Many people ask me about my journey in Japan. Not only are they interested in the Japanese culture and curious about how different their life style is, but also they hunt for practical information about my travel.
So, let’s answer them once and for all!
Before flying to Japan
We reserved our flight ticket in February and we paid 700€ with Airchina. We chose this solution just because of the price. Of course, you can find a cheaper price, if you are luckier, anyway it depends on the period you decide to go. We went in summer, in August, that is one of the most expensive time. When we booked the flight, we opted for a long layover in Beijing (15h), in order to visit the Great Wall.
Plan the tour
We booked the ticket from Milan to Tokyo and return. In retrospect, we should have booked a multi-stop route, arriving in Tokyo and leaving from Osaka, for example. In order to organize a good tour, you need to read a lot. You should take into account that you have to dedicate a lot of time for this step. Be patient even if you read contradictory information!
Don’t forget that it’s impossible to see anything, you must make a selection. Chose based on your preferences and help yourself by making a list of must-see attractions, but add some unusual places or activities also. A good plan needs to be flexible and has to be revisited when you are in the country.
Remember that, after all, you are on holiday. So, your schedule needs some relaxing moments.
We found accommodation by different ways, like Airbnb and Booking.com. We also tried the Couchsurfing experience, which I highly recommend, both because you can save money, and because you will have a local guide and see how they really live their daily life. Don’t leave Japan without trying the Ryokan experience, that is a traditional inn, where you stay in Japanese-style furnished room, with tatami and futun and you can have a relaxing baht in the onsen, hot spring water.
14 August: Arrive in Tokyo
15-16 August: Touring the city and get lost! You need a couple of days to get used to public transport, but once you have got it, you will be amazed by how efficient and super organized it is.
17 August: a day trip to Nikko, the enchanted town 2 hours from Tokyo, full of temples and beautiful natural spots.
18-21 August: Fuji and five lakes region. Maybe one of the best part of our journey. Here we learned that Tokyo is Tokyo and Japan is Japan! If you want to know Japan, you shouldn’t go to Tokyo, but to small villages like Kawaguchico or Fujisan. We rode the bike around the lakes and we went up to Fuji! It was really really hard, but it was worth it.
22–23 August: Kanazawa, where we visited one of the best gardens in Japan.
23 – 25 August: Touring Kyoto, the city of one thousand temples. I was impressed by the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its 1000 orange-red torii (shrine’s gates). We loved Kyoto, but the 90% humidity strained our bodies!
24 August– Day trip to Nara, the most ancient capital of Japan, a magic place where deer are free and live together with humans and shrines!
26 August – Hiroshima, a stunning city, the city of Peace. Here, you feel like nothing have changed since that horrible moment. The Dome is olny what remained of the city after the explosion. The memorial museum is a must-see and very touching.
27-1 September – Miyajima island, meaning the shrine-island, is one of the best landscapes of the whole country. It was my paradise. This island has everything: mountains, beach, Buddhist and Shintoist shrines, free deer and beautiful people. Here we had the wonderful experience of the Tea ceremony.