A wonderful 4 minute video tour of Japan

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  1. Unless you plan heavily ahead of time, it is virtually impossible to get Sumo wrestling tickets in the main areas. The Sumo season is rather short and the venues are not particularly big.

  2. The Shinkansen (bullet train) is awesome. It practically glides on the rails and the stations specialize in artisianal box lunches based on local favorites. The cheaper alternative is a bit threadbare, the “midnight bus”. A bus with sleeper seats that travels in the middle of the night. Its inexpensive but getting to a location at 5:00 am is a bit disorienting, especially when hotels don’t usually have rooms ready.

  3. Osaka, Kyoto and Nara are definitely more tourist friendly than Tokyo and not as well known. Kyoto is chock full of the cultural stuff tourists love seeing. Half the city is preserved as it was many centuries ago.

Nara is the most ancient capital, home of the grave of the 1st Emperor and a temple which is noted for a ginormous bronze Buddha and tons of semi-domesticated deer accosting tourists.

Osaka is the Philadelphia or Chicago of Japan. A city which doesn’t get a lot of respect, is known for uncouth but likeable residents, and has fantastic local food and drinking.

4 It is insanely fun to find and point out buildings which were destroyed in Godzilla films.


I’d love them to do an annotated version of this for future trips. I spent a week there but only had one day apiece in Kyoto and Yokohama, the rest in Tokyo.

What’s that amazing bamboo forest at 00:51?

The mountainous refuge at 02:25?

The waterfalls at 02:51?

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Wonderful, indeed, great editor.
A bit fast for us ‘old’ people. But there are technical solutions for that. :wink:


The volcanic vent at 2:53 is from Owakudani (aka “The Stinking Mountain” or “Great Boiling Valley”) near Mt Fuji.

I definitely suggest people on a trip to Japan to spend a week in the Kansai region (about 300 miles southwest of Tokyo). You have 3 major cities between 1-2 hours from each other by commuter rail with very distinct sites, lots of stuff geared for tours and sightseeing.

My biggest problem with Tokyo is that my brother in law lives there. Every time I go see him he takes my wife and I to restaurants that serve itty-bitty portions of food but loads of booze. He is always trying to get me falling down drunk. He usually succeeds. Hangover vomiting over toilets with heat, music and bidet functions is just freaky.


WTF not even one Pokemon reference?

(That’s a daruma at 0:42, not a Pokemon.)

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I loved Tokyo and wished I had more time. Stuff I saw that I’d recommend to anyone:

  • Ueno Park and Ueno Zoo
  • Yoyogi Park
  • The Harajuku district
  • Shinjuku district at night. I ate at the crazy Christon Cafe.
  • Meiji Shrine
  • Shibuya area
  • Karaoke (they have high-rises that are just karaoke rooms)
  • Namja Town
  • The Ghibli Museum
  • Japanese toilets

The bamboo forest is in Arashiyama, the western district of Kyoto.

You get off the train, and then hike through a very pleasant suburbish neighborhood before being arrested by a gate, past which is bamboo for as far as the eye can see. It’s a deep place.

As you walk through, you can take a little side jaunt up to a villa on a small mountain where a famous actor once lived. You can take a tour of the gardens around the little estate and catch some fantastic views of Kyoto, and then volunteers back at the bottom serve you bitter green tea and rice cakes.

Then, you can walk back through the bamboo grove, cross the Oi river, and take a hike up another mountain to the top where a colony of monkeys live in a park. You can walk into a building where the park rangers sell little bags of peanuts or bananas and you can feed the monkeys by hand, but you have to stay in the building and feed them through the barred windows, for the monkeys can be irksome and vexing.

After that, you can head back down the mountain and across the river again for a lunch break or what have you.

I recommend this.


Ueno Zoo is definitely going to be on my list of places to go see in Tokyo before I meet up with my brother in law.

The city is fairly daunting in how far flung many of the touristy things are.


There are so many aspects of Japan that I want to see that I don’t think any one vacation style visit would satisfy me. I’d have to live there for a few years to be satisfied… which is a problem as I’ve never been able to make any serviceable progress on learning to read or speak the language.


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