I’m headed to Hokkaido to ski in February and then have 3 days in Tokyo before I head home. My time up north is all planned out but I have no set plans for Tokyo yet, nor do I have reservations for a place to stay. Any suggestions?
If you want a cheap foreigner-friendly hotel in Tokyo, Kinuya Hotel is right next to Ueno Station, Ueno Park, and Ueno Zoo and is only about 7,000 yen per night per person (for either western rooms or washitsu). There are cheaper hotels and there are nicer hotels, but, IMHO, you can’t really beat the price for the quality and location. Being right next to Ueno station, it is easy to get to from just about anywhere.
As far as Tokyo goes, it really depends on what you’re into.
ETA: Another favorite hotel of mine is the Sunshine City Prince Hotel in the Sunshine City district just outside of Ikebukuro station. Ikebukuro is another major hub in Tokyo and is near Shinjuku and Shibuya, which are both lively districts.
English page for Sunshine City Prince Hotel.
Thank you. I’m want to see interesting sections of the city, I’ll probably want to spend some time taking photos. I’d like to be able to get out of the city to Nikko National Park one day. I’ll want to see the Imperial Palace, the fish market, some cultural stuff and some interesting dining.
I have a battery charger for my digital camera that I’m going to bring with me. It’s a two pronged plug which should be OK in Japan, right? Will I need a power converter or will it work without one?
As long as it has a transformer of some kind (a brick like you see on laptop cords) it should be fine for Japan. If it is a regular AA battery charger, though, it will work but you may not get as good of a charge. Japanese power is a slightly lower voltage and, in Tokyo, the wall power is a different Hz than the US. For all intents and purposes, though, you shouldn’t have a problem. If it has the aforementioned transformer, though, it will work perfectly fine. Check the power information on the charger, it should tell you what voltage and frequency ranges it can handle. You want something that can use 100 V and 50Hz.
A lot of people like to go to Asakusa (nearish to Ueno) as it is one of the more traditional parts of Tokyo and has quite a few temples and markets. Tsukiji fish market is great, too, just remember that you will want to be there as early as possible (aim for 5-6 am) as the action dies down pretty quickly. Nikko is great for a day trip from Tokyo. In Ueno park there are several national museums of art and history, so you might want to hit those if you can. And, of course, Meiji Shrine is a great place for some photos (it’s located near Shibuya station, on the western side of town). You can go to Tokyo Tower if you must, but, personally, I think it is horribly overrated. If you stay at the Prince Hotel in Sunshine City, the view from the top of the Sunshine 60 building is stunning and entrance to the observation deck is not overpriced like it is at Tokyo Tower.
I think I’m all set on the power considerations. The recharger has all the info I needed printed right on it. :smack:
Coincidentally, I’m in Tokyo right now as a tourist. The Edo-Tokyo museum is near the Ryogoku train station, not far from Ueno. This is the sumo area. I was finally able to find shoes and kimonos that fit! Oh yeah, and you’ll probably see some sumo walking around. Ueno Station is only one stop away from Akihabara. It’s something to see all right. Be prepared for crowds.
Here’s a JR train schedule to help you get around Tokyo. While you’re at the train station, go to the green Suica ticket machine to buy a Suica card. It’s like a prepaid train travel card. Swipe it over the turnstile and you’re in. The fare is automatically deducted from the balance. It’s much more convenient than buying tickets. They even work on vending machines in the stations!
Bumping a bit to ask about hotels in Tokyo. I’m trying to find a place that’s easy to get to from the airport since I’ve going to be carrying skis and gear, but maybe I can store them in a locker in the airport?
I’m trying to figure out which neighborhood to look for a hotel. I want to be close to major rail stations since I want to get out to Nikko by train. I’d like to be able to walk to interesting places from the hotel, but obviously I’ll take the trains to get around.
Any more suggestions are welcome.
I’m a fan of the Hotel Mercury (ホテルマキャリ I think, though it coulda been マキュリ） which is in Asakusabashi (literally a 20 second walk from the JR station). It was 7000円 for a single room last time I was there. It’s right down the yellow line from Shibuya and Shinjuku (you can take an airport bus or train to shinjuku and switch trains, and shibuya is one of my favorite areas in Tokyo) maybe 10 minutes by JR. Also, it’s one stop away from Akihabara, the big electronics district. It’s also pretty close to Asakusa, but you’d take a subway there, not the JR. However you might want to look maybe in Shinjuku or Tokyo, as those are the two major stations where buses and trains directly from Narita (the airport) will be coming in.
when in Feb you going to be there? I might be in Tokyo Jan 31st and Feb 1st cause my buddy is going to be flying back to the States on the 3rd.
Wait, do you mean Haneda or Narita airport?
oh, good question. I was assuming Narita. But if he’s coming in from somewhere else in Japan he’d probably be coming into Haneda
I was going to say. If it is Narita, seriously, go with Kinuya. The entrance to Kinuya Hotel is right outside the gate to Keisei Ueno Station, which is the part of Ueno Station that connects to the Keisei Hon Line, which is a direct, super cheap and super fast line to Narita Airport. Ueno station is also pretty much the station to leave from when going to Nikko.
If it is Haneda, I’m not sure. I’ve only used Haneda Airport once (I prefer trains and buses), and I’ve never stayed at a hotel there.
Once you get to Narita, you’ll want to ship your skis ahead. Very easy, after you clear immigration and leave, there will be signs for shipping bags. Most Japanese travel by train, and many people ship suitcases that way. It saves carrying your skis all over town.
You’re OK with your two-prong plug.
You may want to look at a hotel near Ueno, as ** seodoa** suggest, since one convenient way of getting to Nikko is from Asakusa. Then you can take the Skyliner in from Narita to Ueno.
I’m flying in to Narita and then transferring to Sapporo on my way in. It’s reverse on the way out, I fly into Narita from Sapporo and then 4 days later I fly back out of Narita. I’d like to keep my skis in the airport for those few days so I don’t have to lug them into down. I’ll just have a small bag for the 3 days in Tokyo, picking up my skis at the airport before heading home.
You can store your skis at the airport, but it may be cheaper to send by deliver service. Check into it.
Tsukiji may be off limits at the moment. After a brief ban on tourists, the wholesalers have recently allowed them to come back, but with a lot of restrictions. It may only be possible now as part of a guided tour.
Yeah, tourists can go to it, they just aren’t allowed to act like dicks anymore. Seems fair to me.
I was planning on visiting the fish market one morning, thanks for the update. I promise not to act like a dick.
Bumping just before the trip -
Do American ATM cards work in Tokyo? Will I be able to pay with CC in restaurants and stores or should I expect to use cash everywhere? How about booking a train ticket (to Nikko)?
I’m staying at the B Akasaka Hotel (in Akasaka) so any suggestions on places close by are welcome.
American ATM cards work at Post Office ATM’s and in 7-11 stores. As the link says, the most post office ATM’s aren’t open 24 hours. 7-11’s have international ATM’s but not all Family Mart or Lawson Station or Sunkus/Circle K. Learned that the hard way. Citibank’s ATM’s should also work for you, too.
Credit cards are hit-and-miss at restaurants. Small noodle houses and such probably won’t but large, brightly-lit restaurants and chains will. Most meals I ate were less than ¥1000 (approximately $11) when I was in Japan over the Christmas holidays so it wasn’t hard keeping cash in my pockets for food. Remember, ATM’s are almost everywhere in Tokyo. Most stores take credit cards. 100 yen shops usually don’t, though.
If you’re making a large purchase (¥20,000 ish or more) on your card, you may be asked how many. Just say one. They’re asking how many charges you want the purchase split up into on your credit card. It has something to do with the way payroll bonuses are issued in Japan. One of our Japan Dopers can explain more fully because I forgot. I only remember that I should ask for 1 charge.
Be sure to tell your credit card issuer the dates you’re going to Japan so that the fraud computer doesn’t stop charges from going through. [rant] Citibank stopped my card twice while I was there. grumble grumble grumble I told them the dates I would be travelling grumble grumble grumble…spent 30 minutes international long distance getting the first one straightend out…grumble grumble grumble…less than 48 hours it stopped working again…grumble grumble grumble[/rant]
Akasaka? I think you’ll be near the Imperial Palace and some embassies. I don’t remember much touristy stuff around there when planned my vacation.