Planning a trip to Japan

Posted on July 18, 2016

My up-and-coming trip to Japan was determined by a Jetstar sale. Tickets were only 199 Australian dollars and my work-holiday visa for Australia was coming to an end. I knew I wanted to get closer to a big Asian hub to be able to find a cheap flight home. You read that right, home! After Japan I will (temporarily) be flying back to Belgium. With a couple of stop-overs in Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi of course. Breaking up a long trip like this is something I really enjoy doing and I get to visit a couple of extra countries. Sure, it took me six months to get to Australia, but I got here in the end didn’t I?

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Now back to the Japan, the land of the rising sun. I can’t say it was right at the top of my travel list, certainly not as high as countries like MyanMar, Philippines, New Zealand or Columbia. Nonetheless it was always on my list and a cheap flight to Japan it is. I have to say I’m pretty excited. As you will be reading this, I will be packing up my life in Australia and almost boarding to Tokyo. A country that will most likely feel more foreign than any other Asian country I have visited so far. There are a lot of rumors circling around this country: “It is super expensive”, “Nobody speaks English”, “It’s weird and wonderful”. Needless to say, this makes me all very excited! Apart from that expensive rumor, that makes me more apprehensive than anything else. I guess there is better way to debunk a myth than by testing it yourself!

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the-most-breathtaking-travel-photos-on-pinterest-1014563.640x0cWhile I normally just rock up at a country and figure it out as I go, I have been told that an adventure like that would cost me serious dough. Therefore, I’m  planning my trip to Japan, something I secretly love, but famously procrastinate on. I will be using the Japan Bus Pass instead of the well-known and super expensive Japan Rail Pass (read more about other travel bloggers making this choice here). In this way I am choosing to see less as I will be traveling slower. However I will save a significant amount of money. Something I don’t mind at all because I prefer experiencing a local culture (the Japanese bullet train is even more expensive for Japanese citizens) over visiting yet another temple. Next to that I will be staying Couchsurfing hosts and I might even venture into the unknown world of hitchhiking.

For now the following places are on the list, I have about a week left to play with so all tips are very welcome!

TOKYO

Figure out this country

Eats loads

Shibuya crossing

Have dinner and drinks in Ebisu

Tsukiji Fishmarket

Daytrips from Tokyo to

Hakone & the traditional Japanese Onsen (2 day)

Kamakura, view Mount Fuji

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KANSAI region: Kyoto, Osaka and Nara

Discover Kyoto and Osaka

Bamboo forest

Visit a Kamadoko restaurant in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Eat more

Visit an old friend in Osaka

Pet deers in Nara

Ine Bay, the Venice of Japan

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HIROSHIMA

Peace Park

Rabbit island

Activities to do in any or every city

Karaoke, obviously

Try vending machine

Shop in a 100 Yen store

Eat something from Lawson

Get some Purikura photos aka the Japanese photo booth

I’m still on the fence on the following activities, some due to the price, others because I haven’t been convinced yet. If you think they are a must, let me know!

Nagano area

Tokyo Disney land

Staying in a temple

Staying in a traditional Ryokan

What I missing in my list?

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All sources for these photos can easily be found through my Pinterest board on Asian countries

  • This is such amazing news!! My sister always wanted to see Tokyo and I might take her there soon, can’t wait to have you experience everything first hand and get all the info I might need 🙂 Japan truly must be wonderful! Don’t forget to eat all the Ramen 🙂 xo

  • Jan Grimmer

    I can definitely recomment the Ryokan. I stayed at Rykoan Kangetsu in Tokyo for 3 days, and it was great – but there are certainly a lot of good ones. And Shibuya is completely crazy.

  • Lotte

    So curious for your stories afterwards! Big <3 for all the "eating and more eating" plans. Have a good flight and enjoy your trip through Japan!

  • Hannah T.

    I really want to go! I always see such beautiful pictures of Japan.

    http://theadventurouslifestylelab.blogspot.be/

    • Marijs

      It’s such a great country, let me know what you think of the posts about Japan after!

  • my plan was basically a lot of eating, shopping and just enjoying the friendliness everywhere, and that did not disappoint! I would suggest preparing for tokyo by meeting up with some locals because that city is majorly overwhelming if you just jump into it. It’s not as expensive as people say, it’s on par with Belgium imo. But you will miss the convenience stores when you leave, so prepare for that!

    • Marijs

      Thanks Annebeth, I’m back in Antwerp now but couldn’t agree more with what you’ve just said!