♥ JAPAN TRAVEL GUIDE ♥
Wow, Japan! I still can’t believe my dream came true and I visited Japan! It’s truly an amazing country, but I will tell you more about what to see, eat and do in Japan the second part of this ultimate Japan Travel Guide!
In fact, I decided to split my Japan Travel Guide into two different posts, otherwise it’d become extremely long and overwhelming to read.
So let’s start with Part 1, and the basic information you need to know before going to Japan!
From the US: direct flight from San Francisco (from Los Angeles is way cheaper), we flew with ANA which is amazing (unfortunately the outbound flight was operated by United and it wasn’t that good. The plane was new, entertainment was good but the crew was very rude and the food was terrible!). Huge difference when we flew ANA coming back! Service was excellent, Japanese kindness and excellent food! Fly with ANA if you can!
From Italy: direct flights from Milan and Rome.
From the US: +17 hours
From Italy: +7 hours
Japanese Yen (1 yen = 0,0090$/0,0080€ )
It’s not necessary if you stay less than 90 days.
The two main airports in Tokyo are: Haneda and Narita.
Haneda: it’s the closest one to Tokyo (roughly 20km/12mi)
Narita: it’s the farthest one (around 67km/42mi) but international flights usually land here. No need to worry as the Japanese efficiency makes moving from Narita to Tokyo a piece of cake.
From Narita Airport to Tokyo you can:
– Take a Limousine Bus
It’s very convenient, free wifi on board, affordable. They stop at the most famous hotels in Tokyo, check the list out according to your area, if your hotel doesn’t pop up, use Google Maps to find the closest one (sometimes it’s just a few steps away).
– Narita Express
A very fast train, included in the JRP but remember to book your seat (free) at the station before boarding, it’s mandatory!
JRP (JAPAN RAIL PASS)
Absolutely necessary if you plan to visit different cities in Japan! You can choose a 7/14/21 days pass.
– How it works: basically with your JRP you can use different means of transport in Japan for free (well, actually you paid the price for the JRP, but it’s really worth it and you don’t have to think about buying any tickets everytime you travel).
– What’s included: JR trains (meaning: trains from Kyoto to Nara, Fushimi Inari, Osaka, etc.), Narita Express, JR buses, Shinkansen (the famous Japanese bullet trains), JR Miyajima ferry.
– Where to buy it: I used this webiste and it was super safe and efficient:
– Shinkansen: the very famous Japanese fast train, you can use it to reach Kyoto from Tokyo and Hiroshima. Note that the super Express Shinkansen (Nozomi and Mizuho) are not included. They are fast, comfortable, super clean with huge seats and free wifi.
- Reserve your seats if you can. It’s free and can be done at any JR booking office at the train station.
- Green Car means 1st class, so don’t go there if you have a regular JRP.
- You have to exchange your tickets with the real JRP, we did it at Narita Airport (floor -1), you need your passport (they need to see the stamp as JRP can only be bought by tourists), the tickets they sent you home and then pick the date you want to activate your JRP (you don’t need it while in Tokyo!).
- Buy a Bento and eat it on the Shinkansen! A unique Japanese experience!
- Use this website! Very helpful!! http://www.hyperdia.com/
Truly essential, especially to move around using Google Maps! We bought it from the same website I linked up for the JRP.
GETTING AROUND TOKYO
- Subway = it’s super efficient, very easy to use and you can reach almost every place you need to visit in Tokyo. We bought the 24h ticket which was very convenient (it’s effective for 24h from the first time you punch it), or you can buy some prepaid cards like Pasmo or Suica.
- On foot = it’s beautiful to stroll around Tokyo especially during Sakura (Cherry blossom season).
GETTING AROUND KYOTO
Unlike Tokyo, the subway doesn’t allow you to reach everything you need to see. Your best bet in Kyoto are the buses, super efficient of course.!I recommend the 24h ticket for 600yen, please note that unlike Tokyo the 24h ticket in Kyoto expires at midnight of each day, no matter when you punched it!
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at APA Hotel Asakusa Tawaramachi Ekimae. It’s in Asakusa which is my favourite area in Japan with lots of restaurants, local people who live there and close to Senso-ji Temple and Sumida Park. The room was pretty small (as you will find in every hotel in Tokyo) but the amenities were great, from the Shisheido beauty products, to the daily fresh Yukata (Japanese pyjamas) and free access to a wonderful Onsen (hot springs). Literally steps away from the Ginza line (G) which brings you everywhere in Tokyo.
In Kyoto we stayed at Yoko and Akira Guesthouse and we fell in love with the place! First of all the room is huge!!! It also has a kitchenette if you want to make your own breakfast or any other meals and the bed was so comfy I thought I was sleeping in my own bed! There’s free wifi, lots of free water (coming in different sizes, loved it!) and snacks which Akira (the owner) stocks up every day. Akira is just the best, super kind and generous, he helped us with tips to visit places in Kyoto, gave us free tickets for the bus and also brought us to dinner in a typical Japanese inn. One of the highlights of our trip! The location is perfect, just steps away from different bus stops (including JR bus included in the JRP). Definetely recommended! And for my fellow Italian friends, Akira speaks perfectly Italian as he lived in Como for 6 years! Felt like home!♥ Highly recommended!!!!!
CITIES WE VISITED IN 8 DAYS
Hiroshima + Miyajima Island
I found this cute information at the airport:
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Japan Travel Guide, the second post will be a complete day-by-day itinerary around Japan!
Hope you will find this guide useful for your next trip to Japan! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me out! (comment here or DM me on Instagram @paola_themilkyroad)