1-800-729-9607 | emailus@tombihn.com
 
Shop Tom Bihn
TOM BIHN Forums: Community discussion on travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. TOM BIHN has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

User Tag List

Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    3
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Traveling to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka any must see places?

    Hello Bihnions,
    I will be traveling to Japan, hoping to catch some cherry blossoms in bloom.
    Please give me some must see, must experience sites that your would be willing to share.
    Hubby will be carrying the Brain Bag for the trip, along with some accessories.
    So very excited about this vacation. We did book some forays with a travel group, however will also have around three days to explore on our own. Thank you in advance.
    Barb

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    34
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great trip ahead!
    Tokyo:
    The fish market is not to be missed (not necessarily the 5 O' clock fish auction, just walking around), with of course a stop for sushis!
    I really enjoyed going up the Sky tree, some people think its overrated, you decide. It is definitely busy and touristy but the view is ridiculously awesome. I enjoyed going to the Tokyo tower, you can walk up instead of taking the elevator and get a badge for doing it
    The imperial palace and grounds will be nice at this time of year.
    The Edo museum is a fantastic museum on the older Tokyo, with a LOT of historical information but also life-size recreations that were a real pleasure.
    The Harajuku district and Takashita street were fun. Its mostly clothing, fashion, food but the young crowd is fantastic. You can then connect with the very chic district around Omote sando and also the beautiful and serene Meiji shrine and the surrounding park.
    We have a boy so going to see the Giant sized Gundam Robot at Odaiba was a must. I admit I enjoyed it a lot too
    Find the beautiful department stores and go to their basements. It is where the food section is and you will not believe the delicacies they have there.

    Kyoto: Of course everyone will answer "the temples!" and I agree. The shrines, temples and small streets around are extraordinary.
    Visiting the Nijo castle was very interesting.
    You have to walk the whole length of the Nishiki market, stoping to get small bites of food along the way. Its covered so a good respite from the sun if needed.
    If you can go to the Bamboo forest, its out of this world. Of course if you can also see the Fushimi Inari shrine (the red gates that form a path) it will be a highlight for sure.
    Getting lost in the small streets of Kyoto is half the fun.

    I am going to Osaka for the first time this summer, if you can report back after going, it would be great

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    26
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My husband and I went on our honeymoon in Japan about a year ago. We spent 10 days traveling all over and... it was phenomenal. I have since written up this list of recommendations and shared it with several people about to make their own journey. Some of it what is tailored to foodie type people. No matter what you choose to do, it will blow your happy mind!

    GENERAL TIPS
    Buy a Japan Rail Pass, the green access one is completely sufficient. Unlimited travel across Japan for a set number of days. It make you go places and plan things on the fly, because you can, because you can go anywhere and it wonít cost you extra to day trip here and there. I was really hesitant to buy the passes but they were a like carrying a safety net wherever we went. Really great.

    Rent a mobile hotspot, you can order these through the Japan Rail Pass service, too. A lifesaver. You can make VOIP calls, use your GPS, save all of your photos to the cloud, etc, on the fly. Also, see next pointÖ

    Download Google Translate. Make sure to pre-load Japanese (itís not in the default pack of downloaded languages).
    A huge help as much of Japan and many Japanese is not English-centric. Menus are not always accessible. You can use the app to translate English questions to rough Japanese and you can also use the camera feature to live translate text (menus, signs, etc). Was a huge help. Free to download. We still found ourselves bumbling through all sorts of exchanges. But the effort is clearly appreciated and people want very badly to be of service. This helps them help you.

    Highly tattooed? Cover up. This one might sound strange by tattoos are still largely associated with gang activity, specifically the Yakuza. Regardless of the time of year youíll find the Japanese are not revealing dressers. Which does not mean they are conservative at all times, either, but they do not show a lot of skin. As a foreigner you have a bit of leeway but with tattoos there are some things and places you will simply not be welcome to. Onsen, for instance, the bath houses rarely admit tattooed persons. You might also find that you get some curious/uncomfortable stares should your tattoos be exposed.

    Cash heavy, card light. Despite being very advanced in many kinds of technology Japan is largely a cash-driven economy and many places will not accept cards. Keep your eyes peeled for 7-11 convenience stores, they have ATMs that will allow most Visa and Mastercard withdrawls. I do not recommend exchanging cash or carrying travelers checks.

    TOKYO-
    Studio Ghibli Museum- ??????????
    We didnít get here as we did not stay long in Tokyo and this would have ended up being a full day. Make sure to make arrangements in advance as the tours are not every day!

    Chicago- HARAJUKU CHICAGO TOP PAGE
    Fun vintage store with super reasonable prices in the Shinjuku area. Lots of kimono, haori, etc. Really easy to look through. Most of the store is down a set of stairs, just a small display window at street level with a couple of racks.

    Kiddyland- https://www.kiddyland.co.jp/en/arrivals.html
    Intense, multi-level toy store. Every Japanese character you can imagine. Many franchises you know and love (ie Star Wars) with exclusive Japanese-styled creations (there was a Samurai Darth Vader my husband was very much in love with)

    Sushi Jiro, Roppongi Hills- https://www.govoyagin.com/activities...MaAog3EALw_wcB
    This was, by far, the most extravagant thing we did on our trip. We were intrigued by the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi and anxious to try to get a reservation. We booked our reservation through Voyagin, it went really smoothly. Dinner service for sushi and sashimi ended up to be about $700. It was magical. Hard to say more than that without writing another full email about it.

    APA Hotel Chain- 301 Moved Permanently
    These hotels are very small but luxuriously appointed. Beautifully kept and central to so many things. I would happily stay in another one, any one. We paid about $45 for a night. Close to the metro and many conveniences in the neighborhood.

    Nippori Textile Town- http://nippori-senigai.com/
    As a maker/sewist I HAD to go back to Nippori Textile Town. My husband, supportive and happy for me to dive in, found a nice cafť where he could smoke and chill and out. I shopped the multi-level fabric shops for several hours. Every kind of notion. Glorious trims. So many textures. This is a really good breakdown of whatís on offer on this little street http://www.cashmerette.com/2015/04/f...ing-tokyo.html

    YOKOHAMA-
    Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, http://www.raumen.co.jp/
    Completely delicious, essentially a theme park/museum dedicated to ramen. People buy memberships and obviously frequent the food hall regularly.

    KYOTO and OSAKA
    Universal Studios, Osaka. Iím not generally fond of large crowds and long lines but there is a Wizarding World of Harry Potter there and Iím a BIG nerd. It. Was. MAGICAL. EVERY PUN INTENDED. Worth the day trip with our unlimited day pass. We should have stayed in Osaka for dinner but we were le tired. It was very fun to see how the Japanese approach tourism and theme park attendance. Plus, every character speaking in Japanese was kind of amazing, too.

    Fushimi Inari Gates- http://inari.jp/
    Highly touristy but truly worth the hike. Itís an incredible shrine, winding up the mountain with offshoots and temples as your climb. We did not make it all the way to the top. Itís a slow climb and interesting to see that as you get higher and higher the crowds get fewer and older. Also magical. The feeling of walking through the gates, endlessly distorts your sense of place and movement in a highly meditative way.

    Sobatsuru- http://sobatsuru.web.fc2.com/
    Local favorite soba shop. No English speakers or menus. Recommended to us by another local Mike got connected with through work. Delicious and we had great fun meeting the owner and trying to communicate with drawings and Google Translate. Thank God for the universal language of wine.

    Sake Ceramics- https://goo.gl/maps/jZ5895qQgtE2
    I do not know the proper name of this shop. It was incredible and took several tries to visit while they were open. Really worth the effort. Glorious, unique and plentiful sake ceramics piled and heaped in every nook and cranny. Gorgeous and tiny. We spent a good bit in here, though it was part of the plan to bring home some unique pieces. Probably $30-$75 for the pieces we brought home. The shopkeepers were quiet, curious and helpful.

    Nijo Castle- https://goo.gl/maps/d1bZKNnbFE72
    From the era of shogun rule, large estate that you can walk through including an audio tour and interiors tour of the main building. Beautiful and highly informative.

    Ippudo Ramen- http://www.ippudo.com/
    A chain, yes, but incredibly delicious, easy to get and unique to Japan. We could have lived inside those bowls of tonkatsu (bone broth) ramenÖ

    Kinkaku-ji- https://goo.gl/maps/vKLiYQuGcEt
    The Golden Temple. Magical. This restaurant nearby was DELICIOUS and cheap. Itadaki https://goo.gl/maps/xz2X6HpmsCK2

    Indigo Dye Workshop- https://goo.gl/maps/CfjPrrthUMn
    Didnít get to go here on this trip but dyeing to go next time. Dad jokes, dad jokes.

    Textile Center- https://goo.gl/maps/XfYRJ8MbnJJ2
    Same as above, didnít get to go but want to see it next time!

    Okonomyaki restaurant- https://goo.gl/maps/HxKB5jkpd5J2
    Local recommendation, delicious and worth proving you are not just an ordinary white tourist.

    Ichi Sake- https://goo.gl/maps/1GTXwF8N4HN2
    Unpretentious sake bar, tiny and full of deliciousness. Such a good neighborhood for wandering. Hard to hit a place that would NOT have delicious food and drink. Great area to hit on a weekend night then walk over the bridge and wander the quiet streets of GionÖ

    Gion, Geisha district- https://goo.gl/maps/W28N4CTs5oL2
    Setting of the book Memoirs of a Geisha, beautiful old Edo-style architecture, cobbled streets. High end restaurants, bars and perhaps a glimpse of a Geisha bustling along to her next appointment.

    BEYOND THE CITIES
    If you have the time, try and spend a night or so outside of the major cities. Local folks you meet will be stunned you are venturing off the regular paths and you will get to see a side of the country that sharply contrasts the thick, urban density of the southern edge of the country. We traveled out to Gunma Prefecture to visit Kurosawa Brewery (my husband is connected through wine and the industry). Taking the train north changed what we were seeing, the landscape is incredible. We traveled toward Nagano, where the Olympics were held, and the air felt so different. If you are looking for a particular destination perhaps try going to see the snow monkeys! http://www.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp/

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Posts
    14
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ideas for Osaka:

    Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) - I loved the whale sharks and the sunfish. When I went, they had a petting zoo area; instead of petting furry critters, you could pet sharks and rays.

    Osaka Castle - Beautiful castle. Beautiful view of the city from the top floor.

    Dotonbori - Great place to visit if you're hungry. This is where you'll find the Glico Guy billboard (it's one of the landmarks of the city).

    Are you into the (Midori) Traveler's Notebooks? I found the inserts to be considerably cheaper in Japan (relative to their price in Canada). Also, there are specialized Traveler's Factory stores at Tokyo Station and Narita Airport, where you can buy souvenir notebook covers, stickers, and tape. The Traveler's Factory mother ship is in the Nakameguro neighbourhood of Tokyo. If you don't feel like going to the Traveler's Factory stores, the inserts are available at stores like Tokyu Hands and Ito-Ya.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    201
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When will you be travelling? Cherry blossoms bloom in a very short time frame but some spots are earlier/later than average.

    Without knowing your interests it's a bit hard to advise, because there's so much to see, but here's a few of my favourites.

    Tokyo

    Museums - Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park (also a possible cherry blossom spot). The Edo Tokyo Museum is closed for refurbishment until March 31st but if you're going there after that, also go to the new Hokusai Museum nearby which is beautiful architecture as well as being interesting.

    Asakusa - Sensoji temple, Nakamise street and surrounding streets for traditional food and souvenirs, Kappabashi kitchen street which supplies everything needed to run a restaurant (great for beautiful dishes, a variety of chopsticks and unusual kitchen tools)

    Views - Skytree is expensive but good. If you're on a budget, I recommend Seaside Top in the World Trade Center above Hamamatsucho station. It costs 600 yen and it has an excellent view of Tokyo Bay and Tokyo Tower, particularly at sunset. I think Tokyo Tower is better to look at, rather than going up it. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is totally free but the view from the top is not 360 degrees, unless you go into the cafe so you end up buying a coffee, making it not so free!

    Department store food halls - these are food paradise with beautiful displays of the most amazing food. After about 6.30pm, things start getting discounted, so you can pick up a bento meal for dinner at a very modest price.

    Kyoto

    The cliche Kyoto must-dos are Fushimi Inari, the bamboo grove (meaning the Arashiyama bamboo grove), Kinkakuji (the golden pavilion) and Kiyomizudera. Whatever you do, do not attempt to see these all in one day, particularly not during cherry blossom season.

    Fushimi Inari is great. Take the time to walk at least half way up the hill and you'll get beyond the crowds of tourists. It also has a bamboo grove (just not the famous one). From Fushimi Inari, you can take the Keihan train line and go to Sanjusangendo which has 1000 statues of the goddess Kannon, an awe-inspiring sight.

    Heian shrine - not for the shrine itself which is pretty ordinary, but the garden which is beautiful.

    Arashiyama - this is a quaint village on the outskirts of Kyoto with several famous temples and also the famous bamboo grove. If you go there, take time to see more than the bamboo grove which can be very crowded and takes about 15-20 minutes. Visiting one of the temples would be great - Tenryuji is the closest to the station, Seiryoji is also reasonably close. Other sights include the gardens of Okochi Sanso villa, the Sagano scenic railway, or a boat trip on the river. There is a thermal footbath at Randen Arashiyama station which is great if you've ended up doing a lot of walking.

    Any lesser known temples - there won't be the crowds found in bigger temples and it's much more relaxing. Some of them are truly beautiful. Ones I've visited include Konchi-in (near Nanzen-ji), Komyo-in (near Tofukuji), Daitokuji and Ninnaji (both near Kinkakuji), and all were far more peaceful than their popular neighbours.
    A30 in original halcyon/wasabi. Side Kick in verde/northwest sky and cloud/viridian, Pop Tote in Mars Red, Travel Cubelet in Mars Red, A30 packing cube backpack in northwest sky, large travel tray in sitka, packing cubes, pouches and cubelets

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    3
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thank you everyone for such wonderful suggestions. This will help us in planning this vacation!

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    169
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Check out a Genki Sushi location for conveyor belt sushi. You order from a screen (there is an English option) and the sushi or noodle bowls arrive in front or you. I think there are several locations in Tokyo. There is a conveyor belt place we liked in Kyoto Station too, where the belt continuously goes around and you take off whatever plates you want.

  8. #8
    Forum Member terayon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Posts
    628
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have very fond memories of Kiyomizu - thatís where my husband proposed! It was beautiful but very, very crowded the day we were there, so when we saw a trail tucked away behind one of the small buildings, we checked it out (couldnít read the sign) and it turned out to lead to an amazing hike up the mountain behind the temple.

    Unfortunately I donít think I could describe how to find the trail, exactly, but if you feel like a hike, keep your eyes open for it!

  9. #9
    Forum Member kathryn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    475
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm saving this thread for a possible fall trip... I am being slowly talked in to getting outside my vacation comfort zone of Europe and South America by friends

    Anyone who's visited Japan and spent time in Hokkaido? I find myself very drawn to it from the photos and descriptions I've seen.

    ETA: Used up some miles for a September ticket to Japan first thing this morning. Yikes!! And yay!!
    Last edited by kathryn; 03-15-2018 at 06:18 AM.
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.Ē ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    201
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by kathryn View Post
    I'm saving this thread for a possible fall trip... I am being slowly talked in to getting outside my vacation comfort zone of Europe and South America by friends

    Anyone who's visited Japan and spent time in Hokkaido? I find myself very drawn to it from the photos and descriptions I've seen.
    I haven't visited Hokkaido but it's on the list to see in the future. I went to Japan last autumn, travelling between Hiroshima and Tokyo. As well as looking at the foliage, watch out for chrysanthemum displays. There were some stunning flowers. Also if you're in Tokyo at the right time, the Tori No Ichi fair is worth going to. It's colourful, noisy and has good food.

    ASAKUSA Torinoichi
    A30 in original halcyon/wasabi. Side Kick in verde/northwest sky and cloud/viridian, Pop Tote in Mars Red, Travel Cubelet in Mars Red, A30 packing cube backpack in northwest sky, large travel tray in sitka, packing cubes, pouches and cubelets

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you do visit temples, you can collect the red stamps at each temple. The book with fan folded pages can cost $15-$20 and the larger temples usually sell them. You can also get them at some gift shops. The temples charge a small fee to stamp and write in your book and almost all of them will only do it in a proper book. I've seen them turn down Moleskines and such.
    A lot of places of interest will also have rubber stamps of their location. Museums and train stations are places to look but don't use those stamps in your temple book. They'll turn you down if they see it in your book. US National Parks and other countries do something similar so I think it's a great travel memento.
    Temples:
    Traveling to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka any must see places?-img_4477_2-jpg

    Not temples:
    Traveling to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka any must see places?-img_4478_2-jpg

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    4
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    This is wonderful! We are hoping to take our 7-and 14-yo sons to Japan this summer and these recommendations are so helpful (Iíve been to Tokyo and Tokushima for business only and my wife and kids havenít been to Japan at all). Thanks to everyone for sharing tips and experiences.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •