Help Osaka or Tokyo

Old Sep 9th, 2009, 10:53 AM
  #1  
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Help Osaka or Tokyo

Hi All,

This is my boyfriend and I first trip to Japan. We are very interested in trying everything that Japan - Tokyo or Osaka has to offer and looking forward to trying the local street vendors and going to ramen houses, tempura houses, yakitori, etc (pretty low-key places) and also seeing some of the local sites, palaces, etc...

One of my friends suggested Osaka for the food and shopping ,and that Tokyo is just another big city. So, we're not really sure which one to choose....

I really would like to see the cherry blossoms but it seems like it gets crazy busy and is very expensive and we just want to be able to enjoy the sites....We're either thinking of going in October or maybe March but want to go when it's not too chilly...

Has anyone heard about the Chrysanthemum Festival???

I would really appreciate any help that you could provide me...

Thanks so much....alli
allialli is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2009, 12:09 PM
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Neither. Go to Kyoto.

I recommend going in November or May. Better weather in May than March. Fall colors will be in Tokyo/Kyoto just after mid-November and it is jacket weather.

But if your priorites really are: 1) food, 2) food, 3)some shopping, 4) sight-seeing, then you would do well in either Osaka or Tokyo. Better in Tokyo, tho Osaka has some local cuisine.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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I visited Kyoto last month, and found it one of the most amazing cities in the world. I could have stayed there for a week or a month.

And you can still take the train to Osaka if you want even more shopping opportunities, as it is only about 50km/30mi away. Under an hour on one of the commuter lines and only about ¥400.
rkkwan is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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Osaka is just another big city also. I cared it even less than Tokyo. Kyoto, is a different story. If there is time to visit only one city in Japan, it would be Kyoto for me. It retains the essence of traditional Japan.
nickn is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2009, 07:36 AM
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Agreed. If you're looking for quintessential Japan, go to Kyoto. It has numerous fascinating temples and two imperial palaces.

And Kyoto is a city of 1.5 million people with a large shopping district, so your need to buy random stuff can be met there.
BigRuss is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2009, 03:29 PM
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If you can't get to Kyoto, I would recommend Tokyo,hands down. You can get a taste of old Japan-sensoji temple, meiji shrine,asakusa,the imperial palace as well as modern Japan which is also amazing.There can be noh and Kabuki and even sumo. Tokyo has some of the best modern architecture I have ever seen and the shopping can be wonderful. There are also a wealth of great museums with both ancient and cutting edge art.There are parks such as ueno,which have some great cherry blossom viewing. April is a fine time to go as is October.
mflickermd is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2009, 07:54 PM
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Mflicker: there's no sumo in Tokyo in October, April or March (the OP's possible dates).

And Kyoto is so easy to get to from Tokyo or (especially) Osaka, there's no real reason that the OP couldn't get there.
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 08:07 PM
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I think the official Kiku Matsuri is Sept 9th this year. The festival is held at different times from Sept through Oct in various parts of Japan. I plan on seeing the Kiku Matsuri in Hirosaki this October if time and weather permits....

With your criteria mentioned above in mind-
We are very interested in trying everything that Japan - Tokyo or Osaka has to offer and looking forward to trying the local street vendors and going to ramen houses, tempura houses, yakitori, etc (pretty low-key places) and also seeing some of the local sites, palaces, etc...
Another vote for Tokyo here. Who ever told you Tokyo is just another big city has it all wrong imho. The thread above has many good reasons why Tokyo is the place for your first visit. See here if you haven't already:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2164.html

I am also with the April thru May and Oct thru Nov crowd as the best times to go.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Thanks for everyone's help...I really appreciate it...We've decided to go with Tokyo in November...

Does anyone know about yatai or the street food vendors...and if there are any in Tokyo???

Thanks,
allialli is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2009, 04:40 PM
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Yes, there are yatai in Tokyo, but mostly late at night and you might have to search for them!
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Old Sep 21st, 2009, 05:41 PM
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Oh the yatai, I forgot them in my answer above. If you are in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo outside the east end of the
Shinjuku station on weekend nights you will see vendors. I have also seen them at Ueno Park on the week and weekend end nights. You can go to Ameyoko street market for vendors in a more permanent setting in the day light hours but still great food just the same.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3012.html

In Osaka it's definitely Dotombori Arcade in the middle of the Namba district according to a cousin who visits there religiously when she is in Japan and swears by it. She loves the night life.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/200...aks.streetfood

You will find that Yatai usually congregate around the main rail stations of cities throughout Japan and mainly on the weekend nights but in some towns like Fukuoka their are huge areas where they sell their wares every day and night of the week.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Old Oct 2nd, 2009, 07:33 AM
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some information about osaka, kyoto here
http://kansai247.main.jp/
musu is offline  
Old Oct 2nd, 2009, 10:00 AM
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My vote is for Tokyo as well.

One of my least favorite things in Japan was that a large portion of the historical sites are recreations. Take Kinkakujii(Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto - it was burned down in the 1960s and then rebuilt. And while the buildings are impressive, it just doesn't have the umph that it would if it were the original.

Tokyo has a nice mix of the old flavor of Japan and the modern. Also, it's a great jump off point for a day trip to places like Nikko and Kamakura. If you really want a more authentic experience, you can find some reasonably priced Ryokan in Tokyo. They are a little more expensive than the western hotels but the meals are generally very good and the public bath makes up for it. For the budget conscious, I recommend Ryokan Shigetsu(it's in Asakusa, Tokyo and right by Kaminarimon). The location is great and the place is well kept.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2009, 11:24 PM
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I agree about Kinkakuji, not having the oomph of an original (burned in 1950 and rebuilt in 1955). I was not that impressed, but was impressed with Ginkakuji and other sites.

In Kyoto:
Ginkakuji is from the 15th century.
The present Kiyomizudera dates from 1633.
The Ninomaru of Nijojo is from 1603.
And several blocks of the Gion district give a good feel of old Japan.

The current, third, construction of Todaiji in Nara is from 1709. The daibutsu inside is the original though the head fell off and was restored - in 855.

Himejijo is from early 17th century. Several other castles are restored, not reconstructed: Matsuyama-jo, Matsumoto-jo, Kumamoto-jo, and Matsue-jo, for example. Several others are reconstructions. Inuyama-jo, too, I think.

Nagoya-jo (destroyed in the war) is a reconstruction and has a handicapped access elevator outside and an elevator inside! Gifu-jo and Osaka-jo are also reconstructions. You really have to consider these to be museums. Unlike Kinkakuji, you can go inside of these and there are artifacts from the period.

The ruins of a few other castles can be visited, like Hagi-jo and Obi-jo. Hagi-jo (1604) was destroyed by the owner, to show allegiance to the restored emperor in 1874.

The A-bomb Dome in Hiroshima is certainly an original.

The merchant street in Takayama, and better, the Takayama Jinya are originals.

There are a few original structures in Tokyo that survived the war, but not much.

Anyway, I don't mean to give a history lesson really. Just want to point out that a lot of old Japan still exists. (in some cases, like Matsue-jo, the "restoration" was pretty extensive).

But, if you are looking for the REAL Japan, then you don't have to look very far. From the skyscrapers in Tokyo to the gassho-zukuri in Shirakawago, it is all real Japan.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2009, 01:54 AM
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kyot is the best place in japan for many things, sightseeing food, history and cheeryblossoms. But you better make your plan before you go or ask a local agceny for good deals.
kitamura is offline  
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