I just returned from my business trip to Tokyo. I thought some of you might be interested in a few words about caching in Tokyo. I apologize for the offtopic post...but since I mentioned the trip here earlier I thought I'd let y'all know how things turned out.
Unfortunately I didn't manage to hook up with anyone who had TBs heading to Japan before I left, so I went bug-less. Maybe next time!
I stayed in central Tokyo in an area called Akasaka. There were so many US chains! I expected Starbucks to be common, but I wasn't expecting to find an AM/PM market AND a 7-11 on every block!
There aren't a whole lot of caches in Tokyo, and many of them are virtuals. So there aren't hundreds to choose from - maybe a couple of dozen.
Because of letlag, both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings I woke up very early (for me), around 5-6am. So both days I went caching in the morning, then returned to my hotel, showered and changed, and was off to business meetings by 9am.
For these early morning excursions I took the subway. The Tokyo subway is really quite easy to use, even if you only speak English. You can get a subway map in English at the Tourist Information Center at the airport, and almost all signage in the subways is in both English and Japanese. A one-way ride in the central area costs less than $1.50 (160 yen).
I found "Four Valleys" and "Magneto" this way. Both of these caches are within 0.3 miles of a subway station. Four Valleys was a traditional micro (35mm filmcan), but in a surprisingly green and non-urban setting - by a popular walking / jogging trail that separated a housing neighborhood from a greenbelt / river. At least at this time of year, the sound of cicadas is almost deafening in such a place. I liked the greenness of this place after central Tokyo.
"Magneto" is an equally nice experience. I took the subway for quite a distance out of the central city to an interesting neighborhood. The subway station is in a rather downtown/urban setting, but walking away from the station just a few blocks the area turned quickly into apartment buildings and local neighborhood stores and shops - a nice change from central Tokyo. The cache is on the banks of another very small river - but this one is a rather concrete affair (the river flows through a concrete channel with vertical sides - no trees). Nonetheless, things were very tastefully decorated, with a really nice walking path. The cache was huge for such an area - say 6 x 4 x 2 inches - and was really quite fun.
I was lucky enough to spend an entire vacation day sightseeing. There were a few things I wanted to see, but I let caches set much of the agenda. I visited a very nice cache called ODAIBA. Odaiba is a large (mostly artificial?) island in the harbor. It has great views of a nice suspension bridge and of Tokyo proper. Think Treasure Island in the SF Bay. The island is a new development, with many fancy office buildings - but it also has many attractions - the maritime museum, a small-scale copy of the Statue of Liberty (!!), and others. I spent several hours walking along the nicely manicured waterfront. The ODAIBA cache was a lot of fun, and was a great excuse to come visit this part of Tokyo.
Finally I tried to find "A strange building near Asakusa", which certainly is. It has what appears to be a big mound of golden dog poop about 2 stories tall on top. (It's supposed to be fire - riight.) The cache was a filmcan near a building, and there were so many muggles I felt very exposed - so I only searched for a few minutes before giving up. (I didn't want to have to explain myself to the nearby team of construction workers - with no language in common.)
Asakusa is home of a number of major "mainstream" tourist stops which I was planning to go see anyway, and the building is in a nice part (again, by a river) that I wasn't planning to come to, so I consider all 4 caches to have been time VERY well spent.
So anyway, that was my first experience in Asia, and my first experience in international geocaching. It was a great time!