Top Tip One - Make Up an Itinerary
Make a note of all of the locations you would like to visit before you travel to Japan. It is a diverse country and can offer you anything from fantastic beach resorts to snow-capped mountain experiences. For instance, if you are interested in Samurai culture, you may want to travel around the towns and cities associated with the Samurai. If you are interested in more recent culture and history taking in the sites of Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and of Tokyo should be on top of your list of places to visit in Japan.
Once you have your list of what you would like to see and do in Japan start to plan your travel schedule. The country has one of the best public transport systems in the world, and it is more than likely you can reach all of the locations you would like to visit, using the public transport system.
Top Tip Two - Travel Out of Season
Traveling in Japan is more expensive from April to the end of August. In April visitors flock to the country to see the Cherry trees in bloom. If you are not particularly interested in one of the many Cherry blossom festivals, it is best to avoid this time of the year.
During the summer much of the Japanese population travel in their own country and accommodation can be more expensive than other times of the year. The Japanese children are on their school summer break and families rush to take their vacations. August is another time of the year to consider avoiding. This is when many firework festivals take place, and popular tourist hot spots become very expensive.
Traveling out of season is a much better idea. The months of September and October are pleasant, and top locations such as Kobe are much less crowded.
Top Tip Three - Buy Your Train Ticket Before You Go
One of the best ways to travel around Japan is by train. You have probably heard of the famous Shinkansen which is better known as the bullet train. It is a great way to cover distances in Japan, and the service is very reliable. The good news is that you can buy a Japanese railway pass before you even the leave the comfort of your home.
A Japanese railway pass is surprisingly inexpensive and will cost around $250. The pass is valid for from to 21 days and is activated in any JR Railway office. It can be sent to your home or you can pick up at your hotel in Japan. The pass entitles you to reserved seating on any bullet train line. You need to make the reservation at least a day in advance, but if you are not able to, don’t worry too much. All bullet trains have unreserved seating in the first three carriages or the last free carriages.
There also other train passes which you can use for traveling around Japan. The island of Hokkaido has its own railway pass which is valid for up to 7 days. It can be used on certain bus lines on the island as well. Trains are popular in Japan and apart from the bullet train, there are other express train services.
Top Tip Four - Try Home Stays in Japan
Airbnb offers surprisingly in many Japanese towns and cities, but if you are going to travel around a lot, you may want to consider other forms of accommodation. Staying private homes in Japan have become very popular in recent years. The day of staying in a capsule hotel may sound exciting, but you just can’t beat homestays in Japan. Not only is it cheap to stay with a Japanese family, but it is all about the experience. It can cost from as little as $25 per night.
Top Tip Five - Take the Bus
Although Japanese towns and cities are easy to walk around thanks to excellent street maps and mobile technology, you may want to take the strain off your feet. You can arrange for both local and national bus passes. Just like with the Japanese railway pass you need to hold a foreign passport, but most visitors to Japan do that.
The bus system is as efficient as the railway system and equally as busy. Apart from local buses, it is a good idea to reserve your seat. Japan has an amazing system of night buses, and you simply sleep on the bus in your comfortable seat. In the morning, you will arrive at your destination and be ready to go. A good tip if you want to cut down on accommodation costs.
The cost is about $130 for 7 days and the national service is provided by Willer Express.
Top Tip Six - Eating Out In Japan
If you are prepared to go Japanese, eating out does not have to be expensive. Donburi restaurants are cheap, and you can get a meal for about $12. But don’t overlook local supermarkets. Fresh food is loved by the Japanese, and in the early evening, you can pick up food at a discount of at least 30 percent. Street stall and food markets also offer good value for money.
Top Tip Seven - Get Yourself a Goshuincho
If this is your first visit to Japan you will probably not have heard of a goshuincho. It is a Japanese stamp book and as you travel around the country you will see many Japanese carry them. When you visit somewhere an attraction in Japan, you will find they have a stamp which you out in your book to prove that you were there. It makes a great talking point when you come home from your trip.
Top Tip Eight - Laundry Services
Coin laundry services are popular in Japan and used by almost everybody. It is the cheapest way to do the laundry. Just make sure you have plenty of 100 Yen coins. Finding one is easy as most of them are on Google maps.
Top Tip Nine - Internet Access
Most hotels, restaurants, and cafes have internet access in Japan. But another cheap way is to buy a prepaid and cheap data sim card. The cheapest service provider is MVNO which available from local phone stores and many other places. You need to have an unlocked phone to use the service.
Top Tip Ten - Tourist Attractions
When it comes to visiting attractions, there is a range of passes available. You can choose from day passes and weekly passes as well. This is why it is important to plan your visit to Japan. Make sure you know where you would like to travel to, and Japan can be a surprisingly cheap place to visit.
Once. you have been to Japan, you may have been bitten by the Japanese travel bug, and want to come back time and time again. It is a country with much time to offer, and no matter what time of year you travel, you will always find something to do. Imagine yourself sitting in a hot spring surrounded by snow. Wouldn’t that be something special...