Design Summit/Mitaka/Travel Tips
For some general Japan travel tips and more summit FAQ, please see https://www.openstack.org/summit/tokyo-2015/faq/#Category-5
If you're used to picking up a cheap local sim card when you travel, Japan might be a new experience.
As a non-resident, you're basically not allowed to have a voice service. Data-only sim cards are available, but expect to pay USD30-40. However, the speeds are enjoyably fast :)
http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Japan has all the details you'll ever need.
- The simplest way TF has found is the "Japan Travel SIM (by Iijmio)". 1GB/30 days or 2GB/90 days validity options. https://t.iijmio.jp/en/index.html . You can purchase this from the Tokyo Tourist Information centre where they also speak English and Chinese and can give helpful travel advice for your stay in Japan. Just take the JR Yamanote line from Shinagawa Station near the venue to Tokyo Station ( http://www.tictokyo.jp/en/03_access/index.html).
- http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/index.html is also available and can be sent to you at your hotel or the airport post office if preordered.
Taxis in Tokyo are very expensive. Especially do not try and take a taxi from Narita Airport to the city, which will cost around USD 200.
The OpenStack Foundation staff has prepared video and pdf based directions for travel from both Tokyo area airports to the conference location. https://www.openstack.org/summit/tokyo-2015/tokyo-and-travel/#hotels
If you don't plan on taking a train from the airport, https://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/ seems to drop off at some of the hotels in the area of the conference centre.
Electronics Retail Stores
Akihabara has so many electronics retail stores, but there are ones on/near major stations.
|Station||Bic Camera||Yamada Denki||Yodobashi Camera|
|Ohi Machi (大井町)||yes|
|Tsurumi (鶴見)||yes *|
|Kawasaki (川崎)||yes||yes *||yes|
"yes * " = Far from station
A japanese weather forecast says that the temperature will be 11-22 degree Celsius (51.8-71.6 degree Fahrenheit) on the last week of October in Tokyo. So, most people needs a jacket or an overcoat. But don't worry even without suitable ones. There are many clothes stores in/on/near major stations and UNIQLO is in JR Shinagawa Station.
Keikyu Shopping Plaza Wing Takanawa East is located on JR/Keikyu Shinagawa Station and it has Keikyu Store (京急ストア) at the B1 floor. It's good to buy various foods, meals, vegitables, drinks, liquors and so on.
Shinagawa Prince Hotel has a pharmacy named Tomod's. It has many foreign visitors, so staffs may be able to talk in English.
Useful medicine words in Japanese:
|English||Japanese pronunciation||Japanese display|
|Cold medication||Kaze-gusuri||風邪薬, かぜ薬、カゼ薬|
|Medication for hay fever||Kafun-sho (yaku)||花粉症(薬)|
|allergic rhinitis (coryza)||Arerugi (yaku)||アレルギー(薬)|
|Medication for diarrhea||Geri-dome||下痢止め|
|Medication for stomach aches||Fukutu-yaku / Hara-ita||腹痛薬 / 腹痛|
|Medication for insect sting||Mushi-sasare||虫さされ|
Smart cards for transportation are useful in/around Tokyo, so I recommend you to buy one when you arrived at stations at Haneda Airport or Narita Airport. There are 2 type cards in/around Tokyo: SUICA is by JR EAST and PASMO is by the other trains and buses in Tokyo. But both can be used all trains and buses in/around Tokyo, so you can buy either one.
And... I have to tell you about an important thing.
It's a terrible experience to take a train or a bus in weekday mornings in Tokyo.
Most trains in Tokyo has lots of passengers at 7:30am-8:50am and JR Shinagawa Station is one of the biggest stations in Tokyo. So, I strongly recommend below:
- Arrive at Shinagawa Station before 7:30am.
- Defend your bag in a crowded train/bus, otherwise your laptop in it may be broken.
- Say "o-ri-ma-su" when it's hard to get off a train or a bus. It means "I get off."
There are 3 major types of noodles in Japan.
Ramen is one of most popular foods in Japan now. Also, ramen is getting fans in US or European contries. If you like ramen, you should go to:
- Tokyo Tonkotsu Base (TOKYO豚骨BASE)...at the yard of JR Shinagawa Station. IPPUDO produced it.
- Shinatatsu Ramen (品達ラーメン) .. 3 minutes from JR Shinagawa Station (Takanawa Exit)
- Tokyo Ramen Street (東京ラーメンストリート) ... 3 minutes from JR Tokyo Station (Yaesu Minami Exit)
- Tokyo Ramen Show (東京ラーメンショー)…12 minutes from Tokyu Komazawa Station
Soba and Udon are Japanese traditional noodles. Try them when you have an opportunity.
- Suizan (水山)...at the yard of JR Shinagawa Station; Udon only
- Marugame Seimen (丸亀製麺)...12 minutes from JR Shinagawa Station (Konan Exit); Udon only
Using JR Shinagawa station is the most popular access method to visit the venue. But check around there with Google Map. There is Takanawadai(高輪台) Station (A-06) of Toei Asakusa Line on the northwest side of it.So, it will be useful if you use some subways below:
- Toei Asakusa Line (A-01..20)
- Tokyo Metro Mita Line (I-04..27)
Also, There is a Toei bus line (品93) from JR Meguro station to the venue.
Google Map is very useful to plan your transit in Tokyo.
There are some optician's shops near Shinagawa:
- JINS Atre Shinagawa...on Konan exit of JR Shinagawa Station
- Zoff Remy Gotanda...1 minute from JR Gotanda Station
- Zoff Atre Meguro...on JR Meguro Station
In Japan, you don't need to visit an eye doctor when you will buy glasses. Most optician's shop has eye test capability, so just go there and you will get a new glass. The basement price is about 5000-6000 yen (US$ 42-50), but it depends on the frame and lens.
Also, PC glasses are favorite in Japan. They have blue-light filtering capability and decrease eyestrain.