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kriss

EBISU MATSURI DISCUSSION THREAD

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Namba in Osaka is pretty awesome. Was the only time we got really lost. The shopping center was the size of a suburb.

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yeh sweet. We're thinking of spending our 2nd week at Osaka and Tokyo (3days each non incl travel time), is Osaka really worth the long trip?
depends weather or not you visit Tobita Shinchi... :shades: ......

 

Are they hot like amsterdam? lol

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Osaka was better for me than Tokyo. It's more what I expected of Japan. Everything is so jammed in to a small area. The Osaka skyline at night is crazy.

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I've been to 14 Ebisu Matsuris and driven in 11 of them, however when it comes to driving, some of the real battles are seen outside of the circuit. Here's some survival advice.

 

 

•EXPRESSWAYS

Expressways in Japan are awesome because they're neat and well maintained and easy to drive. However, they are bloody expensive, so make sure you have plenty of cash on hand. For example, going from Narita Airport to Nihonmatsu costs about $100 one-way. The expressway you want to get on to from anywhere in Tokyo is called the "Tohoku", so follow the signs to that.

When going through the toll booths, drive through the green ones (cash) not the purple ones (electronic collection). Sometimes you will be collecting a ticket to pay when you exit, and others paying when you enter, so be ready for both.

Speed limits are 80km/h when indicated by sign, or 100km/h when there's no signs. Unmarked patrol cars (usually Crown or V35 Skyline sedans) are common, however I've only seen them pull over people doing over 120km/h. Speed cameras are common, and are marked by a large blue sign with lots of kanji writing on it, and I think there's usually three posted by law before every camera. Cameras don't usually go off unless you're doing 40km/h over the limit though.

Take advantage of the many parking areas along the way, most of which include clean western toilets with heated seats and vending machines with canned coffee.

 

•NORMAL DRIVING

You need to have both a valid Aussie licence and one of those NRMA/RACV/RACQ international licences on you when you drive.

Speed limits on regular roads are 60km/h when unmarked or whatever is posted, usually 40km/h in small town areas like Nihonmatsu.

Traffic lights are the same as Australia, but with one confusing difference. Sometimes you will see a normal red light with a green arrow pointing up. This means you can drive through the intersection, but you also have right of way, meaning nobody can turn across in front of you. Basically, if a green arrow is pointing where you want to go, you can go that way. If not, stop.

Unbroken yellow lines are lava and cannot be crossed. These are usually before large intersections or narrow country roads. Police on patrol bikes like to wait near big intersections to catch people doing this (I was done on this a while ago). Also, don't change lanes through the middle of an intersection or run a red. These are the easiest ways to get fined.

Train level crossings need to be treated like stop signs. So do actual stop signs, which are inverted red triangles with 止まれ written on them.

Cars don't always stop at zebra crossings, even though they should. Be careful crossing the road on foot.

Be careful driving in the morning or around chuck-out time, as Japanese kids have some of the worst road-sense I've ever seen, especially when they're on a bicycle.

This should go without saying, but don't drink and drive whatever you do. Japan has the strictest laws in the world, and even sober passengers or someone who lends their keys can potentially be jailed if the driver is drunk. Japan is ZERO TOLERANCE, so you need to be stone-cold to drive.

Speaking of that, there are driver services called "daiko" where two men in a little kei car show up to drive you and your car back home. This is really common in the countryside like Nihonmatsu where public transport ends early. Ask Powervehicles if you end up needing this.

 

•PARKING

Assume you can't park anywhere, even if that random jerk in the black Celsior is doing it. Parking is one of the most annoying things about driving in Japan, as parallel on-street parking is basically unheard of. Safe places you can park for a while include conbinis, post office carparks, fast food carparks etc.

If none of them are convenient, pay car parks are usually dead cheap after about 7:00PM until the following morning. The payment machines all have instructions in English on them too.

Whatever you do, don't leave your car parked just anywhere. Police issue parking tickets with glee, and they can cost $100 to $200. It's a big yellow piece of paper with some red writing on it. If you do get one, you need to find someone who can speak Japanese to call the phone number written on it, then go straight to the local police station to get the payment notice, THEN go somewhere like a bank to pay the fine. It's a massive hassle, but if you just ignore it, the rental company will charge you a big penalty as well. It sucks, but you need to deal with it straight away.

 

•OTHER STUFF

As a foreigner, you legally need to have your valid passport on you at all times. I wouldn't bother at Ebisu itself, but make sure you have it when you're in town.

There are some places in Nihonmatsu that won't rent cars to foreigners any more because of previous people putting tyres in the back, denting the sills and returning them with stickers on the windows etc. You're beating the shit out of your circuit car, so please be nice to the rental.

If you're taking the bullet train up there, rent a car in either Koriyama or Fukushima city (Nihonmatsu is in the middle), as that will be the least hassle, and it's about 45 minutes to Ebisu from either place. You can search in English, and look for an "ekimae" place, which means it's right near the station.

Rental cars have navigation, but since most people have smart phones these days, if you cache as much of the area you'll be in as you can before coming to Japan, using GPS to get around might make things less frustrating. If you can however, get the rental agency guy to temporarily set your home address to the circuit.

 

TL;DR Read it you lazy basts.

Edited by Bakadesu!

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yeh sweet. We're thinking of spending our 2nd week at Osaka and Tokyo (3days each non incl travel time), is Osaka really worth the long trip?
depends weather or not you visit Tobita Shinchi... :shades: ......

 

Are they hot like amsterdam? lol

 

hotter.. so im told.... haha.

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Anyone know of any good workshops in tokyo that I could visit besides the typical up garage and autobacs? We're thinking if hiring bicycles and scoot around the city, good way to see the city instead of driving and walking.

 

i think we're also going to go past Tsukuba and Nikko circuit on the way to nihonmatsu the first day we get to japan. Theyve got circuit days on the day we're going, so would be interesting.

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Chiba where a decent concentration of car shops are is liek a 1.5H drive each way and there spread out over the road. Top secret was on the same road, but apparently dont like visitors

train plus walk is easiest round tokyo. You cant take your bike on train and have to leave them in certain places (like parking, some are even charge)

 

 

Went went to a dfrift day at Nikko to watch on the way back from matsuri. Got off the train 1/2 way and was about a hour drive

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Chiba where a decent concentration of car shops are is liek a 1.5H drive each way and there spread out over the road. Top secret was on the same road, but apparently dont like visitors train plus walk is easiest round tokyo. You cant take your bike on train and have to leave them in certain places (like parking, some are even charge) Went went to a dfrift day at Nikko to watch on the way back from matsuri. Got off the train 1/2 way and was about a hour drive

 

Mmm you kind of didnt make sense, theres a concentration of car shops 1.5hrs each way (between each other?)

 

locky would you hire a car instead of catching the train next time you go?

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Ok there is this road that starts in chiba and has 2/3 up garages, crystal auto and superauto bacs. But it take about a hour to get from the first to last shop worth of driving.

 

If I did it again I would either train it to koriama nad get a car there for matsuri, even though its extra cash the flexability was good got to power kemori for tools and oil, eat at diff places, come/ go what time you want. Or just get a car from the airport and drive straight there as it would prob be the same/ slightly cheaper. But I went with guys that have gone before so thgey knew what they were doing

 

But after matsuri train around the city 110% I drove north to Mt Haruna (akina) and it took 1h to get 15km to the freeway start from and we were already in Ikibukura which was 15min north by train from the center of tokyo

When we went to car shops we hired a car for 6h. Whenever we went to a track, we went to nikko, meihan and bihoku to watch, we just caught the shinkansen to the nearest major station and hired a car from there

We got the JR pas for the 2 weeks we were there after matsuri and it was definatly worht it, but only start it after matsuri as you dont want to waste a week of it while drifgting

 

 

Look through my build thread if you havent explains alot what I did/ pics

Edited by (Locky)

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this time in 3 weeks, I'll be in Gold Coast having drinks before the Japan flight

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we fly out on the 2nd. The next 3 weeks are going to be so slow..............................

 

So excite!

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That was f**king awesome!!!!! Lol brakie

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My favorite bit is fish's face haha, so glad I got all their gopro footage gonna be so many fish heads in the videos haha

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Best video you've made. I rather enjoyed it.

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New app which may help people out, Recently released out of Beta testing stages in Japan, only for iOS atm.. Free for the basic package so its worth wild if you like it Purchase full package!

 

http://itunes.apple....04554?ls=1&mt=8 - Any comments once using let me know so i can pass it along!

 

Guess this will help people the most haha.

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Edited by antonioシ

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Who do people generally get the travel insurance through and how much is it?

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Travelinsurancedirect.com I think I went through

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booked mine with jetstar when i booked flights. was cheap and covered pretty much everything

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Who do people generally get the travel insurance through and how much is it?

 

Paying by most credit cards and its free.

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Yeah. We payed on NAB credit card then transferred cash straight onto the card again. Cost nothing but free insurance

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how many people are going to Spring 2013???

 

with the open week, how many days before that did you guys get to ebisu?

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