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Going to Japan in Feb. Have some specific questions.

 
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JimDunlop2



Joined: 31 Jan 2003
Posts: 2286
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 4:43 pm    Post subject: Going to Japan in Feb. Have some specific questions. Reply with quote

Hey all,

I just wanted to ask some specific questions in regards to arriving in Japan... My wife and I are getting our WHV (should be in by next week) and will be arriving in Tokyo on Feb 19, about 2pm local time.

We don't have anything concrete yet, although a number of various job prospects and job interviews that were promised us "upon successful arrival" in Japan. They are in surrounding prefectures and cities, and will require some travel. My wife and I hope to arrange rail passes before we leave.

Quesion 1: To avoid floundering like fish out of water..... So we arrive at Narita airport at 2pm... Then what? Rolling Eyes

Question 2: Am I likely to get a better exchange getting my Yen in Canada or waiting until we arrive in Tokyo to change our money?

Question 3: The Japanese Consulate required us to have $3500 in travellers' cheques.... I HATE travellers' cheques. (Bad memories of Germany). Should I return all or most of them before going? (Or rather, is there any reason why I should keep them?)

Question 4: I am thinking it might be a good idea to get a cell phone very quickly upon arrival. Does this sound reasonable? If so, can someone give me specific advise as to where and how to do this??

Question 5: Is there anyone in Japan currently that wouldn't mind if I gave them a call to ask for advise or help in case we get stuck? I am trying to collect some local contacts, as most of my current ones have already returned from Japan and no longer live there...

If I think of anything else in the mean time, I will post the questions as I think of them.... My e-mail should be listed with this post as well.

Thanks guys! Much appreciated in advance!

JD
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David W



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 457
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2003 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you should take the TCs because you change cash at a much worse rate here in Japan. ATM's where you can use your foreign credit card is the best way, but those ATMs are few and far between.
I'm sure you can get a prepaid cell phone soon after you arrive. You won't be able to get a "proper" one until you get your alien registration card.
Don't take a taxi from Narita whatever you do. Bus or train it in, it's very easy. Search the net for a youth hostel for the first couple of nights. Book it before you leave. Find out where the nearest subway stop is.
Don't worry Japan is not really that hard a country to get around in. You'll be fine.
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2003 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the unitiated, Narita is a good 50 km or about 90 minutes from central Tokyo by car- if you take a taxi and get stuck in traffic it will take you over two hours. There are limousine buses that go into tokyo but your best bet is the express train which takes about an hour, tops.

There is plenty of accomodation in Tokyo but youth hostels are your best bet (keep in mind that youth hostels are segregated and if you want to share with your girlfriend a gaijin hostel (double private room, shared facilities) is probably better, and there is no curfew either) Next one up is business hotels which are about 5,000 yen and up a night for a double room. You make be able to book a room from the airport at one of the information desks so it pays to check when you arrive- many of the counter girls will likely speak some English.
Good luck.
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Sherri



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Posts: 748
Location: The Big Island, Hawaii

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may be able to answer a few of your questions.

First at Narita there is a coach service that will take you to major hotels in Tokyo. You can try it but I think it may be a bit confusing the first time.

There are 2 train lines. One is JR--Japan Railways Narita Express. It usually goes to Tokyo Station and Shinjuku, but there are other destinations depending on the train. It is the most expensive. The other is the Keisei Line Skyliner. This is cheaper but it is even cheaper if you use the Keisei Line but use the regular semiexpress service (not the special airport service train called the Skyliner) It leaves from the same platform as the Skyliner and goes to Nippori and Ueno. Just follow the signs when you get through customs.

Make sure you have some Japanese money when you are in the airport. There are money change places in the airport. You can change your travellers checks in almost any bank (easier if they are yen checks) as long as it is during banking hours. Outside banking hours and on weekends it is really hard to find a place that will change your checks so don't be caught short.

Hope this helps!
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matko



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DON'T exchange money at the airport when you arive. They have absolutely the worst exchange rate!!
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G Cthulhu



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 1320
Location: Way, way off course.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2003 4:30 am    Post subject: Re: Going to Japan in Feb. Have some specific questions. Reply with quote

JimDunlop2 wrote:


Quesion 1: To avoid floundering like fish out of water..... So we arrive at Narita airport at 2pm... Then what? :roll:



Panic. :wink:

No, seriously, as others have said, take the train or bus into Tokyo city itself. The Keisai train (at 1000 yen) is cheapest.


Quote:

Question 2: Am I likely to get a better exchange getting my Yen in Canada or waiting until we arrive in Tokyo to change our money?



Don't bring Canadian dollar TCs! Yen cheques are okay, but I'd change about CD$1500 of it to yen cash before you come.


Quote:

Question 4: I am thinking it might be a good idea to get a cell phone very quickly upon arrival. Does this sound reasonable? If so, can someone give me specific advise as to where and how to do this??



As someone else mentioned, you can't get a proper cellphone until after you get an Alien Registration Card, but you can get a pre-paid phone.

But don't be surprised if lots of places refuse to sell you one, however - lots of retailers think they can *only* sell to people with ARCs. Pre paid phones are much of a muchness - any old company will do. If you really get stuck, you can buy pre paid phones for kids (seriously, they're cool extra-sparkly colours with big buttons and all , designed for 3-10 year olds! :D ) from toy stores.


Quote:

Question 5: Is there anyone in Japan currently that wouldn't mind if I gave them a call to ask for advise or help in case we get stuck? I am trying to collect some local contacts, as most of my current ones have already returned from Japan and no longer live there...



The Japan Helpline number is available from the TIC office at Narita - they can help explain things or even explain things over the phone to others in Japanese if needs be.


Good luck, and remember that Tokyo and the prefectures around it *are not* Japan. Get out and experience the real Japan. :wink:
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