Home · Register · Software · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username  

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Trip Location Advice & Meet-ups | Join Upload & Sell

  

Tokyo in December
  
 
IndioInMrica
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Tokyo in December


I will hit some touristy places aside from that where to go/see. I may spend bit of time just walking around taking photos but any interesting barrios I should really go and see. I want to do more of street photo this time than just landscape and cityscapes.


Oct 27, 2016 at 09:41 PM
Charlie San
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Tokyo in December


(Firstly, broken right hand so expect typos, unusual contractions, misspellings, etc.)

Learned photography in Tokyo and basically a street guy, so here is some of what I know. Autumn lasts into Dec in T (Tokyo) and the Ginkgo fall color is usually best in the first week of December. See https://tokyocheapo.com/events/jingugaien-itcho-festival/ for details of Ginkgo Festival at Meiji Jingu Shrine outer gardens, Great street photography. Actually, that area, esp Harajuku is the best if you like to shoot people.

From the Harajuku station you can walk along Omote Sando with the upper end stores, upper end restaurants, and upper end people - I sometimes go if only for the Oriental Bazaar for old prints, antiques, and gifts to bring home. Better still, almost out front of the station is Takeshita street, I call it Teenage Heaven where all the young come for the latest fashion. By noon it is packed with photo opportunities. Before or after, you can make a right from the station, a short walk over the overpass above the tracks and into the Meiji Jingu Shrine. Before entering, and passing under the tori gate, on the right, is a small outdoor cafe where I usually linger over a coffee watching folks entering. The shrine grounds are huge and the walkways, like two lane roads, become packed over the New Years holidays to the point where the police set up traffic lights to control the crowds where paths intersect. All Japanese go to shrines then and the Meiji is the usual pick in T and if you are there you should too. With over 100k people visiting any day during that time you should find some pics. By the way, Sundays are best for all of Harajuku, you can have someone who speaks Japanese (hotel clerk?) call the shrine to find when weddings are scheduled the day you are visiting, always good to shoot.

Next up is Yanaka, escaped the T fire bombing and a neat place to spend a day. Many original shrines and temple as opposed to most of the rebuilt ones in most of T. Tennoji Temple is a one minute walk from Nippori Station and is next to the Yanaka Cemetery with over 7000 graves of some of the famous artists, writers, etc. Also, within walking distance is the Yasuhuni Shrine, a controversial shrine to the war dead, but there are so many other shrines and temples too. Spend some time on the Yanaka Ginza, eat street food, seems more like a village in the city. (Ah, the food, best in the world, you know, there are more Michelin Star restaurants in Kyoto than NY?)

Well of course, Shinjuku, and of course Omoide Yokocho or Memory Lane. Now, that's the PC name, still mostly known as Shonben Yokocho
(Urine Alley) because of the drunks staggering through the alleyways at night, leaning on the walls, and re-leaving themselves. The GIs after the war started this, what they called Piss Alley, selling animal parts that the Americans didn't want to eat, grilled out in the open with large quantities of beer and saki, where the GIs sat and rubbed shoulders with the local Yakusa (gangsters), business owners, ladies of the night, and passer bys. The birth place of democracy in Japan. Nowadays, no GIs or prostitutes, replaced by tourists, salary men, and the meat has gone a bit upscale, but not by much. These are the places I like to hang out, or maybe Golden Gai up Shinjuku a bit with the smallest bars you might ever see. In between an area where tourists are warned to stay away from, of bars, gay areas, game shops, street walkers, where you might be dragged inside a bar to drink, and so much more, the kind of places I like to haunt. In truth, I have never felt in danger but I also grew up around the Baltimore harbor area. Before leaving Shinjuku I should mention the Metropolitan Building on the west side where you can go up around 36 floors or more to photograph the skyline or eat cheaply in the government cafeteria.

And lastly, because I am getting tired, Asakusa. But then, since it is moving, we need to discuss Tsukiji Fish Market too. And there are nearby cities and districts like Nikko and Kawagoe. And, almost everyone arrives in Japan through Narita and get on the first thing going to Tokyo, never thinking of spending time in Narita, except those who know... So, maybe I will add to the above another day.




Nov 01, 2016 at 07:11 PM
IndioInMrica
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Tokyo in December


Thank you Charlie San !


Nov 03, 2016 at 05:48 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Charlie San
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Tokyo in December


(Again, broken right hand so expect typos, unusual contractions, misspellings, etc.)

I began a long missive about good areas for street photography in T (Tokyo) and this is probably more than you want but I can use this elsewhere. I plan on setting up a site for just Japan in the next two months and all this typing might be helpful. I left last off in Asakusa because I was tired so I will begin there shortly because, besides being one of the better places to shoot, it is also a good/convenient place to stay. However, you said you already have a list of "touristy places" you plan to go but let me suggest one most don't think of - Narita city.

You are likely to fly into Narita Airport on your trip, and so there are possibilities. You see, Japan can be a long flight even without changing planes. Our direct flights from Denver to Narita Air port are now (only) 12 hours as compared to what were 16-20 hour flights for us, but then, after arrival, it can be another 3-5 hours to get to T. Then we discovered N (Narita City).

N is about 30 miles from Narita Airport and is a wonderful, relaxed location to start a vacation. Be cautious for there are hundreds of hotels around the airport itself which offer overnight accommodations and shuttles, even some "love hotels" (and that's another story), but only two I know which are in the actual city of Narita which offer shuttles to and from the airport - The Richmond Hotel and the APA Hotel (both chains). You can, as we do, pack a carry on with several days of clothes and after picking up the checked in luggage, drop off the checked bags at either a storage facility in the airport (a few dollars), or better still, forward those bags to your next hotel in T through a service like Takuhaibin (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2278.html). Of course, you can do this no matter how you get to T, certainly without staying in N, but it is the best way to travel, without bags on crowded trains. Pushing yourselves onto a crowded train with luggage is the pits and is probably one of the few ways to get dirty looks from those otherwise forgiving Japanese. But we stay in N because of what is there and it is a good place to unwind. We just catch the shuttle to the Richmond Hotel, check in, drop off the carried on overnight bags, grab the camera bag, and walk to the Naritasan Temple, one of the best temples in Japan. Along the 30 minute walk are many restaurants, coffee shops, bars (even a jazz bar), shops and a lot of images. Closer to the temple, the specialty of the area, eel, barbecued on the grills outside, good images too, if you like eel or not. And, English is very common in N with all of us gaijin (literally outsiders) there - tourists, airline workers, airline crews, etc. We have sometimes stayed two nights both coming and going, our first full day visiting the nearby town of Sawara, a photogenic canal town, and then, before leaving Japan, shopping for gifts and food stuffs to take home at a nearby mall. So much to do there, see - http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6400.html. The next morning I again go to the temple for the early morning light and catch the procession of the monks and then head to T.

Most folks take a limousine bus to T but with figuring which bus, buying the ticket, waiting for departure, riding to T, and waiting for the bus to drop folks at the other hotels before yours, it takes 3-5 hours. Trains are faster, if you can figure them out, but there is one, a new line, which goes directly to Asakusa which takes less than an hour from Narita Airport, the Skyliner, http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2027.html?aFROM=2027_3004. And, you want to go to Asakusa anyway, maybe even stay there.

What's there, well a great temple, a number of shrines, a long market street, many shops, restaurants from the so so to the great and hundreds of images. Nearby is the Skytree, (G it), the Sumida River and river boats, Cherry Blossom trees, and more. December is a bit early for blossoms but a river dining cruise among the blossoms or just a "hanami" under the blossoms with the thousands of other Japanese is a neat photo/life experience - http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2011_how.html. There is so much going on in Asakusa that you need to do research on all there is to do but you can start here - http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3004.html. What is not said in the link is that it is a good place to base your stay and a place to travel to and from to such places as Nikko, Mt Fuji, etc. And, when the sun goes down, when all the sightseers (both Japanese and tourist) go home, the restaurants open their sidewalk tables, the street food and beer flow, and we get to the part I like best.

Gotta mention Tsukiji Fish Market, one of my favorite people shooting areas, and one that is supposed to relocate, maybe next year so who knows what happens then. We go early, my wife for breakfast sushi, me for the early morning hustle and bustle. Now, there are thousands of sushi cafes there but only a few recognized as the best and they are easy to spot, there are hundreds of people standing in line in front. Even in the morning it will take a wait of an hour or more and when you are finally seated you must be quiet, stick to the menu, eat and leave. Reminds me of the Sienfeld show Soup Nazi episodes - Sushi Nazis. My wife will put up with it, I walk around and photograph then duck into curry cafe and eat with the fishermen who are sick of all the fish. All my wife gets out of the experience, after the long wait, the high cost, and brutish treatment is probably the freshest and best sushi in the world but me, I get the pictures.

A lot of Japanese and gaijin sightseers go to Ueno, many museums, a garden, a shrine, a zoo, etc but I prefer the station before, Okachimachi. Along the streets between there and Ueno is Ameyoko (Ame Yokocho) or American Alley where the black marketeers set up shop after the war. Not much in the way of American goods now but a good place for tee shirts, luggage, wallets and belts, kitchen stuff, pots and pans, fish, and street images. Good street food, Middle Eastern, Korean, noodles and even Beard Papa (look it up).

So, look, this is only a start of where to shoot the streets in T but my favorite locations are elsewhere in the country like in Kyoto, Osaka, Takayama, Kanazawa, Nara, and then the smaller towns and villages. In the mean time google PDF maps on the different areas, stations, walking maps, etc. - I carry hundreds of such PDFs every trip on my ipad (there is so much available). Start watching NHK on your ipad or Roku, check the hundreds of past shows on the NHK site, tune into the Trip Advisor Japan forums. The site http://www.japan-talk.com/jt/new/japan is a good/fun place to start. I mentioned in my first part that I have never felt danger in Japan and it is true but there is much crime there and organized crime is huge and very visible, but not that visible if you don't know where to look and it seldom touches us. (To see the under belly of Japan life you can follow http://www.tokyoreporter.com/ but don't let it turn you off, it is just a part of life there.) You will have a great time there, eat the best food in the world, meet very nicest folks and come away with many images, but you might get hooked too like me.



Nov 09, 2016 at 10:17 PM
IndioInMrica
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Tokyo in December


Thanks again, Charlie San.

I will be there from Dec 27 and fly back on Jan 1st.I am planning to stay in Tokyo (Chuo or Chiyoda district) and then one night in Kyoto. Any recommendations for places to stay in Tokyo



Nov 11, 2016 at 10:08 PM
Charlie San
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Tokyo in December


Gee, such a short stay and you miss the holidays. While Japan is not a Christian nation it celebrates Christmas pretty extensively, more so than most places in the States, and many areas like the Ginza and Shibuya are lit up with lights. You might google what are the best areas for Christmas in Tokyo and I suspect they will still be active after you arrive. New Years is the bigger holiday where everyone goes to a shrine, pray for the coming year, etc. One thing people buy, you will likely see, and you might buy one too is a Daruma doll - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daruma_doll. Japanese take their old durama from the previous year to the shrines to burn them during New Years, makes nice images too. If you can extend your time I think you will see so much more.

One day in Kyoto is like walking into a cake shop and sniffing a cup cake, you won't get to taste the real thing.

And no point in getting a rail pass for less than a week. You might get what is called a Suica Card - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suica. Makes traveling the local JNR trains in and around Tokyo and outside, even Kyoto, much easier.

I mentioned Asakusa and the fast train there, here is the info http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/directions/asakusa.php. Many hotels there, I stayed at the Asakusa View across the street from the Richmond Hotel and near the Temple. I use Booking.com usually as they are quite easier to book and cancel. You can arrange your stay and usually pay at the hotel. Almost every hotel includes breakfast and the View has the better one.

Both Wards you mention are in the center of Tokyo with quick access to places I mentioned and other locations (I mostly stuck to areas I like for street photography). Other locations you might like are the Imperial Palace, Ginza, Akihabara - here is a good site for info: http://wikitravel.org/en/Tokyo/Chiyoda. You might check Expedia and Booking too for the Imperial Hotel, a bit more upscale but maybe on sale and walking distance of the Ginza and the fish market. I may have my Japan site up soon and will post a link in this thread if I do.



Nov 12, 2016 at 04:53 PM







FM Forums | Trip Location Advice & Meet-ups | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username     Reset password