Japan Trip 2011

Mar 22nd, 2010, 11:33 PM
  #1  
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Japan Trip 2011

Greetings all!

Some friends and I are planning a trip to Japan for August 2011 to visit the Tokyo Game Show (massive convention for video game enthusiasts.) We have a few things we know we would like to do so far but would welcome advice on what we MUST see while we are there. Our ages range from 17 to 26 and there will be between 2 and 6 of us (depending on who decides to go, as some have not committed to going yet.)

Our goal is to spend a week in and around Tokyo (2 or 3 days of the weekend will be at or near the Tokyo Game show) and a week somewhere else in Japan, which location we have not decided upon yet. Initially we were thinking of going to Okinawa, however we would also consider a location on the mainland that offered significant historical and geological interest.

In Tokyo we have seen a few things listed that we have interest in visiting.

Shibuya 109 (massive shopping mall?)
Sega Joypolis (Video game / virtual reality arcade?)
Tsukiji fish market
Yoshino Shuzo / Ozawa Shuzo / or Ishikawa Shuzo (Sake breweries near Tokyo)
Akihabara
Ramen Museum in Yokohama
Tokyu Hands
bunraku (puppet theater)

Some things we are still considering and are asking for advice are:
Sumo tournament - Are these open to the public? Were curious if they have much of the appeal a boxing match would have here in the United States.
Hot springs / baths - Seems this is the spot for more "aged" Japanese locals, were looking for one that is geared more toward people our age. (mixed bath is fine, and we would prefer an outdoor one that doesn't necessary smell of sulfur.)
Fishing - We were considering paying to take a boat out to fish off the coast. It is difficult to find more information on this such as will we have to buy special licensees and what company can offer us this service (we speak no Japanese so it can be difficult.)
Sunshine city aquarium - Is this worth going to?
Nishiki Food Market Walking Tour - We know we will likely hit the market at some point, is a tour necessary? Should we venture out on our own for this?
Roppongi - Seems lots of info says this is a popular night spot for the young crowd, can anyone confirm this?
Walk from Harajuku to Omotesando - Some place strongly recommended this with little other details, why is this walk so special?
Harajuku Station (cosplay on a Sunday) - Still popular?
Mt Fuji (possibly climbing to the top during the night to see the sun rise on the summit?)

So far our biggest decision is the second week... should we spend it at Nikko, Hakone, Kyoto, Nara, Minnajima Okinawa or some other location? We are thinking that perhaps someplace off the beaten path would be best as Tokyo is likely going to give us our fill if the Modern Japan.

I'll start there Any information would be a huge help
highcommander is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 01:33 AM
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I owuld not want to be in Okinawa in August. Japan will be miserably hot and humid; Okinawa even more so.

Roppongi is a great place for nightlife.

No sumo tournaments in August. Perhaps a baseball game? I am not familiar with BB schedules, but I know the games are wild! A real slice of Japan culture if you can attend one.

The walk from Harajuku, especially on weekends, will involve lots of Japanese teens dressed up in Lolita, goth or other various outfits and shopping/ hanging around this area. I don't know that I'd call this a must see, but it's fun.

Onsen (baths) are popular with all ages. Different ones attract different crowds. Fodorite onsen specialist Hawaiiantraveler can point you in the right direction. He may be in Japan right now though. Singing and sipping sake under the Sakura.
lcuy is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 09:39 AM
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This place would be perfect for your age and needs. No sulfur smell and only a couple of hours out of Tokyo via the train system.

http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/d...a/osenkaku.htm

As lcuy mentions August will be very hot and humid so planning to spend some time in the mountains or at a waterpark would be smart

http://www.themeparkreview.com/japan...ummerland1.htm

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:56 PM
  #4  
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Thank you guys so much for the tips, I'm taking a look at the links now, later tonight I'll have some updates and few more questions if you are willing to help. Lucy when you say "japan will be miserably hot and humid" how hot are you talking? I lived in Idaho for a year and that was like 80 deg.F at night time, around 100 def.F during the day in the peak of summer However I would not want to be somewhere much more warmer than that.
highcommander is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:32 PM
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Nothing like advance planning. Your 80F and 100F stats are interesting, but not without relative humidity. It is not the heat but the humidity, they say.

geological interest? Then you can head to various geothermal sites (onsen!) in Kyushu, the hells of Beppu, and, especially, Mt Aso.

Or go to Hokkaido, to the Lake Toya area.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:55 PM
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Its the combination of the heat and humidity that will get you. It's definitely not the dry heat you are used to. Actually Nikko or another trip into the mountains is a good idea at that time. In Japanese history the Shogun set his summer palace in Nikko because it was a lot cooler than Tokyo(Edo).

Hokkaido is a great suggestion at that time of year too!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 05:11 PM
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Icuy: <>
Do you know this for sure? Just checked some climate stats and see that the humidity there is low, with the average high temp just over 30 degrees.
With its semi-tropical climate on the islands, and sea breezes, it could be more moderate than Honshu all year round. Maybe less steamy than Tokyo. Don't know, never been there in August, but I wouldn't assume it's hotter without investigating.
WillJame is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 06:17 PM
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August averages in as the second hottest month in Naha,Okinawa with a high averaging 31C degrees or 88 F.
August average humidity is 74% which is pretty humid with the temps and lack of winds averaging only 4 mph on the Beaufort wind scale which means lite breezes
August is also one of the wettest months in Naha.
The telltale to all this would be the average dewpoint degree.That would tell you whether it is hot or not. A dewpoint average over 65 degrees in the tropics means hot and humid. Some info here:

http://www.climatetemp.info/japan/naha.html

I am pretty sure by looking at just this chart that it would be hot and humid on Okinawa in August on the average.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 06:36 PM
  #9  
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wow thank you all so much so far for your input. I was leaning away from Okinawa from the start and the thought of 74% humidity does solidify that. Hmmm Hokkaido and Nikko or some other mountain location sounds fantastic! Perhaps that would be the perfect recovery area for our last week in Japan! I will have to research which is most tourist friendly and or offers enough "to do" things to warrant a whole week there. If anyone has suggestions for a mountain region of particular interest I would love to hear them.
highcommander is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 04:21 AM
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I looked at the same site, ht, and then when I compared Naha with Osaka, found Osaka was averaging two degrees celsius higher in August with humidity at 72%. Tokyo, as I recall, was about the same in humidity as Osaka, and about the same temps as Naha. My point was that there's not much reason to avoid Okinawa on the basis of its heat and humidity.
But hc doesn't seem inclined to go there anyway. Your suggestion of Nikko is a good one as a respite from the Tokyo experience.
WillJame is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 06:49 AM
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If you have the time and patience, I did a trip report on parts of Hokkaido last fall and you may glean some info there. Click on my screen name and you will see the trip report listed on the bottom. Depending how many of you go, you could rent a car and really have a good time on Hokkaido. Check these sites also and come back with more specific questions later;

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2163.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6775.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6850.html

http://www.furanotourism.com/english/home.htm

http://onsen.u-p.co.jp/en/

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6725.html

if you don't want to drive(which I recommend at that time of year)
http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/.../4days_03.html

That should be enough to start you off.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
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