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Sunita Nov 5th, 2002 11:55 AM

Need suggestion for a 5 day trip to Tokyo.
I am planning to visit Tokyo for about 5 days along with my Husband and Mom. Suggestions regarding important sightseeing places to cover within the days available will be appreciated. Also, need to know how friendly Japan is for people with walking disablity. Last thing - need suggestions/thoughts regarding tickets for bullet trains - is it really best if we buy the tickets before leaving for Japan? <BR><BR>Thank you

Florence Nov 5th, 2002 01:16 PM

Bonjour Sunita,<BR><BR>I'm afraid that Tokyo isn't very friendly for people with disabilities, since there are lots of underground or overway passages with stairs, and most small subway or train stations don't have (many) elevators or escalators. However, most public museums and building are easily accessible, public transportation is very good.<BR><BR>The price of a railpass (that you have to buy in your country of residence) is a good bargain if you intend to do a roundtrip to Kyoto and some daytrips. If you only plan to stay in and around Tokyo, don't bother. You'll find details at under &quot;getting around&quot;<BR><BR>Lastly, there is enough to see and do in Tokyo to fill a lifetime: museums, temples, shopping, fleamarkets, gardens, historical landmarks, traditional neighborhoods, ...<BR><BR>My favorite museums: Shitamachi museum in Ueno (life of the commoner in Edo time); Edo-Tokyo museum in Ryogoku (and a look at the nearby sumo museum, plus a stroll in the streets of Ryogoku for a glimpse of some Rikishi - wrestlers - and some traditional shopping). Drums museum in Asakusa, Sword museum, ...<BR><BR>Traditional areas: Yanaka/Nezu/Sendagi; Asakusa and Kappabashi (kitchen implements). <BR><BR>Shopping areas: Ginza, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Omotesando; Jimbocho (books, new and second hands), Kanda (antiques, prints), Akihabara (electronics).<BR><BR>Theater: Kabukiza (you can see parts of a play during the afternoon for a reasonable price).<BR><BR>Food market: Ameya Yokocho, near Ueno station<BR><BR>Dolls: Asakusabashi<BR><BR>For more ideas, get the book &quot;Tokyo for Free&quot; by S. Pompian (Kodansha, isbn 4-7700-2053-8), and of course have a look at the JNTO website ( and ask the TIC when you arrive for their latest suggestions.

Kris Nov 5th, 2002 10:01 PM

If you are not planning to see Kyoto, take the train to Kamakura for the day. It is less than one hour by train and is kind of a &quot;mini-Kyoto&quot; with lots of temples and Daibutsu, a giant bronze buddha which is beautiful. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of walking involved, but there is a bus system and taxis of course. The above post is full of great ideas, I would echo the Edo-Tokyo museum and the Asakusa area. Shibuya station in the evening is a fun place to people watch, go to the Hachiko exit and walk outside, it's sort of like Times Square. Have a great trip!

Adam Nov 5th, 2002 10:54 PM

If you don't mind getting up early, I recommend checking out the Tsukiji fish market/auction. It's authentic but you need to arrive there really early (around 5:30 am) to see any action. Afterwards you can go to one of the nearby sushi restaurants for the best sushi in the world!<BR><BR>To see some Tsukiji fish auction photos check out:<BR><BR>

Lindsey Nov 7th, 2002 03:53 AM

I agree with all of the above. I would like to add one more. The open air sculpture museum in Hakone (about 90 min train ride from Tokyo) was the absolute highlight of our trip. We had budgeted about 1.5 hours there and after 3 hours, we could barely tear ourselves away. The concept is amazing....a museum that is never the same on any visit because the natural backdrop changes so much based on season and weather. And the quality of the sculpture is absolutely world class.

Myszka Nov 7th, 2002 07:47 AM

I agree with the previous messages. There are many things to see in Tokyo itself. Do go to Kamakura, it was the capital of Japan for about one hundred and fifty years and has many shrines and temples and is out in the country. The second largest Buddha, Daibutsu, is here in an outside setting. Also the shrine for washing your money in the grotto giving you good fortune back wealth wise. If you would like more specific directions on getting around there, please email me. In fact if you would like specific directions to anything I suggest, feel free to email. I have been living in Tokyo for the last three years. <BR> In Tokyo, do go to Ueno Park, you will see a couple of shrines here, the zoo and a few great museums. This is the place where the last great stand or battle took place where the sumarai gave up their arms and gave all power to the emperor. <BR> Akihabara is fun to look at Electric Town but price wise, you are better buying in the States. <BR> Ginza, is where the Kabuki Theater, Tsukiji Fish Market and stalls, and the Sony Building (which has lots of neat things that are coming on the market or are thinking about coming on the market)<BR> Shibya, has Hachiko, a really nice meeting place for many of us. Hachiko is a dog that met his master every day, even after the master died, at the train station. His statue is there. Down the street is the 109 Building, which is fun to go into. A lot of kids in here but a lot of fashion designers come from all over the world and use the ideas they see here. You will see fashions here that will show up in the states in about two years. <BR> Harajuku is a great place to be on a Sunday. The kids come and dress up as their famous rock stars. They enjoy posing for your camera, with you or by themselves. They have their poses down pat. Across from there is Meiji Shrine, where President Bush went recently. In the same area is Omontesando, the Champs Elysees of Tokyo. Walk down this street and do lots of shopping. A famous spot with resonable prices for souvenirs is Oriental Bazaar. I go shopping there all the time for little gifts. They wrap everything too if you ask them to do that. I love watching the different way of wrapping still! Takeshita Street is another fun street to watch the kids and fashions. <BR> I echo the Edo Museum, that is one of my favorite places. A free English guide is to be had here. The Japanese people volunteer to be a guide so they can practice their English. And yes, the Sumo Wrestling Arena and museum is in the same courtyard area. <BR> I would save the Imperial Palace for last. You really cannot see it from the viewing area. But everyone wants to see it anyway. If you are interested you can get on the actual Palace grounds. I can give you more specifics if you are interested. But it does take 24 hours for paper work to clear. The EAst Gardens are lovely. <BR> In Shinjuku, Shinjuku Goen, garden is very nice too. <BR> Asakusa, pronounced AhSahksah, not to be mixed up with Akasaka, has the oldest Shrine in Tokyo. Many stalls line the sides leading to the temple. Some of the stalls have been in the same family for a couple of hundred years. Do scoop incense smoke on whatever spot ails you. Also to insdide the temple and shake out a stick to have your fortune told. If it is a bad fortune, tie it on the wires you see opposite the drawers the contain the fortunes. <BR> Good luck, have fun. Myszka

Russell Farquer Nov 10th, 2002 03:35 PM

Just have to put my two cents worth in!<BR><BR>Don't forget about Yokohama:<BR>The Landmark Plaza Mall - tallest bldg in Japan. Just off train at Sakuragi-cho.<BR><BR>Also in the same area (Sakuragi-cho station):<BR><BR>Silk Museum, and the Light House.<BR><BR>Down the way(Ishikawa just a few stops further on the train) is China Town...good varity of resturants...and the temple is beautiful.

Elizabeth Nov 11th, 2002 09:17 PM

My husband and I are going to Tokyo and are trying to find a place to stay. We'd like to find a Japanese style ryokan using futons on tatami floors; one that isn't too far from a JR station since we have bought JR passes; and one that has a bath tub that we can sink into to soak our travel weary bodies. Any ideas?

Florence Nov 11th, 2002 11:12 PM

Bonjour Elisabeth,<BR><BR>Try Ryokan Shigetsu, in Asakusa (5 minute by subway or 20 min on foot from JR Ueno station) or Katsutaro Ryokan (the new annex) in Yanaka, close to JR Nippori station on the Yamanote loop line.<BR><BR>Shigetsu:<BR><BR>Katsutaro:<BR><BR>Both are located in traditional areas full of good sightseeing, shopping and food.

Sunita Nov 14th, 2002 12:35 PM

I appreciate all the wonderful and informative emails/replies to my query. Couple of other questions- Is taking taxi a good option in areas like Kyoto or Kamakura for sightseeing - is it affordable? The other question is about the Imperial palace - Am I able to visit the East Gardens without clearing paperwork? Is it worth spending the time getting permission to visit the palace grounds or can this be skipped - please advise.

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