Credit cards could be useless at unexpected occasions or locations in Japan: when you buy local train ticket or buy grocery, for example. It is much more reliable to have enough cash for daily expenses. Also, some restaurants may accept credit cards for individual customers, but if you go in a big group (which is the case of the excursions), you certainly need cash.
Very important: When paying in a group (at the tours, at the conference registration, at the conference lunch, etc.) it is extremely important to have the exact amount: giving change to 100 people will consume all the time of the tour or conference lunch. For this reason, at any place where you pay a group, do not expect any change to be given: if you do not have exact amount, you either pay more or don't use the service.
Therefore, please have enough bills of 1,000 yen, plus some coins. If you use an ATM (cash machine), withdraw 9,000 yen and not 10,000, otherwise the ATM will give you one bill of 10,000 yen, which you cannot use at tours or conference lunch.
ATMs only accept particular cards and yours may not work with the most convenient ones. You can probably find an ATM that accepts foreign cards at a postoffice (in the maps below we indicated some postoffices with a $ sign). The easiest and most reliable way to obtain enough cash (yens) is at the airport, using an ATM there.
You should prepare (change or withdraw at the airport or so) enough cash in Japanese yen for:
Round trips from Narita / Haneda to Tokyo: at least 1,500 per person one way, or 2,500 or more, per person one way, depending on transportation.
Registration fees + plus any fees for accompanying persons that you will pay at the conference registration. All payments are in cash and with exact amount. We cannot accept cards, and we cannot provide change if you pay with larger bills.
Conference lunch: one 1,000 yen bill per person per each meal per 4 working days of the conference. The university coop may not be able to provide enough change if you try to pay with a large bill.
Lunch at each tour, each somewhere around 1,300 yen per person (please have coins) (the specific amount may vary: the price may be higher).
Emergency cash (in case you are left behind or get lost) for the tour on Sunday: 3,000 yen per person; other tours: 2,000 yen per person.
You are advised to prepare enough cash for any other meals or transportation or shopping.
The official hotel seems to accept all major credit cards. Namely, VISA, MASTER, DINERS, AMEX, JCB, and China UnionPay 銀聯 should be OK. Discover and Eurocard are not accepted at this hotel.
Banks are open 9:00-15:00 Monday-Friday, except national holidays. When you arrive on 19th or 20th, banks are closed. The official hotel does not handle money exchange. You should prepare enough cash in Japanese yen, either before you depart or at the airport of arrival. (Banks at international airports may be open at irregular hours but check relevant web pages.)
The official conference hotel is Villa Fontaine Kudanshita (http://www.hvf.jp/eng/kudanshita.php). It is much more convenient to stay all together: social life continues in the hotel, the buses for cultural program depart from, and arrive to, the official hotel, registration will most probably be in the lobby of this hotel, and there is a discount for CICLing 2011 attendees. To book your room, you should send them the the hotel registration form; see information on this, as well as more information about the official hotel, on the main page.
Our official hotel is Hotel Villa Fontaine Kudanshita: http://www.hvf.jp/eng/kudanshita.php. All cultural program activities will start at this hotel. Here is how to get there. Click on paths and points to get explanations, or enlarge the map using the link below the map.
View CICLing 2011 official hotel in a larger map
In the map, the hotel is marked in yellow. The red path (going below a large overpass shown green in the map) connects the hotel with the exit 7 of Kudanshita Subway station; use this path if you arrive from Haneda airport, and also to go each day to/from the conference. Only if you arrive from Narita airport, use the blue route: from Kudanshita station exit 6 if you need an elevator, or from Jimbocho exit 2A if you don't need an elevator. The pink path at the left is from the hotel to the conference venue, if you feel like walking an hour The two $ signs (move the map to look to the right from the hotel) mark possible locations of ATMs that might accept international cards, not guaranteed.
From Haneda Airport International Terminal:
There are too many ways to come from Haneda to our official hotel to describe the entire possibilities in detail. You can use taxi, which would probably cost somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 yen (100-120 USD). There are limousine buses. You can take Tokyo Monorail and go to Hamamatsucho, change to JR Yamanote Line and get to Akihabara, change to JR Sobu Line and get to Suidobashi station and walk to the official hotel. Our recommendation, which is relatively cheap and involves only one (or two) change(s), is as follows:
Go to Keikyu station at the International Terminal and buy proper tickets:
Get on a train that goes in the direction of Shinagawa [A-09] and Toei Subway Asakusa Line and on to Keisei and/or Hokuso lines. (There are trains that goes to Kawasaki, Yokohama, and Kurihama. You should not get on these.) The destination and the kinds of trains may differ. It is better to get on express or limited express trains (no extra charge on Keikyu lines) rather than local trains.
You may have to change trains at Shinagawa [A-09] if it is the final destination of your train. In such a case, you wait for a few minutes for the next train that comes on the same platform to the same track. Usually, this is not necessary, though.
You get off at Nihombashi [A-13] station. You get out of the exit machine and walk to the elevator and go down one level. You find the entrance to Tokyo Metro Tozai Line Nihombashi [T-10] station.
You take a train that goes in the direction
of Nakano [T-01] and get off at Kudanshita [T-07], which is the
third station from Nihombashi [T-10]. Find the exit on the
platform located toward the front (the direction your train was
moving toward.) Go out of the exit machine and take the elevator
to the ground floor level. The exit near this elevator is
indicated by a small yellow number 7 in the three dimensional
If you used the correct elevator, you should be where you find a small red number 7 in the map above (marked there ). You are in the vicinity of Hotel Grand Palace. Cross the street and walk straight on in the same direction, following the red line in our map. Your official hotel is less than three minutes on foot.
NB: Frequency and connection change during the day and
day of the week. Depending on the particular timing you get out of the
immigration and customs area, the "best" route changes. The above is just
one possibility among many others. CICLing 2011 is in no way endorsing or
guaranteeing the quality of the transportation services suggested in the
From Narita International Airportl:
There are too many ways to come from Narita Airport to our official hotel to describe the entire possibilities in detail. Taxis are very expensive and would probably cost a lot more than 20,000 yen (250 USD). There are limousine buses to some locations in Tokyo and elsewhere. You can take JR Narita Express or other trains. You can take Keisei Skyliner or City Liner. Our recommendation, which is probably the least expensive and reasonably fast, is as follows:
Go to Keisei station in your terminal
Get on a Limited Express on Via Narita Sky Access line. This is categorized as "ordinary train", which does not require any additional charge. There are two types of Sky Access Limited Express, those that go to Haneda Airport and those that go to Keisei Ueno.
If your Sky Access Limited Express goes to Haneda Airport, get off at Oshiage [KS-45] station.
If your Sky Access Limited Express goes to Keisei Ueno, get off at Aoto, get on the train on the other track of the same platform, and get off at Oshiage [KS-45] station.
At Oshiage station, go down one level using the elevator or the escalater and get out of the exit machne. Go through the entrance to Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line Oshiage [Z-14] station.
You take a train that goes in the direction of Shibuya [Z-01] and on to Tokyu DenEnToshi line. (Trains leaving on platform 1 may be rather crowded. Sometimes, there are trains that leave on platform 3, which are almost vacant as they start their service at Oshiage [Z-14] station, so check the station monitor before you go down to the platform.)
Follow the direction of the blue line on the map shown above to the hotel .
NB: Frequency and connection change during the day and day of the week. Depending on the particular timing you get out of the immigration and customs area, the "best" route changes. The above is just one possibility among many others. CICLing 2011 is in no way endorsing or guaranteeing the quality of the transportation services suggested in the previous passage.
Since all cultural program activities (excursions) start at the official hotel, everyone should know how to get there. If you are staying in other hotels, they can give you detailed instructions on how to get to Kudanshita subway station. Based on the alpha-numeric station designations, Kudanshita station is:
See subway route map with Kudanshita station
marked with a red-and-yellow circle (right), and here is unaltered
Credit cards: VISA, MASTER, DINERS, AMEX, JCB, and China UnionPay 銀聯 should be OK. Discover and Eurocard are not accepted at this hotel. Only Japanese yen is accepted if you wish to pay in cash.
The best way is to take Tokyo Metro (Subway), Kudanshita station (on this Google Map, it is a reddish structure located South-West from the hotel). There, choose the Tozai line and go to Waseda station. See subway route map with Kudanshita and Waseda stations marked with red-and-yellow circles (see also the original unaltered image). Tozai line is labeled with light blue color on maps and signs. Kudanshita is the station number [T-07] (T stands for Tozai line), and Waseda is [T-04], so you go 3 stations from 7 to 4. Be sure to take the correct direction.
CICLing 2011 will be held at the International Conference Center of Waseda University, which is located in the Waseda campus of Waseda University, about 10 minutes' walk from Tokyo Metro Tozai-line Waseda Station (T-04) and about 4 minutes' walk from Waseda terminal on Arakawa line of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Transportation streetcar (tram) service.
The International Conference Center is on the first and third floors of the building marked by the number 18 and designated as Center for Scholarly Information on the Waseda campus map (http://www.waseda.jp/eng/common/images/campus/map_printable_waseda.pdf). See also how to access to Waseda University (http://www.waseda.jp/eng/campus/map.html).
The main entrance to the International Conference Center, building 18, is nicely hidden behind a conspicuous stairway to the second floor, which leads to the main entrance to the library. You have to stay on the ground floor level and go around this stairway to get to the main entrance to the International Conference Center. CICLing 2011 is to be held in the Ibuka Memorial Hall on the 1st floor on Monday and Tuesday, and in the Meeting Room 1 on the 3rd floor on Thursday and Friday.
Please explore this interactive map (or a full-screen map). Resize the left frame to make more room. Use [+] and [-] icons to zoom, drag the map to see more, use [CICLing 2010] to return. Drag the man on the map to see photos (if he's lost, drag him from the upper left corner of the map). Drag the photo to rotate.
The map shows how to walk between three places: the main conference venue (North), the Okuma Garden House where the lunch and poster session will be (East), and the Waseda Metro Station, which connects the venue with the hotel (South).
The blue path shows how to go from the conference venue to the lunch and poster session. The red path shows how to go from the Waseda Metro station to the conference venue: go North from Waseda Station, then from the landmark Okuma Auditorium tower, continue North by the blue path. Try the Earth view to get a better idea. The $ signs indicate postoffices where there are ATMs that accept (at least some) international credit or debit cards.
View CICLing 2011 venue: getting around in a larger map
The best way is to take Tokyo Metro (Subway) to Waseda station. See subway route map with Waseda station marked with red-and-yellow circle (the left one; see also the original unaltered image). The station is on Tozai line, which is labeled with light blue color on maps and signs, and has number 04 on this line, so it is often referred as [T-04] (T stands for Tozai line). From the Waseda station, follow the route marked on the above Google map.
On the morning of Monday and Tuesday, we advise that you use the exit stairway indicated here (http://www.tokyometro.jp/station/waseda/yardmap/index.html) by a small yellow number 1, rather than 2 or 3a, 3b, because there are literally thousands of entrance exam examinees trying to get to the university campus, possibly for the first time in their lives. (By the time you arrive, most have already gone into the campus, but there are still some around.)
If you are going to stay in pricy hotels (but don't! we expect to all stay in the same hotel), they would offer you information in English on how to arrive. Limousine bus services may be available that would take you directly from the airport to the hotel. The following paragraphs are a quick and informal attempt to give you some general idea on how to get to downtown Tokyo from Narita or Haneda, the two Tokyo International Airports. Currently, international flights to and from Haneda are rather limited, but please note that they are going to be greatly increased in October 2010 since a new international terminal and additional runways are going to be put to service.
If you arrive at Narita, you can take either the Keisei Skyliner or JR Narita Express train services (Keisei and JR also offer other train services from the airport, which are not too inconvenient). When you take Keisei Skyliner, it takes a little more than half an hour before you arrive at Nippori or Keisei Ueno stations. At Nippori, you can change to JR Yamanote Line, and at Keisei Ueno, you can either take a taxi or change to Tokyo Metro Subway Ginza-line or Hibiya-line.
If you arrive at Haneda, you can either take Tokyo Monorail train service and change at Hamamatsucho terminal to JR lines or take Keikyu line that connects to Toei Subway lines and then to everywhere at various stations. In either case, you should know your way around or ask for detailed transfer information if you are not familiar with Tokyo public transportation systems.
There are two major subway systems in Tokyo, Tokyo Metro and Toei; the latter is transportation services offered by the Bureau of Transportation of Tokyo Metropolitan Government. You also have to have some sense of JR railroad services to get around in Tokyo, and there are a number of other "private" railroad services including Keisei and Keikyu (strangely, JR is the former national railroad services that was privatized, but they still call other railroad services "private"). Buses are convenient, but they go around making mysterious turns, and usually the drivers are not fluent in languages (including Japanese!).
If you are taking subway and train rides between your hotel and the conference site, buying one of those PASMO cards is a good idea, especially if you intend to come back to Japan some time in the future. You don't have to worry about how to figure out the exact fare in advance when you start your ride and not to forget to use the orange-marked exit machines when you transfer. This also works with most other public transportations in Tokyo including buses and some of the major public transportation services in other areas in Japan, so it's rather handy when you move about in Japan (note that there is a 500-yen deposit included in the price for one card).
Here are some of the English pages that you might want to check before you leave for Tokyo:
We strongly recommend that you stay at the official hotel. If you still want to stay in a different hotel (highly discouraged; think twice!), then read on.
There are numerous hotels in Tokyo that are rather reasonable in price or very expensive. In general, you can find a hotel room for something like 7,000 yen (US$ 83) and up to 70,000 (US$ 830) yen per person per night. For domestic participants, or for those who can read Japanese, the best deals are often to be found on internet hotel reservation sites or the official hotel web sites. For visitors from abroad, your local travel agents might offer you good deals for the better hotels in Tokyo.
Listed below are some of the hotels relatively reasonable in price (except for the first one) that provide easy access to the conference site. If you can read Japanese, or if you know your way around in Tokyo, there are many other hotels that you might want to consider. Please note that Japanese hotels often, but not always, quote their rates as per person per night, not as per room per night. Also, additional service charge of 10% and consumption tax of 5% usually apply.
Our excursions leave official hotel at designated time; we do not wait. Anyone who is late for designated meeting time will miss the occasion. On Sunday 20th, the bus leaves at 7:50.
Important: On Sunday 27 there is a marathon in Tokyo, which can affect transportations -- some routes may be closed, public transportation connections may be unavailable or too crowded, etc. If you leave on Sunday, please ask the hotel management for advice on the best route, and allow sufficient time for possible delays.
It rarely snows in Tokyo, one season out of three or four. When it snows, though, we usually have two or three snow falls in one season. We had a very nice snow on February 14th night. See some photos below, taken near the conference venue. Please have adequate clothes and umbrellas, just in case.
Three things are very deeply embedded in the Japanese culture:
Rules and order;
Attention to others: the legendary Japanese politeness is only the tip if the iceberg of their effort to consider other people's needs and comfort;
Exactness and accuracy, including timing.
In Japan, you have to obey the rules. Please take it seriously. Even if some locals sometimes (rarely) don't do it, you, being a foreigner, don't get into trouble -- and also, being from scientific elite, be good example to other citizens.
Cross the street at green light. Even if there are no cars and even if you are in hurry, stay calm and wait for the green light to cross the street.
In public transportation or in any public place, do not make noise. Do not speak loudly, and better do not speak at all.
Do not disturb people in public places; do not hamper the flow of passengers at a Subway station, etc. Do not gather in groups in public transportation. In the street, do not walk in groups side by side, because this will hamper the flow of people in the street. In a narrow street, do not walk side by side even in pairs: walk in single file one after another.
Walk on the left side of the street or corridor (if in your country people walk on the right side, it will be difficult to get used to it at first). In some places, e.g., at some Subway stations, you should walk on the right side; in this case there are special signs like "here keep to the right" or arrows on the stairs of a staircase (e.g., in Subway): at what side you should go up and at what side go down. In general, watch what others do and do the same.
In stations, department stores and other public locations, people in the greater Tokyo area (in contrast to many other countries) stand on the left-hand side on escalators and similar moving passenger conveyors. The right-hand side is left open for people in a hurry to walk up.
On many streets there is a lane for bicycles on the sidewalk. Do not hamper this lane. The people on bicycles will not use a bell or hurry you up -- they will patiently wait for you to pass, but in this case you look as an ill-bred foreigner. (In general, people will not tell you that you are doing something wrong -- you need to carefully watch your actions, not to look ridiculous.)
Bow. At least slightly -- when greeting, when apologizing, all the time. When in other cultures you would smile or shake hands, in Japan you bow. (Shaking hands is not always a good idea -- Japanese tend to avoid physical contact. Bowing is always a safe choice.)
Be accurate with timing: 12:00 in Japan means really 12:00 and not more or less around noon as in some other cultures.
I strongly recommend you to learn katakana (not hiragana as many manuals recommend), or at least to have a printout of the katakana table below (google for better variants). While hiragana is used for native Japanese words (which you will not understand anyway), katakana is used to write foreign words -- mostly English. If you know katakana, you will be surprised how much Japanese you can read -- and understand! -- in the street, in a supermarket, on the buttons of a device, on a webpage, etc. This will be very helpful in many practical situations, not speaking of that it is fun to recognize familiar words written in katakana. Here is the complete table:
It is important to learn some rules of using katakana:
usually the reading order is left-to-right, but when written vertically (which is the traditional way), the order is top to down and the columns are arranged right to left;
a line indicates a long vowel (ソニー reads SO-NII for Sony); the line is vertical if the word is written vertically. This often coincides with English stress (クリーニング is KU-RII-NI-N-GU for cleaning);
U is often (almost) not pronounced (e.g., Kudanshita is pronounced more like [Kdanshta]);
a `` sign makes a consonant voiced (チーズ is TII-ZU for cheese) or converts H to B (ボード is BOO-DO for board); small o converts H to P (ポート is POO-TO for port, パーク is PAA-KU for park);
R more often than not stands for L (ホテル is HO-TE-RU for hotel);
a small vowel indicates a diphthong or substitution of the preceding i or u for this vowel (ヴィラフォンテーヌ is Vi-RA Fo-N-TAA-NU for Villa Fontaine -- recall that R stands for L, line for stress, and U is not pronounced. Can you read it in the map below where your hotel is? what else can you read in that map?);
a small "tsu" ッ indicates that the next consonant is geminated (doubled) (ブレッド is BU-RE-DDO for bread, クリニック is KU-RI-NI-KKU for clinic).
Now you see how much of Japanese you can read and understand! When you learn katakana, you will believe that most of Japanese is just English written differently. Or for that matter pronounced differently, because when you get used to katakana, you will actually recognize in the Japanese speech many English words pronounced "in katakana." You will learn to pronounce your English so that Japanese would understand you (try saying post as ポスト PO-SU-TO).
Can you read two types of cheese on the photo below? (I'll put more examples on this page.)
The cars drive on the left. If in your country it's not so, then when crossing a street, look in both directions: it's too difficult to remember which direction is the right one.
Electricity: 100 volts, American type plug. Appliances that work in the US with 110 volts would most probably work in Japan.
Currency: very approximately, 100 yen is one euro.
NEW In case of emergency, call the following numbers and/or ask people for help:
|Police||Dial ‘110’ from any telephone
English help line: Monday to Friday except holidays, 8:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m.: 03-3501-0110.
|Tokyo Police Agency||
|Fire/Ambulance||Dial ‘119’ from any telephone|
|Tokyo English Life Line||03-5774-0992 (Daily 9 a.m.-11 p.m.)|
|Tourist Information Center||03-3201-3331 (Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Also available in two locations at Narita International Airport.
|Multi-lingual medical information
|Tourist Information Center (TIC):
English, French, Spanish
|Emergency phone numbers||http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/arrange/essential/emergency/list/emer_number.html|
|Mode detailed emergency info||http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/arrange/essential/emergency/index.html|
|Combined Practical Travel Guides
for Independent Travelers