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J Larsen

Tokyo advice needed

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I'm booking a hotel for my first trip to Tokyo. I have it down to a hotel at Shibuya Station vs. one at Roppongi Station. I'm looking for something as central as possible and with lots to do at night. Can anyone recommend one area over the other? Thanks.

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I haven't been in Tokyo since 1981, but I remember this: watch out for large, noisy lizards...

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Roppongi is close to lots of nightclubs and bars whereas Shibuya is closer to more restaurants and shopping. If you are looking for night action, Roppongi has traditionally been the place to be.

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just remember that it's 15 hours later there than it is here so today it's actually tomorrow and tomorrow it's actually the day after tomorrow and on your birthday it's actually the day after your birthday and if I die today I die tomorrow in Tokyo forever upsetting the space/time continuum because when I scratch an itch here I'm scratching it tomorrow in Tokyo and when the world ends and the rapture comes and we all meet our makers nobody in Tokyo will know about it until tomorrow and tomorrow is the last day of the rest of your life if yesterday was the last day of the rest of your life

Edited by AllenLowe

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When you're there, find out what happened to our pal 'Albert' from the old Blue Note Bulletin Board. He vanished without a trace.

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I'm pretty sure that you'd find Shibuya more interesting. Roppongi is just a clubbers hangout.

Shinjuku would be my first choice but you don't mention it as an option.

Roppongi, Shibuya and Shinjuku are not far apart, no more than ten minutes or so my subway.

If you need any pointers re shops or anything else feel free to ask.

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I'm pretty sure that you'd find Shibuya more interesting. Roppongi is just a clubbers hangout.

Shinjuku would be my first choice but you don't mention it as an option.

Roppongi, Shibuya and Shinjuku are not far apart, no more than ten minutes or so my subway.

If you need any pointers re shops or anything else feel free to ask.

Thanks - I was just thinking Roppongi because it seems very central (at least on the map, which I know can be misleading) and because it seems like there are a lot of interesting art spaces there.

I will look into Shinjuku.

Just for a sense of scale, how long of a walk is it from Shibuya to Roppongi? I'm guessing 20-25 minutes?

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When you're there, find out what happened to our pal 'Albert' from the old Blue Note Bulletin Board. He vanished without a trace.

Yeah, I always wondered what happened to Albert. Nice dude - shame he didn't come over to org.

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I'm pretty sure that you'd find Shibuya more interesting. Roppongi is just a clubbers hangout.

Shinjuku would be my first choice but you don't mention it as an option.

Roppongi, Shibuya and Shinjuku are not far apart, no more than ten minutes or so my subway.

If you need any pointers re shops or anything else feel free to ask.

Thanks - I was just thinking Roppongi because it seems very central (at least on the map, which I know can be misleading) and because it seems like there are a lot of interesting art spaces there.

I will look into Shinjuku.

Just for a sense of scale, how long of a walk is it from Shibuya to Roppongi? I'm guessing 20-25 minutes?

A bit more than that , say 40 minutes.

One tip to save you some hassle, drop into the nearest station and buy a 'Pasmo' train pass, there's a $5.00 (500yen )refundable card charge. If you put say 3000-5000 yen on the card it will save you the hassle of buying tickets, waiting for ticket machines etc., just walk straight through the auto gates, you don't even have to insert the card, just touch the scanner.

The subways are great here, you can get around very quickly. English language train system maps are available at most large stations. You can use Pasmo on all the trains and buses, although buses aren't recommended without Kanji reading skills.

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I used the Yamanote train line (runs a ring around Tokyo) to get just about anywhere in town. Any other place I needed get to, I'd just hop on the subway (Hibiya line runs through Roppongi and will intersect with the Yamanote line at the Ebisu station). Shinjuku is a great part of town; I bought a Derek Bailey CD at the Virgin Megastore there and spent an hour lost inside the Shinjuku station trying to find the Yamanote line to get back home.

I miss Japan. Good times... :(

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I would also recommend Shibuya over Roppongi. Better transportation links, great for CD shopping (HMV, Tower, Disc Union, Reco) and plenty of places to eat and drink. I live in Azabu and know Roppongi pretty well, still great for really late drinking options but pretty sleazy these days. Depending when you will be here, would be happy to meet up at that time. Shinjuku is great but is just a few minutes from Shibuya on the Yamanote line.

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The subways are great here, you can get around very quickly. English language train system maps are available at most large stations.

I agree; they're fantastic. But I recommend checking out those system maps before boarding...I remember asking a group of students on the train if they knew how many stops before Yokosuka after a night of partying, and it took them fifteen minutes of consultation to come up with the correct phrase in english: "I don't know". :(

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and it took them fifteen minutes of consultation to come up with the correct phrase in english: "I don't know". :(

Oh yeah, I've been there. :rolleyes: I used to hate asking questions because I didn't know how much work was going to have to be put into giving me an answer.

Once (at the office), I asked a guy if he had a stapler I could use. He told me to wait while he asked everyone else around the office, then left. Unknown to me, he went to his boss, who went to his boss who authorized the purchase of said stapler, which my co-worker had to walk a mile down the street to purchase at the Apita department store. About an hour later or so, I had my answer.

And it was a pretty crappy stapler. :(

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Thanks to all; Shibuya it is.

Any recommendations for places to eat? My girlfriend and I are pretty excited about sampling the cuisine.

Somewhat more obscurely, I am interested in a lot of Japanese photography. If anyone knows of good galleries or even of good bookstores for monographs, I'd be very interested to know. I know of one called A Black Ship.

I'm also interested in experimental music clubs in Tokyo - free jazz, noise, minimalism, anything along those lines. I think there is one called Super Deluxe in Shibuya, but I have a hunch there are quite a few more.

Finally, I'd love to know about anything that would be of interest to an architecture/industrial design nut that would be unlikely to be mentioned in a guidebook. For instance, I'm looking forward to visiting hhstyle.com/casa.

Thanks! A lot of these things are not mentioned in guidebooks and are difficult for a non-Japanese speaker to learn about online.

Edited by J Larsen

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Thanks to all; Shibuya it is.

Any recommendations for places to eat? My girlfriend and I are pretty excited about sampling the cuisine.

Somewhat more obscurely, I am interested in a lot of Japanese photography. If anyone knows of good galleries or even of good bookstores for monographs, I'd be very interested to know. I know of one called A Black Ship.

I'm also interested in experimental music clubs in Tokyo - free jazz, noise, minimalism, anything along those lines. I think there is one called Super Deluxe in Shibuya, but I have a hunch there are quite a few more.

Finally, I'd love to know about anything that would be of interest to an architecture/industrial design nut that would be unlikely to be mentioned in a guidebook. For instance, I'm looking forward to visiting hhstyle.com/casa.

Thanks! A lot of these things are not mentioned in guidebooks and are difficult for a non-Japanese speaker to learn about online.

I can't answer all your questions but would offer these tips.

For art, go to Bunkamura. It's located on the far corner of the ground floor of Tokyu Department store in Shibuya.

They usually have one or two exhibitions running in the basement complex. There are several high end book and print shops next to the galleries and an open plan cafe to rest your feet.

Two interesting shops with good designs are Tokyu Hands and Seibu Loft which are practically next door.

HHStyle is excellent. Go to the main store which is located in Harajuku. which is the next station to Shibuya. I suggest walking, the whole area is very interesting and best explored on foot.

Here's a guide map ref. for HH Style

http://www.hhstyle.com/texts/shop_info/map_honten.html

Harajuku has a large number of design shops and is worth exploring.

For music and something a bit off the usual tourist map I'd definitely go up to Shimokitazawa. It's a very interesting area located four stops from Shibuya on the Inogashira line. There are loads of small shops, eateries, clubs etc.

For food, well that's difficult. As has been mentioned without Japanese language skills you are really limited to pot luck. A good rule of thumb is Sushi restaurants are almost always good to excellent. For tempura then without doubt head for Tenya. It's cheap ( $20 for two)and good, you'll love it.

http://www.tenya.co.jp/index.htm

This boat trip is also great. Ignore the crappy ad.

http://www.e-n-inter.jp/eg/tabi/himiko.html

Go to Odaiba to see the bay area development, it's quite upscale and if you are up to it , a walk over the bridge has great views. Do it in conjunction with the boat trip.

I'd check the net and print out as many English language guide maps as possible. You are entering a non English speaking environment and would be wise to get all your data, maps etc compiled before you come.

Edited by kinuta

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Thanks a lot! For the maps, I have been studying these two fairly meticulously, and have drawn up some fairly detailed plans based on them:

http://www.amazon.com/Tokyo-City-Atlas-Bil...d/dp/4770028091

http://www.amazon.com/Knopf-MapGuide-Tokyo...9633&sr=1-1

I've also been doing the Pimsleur Conversational Japanese course, but I can't honestly say I've made a lot of progress. Still, we're hoping to be able to try a few different types of restaurants. My girlfriend has a cousin in Tokyo that we may be able to persuade to act as translator for us in exchange for a couple free dinners!

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I would also recommend Shibuya over Roppongi. Better transportation links, great for CD shopping (HMV, Tower, Disc Union, Reco) and plenty of places to eat and drink. I live in Azabu and know Roppongi pretty well, still great for really late drinking options but pretty sleazy these days. Depending when you will be here, would be happy to meet up at that time. Shinjuku is great but is just a few minutes from Shibuya on the Yamanote line.

Thanks, John. I will be in Tokyo from at least 9/29 to 10/2. We are also planning to go to Kyoto and possibly Nara before heading to Hanoi, but our plans aren't set for that part of the trip yet. Meeting up would be great if the dates work out for you.

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Thanks a lot! For the maps, I have been studying these two fairly meticulously, and have drawn up some fairly detailed plans based on them:

http://www.amazon.com/Tokyo-City-Atlas-Bil...d/dp/4770028091

http://www.amazon.com/Knopf-MapGuide-Tokyo...9633&sr=1-1

I've also been doing the Pimsleur Conversational Japanese course, but I can't honestly say I've made a lot of progress. Still, we're hoping to be able to try a few different types of restaurants. My girlfriend has a cousin in Tokyo that we may be able to persuade to act as translator for us in exchange for a couple free dinners!

Time permitting, I'd be happy to translate for you.

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Thanks a lot! For the maps, I have been studying these two fairly meticulously, and have drawn up some fairly detailed plans based on them:

http://www.amazon.com/Tokyo-City-Atlas-Bil...d/dp/4770028091

http://www.amazon.com/Knopf-MapGuide-Tokyo...9633&sr=1-1

I've also been doing the Pimsleur Conversational Japanese course, but I can't honestly say I've made a lot of progress. Still, we're hoping to be able to try a few different types of restaurants. My girlfriend has a cousin in Tokyo that we may be able to persuade to act as translator for us in exchange for a couple free dinners!

Time permitting, I'd be happy to translate for you.

Awesome! Shall we check in as the date approaches?

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I would also recommend Shibuya over Roppongi. Better transportation links, great for CD shopping (HMV, Tower, Disc Union, Reco) and plenty of places to eat and drink. I live in Azabu and know Roppongi pretty well, still great for really late drinking options but pretty sleazy these days. Depending when you will be here, would be happy to meet up at that time. Shinjuku is great but is just a few minutes from Shibuya on the Yamanote line.

Thanks, John. I will be in Tokyo from at least 9/29 to 10/2. We are also planning to go to Kyoto and possibly Nara before heading to Hanoi, but our plans aren't set for that part of the trip yet. Meeting up would be great if the dates work out for you.

Will be out of Japan from 9/6-9/21 but will be around the dates you mention so let's touch bases later in September. Actually, it would be great to meet Kinuta too, I am sure his Japanese is much better than mine!

You may already know this, but the website for Metropolis, the main free Tokyo weekly, has a lot of information about upcoming events and other stuff. Here is the link:

http://metropolis.co.jp/default.asp

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I would also recommend Shibuya over Roppongi. Better transportation links, great for CD shopping (HMV, Tower, Disc Union, Reco) and plenty of places to eat and drink. I live in Azabu and know Roppongi pretty well, still great for really late drinking options but pretty sleazy these days. Depending when you will be here, would be happy to meet up at that time. Shinjuku is great but is just a few minutes from Shibuya on the Yamanote line.

Thanks, John. I will be in Tokyo from at least 9/29 to 10/2. We are also planning to go to Kyoto and possibly Nara before heading to Hanoi, but our plans aren't set for that part of the trip yet. Meeting up would be great if the dates work out for you.

Will be out of Japan from 9/6-9/21 but will be around the dates you mention so let's touch bases later in September. Actually, it would be great to meet Kinuta too, I am sure his Japanese is much better than mine!

You may already know this, but the website for Metropolis, the main free Tokyo weekly, has a lot of information about upcoming events and other stuff. Here is the link:

http://metropolis.co.jp/default.asp

Anytime you want to meet just let me know.

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Thanks again for all the help. I look forward to meeting you both when I get there.

Do you have any advice on where to stay in Kyoto? I'm only planning on being there one night. I was thinking maybe the eastern part of the city? Do you know of any Ryokan that would welcome a foreign couple?

Thanks!

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