Japan | The Travel Guide
A small island in the far east that fascinates the whole world, Japan is a real paradox in itself. A tradition and a culture well anchored as well as an avant-gardism and a perfection required in all the fields. Futuristic electronic megalopolises contrast with small traditional villages. The "test" country of the whole planet: in fashion, in technology, in society perhaps also. If it works here, it will work everywhere. Welcome to the Land of the Rising Sun. Konichiwa !
⤁ Backpacking Japan ⬵
• Travel tips • Places to visit • Itineraries •
Budget : 45-65$/€ per day.
Currency : 1€/1US$ = 131 Japanese Yen
Visa : 30 days visa upon arrival airport / border.
Sleeping : 20-60 $/€ bed in dormitory / correct double room
Transportation : $20/€ for a Tokyo/Kyoto train ride
Food : Sushi, Sashimi, Ramen, Tempura, Kare Raisu, Shabu Shabu, Miso soup, Onigiri...
Weather : Rather cold from Oct to April. Hot from May to September
Religion : Shintoism, Buddhism, Christianity,
People : Yamamoto, Ainu, Burakumin,
Music : Gagaku, Shomyo, Kawachi ondo, Enka, J-Pop, Hip-Hop, J-Rock, etc...
Language : Japanese
|Hello / Good evening
Excuse me / Please
Very well, thank you, and you?
Yes / No
Thank you very much
Goodbye to you
|Konichiwa / Konbawa
O genki desu ka?
O genki desu. (name of the person) san ha?
Hai / Iie
** TIPS FOR THE ROUTE **
As in all our articles, we try to imagine a more or less coherent route which allows to see the most important places of the country while keeping a logical route for travelers who want to go from one point to another. Here, although most of the visitors arrive via Tokyo, or sometimes via the south of the country from Korea or China by ferry, we will start from the north of the country on the island of Hokkaido to go down the whole country by passing through several stages without order of preference or importance. Everyone is free to adapt his or her route according to his or her desires, his or her position of entry and/or exit of the country.
Hokkaido Island (3/4d) :
Dive into a wild Japan at the extreme north of the country on Hokkaido Island. Between preserved forest, hot spring and active volcano, the first thing you will see is a pure nature far from the beaten tracks. There is a little extra touch if you come in autumn or winter with the snow.
Nikkō (1/2d) :
On the main island, 140km north of Tokyo is the city of Nikkō located at the foot of the mountains where you will discover many temples and shrines classified as UNESCO Heritage, surrounded by forest with waterfalls and Lake Chuzenji. There are also many onsen, hot springs where you can relax.
Tokyo (5d) & Mount Fugi (1/2d) - Kamakura (1d) :
To learn more about Tokyo and its surroundings, click HERE or on the picture !
Kamakura is one of the most important places of Tokyo Bay because it was the capital from 1185 to 1333. Very visited for its many temples and shrines, you will need a day to walk from one to another through the nature or through small streets. People also come here for its long beach and to party and it is only 1h15 by train from Tokyo!
Kanazawa & Shirakawa-go - Matsumoto (2d) :
Kanazawa and Shirakawa-go are both small traditional villages not far from each other. The first one strongly resembles the small streets of Kyoto with the Ninja-Dera temple and geisha and samurai quarters. The second village is atypical for the country with pointed roofs made of straw.
Matsumoto is located on the Utsukushigahara plateau and is a perfect stop to discover the Japanese mountains. You will see the black castle of Matsumoto dating from the Sengoku era (1477-1573) nicknamed "the raven", one of the rare castles not to have been rebuilt after many civil wars. Around Matsumoto, you can hike in Kamikochi, along the Azusa River, climb Mount Yari or Mount Yakedake or relax at the end of the day in the onsens
Nakasendo : Nagiso, Tsumago & Magome (2d)
The Nakasendo is the historical path between Tokyo and Kyoto in the Edo period in which you will pass through small traditional villages. The tour starts in Nagiso town, passes through Tsumago and finally ends in Magome. You can even stay in one of their houses with the typical architecture of the past in the heart of the Japanese Alps. Far from everything.
4th largest city in Japan, Nagoya also has its cultural and historical part that will delight you with first the Nagoya Castle, replica dating from 1959 but identical to the original from 1612, the Atsuta Shrine and the Tokuwaga Art Museum. On the city side, walk to the NHK Tower and the Oasis 21 shopping mall which offers a beautiful view of the whole city from the roof of the "Spaceship Aqua".
Kyoto (3d) - Osaka - Nara (4d) :
Kyoto is a must for all travelers. This ancient imperial capital has a lot to offer with its numerous temples and palaces such as the Golden Pavilion, the Fushimi-Inari Shrine and the Nijo Castle. Off the main roads, get lost in the small traditional streets of Gion district with its small river. Rent a bicycle and ride away from the city on the many hills surrounding it and join the hiking trails.
Osaka, the 3rd largest city in the country, is also very dynamic with its streets full of people, shopping, restaurants and gambling venues. It also has the imposing Osaka Castle which is not to be missed as well as a Shumiyoshi Taisha shrine.
Nara is less than an hour away from Osaka and Kyoto so it is a good opportunity to go there to admire the bronze Giant Buddha in Todai-Ji temple. In the park of the temple, you will surely come across deer which live here in freedom.
Hiroshima & Miyajima Island(2d) :
Everyone knows the name of Hiroshima because of the tragedy associated with it during World War II. However, it is a city that has been able to rebuild itself and it seems important to me to mark this step on your planning for the memory and the emotion. The different sites to see are the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Peace Memorial Museum, the Hiroshima Castle rebuilt from the original of 1589 and the Itsukushima Shrine on the island of Miyajima off the coast.
Kirishima National Park (2d/3d) :
Return to a varied nature at Kirishima National Park on Kyushu Island with cedar forests, volcanic landscapes and hot springs. Highly photogenic landscape and perfect to clear your mind for a few days.
Okinawa Archipelago (4d) :
We are here far from the cold temperatures of Hokkaido! Okinawa is located between the China Sea and the Philippine Sea and enjoys a subtropical climate with white sandy beaches and turquoise water. The perfect place to finish your stay and enjoy the scenery while continuing to marvel at the Japanese culture, which is definitely very varied from north to south.
And more : Inecho (2d) - Shikoku Island (3d) - Ogasawara Islands (3d)
If you have more time and more desire, there are so many places that just want to be visited like Inecho off Kyoto, Shikoku Island off Hiroshima or Ogasawara Island lost between the Philippine Sea and the North Pacific Ocean without counting the many other traditional villages here and there on the main island.
Japan soothes, excites and electrifies our senses. Sometimes immersed in the euphoria of the big ultra-compact megalopolis, sometimes relaxed in these great spaces or in its traditional villages, reliving the Edo Era. We get lost in this distant imagination and we feel good. This is the effect that Japan gives us. This is the feeling that it awakens. Arigato and Sayonara!