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8:00 AM on 09.21.2013

JapanaTour: Where to start when planning a Tokyo vacation

In case you're planning a trip to Japan in the future (like for the 2020 Olympics), or even if you're there right now for Tokyo Game Show and are looking for suggestions, here's a list you didn't ask for but totally need. I've even gone through the trouble of sorting it based on interests/activities rather than just making it a numbered list.

Kristina Pino

Capsule hotels in Japan: A brief video tour photo
Capsule hotels in Japan: A brief video tour
by Kristina Pino

In this video, you get a quick tour of the general dorm facilities at a capsule hotel in Japan. Obviously, I left out stuff like the shared baths and the lobby/common area, since that would involve either a) being arrested or b) shooting video of people who may or may not care to be up on YouTube, and eventually being arrested for it anyway. 

I stayed at a capsule with a friend for one night while enjoying a mini-break in Tokyo, and thankfully a few exist that allow women these days. While some capsules or guest houses simply have a mixed dorm, this one in particular had a female-only floor, separate from the other, male-only floors. Hostels, capsules, and guest houses generally will run you anywhere between ¥2,500 and ¥4,000 (or even lower) per night throughout Japan. This one was about ¥2,900, and staff provided us with towels and robes, access to the baths and free tea downstairs in the common area. The floor we were on had its own ladies-only restroom (toilets) and lounge area as well. 

If you're looking to travel throughout Japan the cheap way, this is one of your options. And no, it isn't as claustrophobic as it seems. It's actually rather roomy in there! Have you ever stayed at a hostel or capsule in Japan, or anywhere else? Be sure to share your experiences below.

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[edit/add: If you're interested in this specific capsule hotel, here's a link to its listing on Hostel World.] 

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JapanaTour: Sayonara! photo
JapanaTour: Sayonara!
by Chris Walden

Well folks, this is it! It's been a great six months writing about the most fascinating place I've had the pleasure of visiting, and hopefully you'll benefit from what I had to say when you make your own pilgrimages over there. Don't ever be put off by the high cost of plane tickets and hotels, I can hand-on-heart say that a trip is worth every penny. 

As I mentioned last week, I've covered all of the places I've visited and have confidence talking about, so all I really have left is a list of minor details you may or may not know about Japan. Some of them can save you some trouble, so be sure to go through the list to try and avoid having the questions I had when I was in the same situation! 

If you have any questions on the JapanaTour articles, leave a message or ping me @EuricaeriS on Twitter if you want to speak to me! The aim of these articles was to make your journey to the east that much easier, so I'll gladly attempt to answer your questions! If there is somewhere you've visited yourself and you would like to share your experiences with the rest of Japanator, be sure to write up a community blog! You never know, you could get it promoted to the front page!

Hit the jump for some tips, but otherwise it's goodbye for now from JapanaTour! Hopefully I'll have some new articles in the not-so-distant future!

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JapanaTour: Kyoto photo
JapanaTour: Kyoto
by Chris Walden

Ever wondered what it would be like to cut Tokyo in half, then stick it together the wrong way around? That's what Kyoto is. Probably. 

Welcome back to JapanaTour, where we'll be looking at Kyoto as our very last location. Don't worry, I still have something planned for the last instalment next week, but this'll be the last locale until I save enough money for a return trip! 

I certainly have some vivid memories of Kyoto. Perhaps for all the wrong reasons, but memories nonetheless! If you're a portly fellow like myself, be wary about hills and heat in the summer, that's all I'll say! Still, there's some fantastic things to see here, so join me after the jump for the penultimate JapanaTour!

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JapanaTour: Arcades photo
JapanaTour: Arcades
by Chris Walden

I used to go to arcades once. Then she left me


I had to get around to this eventually, didn't I? There's a lot to say and a lot to love about Japanese arcades, and you'll no doubt spend a good amount of time rooting around them if you should ever make it over to the land of the rising sun. Hopefully I'll give you an idea of what you can find there, as well as recommend some games and places to check out.

I also have to announce that this features days are numbered! Unfortunately, as I'm running out of things to cover, there are only going to be two more JapanaTour articles after this one. No need to celebrate just yet, as that's still a few weeks away! Until then, check this one out after the jump. 

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JapanaTour: Otaku Tourist part two photo
JapanaTour: Otaku Tourist part two
by Chris Walden

I love the smell of retcon in the afternoon. 

I've opted to use 'tourist' instead of 'pilgrimage' from now on, mainly because not all of the places I feel I should talk about really count as an otaku pilgrimage. Not that it really matters, but it makes me feel better about it! 

Three more places to talk about this week, which includes pandering over Ueno Zoo, doing as Krauser did at the Tokyo Tower, and finally winding down at the home of the Japanese emperor; the Imperial Palace. You've definitely got to do the sights while you are there, even if you plan to spend your entire holiday in Akihabara! 

Come, child of man, to the other side!

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JapanaTour: Wonder Festival photo
JapanaTour: Wonder Festival
by Chris Walden

Today's episode of JapanaTour is all about the wander festival, where thousands of people gather in a large field to walk about aimlessly. 

Actually, I lied, as that's next weeks instalment. This week will be all about Wonder Festival (or WonFes for short), the figure collectors heaven! There are a lot of similarities you can draw between this and Comiket, but there are plenty of differences too. 

You should join me after the jump, but first you'll have to queue here patiently. For a few hours. 

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JapanaTour: Shibuya photo
JapanaTour: Shibuya
by Chris Walden

Today's episode of JapanaTour is all about the electric spectacle that is famous for it's fashion, music and stormtroopers

When Japan is mentioned, a lot of people automatically assume that the entire country is a busy metropolis with big neon signs and huge TV's glaring down at the people below. Tokyo is a lot like this for the most part, but the one place that really felt like that Japan I'd been picturing as a kid was Shibuya. 

Join me after the jump for some talk about this haven for the Japanese youth!

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JapanaTour: Odaiba photo
JapanaTour: Odaiba
by Chris Walden

Today's episode of JapanaTour is brought to you by the letter φ. 

I'm not sure if you are aware, but Sega is a pretty big deal in Japan. Sega owned arcades are fairly commonplace in Tokyo, so there's no surprise that they have their own theme park. No seriously, they have their own theme park. 

We'll be speeding off via sky train to check out Odaiba, the magical concrete mass that provides the home for such a place. Even if Sega don't tickle your fancy, you may want to read up on this place should you ever wish to attend the quiet gathering people call Comiket. That in mind, I'll see you past the jump!

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JapanaTour: Otaku Tourist part one photo
JapanaTour: Otaku Tourist part one
by Chris Walden

JapanaTour: now running on Valve time. 

I'll admit, I'm nearing the end of places I can write about. Having only visited the country on holidays, my time there has been rather limited, so I figure it's high time I focus on some of the more specific places you might want to visit. I'll be talking about three particular stores/places in each of these articles, rather than locations like it my other articles, so I suppose you can consider this as an expansion pack of sorts. Expansion packs are cool. 

So, as you may know, the term 'otaku' isn't exclusive to anime fans. The places I talk about after the jump will cover many interests, so pay that some mind! Without further ado, I bring you Kotobukiya, the Jump Store and the almighty Pokémon Centre!

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JapanaTour: Sendai photo
JapanaTour: Sendai
by Chris Walden


Apologies for the two weeks of no-show, I had a really silly deadline at University I had to make amongst other things. But never mind that, as this week we'll be heading to lands once trodden by the One-Eyed Dragon himself. It's another place outside of Tokyo, and very much a place to visit if you fancy learning a little about Date Masamune's influence during the Sengoku period. The rest of you can ride around the place on a motor-horse, just don't tell them I sent you. 

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JapanaTour: Akihabara part two photo
JapanaTour: Akihabara part two
by Chris Walden

Welcome back to JapanaTour, the series of articles that are created by mashing my fingers on a keyboard until something half legible appears. Raising the bar, folks! 

It's time for a second trip into the otaku wonderland known as Akihabara, where we'll be focusing on some of the weird and wacky eateries you can visit. Unfortunately, I couldn't eat absolutely everywhere on my trips over there, so I may miss out one of your favourites. If that happens, let us know all about it in the comments, but for now, follow me to the other side!

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