Hi everyone, I've been wanting to go to japan forever and I think this summer might finally be the summer I get to do just that. Tynan and others have talked about Japan, their trips and ideas there, and what to do. So I really want to go, but don't know what to do. So here are some of my broad plans/ideas.
1. I want to be in Japan for 30-60 days.
2. I want to have a good balance of rural, nature and city life. In other words, I want to see urban areas like Tokyo and Osaka, Nature areas like tottori dunes and mt fuji and rural towns/ smaller towns like tokoyama.
So my question is which train passes should i use to travel around japan, for tokyo etc, which airport i shoudl fly into, how fast i shoudl go around, there i should look to stay etc
August is a good though crowded and humid time to be there; theres tons of festivals all over the place worth seeing. If you want to blaze through the country and see as much as possible the JR rail pass would probably be useful and a whole lot cheaper. For airport, Fukuoka was and may still be cheaper to fly into than the other major ones. Most of the time there isnt a big difference in price, depends more on which part you want to see and how much you plan on moving around. Generally the faster you travel, the more expensive it becomes. Since this seems to be your first trip, try staying in all kinds of places. Ryokan have onsen and good food, capsule hotels are...unique, manga/internet cafes , maybe couchsurf a bit? What is it that specifically interests you about Japan? Because unique urban and natural places are...all over the place.
If you want I can help show you Tokyo and give you advise on places to check out in Kansai etc. I've lived here for many, many years.
Hey Donny, please share with us about your experience there in Japan? I visited there for a few months, and it was much safer than the major cities in the US. People there were nice even though I didn't know the Japanese language. Places I visited were mostly temples, peaceful and natural settings, places to eat - so many, MT Fuji. From what I gather of other posts, a few people write about island claustrophobia, and the charm of the natives eventually wears off after living there so many years. How do you like living there, did you get homesick? I also noticed the Japanese people are becoming more and more sportsfans. I am not a sportsfan, so is this easily avoidable? Japan has beautiful nature, and there are too many to choose from.
When offering advice, I try really hard to actually give advice that's suited for the person I'm giving it to. I make an extra effort to do this, because I know that I have a tendency to think that my way is the best way for everyone, and to just advocate my way of doing things. But that effort to tailor advice goes out the window when I'm giving suggestions on where to travel to. My answer is almost always Japan.
I was thinking about this a couple days ago, as I found myself recommending Japan for the billionth time, and I realized that there are some interesting properties of Japan that make it a really ideal place to travel to, especially for people who want something more than a typical vacation, but don't know where to go.
1. It's Extraordinarily Interesting
Of all the places I've been, Japan is one of the most interesting. What makes Japan so interesting is that it's very different from anywhere else, mostly because it's so resistant to direct outside influence. If some external trend or business makes it to Japan, it doesn't arrive unscathed; it's first transformed into a thoroughly Japanese experience.
August 11th, 2011. Chiba, Japan.
A mix of confusion and awe as I step off the platform.
I must have made a mistake. But maybe a good mistake.
Birds caw and cicadas click gently, filling the warm afternoon air with sounds of nature. The train platform is open to the air and on the other side of the tracks is a high fence. Beyond it, a bicycle and walking path leading to a park.
Children are running around and playing in the park, but surprisingly quietly. Very Japanese.