What to bring when traveling to Japan: Itineraries Japan Guide
Japan Itinerary 2 Weeks: Learning the transportation
There are different ways to travel through Japan. The first is through the bullet train which can take an individual to different regions around the country at incredible speeds. The Shinkansen, or the bullet train, is one of the fastest trains in all of Japan and in Asia.
Another is through the JR system (Japan Railway System) which is one of the most complex networks of train lines in the country. It can take an individual to different stations all around a certain region through just a single pass. For traveling locally around towns and cities, there are also buses which can travel much shorter distances that that of the train system.
Learning the language
For those planning to stay in Japan for a long period of time, knowing a bit of the language can be an advantage. Although the place is great for visiting and vacationing, not all of the locals are confident with speaking with tourists in a foreign language. It might be a good idea to include in the planning stage some tutorials for speaking and listening simple conversational Nihongo.
Places to Stay
Finding a place to stay is not easy especially when going backpacking through Japan.What is most advisable is to use online platforms to join communities where they discuss their reviews of different hotels or inns in a certain area. There are some applications and websites as well that filter these places by price range, by region, or by kind. There are hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, hostels, and more. There are also onsens and ryokans, which are a bit on the expensive side.
Where to go in Japan: Best Japan Itineraries
Kanto: Japan Itinerary 3 weeks
This itinerary is the longest because a week in Tokyo will not be enough to fully enjoy what it can offer. Tokyo is home for many of the largest shopping centers in Japan. There are districts intended for clothes (whether cheap or branded), electronics, animals, and more. There are places to enjoy nature like parks and other wildlife preserves. The nightlife in Japan is also a definite must-see. No trip to Japan will be complete without going to Tokyo.
This is the region of Japan which is most visited because it is home to the “Greater Tokyo Area”. This place contains a third of the total population of Japan. A lot of experts believe that the Kanto region is the center of modernization and development in Japan. It is a great metropolitan which is home to many of Japan’s largest industries.
The next couple of days will be a great amount of time to enjoy all the other seven prefectures of Kanto. One good place to go to would be the mountain town of Hakone which is roughly just 100 kilometers from Tokyo. This place gives a great view of Mt. Fuji. A two night's stay in Mt. Nikko is a must see after all the industrialized cities in the region. Then a five-day stay at the coastal city of Chiba is a great way to enjoy seafood and some vitamin-sea. Then another three-day stay at the Kanto plains gives an enjoyable view of the countryside.
Tohoku: Japan Itinerary two weeks (Japan Itinerary 2 weeks)
Tohoku is one of the largest regions in all of Japan and is one of the most visited in the entire country. Enjoy a week in the mountains and the other week in their national parks. The region boasts of its rich history and culture. The infamous Ainu Tribe of Japan has also inhabited the region once before they traveled and became secluded up north.
Among the most popular tourist destinations would be Mount Hayachine, Lake Towada, and the Kitakami river. For those who wish to enjoy the sea, there is the Islands of Matsushima Bay and the Miss Veedol Beach. The most popular national parks in the region are the Rikuchu Kaigan National Park, the Bandai-Asahi National Park, and the Towada-Hachimantai National Park.
There had been great suffering in this place in 2011 when the Great Tohoku Earthquake shook the region and claimed tens of thousands of lives. Among the affected cities would be Sendai, Fukushima, and Miyagi. Not only was the earthquake devastating, the resulting tsunami had led to multiple disasters. One of the worst was the nuclear power plant meltdown in Fukushima. Up until today, the place is a no-go zone.
Kinki (Kansai): Japan Itinerary in 14 days
Kansai is also one of the most visited areas in Japan. It is home to the popular cities of Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Mie. This place is originally known as the Kinki region but the name was eventually changed to Kansai. However, up until today, the two terms are quite interchangeable.
A few of the most popular places to enjoy in Kansai would be the Horyu-JI (or Golden Hall) which is the world’s oldest wooden structure. The region is also home to the world’s largest wooden structure which is the Todai-Ji. Kansai is also home to the world’s largest bronze statue which is the Daibutsu.
Why not visit Osaka for a few days to enjoy the mountains and to go Kyoto to enjoy the culture? Before Tokyo became the capital city of the country, Kyoto held that title. Up until today, there is a variety of preserved evidence that Kyoto once was, and still is, one of Japan’s greatest cities. Kanazawa is also another good place to visit because of its very rich culture. It was one of the few cities in Japan which survived destruction from the Second World War, keeping it quite well preserved through time.
Chubu: Japan Itinerary 1 week
Home to Japans third largest economic centers, the Chubu region offers up both urban and rural experiences. Nagoya is one of the best places to go to in the Chubu region because of its popularity as a shopping destination. There are also a lot of hot spring baths in Shizuoka which is home to the best views of Mt. Fuji.
Anyone who enjoys old towns will definitely enjoy going to Takayama in the Gifu prefecture. This is one of the most preserved cities in Japan. A short visit to this place feels like stepping into a time machine and traveling 100 years into the past.
Also, the area of Shirakawa-go was one of the best places in Japan to enjoy the preserved evidence from the Feudal era. Since this is a pretty remote, mountain town, its villages are well preserved with homes made from thatched A-frame houses. This makes Shirakawa-go a UNESCO World Heritage. These houses are great to see during the wintertime because the warm colors from the houses make them look like illuminated houses from small Christmas village décor.
The Nagano prefecture is also a good place to enjoy a vacation in. Why not walk around the town of Yamanouchi in Japan which is home to the hot spring of bathing monkey? Why not enjoy the mountain resort of Kamikochi in the Japanese Alps? Also, it is great to go to Nagano to enjoy the Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan’s most beautiful castles.
Hokkaido: Japan Itinerary 10 days
The northernmost region in all of Japan, this is the winter capital of the country. A lot of people enjoy going to this place for the ski resorts, the snow festivals, and the hot springs.
Among the most visited cities would be the capital city of Sapporo. This place is most famous for its annual snow festival which features ice sculptures from both beginner and expert artists in the world. It is also home to a variety of slopes which are enjoyable for skiing and snowboarding. After a few days of physical activity, it is great to experience the deliciously warm waters from the natural hot springs in the area which has resulted from the volcanic activity of the country.
Chugoku: Itinerary for 3 Days
This region is home to Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. People enjoy going here for sightseeing activities. Among the most popular places to visit are the museums in Hiroshima and the mountainside temples of Miyajima.
For the first day why not enjoy a sightseeing trip to the atomic bomb devastated town of Hiroshima? This place has a number of peace memorials, museums, children’s museums and more. It is a totally enriching experience. For the second day, it would be great to enjoy the mountain villages of Miyajima. See the torii in the middle of the lake, the temple at the side of the mountains, and ride a cable car to see the city from the mountains. For the third and last day, why not go to the designated city of Okayama to enjoy a simple urban escape. Enjoy the shopping centers, buildings, and the nightlife.
Shikoku: One day trip
This region is the smallest in all of Japan and a lot of tourists find it difficult to travel here because of a lack of an international airport. However, there are ferries that link Shikoku with islands of Honshu and Kyushu. There are also local flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, and Fukuoka.
The best thing to do here is to for hikes because the area is filled with mountain ranges and hills. People go here for overnight camping trips where tourists can enjoy part of the day hiking and the other part doing other activities such as fishing, and boating. Then at night, people can enjoy the beautiful night sky before going back to the city the next day.
Kyushu-Okinawa: Two-day trip
A two-day trip to the Kyushu-Okinawa region will vary depending on what is aimed for. This is one of the best places in Japan for weekends. There are options for a two-day spa trip, a relaxing beach stay, a historical tour, or an artful weekend.
For those who wish to go on a two-day spa getaway, this is the best place to go. In Japan, Oita is the place with the most number of hot springs or onsens. A lot of tourists go to this place because the hot spring water is believed to make the skin extra-healthy and beautiful. A detoxifying weekend, why not waste away all the muscle pain and stress with a delicious dip in hot spring water.
A relaxing beach stays in the islands of Okinawa or Iwo Jima is also a good place to enjoy the weekend. Frolicking in the sand and sea while enjoying the subtropical weather is quite relaxing for a lot of people. Some people who wish to getaway from the cold winter mornings can enjoy a short summer stay in these islands.
Other than the region’s pristine beaches, a historical trip to the region’s museums is a must to visit. Nagasaki is home to many of the historical WWII museums in Japan due to the atomic bombing they have experienced during the time. It is a great place to honor those who have perished during the war and be in awe of their bravery and courage.
Japan Itineraries by the Season
Since Japan is home to four different seasons, traveling at certain times of the year might be especially difficult. For instance, wintertime up to February might be harder to visit than springtime in April and May because of the need for extra, warm clothing. This makes luggage heavier and bulkier as well. It would be a great thing to remember to plan ahead when traveling to Japan. A good amount of research is important not only to understand the local culture but to also learn about the average weather