day-trip to Kamakura, and maybe another day-trip to the Mt. Fuji or Hakone area. There is much, much more to see in Japan, one week does not give you time to do it.

Save Kyoto for another visit, maybe spending the entire time in Kyoto, which has many things to see.
JoyceL is offline  
Feb 7th, 2004, 06:42 AM
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I would definitely concur with JoyceL--the trip to Kyoto might just turn out to be an overly stressful attempt to squeeze in a place that really deserves more than a day trip. You could easily fill a week with Tokyo-area sightseeing, including a variety of day trips (I also recommend Hakone, in addition to Kamakura which I mentioned above).

That said, if you have your heart set on Kyoto, I wouldn't *discourage* you. It's just that Kyoto is best enjoyed at a slower, more contemplative pace (it is a city of temples, shrines, and gardens), so I am afraid that you might find a very rushed day trip there somewhat disappointing.
aag2000 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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I'm taking my first trip to Japan in March also, but I'll be spending 2 weeks there. Although I haven't been there yet, I have four guidebooks and all of them say to visit Nikko. You can do this as a day trip from Tokyo. Since you only have one week, have you considered splitting your time between Tokyo and Kyoto, say 3 nights in each? This way you can do more justice to Kyoto, which by all accounts is the one place in Japan to see if you can onlu go to one place.
laurieco is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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Thank you for all your advice!
AliDimaio is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 09:01 AM
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renting a bicycle is a fun option for KYOTO. since it is a medium sized city. but it is verry bike fraindly and safe bikers. plus too see sites at your own pace as oppesed too wizzing by them in a tour bus...
orgy7 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 10:16 PM
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If you come to Japan in latter half of March, how about seeing cherry blossom at their best.

Generally, around 20 March is the best time in Kyoto, and the end of the month is best in Tokyo.
yathy is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 06:32 AM
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I have been to Japan few times, however, I will never forget my first trip. I too had only one week and split it up half in Kyoto and half in Tokyo. The Japan you want to see really depends on you. Kyoto is a city to remind you of ancient Japan while Tokyo is practically pulsating with 21st century energy. Here are the things I saw and felt for a first time trip it was wonderful and a good overview of the country.


Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion)- almost on as many postcards as Mt. Fuji!

Kiyomizu Dera- beautiful mounainside temple that gives spectacular views over Kyoto and if you are lucky even see Osaka in the distance. The street leading up to the Temple is filled with store selling traditional Japanese items.

Other sites that rank high:
Ginkakuji (Silver Pavillion)
Nishi and Higashi Honganji (Huge temples near the Kyoto train station)
Enrakuji (on Mt. Hiei)
Roam the Gion area of Kyoto and if lucky you will see Maiko (Geisha in training) walking along the lane.

Ok for Tokyo (after Kyoto you may be tired of seeing Temples..tho I never tire of it, Lol):

Asakusa: like others said, the large lantern hard to miss and the traditional gifts are fun to shop for.

Akihabara: the mecca of everything electronic. A must see for the gadget lover..especially at dusk when all the lights come on.

Ginza: At night at leat stop off at this subway station and just take in the lights. Lots of shopping if you like but just a few minutes of being on the street corner give you the essence of modern Japan.

Odaiba: nothing but shopping and arcades. Fun to go to and the trip is worth it for the views of Rainbow Bridge and looking back onto Tokyo.

Tokyo Tower: Great views!

Other fun areas are Shinjuku and Shinagawa.

There are so many place to see a week is enough to make you realise what all you missed. I can't even start to name them all. Day trips are up to you but i would suggest devoting myself to the city you are in at the time.

This is just a short list of "must sees". Everyone has their favorites, but to me places like Tokyo Disneyland, while fun, weren't a high priority. Hope you have fun and wish I were going too!

Kaede is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 06:38 AM
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OK I lied...

I can't forget Heian Jingu and Nijo-jo in Kyoto.
Kaede is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 09:17 AM
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I posted a reply to this thread after just coming back from a 2 week Japan trip, but put it as a new message. Sorry.
Jeffrey is offline  
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