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 and trust yourself!
I hope this Rough Draft will help and give you some ideas as you plan the trip.
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.
– Try to study few Japanese phrases prior to your trip.
In examples: Hi. How are you? Goodbye. Thank you. How much? It is delicious! etc…
It was very helpful for me. And people like it a lot though I’m not fluent in Japanese, at least I tried to communicate with them with what I know.
- JR PASS aka theJapan 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.I really enjoyed the pass as it saved me tons of money traveling from city to city. Please visit their site for more information.
- 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. Or you can pay per ticket, instead.
Narita airport to Tokyo:
- 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
- Taxi: – 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 cousin and I stayed at hotels.
Osaka and Kyoto were the last minute’s decision thing where I didn’t have enough time to do a lot of research on accommodations. However, I decided with these options below. We like them and would return in future.
- Hotel Sun White (Osaka, Japan) | ホテルサンホワイトAddress: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- This hotel was clean, safe, great service, very close and easy walk to the subway, not too loud for the location, and an easy walk to the Osaka CastleAPA Hotel Kyoto-Eki-Horikawadori | アパホテル 京都駅堀川通Address: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.
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 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 was a restaurant. For a chilly night in Tokyo, the ramen bowl was amazing.
- Udon – There were curry udon, pork udon, but the one with soft-shell crab was the best, in my opinion.
- Gyoza – right when it was 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.
- Green Tea – anything green tea, bring some home if you can, and you can thank me later.
- Kobe beef – It was good, but I didn’t remember loving it, maybe because of the restaurant we tried.This other restaurant below was recommended by a friend (sadly, I was on my way to another city). 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 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, they were so delicious. I can live on sushi for days.
Rough draft to Japan.
I had about 7 days to explore Japan. In fact, I did more search on Tokyo. I thought most of my times will be spent there. Like I mentioned earlier, don’t expect anything! Just go with the flow. Tokyo was fun, so were other places in Japan.
Day 1: Tokyo
- EDOGAWA-KU– 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 a list of the 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
- Ramen Street – come hungry
- Kit-kat store – try all the flavors. Green Tea and Sake were my favorites.
- Robot Restaurant
- Rainbow Bridge in Odaiba
- Ooedo Onsen Monogatari
- Ghibli Studio – need a reservation
- Roppongi Hills / Roppongi
- Yoyogi Park – a good place to hang out and have a picnic.**Cherry Blossom watching is in late March / early April.
- Akihabara – electronic / video games 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
- Takeshita Dori street
- Shinjuku – the downtown of Tokyo
- Asakusa Temple
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 (a district of Osaka, Japan)– a fun and touristy area to walk around, shop and eat.
- traveled to KOBE
- experiencedKOBE BEEF
- traveled to KYOTO– walked around Kyoto at night (a very lovely city). I enjoyed every bit of it. Visit this link for more information.
Day 4: Kyoto & Tokyo
- KINKAKU-JI (the gold temple in Kyoto)
- ARASHIYAMA & Bamboo Forest
Day 5: Tokyo & Ichihara
- Ichihara(a city in Chiba prefecture)- a very relaxed city that was not too far from the mountain and the ocean, provided with tons of delicious sushi and ramen restaurants.
Day 6: Tokyo
- Akihabara district (if you like video games, this is your home)
- ASAKUSA Temple
- sightseeing & night shopping in GINZA
Japan was incredibly so wonderful! I’d wish to have more days and explore places like Himeji Castle, Nara Park, Universal Studios Japan, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Kiyomizu-dera and Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto, Nagoya, Hiroshima especially Itsukushima, Okinawa and so many more.
Dear readers, if you have the opportunity to travel, make it 2-3 weeks or a month in Japan! I believe you will have a great time!
Dear Japan, arigatou gozaimasu, and see you again~~