Japan is a fascinating country. The land of rising sun as they taught us in school. But as we think of Japan the first thing that strikes us is cost. "Japan costy hai" as most say. I too was on the same lines before I put it on my travel list and started my research. It turned out to be just like any other country if you plan and be on a budget.
Have this blog have tried to help you plan your Japan trip.
As mentioned above the country is not expensive as most of us think. Understand the basics of the country and plan your trip. Not only you will save money but also enjoy each leg of your journey.
Tip: Suggest you take a pen and paper and make your rough notes to understand things better.
Planning your Japan travel
Japan is divided into regions that are then divided in prefectures. If you intend to see specific things of your interest then drill down the regions/prefectures. The reason to do this is there are specific passes available for each region which helps save you cost on commutation.
This link will help see your places of interest in a interactive way.
External link: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e623a.html
Even if you don't have particular interest and just want to cover the major attractions I suggest you go through the pictures on the side so you understand the geography.
Now lets understand how transportation works in the country which will help you decide the number of days, the budget you will need and the type of accommodations you can book.
Decide the number of days you have at Japan. This is very important because you will be buying passes accordingly. Consider you stay at each location and add up.
Tip: Plan for 7 to 9 days / 14 to 16 days / 21 to 25 days as JR pass which is a very good bullet train pass comes in 7/14/21 days options. It's not compulsory to buy the bullet train pass. There are other options too. Keep reading.
(Hashtag #JRPass after the commute details means this route is free if you have the Japan Rail Pass. You will read it in details as you go further. )
Airports in Japan and reaching the city from them
Japan has seven airports. Tokyo has two airports and it's confusing which one to take. Will brief you about the top ones.
Tip: Knowing the airports is necessary as flight deals come to any of them. This would help you plan your trip well.
Biggest airport of Japan situated in Tokyo. It's 60 kms from city. Most low cost airlines land here. Tokyo city can be reached by JR Narita Express. Takes 1 hour
Largest domestic airport in the country. You can directly access Tokyo Monorail from this airport.
Tip: Check timings of the ticket window and trains
This airport is near to Osaka and you can use the JR Haruka Limited Express to get to Osaka city. #JRPass Takes 50 mins to reach the city.
This airport is used to reach the islands of Kyushu. You can get to Hakata Station via JR Sanyo Shinkansen and then travel further. #JRPass
There are multiple train companies in Japan. Japan Railways (JR Pass = Japan Railways Pass) and 3 other private companies. JR Pass will work only on the routes which are owned by Japan Railways, for the rest different passes and tickets need to be purchased.
Trains are punctual to matter of seconds. They have two major classes, ordinary and green car (basically first class). Ordinary class is amazing value for money and there's no need to spend on green car tickets even if you have the extra cash :)
Shinkansen trains or as we better know them as bullet trains are the fastest way to commute but come at a steep ticket price. The fastest train is Nozomi (Express) and the second fastest is Hikari (Semi-Fast). Fares are almost same for both but the Hikari takes few extra minutes as it has more stops on the way. Why am mentioning both trains if the price is same? Because JP Pass covers Hikari bullet trains and not Nozomi. But not to worry the difference between both trains is barely 30 - 50 mins.
To give you a idea how fast these trains are, you can go from Tokyo - Hiroshima (900 kms) in 4 hours via Nozomi and add 30 minutes more on the Hikari. That's some serious speed.
Tip: Make sure you hear the special announcement made on arrival and departure of the the Nozomi trains. It's done with pride that here comes our fastest train and it commands respect. (You are sure to get goosebumps
There are also night trains in Japan. Sunrise seto been the most famous and favourite among travellers. #JPPass includes the sunrise seto.
Tip: Ending you trip in Japan and heading back to catch your flight take the sunrise train and make the overnight journey instead of the bullet train.
Seishun 18 Kippu