Japan: Random Questions (Food, Blossom Spot etc)

Hi all,

Need help with some questions and bargains.

First time to Japan in 2 days. Stay in Tokyo 2 days, Osaka 2 days, then Kyoto 5 days (side trips Hiroshima, Nara, Hakone).

  1. Where the good spots to see and enjoy Sakura blossom?

  2. Where the cheap place to hire Kimono for family (2A 2K) like for 2 hours or for taking photo only?

  3. Where to go if we got sick/fever? Straight Hospital? Also worry about food poisoning. But we like to try new food excpet sashimi, any recommendation?

  4. Is there Water refill in main station? Is tap water at hotel/apartment drinkable?

  5. Is daily food like bread, milk, fruits prices similar as says at Aldi?

  6. Lastly, is there Skyliner or narita express bus stops near Shinjuku back to Narita airport?

Thanks all


  • Where the best spots to see and enjoy Sakura blossom. We are in Tokyo 2 days then Osaka 2 days, then Kyoto 5 days.
    -depends on the dates you are there - use this site. In Tokyo I'd recommend Yoyogi Park.

    Where the cheap place to hire Kimono for family (2A 2K) like for 2 hours or for taking photo only?
    -depends where you are. many hotels provide guests with Yukatas (light weight informal kimono) it's what a lot of people wear during festivals. it's like a cotton bathrobe with a pattern and belt.

    Where to go if we got sick/fever? Straight Hospital? Also worry about food poisoning. But we like to try new food, any recommendation?
    -food poisoning!! LOL, this is Japan though if you do get sick then there are GPs around (i.e. medical clinics) as well as hospitals. most Doctors speak good english.

    Is there Water refill in main station? Is tap water at hotel/apartment drinkable?
    -LOL, this is Japan. water refills - some stations have them. water in hotels/apartments is very drinkable.

    Is daily food like bread, milk, fruits prices similar as says at Aldi?
    -a little more expensive. best to buy at a supermarket. loaves of bread are usually half size and are between 100 yen to 200 yen. depends on the shop. milk - not sure, I only bought soy milk which is about 150yen for 1 litre. fruit prices are like woolworth prices. but it depends on where you go. I've seen loaves of bread for $20 at speciality bakers and peaches for $12 (each) - but these are freaky stores.

    Lastly, is there Skyliner or narita express bus stop near Shinjuku back to Narita airport?
    - yes, narita express goes through shinjuku

    Enjoy Japan, it's so western but at the same time so very very foreign.

    source: I lived in Japan for 4 years.

    • For an even more ozbargainy kobini experience look for 100yen Lawson stores ("Lawson Store 100"), google maps is your friend. There are supermarkets, of course, but it will generally be a bit more navigating and walking to get to one… kobini (7/11, Family Mart, Lawson etc.)stores are everywhere! One advantage a supermarket (supa) has over kobini is discount bento in the evening for the ultimate Ozbargain dinner of champion (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben-To)

      • A true ozbargainer would shop at an 88yen shop

  • $1 for a bottle of water, most hotels will say if the water is drinkable. youve got about 4-5 more days of sakura viewing left as they are in peak bloom this weekend just past, daily food can be very cheap from konbini's eating riceballs or sandwiches. Fruit is expensive, a single apple is about $3.

    Buy a bag of prunes at a supermarket if you can find it to keep your fibre count healthy. Bakerys are aplenty too for easy, filling and on the go snacks.
    You'll find bins in the konbinis only, so take your rubbish with you. cant help you with the kimonos or bus to shinjuku.
    Enjoy beautiful Japan, Tokyo is going to be packed.

    Source: i currently live in Nagasaki prefecture

  • Thanks altomic and DarthAntz for insider info :)

    @altomic, Are we allowed to wear yukatas outside? We would like to try Kimono around Gion but I imagine it will it be expensive?

    What is Konbini? Are there many regular supermarket/shop around/inside station? Would like to avoid high end stores. And I guess supermarket will accept credit card?

    Can you please recommend good and reasonable place to eat steak? How to say medium or medium well?

    Dumb question, is there a website or apps that can recommend places to eat or interesting places to visit when we are in that area? Or just search tripadvisor before we go?


    • +1

      Konbinis are convenient store basically (eg. 7-11). They are literally everywhere and they do stock milk, some fruits and varieties of hot/cold foods. The supermarkets are less common but they have many more selections. Its almost part supermarket part restaurant due to the amount of fresh foods being sold in there. The only thing I find difficult to get is flavored milk (choc, strawberry) - mosly regular milk, soy milk or milk coffee. Generally these shops accept cards. But best to bring cash, as its more widely accepted in the country.

      You can wear yukatas outside. Ive seen many of them walking around Kyoto area and looks very cool (dont see them in Tokyo or Osaka).

      I didn't really search for steak there but the famous Kobe beef at reasonable price can be found at Steakhouse Satou in Musashino (https://goo.gl/maps/d8i2RPrQydp). Also near Aarashiyama in Kyoto the steak Otsuka (https://goo.gl/maps/gySeCXPEm2D2). Another interesting eat was the beef katsu in Tokyo called Gyukatsu (https://goo.gl/maps/6j5aqzMYnhx). Good value yakiniku at Jumbo Yakiniku. They always cook medium I think so unless you want it well done I think no need to say anything.

      There's so many places to eat and actually most of them are great (although I had a bad one at some fancy restaurant in a mall - I'd rather stick to the side street shops!). Its best to spend a good time reading some blog/food diary and then go to google map, and then put a star on the restaurant. You can put as many as you want.. so when it comes time you are in an area, you can simply open up your google maps and see whats recommended nearby.

      And another tip is obviously when you see the locals lining up at a restaurant - chances are they are good!

      Personally (apart from above) I recommend you try:
      - Ichiran ramen (make sure you order rich broth! extra spicy even better)
      - Tatsunoya (another one of my fave tonkotsu ramen in Shinjuku)
      - Pork katsu aka Tonkatsu (many store sell this and generally always taste great!)

      If you are willing to try raw fish, definitely try the tuna belly sushi (otoro) in the markets. Its amazing!!

      Hope this helps!

    • get google translate on your phone, and download the japanese language pack, to help with some of your questions. i dont know why you:d want to eat steak in japan, its about $120 a kilo (supermarket), and restaurants are more. 36% of the beef in Japan is imported from Australia anyway, with the remaining coming from america. you are best to try some yakizakana, or grilled fish. i didnt eat or enjoy fish as much in Australia as much as i did in japan, and i suggest you test your pallat and learn some seasonal fish in japan that keep your interest. Sushi is always great.

      I:d get money exchanged in Japan, as its a better exchange rate, and i wouldnt rely on credit cards. japan is a mostly cash society, and high end stores is where credit card transactions will be mostly accepted.

      sounds like you will be dining out of supermarkets too, as a bento box can be found for about $5 and it might remind you of a weight watches meal, because it is served in proportions. you:ll have to learn to eat some cooked meat cold, which is no problem, its just a cultural difference. you wont get sick eating bentos, there is a very high food standard in japan.

  • +1

    Out of curiosity, you don't like raw fish/sashimi? It is kind of a big deal in Japan and is delicious!

  • I enjoyed the little bowls of salted edamame for a snack size, along with their dumplings.(Gyoza).
    Yukatas I've been informed are only pyjamas supplied for hotel rooms and to wear to the hot baths. Apparently, you can also keep them. The Japanese are so polite, they wouldn't complain! Wish I'd known this info on my first night with the most comfortable best fitting yukatas - could have easily slipped them into my suitcase.

  • As I understand it, Japanese has taken the words for rare/medium/well-done as "loan words" from English:

    Well done ウェルダン ueru dan

    Medium ミディアム mi di amu

    Rare レア re a

    I imagine you could you the English words when ordering and be understood.

    As well as Google translate, you could get the Yubisashi "Point and speak" phrasebook (English Edition) also there is Yubisashi app for Android/iOS and a eating specific Yubisashi book. https://www.amazon.com/Japan-Toshiya-Enomoto/dp/4795818436/r…. I picked mine up at a book store in Tokyo, but available online and at Aus specialist book stores like Kinokuniya.

    (Source: I am an English speaking vegetarian)

    • Rover,

      This is an odd question.
      We are hoping/planning to visit Japan in april 2018.
      Food is a worry as I have a 3 year old and we are vegetarian.
      Is it easy to be a vegetarian in Japan?

      • +1


        A lot of Japanese food is of course fish, veggie looking food like cold soba noodles with dipping sauce will have fish based dashi in it. So it is easy to be daunted. However, it is pretty easy to stick to a veggie diet with a bit of planning.

        The traditional multicourse meal, kaiseki, might seem to be off the menu but there is the traditional Buddhist cuisine, Shojin Ryori. I got one of these at a restaurant at the foot of Mt Kurama (quick trip from Kyoto), but they can be had all over the place. There are other veggie restaurants, check out the HappyCow website based on where you are going.

        Freshness Burger does a great veggie burger. At markets munch down on potato croquettes (some are meat stuffed, so do ask). The ubiquitous ramen shop will generally be out of bounds, but Chabuton which is in few places can help you out in this department.

        In Kyoto check out Kamo's All You Can Eat Veggie Buffet.

        T's Tantan is a great family vegan restaurant.

        However, most meals we got from convenience stores. Veggie rice balls (plain, seaweed or plum), salad, block o' tofu, inari (lots of those), more salad, more inari, cold noodles. Theoretically, you could also get natto maki there.

        If you want the sushi train there, you can get kappa maki (cucumber), inari (rice stuffed in fried tofu skin), kampyo (pickled gourd) maki, tamago (egg).

        If you have cooking facilities (e.g. you have a private en suite room in a hostel, note these are generally much more family friendly than in Aus) then you can pick up ingredients at a komibini, supa, department store food hall or food market.

        Learn a few phrases to help you out, e.g. I don't eat meat/fish/dashi. Learning the kanji for the veggie balls (e.g. 梅 in the plum ones) will help you pick out the veggie ones in the kombini.

        • That is very reassuring.
          Thank you.

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