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Japan

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by 2112, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. 2112

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    I'm off to Japan for two weeks on a long overdue holiday with my wife starting Tuesday. We're visiting Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Matsumoto and while the focus is going to be on sightseeing and food, I'll definitely have some time to check out some guitar related things. So, who has been and what should I try see when I'm there?
     
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  2. #2 rickboot, Jul 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
    rickboot

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    While in Toyko go to a neighborhood called Ochanomizu. There is a street lined with guitar and music stores. Many have high-end gear, including US brands. Of course, there Japanese guitars, including makes and models not usually found outside of Japan.

    https://en.japantravel.com/tokyo/ochanomizu-guitar-street/4658
     
  3. rickboot

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    Oh, and you can also search online at a few stores. It may be useful if you are looking for something particular, especially cool used guitars.

    www.ikebe-gakki.com
    www.ishibashi.co.jp

    Also, try a Google search for "gakki" and the city name.
     
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  4. MrGuitarabuse

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    Hi Leon,
    Spending a few months a year in Japan (Tokyo) here are a few recommendations.

    Tokyo

    Music shops
    I also recommend Ochanomizu guitar street. Take JR Chuo line to Ochanomizu station, Ochanomizu bridge Exit and basically across the street and you arrived guitar street heaven.


    One of the first guitar shops on the right hand side is Guitar planet
    GUITAR PLANET / ギタープラネット中古館
    東京都 千代田区 神田駿河台 2-1-11
    http://www.guitarplanet.co.jp/
    They have a small second hand department upstairs where “my” guy usually works, Mr Koba san, speaks good English. Ask for him


    Also as earlier mentioned ikebe-gakki is good. Have several branches. Aim for Shibuya, Ikebe Gakki Kenbando
    Japan, 〒150-0031 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Sakuragaokachō, 24−2 第3富士商事ビル

    Plenty of other music stores around that shop as well.


    Food

    根室食堂 新橋店
    2 Chome-18-4 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 105-0004, Japan
    〒105-0004 東京都港区新橋2丁目18−4
    Great food from Hokkaido (north Japan), local casual place, not pricey. Located in close Shimbashi station. Zero English skills among the staff.



    Tokyo fish market (Tsukiji Market) http://www.tsukiji-market.or.jp/tukiji_e.htm
    Bustling must visit tourist spot. All kinds of small shops and food stalls/restaurants. My favorite is a small non-touristy place which only serves whale named 鯨の登美粋(http://www.e-kujira.net/) Depending on how political correct you are, give it a shot. Very tasty. I recommend the whale tataki (kujira tataki), its like sashimi style whale. The female manager speaks some English. The entrance doesn’t at all look like it’s a restaurant as its just 3-4 tables inside. Only open 10am – 2pm, closed Thursdays.


    Kobe beef, expensive but worth a try somewhere. The blow fish FUGU, according to me expensive and overrated, not much of a taste, just for the experience to have tried it. Don’t bother unless you are very keen.


    Otherwise plenty of food everywhere. If you want to explore more “uncommon” food you can try horse meat.
    Bakurou 馬喰ろう 新橋店
    1 Chome-17-10 Nishishinbashi, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 105-0003, Japan
    〒105-0003 東京都港区西新橋1丁目17−10

    Music scene
    If you want to meet up fellow musicians and enjoy some casual fun you could go to gigabar or bauhaus. Basically it’s “karaoke style” for all kind of musicians. These bars has a house band with long song lists. You can sign up and join them for a song or too. House bands are usually good, the people joining them of various quality, but always good fun and sure to make a few new friends.

    http://gigabar.jp/english/index.html
    http://rockbarbauhaus.com/

    There is some cover charge if I remember correctly. They speak decent English at these bars, also some house musicians are foreigners.



    Biggest challenge will be language (unless you speak Japanese per chance). Prepare cash, some smaller shops/restaurants perhaps doesn’t accept foreign cards. Typically cards with “union pay” marks would be ok. My Hong Kong debit card with union pay works fine there.

    I haven’t bonded much with Osaka and just been there two times. Kyoto is a classic ancient city, plentiful of temples and shrines. Old style Japan. But past days the area have suffered massive rain and flooding.

    https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180705/p2g/00m/0dm/102000c

    Keep yourself updated on this
     
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  5. Dealmaker

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    Guitar wise - Tokyo is amazing - the shop in Shibuya "Guitar Club" or something is spread over 5 floors or so - and is full of awesome stock - and then obviously you HAVE to make the short trip to Ochanomizu - where there is a full street of stores - all of which are worth a look.

    Food wise - I have had some of the best meals of my life in Japan......and some of the worst........obviously it depends on how fussy you are over your food - but some dishes can be "challenging" (the fermented Tuna Intestines weren't my favourite I have to say). There are some great Steak houses in Kyoto - but be careful sometime the prices can be exorbitant.

    We like Mon Cher Sur Ton Ton in Tokyo - but it is quite pricey. Another fun place to go for food is "Gonpachi Nishiazabu" -in Roppongi its the restaurant that inspired Tarantino for the famous massacre scene in the Kill Bill film - good fun usually.
     
  6. ChainOfThought

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    I lived in Okinawa for a few years while I was enlisted...not exactly the same as mainland japan, but if there's one thing you gotta try its japanese curry. Try and find a spot called Coco Ichibanya, its a chain over there. I always got a chicken cutlet with cheese, level 3 or 4. Outside of a couple specific bars & friends over there, Coco's is probably the single thing I miss the most from that country haha.
     
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  7. BBN

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    you guys are making me want to go there just for the guitar shops!
     
  8. plexi59

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    Food-wise, take a look at Ichiran Ramen in Shibuya where you are in Tokyo: https://www.yelp.com/biz/一蘭-渋谷店-渋谷区-2. Get the tonkotsu ramen. Thank me later. Best ramen I ever had. This is not the kind of ramen you buy at Costco. This is the real thing. There are plenty of other great ramen shops all over Japan, but this one is a great start, IMO. I'm drooling just thinking about it.
     
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  9. bradlake

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  10. plexi59

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    Also, not to be overlooked is Ginza Lion beer hall (a German-styled beer hall in the middle of Ginza), and Ebisu beer museum. Beer in the grocery stores is pretty bad there (OTOH you can drink it on the street, which is a definite plus, since it's hot over there right now), but what they pour in the museum is just amazing.
     
  11. addedc

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    I lived in Tokyo for 7 years, but it was 20 years ago so everything changed. One touristy must do in Tokyo is to go up on one of the attractions like Tokyo Tower, the Sunshine Building and there's a new one where you can see the city from elevation. On a clear day, it's mind-boggling to see what 31 million people looks like.
     
  12. 2112

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    Some awesome suggestions, thanks so much guys. Having an incredible time here.
     
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  13. addedc

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    Tanoshinde kudasai!
     
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  14. 2112

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    Got a few days left in Tokyo so going to hit up some guitar stores. The few I've been to so far have all had FAS gear in the modelling section which is great to see!
     
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  15. HarrySound

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    I was going to ask how the heat was but then I realised you were an Aussie. I guess it’s just the English who can’t handle anything above 20oC
     
  16. 2112

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    It's been brutal. We get heatwaves like this every summer in Perth but I deal with it by going to the beach and doing nothing else. Walking around a concrete jungle and trying to check out all the sights here has been a challenge but worth it. Next time I'll come in spring :D
     
  17. plexi59

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    Kyoto is more bearable in terms of heat (and it's definitely worth a visit -- only 2.5 hours by train). Thicker vegetation, less concrete, more to see. Go off the beaten path, and there are older houses that are, visually at least, hundreds of years old, complete with a shallow stream and a heron, like on a postcard. It's just unbelievable to think that a place of such history and beauty was so close to being nuked in 1945. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.

    There's a river that goes through Kyoto where the locals hang out in the evening. Kyoto in general is very nice and more "historic" than Tokyo IMO.

    If you remain in Tokyo, hanging out at a bath house would be worthwhile as well, assuming you don't have any tattoos. They're kind of twitchy about tattoos due to Yakuza etc. It may sound weird to a gaijin, but bath house (onsen) is one of the most relaxing experiences I had in my life.

    There's a hotel on the other end of Japan called Beppu Seikai. For a few hundred $ a night you can stay in a room that's facing the ocean and the room has _its own private onsen_. It's been on my bucket list for a while. I might actually get there next year.
     
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  18. 2112

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    I just got back home and i really loved Kyoto. It was right in the middle of the heatwave but we toughed it out. Loved the river and the old district; IIRC the secretary of war helped convince them not to nuke it because he had spent his honeymoon there? Amazing city nonetheless. We also visited Matsumoto near Nagano which was an incredible smaller city. I can't wait to visit again.
     
  19. yek

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    I may be close to violating the forum rules here myself, but isn't there a much more important reason to not nuke a city than its history and beauty? :confused:
     
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  20. ChristThePhone

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    Probably not in 1945. After a couple of years of war human lives probably didn't count a lot anymore.
     

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