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Visiting Japan

omago
Posts: 2
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9/1/2018 11:11:13 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I want to first give out a big thanks to all the posters on the TA forum who took the time to read and respond to the questions I had before and during my travels, Especially posters such as Shibuyakko, Sammyfloyd, Hiromi, Dave148, Kanwal, Mabei and sorry if I forgot to mention anyone. Tip my hat to you guys, As you all do an awesome job offering fantastic suggestions and advice! Definitely owe you guys all a round!

Anyways, My trip to Japan was awesome! Everyone was super friendly and it was so easy to get around whether locally or across the country via the Shinkansen's. The food was fantastic, Definitely ate at a lot of great places which I'll be reviewing on TA. I was in Japan for 3 weeks, And did cover a lot, Though I only felt like I scratched the surface. So definitely will want to be making a returning visit sometime in the near future. Maybe cherry blossom season or baseball season :)

A couple of things I observed from my trip:

- the JR pass is fantastic! If you're planning on travelling a lot within Japan, Its definitely worth it. Could use it on local trains in the cities as well. Ordinary cars are more than fine as I was shocked at the amount of leg room provided in the seats! Reserve your seats in advance for long trips since sometimes the non-reserved cars could be full. Plan some day trips as well since its all covered when using JR trains.

- You never have to take a taxi in Japan if you don't want to. I only took one once because it was pouring rain in Tokyo one night; otherwise the public transit systems in Tokyo and other major cities are fantastic! Buses, Trams, Limobus services etc. Don't get intimidated by the extensive subway networks or trains, As you catch on how to use them quickly. As well, Could always ask for help easily. And they have directions/signs in English as well at train/metro stations.

- Rent a pocket wifi. I found it extremely difficult to connect to wifi (even in Tokyo) during my first two days when I didn't have a pocket wifi. Even sometimes the wifi at Starbucks (which you have to signup from a computer) or at other public places never were the most reliable. You can get your pocket wifi delivered to your hotel or pick it up when you land at the airport. And its easy to return, They give you a mailing package to send it back. Worked out to be around $6-7 per day depending on how long you rent one for, Though definitely worth it. Helped me get around, Use google maps and find good restaurants.

- use the luggage transfer service strategically. You don't have to use it everytime you travel from one place to another, Though its good lets say if you plan on doing a day trip on your way to your next destination. I used it three times in Japan, Once from Tokyo to Kyoto, Since I stopped off at Hakone, Kyoto to Hiroshima since I spent a night at Mount Koya, And from Takayama to Kanazawa since I stopped at Shirakawa-go. Its extremely reliable, And your hotel helps you out with everything. There are also lockers at almost every bus/train station, So even if you're just carrying a backpack, Its so easy to travel around.

- its great to mix modern and traditional Japan on your trip. While most people visit Tokyo and other major cities, Its great to visit other smaller towns that are more traditional Japan as well. Kyoto falls under that category, Though its obviously a major city and always filled with tourists. Though also try out a place like Koyasan or Takayama and I'm sure there are other places similar to them as well. I definitely recommend staying in a ryokan for 2 or 3 nights during a trip to Japan.

- Don't pack too much though also don't pack too light. While places like Tokyo and Osaka are huge cities for fashion, If you're tall like me 6'3" it might be tough finding clothing sizes and especially shoe sizes.

- Japan is a cash economy. I got away with only using 100, 000 yen for three weeks, So I never had to use a ATM. Though I mostly used my credit card when I was able to (e. G. Hotels, Department stores, High end restaurant, Attractions etc). Though smaller towns and establishments only accept cash, So make sure you're always carrying enough. There are 7 Eleven's almost everywhere, So it shouldn't be a problem getting cash whenever you need it, Though make sure you a short 4-6 digit pin from what I've heard.

- don't worry about the language barrier. While I found most people didn't speak much English in Japan, I was still able to get around, Ask for help and order at restaurants/bars etc. Most workers at hotels or train stations do speak some English since they deal with foreigners all the time.

- as for my favourite places, Tough to nail it down to one place specifically. I really enjoyed the big city of Tokyo. I love places like NYC, Sydney, And I live in Toronto, So I'm a fan of big cities. Tokyo was a great city - so easy to get around, Great restaurants and nightlife. As well, I enjoyed the quieter and smaller town of Koyasan which was nice and relaxing. Lastly, I thought Miyajima was one of the most beautiful places I visited in Japan. Definitely next time will want to spend a night on the island. As well, Hiroshima was one of my favourite cities - great food and nightlife and I found everyone to be super friendly.

Anyways, I'll be posting reviews of the hotels, Restaurants and attractions I visited when in Japan. If anyone has any questions on some of the attractions I visited, Or hotels I stayed at, Just send me a PM.

Thanks again for all the help! Japan was amazing and I'll definitely be going back. I've been back in Toronto for about 4 days now, And I miss Japan already! For new TA members reading this and thinking about travelling to Japan, Do it! You won't regret it and it will be one of the best trips you ever have!
joselcollin
Posts: 28
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9/1/2018 1:23:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
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