Japan is one of the most fascinating countries you can visit. It is a really neat place to explore and there are so many different activities to do there. You can immerse yourself in Japan’s rich history by visiting various temples, castles, and old towns, or enjoy the natural scenery the country has to offer, or even stay in the hyper-modern Tokyo and get a glimpse of a super-efficient city. All the while enjoying the delicious foods Japan has to offer. From a steaming hot bowl of ramen to a fresh plate of sushi and sashimi, a trip to Japan is a feast for your senses.
I have been to Japan two times so far and I still feel as if I have only scratched the surface of what the country has to offer.
But, I do have to say that a trip to Japan should be more prepared compared to many other countries, because Japan is not cheap (for most people, including me). Accommodation and transportation expenses will cover a lot of your budget and therefore I think it is necessary to prepare well in advance. There are many different websites where you can find budget lodgings. I also highly recommend staying in hostels to save costs. From my experience, hostels in Japan were very well maintained and comfortable and could easily be compared to hotels in other countries. This could save you some money that you can spend on other activities.
If you are planning to travel to various other cities, you could also look into buying a JR Pass, which allows you unlimited travel within a certain time on certain railroad tracks. The only downside is that this pass has to be bought before coming to Japan.
In the following posts I have written about my experiences during my last trip there. Most time was spent in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara. There are still some posts coming up, but those will take some time to prepare. In the meantime, enjoy the ones available for now.
Our last day in Japan consisted of us just taking it very easy and relaxed. We decided to go back to Nara Park one more time and feed some deer. While we were there we went to our last temple of the trip, the shrine that features over a thousand lanterns. Its name is Kasuga Taisha and this shinto shrine is located at the far end of Nara Park. It is easily and comfortably reached walking through the park and once you are there you are greeted by many stone lanterns that line the pathways up the hill. more »
One of the most exciting activities you can do while traveling in foreign countries is to visit a local market. It not only provides all more »
We decided to go to an hot water spring bath, an onsen, called Sumiya, which I found online. This onsen is also a Japanese ryokan, more »
I fell in love with Kyoto and the Gion district. This ancient city is so beautiful and amazingly rich with history, culture, and atmosphere. When more »
Japanese bullet trains are called Shinkansen and they are among the fastest trains in the world, reaching speeds of over 300 km per hour. These more »
During one of our days in Tokyo, the last few hours of the afternoon were spent in the gardens and parks surrounding the Tokyo Imperial Palace, which was a ten minute walk from the Tokyo train station. High walls and deep moats surrounded this important building that is located in the center of the city. more »
Before I went to Japan, one of the places I was most looking forward to was the area in Tokyo known as Akiba or Akihabara. This place is known for its tech and anime, video-games, and manga culture. Unfortunately, Akihabara turned out to be one of the less interesting places we visited during our trip. more »
This gorgeous sunny day turned out to become a park-hopping day with Ueno Park first on our agenda. This huge public park is located right next to the Ueno Station. Ueno Park in Tokyo is well-known for accommodating several important museums, such as the National Museum for Western Art, the National Science Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the Tokyo National Museum. And besides the museums, the Ueno Zoo can also be found there. more »
After we were finished looking around Mitaka and exploring the Ghibli Museum, it was time to head back to Tokyo. We hopped on a bus and then a train and found our way back to Shinjuku. From there, we transited to Harajuku station. From that station, it was only a minute or two walking to the large Meiji Shrine garden complex. more »
After a good hot cup of coffee to wake up, and receiving directions to Mitaka from the staff at Khaosan Tokyo Kabuki, we set out to go to the Ghibli Museum. Now, the Ghibli Museum is unlike many other museums. Tickets for this museum must be bought in advance. This is very important: you cannot buy tickets at the museum entrance, you have to buy them in a Lawson convenience store in Japan. I just repeated that, because I did see people there trying to buy tickets from the museum staff. Luckily, these days it is also possible to buy the tickets online in advance in select countries. However, in our case, I happened to have a friend who had traveled to Japan a few weeks earlier and bought the tickets for me. This was such a nice thing to do and we are super thankful! more »
Pretty much all of the interesting sightseeing spots in Asakusa are reachable by walking. Due to the close proximity of all the cool bits, this really was the perfect area for that. And of all the sites, the Sensoji Temple and its surrounding areas are some of the most fascinating to explore. Sensoji Temple is one of the oldest, biggest, and most popular temples in Tokyo. It was built centuries ago and it was damaged during the Second World War, but most of the buildings have been reconstructed afterwards. more »
We arrived at our hostel, Khaosan Tokyo Kabuki, quite early and since we could only check-in at two o’clock in the afternoon, we decided to explore Asakusa. First, we made our way to Sumida Park. This park stretches out for a few hundred meters on both sides of the Sumida River. We only walked along one side of the river, but it was interesting enough. The weather was absolutely beautiful, clear blue skies with not a puff of a cloud visible, and we were also still lucky enough to catch some of the last remaining cherry blossoms! What good fortune! At last we finally get to see some of them and they were spectacular. They looked quite bright pink and lovely and smelled so sweet that we picked up their scent from meters away. more »
We stayed in a hostel that was located near the old Kaminarimon gate in Asakusa. The hostel is situated very close to the hustle and bustle of the neighbourhood, yet just far enough to avoid the busy tourist crowds that fill up the famous Nakamise shopping street with its countless souvenir shops selling everything from pastries, candies, sweets, and collectables. more »
Following our night crashing at the airport we woke up early and were ready to start the day before sunrise in the morning. After enjoying a cup of coffee we bought the tickets for our Nozomi Shinkansen train ride that would happen later on that week and we hopped on a train to our hostel in Asakusa, an old part of Tokyo that is easily reached from Haneda Airport as there is a direct train line going there. You don’t even need to transit. So, all in all, very convenient and easy. more »
This is the first part in a series of travel posts about Japan. I will definitely try to give as many tips and information as possible for future travellers and I will add plenty of photos to complement the text and make it more interesting. Please feel free to let me know any areas in which I can improve my writing and posts! more »