View Full Version : Japan travel & photography tips?
I'll be taking a trip to Japan (from the USA) for a few weeks, beginning in late March. I went once before, and travelled with a local, but this time I'll be on my own for much of the trip.
Does anyone with experience living/travelling in Japan have advice? I'm particulary interested in the following:
(1) Cheap accomodations (hotels, hostels, ryokan...)
(2) Cheap/good places to eat and socialize
(3) Transportation (subway and intercity train)
(4) Risk of theft (including camera equip)
And realistically, how much does it cost per day for a budget traveller in a big city? small town?
I'm also interested in any photo op tips for Tokyo or anywhere to the South. Thanks!
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02-18-2003, 12:57 AM
i travelled through Kansai, and i took photos in Japan, but with a poor quality model.
Yet I think I can give you some advices..
1) All hotels are very expensives.. I think about 100£ a night. but the service is up to the price.
2) Cheap place to eat, i think yes. You could feed yourself by Bento (around 1.ooo or 2.ooo Yens, 1ooo yens stands for 1o€ so around 1o$ i think)-they are delicious.. really!-, by onigiri - a kind of sandwich made with rice and salmon or other stuff like that-, by ramen - a dishe composed by pasta (Japanese's one) and soup.. delicious too-. The price of these dishes are not expensives, they are made for salary-men or mid-class. Suchis, sashimis, are very very expensives, but if you're in Japan, please eat it one time, because the taste of the fish on the little ball of rice, slightly sweetened.. Delicious ! Wherever you'll go, you would never find a sushi as good as you ate in Japan.
3) For transport: When I went to Japan, I bought a card called :" Rail pass" if my memories are good.. This card allows you to travel all over the japan with the JR, the biggest company of railways.
A really good thing. That incluses Subway, Shinkansen, and old country train.
It's a bit expensive, but if you want to trek through Japan, it's ideal.
You've to notice that the card is limited to 15 days. You can buy it for a while which you wan choose.
4) about thefts? really i think you've nothing to expect. Japan is one of the most rich country so you can sleep quite !
Of course, don't trek at midnight around shonan or chiba.. you could meet some furyos or yankees.. Even if they are quite most of time, you should not take them in photos ^^
Rest of time, you could quitly visit the temples, shrines, without being bothered by people who want your camera.. (It's simple, japanese people are cameras much more advanced than ours ! and it's cheaper :( )
In many case you would be bothered.
For being at tokyo, kyoto, osaka or other cities like that.. Every hotels are very expensive but the "capsule hotel".. But they are very uncofortable and weird !
See you soon !
02-20-2003, 11:53 PM
(1) I'd suggest checking through the "Welcome Inns" guide as well as youth hostels.
Also go to groups.google.com and do a search on something like: cheap tokyo hotel group:*japan*
(2) Check the local ad-supported English magazines when you get there. You can find them pretty much everywhere foreigners congregate.
(3) A rail pass is worth getting if you plan any significant inter-city travel. If you will be sticking around Tokyo then don't get one.
(4) Risk of theft is minimal. If you take care to keep an eye on your stuff you should be fine.
I don't think costs will be that much different in the city vs small town. Of course in a big city you may be going more places and doing more things.
02-22-2003, 09:55 AM
Japan is one of the safest places in the world. So theft is really not a problem.
Food is exspensive and you get a lot less for your money too.
The rail system in Tokyo is exceptional and pretty easy to get around on. The only down side is that it shuts down at midnight.
The weather will cause you the most problems do to rain.
Check out http://www.lonelyplanet.com which has a wealth of info.
03-03-2003, 03:46 PM
I agree with most of the others comments, except the cost of food and being bothered by rain.
You'll get minimal trouble with rain from late March, as Japan is not in the rainy season at that time. Not to say it won't rain, but it probably won't be anything too troublesome.
Food can be no more than 3 or 4 US dollars if you choose where you eat. Even sushi can be very cheap if you go to a Kaiten-zushi, where the sushi goes around on a conveyer belt and you chose what you want as it passes in front of you, and you only pay for what you eat. This can cost as little as 6 US dollars or so. If you wander into a traditional Sushi restaurant this will cost you at least 20 or 30 dollars (if you're lucky).
Theft is no problem, but don't be too trusting. Recently an old guy started to open the outer pocket my camera rucksack on a subway escalator. luckily I had it padlocked. Still, I was foolish not to carry it in my hand.
The people of the front desk in the hotels you stay in can be a good source of tourist information too. They'll usually be able to tell you the good Photo Ops near-by, and probably provide a detailed English map of how to get there too.
Enjoy your trip...
03-09-2003, 08:29 PM
If you plan to travel a lot by train, you should get the Japan Rail Pass :
03-09-2003, 08:35 PM
About theft of Photography aquipement, here is one of my own experience :
It was during a night, I did photo of the cityt, after a long walk, I remembered there was a place I should make pictures of. I had my camera bag with me, and it was quiet heavy. The place was not so far. I decided to go back, but I also wondered about safety in Japan. So I decided to make a test : I putted my bag on the side walk, then left it. I went to do the pictures I wanted. When I come back, about 15' later, it still was there.
If you pay attention to people driving, maybe you will see people going out from their car with the engine on.
03-10-2003, 02:40 AM
Sam, have you decided your itinerary?
I wouldn't tempt fate and leave your stuff laying around loose especially if it's stuff you care about. I have had at least four separate incidents of things getting stolen in Japan (Tokyo, that is): a bicycle, motorcycle helmet, gloves & rainwear. The bicycle was the biggest surprise since it had a heavy U-lock on it and would have had to be carried away and then sawed off. It was actually a junk bike but it was an unusual style for Japan.
03-10-2003, 02:40 AM
I'm not surprised by the fact that your bag was still there, but I salute your trusting nature.
Nice story Gattaca. Thanks for sharing it.
Thanks to everyone for your comments and advice! I've bought a railpass, and made my plans for Tokyo. I've got 3 weeks in Japan, so I look forward to seeing a lot of the country outside Tokyo, too. Hopefully, the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom.
Does anyone have a recommendation for a small, out-of-the-way, but still picturesque spot to pass through? I'm imagining a tiny fishing village in Western Honshu, or something like that. Any recommendations?
03-17-2003, 11:59 PM
What kind of ticket price were you able to get? I'm shopping for 6/1 timeframe.
Unfortunately as a (former) Tokyo dweller, there's not much I can suggest. I've been on both coasts but there is nothing I can think of offhand that is worth making a special trip for. Most locations are similar to each other and should have plenty of photo opportunities.
03-19-2003, 11:25 PM
I was never interested in attending protests of any kind before but I think I may have changed my thoughts on this...
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