Asia Destinations Japan Travel

Japan: the Final Journey Information

So that you’re going to Japan. Cool… take us with you?

At STA Journey, our motto is ‘we all know as a result of we go’. Or in my case, we lived there. I’m Jo, and I lived in Japan for simply over one yr working as an English trainer in a small, mountaintop center faculty in Hyogo prefecture. My college students and fellow academics not solely taught me easy methods to survive, but in addition the place the most effective little-known journey spots have been hidden. Now it’s my pleasure to cross on the knowledge so that you could be the savviest gaikokujin (foreigner) strolling out of the airport.

Apart from unwaveringly wonderful meals, epic historical past, and colourful traditions, the entire nation is virtually one large UNESCO World Heritage Website. As a lot as we’d love to indicate you the ropes ourselves, this final journey information will in all probability say it higher than we will—it’s arduous to speak whereas shoveling tempura into our faces.

Japan’s highlights

We’d normally offer you 5 right here, however we’ve cut up it out into 25. That’s 5 for every of the 5 main vacationer spots you may’t miss.

Tokyo prime 5

From forest-enclosed shrines to blaring neon streets, Tokyo has the whole lot. EVERYTHING. Like…

Akihabara – If you happen to’re a complete otaku (nerd), the Akihabara district is the largest anime hub on the earth and sells every bit of merch you may dream of. Put together to be transformed right into a full-on foodie as eating places and cafes are elaborately themed into no matter you may, or can’t, think about.
The Mori Artwork Gallery – Nonetheless not funky sufficient? The Mori Artwork Gallery has huge, interactive reveals and, with a ticket, you get to squeak into one of many metropolis’s finest viewpoints and rating a selfie with the highest of Tokyo tower.
Harajuku – The epicentre of youth tradition, Takeshita avenue is an explosion of colourful wigs, J-pop merch and syrupy crepes. Stroll 15 minutes into the woods throughout the road and discover the Meiji Jingu Shrine. If the Harajuku Lady look isn’t fairly you, buy groceries on close by Cat Road for smooth, luxurious manufacturers and killer classic finds.
Shibuya – After becoming a member of hundreds in crossing the world’s most well-known (and busiest) intersection, watch the chaos from above within the Starbucks above Tsutaya or head to one of many hundreds of close by bars or izakayas (snack bars) for an evening out. If you happen to love canines, don’t overlook cross the Hachiko Memorial Statue and provides that pupper a great pat.
Ueno Park – As a traveler, the museums in Ueno Park have the best artifacts and artwork works to help in your understanding of the historical past of Japan. If you happen to’re extra into the popular culture aspect of issues, this landmark is closely featured in books and flicks as a spot the place love and heartbreak occurs. Come spring, the rows of cherry blossom timber are good for the ‘gram.

Additionally don’t miss: Senso-ji temple, wandering down the infinite yokochos (slim alleys) across the metropolis and Tsukiji Fish Market, for all of the noms.

Mount Fuji prime 5

Don your goggles and facemask, and enterprise up Japan’s iconic summit… or simply chill on the backside of it, gazing in awe.

Climbing up – It’s finest to kick off your pilgrimage within the early afternoon, bundle up in a hut in a single day, and see why Japan known as The Land of the Rising Solar the subsequent morning. Positive, Fuji sounds daunting, however getting up is the straightforward half—getting down after your journey and an intoxicating dawn is the place the problem lies.
Lake Kawaguchi – If the two-day journey doesn’t fairly peak your curiosity, view it from one in all 5 lakes surrounding the mountain. Lake Kawaguchi is probably the most accessible and widespread, flaunting onsens, inns, and the temple-framed views of Fuji pictured above.
Lake Motosuko – When you’ve got an urge for food for one thing just a little extra distant although, Lake Motosuko’s vistas are away from buildings save a few stand-up paddle board rental outlets and campsites. Assuming you’re driving from east to west, the drive previous the 4 different lakes is a further deal with as effectively, and a robust contender for our favorite of the 5 lakes.
Water sports activities and rollercoasters – If you happen to like lining up for ages to see nice heights, hop on to one of many rollercoasters at Fuji-Q. This widespread theme park is residence to the Takabisha, which has the steepest drop on the earth at 121°. It’s identical to climbing Fuji once more, however a lot, a lot quicker on the journey down.
Exploring caves – If rock compositions excite you want this geography nerd, you’re in for an training about volcanic magma, limestone caves, and the way three of the Fuji 5 lakes are literally linked by underwater tunnels. Give Bat Cave, Ice Caves and Wind Cave a go.

Kyoto prime 5

Practically each Instagram you’ve seen of Japan was in all probability taken right here. Does bamboo forests and rows of vivid orange torii gates ring a bell?

Gion – Think about Kyoto the cultural capital, sprawling with kimono-clad guests scuttling previous within the historic alleys of Gion. Your solely indication that you simply weren’t transported to the Edo interval would be the dozens of different camera-wielding vacationers, all hoping for a glimpse of a  real-life geisha.
Fushimi Inari Shrine – You may pose together with your again to the digicam as you stroll by the a whole bunch of torii gates close to the underside of the mountain, however an entire pilgrimage means slowly winding all the best way up the mountain to the ultimate shrine and a large vista over the entire metropolis. You may even see Osaka from up there on a transparent day.
Arashiyama – This nook of Kyoto is residence to the well-known bamboo grove, a monkey park, and fairly unimaginable gardens. One of the best teahouses are discovered on the temples right here, although you’ll want to ask for a chair if sitting in your knees is a problem.
Golden Temple – There are actually a whole bunch upon a whole bunch of temples. If you happen to cease to go to each single one you cross, you significantly gained’t get very far! Even when it means tying horse blinders to your face, that you must make it to Kinkaku-ji, aka the Golden Temple, on the northern finish of Kyoto. It’s the birthplace of a lot artwork and cultural historical past, and it sparkles brilliantly within the solar.
Ryoan-ji’s rock backyard – The Ryoan-ji temple neighbors the Golden Temple, however is way more area of interest. The dry panorama backyard right here is assumed to been constructed within the late 15th century and nobody is aware of its authentic creator. Fifteen rocks sit able that makes it inconceivable to view all of them from any perspective. Ponder the implied existential that means of your existence as you sit quietly on the viewing platform.


Osaka prime 5


There’s no higher drugs for getting just a little templed out in Kyoto than diving head-first into the neon sprawl of Osaka.

America Mura – This village is a divine mixture of stylish and weird. A rooftop Statue of Liberty will watch over you as you wander from smooth cocktail bars to funky eating places. Probably the most healthful delight is listening to folks sing their hearts out to karaoke at 7am as you stroll again to your lodge after an extended evening out.
Dotonburi – Talking of an evening out, one is incomplete with out posing with the Glico man in Dōtonburi—simply don’t get too excited and fall into the river. Be at liberty to pose with the large dragon, crab, and fish robots that sit above store doorways. To burn off some further vitality, take a look at Round1/Spocha within the Namba space. This 24-hour sports activities centre has a whole bunch of arcade and sports activities video games together with a mechanical bull, a curler rink, and people inflatable bubble issues you may play human soccer in.
Spa World – Foreigners who reside Japan share whispers amongst themselves of this fantasy waterpark for adults. It’s a lodge with its most engaging options being a number of onsens, waterslides, stone spa and eating places. You don’t have to remain in a single day to take pleasure in Spa World’s enjoyable waters. Did we point out it’s open 24-hours?
Baseball Recreation – Right here, the locals are recognized for being a bit extra boisterous than their Tokyo counterparts. The easiest way to witness that is at a Hanshin Tigers baseball recreation. The group is doing higher as of late, however there was as soon as believed to be a curse on the group as a consequence of a misplaced statue of the KFC mascot, Colonel Sanders, that was throw right into a river. It’s fairly hilarious and also you gained’t remorse trying it up.
Keep in a Love Lodge — Japanese folks normally reside with their household till marriage. So love inns make large enterprise on who’re nonetheless within the courting stage of issues. Though they cost by the hour, they’re nonetheless usually cheaper than an unusual lodge. They’re SUPER clear, offer you free condoms, have karaoke and video video games, and are a normal excellent spot to catch a day nap when it’s an extended stroll again to your hostel.


hiroshima_ Japan

It is a place of peace and mournful tranquility. It’s effectively price paying your respects and educating your self about Japan’s devastating conflict historical past.

Peace Memorial Park – This curved monument is engraved with all of the names of the recognized victims of the 1945 atomic bomb. Burning within the pond is the Flame of Peace, which can solely be extinguished as soon as all the nuclear weapons on earth have been destroyed.
Atomic Bomb Dome – This constructing was the Industrial Promotion Corridor till the bomb exploded straight above it. It was one in all only a few buildings left standing within the epicentre, and serves as a reminder of the injury that was brought on.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum – Find out about Hiroshima’s ongoing legacy for peace on this expansive museum. Inside options objects discovered within the aftermath of the bomb, first-person accounts proven on video and a spread of pictures. It’s upsetting, however an absolute must-see in Hiroshima. All websites are translated into English and different languages for max accessibility.
Shukkei-en – This backyard was created in 1620, and the buildings have been largely destroyed when the bomb fell. Nonetheless, many timber survived and bloomed the subsequent season. The remainder of the backyard has lengthy since been restored and is calming to walk by.
Orizuru Tower – That is boasted as the most effective viewpoint in Hiroshima. It oversees the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome in addition to the remainder of town and the mountains past. It’s a terrific place to take a break and ponder the whole lot you’ve discovered about Hiroshima.

Getting round Japan

The JR cross is maybe the second most essential factor you’ll wish to convey when going to Japan (your passport clearly being the primary). There are some exceptions relating to limitless rail journey, however except you’re headed to very area of interest areas of Japan, you must be capable of get to each journey in your checklist. You may select to reside life on the tracks with one-, two-, or three-week cross choices at costs that may drive locals to jealousy:

7 days — ¥29,110/ $279
14 days — ¥46,390/ $444
21 days — ¥59,350/ $568


Fikri Rasyid, Unsplash

You’ll want to purchase your cross on-line BEFORE arriving in Japan. If you buy your cross on-line, you might to rearrange your change order to be delivered to both your own home or your lodge in Japan. An change order will not be your JR cross although! You need to then go to any JR Change Workplace in Japan together with your change order to lastly possess your coveted cross.

Guard you JR cross together with your life — it’s irreplaceable, so that you’re out of luck for those who lose it. To rearrange your precise prepare journeys, go to the JR places of work at every main station as you go alongside your journey. It is best to usually be advantageous to easily present as much as the station on the day you wish to journey, however you must in all probability e book a minimum of just a few days forward for those who’re touring throughout hanami (cherry blossom season) or Golden Week. Severely, Japanese folks e book their journey about six months upfront for these occasions.

An IC card (also called the Suica card inside Tokyo) goes to be your finest good friend when gallivanting throughout the cities. You merely faucet on and off the metro and busses such as you would an Oyster card in London. Every area has its personal cute IC card identify and mascot. Are you able to catch all of them?

Transfer over CityMapper, and good day HyperDia. This goddess of an app is available in English and has the most recent prepare occasions, costs, connections, and platform numbers of every journey. You’ll by no means be late or get misplaced for those who pledge your timeless love for HyperDia. Severely although, Google Maps is drunk in Japan. Don’t belief it.

Lodging in Japan and easy methods to e book


Motels and hostels could be perused and booked on-line as you’d in every other nation – begin looking now. Whether or not you’re up for flopping on a futon or crave the comforts of residence with a western-style mattress, you’ll discover an enormous number of rooms that can match your fashion and price range. Akin to…

Capsule inns – These environment friendly little pods are made so that you can rock up and flop inside, and are a basic ‘Japan’ expertise for lots of vacationers. Typically probably the most price range pleasant, they provide shared showering amenities and particular person telephone chargers, radios and mini TVs in every capsule. Each place you’ll keep is sort of assured to be extraordinarily clear, even when it’s not rated 10/10.

Ryokan are conventional Japanese inns which are normally run by households. Lounge in a yukata gown and, soak every night in a conventional onsen (scorching tub), and you’ll want to go for a conventional night meal or breakfast cooked by the ryokan’s chef. After your knees are sore from kneeling on the tatami ground, slip below the nice and cozy sheets of a futon. These indie spots was difficult to seek out for those who didn’t converse Japanese, however concern not! We’ve bought you coated with our reserving web page proper right here.

Love inns, mostly discovered within the Roppongi and Shinjuku areas of Tokyo, are… effectively, precisely what they are saying on the tin, so that you may wish to method with care. Japanese will pay by the hour to make use of their amenities, making for his or her seedy repute. However for those who do your analysis, yow will discover totally clear and amazing-value rooms, full of the whole lot from revolving beds, to karaoke machines and futuristic-themed scorching tubs. F-U-N.

We hate to interrupt it to you, however Airbnb is sadly not your good friend in Japan. On account of new rules being enforced in the previous few years, the variety of Airbnbs listings have dramatically dropped. Some can nonetheless be booked, however your host will possible offer you directions to not inform their neighbors you’re company from the location. It’s okay although—our lips are sealed.

How a lot ought to I price range?

Relying on how a lot yen you have got in your coin purse, your typical evening in Japan will in all probability appear like one in all these.

On a budget: Begin the evening by bagging a collection of ready-to-eat yakitori, croquettes, or sushi from a comfort retailer corresponding to Lawson, FamilyMart or 7-Eleven (¥600/$5.50). Whereas at mentioned retailer, top off on the miracle elixir often called Sturdy Zero (¥160/$1.25!) — cautious although… don’t take that 9% alcohol frivolously. End up the night in a hostel (¥three,000/$26) that appears identical to a European hostel, solely it’s ridiculously tidy.

Like a neighborhood: Pop into the native izakaya (a Japanese pub) and order a pint of Asahi beer (¥300/$2.50) and munch on an insane number of greens and fried meats also called kushi katsu. (¥1,500/ £11). You may go for an unusual lodge, (¥5,000/$46) or you may uncover first-hand that love inns are surprisingly cheaper and way more entertaining (¥three,500/$30).

Luxurious: Indulge on the finer issues in life and incite wild envy in your Instagram followers. Take extra time photographing your multi-course artisanal dinner than truly consuming it (¥four,000/$37), and ask the server what sake pairs finest (¥900/$eight). Prance off to your ryokan to retire, and be sure you decide one with an onsen (¥eight,000/$75).

High 10 Japanese phrases that you must be taught

Do you converse English?: Eigo ga wakarimasu ka?

Sorry, I don’t perceive: Gomenasai! Wakarimasen.

Good morning — Good day: Ohayo Gozaimasu — Konnichi wa.

Excuse me/Sorry: Sumimasen.

The place is the washroom?: Toire wa doko desu ka?

I would really like that one please: Kore wa kudasai.
(You’ll want to level to one thing whenever you say this!)

Is that this/are you okay?: Daijoubu desu ka?

It’s okay (helpful when declining issues/No thanks): Daijoubu desu.

Is there a bin I can use?: Gomi ga arimasu ka?

Thanks!: Arigato gozaimasu.



You’ll by no means have a nasty meal in Japan. Folks right here by no means half-ass something, and it exhibits of their painstakingly perfected meals creations.

In large cities, you’ll be capable of discover an array of worldwide delicacies that has affectionately been reworked with a Japanese twist (for instance, pizza with corn as a topping). Western-style vegetarian and vegan eateries can be discovered if you recognize the place to go. Exterior of massive cities, you’ll discover six Japanese staples reign supreme: Sushi, Japanese Italian, Japanese curry, okonomiyaki, yakitori (grilled hen), and ramen.

You’ll want to additionally take a look at a comfort retailer and suss out the seasonal flavors of KitKats and different sweets. Whereas your mates and fam are just about anticipating you to convey them again a handful of matcha-flavored Package Kats, additionally check out the crème brulee, chocobanana, blueberry cheese cake and… baked potato(??!) flavored ones.

Are you able to style Tokyo in your mouth but?! Take a look at our Japan vacation spot hub, the place yow will discover flights and a great deal of journey excursions.

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