Good day 

As the title says I am traveling to Japan on Jan 23-30 and looking for anyone here that has been. Have not been much of a world traveler, have on stamp in my passport and that is Nassau in the Bahamas and that's it. Going to spend half my time in Tokyo and the other half in Kyoto, looking for good places to visit. Taking the bullet train I think from one city to the other. Things to avoid, travel tips? Come on you guys are creative. History buff, so I know I will be visiting a few shrines and temples, the shrine of the 47 Ronin is already calling me, thanks Keanu! Not a big seafood fan, but luckily there is lots of good beef to eat. Any thing I should look for to bring back? 

Second thing, I assume I will have a chance to sample some Cuban cigars which I really have no history with at all, I know the hotel we are staying at apparently has a giant humidor and looks like smoking is allowed at most of the restaraunts in the hotel. So I will be using the oppertunity to have a few. I will not be bringing any home though. #Fedsalwayswatching 

Any tips to what to buy? Most of you know my mild taste in cigars, anything mild to medium I will love. I know I may be overwhelmed looking at everything anyone want to narrow bands down for me? I know many of you are experts and proclaimed experts. 

Thanks in advanced, your friend HC

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I used to travel to Tokyo for work on a regular basis. Here are some of my favorite spots.

Buy cigars here:

Have dinner here: 

Then go see the show here: 

Drink Whiskey here:

Generally speaking.. Tokyo is very expensive so be prepared to spend some money. Check out the night markets and eat some street food. That's a great way to eat good food on a low budget. I'll see what else I can remember.

Awesome thank you! Yeah everything I read and see says expensive so we are prepared.. Well mostly. Thanks for the info, we love Shabu didnt even think about having it while there. Idiot I am.  Bookmarking all these options, thanks again 

It is fun to walk through this part of town and just look at all the crazy stuff in some of the shops:

This place is also crazy but fun:

Hey there!
I lived in Japan for two years. I taught English in a small town just 90 minutes by bus from Kyoto, Kobe, and Osaka. I'm so excited to hear that you're going!
As for cigars, that wasn't part of my life at the time, so I'm no help there.
However, like you, I don't eat seafood (besides mussels, which I just discovered I like), so I have tons of food recommendations. Let's start with food:
Yoshinoya is a sort of fast food place that I miss like crazy. I ate there probably once or twice A DAY for a lot of the time. They serve beef and onion bowls with rice. After three visits it's absolutely addicting. I used to grab a soda from one of the millions of working soda/tea/coffee machines that are all over to bring in with me.
Part of my routine was also kare-rice (curry-rice). Apparently a byproduct of British influence, this is rice with a rich brown gravy served with a meat of your choice. I recommend katsu-kare, or fried pork cutlet curry. It's outrageously good.
Another major food source for me was Ramen. Nothing like the stuff here, the Ramen there is made with a rich broth and various choices of what goes in. Normally, it's pork (the broth is pork-based), but it can come with green onions, and more. Order it as a teishoku, which is like a meal. It will come with dumplings or some other delicious treat. I'm drooling thinking about it.
The Japanese Chinese food is insanely good. The best things to order are: cha-Han (fried rice, much better than it sounds), and sweet and sour pork (I can't remember the Japanese name, but it's another level to what we have here). Also, the fried chicken from Japanese Chinese restaurants is also crazy good.
Basically, anything and everything fried is fantastic.
The good news is: many places display their food in glass cases outside with life-like plastic models.
The grocery stores and gas stations have great snacks. The grocery stores have bento-box lunches in the cold section that are delicious. The gas stations have lots of hot snacks.
Okonomiyaki is a delicious Japanese scallion and meat pancake. Just sure they don't put squid bits or shrimp bits on it.
Beer! The best beers are Yebisu (all color cans, but especially the green ones and gold ones), Suntory "the malts," and the standard Sapporo and Asahi. With Asahi you can just say "supa-dry" to order it. It's fun.
A word on customs with alcohol: you always pour for others first into small glasses and fill theirs up before yours. You get pretty drunk fast like that because the glasses are small and the beers keep coming. Let your host do this for you.
Meals can take a long time and you eat in small dishes that come out as they're ready. Sharing is very normal.
I highly recommend going to Gyu-kaku, which is a place they grill the meat in the middle of the table. There are upscale versions that will be even better, but Gyu-Kaku is pretty great. DO order the beef tongue. It's sliced thin and amazing. Same for the stomach lining. The whiter ones grill up beautifully.
In terms of visiting places, lord, where to start?
I'll keep it really simple: visit the shrines in Kyoto. Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji. All of them are amazing.
Get to a baseball game if you can. Or a soccer game. Both are so much fun whether you like the sport or not. I believe you can bring your own beer inside.
In Tokyo, take the train that does a circle around the city and explore different stops.
You have to get to one of the two best castles: Himeji castle (Himeji-jo) or Osaka castle (Osaka-jo). Himeji is not too far from Kobe and the castle is worth it. It's one of the coolest things in Japan. Going inside is fun, especially for the view at the top, but just seeing it is worth it. Next to Himeji-no is Himeji-ko-koen, a samurai garden. It's breathtaking. Those two things alone are worth going to Himeji for. I used to drive there or take a bus there a few times a month.
If you have any questions, PM me and I'll be happy to help. This really made me miss Japan. I don't think about it all that often now (I left almost 8 years ago), but it is a special place. And you'll never see a cleaner place.

Wow, that is a ton of good information sir. Much appreciated will pass it along to our little group thats going. Didnt think of going to a baseball game, I will have to check that out. Really excited about the castle and all the shrines I will be checking as many out as our time allows. Super excited about the food too, love Japanese food, but not a fan of seafood so its good to know I have lots of options. We pretty much eat white rice and soy with every meal as it is.  Thank you again, if I have more questions I will for sure message you

Buy the wasabi swishers. I hear they are specific to the region.

Bolivar Royal Corona.

Montecristo ... everything.

If I were you I'd try and get in a distillery tour. Or maybe that's just me.

Beef is going to be absurdly expensive in Japan.

Have fun. Take lots of pictures. Super jealous.

Keep all this in mind, thanks for all the great info, especially Jays, I will be asking around for them. 

$200 for a Cohiba ;-)

haha I have to watch that exchange rate Charlie

For sure! Its like 1500Y for a Cohiba Robusto LOL

Clerk, take some LSD & just sit and watch the pretty're welcome.



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