Home > Japan > Japan Trip Day 0

Japan Trip Day 0

So I’m back from vacation, but I haven’t exactly started on scanlating.  Well, I did download volume 4 so I do have the material to start, but I think I’ll just wait til tomorrow.  I want to write down somewhere my trip, since I personally thought it was a great experience.  And hopefully it can be helpful to others who wishes to travel to Japan for the first time.  So here goes.

I traveled with two of my friends, none of us have been to Japan before, and we also didn’t want to join a tour so we can have full control of where we want to visit.  We did plenty of research prior to our trip.  We looked up famous attractions, places to visit, purchased books for information, and yada yada.  Some tips on preparation and things to bring if you are going alone:

  • Maps, lots and lots of maps of every location you want to go.  There are maps near every train station, but I wouldn’t rely on that
  • Figure out train routes to take before you go.  Probably should bring a map of this too.
  • Enough cash.  Credit cards are accepted at lots of places, but they are also not accepted at some unexpected locations, such as convenient stores.
  • Learn at least some basic Japanese.  Most people there only speak Japanese.  English does not cut it
  • Don’t bother bringing a 3g or 4g cellphone.  They won’t work in Japan
  • Buy JR pass prior to going.  It’s only for foreigners and can’t be purchased in Japan
  • Live in a hostel.  It’s way cheaper than hotels and you get to meet other travelers

So after much preparation, we finally set off on a 1 pm flight to Tokyo from LAX.  The flight was about 12 hours long, so probably want to bring something to do.  We took Singapore Airlines, and I have to say, they DO have the best service out of any flight I have ever taken.  They serve pretty good Japanese food for meals, and even have ice cream as desert.  Alcohol is also FREE and UNLIMITED.  My friend got a good buzz even before we got to Japan.

After a gruesome 12 hour flight, we landed in Narita Airport.  We were all pretty excited, but that’s just half the battle, we went and looked at the train map, and bought ourselves tickets for JR Sobu Line to Bakurocho Station.  Train tickets for within Tokyo are quite cheap (~200 yen per trip), so we didn’t bother getting a JR pass while we stayed in Tokyo.  The JR pass for 1 week is about $300, which is not worth it unless you plan to use the JR train to travel far.  We did get it for the 2nd half of our trip since we will need to take the bullet train to Kyoto, which costs about $150 one way.

After taking the train to Bakurocho station, it was only a 2-minute walk to our hostel, Khaosan Ninja Asakusabashi.  We arrived at 9 pm, checked in at the front desk.  It was a relatively small place, but I think that’s how all the places in Japan are.  The people at the reception can understand English, so that was good.  We payed them, went into our 10-person dorm and settled in.  We met 3 Australians who were also visiting Tokyo.  They visited pretty much all the places that we wanted to, but they were going to leave the next day, so that’s that.

At around 10 pm, we left our luggage in the hostel, and went out to explore Japan for the first time.  We were all very hungry so we looked around for a place to grab a midnight snack.  Nothing’s really open at this hour.  It’s a Sunday night, and we were not near the busy part of town, so it was pretty dead already.  But we managed to find a cheap Yakitori place to eat.  The waitress there didn’t speak English, so it’s time me and one of my friends (we both took Japanese classes before, but we practically remember nothing) to bust out whatever Japanese we still remember.  We then sat down and were surprised to see that all orders are made on a touch screen.  Good thing I know kanji, since that’s what almost everything is written in.  We looked through it and ordered a few chicken skewers and 2 okonomiyakis.

The food there really wasn’t all that great… Everything was way too salty.  We were starving so we still managed to finish, but I really recommend going there.  Unforunately it was my first night there, so I didn’t really prepare myself to record the locations and names of places I eat at.   All I can tell you is this place is on the 3rd floor above a Yoshinoya in Asakusabashi.  So don’t go there if you can.  I give this place a 2/5

We went back to the hostel afterwards and went to sleep since we were going to get up early the next morning.  Tomorrow’s destination: Tsujiki and Ginza!

Categories: Japan
  1. Sarah
    March 24, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Nice trip! any pictures of you? hehe

  2. a
    March 24, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Nice travel record, I’ll surely enjoy the rest of the story 🙂

    Cheers.

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