Non tourist stuff
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Oct 12, 2012 12:39 AM Last Post By: Tokyo_girl
Jan 24, 2012 1:53 AM
Non tourist stuffHi! I am looking for things to do or see which are very Japanese but generally not on tourist itineraries. So nothing like temples, shrines, etc. It would be good if these activities are not fixed to a certain date. Thank you for any suggestions.
Starting off the list with...
Theatre: Noh, Kabuki, Bunraku
Sports: sumo, baseball
Others: artificial earthquake in disaster prevention centre, onsen
Jan 24, 2012 3:13 AM
1How about things that are tied to / are specific places?
There are lots of excellent gardens, buildings museums etc that are not on typical tourist itineraries.
department store food halls,
department store roof tops,
ohaka maeri - maybe this only works with one's own family ohaka.
local rural trains
michi no eki - doesn't work so well without a car though.
pokemon challenge in the Tokyo summer / stamp rallies
wagashi / senbei ya /dango
origami / stationery
izakaya esp under the railway tracks
socks & umbrella section of dept. store.
100 yen shops (though I rarely find them interesting)
shamisen / koto
Jan 24, 2012 3:38 AM
2bamse, after all the detailed, informative, long answers you often provide others, I'd thought you were the person to turn to for info on Japan and am surprised to see you asking a question!
regarding baseball, how about a minor-league game or a koshien high school game in August?
if you're male, I've heard soapland is a uniquely Japanese experience (although your hostess might not be Japanese) and certainly off most tourists' itineraries.
Jan 24, 2012 4:22 AM
3Wouldn't sports events and theater shows be tied to a date?
Things that aren't.
company or factory tours
Jesus' grave http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shing%C5%8D,_Aomori
any supermarket, drugstore, or mall
Jan 24, 2012 5:16 AM
4Thank you. Great suggestions, keep them coming.
Tokyo_girl: what's special about fishing in Japan?
GrogBlossom: Thank you. I am always looking for new experiences, perhaps not the soaplands though.
Glenski: By not tied to a date, I meant things that could be done throughout the year or at least throughout a season, not a particular event or festival which happens once a year only.
Jan 24, 2012 5:34 AM
5Nothing about fishing perse is special anywhere IMO but anthropologically fishing is interesting anywhere.
They have shell collection seasons, fishing holes that people go to fish in - paid fishing places, there is also commorant fishing in Gifu, perhaps other places in that area. Even I can find fishing up high in the mountain streams quite pleasant, though I am not partial to river fish.
Non Buddhist/Shinto Religious architecture - I have been meaning to make efforts to research this but places like the Thai temple at Narita, the churches in Hakkodate. the mosques in kobe & yoyogi Uehara, St Marys & St Ignatius in Tokyo,
JNTO has Japan culture pages that should give ideas.
Anime, J-pop, karaoke.
Rocky coastlines - near Otaru, Sanriku,
Sand dunes in Tottori
Gorges - Shosenkyo, Ryuokyo
Radioactive Onsen - Tamagawa
Beach onsen - near Tsuruoka
Abandoned industry - Kosaka, Mineland, the island near Nagasaki? that I can't think of, there are lots of abandoned amusment parks / ski industry places etc in Tohoku & probably other places as well.
Red brick buildings - scattered across Japan tokyo station, Yokohama, hakodate being the most famous.
yakitori bars / tachigui soba / ramen / sake factories/ sake testing
second (or third ) tier amusement parks - Arakawa Yuen, Kodomo no Kuni, etc
Keiba (for some of the most depressing places you'll find) / pachinko / boat racing
internet cafes / maid cafes / cat cafes - though I am not sure if cat cafes are special to japan.
tv studios - NHK,
tramlines - Hiroshima, tokyo's Arakawa line
Jan 25, 2012 3:07 AM
the "denki" stores: Yodobashi/Bic/etc.
the warren of eating/drinking stalls off Kichijoji's Sun Road
Golden Gai (see train suggestions, above)
(Tokyo_girl: perhaps the island off Nagasaki you're thinking of is Gunkanjima? "Battleship Island?" I believe it was officially closed to visitors until recently)
Edited by: tokyoaaron
Jan 25, 2012 3:27 PM
Jan 25, 2012 4:46 PM
8I recently did sit through a four-hour kabuki performance. Unlike the audio guide in Japanese, the audio guide in English repeated only the briefest of background information about kabuki between each story: "Kabuki was invented in 16xx when a troupe of dancing girls arrived in Kyoto...." Nothing whatsoever about the story to be acted out on stage.
Lesson learned: it's worth asking HOW MUCH commentary is available in English.
Jan 26, 2012 12:53 AM
9Thank you very much for all those inspiring suggestions.
My Japanese is soso (rather poor), but I did sit through a couple of Noh and many Kabuki performances without English commentary. Still enjoyed it looking at the costumes and movements (and for Noh at the sleeping audience). For some of the more famous plays you can read up the story beforehand on the net.
Also,from what I understand, even natives have difficulties understanding the words spoken on stage. After all there are also Japanese commentaries available and from what I saw, people were studying their leaflets carefully.
Jan 26, 2012 6:40 AM
10folklore - can't give many examples but Namahage in Akita & Tono in Iwate
as far as fishing goes wandering around the coastline of fishing villages / ports is quite interesting - the breakwaters / tsunami walls / tide mitigation / the squid boats with lanterns - lots on the Japan sea side of tsugaru hanto, seaweed harvesting and drying. fish drying - also daikon & persimmon drying.
I am partial to lighthouses as well - not uniquely japanese obviously.
Jan 26, 2012 7:35 AM
11For baseball I'd def recommend (in Tokyo anyway) a Yakult Swallows game in their outdoor stadium in summer - ice cold beer only a wave to one of the girls away.
J-League, there are teams all over the country and - like the above - a good way to see Japanese let their hair down.
Re the bars in Kichijoji as mentioned maybe a whole day 'combo' is to start the day in Shibuya, take the short train ride to Shimo-Kitazawa - have a good wander round there, then carry on the same line to Inokashira-Koen (the station is the same name) for a stroll around the park - maybe take a boat out!, and then take that nice road (past the legendary yakitori place Iseya - opened in 1928 and still has a nice 'old' Tokyo feel). Then when get to Kichijoji its a case of going thru the station to the north side. Have a wonder thru all the alleys/bars (I watched the Japan v Paraguay World Cup game at one with a bunch of young Japanese) and then late/last train either by Chuo-sen to Shinjuku etc or back down to Shibuya.
Last but by no means least check out the free food samples on offer in the legendary food halls as mentioned.
Edited by: petrovic22
Jan 26, 2012 9:54 PM
Jan 27, 2012 5:14 AM
13the tomb of jesus... I can only appreciate from an anthropological standpoint.
It is such lame contrived rubbish... kanji copied from the kanji jesus wrote (never mind kanji wasn't in japan 2000 years ago) signed something like jesus christ santa god or something equally lame.
there's a web site that goes through it's inanity systematically.
I didn't have the energy to attempt to replicate.
I did like the flowers in the marshland on the way there though :)
And the countryside there is very pretty.
I've never made it to Momoishi, though the statue of liberty in Odaiba that looks into the land not to the sea always makes me roll my eyes!
Jan 27, 2012 9:06 AM
14Btw, Japan isn't the only country in the world with four seasons either. Despite what you might hear...
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