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I changed the regions of Japan. This seems more complete, but eliminates some questionable regions like Chiba (too small) and Greater Tokyo (which currently re-directs to Tokyo anyway).

I wonder what people think about including a few specifics to flesh out otherwise meaningless region names?

Ted 01:02, 26 Feb 2004 (EST)

Started work on the history section, but there is obviously a long way to go. I tried to follow the basics of the previous Understand section but tried to tighten up some of the language, counter the myth that Japan is unaffordable (it is not as cheap as South East Asia, but neither is the UK or the US), and eliminate some of the stereotypical/judgemental language. I considered just scrapping the section on attitudes towards foreigners, but it was obviously important to someone, so I tried to add some balance.

Ted 01:53, 26 Feb 2004 (EST)

Other Destinations[edit]

Jpatokal, thank you for welcoming me to wikitravel and for your comments. I certainly understand your concern in removing my edit that placed Koka under the "Other Destinations" heading on this page. However I have concern over the criteria used to decide whether a destination is of "paramount importnace." A case could certainly be made that Koka and many other destinations are at least on par with the likes of the 88 Temple Pilgramage and the Narrow Road to the Deep North. - - The229er 16:52, 25 April 2007 (JST)

So here's how this works (at least in my opinion, see also Wikitravel:Country article template). The "Cities" list contains the top 9 cities in the country by touristic importance (loosely defined as how many people visit it); I think the list for Japan is fairly well settled, and you'd have a fairly tough time arguing that Koka should displace any of the current ones. "Other destinations", on the other hand, is usually interpreted is as destinations that are not cities: hence Mount Fuji, the 88 Temple Pilgrimage and the Narrow Road all qualify, but Koka doesn't, because it's a city. Jpatokal 11:49, 25 April 2007 (EDT)


"There is a 5% consumption tax on all sales in Japan. The tax is usually not included in the displayed price." - Are you sure about this? I am absolutely certain that when I was in Tokyo (and Osaka) in September 2001, I never paid an additional 5% on anything. Maybe someone on location can verify? --Nils 02:28, 23 Mar 2004 (EST)

The consumption tax has been firmly in place for about ten years now. Maybe you just never noticed it because it's negligible compared to the European VAT :)
As of next month, the law will require all prices (in tags, advertisements, etc.) to display the tax-inclusive price. I'll update the entry. - - Paul Richter 04:33, 23 Mar 2004 (EST)


So, the first level of headers (Understand, See, Do, Get in, etc.) should have two equal signs (==Header==). It's annoying, but it's the way our software works. A single equal sign messes things up for some reason. See section headers for details. --Evan 11:27, 14 Apr 2004 (EDT)

Those damned software programmers! Can't they get anything right? Gotcha, I'll reorganize the 5-level deep sections then. As it is, the headers are smaller than the text itself (which is why I changed the levels). -- Paul Richter 21:11, 14 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Ha ha! Yeah, guilty as charged. --Evan 00:02, 15 Apr 2004 (EDT)

Frequent Disambiguation Problem[edit]

Almost all prefectures in Japan have the same name as their capital cities. I should have thought of this when adding region information, but just noticed in the new page for Kumamoto at

Looking at what links to the page, Kyushu regions list indicates the prefecture, but the entry is a city entry. Perfectly understandable for someone who arrived directly at the page. Do we want to do Kumamoto (city) Kumamoto (prefecture) to keep these straight as listed in the disambiguation guidelines? Or, spell it out in full like this: Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture as an English translation of the full place names? This will be an ongoing problem in Japan where names apply to several divisions and/or locations, so is it worth making a note of the disambiguation policy on the Japan page itself for people just arriving at Wikitravel? Ted 23:04, 5 May 2004 (EDT)

Over at the Big Wiki prefectures are "X prefecture", cities are "X, X" and just plain "X" usually redirects to "X, X". IMHO this is butt-ugly but workable. Jpatokal 23:38, 5 May 2004 (EDT)
We should follow the same disambig rule in Japan as anywhere else (e.g. Rio de Janeiro). Wikipedia has different disambig rules because it has to distinguish between Acre, Brazil, and acres of land, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Queen Charlotte, etc. Here, everything that has to be disambigged is a place. -phma 19:48, 25 Sep 2004 (EDT)
So just for the record (see also [1]) , the approach finally adopted for prefectures/cities is that the city gets X and the prefecture gets X (prefecture). So now we have Kumamoto and Kumamoto (prefecture). Jpatokal 06:11, 12 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Get around[edit]

By plane[edit]

FYI, Narita does not have a "domestic" terminal, but it does have two terminals. I've noted this under Tokyo#Narita, the main article should only cover the very basics (ie. a listing of what airports to use to go where). Jpatokal 21:11, 8 Jun 2004 (EDT)

By car[edit]

I've updated the car section with a little bit on the traffic lights and related miscellania, in case someone is crazy enough to drive on the roads over there, particularly if they are color-blind (like, for example, my brother!). cef 19:53, 14 Mar 2006 (AEDT)

By taxi[edit]

I have a photo of a taxi fare rate card (from Tokyo) if this is would be useful? cef 19:53, 14 Mar 2006 (AEDT)

Why not? Upload away. Jpatokal 05:19, 14 March 2006 (EST)


So, I live in the Northeast of North America, and autumn here means the changing of the colors -- and loads of tourists, called "leaf-peepers", coming to see the display.

I know there's a tradition of leaf-watching in Japan, too. Is October the right month for it? If so, are there places that are really well known for leaf-watching? I'm thinking such a place would make an excellent October destination of the month. --Evan 13:21, 25 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Yes, there are a few, but Yagen Valley is probably the only one that is noded right now. Although in Japan "leaf-peeping" is a distant second to the cherry blossom season (March/April). Jpatokal 00:23, 26 Sep 2004 (EDT)
Some other notes -- since Japan is such a vertical country, dates for leaves and cherry blossoms vary greatly by latitude. If you're looking for the Japanese words, cherry-blossom (or any other blossom, plum is also popular) viewing is called hanami 花見 and autumn-leaf viewing is sometimes called momiji-gari 紅葉狩り. Hokkaido is a great place for autumn leaves, since it's mostly untouched nature, relatively uncrowded, and is easy to drive through (before the snow hits). (Sorry, I forgot my account name...)


I noted with alarm that the main cities of Japan were not listed at Japan#Cities. I've tried to rectify this, but the list could probably use a little work. --Evan 13:35, 20 Jan 2005 (EST)

I don't really like the way the Cities are now separated from the Regions, although I know that this what the template says. Is there any particular reason for this? I'd prefer something like this: Jpatokal 08:20, 23 Jan 2005 (EST)
  • Region 1
    • City 1
    • City 2
  • Region 2
    • City 1
    • City 2

JRP not valid on Nozomi[edit]

According to, the Japan Rail Pass is not valid on Nozomi. Do you have sources to the contrary? Jpatokal 07:18, 28 Feb 2005 (EST)

I made a mistake. Thank you for correcting the error. Kurkoski 08:17, 1 Mar 2005 (EST)

Popularity of Sake, NY Times article[edit]

The NY Times has an interesting article (6 March 2005) about sake breweries in Japan as a travel destination. This link may require free registration at NY Times' site, and articles go off-line after 30 days. Kurkoski 04:17, 11 Mar 2005 (EST)

English is NOT compulsory in Japan[edit]

A foreign language is compulsory, but not all students learn English though most students take it as a second language. KagakuyaSan 02:56, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)

  • Even though many Japanese learn English at high-school but their communicating ability is rather poor. I think it is because of the education system which doesn't focus on oral communication. Students learn grammar and write a lot but aren't requested to speak. If you combine this with the Japanese shyness and being afraid of making mistakes (which is an unavoidable part of learning and practicing a language) you get to the present situation: they know English but often can't communicate well. Of course those who spent a year abroad (often only for studying English itself, not necessary for studying at any school.) are good exceptions. -- bujatt 01:33, 18 May 2005 (EDT)
  • Second languages (overwhelmingly English) are compulsory from Junior High (grade 7 up.) Many schools nationwide are beginning to introduce English at the elementary level. Last month the federal government announced will be pushing for mandatory ENGLISH (not "any second language") at elementary. (reg req) Not that this change will have any real effect on tourists walking through the streets for about 7-8 years.

Vending machines[edit]

Should it be noted that vending machines, unlike in the US, usually do not carry food(such as candy bars and whatnot)? At least in my admittedly limited experience, most outdoor vending machines carry only liquids(including beer!) but because the Japanese don't like to walk and eat, you can't buy candy bars in vending machines.

Actually there are plenty of Japanese vending machines that sell food, just not on the street (at least very often — I do remember seeing some Pocky machines in Shibuya). Take a look at those in hotels, ferries, long-distance trains etc instead. Jpatokal 02:23, 24 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Lounges in hotels and inns often have a snack machine. (Normally refered to as "otsumami" - the context is "snacks to accompany alcohol". Expect a lot of peanuts, dried squid, and cup noodles.)
Quite normal is, to see a glass tube containing Kit Kat bars in normal on-street machines Niels

I also added that you can now pay with Suica card at quite a lot of vending machines in and around JR stations. Most on the Yamanote line.Niels

Mobile phones[edit]

Sorry Sekicho, I think the previous info was correct: Vodafone uses 'normal' 3G WCDMA and can thus be used as long as your phone supports 3G and your operator has a roaming agreement. NTT's FOMA WCDMA thingy is, however, still incompatible. The quad-band things are AFAIK PDC (Japan's home-grown standard), not 3G. Jpatokal 21:15, 5 Jul 2005 (EDT)

You can only use WCDMA 3G and not "normal" 3G. Europe mostly uses the other variety of UMTS and not the WCDMA type. Hence, most WCDMA only phones will not work on European 3G networks and will not work at all if they are PDC/WCDMA combo's like some in Japan are. The US, home of Quallcom (creator of CDMA/WCDMA) does use WCDMA 3G. Also, Vodafone should be updated to Softbank now. Niels
This is almost entirely incorrect. UMTS is W-CDMA (and FOMA). Qualcomm's standard, which is used by au (KDDI), is called CDMA2000. Roaming on all three networks (Docomo, Vodafone/Softbank, au) is possible with the right equipment. Jpatokal 10:03, 15 October 2006 (EDT)
You are so right. And I am wrong. Thank you for editing my stupidity. Niels
Not au. Because they run their CDMA2000 on the 2100MHz band no internationally-sold CDMA equipment is compatible with it (the rest of the CDMA world uses either 800 or 1900MHz). The same applies to their 2G CDMA network, but that is because their 800MHz band has reversed receive/transmit frequencies. Even if frequencies were compatible the phone wouldn't be able to register as Japanese ESNs are different from standard ESNs (Japanese ESNs are 5 letters followed by 6 numbers, whereas standard ESNs are all numbers).

Prefectures complete[edit]

All of Japan's prefectures should now be written up with a stub, a map, and appropriate links to the capital, Wikipedia and the Japanese version (where most pages don't exist yet, but soon will). Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto! Jpatokal 06:09, 12 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Ah! I guess you kind of said you were going to do that when you made the nomination here: Wikitravel:Script nominations#Kunibotto. --Evan 13:01, 12 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Sake & Alcohol Types[edit]

I think the section on sake is inaccurate: I've been to Tokyo (and speak a fair amount of Japanese) and I was never offered "nihonshu". Always, if the server prompted for a beverage choice it was called sake. Maybe it was just cause I'm obviously foreign (caucasian) but I'm never heard it. Also, my college classes never called it nihonshu (I could only see what it was getting at by reading the kanji given in parenthesis). Any objections on changing that? I was also thinking of correcting slightly the explanation of why sake is more like beer (it is more like it because it is made with grain, not that it is "brewed". "brew" is just the term in english for making grain-based alcoholic beverages, versus, for example "vint" for grape wine). R343L

Or having looked into it a little more, maybe it should just be updated to indicate that "sake" can mean different things in different areas. In Tokyo it seems to be rice wine. But apparently elsewhere it can be shochu or other regional beverages. R343L 19:59, 14 Oct 2005 (EDT)

When I toured a sake factory, I was surprised by how much the process resembled that of making beer. I believe that sake-making involves heat, in such case the word "brew" would be appropriate—we also brew tea and coffee with hot water. However, sake does not contain hops, and is certainly not beer. I have edited the section in question. Kurkoski 07:18, 10 Jan 2006 (EST)

At risk of turning the section into an in-depth analysis of nihonshu, I fleshed it out with a few details. Enjoying the many different sake is a great thing to do in Jpan as it is very difficult or even impossible to get many of these abroad, so I wanted to give a few details and hints. Though the hardware is similar to beer making, the process is quite different. Thanks, Ted 21:35, 1 March 2008 (EST)

Dew-Sky bath?[edit]

Do we really want to get that literal with translations? 露天 (roten) means "open-air" in general, not just for baths. -- Paul Richter 02:13, 16 Feb 2006 (EST)

True enough, but it sounds a lot more romantic when translated that way. =) And I think the term implies a bit more than just open-air, as out in inaka you'll occasionally run into the completely no-frills field-sky-bath notenburo 野天風呂... Jpatokal 03:14, 16 Feb 2006 (EST)
"dew" is not a literal translation per se. In the context of 露天, 露 means あらわ, not つゆ. (same character though.) The literal (Japanese) meaning of "roten" is "without a roof". I don't think that the word 野天 is often used in Japanese (I even asked some Japanese friends in Hokkaido and THEY hadn't heard that word... how much more inaka can you get?)
Direct translation of Kanji, or thinking of words in Kanji according to their "meaning" has been looked down upon by all of my Japanese teachers. While I find it fun to think of some words that way, and use it to memorize Kanji that way by no means for the audience we are writing this for needs this translation. I go to onsen 1-3 times a week and 露天風呂 just means outdoor bath. For example rotenbori 露天掘り means a strip mine. If no one objects I'm gonna edit the "Dew-Sky bath" out. David Bower 11:01, 19 Oct 2006 (JST)
Go ahead. <涙> Jpatokal 23:57, 18 October 2006 (EDT)


It should be noted that while Japan uses the American style plug, most places (particularly hotels) have only the 2 pin variety available, whereas the 3 pin variety (earthed) is usually only common in offices and factories. This makes the use of earthed equipment (eg: some laptops and computers) a bit of a hassle in hotels. cef 18:36, 11 Mar 2006 (AEDT)

Well, you could just get a Japanese earthed plug with 2 pins and an earthed wire? This way, you can connect your laptop earthed. Same applies for machines like a microwave or fridge. Niels

Important safety information removed[edit]

You guys are no fun. -- 00:57, 18 March 2006 (EST)

Sadly, yes. We guys are so serious that we have a policy about Jokes stashed away somewhere. Problem is, if people see stuff about Godzillas in the "Stay safe" section, the quality of the guide will go down in their minds, because they will assume that the rest of the guide is filled with nonsense too. That was why I reverted it. Unfortunately, the jokes I don't mind, someone else will for some other reason. See the whole history of Walnut Creek for example. Don't let that stop you from making your writing lively and witty though. At least some of it will stick. (And you can move your godzilla joke to Wikitravel:Bad jokes and other deleted nonsenseRavikiran 08:17, 18 March 2006 (EST)
Fair enough, but should Japan come under Godzilla attack while wikitravel members are on vacation there, which one of us will feel guilty? -- 11:43, 18 March 2006 (EST)
One of the admins will commit seppuku on behalf of Wikitravel — Ravikiran 21:35, 18 March 2006 (EST)

Rail travel in Japan[edit]

There are separate Travel Topic articles for Rail travel in Europe and Rail travel in North America. The "By rail" section here is rather lengthy, and it seems to me that it would make sense to move this topic to its own Rail travel in Japan article. - Todd VerBeek 11:30, 7 April 2006 (EDT)

I don't like the Rail travel in Europe/N. America articles and I will loudly oppose a move to create such a monster for Japan. In Japan's case, in particular, there's one very good place for the info to go -- in the country article under Get around#By rail -- and that's where it should stay. Jpatokal 12:16, 7 April 2006 (EDT)
If that's how you feel, please add this opinion to the discussion about Rail travel in North America. I think we need to try to find a consensus for how to handle this, consistently. - Todd VerBeek 13:22, 7 April 2006 (EDT)
The issue is how much information does there need to be in a country's continent's "get around" section? The NA/ EU articles allow for the excessive amount of information to be available for travellers. This would be my idea for coming to a consensus:
  • Rail information should be in a country's "get around" section provided that there is little information that is available or that rail travel is of little use in that country.
  • If there is an excessive amount of information then explore the possibility (does not give a guarantee for the creation) of a [[Rail travel in xxx]] article.
The case for the European article (as an example) many travellers use rail to cross Europe. The information provided in the EU article would therefore be useful, because then the traveller knows what to expect in some cases of traveling by rail across Euroland.

Sapphire 13:41, 7 April 2006 (EDT)

Can we please add this link to the article? Please print and fill out this | handy form to save time at the exchange office. This is especially handy if you travel with more then 2 persons, as filling out the forms on location might make you miss the train ytou wanted to take.

Eat[edit][add listing]

"Japanese eat all their traditional food with chopsticks (箸 hashi), the primary exceptions being curry rice and fried rice (for which a spoon is used)."

I would strongly disagree that either curry rice or fried rice is traditional Japanese food. Also, some traditional items (esp. ochawanmushi) are now eaten with a spoon. There are a number of "traditional" foods eaten with bare hands (e.g. many types of sushi, onigiri / omusubi, and most types of snacks like senbei). Should this be re-written?

"Disposable chopsticks (wari-bashi) are provided with less expensive meals, bentō and other take-out foods."

I don't think I have ever eaten at a restaurant in Japan of any sort, no matter how cheap or how expensive, used non-disposable chopsticks. I think wari-bashi are ubiquitous because they are undeniably clean. Non-disposable chopsticks are normally used in people's homes, and guests will normally be given wari-bashi. Might be worth noting that wooden wari-bashi are also easier to eat noodles with.

Plunge forward! Jpatokal 10:23, 30 April 2006 (EDT)


In a recent edit, the following information was removed:

to figure out where a campsite is, paste the address into Google Maps when you're looking at roughly the right region. Zooming in over Google Maps can often reveal additional campsites (the symbol looks like a tent) that you may not have found otherwise, although it won't provide you with pricing or hours.

This is a very useful tip; why was it removed, out of curiosity? -- 13:22, 23 June 2006 (EDT)

Hello! Please see Wikitravel:External links for more information, but basically, we want to have complete guides and not just lists of links. Wikitravel:Goals and non-goals may help too! Thanks. Majnoona 21:47, 23 June 2006 (EDT)

Shoes and children[edit]

Sorry, I didn't really understand that "shoes and children" addition. It's rude in any country to put your feet up on any surface other than the floor, this is not specific to Japan (or children). Jpatokal 01:34, 31 July 2006 (EDT)

-- Whilst I agree it is rude everywhere, it is very rude in Japan. And it is frequent complaint about foreigners particularly those who travel with children. Japanese ladies frequently move away and start wiping there dress with the wet tissues when such things happen. In Europe such things are more tolerated. I have edited and reinserted.

I lived in Japan for 4 years and never saw that happen, but maybe I'm just an big old gaijin brute. But it is true that shoes and feet generally are considered dirty, so I've kept the bit in but cut it down to size (short = good). Jpatokal 02:32, 31 July 2006 (EDT)

-- I live in Japan and have done so for 10 years and have traveled widely. For me, I really dont like your edit, Japanese couldnt care a toss about pointing your shoe towards, nor do I mean directly standing on seats, I mean brushing up or brief touching. I really find the shoe issue the #1 complaint about western tourists and I have watch at least two occasions children have accidentally in there excitement to view whats happening, touch someone who then moved away even if it was to stand up. However I am not going to get into an edit I will give up trying.

Better? This is hardly an edit war, I'm just trying to distill the advice to be as compact as possible. And in my book, getting into a tub before washing or walking on tatami with shoes/toilet slippers are both more likely and bigger offences... Jpatokal 02:49, 31 July 2006 (EDT)


Edited Sapporo out of my Weekly Mansion Tokyo bit. They sold the Sapporo mansion. Also edited the 1 person. They now have 3-4 people who reasonably understand English.

Secondly, I have edited the hotel section to speed up check-in, by adding it is wise to take a copy of your passport to hand over to the hotel clerks. Niels

Jpatokal, I do not agree to your "tiny" addition and condensation in this way, however, if the majority does agree, It's fine by me, however wrong it is. The ensuite facilities in most Tokyo-inn are neither tiny nor are the rooms cramped when compared to any other hotel in Japan. Condensing it and making it uniform and therefore generalising is not something you should do. Especially not on a travel advice site.
In my experience a "business hotel" is pretty much defined by having tiny cramped rooms, but I've never stayed at a Tokyu Inn. I added a note to say that they're better than the rest, is it OK now? Jpatokal 10:38, 15 October 2006 (EDT)
Yup, looks better that way. Thanks Niels
Tokyu are very much the upper end of business hotels - in fact I'm not even sure if I would call a Tokyu Inn a business hotel (I've stayed in one, and compared to most other business hotels...). Kagaland 12:43, 23 February 2007 (EST)
Also readded the link to Rakuten, which is Japan's undisputed #1 booking engine and offers more options and better rates than any of the competition. Jpatokal 10:42, 15 October 2006 (EDT)
Never used them. Are they any good? I usually just call the hotels in Japanese.
Rakuten is very good. I have used them for years, for numerous hotels, and the reservation is always there, always correct. I have even used them to book hotels in China with no problems. They don't cover every single hotel in the country of course, but they are my first stop. Kagaland 12:43, 23 February 2007 (EST)
Rakuten's Japanese site is indeed great, although JALAN is up there too, but their English site has no where near as many hotels as theri Japanese site. I was wondering if this was not a violation of the not linking to hotel booking sites rule.

Hiyashi vs reishu[edit]

Yes, reishu is "cold sake", but when ordering sake X cold, you say hiyashi and IMHO that's what Wikitravel should say. Jpatokal 14:26, 25 October 2006 (EDT)

"Get in - by plane"[edit]

About "5.1 Get in - by plane".

It seems this sentences incorrect.

"While Narita and Kansai handle some domestic flights, while most domestic flights from the Kansai region use Itami (ITM) to the north of Osaka or Kobe's airport. "

I wrote at Kansai international airport (Wikitravel by english version - discussion ),

>It is number of domestic flights.

>KIX  : To 416 flights (per a week),20 airports. (Aug. 2006)

>ITM  : To about 560 flights (per a week),28 airports. (Oct. 2003)

>NGO  : To 679 flights (per a week),25 airports. (Aug. 2006)

and UKB (Kobe airport) has 196 flights (per a week),8 airports. (Oct. 2006).It isn't "most". (but "more" than NRT)

It shuld be rewrite it,I think. , 18:52 8 Mar. 2007 (JST)


I removed this:

Whale meat is also considered a delicacy. Canned whale meat can be found in some supermarkets, though for a rather high price for such a small can. Whale meat is served in the most elegant of restaurants - again, the price is tremendously high for a small serving.

This seems wrong on almost all counts. I've never seen canned whale (not that I've looked very hard), it's not served by "the most elegant of restaurants" ('cause it just doesn't taste that good), but if you can find it prices are quite reasonable (Kujiraya's teishoku sets in Tokyo are mostly under ¥1000).

All in all, though, I'm not sure whale warrants a mention on the main page, because it's just not that common in Japan and tourists are highly unlikely to stumble into it by accident. Jpatokal 02:37, 17 March 2007 (EDT)

Agreed. I've never seen either canned or restaurant whale for sale, nor have I ever talked to a Japanese person who named it among their favorite foods. By and large, it's a political issue, not a tourist one. Gorilla Jones 03:47, 17 March 2007 (EDT)
The descriptions is a bit off, but I think whale is worth mentioning in the Food section. Whaling is in the news, and perhaps visitors will be curious about it, whether with an intent to try it or to avoid it. (Explaining that it's not common will allay the visitors fears - "OMG, there isn't any whale in this dish, is there?!")
I have, on at least one occasion, found whale meat included in a "normal" sashimi plate in a run-of-the-mill izakaya. (No mention of it in the menu, and I had to ask the waitress to confirm my suspicion.) -- Paul Richter 23:02, 18 March 2007 (EDT)


"Perhaps Japan's most famous culinary exports are sushi (寿司), raw fish over rice..." Sushi is not necessarily raw nor is it always fish.

And a barbeque is not always meat, and you can make a pudding from cabbage. Did you have a point? Jpatokal 09:33, 22 March 2007 (EDT)
I was under the impression that the information on this site is supposed to be true. The statement I quoted is false, so it should be changed. You would probably also want to change a wiki on American food if it said something like "In the US, people enjoy barbeque, or grilled hamburgers." Not to mention the fact that the idea that sushi is raw is a huge misconception that many people believe erroneously and this wiki is reinforcing that. So yes, I did have a point.
Assume you're a completely clueless tourist to Japan, and you're presented with a platter of sushi. Will you be struck by the fact that the rice is delicately scented with vinegar? (That's what "sushi" actually means.) Will you be surprised by the use of cucumber or egg? No, you'll be shocked by the fact that 90% contain raw fish. The article goes on to explain that not all sushi is raw fish... but most of it certainly is. Jpatokal 02:28, 27 March 2007 (EDT)


that wasn't a copy vio —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

Yes, it was. You can't copy Wikipedia here. Jpatokal 23:43, 18 September 2007 (EDT)


手纸 is not very commonly used in Chinese. The term which is usually used and better understood for toilet paper is 卫生纸. As such, I have changed it to reflect something that is more commonly used. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 20:57, 2007 September 23

By Plane[edit]

You are right Jpatokal, Fukuoka is not an intercontinental airport. I was thinking "international" when I saw "intercontinental". I flew to Taiwan from Fukuoka one time, and there probably are flights to S. Korea and China from there as well, but as far as I know, no direct flights to Europe of the the Americas. That said, it probably should be mentioned somewhere since it is the biggest airport in the western-most third of the nation. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by KakinokiJames (talkcontribs)

Yeah, I've also flown to FUK from Bangkok, and was quite surprised by the size. However, FUK is mostly a major domestic airport, and should thus be mentioned in the "Get around" section if at all — for travellers from Europe, the US or Australia, NRT/KIX/NGO are the most probable gateways by far. Jpatokal 04:05, 25 October 2007 (EDT)

I agree those others you mentioned are the main gateways, but not everyone spends all their time the Kanto or Kansai regions. While there aren't direct flights into Fukuoka, that doesn't mean that it isn't a gateway into a rather large portion of the country. It is the only airport of importance in Kyushu and the west end of Honshu. It's also one of the few airports in the country that you can get tickets to on the main internet ticket purchasing sites. (Man, can't tell you how hard it is to get a ticket to the local airport near where I live! Still haven't found a site that can do it, even in Japanese.) To ignore it just because it doesn't get a direct flight from America/Europe would be something of a dis-service for a travel info site to ignore it or banish it to "get around" the country only spot. Today's international flights are to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Singapore, Seoul, Busan, Dalian, Shenyang, Beijing, Shanghai, Guagzhou, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Guam. I think I read it is the 3rd busiest airport in the country. So while I wouldn't put it on the same level as Narita, it is an important one.

Please go ahead and note it under Kyushu, Chugoku and any other relevant places nearby. However, an overwhelming majority of foreign visitors do enter Japan via NRT/KIX/NGO, and Get in already lists FUK as one of Japan's other international airports, so I'm not sure what else we can say? It certainly doesn't make much sense in terms of time or money to fly via Fukuoka to other points in Japan (outside Kyushu). Jpatokal 09:46, 27 October 2007 (EDT)

Listing FUK as one of Japan's other international airports would already suffice as it does not have many intercontinental services. In any case, I do not think it is possible to list every international airport in Japan and those listed are already the ones of some significance. Most of the other international airports only have flights to Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong and Vladivostok.


Just wanted to stop by and let you guys know you havedone a great job with this page.. I'll be travelling through tokyo next week and this really helped! -askapache —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 00:16, 2007 November 14

askapache: thank you for taking the time to write! I personally didn't contribute anything to this page, but many others did. I'm sure they are pleased that their work was helpful to you and other travellers. Enjoy your trip! JimDeLaHunt 15:40, 14 November 2007 (EST)


You kinda forgot a big thing about Japan *cough* The extreme racism against tourists. *cough*

You should get that cough checked out! Gorilla Jones 23:09, 26 November 2007 (EST)
"Extreme"? That seems a rather, um, extreme assessment. The article already notes that some hotels are reluctant to accept furriners and suggests ways around it; if there's another other "racism" that's relevant to the traveler, do tell. Jpatokal 23:20, 26 November 2007 (EST)

Well i have heard from a couple of people who have visted there that people in general are just rude and racist (I'm not 100% sure). It's not really that much it's that this article makes Japan look it has no flaws. Don't get me wrong I think this is a really good article but it seems to good to be true.

Japanese people are pretty much the polar opposite of rude. Racism against non-Japanese does happen, more so if you're black or Indian, but tourists are unlikely to encounter it and it's rarely if ever physically dangerous.
IMHO Japan's major flaws are that a) parts of it are bloody expensive and b) it can be hard to deal with if you don't speak the language, and I think the article covers these already. Jpatokal 04:11, 28 November 2007 (EST)

This is my first time on a wiki, have recently holidayed in Japan with my family staying in ryokans in Tokyo, Takayama and Kyoto. Can recommend places and reassure families the ease of backpack travelling. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Biscuit (talkcontribs) 23:52, 2008 April 18

Non racism[edit]

Japan was an extremely safe and polite place to travel for a family. We experienced no hostility or arrogance, quite the contrary had people going out of their way to help. There is enough English to get around and people are very accomodating —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Biscuit (talkcontribs) 00:02, 2008 April 19

Unnecessary kanji[edit]

Kanji should be used in the introduction of each destination article. Anywhere else, they're distracting and unnecessary, and should not be used. This is (IMHO) not analogous to alternative names in European languages, because for many places there's genuine confusion about which is the English name (is it Turin or Torino?), whereas nobody on the English Wikitravel will ever look for Hiroshima under 広島. Jpatokal 07:27, 5 May 2008 (EDT)

Actually, I disagree. I expect that there will be a range of Japanese-reading ability amount readers of English-language Wikitravel. Even those who don't read Japanese fluently might have fun looking for 広島 printed on their train tickets. Or they might find it useful for pattern matching against train station signs. (Japan has latin-script names on most signs, but not all.) It's language practice. So I wouldn't require Japanese text in an English Wikitravel Manual of Style, but I don't object to its presence. JimDeLaHunt 20:22, 5 May 2008 (EDT)
Oh, I certainly agree that every destination article should have the kanji, and for Japan almost all already do. However, they should not be repeated for every link. Jpatokal 07:58, 6 May 2008 (EDT)
Jpatokal, I'll guess your comment was sparked by a back-and-forth edit about kanji rendering of region names in the Japan country article, perhaps? I'd say that I regard use of non-latin names in region and country articles as a judgement call. Zero is less than optimal, repeated for every link is probably more than optimal, and the correct balance point is a matter about which reasonable editors probably will disagree. I'd be tempted to defer to an editor who has revised the overall article for readability and balance. I frequently engage with articles by reacting to other edits and looking at isolated listings, so most of the time I don't have the perspective to make good judgements. JimDeLaHunt 15:17, 6 May 2008 (EDT)

"Bathe" as a top-level heading?[edit]

I just noticed that Japan has "Bathe" as a top-level heading. This is not in the Wikitravel:Country article template. I can see the logic of talking about bathing options prominently, since it's a notable and interesting aspect of the culture for a traveller. However, it would be more standard to put this information as a sub-heading under "Do", or maybe "Understand". I don't see anything on this Talk page justifying an exception. Comments? JimDeLaHunt 15:11, 9 June 2008 (EDT)

Hmm, the fact that this section is so well done makes it harder to move. I'd suggest moving this to a "bathe" subsection of "do," but separate the "toilet" subsection & merge that to "cope." Btw, I wish I had read this toilet guide before my stay there—I would have tried some things out if I could have dispelled my "worst case button-pressing scenario" fears. --Peter Talk 00:51, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
The official country article template doesn't have a Do section. In general, though, I don't think we need to be so obsessive about following the country template: all the standard sections should of course be in there, but I don't see any harm in including additional ones when warranted (eg. Japan#Bathe, Indonesia#Smoke), and there are plenty of mutant half-country-half-city articles as well (Singapore, Monaco, etc). Jpatokal 05:56, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

--Stefan (sertmann) Talk 21:24, 4 December 2008 (EST)== Arimura Taipei-Nagoya ferry bankruptcy ==

I've deleted the following from the Japan#China/Taiwan section of the article, but I'm archiving it here. I checked the links and the story of bankruptcy is corroborated in multiple web pages. The Arimura Lines corporate site doesn't appear to be live any more. JimDeLaHunt 02:55, 21 July 2008 (EDT)

  • Kaohsiung/Taipei-Okinawa-Osaka-Nagoya: Arimura Sangyo, 098-860-1980 (Japan) or 2-27715911 (Taiwan), operates two ships on this route; both call at the islands of Ishigaki and Miyako at various points during the journey. A Taipei-Nagoya trip takes about four days and costs ¥35,000+. NOTE: The operator of this ferry suspended service on 6 June due to financial difficulties and is likely to liquidate.[2]

Thanks. I put a smaller notice on the Nagoya page (under by boat) to inform those who might think the ferry is still operating.Yodaki 00:20, 22 July 2008 (EDT)

I had planned hopping on that ferry this summer, and can sadly confirm it's no longer in operation. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 21:24, 4 December 2008 (EST)


I find the following confusing: "Japan consists of four main islands and many smaller islands, notably Okinawa. Here they are from north to south, with Honshu, by far the largest and most populated island, divided into five (something):"...then a list of 9 "somethings" follows. The 2nd time reading I see that the map #s correspond with the list of 9 BUT reader shouldn't have to solve this puzzle to understand...especially at the beginning of the page. I would take a stab at editting but not sure what to do with the corresponding map. Perhaps we could just reword & keep the list of 9 & the map as is. Blue cannonball splash 03:41, 7 October 2008 (EDT)

I've reduced the opening to the bare minimum: "Japan is conventionally divided into nine regions, listed here from north to south".
But yes, the region list and the map are quite badly misaligned. Not sure there's an easy way out though... Jpatokal 04:38, 7 October 2008 (EDT)

homosexuality in anime[edit]

I added an infobox regarding to the issue of homosexuality in anime, can anyone double check the facts I've put up, since some of them are taken from wikipedia.--Dark Paladin X 17:48, 1 December 2008 (EST)

There's nothing wrong with the prose or the research at a glance, but I agree with Texugo that it isn't relevant to a travel article. Gorilla Jones 19:40, 1 December 2008 (EST)

baseball and homosexuality[edit]

Apparently, there are two things I wish to add in this article:

1) I heard baseball is extremely popular in Japan, I just want to confirm this. 2) Homosexuality: I also heard their media (particularly in anime and manga) reference homosexuality A LOT and I also heard they are quite tolerant to gays and lesbians. I want to know the Japanese viewpoint in this taboo.

I was wondering if anyone can confirm this before I actually add them in. --Dark Paladin X 20:40, 4 December 2008 (EST)

  1. Baseball is indeed hugely popular in Japan, I would say the biggest sport.
  2. Is homosexuality a taboo? anyway, judging from a walk around Shinjuku's ni-chōme, they are not shy about it.
--Stefan (sertmann) Talk 21:18, 4 December 2008 (EST)
At least for the latter, the impression I get is that it's quite a bit more complicated than that - factor in a heavy dose of "assumptions and stereotypes that went out of style in North America forty years ago", plus the usual differences in treatment of insiders vs. outsiders, and the pitfalls of generalizing anything based on small subsets of the entire country's vast media output. More importantly on this site, how is that relevant to travel? Dguillaime 21:28, 4 December 2008 (EST)
Well, atleast from a travellers perspective, I would imagine Japan is among the easier/easiest of countries to be homosexual. Though I'd whole heartedly agree that non-conformity is definatively not a good thing for a Japanese, except ofcourse if they happen to live in Tokyo, Fukouka or Osaka, where outsiders are present in large enough numbers, to be inclusive. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 21:53, 4 December 2008 (EST)
I've lived in Japan for almost 5 years, and my take is this. There seems to be no real moral or religious condemnation of homosexuality here, but neither is there any real acceptance of it. Public displays like two guys holding hands won't cause any fights but this kind of behavior is highly uncommon and will cause the Japanese around you to whisper behind your back. Looks can also be deceiving as well, as there are many male fashions in Japan which appear homosexual to the western eye but in reality are not. Even that Hard Gay character (which by the way is so 2006) is actually just poking fun at gays-- the actor is straight and in fact hasn't played that character since he got married last year. Openly gay Japanese are much rarer than in the states or Europe, and you are unlikely to find any gay bar outside of Tokyo. Many people are flatly ignorant about gays, and I've had more than one Japanese inform me with a straight face that there are no gay people in Japan. Texugo 22:57, 4 December 2008 (EST)
Weird, saw him in a gameshow in his hardo gay outfit when I was in Japan this summer... asumed he was still all the rage :) --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 23:20, 4 December 2008 (EST)

This paragraph is way too vague and waffly:

Gay and lesbian travelers may find large amount of positive and negative stereotypes of homosexuality in the Japanese media (more particularly in anime and manga). Despite such references, gay and lesbians shouldn't take such offense to them, as the Japanese perspective of homosexuality is relatively different from the Western world. While the Western world see this as an issue of morality, the Japanese see this as an issue of social responsibility. Japan is considered to very safe for gay and lesbian travelers, and violence against homosexuals are quite rare. In general, Japan is quite tolerant to homosexuality (possibly more tolerant than as say, United States). However, like the United States and many Asian countries, the Japanese consider homosexuality to be a taboo. As such, gays and lesbians should avoid overly expressing one's homosexuality in public, as this may result in negative reactions from the locals. While there are no laws against homosexuality in Japan, same-sex relationships are not recognized by the government.

I'm chopping this down to:

Japan is considered to be very safe for gay and lesbian travelers, and violence against homosexuals are quite rare. There are no laws against homosexuality in Japan, but same-sex relationships are not recognized by the government and flaunting your orientation openly is still a taboo. Jpatokal 01:10, 5 December 2008 (EST)

Routeboxes for Shinkansen routes[edit]

I have implemented routeboxes for the Sanyo, Tokaido, Joetsu, Tohoku, and Hokuriku shinkansen lines. The current implementation mentions every stop along the line, except where the Hokuriku line summarizes it as 4 stops between Takasaki and Nagano (listing the names of those 4 stops between would make the box too wide). For stops with no article, a simple unlinked text note is used. The Kyushu line doesn't currently have enough articles to meet inclusion criteria, with only Yatsushiro and Kagoshima along it. If this area fills out a little more, we can use this icon to match the others: Kyushu Shinkansen icon.png Texugo 23:30, 20 December 2008 (EST)

Prepaid phones[edit]

I'm quite certain that you need an Alien Registration card to buy prepaid phones these day - I had an old vodafone prepaid phone from a couple of years back, and softbank even refused to get that working - can anyone else confirm this. I tried getting one at Au, NTT and softbank stores in several cities like Asahikawa, Sapporo and Sendai - to no avail, they all wanted to see a permanent Japanese address for registration. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 10:23, 23 December 2008 (EST)

Travellers can get a prepaid rental cell phone at the airport very very easily, as of a year ago, when my folks came to visit me. I haven't heard of any changes since then. Texugo 18:13, 23 December 2008 (EST)
Yeah yeah yeah, problem being I arrived by boat from Russia this time :) anyway, so it's rental only right? --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 19:21, 23 December 2008 (EST)
Yup. Rental is no problem, buying is a problem. Jpatokal 22:33, 23 December 2008 (EST)

the japanese equvalent to "the finger"[edit]

According to this site, pointing someone with four fingers and thumb folded in seems to be an offensive gesture in Japan. It also mentions about beckoning as well.--Dark Paladin X 12:03, 23 December 2008 (EST)

Well, if I can live here for almost 5 years, speak decent Japanese, and still have no idea what you're talking about, I really don't think it's gonna be important to mention it for a traveller. Texugo 18:10, 23 December 2008 (EST)

Bathing in Respect section[edit]

I've added back the advice:

  • Don't enter a traditional Japanese shared bath or hot spring pool with any soap at all on your body -- soap up and rinse off thoroughly before entering the water.

to the Respect section, for two reasons. The minor one is that the edit which removed it left a list promising "four major etiquette errors" having only three. But instead of changing "four" to "three," I felt it was justified in putting the advice back. This list of four major errors isn't just my own opinion (though my travel in Japan has confirmed it): I've read in several trustworthy sources that these four errors are the major inexcusable blunders which foreigners in Japan are most likely to commit; therefore, I think it's appropriate emphasize a warning against them by highlighting them in their own list, even if they appear also "buried" in other sections. I did change a subsequent section which repeated the advice about not wearing shoes on the tatami mats by inserting, "as has been mentioned ..." Maybe that could be done with any other cases where the advice is repeated. At any rate, I suggest leaving this section as it is unless discussion shows that there's a consensus against highlighting this warning with its own list. Sailsetter 10:14, 5 February 2009 (EST)

Agreed, I think it's fine to repeat this point, but it should probably be interlinked to Bathe so people don't duplicate the whole thing. Jpatokal 12:02, 5 February 2009 (EST)
Oops. Sorry. I just reverted it again, before I saw what was written here but... I'll justify it tomorrow, but honestly these things are not that big of a deal (just too drunk to wiki right now, though I wasn't when I eliminated that). Japan is not nearly as difficult to get along with as this section makes it sound. About 50% of this section is entirely unnecessary-- most of the things that foreigners are supposedly not to do I have seen done by Japanese people on many occastions, and I don't even live in a very big city. The Respect section is way way way way overblown. Texugo 15:02, 5 February 2009 (EST)
I'd like to see some other people chime in with opinions on whether that "list of four" is useful. As I said, I know at least some major travel publications seem to think the information is valid and necessary. Sailsetter 19:14, 5 February 2009 (EST)
I would definitely leave the warning. Whether some Japanese people fail to follow accepted etiquette or or not, most people still consider it a big no no to enter a shared the bath without having full rinsed the body. However, as Jpatokal says, it should be mentioned in the relevant section and only once. WindHorse 21:51, 5 February 2009 (EST)

Accommodation sites[edit]

I was surprised that Jpatokal reverted my edit removing:

Two of the biggest letting agencies for gaijin houses in Tokyo are Sakura House and Oak House, while Gaijin House Japan has listings and classified ads covering the entire country.

These sites seem to me to be exactly what is prohibited by the policy:

Avoid linking to secondary sources - for example, avoid links to: Hotel or travel booking services / aggregators

The sites in question offer to search and book a huge number of accommodations nation-wide: isn't this exactly what a "hotel or travel booking service/aggregator is?" They aren't even primary sites for individual hotels that also have links to other bookings; they are just straight out search/booking sites. And they don't even seem to be web sites for a hotel chain: Oak House, for example, outright describes itself as "a Japanese housing agency;" if that doesn't mean an aggregator/booking agency, then what does? If these sites aren't prohibited by the policy, can someone give an example of a site that is, and explain how it's different? If these sites are acceptable, does that mean that Wikitravel should accept links to the innumerable similar nationwide booking sites in Greece, France, Britain, etc. etc.? Sailsetter 10:46, 5 February 2009 (EST)

Gaijin houses are not hotels, they're short-stay apartments. Sakura House and Oak House are the two largest chains, and they're both the primary sources for their own apartments. (Oak House alone runs 96 in Tokyo.) Gaijin House Japan is more of an aggregator-type service, but it's really hard to find these outside Tokyo without one -- they don't show up in ordinary hotel listings etc, because they aren't hotels. Jpatokal 12:02, 5 February 2009 (EST)

I'll drop my complaint about the present instance, but as an ordinary contributor I think it's fair to point out that I am now very confused about what sort of accommodation listing and booking services external links are allowed by policy. Could the policy page be revised to make this clearer? Sailsetter 19:13, 5 February 2009 (EST)

Uhh... what are you confused by? Sakura House and Oak House, as primary web sites, are equivalent to (say) Hilton and Marriott and thus easily within policy. GHJ is borderline, but I vote for keeping it because "the traveller comes first" trumps other rules. Jpatokal 11:32, 6 February 2009 (EST)
The confusion, and the problem, comes because these sites don't look like Hilton-style hotel chain primary sites. In almost all cases (there are one or two exceptions) the lodgings listed by the site aren't called for instance "Sakura House Asakusa" or "Gaijin House Beppo", they're just listed by hotel name, making the site look like an aggregator site. There's also the question of name recognition: if most people see a site welcome page labeled "Hilton Hotels" then they know it's primary, buta site labeled "Gaijin House," especially if it describes itself with the words "an accommodation agency," is going to look like to most people like an aggregator unless the welcome page makes it very clear it isn't. The problem is that this could lead to a slippery slope: when such owners see these sites on the Japan page, they could be encouraged to start putting links to their own sites on various pages and then if they were removed pointing indignantly to the Japan page as an example of the acceptability of such links. And my personal confusion is: what do I do on pages I want to edit if I find a link to an agency which offers all kinds of lodgings, which lodgings aren't all clearly marked in each case as part of the chain? How do I decide if despite that fact the site isn't "really" an aggregator, as apparently the three Japanese sites aren't "really" aggregators despite the fact that their listings aren't all labeled with the chain name? Sailsetter 10:44, 8 February 2009 (EST)
Your personal confusion is your personal problem. If you're unsure, ask on the Talk page, and others who understand the issue will sort it out.
FWIW, the Oak House Japanese page does label all listings as オークハウス中野ドーム ("Oak House Nagano Dome") etc. But the way they choose to design their home page is not really our concern: it's a primary source and that's that, we'd still link to it if it was filled with dancing hamsters. Jpatokal 00:27, 9 February 2009 (EST)

Respect for food and Japan-China/Korea relations[edit]

I'm uncomfortable with the bizarre blanket statements about not discussing the Imperial family, whale hunting or WW2 — in my experience the vast majority of younger Japanese don't really give a flying fuck about any of those. Jpatokal 00:18, 9 February 2009 (EST)

The older generation still reveres the imperial family. When I was at the palace on New Year, I could see how everybody was shoving and pushing just to get a good look at the emperor. Therefore, I believe it would be wise not to insult them. Superdog 12:11, 10 February 2009 (EST)

Sure, but not publicly insulting the head of state of any country you're visiting is common sense — and unlike eg Thailand or Saudi Arabia, Japan has no laws that will get you locked up for lese majeste. Jpatokal 21:51, 10 February 2009 (EST)
I have to agree--to insult the imperial family, you'd really have be going out of your way to be an ass, as that subject very rarely comes up, and the imperial family is really not all that visible even in the media. Foreigners are very unlikely to even know enough about them to even make an insult-- I have been here for 5 years and even I know very little. Texugo 00:39, 11 February 2009 (EST)

Does the word "Gaijin" mean "Outsider"?[edit]

Of course not. If you think yes, I think you are a beginner of Japanese language and looking up a wrong dictionary. "Gaijin" is simply an abbrevied form of "Gaikokujin". Since it is quite common in Japan to abbreviate nouns, it is not impolite or less polite at all to shorten words. On the contrary, it is often regarded better and more efficient to use abbreviated nouns rather than use the original ones. For example, highschool is "koutou-gakkou(高等学校)" in Japanese but normally shortened to "koukou(高校)". People rarely use koutou-gakkou, the original form, and koukou is normally used. Abbreviation is in no way offensive in Japanese unlike in English(in English the word "Jap", for example, will sound offensive).

Look at some "gaijin houses" and "gaijin clubs" rampant in Tokyo. Do you think the owners dare to offend their foreign customers by using a derogatory term? Of course not. The Japanese owners and expats who are living in Japan and have a high command of Japanese all know "gaijin" is simply a shortened form and has no other bad meanings. (by Indigo2006)

Well, for all my love of this wonderful country, and my very good friends there, the Japanese are the most racist bunch of people on earth. Not their fault as individuals, and most of the time they don't even know they're being racist. Gaijin is derogatory, but 9 times of out 10, whoever mutters it has no such intention, merely a product of society and schooling. And in my book, the fact that the expats have taken the word into their hearts, is a perfect example of humour macabre and healthy sense of irony, needed to get by in Japan on a long term basis. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 22:27, 10 March 2009 (EDT)

Well, look at other countries. Japan is not as racist a country as Australia or the U.S. are. Just because Japan is more developed than most Western countries and not dependent on tourism industry(Japan is not a foreign-tourist-friendly country) doesn't justify your "Japanese are the most racist bunch of people on earth" remark. You might feel mortified to know the fact that white people are not treated better in Japan and treated equally with the locals or other races, unlike other Asian nations where white people are revered and treated better than the locals or other races. Also, Arab, Jewish, Indian, African people are all treated the same way as White people in Japan and that might get on your nerves because you are not treated like a VIP here. But that's not racism and your idea itself is racism.

That's NOT what I'm saying. I absolutely love the fact that there are hagglers trying to sell me stuff at any corner because they think I'm rich, and as I said I love Japan, and want to go back there and live again when I can land a relevant job there, and the Japanese are very friendly, possibly the most courteous in the world, when it comes to tourists.
But when you spend extended time there, that's where the chain falls of. Gaijin houses is a perfect example, since many Japanese building owners will have no business letting out to foreigners, I've been turned away from more bars and restaurants than I can count on my hands, I've even been turned away from Onsens without even having a tattoo. Gaijins are not allowed in soaplands etc. because AIDS is a "foreign disease", hell I had troubles even checking into a love hotel with another Danish girl. All of this simply because I'm a foreigner, and they don't know how to deal with me, rather than it has anything to do with me personally. I've seen a sign that read "No Pianoes, No Pets, No foreigners" outside a landlord office and a "No foreigners" sign outside an Onsen - I've never encountered racism that openly anywhere in world, and then there is the whole 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation Korean problem, the list goes on and on and on, man, don't even get me started. And the reason for my frustration... is because I still love the darn country to death. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Sertmann (talkcontribs)

That's not racism. It's called xenophobia. Anyway, xenophobia is very rare in Japan(unlike Denmark, where Muslim people are discriminated) and most of your troubles seem to come from your poor conversational and communicative ability of Japanese. In Tokyo, those "no-foreigners-allowed" signs are only seen at sex brothels or hostess bars. About the "no-foreigners-allowed" hot springs, they are only seen in Niigata prefecture and Hokkaido, where drunk Russian sailors make troubles at local hot springs. Also, "no-foreigners-allowed" pubs are seen in some rural towns where nearby U.S. army base soldiers make troubles at the local pubs. Those signs are out of necessity to protect their business and not out of xenophobia or racism. About renting a room, you always need a guarantor and need to be fluent in Japanese. Most agencies and landlords never speak English so you just need to be fluent in Japanese and familiar with local customs. If you meet the requirements you can rent a room even if you are a foreigner.(My Chinese friend, who is very fluent in Japanese, rent a room without any problem). Even more, there is UR, a public apartment leasing agency where you aren't even required a guarantor or key money to rent a room. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

Yes, I'm aware that it is an abbreviation of 外国人 and that the modern denotation is still foreigner. However, the connotation of 外人 when used derogatorily is still outsider, and I would encourage you to take a look at the Wikipedia article. I also agree that the word is pretty common, and many ex-pats embrace it the same way the American hip-hop community has embraced the n-word. However, I know the following things as facts:
  • Many Japanese parents will scold and correct their child when they (typically) see a foreigner and say "Ah, gaijin da!".
  • Many Japanese teachers will scold their students for using gaijin and not gaikokujin.
  • The word is practically banned from Japanese television.
  • Many ex-pats are indeed offended by the word, and although I am not one of them, I know many.
There is absolutely no way we should present it as being un-controversial.
As to the racism issue, which is slightly off-topic, it is very complicated but I basically agree with Sertmann. I do not have any problems with my communicative or conversational ability in Japanese, and I'd be willing to bet there are at least ten places within walking distance of my apartment that would not let me in. For many places, it is just policy, not about whether you can speak or not. Yes, most of the "no foreigners allowed" signs are gone now, and the situation has improved slightly since the mid-90s thanks to the efforts of people like Debito Arudou, but many places still have an effective ban on foreigners. And yes, speaking Japanese well will open some doors when it comes to renting a place, but it would be a rare case in which you aren't turned away from at least a place or two before you find one that will take you. (This is even more true if you are looking to rent space for a business.) Whether all of this is intended as racism or is a result of xenophobic ignorance doesn't really matter-- it still feels like racism when you are on the receiving end of it, because it is often a brick wall only a lawyer can break through, regardless of your Japanese ability. Texugo 00:41, 11 March 2009 (EDT)
As Texugo said, Xenofobia or Racism, it still feels the same when you are at the receiving end, but feel free to interchange it freely in the paragraph above, no beef with that. And while my fingers is twitching to respond to Racism issues in Denmark, and my Japanese conversational skills, that would bring us way too far off topic. Anyway, I'd encourage you to go out and find some expats and ask them how often they encounter Xenophobia in their daily lives, and then come back and tell us it's very rare in Japan, I've yet too meet a resident gaijin who didn't have some amazing horror stories to tell, in fact I find it a rather common conversation topic on Gaijin bars. And this my friend, I believe is key to understanding why many gaijins (which by the way doesn't include me) take offence. Simply writing it off as completely uncontroversial doesn't fly.

Have you really experienced "racism" in your home country?? I think what you call racism isn't really racism. Because white people have never actually been on the discriminated side in their home countries(they have always been the ones who have discriminated other minorities), they are over-reacting and panicking to know the fact that Japan doesn't treat white people better than other races and the locals. As a proof, those who always bring up this "racism in Japan" topic are all white people. Although sometimes there is separation between Japanese citizens and foreigners, just like many other countries, Asian, African, Middle Eastern, White are all treated as the same "gaikokujin=foreigners" in Japan regardless of your skin color or belief. So there is no "racism". Don't expect you get everything just like Japanese citizens. France is also known for being cold to foreigners who never try to understand French culture or its language, but kind to those who try to understand their culture and accept it. Japan is like that, too, as a country of long history. If you keep complaining and try to make a fuss from outside, you will never be accepted. Try to listen if you want to be listened.

That is an extremely assuming, uninformed, and irresponsible reply that doesn't even address the individual issues we have raised. And how the hell do you know what color we are? Even people of 100% Japanese blood born in a foreign country often get the same discriminatory treatment. Texugo 02:56, 11 March 2009 (EDT)
I disagree that they are "the most racist bunch of people on earth". Quite an extreme judgement! This issue is really complicated, to me. Japan doesn't have the history of racism that Europe and America do, so I don't like to use that term in reference to Japan. Xenophobia is certainly better, but Japan has never claimed to want many foreigners in the nation (well, it's alway been closer to the opposite). I think stories from the "gaijin" need to be taken with a grain of salt. Some are too paranoid and/or jaded to be believed, and many of the foreigners who complain forget to mention that prior to the "racist" incident, they were doing something that people would be disgusted by in ANY nation. I don't dismiss all accounts (I have some of my own), but a lot of people read things like this discussion, and they begin seeing "racism" when it's not there. Of course, not being allowed to enter a building and such is obvious discrimination, but It's not a major problem for tourists, and I have actually not had this problem (although I'm not interested in the sex industry).

I definitely think more needs to be done to protect the rights of non-natives, but I kind of appreciate the protectionist policies. It helps maintain cultural preservation. This type of conversation goes in circles, though. I don't think one can pinpoint a "most racist" society. All nations (America, Denmark, Japan, wherever) have their own issues with racial, religious, ethnic, etc. discrimination. For the tourist, being aware is about all they can do. ChubbyWimbus 02:59, 11 March 2009 (EDT)

Internet system[edit]

We must include about internet system of Japan in this article. Is GPRS or Wireless internet is available or not?

Japan#Contact Jpatokal 04:38, 6 May 2009 (EDT)
  • What is difference between Japanese word SAN and SAMA.

How young people call elders there in Japan? I mean to Suzuki san or something else?

See Japanese phrasebook. Jpatokal 04:38, 6 May 2009 (EDT)


I'm just curious about what function this serves (under the "respect" category):

If you are staying in a Japanese house, use the slippers as directed, use the bathroom and toilet as directed, and keep your room clean. If you are a guest in the tatami room, don't throw around all your undergarments, or bags of souvenirs (omiyage). Keep everything in order, and don't be surprised if you are given a vacuum a couple times to clean the tatami. As mentioned above, never step on tatami with shoes or slippers on. Only bare feet or socks are acceptable.

It seems to be saying in so many words that you should be respectful when you are a guest in someone else's house, and none of the tips are particularly insightful, as they are all "do as instructed" tips... Not any different from staying at someone else's home anywhere else. Of course you should be respectful and accommodating. Can this be deleted? ChubbyWimbus 13:18, 21 May 2009 (EDT)

Okay, so I just deleted it myself. There is nothing of value and the page is too long for meaningless information to stay. ChubbyWimbus 01:48, 9 June 2009 (EDT)

Actually, you'd be surprised how many people don't have enough common sense on how to act in someone's home or a hotel, or were never taught how to pick up after themselves.. Haven't you ever heard stories of people trashing hotel rooms? It happens all the time in the US. I think this is the biggest reason why the Japanese don't like to rent apartments to foreigners. It's because they don't treat the place with respect and sometimes end up trashing the place before they leave. This also happens quite a lot in the US as well. June 12 2009

Odd Pricing[edit]

Is this really necessary:

"Odd Pricing

207 Yen for a can of beer, 525 yen for a pocketbook or 1050 Yen for a meal - seeing Japanese prices, one might think the locals do not really have a good sense for attractive pricing.

These odd numbers stem from a consumer-friendly change in law in 2004. Until then, shop owners were allowed to display the net price on the product and add the 5% VAT only at the cash register (as it is still practice in parts of the USA). So a beer advertised for the eye-pleasing price of 198 Yen ended up costing you 207 Yen at the cashier.

Now, while they could have adapted prices to friendly-looking levels, Japan has literally no inflation, and with the Japanese getting more and more price-conscious, it would have been difficult to round up prices. Actually, the standard price for a can of beer in the early 90s was 231 Yen, until the so-called beer wars brought the price down to 207 Yen. So many retailers just stay on with their odd prices - so don't throw away those cheapish one-yen coins!"

There is nothing odd about 1050 yen or 525 yen items, and even 207 yen is not odd; certainly not odd enough to warrant a box on the page, in my opinion. ChubbyWimbus 08:51, 10 June 2009 (EDT)

The box is a little wordy, but I don't see what's wrong with it -- surely you agree that those prices are a little odd, when the rest of the world seems to round everything to 99 or 100? Jpatokal 09:23, 10 June 2009 (EDT)
Honestly, I never really gave it any thought the entire time I was there. Those boxes are supposed to be used sparingly I believe, and it just seemed like added clutter; a box for the sake of adding a box. If others think it's interesting enough to keep, then that's fine. That's why I brought it up here. ChubbyWimbus 11:32, 10 June 2009 (EDT)
I'm with ChubbyWimbus - it's just not that interesting. Worse, it's redundant with the article text that already explains the tax-included pricing labels. Another line of flavor text to that paragraph wouldn't hurt ("...and this is why it's the ¥105 aisle at Book-Off instead of ¥100"), but more seems unnecessary.
(Now, if someone could just explain the completely random-looking pricing of bakery items to me....) - Dguillaime 17:04, 10 June 2009 (EDT)
Agreed — it's longer than it needs to be for the point it has to make. I'd suggest editing it down (either as a smaller infobox or merged into the article body). Gorilla Jones 09:11, 11 June 2009 (EDT)
Reduced to a 5-word parenthetical. Jpatokal 02:40, 13 June 2009 (EDT)
That's why I stopped contributing to Wikipedia - 2 hours of effort deleted even without noticing me. So now the same things happen on Wikitravel...

Abendstrom 02:06, 18 June 2009 (EDT)

It was left alone for four days while several users took part in an open, pubic discussion about it on the article's talk page. Only then was it edited. What kind of notice were you expecting? Gorilla Jones 08:52, 18 June 2009 (EDT)

Taisha, -ji, -dera, etc[edit]

Recently, a number of Japan-related articles have been edited to change listing names that contain common Japanese terms such "taisha" and "-ji" into their English equivalents. Ergo, "Fushimi Inari Taisha" has become "Fushimi Inari Shrine", with no 'taisha', and Kiyomizu-dera has become "Kizomizu Temple", with no 'dera, but "Kinkakuji" has become "Kinkakuji Temple". I don't believe there was a discussion to support this change in practice. I'm not in favor of it — it leads to dull, redundant opening sentences like "(Name) Shrine is a shrine" (is it, now?), and travelers are less likely to encounter that version of the name while in Japan. Wikipedia and all of the travel guides I have on hand use the original names; JNTO uses the original name plus the translated term ("Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine"). Gorilla Jones 17:58, 10 June 2009 (EDT)

Although I don't think I am the only one who has done this, I guess I should respond, since I have added to some (and this is probably a response to my recent changes on the Osaka page). Anyways, I have a lot of guides that list "temple" or "shrine" after the name. I prefer it that way myself. As this is the English version, "taisha", "jinja", "jingu", etc. really don't seem to have a place. I think they are best left in the parentheticals with the kanji, like this: (住吉大社 sumiyoshi taisha). Most of the better-developed Japan pages already have listings like that. Maybe I'm just weird about some things, but I really hate reading "Sumiyoshi Taisha" or just writing "Raikyuji" rather than "Raikyuji Temple". I think if there is something worth saying about the shrine/temple, people won't have to just say "This is a shrine/temple." ChubbyWimbus 18:17, 10 June 2009 (EDT)
I'll side with Chubby on this. Wikipedia policy is to translate "Taisha", "Jinja" and "Jingu" into "Shrine", and temples should also be identified with "Temple" -- Lonely Planet's style is the somewhat redundant but clear "Marumaru-ji Temple". Jpatokal 00:31, 11 June 2009 (EDT)
Huh? Completely the opposite is true on both counts: here's Wikipedia for taisha and a temple (plus another), while Lonely Planet's list can be seen here, with nary a 'Temple' to be found. Gorilla Jones 08:25, 11 June 2009 (EDT)
Oops, was wrong about Taisha, but right about Jinja and Jingu -- see here for official WP policy. And re: LP, I could swear the printed books don't look the same as the site (which even capitalizes the "-Ji"!), but I haven't consorted with the enemy's Japanese edition since 1995 or so... Jpatokal 08:42, 11 June 2009 (EDT)
Here the 2005 Lonely Planet on Google Books — it follows the same naming pattern as their website. And while I don't necessarily want to bind our practice to those of the print books, Rough Guides and Let's Go appear to do the same.
While we can certainly identify it as a shrine or a temple in the description of the place, the name should be how the place has named itself, and how every native of the area will recognize the place. I'd be fine with adopting the Wikipedia WP policy — even in Japan, "Meiji Shrine" and "Heian Shrine" are commonly heard (over Jingu). Gorilla Jones 09:05, 11 June 2009 (EDT)
Most guidebooks don't seem to have a clear rule about that. Those that you listed are the most famous and well-known, but I've often seen other temples with "Temple" written after them. Looke at Japan-guide's Osaka page [3]. Shitennoji is "Shitennoji Temple" while Sumiyoshi Shrine is "Sumiyoshi Taisha". The Kyoto page is probably an even better example [4] Those that you listed are listed as you say (without "temple") however, most of the temples are actually called "temples". If I remember correctly, this inconsistency is consistent among a lot of guides. For places outside of Kyoto, Nara, and Tokyo, I've more often seen "shrine" and "temple" after the name, though. As far as the "taisha" thing goes, is there any logical explanation as to why "taisha" is not translated when all of the other shrine words are? ChubbyWimbus 16:35, 11 June 2009 (EDT)
Not that I know of -- I was one of the people drafting the original policy, and IIRC Taisha was originally supposed to be turned into "Shrine". Jpatokal 23:55, 11 June 2009 (EDT)
It makes sense to me — who'd mistake Fushimi Inari Taisha or Kasuga Taisha for Heian Jingu or Meiji Jingu? They're completely distinct kinds of places. In any event, how does it benefit a traveler to change these names into forms not used by the places themselves? I certainly disagree that most guidebooks don't have a clear rule or consistent practice in their naming conventions — any professional publication should have an internal style guide to which its authors adhere. may not have a coherent practice, but it's not in the class of quality that this site ought to seek to emulate (lest IB get any ideas about adding a hotel booking engine or a cheery blurb about LP's latest guide). Gorilla Jones 00:51, 12 June 2009 (EDT)
Okay then, do we have a consensus on temples then? Although it would be nice if there were 6 or 7 people here to get a really good consensus, it would seem that (correct me if I am wrong!) Gorilla Jones and Jpatokal would prefer NOT to list "Temple" after any temple. Is this correct?
With shrines, it seems we have less of a consensus (or at least I'm not positive what everyone is proposing). While I still prefer denoting shrines (and temples) in the names, with no exceptions for "taisha", if I am correct, Gorilla Jones, do you prefer the opposite with shrines; not listing "shrine" after any shrine name and just writing them in Japanese romaji ("jingu" "taisha" "jinja")?
Jpatokal: Initially it seemed that you preferred "shrine" over writing the "taisha", "jinja", etc. labels, but since more discussion has taken place, I am not completely sure if your position remains the same.
I do see Gorilla Jones' point about writing them the way the Japanese identify them, but since many have adopted the method that I listed above, writing this: (住吉大社 sumiyoshi taisha), I don't think there would be any confusion by saying what they are. Someone who is lost is probably more likely just to point to the kanji anyway. I guess I still feel that an English version should just write things in English. I think it is convenient for the traveller when browsing through possible destinations to see quickly what is a shrine and temple versus other attractions. The "Paulownia Wood Furniture Museum" here [5] for example is translated with (桐の博物館 kiri no hakubutsukan) written beside it. That is much more logical than using "Kiri No Hakubutsukan" as the main name, even though the locals will be more likely to know exactly what you are talking about if you say it in Japanese.
I personally like having the kanji with pronunciation for the linguistic convenience and the English name for travel and planning convenience. ChubbyWimbus 13:53, 12 June 2009 (EDT)

But a museum in Japan is approximately the same kind of thing as a museum anywhere else in the world, whereas Temple B'Nai Brith in Massachusetts and Kinkakuji in Kyoto are really different. And I think after even a cursory skim of the article, travelers are going to figure out anything ending in -ji is a temple — after which point temple, temple, temple is going to become redundant, and detract from the elegance and unique character of the Japanese names.

Anyway, thank you for keeping this on track toward consensus. My personal preference would be to go all Romanji all the time, but I would be fine with using 'shrine' for 'jingu' and 'jinja' — basically, adopting the WP policy. Gorilla Jones 22:12, 12 June 2009 (EDT)

My not entirely coherent set of thoughts:
  1. "-ji" for temples has to stay ("Kinkaku Temple" is not an option)
  2. "jinja" and to a slightly lesser extent "jingu" sound weird in English, so they're better replaced with "Shrine"
  3. Alternate forms should be spelled out in romaji, a la "Meiji Shrine (明治神宮 meiji-jingu')".
So, in all, I think adopting WP policy here is fine. Jpatokal 02:45, 13 June 2009 (EDT)
I mostly go along with Jpatokal's recommendations - though not sure if jingu sounds strange in English. When in Tokyo, I'm used to saying Meiji Jingu. Don't know if this is helpful and could be replicated on the Japan article, but on the Thimphu page I added the following explanation: 'Monasteries are referred to by their Dzongkha title of lhakhang or gompa.' - Dzongkha is the national language of Bhutan. WindHorse 12:58, 13 June 2009 (EDT)
I would never get rid of the "ji" from a temple name, but I guess the WP policy works. Is "taisha" going to be an exception here, like the WP policy? ChubbyWimbus 16:03, 13 June 2009 (EDT)
Yes. Gorilla Jones 11:52, 14 June 2009 (EDT)

Style guide again[edit]

What's your opinion — Shinkansen, Shinkansen, shinkansen, or shinkansen? I believe all four forms can be found in this article. I'm OK with any form, but I'd like to make the usage consistent. Gorilla Jones 00:25, 15 June 2009 (EDT)

I think it is a proper noun, so capital S is apppropriate. However, it is a word in very common usage, and italicising it or bolding it in the text each time is ugly. --inas 00:43, 15 June 2009 (EDT)
Agreed. I'd definitely keep it capitalized if part of a proper name ("Joetsu Shinkansen"), and although I personally think it looks odd to capitalize it when referring to the system itself ("the Shinkansen"), JR itself does do so: [6]. It shows up in Romanized station signage as-is, no need to italicize. - Dguillaime 00:57, 15 June 2009 (EDT)
I'd apply a similar rule as you would for say, Eurostar. It would look odd to write eurostar, as it is the proper name of the train/system. --inas 21:39, 15 June 2009 (EDT)

Head Zen Temples[edit]

I copied this from the discussion page of Kyoto/North. No one responded, and I don't know if this type of temple is located in other cities, but I thought it may be better on the general Japan discussion:

While most temples are themselves a site to see, some of the top Zen temples are just general names (Daitoku-ji, Tofuku-ji, Myoshin-ji, etc.), while the sites that people visit are actually sub-temples, each with their own names, sites, and admission fees. I know for a fact that this can be confusing to people planning to visit these temples. Daitoku-ji is particularly confusing, because you can't enter the main temple, so a visit to "Daitoku-ji" is just standing somewhere in the grounds (but not actually in any sites, and you can't enter the hondo). When people go to this temple, they should be searching for Koto-in or Daisen-in, sub-temples within the complex that you can actually enter.

I don't know if there is an established rule for this, but do you think it would be better to organize it like this:

  • Myoshinji. Description of the significance of the entire temple complex.  edit
    • Taizo-in. Hours. Description of sub-temple Entrance fee.  edit
    • Daishin-in. Hours. Description of sub-temple Entrance Fee.  edit
    • Torin-in. Hours. Description of sub-temple Entrance fee.  edit

OR just have one attraction listing and then give names, info, and prices for ALL sub-temples open to visitors (like Daitokuji is currently listed in Kyoto/North)? ChubbyWimbus 20:18, 18 July 2009 (EDT)

I hate multi-level bullet points. If the temple is really so complex, it should be given its own subsection heading, and then the bits within listed as separate listings. Example: Horyuji. Jpatokal 10:21, 22 July 2009 (EDT)

Diversify Pictures[edit]

Currently most of the pictures are of Tokyo (7) and the surrounding Chubu region (4). If there are pictures available now of other regions (which may not have been there when these were first here), I think we should switch out some of these Tokyo pictures in favor of other regions. I don't think Kyushu or Tohoku are represented here at all, and the Chugoku region is just ramen. Shikoku could probably have more, as well. I am not sure if all of these regions have enough (or the type of) pictures that would be suitable for the page, but it's at least something that should be addressed when images are available. ChubbyWimbus 16:21, 21 July 2009 (EDT)

Added a couple. Our coverage of Kyushu is for most part really bad... Jpatokal 08:58, 22 July 2009 (EDT)
Hmmm, what's representative of Kyushu? Beppu baths? Yakushima rainforest? Aso-dake or Kurakuni vulcanoes? Fukuoka bars? Should be plenty on Flickr if we just decide what to show.
That's why I added that last part, because I don't remember seeing many quality pictures in the Kyushu articles that I've viewed. Well, it is certainly known for the Beppu hot springs, Yakushima, etc. I think it's just a matter of finding places without pictures (or with pictures that seem reasonable to switch) and switching them out. If the current Kyushu pictures are of lacking or of low-quality, then it's better not to force them in. Once the articles do get pictures, we can look into adding them. The added pictures actually liven up the page quite a bit already! ChubbyWimbus 22:27, 22 July 2009 (EDT)

FM radio[edit]

Why aren't there any FM radio stations with a frequency higher than 90 MHz in Japan? -- 12:21, 2 August 2009 (EDT)

National Expressways map[edit]

Do the National Expressways not have numbers? If so, is there a better way to label them (i.e., with an icon) than to write out their names on the map? If there isn't, then I suppose I'll have to leave them unlabeled—there won't be enough space on a regions map. --Peter Talk 19:10, 20 November 2009 (EST)

No, just the national routes (as distinct from national expressways) and most of the big-city networks have numbers... good for local area maps, bad for regional and larger. No icons either, and even the names themselves can be hard to find -- official maps included. Maybe label one or two of the biggest expressways per region and leave the rest unmarked? - Dguillaime 20:08, 20 November 2009 (EST)
The Symbols are here, they can be shortened by cutting out the last 4 characters in all the signs, but I'm not sure that will make them small enough. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 20:44, 20 November 2009 (EST)
Yeah, those are too detailed to display on a crowded country map—I think I'll just leave the labels off, and leave the useful details to subregion maps. --Peter Talk 14:39, 26 November 2009 (EST)
These expressways were quite the headache, so I wound up leaving them off entirely. If anyone ever finds a workable base compatible with our licensing, let me know, since I'd really prefer to have them on the map. --Peter Talk 17:42, 26 December 2009 (EST)

Proper Organization & Next Phase[edit]

The launch of this site has been terrific and I applaud the pioneers and creators so far... And I think we are ready for the next "phase" in this Japan Wiki Travel Project... making entries according to train stations for Japan's major cities.

I can see that only a few major hubs have been done in phase one, however it seems we are at a turning point as we have started to lump together too much info into Wards. Furthermore, such categorization is not true to the way the major Japanese cities are arranged and imagined. I can see this might fit the original format given by Wikitravel worldwide, but is that the proper way to organize Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya or Osaka?

Wouldn't we suggest people check out "Ryokoku" or "Komazawa-koen (Park)" or "Takadanobaba" rather than each Ward name? Further, wouldn't people using a full info base expect not only genuine, but also more specific categories? Conversely, wouldn't our jobs be nearly over unless we make that move? Is there another site that has Wiki-type info on each of the stations on the Yamanote line, for example? (Well, Wikipedia is going there... So if Wiki travel doesn't make the next move, then who?) Admittedly, there are simple bedroom towns around staions out on many lines, so for Tokyo, for example, perhaps we can start with all stations on the Yamanote line. Given the size, identity and importance of stations, given the nature of user-generated sites, I suggest we make this move as "Phase Two" for the Japan Wikitravel. Thanks. SS

Are you suggesting we use station names as subheadings to divide large cities? In the best articles, the maps will show clearly each station and the location of sites relative to it, so that will be the most helpful for travellers wanting to know where sites are in relation to stations. Also, if there is a nearby station, it can be noted in the directions section of the listing itself. In my opinion, organizing listings by station name makes things more confusing than using familiar names (like districts/wards). Not all areas of every city even have a nearby station, some stations are so close together sites would be relisted, and there are not enough sites surrounding each station to warrant giving them each their own subheading. There are also way too many stations in the larger cities. Districts are often very recognizable and are included in travel materials in Japanese and English. I don't think they make things confusing at all. I think adding maps and information in the listings is all anyone needs in order to find any given site. ChubbyWimbus 04:21, 24 May 2010 (EDT)
I agree with ChubbyWimbus, but I do think we need to ensure that there are redirects in place for stations on the Yamanote line and other stations such as those mentioned by SS above.Texugo 23:18, 24 May 2010 (EDT)


Thanks for the replies. ChubbyWimbus more power to you with the map idea. We may disagree on general terms so maybe we can start with a more specific case...

Here is a 6 year old question that's ready to be addressed:

"Should Setagaya and Shimokitazawa be separated? See also the incorrectly namespaced Shimokitazawa, which should be merged. Jpatokal" 14:17, 20 Oct 2004 (EDT) From the Setagaya Ward entry.

It seems time to split Shimokita and Sancha. We currently lump these two with even more places. It is a prime example of the problem with the status quo... Does anyone else see the problem with the status quo? I do think it is only a matter of time before WikiTravel Japan goes to Phase Two as mentioned above.

Shibuya and Shinjuku stations have their own page - wise choice. But "smaller" stations don't. Are we not allowed to expand? I see Wikitravel as an expansive site that is searchable and comprehensive. We're not there yet and the limited info on Shimokita and Sancha exemplifies this limitation well. The culprit is Ward sectioning in this case.


But Shinjuku and Shibuya are also wards. Yes, they have stations with the same names, but neither are simply station names. I am not personally familiar enough with Tokyo to contribute anything meaningful to the districtification discussion. Station names may be appropriate for sections of Tokyo, but those sections I believe will still be those that are also districts/wards and I think that will be a more important factor than the station names, even when they are the same. Much of the problems with the Tokyo district discussion (and many district discussions) is that there are not enough people at any given time involved in the discussion to properly hash things out and reach a consensus. Important station names may make good redirects in Tokyo, but I'm strongly opposed to creating redirects for station names throughout the country. I think the Tokyo stations you reference are still only good because they are ward names. Outside of Tokyo, it is rare for a station name to make a good subheading. Our Kyoto article is organized very well, I think, and it generally uses district names (but does not use station names at all. While Arashiyama Station exists, it was named after the well-known Arashiyama area, which extends beyond the station.)
Even without certain subheadings, though, Wikitravel is expansive and inclusive. There are no restrictions on what districts listings should be located in, and one of the best ways to indicate that further districtification is necessary is to fill up an article with enough legitimate entries. Even if it does not expand enough to split a district, any information that falls within that area's boundaries is welcome. All districts in a city should have a place somewhere, regardless of whether the district has been given its own heading, so if there is a status quo in the Tokyo article, it is only because users are restricting themselves (providing the article's districts really encompass the city). I think there are cases when users feel for whatever reason that they can only list places that other guides list, but if they really get involved in Wikitravel, they would see otherwise. ChubbyWimbus 04:05, 30 May 2010 (EDT)

Japan#The Shinkansen Tour[edit]

I know absolutely nothing about travel in Japan, but the Japan#The Shinkansen Tour section looks questionable to me - is this pointing to a private ticket operator? The URL provided includes several "wikitraveljapan" references, which is a favorite tactic of private companies who want to know where their incoming hits come from. If it's a private operator, should it be removed in accordance with the policy on travel agencies? -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:28, 13 February 2011 (EST)

Digging a bit deeper, it looks like this info was added to several articles by Special:Contributions/Hinomarukun. Any clarification as to appropriateness would be greatly appreciated. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:36, 13 February 2011 (EST)
It definitely doesn't need to be in multiple articles, and I don't think JapaniCan is an "official" website, so I'd probably delete it. ChubbyWimbus 15:22, 13 February 2011 (EST)
I've pulled that listing from all four articles - thanks for the clarification. -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:39, 14 February 2011 (EST)

I respectfully dispute this... the JapaniCan web site is operated by JTB, a legitimate tour company. Would it be acceptable to say something to the extent of "Some tour companies offer travel packages to tourists which include round-trip bullet train transportation and hotel accomodations"? JRHorse 22:11, 25 February 2011 (EST)

Do we want to provide links to tour sites, though? I thought we preferred not to list those sort of things? Tour companies and travel agents all offer these sorts of deals (even sites like travelocity have packages). I was under the impression that these are things we don't want on Wikitravel unless there is no other way to get to a destination. ChubbyWimbus 23:22, 25 February 2011 (EST)

Some small bits of advice missing[edit]

Reading through the article, I see there are some bits of advice I usually give people that aren't mentioned here. I'm just wondering if there's a specific reason any of them have been left out.

  • Nodding and shaking your head doesn't mean anything, so don't use it for "yes" and "no"
  • Oshiboro, the hot towels you get at restaurants
  • When paying at a cash register, look for a bowl to pass money so it doesn't have to change hands directly
  • Toilet slippers
  • There are very few public trash cans; when you do find trash bins, there are usually 4-6 of them separated by recycling material

--BigPeteB 10:04, 23 August 2011 (EDT)

Well, actually I disagree with the first one-- nodding (頷く) and shaking one's head (首を振る) mean the same here in Japan as they do in the west-- but the others seem appropriate, so feel free to add them into the article where appropriate. (And note that it's "o-shibori", not with an "o" on the end.) texugo 10:27, 23 August 2011 (EDT)
When I nod or shake my head, I've always been understood, so I also disagree with that one. The cash register payment is custom, but you can always give them the money. It's not such a faux pas. The oshibori, toilet slippers, and trash cans may be worth a line. This article changes a lot and because of its size people often try to downsize rather than add to it, so that is probably why some things are left out but you can add them. ChubbyWimbus 10:30, 23 August 2011 (EDT)
Oops, thanks for catching my typo --BigPeteB 10:54, 23 August 2011 (EDT)

Recent Revisions to Talk[edit]

I thought the slightly down-sized revision made it more concise and equally relevant. None of the eliminated things were particularly useful and saying that hotel staff outside major tourist areas usually know some English was not even very accurate. ChubbyWimbus 09:44, 8 October 2011 (EDT)

East Sea vs. Sea of Japan[edit]

A user made an edit to change a reference to the "Sea of Japan" to the "East Sea".

While I think it's important to respect that not everyone in the world wants to call it the Sea of Japan,

  1. This is an article about Japan, so there's a lot of merit to using their terminology (日本海 nihon-kai = "Japan Sea") in this article.
  2. "Sea of Japan" is the most common name for this body of water in English.

Alternately, we could include both names, but that just adds verbosity for the sake of being politically correct. --BigPeteB 12:42, 4 November 2011 (EDT)

Just use Sea of Japan. --Globe-trotter 13:12, 4 November 2011 (EDT)
Agreed. texugo 21:51, 4 November 2011 (EDT)

Maestro cards[edit]

I just added a note to the Buy section of the article regarding Maestro cards. That issue basically crippled my holiday so far since I was not aware of it (with very little cash at hand and a non-functioning mastercard) and deserves a mention. Does someone know details on how long they will not work?-- 22:47, 5 June 2013 (EDT)


The gaming section of the page seems a bit questionable to me. The NTSC-J distinction is of course very useful, but I'm not so sure about the list of old gaming consoles. If there is a need for such a list in the first place, I think it would be relevant to point out that very few Japanese people outside of enthusiasts would have any idea about what the NES or SNES are. Changing the names to Family Computer (or Famicom) and Super Famicom, with e.g. the Western names in parentheses, should be sufficient. It might be important to recognize that such a list is incomplete, not to mention the evident lack of e.g. handheld gaming consoles - noting that it is a list of popular consoles, or that it is a list of (some) old consoles might be better.

I think that it would also be relevant to add a line or two about the game center culture, which in my experience differs considerably from what people from most countries might expect, and which has some particular yet interesting quirks. My guess is that people interested in gaming or even the culture in general would be interested in at least checking out the Japanese arcades' offering. Of course, explaining in detail the various types of games offered is probably not appropriate for the main page, but at least making a mention of the cultural aspects and expected behavior is something that I feel is missing. 23:00, 4 September 2016 (EDT)

Hi, I see your point and I guess it could give a better picture of the game culture. Feel free to add a few lines. Regards, GiulioC (talk) 05:08, 5 September 2016 (EDT)

Table of Contents[edit]

Why is there no table of contents? Is that the site policy? It would seem very handy for this type of long page with lots of topics. 23:00, 4 September 2016 (EDT)

Table of contents is "hidden" in the banner. Just move your cursor on the titles in the banner and you will see the various sections titles appearing. GiulioC (talk) 05:08, 5 September 2016 (EDT)
Ah, thank you for the clarification. I missed it repeatedly because the banner is very slow to load (3 to 6 seconds) despite my fairly decent Japanese network and above-average laptop. 12:36, 6 September 2016 (EDT)