Preparing to go to Japan: Planning a trip to Japan is second nature to me now, but it was incredibly stressful once. Quite stressful, in fact, for me to cancel the trip to Japan which was to be my first.
It was late 2012 (which, aside from issues related to my then-emerging travel blog, was generally a stressful time in my life) and I had spent weeks trying to prepare myself. Whenever I seemed to strike the right balance between destinations and experiences in Japan, however, I found another place to cram in the dangerously short time that I had allocated or highlight one of the many fears that I had RE: visit Japan.
Finally, not wanting to land in Tokyo without the best possible route to Japan, I postponed my trip indefinitely – it would take place 18 months later. It ended up being a happy coincidence for me – I arrived just when the Sakura reached full bloom and felt so inspired during my 3 weeks in Japan that I have literally returned dozens of times since then, but I would advise you not to follow these particular traces.
Debunking Myths About Travel To Japan
Japan’s reputation as the most organized society in the world leads some to believe that the way to travel to Japan is a science that you must master before boarding your flight. This is just one of the many unnecessary myths you need to get rid of if you want to enjoy your trip to Japan. Here are a few more:
- Japan is ridiculously expensive: Japan is not cheap, but at a cost of around $ 200 per person per day for the average traveler, it is also far from out of reach.
- No one in Japan speaks English: In Japan, people quickly improved their English skills, largely to prepare for the 2020 (now 2021) Olympics in Tokyo.
- Transportation in Japan is complicated: While trying to guess the meaning of a serpentine map of the Tokyo subway can be stressful, especially during rush hour, getting around Japan quickly becomes second nature.
- You can see everything during a trip to Japan: Japan is much larger and richer in diversity than you might expect from looking at a map or reading a website. You will certainly be inspired to visit many times and will need it if you want to explore Japan in depth.
One thing that is true? Hiring a Japan trip planner, if you can afford it, will significantly reduce the stress and uncertainty that you feel once you land at Haneda Airport. Read on to find out more about how I can help you!
The 5 secrets to planning a trip to Japan
When you visit Japan, it’s important
The best time to visit Japan is subjective. While some people (myself included) would brave crowds of millions to enjoy the cherry blossom season and vibrant colors of fall in Japan, others prefer the freezing winter season (if any a bewitching beauty) or even a hot and humid summer to live a more tranquil version of Japan. No matter when you visit, you should keep in mind that Japan is a totally different destination in each of its four seasons.
The longer you can spend, the better
While most travelers are planning a trip of around two weeks to Japan, Japan is much larger than it appears on the map. If you manage to stay longer in Japan (ideally, up to a month in Japan), this will allow you to discover Japan at a deeper and more meaningful level, especially if you want to venture off the island. from Honshu, whether to popular destinations like Hokkaido. and Okinawa, or to lesser-known islands like Shikoku and Kyushu.
Anyone can think outside the box
Indeed, while many who are planning a trip to Japan for the first time are convinced that they should stay on the Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima tourist trail, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether you travel to one of the secondary and tertiary islands that I mentioned in the previous section, or decide to visit underrated regions like Tohoku or San’in, being a novice traveler to Japan does not mean that your trip should be basic. Similarly, travelers returning to Japan can (and should) re-visit more traditional destinations.
But everyone should be paced
The wide variety of places to visit in Japan is breathtaking, and I say that like someone most people think has been “everywhere”. Paradoxically, part of what I have realized is that, although convenient train schedules and organized city centers mean you can participate in every trip to Japan, it doesn’t mean you should. If you don’t leave space (at least a few hours a day and a day or two a week) for spontaneous exploration and discovery, you will be missing some of the basics I do not know what to travel to Japan.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Whether it is a local Japanese person or a professional Japan trip planner like me, there is a lot of help to organize your vacation in Japan. I was shocked, even looking at the Osaka and Fukuoka metro maps, when reputedly shy Japanese people approached me and offered to help, generally in English.
What about coronavirus?
The subject of coronaviruses in Japan is constantly evolving and, since April 2020, it has prevented practically all foreigners from entering Japan. At some point in the future (I would say between July and October 2020), however, this ban will be lifted and travel to Japan will be possible again, although with some restrictions still unknown. (I suspect this will include mandatory testing for the virus and a request for quarantine for 14 days, if current policies for Japanese nationals are guidelines.)
No matter when you can travel to Japan again, I would try not to worry too much about the impact the coronavirus will have on the experience. Japan is generally a country that takes great safety (and hygiene) precautions anyway, with frequent hand washing and wearing masks having been an integral part of society for decades before COVID-19 was released. of an illegal Chinese wildlife market. Obviously, I will update this article with relevant and official information as soon as it is available!
Hire me to plan your trip to Japan
The good news? Planning a trip to Japan, as you can conclude from reading this article, is not rocket science. Bad news? It takes a lot of time and effort, which you may not have, especially during this stressful and uncertain time.
Assuming a trip to Japan of around $ 200 per person per day, a family of four can expect to spend a minimum of $ 11,200 for a two-week trip to Japan, excluding international flights or of the Japan Rail Pass. My price for planning a two-week trip to Japan is only $ 425, less than 4% of that cost. Isn’t it worth spending an extra $ 7.50 per person per day to make sure you don’t leave any stones undone?
The Bottom Line
Planning a trip to Japan should not drive you crazy – it certainly should not be the end of your dreams of traveling to Japan, as it was for mine. Once you’ve forced yourself to look beyond the ridiculous myths about traveling to Japan and allowed yourself to clarify what you want to see, do and learn during your trip, the rest can easily fall into place. Of course, you will also need to organize yourself – very organized – and do your due diligence.