JUST GO WITH THE FLOW~
Come with an open mind and no expectation at all.
The itinerary is there to serve you. If you want to do it, do it! If not, that’s okay, don’t!
Have fun and make the most of your time in Japan! Don’t be afraid to get lost. Take the opportunity to discover. Be adventurous, be careful and trust yourself!
I hope this Rough Draft will help you and give you some ideas as you plan the trip.
Remember, “things do not have to go as planned. Best thing happens when you least expect it.”
Anyways, happy reading 🙂
– Navigating your way in Japan for the first time can be a bit confusing and challenging. Google Map (the app) was very helpful.
A lot of the signs included English. People were very kind to help with directions. Some actually will walk you to your destination. And if they don’t know, they will kindly direct you to an information desk.
In my opinion, Japanese people are very kind, polite and also considerate. I really admire them.
- JR PASS aka the Japan Rail Pass:
– Transportation pass / A very cost effective rail pass for long distance train travel in Japan. It offers unlimited use of JR trains for one, two or three weeks.
Please check out this link for more information.
– Great purchase if traveling a lot via the Shinkansen (the Japanese Bullet Train), railways, buses, and/or ferry boats.
– I got mine via IACE Travel (the 7-day pass). This site was recommended by my Japanese professor. The agent was very professional, polite, and provided tons of great information.
Please visit their site for more information.
– I really enjoyed the pass as it saved me tons of money traveling from city to city.
- PASMO CARD:
– Transportation card. Similar to the Octopus Card in Hong Kong, or the Oyster Card in London.
– Since the JR PASS does not cover everywhere in Japan. It is nice to have a backup plan for areas that JR PASS will not cover.
Or you can pay per ticket, instead.
- Tokyo Shuttle Bus:
– Most affordable option with a view. Took about an hour and 30 minutes. The ticket booth is inside, right before you exit the airport.
– Prices ranged from 1,500 Yen+ (about $12.82+ USD)
- International Airport Access / Narita Express / N’EX:
– Link: What is it?
– Link: Tickets & Prices
– Took about an hour. Prices ranged from 20,000 Yen to as high as 30,000 Yen (about $180 – 280 USD)
I have family and friends in Japan, therefore, I stayed with them most of the time.
Only in Osaka and Kyoto that I spend the night at a hotel. It was such a last minute decision thing where I didn’t have enough time to do a lot of research on accommodations. However, it was nice to stumble upon these hotels listed below.
I like them and would return if I’m in the area again.
- Hotel Sun White (Osaka, Japan) | ホテルサンホワイト
3-7-6, Tani-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka Castle, Osaka, Japan 540-0012
中央区谷町3丁目7番6号, 大阪城, 大阪, 日本 540-0012
– I gave this hotel 4 out of 5. It was clean, safe, great service, very close and easy walk to the subway, not too loud for the location, and very close to the Osaka Castle (easy walk).
- APA Hotel Kyoto-Eki-Horikawadori | アパホテル 京都駅堀川通
1 Aburanokoji-cho, Shiokoji-nishi, Aburanokoji-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto Station, Kyoto, Japan 600-8236
〒600-8236 京都府京都市下京区油小路通塩小路西油小路町1番地, 京都駅, 京都, 日本 600-8236
– APA Hotel is popular and available in many locations throughout Japan.
– I gave this location 3.5 out of 5. Although the hotel was clean and safe. The service was good, but they didn’t try hard enough to switch us over to a non-smoking floor (even though I originally booked for NonSmoke). Everything was great, but that smoking floor was so strong that it gave us a quick headache.
Honestly, if you have room, try everything! The foods in Japan were so delicious and well taken care of. And sushi, it was so fresh.
Here is a ‘ short list ‘ of the foods I’ve tried, really enjoyed, and thought you might too.
- Ramen bowl – one of the ultimate Japanese foods. Literally, at every corner that I turned, there’s a restaurant. For a chilly night in Tokyo, the ramen bowl was amazing.
- Udon – There are curry udon, pork udon, but the one with soft-shell crab is the best, in my opinion.
- Gyoza – right when it is done- hot and crunchy, and not too watery inside.
- Yakitori – skewered meat on a bamboo stick, seasoned with sauce or salt. (I like the sauce more)
- Japanese ice cream crepe – in Shibuya and other districts. The one I had was with vanilla ice cream, topped with varieties of fruit. Prices ranged from 350 Yen – 400 Yen.
- Green Tea – anything green tea, bring some home if you can, and you can thank me later.
- Kobe beef – this was ?? for me. It was good, but I didn’t remember loving it. Maybe it was because of the restaurant we tried. Therefore,
this other restaurant below was recommended by a friend (which was right on time when it was too late for me to try). So please go and try it for me, and let me know what you think 🙂
La Shomon ( Kobe, Japan )
Address: 垂水区神田町4-10 2F, Kobe-shi, Hyogo, Japan 655-0027.
- Japanese Curry – some served with udon noodles, some served with steam rice.
- Takoyaki – very cute batter balls stuffed with a piece of octopus. The ones we had served with mayonnaise sauce, takoyaki sauce, and seaweed flakes.
- Okonomiyaki – I will describe this as: ‘Here in the US, we have omelettes; there in Japan, they got Okonomiyaki.’
The one we ordered, if I remember correctly, included: flour, eggs, dry fish stock, sweet onion, carrot and some shaved cabbage.
- Grilled Squid – very delicious, especially eating it along the river in Kyoto.
- Sake – hot or cold, it’s up to you.
& Japanese beer.
- last but not least -> SUSHI… even at 7-eleven store or a local market, it was so fresh. I can live on sushi for days.
the Rough Draft to Japan
I had about 7 days to explore Japan.
In fact, I did more search on Tokyo than anywhere else I visited in Japan. I thought that most of my time will be spent in Tokyo.
Like I mentioned earlier, things don’t have to go as planned. Tokyo was fun, so were other places in Japan.
Anyways, here is my rough draft
Day 1: Tokyo
– check out this list of things to do in the Edogawa. I passed by many of these places while taking the bus. However, I was being lazy to not stop in and check them out. If you have the time, do check them out.
- SHIBUYA Crossing at night & Harajuku.
– I love Shibuya crossing. It was such an amazing place to see and experience.
Here is another ‘ short list ‘ of things I planned to do in Tokyo, but only done some.
If you can finish the list for me, that’d be awesome 🙂
- Ginza – shopping
- Nakamise – souvenir shopping
- Ramen Street – come hungry
- Kit-kat store – try all the flavors. Green Tea and Sake were my favorites.
- Robot Restaurant – need reservation
- Rainbow Bridge in Odaiba
- Ooedo Onsen Monogatari – relaxation time
- Ghibli Studio – need a reservation
- Roppongi Hills / Roppongi – to see Tokyo Tower
- Yoyogi Park – a good place to hang out and have a picnic.
**Cherry Blossom watching is in late March / early April.
- Akihabara – electronic district
- Sky Tree Tower
- Tsukiji fish market – go early to see the Fish Auction
- Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
- Meiji Shrine
- Sensoji Buddhist Temple
- Edo-Tokyo Museum
- Shibuya / Shibuya crossing
- see Takeshita Dori street
- Shinjuku (the downtown of Tokyo)
- Asakusa Temple
My original list can go on and on, but I’ll stop right here. For now 🙂
Day 2: Tokyo & Osaka
Day 3: Osaka, Kobe, & Kyoto
- OSAKA CASTLE
– go inside and all the way to the top, you will love the view from there.
- NAMBA District
– a fun and touristy area to walk around, shop, eat, etc.
- DOTONBORI area (aka the Floating Boats)
– I went in the afternoon so not a lot of excitement going on. I definitely would love to return and visit during the night time, as I heard from locals that this place is a lot better to visit at night time.
- visited KOBE
- KOBE BEEF
- visited KYOTO
- walked around Kyoto at night
– a very lovely city at night. I enjoyed every bit of it. Visit this link for more information.
Day 4: Kyoto & Tokyo
- KINKAKU-JI (aka the Gold Temple)
- ARASHIYAMA & Bamboo Forest
Day 5: Tokyo & Ichihara
- Ichihara (a city in Chiba prefecture) to visit uncle and aunt.
– A very relaxed city. It’s not too far from the mountain, and not too far from the ocean. And with tons of delicious sushi and ramen restaurants.
Day 6: Tokyo
- sightseeing and shopping around Akihabara district (aka the Electronic district of Tokyo)
– if you like video games, this is your home.
- ASAKUSA Temple
- sightseeing & night shopping at GINZA
Day 7: Arigatou Gozaimasu, Japan. See you again~~