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Heading to Tokyo... any tips?
Zach Honig, Photo Editor, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 8:06 AM on 04.14.10
->> I'm going to Tokyo for work/vacation on Friday with a couple other SportsShooter members, and after asking around, it turns out that Tokyo is one city that none of my friends or colleagues have ever visited. I'll be there for around 10 days, and I'd love to hear about your recommendations for restaurants, sites to see, shopping districts (what should we bring back?), neighborhoods to visit, and best places to shoot the cherry blossoms. Also, anything to avoid seeing, saying, or eating? Tokyo has been at the top of my list for years, but I leave in two days and don't actually have a plan for my visit, beyond several business meetings that I have set up. Also, I have a Verizon cell phone from work that I've used successfully on international trips in the past, but Verizon is CDMA and the phone typically switches to GSM when I travel overseas... has anyone tried using a CDMA VZW phone in Tokyo before?

Please feel free to respond here, or send me an email at zshonig [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Zach Honig, Photo Editor, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 8:08 AM on 04.14.10
->> Also, I'm not much of a "sports shooter" these days, but if there are any SportsShooter members in Tokyo that want to meet up with us, please feel free to reach out as well.
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Steve Violette, Photographer
Gulf Breeze | FL | USA | Posted: 10:37 AM on 04.14.10
->> Zach,
find a way to get to Tsukiji Fish market at 5:00am. The tuna auction is amazing to see (but cowded) however wondering around the rest of the market for a couple of hours is pretty cool. I recommend doing this early in the trip while you are still jet lagged...

Have fun

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Patrick Smith, Photographer
Salt Lake City | UT | USA | Posted: 10:56 AM on 04.14.10
->> Zach,
Drop me an e-mail through my member page. Been there a pair of times (planning on returning) and can give you some good things to do.
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Kirby Yau, Photographer, Assistant
San Diego | CA | USA | Posted: 12:11 PM on 04.14.10
->> Bring a pack of tissues. I met my wife on a 747 headed to Japan. I sat next to her, she had a cold, I had tissues, the rest is history. You too could potentially meet the love of your life.

Vending machines are awesome. Calpis and Pocari Sweat are my favorite drinks. Avoid black black gum like the plague.

Kabuki theater is great for the first half hour but is pretty hard to sit through for two hours. The translation headphones are kinda useless.

Japan's bullet trains are awesome, try to take a trip in one.

Apple Store Ginza was pretty impressive 6 years ago, but with the explosion of apple retail stores domestically, its less impressive.

Take lots of photos and have fun. Japan felt like the safest place on Earth, you can be in a dark alley at 3 am without fear, great place.
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Mike McLaughlin, Photographer
Neptune City | NJ | USA | Posted: 1:52 PM on 04.14.10
->> Hey Zach. I'm heading to Tokyo myself next Wednesday for 3 weeks. Give me a call at some point today and I can give you a ton of advice that is too much to write right now. This will be my 2nd trip.

US phones don't work in Japan at all, they are on an entirely different system than the rest of the world, but check for about $39/week you can have one waiting at your hotel or the airport post office when you arrive.

National Geographic Traveler Japan has a ton of great info on Tokyo and outlying areas and Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook is a godsend! You could probably read the whole thing on the flight, lots of words/phrases and basic etiquette, etc.

Definitely give a yell for more info, and to maybe have a SS get together in Japan!

Have Fun!
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Zach Honig, Photo Editor, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 4:35 PM on 04.14.10
->> Thanks for for all the tips, guys! Lots of great advice via email as well. Mike: I sent you an email through your member page... more than happy to meet up with SS members in Tokyo.
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Darrell Miho, Photographer
Los Angeles : SFO : HNL | CA | usa | Posted: 5:21 AM on 04.16.10
->> i just got back Monday. you're catching the tail end of the sakura (cherry blossom) season in Tokyo. THE place to see sakura is Ueno Park (north of the Ueno Station on the JR Yamaote, Ginza and Hibiya Lines). other good places are Aoyama cemetery (west of the Nogizaka Station, Chiyoda Line) and Shinjuku Koen (southeast of Shinjuku Station on the JR Yamaote, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi line). there are many other places, check with your concierge or local contacts.

i will second the recommendation on Tsukiji Market. you'll probably be waking up at 3am anyways your first couple of days, so take advantage of the early hours while you can.
find the longest line, and eat sushi at one of the eateries next to the market. sorry, i can't remember the name of the place.

i would recommend Sensoji Temple, but it is currently being renovated and is covered in a shroud. but the Kaminari-mon (Thunder Gate) and all the souvenir shops might be worth the trip. (northeast of Asakusa Station on the Asakusa and Ginza Lines)

you can download the Japan Metro train map from iTunes. unfortunately, the map does not show the JR Lines.

if you really need one, you can rent a phone at the airport. i rented one from Softbank for 250 yen per day. 90 yen (i think) per minute for outgoing calls free incoming.

it's hard to find free wireless locations.

take day trips to:
Yokohama - Chinatown, Minato Mirai area (shopping), Landmark Building observation deck, Cosmo World (pay-per ride mini amusement park with a giant ferris wheel, mini rollercoasters and mini rides) shop at Akeranga (red brick warehouse)
Kamakura - Daibutsu (second largest statue of Buddha), temples and beach.

must haves/dos:
good pair of walking shoes, detailed map and a compass.
always ask the station personnel which platform to stand on to get to your destination.

more info is here: (the last third is on Tokyo)
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Thread Title: Heading to Tokyo... any tips?
Thread Started By: Zach Honig
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