I'm afraid you may have opened the floodgates. I've got many suggestions for the Tokyo area.
Oh, what did I unleash!!!
I'm actually glad to have opened it. You're full of information. Too bad I'm only staying for a week and a half. I'm this close |<-- -->| to deciding to stay there for six months.
My personal favs around Tokyo are Kamakura (the old capital with lots of Temples, much closer to Tokyo than Kyoto), Roppongi Hills, Odaiba, and ESPECIALLY Harajuku for shopping, Asakusa for the sites (kinda touristy), Shibuya (just look for the Hachiko exit at Shibuya train station) and Roppongi for the clubs, Shimokitazawa had some great night life but I hear they're building a highway through it. Ueno has a park and a zoo and several museums. Basically just go around the Yamanote line in Tokyo. Almost every stop has something.
I like old capitals! Yay! If I take a day to take Yamanote line I would truly enjoy a brief visits on those you mentioned. I will tell my friend in Japan to check those out for us. Appreciate it!
And definately find time to go to Yokohama. It's very close to Tokyo; I suggest the Tokyu Toyoko/Minato Mirai Line from Shibuya which unfortunately is not a JR rail line but it's not expensive at all, and since they just added new stops and new trains it's very nice (I took it to work everyday). The Yokohama train station has LOTS of shopping with several huge department stores, but the really cool stuff is a little further along the Minato Mirai train line. In Yokohama you can go see Minato Mirai with the Queen's Square Mall and Landmark Tower (the tallest building in Japan with the fastest elevator in the world) and the Kosomo World amusement park. Akarenga ('Red Brick') and Motomachi are great places to shop and Japan's largest Chinatown (Chukagai) are all REAL close. They've also got a really nice park there and the foreigners grave yard is right by Motomachi.
Wow! how long did you stay in Japan to see all these?! But it sound so wonderful! I wonder how much all these will cost me
If you ever miss the western culture, Tokyo Disney Land and Disney Sea are very nice and it's on the way to Chiba prefecture.
If you're looking for beaches, I have to suggest Shimoda in Shizuoka prefecture. It's only a few hours by train from Tokyo and it is very pretty, no, spectacular. There's this gondola you can take to the top of this mountain and you can overlook an amazing harbor. There's also an aquarium that has shows with dolphin and seals. This is actually the place where the western world first made contact with Japan, so there's quite a bit of history there. I think the 150th anniversary of the "Black Ships" is either this year or last year. I have a friend of mine (who features prominently in all my pictures) who is from Shimoda so I might be a little biased, but I really think you'd like it.
More notes on that. Interesting... I'm starting to form more plans with these.
Where are you planning on staying and for how long?
Well, I only have two weeks vacation at work. My friend who is studying there is looking for a cheap place for us to stay at.
If you want to, you can probably rent a room in a gaijin house for a few weeks or a few months since hotels can be a bit pricey.
That's what I noticed in the travel package that's why I scratched that and decided to plan our trip with the help of you guys! Much obliged!
If you want specifics on restaurants or anything as you narrow down the places you want to go, just let me know. One restaurant I have to suggest (it's kinda pricey but absolutely amazing food, very romantic) is this place called Queen Alice in Minato Mirai at the Queen's Square Mall. Well, this was supposed to be short, but as I thought of the places, more and more great memories flooded back to me. You can go see a baseball game, but I forget the name of the station the Giant's stadium is located, and there's a mall near there, too. Arg. I can go on and on. Anyway, I hope you find some of this helpful and if you'd like more info send me a private message or email me at shiba501(at)hotmail.com. Shiba, by the way, is the neighborhood I lived in while I was in Tokyo. It's right next to Tokyo Tower and pretty close to Roppongi and Azabu Juban and the Tokyo fish markets. I hope you have a great trip. Just think, at least you won't have to deal with the all the pollen from the Japanese Cedar trees.
You're a well of information and my bucket is full with what you offer. I would like to hear more so I will get in touch with you soon. Domo arigatou gozaimasu!