It is no secret that Japan is a must-visit destination for anyone with even half of a soul. And if you don’t have a soul, Japan is sure to fix that for you. But where do you begin? I have put together a 14-day comprehensive travel itinerary that will help beginners navigate their way through the land of the rising sun. I’ve incorporated a budget-friendly mindset and have written it to parallel my own unforgettable experience in Japan.
No more excuses, no more stressing and no more waiting. Book your Japan trip today and let me be your guide!
*Note: The itinerary can be slightly altered based on season or time of the month (i.e Spring you’ll want to fit in cherry blossom viewing and in the Summer maybe a fireworks festival.) It is baseline guide to get you inspired. Feel free to change things around based on your interests, your own research, and timing.
2-Week Ultimate (Budget-Friendly) Itinerary to Japan
Day 1: Tokyo
The streets of Shibuya at night time.
Your first day is always going to be a day of travel. If you can, try and add an extra day before and after to accommodate travel time.
- Arrive in Tokyo (Haneda or Narita) from your city of origin. (If you are from Canada or the USA, you’ve likely been travelling for 10-25 hours.) Go through customs and catch the express train to Tokyo Station (Average 30-60 mins) to your hotel. For first-timers, I recommend staying around Akasaka or Shinjuku; aka the middle of the action. If you are into the anime scene, Akihabara or neighbouring Kanda are perfect — I stayed at Hotel My Stays Ochanamizu — it was clean, affordable and a block away from Electric Town. Airbnb is an awesome choice too. I stayed near Otsuka Station, the Airbnb was in a quiet neighbourhood and gave a cool local vibe.
- No matter where you stay, there will always be easy transportation within reach.
- Check-in to your accommodation and freshen up, it has been a long flight after all.
- You’re probably going to be hangry after that long leg of travel. If so, grab a meal at the closest restaurant to you; ramen, sushi, curry, soba….no matter where you go, it’ll be good!
- If you are feeling extremely pooped, I would call it a night and get plenty of rest for tomorrow’s early morning.
- Some of us have a little bit of energy left to start our sightseeing! For those that can’t wait to start their Tokyo adventure, take to the streets of your area and start exploring. If you’re staying in a busier area like Shinjuku or Shibuya, the nightlife is vibrant and exciting, no matter the hour; and it is totally safe for you solo travellers!
- Pop into random shops, check-out some street eats and start practising those Arigato Gozaimasu’s (ありがとう).
Day 2: Tokyo
Spend all night in Akihabara’s Electric Town.
- You have to start off your first official full-day in Tokyo right by heading to the major areas.
- Leave your hotel and find a place to eat. If you are out and about before 11am, odds are you’ll find it a little tough. Don’t fret, they have 24/hour Family Marts and 7-11s on most street corners — their food is unreal and dirt cheap!
- Take the subway or JR over to Asakusa. Asakusa is home to the famous Buddhist temple — Senso-Ji — bringing in thousands of tourists and locals every day. Make sure you have your wallet handy as there is a huge market at the entrance stocked with traditional Japanese wears, treats and clothing.
- There are plenty of options to eat around here. Some options are Kamiya, Nakasei, Hyotan, Ogiya or Tsukamen Kobo.
- If you are anime fan or video game lover in any respect, Akihabara’s Electric Town is a MUST visit. Even if you aren’t, Akihabara will give you a graceful lesson in Japanese otaku culture. Take the Ginza line straight from Asakusa to Suehirochō Station. From there, it is a 4-minute walk until you hit the hard to miss vibrancy that is Akiba!
- Spend your time in arcades, sifting through walls of vintage video games, eating at a themed restaurant and adventuring through the massive electronic department stores.
- If you’re brave enough (I wasn’t) experience one of the many maid cafe experiences offered in the heart of Electric Town!
- If you are enjoying yourself, stick with Akihabara for a little longer, if you’ve had your fair share, make your way to…
Evening & Night
- Known for the largest street crossing in the entire world, Shibuya is home to countless shops, restaurants, bars, and businesses. Just walking through the crowded streets is a sight to behold. Coming here at night is something beautiful. The neon lights and the youthful energy will keep you going until the final train.
- For some good eats try Genki Sushi, Ichiran Ramen, Sushi-no-Midori, Nagi Ramen, Bistro 35-steps.
- Aside from these restaurants, there are plenty of small Izakaya’s and street stalls to behold, don’t shy away from trying something new!
- There are so many shops in Shibuya, it’ll make you want to come back. Hit up the 109 Building (Fashion), Tower Records (Music, Blu Rays, Merch), Loft (Stationary) and Can Do (Japanese Dollar Store).
- After a long night, it is time to head back to your hotel and sleep off the some of that jetlag.
Day 3: Tokyo
Let the animated Harajuku take you on a wild shopping adventure.
- Rise and Shine, it is time to take a morning stroll through Yoyogi park!
- Enjoy the lush greenery of Yoyogi and get a peaceful break from yesterday’s immense city tour. When you’ve had the perfect amount of oxygen, head over to Meiji Jingu within the park and take in the Shinto shrine in all of its glory.
- If you didn’t get your 7-11 breakfast fix, some restaurants should be opening now. Head north to CoCo Ichibanya for some amazing Japanese curry. Don’t let this chain restaurant fool you, their extensive menu, will have you coming back at least twice while you are on this trip.
- It is Harajuku time! Get ready for the cool, the trendy and the darn right weird. From the really cheap to the uber expensive, spend hours looking at vintage fashion starting at Takeshita Street.
- Step into some cool cafe’s, traverse through many side alleys and check out some of the unique cosplay!
- If this is not your thing, check out Watari Museum of Contemporary Art for innovative exhibitions.
- Check out the Minato area for a vibrant nightlife. Stroll through the many alleys and if the budget allows it, try some Omakase sushi for dinner. This is an experience of a lifetime. Omakase is generally a multi-course sushi dinner in an intimate setting. The chef will serve his special creations using the freshest fish in the country. The prices can range from $75 CAD to $200 CAD, but it is well worth it. Do some thorough research and make sure you book well ahead of time.
- Whether you enjoyed the best sushi you ever had or opted for a tiny Yakisoba joint on the corner, head back to your hotel and freshen up, it’s ROPPONGITIME!
- Roppongi is the epicentre where locals, expats, and tourists come to party. If the club is not your thing, there are plenty of bars to choose from. I recommend Tokyo Pub Crawl. Book a tour with them and they will take you the hottest bars and clubs in the area. Best part, it is super cheap, solo traveller friendly and they even pour you shots all night…have fun! 😉
Day 4: Tokyo → Osaka
Even during overcast, Dontonbori’s pastel hues are as intriguing as the fragrant aromas.
Morning & Afternoon
- Headache? Don’t miss your train to Osaka!
- I recommend getting a JR pass prior to coming to Japan, you will cut travel costs here by a lot! From Tokyo Station take the Shinkansen Hikari Express straight to Osaka JR Station. The trip as about 3 hours and costs ¥12,500 one way. You’ll need to transfer to Shin-Osaka Station to situate yourself more centrally in the city.
- Once you arrive centrally, you’ll want to check in to your hotel, capsule hotel or guest house (most check-in times are at 3:00 pm, so plan accordingly.) For your two nights in Osaka, I recommend experiencing a Japanese capsule hotel. It is an accommodation style that you have likely never experienced before. Similar to a hostel, but more private. Each person gets their own pod in a shared area. They are also VERY cheap — starting as low as ¥2500 a night (which includes bag storage, robe, toothbrush, slippers, bed and all facility use.) Don’t be intimidated by the idea of a capsule hotel, most of the guests are Japanese natives and the floors are split by gender. I recommend B&S Eco Cube Shinsaibashi as it is clean, the staff is friendly and it is within walking distance from all major attractions or subway lines.
Late Afternoon & Evening
- After settling in and freshening up, you are going to want to grab a bite to eat. If you’ve chosen to stay at B&S Eco Cube, you’ll be no more than a 10-minute walk from the vibrant Dontonbori. Known as Japan’s kitchen, Dontonbori gives you hundreds of options for food. I could give you a handful of recommendations here, but the best thing to do is roam up and down the streets and tight alleys just to eat your heart out. You can find a cozy sit in ramen shop or opt to sample different Japanese street foods. My personal favourites are Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki — and trust me, there is no way to choose a wrong place! Half of the fun comes from just exploring the plethora of food options and soaking in authentic Japanese street food culture.
- If you are tired from the early morning hours of travelling and that gnarly hangover, get some well-deserved shut-eye. If you want to fight the sleepiness and stay out a wee bit longer, stick around in Dontonbori and get a feel for the area. Dontonbori is best experienced at night and there is so much to eat, see and buy!
Day 5: Osaka
If you don’t get lost in Namba Parks, you’re doing it wrong.
- Rise and shine — there is no time for sleep, you are in the Kansai Region! If you are staying in a capsule hotel as recommended, you’ll be awakened by the hotel staff to get your butt in gear. You have to be out of their by 10am so they can clean up and get it ready for another night, but don’t worry, they’ll keep your luggage safe for you. I personally like to get up early and beat the rush to the showers, because there was only 4 to be shared among 20 or so people.
- Since you are not in Osaka for long, you are going to want to hit some shopping out of the park. I like to do that right away. If you are not planning on buying a lot or haven’t budgeted a lot of shopping, that is fine…window shopping in Osaka is a present within itself. Make your way to Namba Parks. You can hop on the subway, but I recommend saving the ¥200 and walking. Take in the foreign sites and people watch — you are in a new city after all! Leaving or walking through Shinsaibashi, you’ll notice a lot of high-end retailers and department stores. If you have the money or are simply just curious, it is worth your time to make a stop — just make sure to grab a coffee and small snack from a FamilyMart or 7-11 to tide you over first.
- You know when you’ve hit the Namba Sation area when you see the tall architecturally unique buildings. You have a long shopping (or window shopping day) ahead of you. But before that, I recommend filling your belly up with that trusty COCO Curry House for lunch.
- After a full belly of curry, walk through the labyrinth that is Namba Parks. We accidentally stumbled across it looking for a gift and it was a good find. If you don’t get lost, then you are in the wrong place. There is plenty more to look at in the Namba area!
- It is probably about time to head back to your capsule for re-check-in (now, you don’t have to go right at 3pm, you can head back anytime until midnight.) If you opted for a hotel you can stick around Namba if you have the stamina or go back to freshen up. I went during the summer months, so showering twice a day was a must!
- As the early evening approaches, you’ve probably got food on your mind. A. Head back to Dontonbori and eat everything you missed the prior day OR B. Head over to the famous Ichiran Ramen in Dontonbori for one of the greatest ramen eating experiences of your life. On a solo trip? They specialize in that!
- A viable option C. is to take the subway north to the Amerikamura District near Shinsaibashi. And yes, it is exactly what it sounds like — “Little America”. I know you are here to experience Japan, but Amerikamura is actually packed mostly with locals — as not many tourists know about it. It is a cool place to roam and it puts most American/Canadian burger joints to shame. The Japanese just do everything better and Amerikamura proves it!
- Now, for my hipster friends…ditch Amerikamura and explore the inner alleys of Shinsaibashi (north-west of Dontonbori around B&S Eco Cube). It is hard to explain this area, it just has such a cool gritty vibe. If you’ve ever been to Kensington Market in Toronto – it is the Japanese version of that! And for all of my video game, anime and otaku culture friends you have to head over to Mandarake. I spent at least 3 hours exploring floor upon floor of vintage/retro Japanese video games, toys and much more!
- Now, your night can either go one of two ways. If you are ready for round 2 and happen to be in Osaka from Thursday to Saturday, it is izakaya time!
- As mentioned above, the alleys of Shinsaibashi are home to a plethora of izakayas. Wander in, grab a beer (or sake) and wander into the next one. Don’t be surprised if you make a couple of Japanese friends along the way -— locals are super outgoing and love to engage with foreigners. A cool hidden gem was Video Game Bar Space Station. The bar owner has his entire video game collection out to play. Grab a drink, buddy up and play some classic Super Smash Bros — that’s what I did!
- Once that buzz is going and you’ve been into more izakayas then you can remember, its time to hit the club. If you are not the club type, now would be a perfect time to stroll back to your accommodations and sleep off the last bits of the jetlag.
- Are my club people still with me? I only went to one club while in Osaka and that was GHOST. I highly recommend this place. It is roughly 50/50 foreigners and locals which is a fantastic mix. The early half of night we partied with people from Seoul, Boston, and Sydney and the late half is when the locals intermixed. Other viable options based on local recommendation were Club Joule, Giraffe, and CHEVAL. Make sure you check out their Facebook pages the night before to see dress code, theme, etc.
- Oh, and did I mention there is a 24 hour McDonald’s within a 3-minute walk from all of these clubs? Now is your chance to try the famous teriyaki or shrimp burgers.
Day 6: Osaka → Kyoto
Take a journey to Osaka Castle, it’s a long one!
- How’s the hangover friend? Worse than the first one? (If you chose to opt out of drinking, you made the smarter choice.)
- Grab some well-needed breakfast. FamilyMart or 7/11 usually does the trick — especially for us budget travellers. Remember you have to check-out by 11am!
- Hop on the greenish yellow subway north or take a beautiful morning stroll to Osaka Castle. Don’t worry about your luggage, there are luggage lockers at almost every big station in Osaka where you can store it for as little as ¥500.
- Walking up to the castle will take some time and it is such a beautiful sight to behold. I personally did not go inside (which houses a historical museum and art gallery with many exhibits) as I was strapped for time. I’ve heard the museum is just ok, but the observation deck at the top is worth the admission alone!
- If you still have time to kill after Osaka, I would take the JR over to the Umeda Sky Building. Although I did not go personally, I heard that I made a mistake skipping out on it. Take a look at a few pictures online and you’ll see what I mean. This is a modern architecture fanatics dream!
- It is time to make your way to Kyoto. The fastest and most affordable way to get there is to take the JR from Osaka Station to Kyoto Station. It will take about 30 minutes and costs only ¥560. From Kyoto Station, there are subway connections that can get you across the entire city. Make sure you arrive at your hotel/guesthouse/ryokan in time for your 3pm check-in. I went the super budget way and found a really cheap hotel called Hotel Chatelet Inn Kyoto. It was $60 CAD a night and was located close enough to everything. I’m sure you can find something better in Booking.com or Hostel World, but I have zero complaints about my experience there and would recommend it to anyone who wants a private hotel room at a low cost.
- Head downtown. If you make your destination Karasuma Station, it’ll put you where the action begins. Who said you couldn’t explore Japanese city life in Kansai?! As you walk east, there are plenty of small shops and big name brands to be seen. From a giant multi-floor Uniqlo to the small boutiques selling sweet mochi, you’ll be roaming until the sun goes down. But make sure to head over Yasaka Shrine at the end of Shijo Dori. Your Japanese history lesson has begun!
- At this point, I just assume that you’ve wandered into a tasty yakitori restaurant or have been taken away by the sweet smells soba and tempura. If you are having trouble picking a spot, I recommend Kichi Kichi Omurice. You’ll have to make reservations at least a month in advance, but it is well worth it! The chef is Facebook famous for his extreme skill on the art of Japanese omelette rice making. If you are going to splurge on a meal, this is the one to do it on!
- After food, take a stroll down Kamo River and navigate the tightest of historic alleys in Kyoto.
- Has Kyoto won your heart over already?
Day 7: Kyoto
Let Kyoto’s alleyways take you back a few centuries.
- This is your FREE day.
- The best days in Japan are those that go unplanned. Wake up, grab an onigiri and vending machine ice coffee, take the subway into town, get off and just explore! Take as many breaks as you want, walk into any food spot and just let the small alleys whisp you away. There is nothing short of things to do in Kyoto— who knows what you’ll find!
Day 8: Nara Day Trip
- Nara. The ancient capital of Japan awaits. At this point of the trip, you’ve gotten into a bit of a ritual. You wake up, find your favourite breakfast place, or wait until noon to eat all together. Regardless, you’ll want to head over to Kyoto station first thing in the morning. (Quick Tip: Before you head over to Nara, spend some time in Kyoto Station, it is an attraction in of itself.)
- I recommend taking the Nara Line to Nara JR Station. It costs about ¥710 and gets you to Nara within 45 minutes.
- You’ll know you are in Nara when you see all of the deer signs. Once you’ve left the station, head over to town, there is no need for a bus, it is just a skip away.
- Before you head over to Nara Deer Park, grab a bite in town. I went to CoCo Curry House for a third time, because it is super addicting. Apparently, the eel donburi dishes in the area are to die for. There was also a lot of American-style pancake houses on the downtown strip — I still don’t understand why.
- Nara Deer Park is about a 15-minute walk from the “downtown” strip of Nara. You’ll be spending most of your day here, and for a very good reason!
- DEER EVERYWHERE! Need I say more? You won’t believe it until you actually see it so I will leave you with that.
- Make sure you head over to Todai-Ji while you are in the park, you can’t miss one of the oldest Buddha’s in all of Japan.
- As you head into the late afternoon, I recommend exploring a bit of the nearby neighbourhoods and small alleyways. There is something so calming about walking through these streets and it gives you a very warm and atmospheric vibe. Don’t be surprised if you see stray deer trotting around.
- You can either check out some of Nara’s quaint restaurants in the inner alleys adjacent to the deer park or take the Nara Line back to Kyoto Station and have a bite at one of the many restaurants there.
- If you are not as tired as I was, you must be some sort of superhuman. Hit up the closest Family Mart to your hotel and find all of the cool Japanese snacks you can. Bring your haul back with you, take a shower (if your lucky enough, your accommodations will have a hot spring…mine did!) and throw some Japanese TV. trust me, this is all apart of the experience. Oh, and start ripping through those snacks, they aren’t going to eat themselves!
Day 9: Kyoto
Get lost in the Bamboo Forest.
- Wakeup! You’re going to Nishiki Market! You’re going to need to load up on sustenance for today’s trek. You may be within walking distance or a short subway ride away. Nishiki is considered one of Japans best food markets. It is semi-indoor, so rain is never an issue. Be prepared to sample the good, the delicious and the darn right questionable. Make sure to bring a lot of change and an open your mind — you are about to have some of the tastiest Japanese delicacies. If you haven’t had your sushi fix by now, this is your chance to try some of the freshest fish you’ll ever have. Make sure you get the fatty tuna! There is also an extensive shopping area around Nishiki, where you’ll find modern fashion and unique souvenirs.
- This part is a little bit of your choice. Choose between Fushimi Inari-Taisha (world famous Shinto shrine, Kinkaku-Ji (iconic golden temple) or Arashiyama (monkeys and bamboo forest.)
- It is possible to fit all three into one day but you may feel rushed and won’t really have time to relax and soak in the natural beauty. Choose your top choice and revisit the others during your free days! Another popular option is Nijo Castle.
- You are tired, sweaty, hungry and are need of some sweet Japanese food. My suggestion? Head back to your hotel, freshen up and head to the inner city and take your pick. I’m not a huge pro in the culinary scene of Kyoto (all about the budget choices — conveyor belt sushi, ramen and pretty much and donburi spot) so this may take some more research on your end. You are tired, I get it…but can’t you fit in a few hours of drinking and karaoke? It is Japan after all! I recommend any JOY SOUND in the area. They are pretty good with foreigners and have some extra perks. Sing your heart out and don’t look back!
Day 10: Kyoto
Rooftoping on Kyoto Station. Give it a shot — I dare you!
- FREE Day #2. Kyoto is best to be uncovered through aimless exploration. There are so many alleys, crevices, and unique shops that beg to be found. Did your hotel concierge recommend a popular temple nearby? Go check it out! Will you need to take the train to take an out of city day trip? DO IT! There are plenty more temples, shrines, museums, art gallery’s and parks to be seen. This is your trip, so get creative and add a hint of personality to your itinerary!
Day 11: Kyoto → Tokyo
Tokyo’s iconic tower.
- Catch the Shinkensan Hikari Express from Kyoto Station back to Tokyo Station and check-in to your accommodations. Maybe try a different area of Tokyo this time around. Your journey is going to be about 2 hours and 30 minutes, and check-in will most likely be at 3pm, so plan your time accordingly!
- Spend the rest of your day exploring your new neighbourhood and finding all the transit points. Trust me, you are going to love all of this free time. If you haven’t done any laundry yet, now would be a great time!
- Trying hitting up a local family restaurant hidden in a tight alleyway (doing this never gets old) or take the JR back into Shibuya because we all know you are craving Genki Sushi. Hankering for some arcade action instead? Return to Akihabara and get your game on!
Day 12: Tokyo
Exploring the Kanda area of Tokyo — loving the gritty textures.
- MORE FREE TIME, YAY!
- The best days in Tokyo are those that go unplanned. Wake up, grab an onigiri and vending machine ice coffee, take the subway to a random station stop, get off and just explore! Take as many breaks as you want, walk into any food spot and just let the streets of Tokyo whisp you away. Hell, even if you liked a particular area from before, revisit it and dive deeper, there is nothing short of things to do in Tokyo — who knows what you’ll find!
Day 13: Tokyo
Gaze up at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It’s free to ride up too!
Sleep in. You deserve it.
- When you are ready, head over to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in the AM. It is the most stunning scape of greenery Tokyo has to offer. The minute you enter the gates, you’ll feel far removed from the bustling city. Enjoy the lush garden in all of its peaceful glory. To cap it off, pack a meal the night before and enjoy a picnic in the park (Budget Picnic Hack: 7-11 and Family Mart has all your picnic essentials, hit them up.)
- Explore Shinjuku, it is HUGE!
- Book your Robot Restaurant Show in advance, and get ready to be taken to crazy town. Famous in Shinjuku, Robot Restaurants serve a delicious Japanese style dinner and put on one of the craziest shows you’ll ever see, words can’t describe it.
- If you can still fit a little extra snack in your tummy, head over to Piss Alley (Memory Lane). Home to yakitori, deep fried salamander and horse sashimi, (yes you read that right; salamander and horse sashimi) Piss Alley has a cool grungy vibe and is a local hotspot for good eats and good beer — no fancy cocktails here! Even if you are not brave enough to eat the horse sashimi, there are plenty of safe eats at most stalls — even walking up and down the alley is a sight to behold in of itself.
- Continue your night at a string of bars and izakayas in the historic Golden Gai. Traverse through the narrow and winding alleys of over 200 bars. This block of old school buildings in Shinjuku should not be missed! There are plenty of spots to choose from — so take a seat, order a drink and spark up some conversations with the locals, they will love trying to practice their English with you!
Day 14: Tokyo
Inner Alleys of Tsukiji Fish Market.
- Stay out late in the Golden Gai and then taxi yourself over to the Tsukiji Fish Market to line up for the 4am tuna auction (I didn’t get around to it, but I heard it is a can’t miss experience.) They only let a certain amount of tourists in, so you have to get there for 4am to guarantee a spot.
- After the auction, head over to the market stalls and indulge in a fresh sushi breakfast. There are hundreds of options offering sashimi, oysters, scallops, crab, etc.
- Go back to your hotel and get some shut-eye.
- If 4am is not your thing, don’t fret…you can get a good night’s sleep and head over to Tsukiji’s market stalls and enjoy the fresh fish all the same. Not a fish fan? They have so many other treats to choose from!
- Head over to Tokyo’s luxury shopping area, Ginza.
- Take in the sights of the towering buildings and if you like to shop until you drop, you’ll hit the ground in minutes. Even for those on a budget, Ginza provides a great afternoon of street wandering and building wandering. Go to Ginza on the weekend and wander the main street with no cars allowed. If you skipped out on the Omakase before, now is your chance as Ginza is home to a plethora of great sushi joints just a short skip away (Tip: Omakase lunches can be more than half the price as their dinner counterparts.)
- Your trip is coming to an end, so why not reflect on your adventure with the best view of the city — Tokyo Tower. From Ginza, take the Asakusa line to Daimon Station, just a 6-minute walk to the tower. Some of the observation decks offer free admission while other observation decks cost a humble 900yen ($10 CAD).
- Take an evening stroll through Shiba park and get a worm’s eye view of the colossal tower.You may even pass by this cool Buddhist temple called, Zōjō-ji.
- You can’t leave Tokyo without a few souvenirs for yourself, family and friends. Head over to any one of Tokyo’s Don Quijote‘s. Enjoy up to 12 stories of Japanese goods for a fraction of the price anywhere else in the city. I guarantee you’ll drop at least 2 hours here. (Tip: If you spend over 5000yen [$56 CAD] you get your goods tax-free). Most of the locations are open until 5am or even24-hours. Check out their website for more details.
You are flying out today, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to pack-up, have one last meal, get to the airport and check-in. There is a chance that you will be flying out of a different airport then you arrived in. If so, make sure you get on the right express train. Haneda will take about 30 mins to get to and Narita will be double that!
- You don’t have to stick to this itinerary to a T — have fun, mix it up and do some additional research, at the end of the day we all have different interests — lucky enough Japan has it all!
- For all of your museum and gallery lovers, there are plenty of paid and free options around Japan, you’ll find them in almost any district.
- If you are really up for adventure and can fit it in — try Koya San, Mt. Fuji, Nikko and Hakone!
- You can trust Japan’s transit system with your life, it is punctual to the exact second.
- Don’t feel pressured to spend money, the best parts of Japan is traversing through all the neighbourhoods and people watching. There are also plenty of free things to do!
- 7-11 & Family Mart are your best friends. Use them.
- Learn some basic Japanese phrases before you go, it will help ALOT and it is super fun, trust me, even a simple Konnichiwa (hello) will get you a long way.
- Don’t be afraid to enter any establishment, whether it be a bar, restaurant, shop, etc. — the worst that will happen is you’ll be kindly turned away (this is very rare, most welcome tourists with the utmost hospitality.)
- Relax and have fun!
Just because we have different budgets, doesn’t mean we can’t all enjoy the same destination. Check out How Much Will it Cost to Visit Japan in 2018? for my guide on different Japan travel budgets and find the best one that works for you.
Strapped for time and can only make it to Japan for a week? If so, check out my 1-Week (Budget-Friendly) Tokyo Itinerary for the buzzing urbanite or my 1-Week (Budget-Friendly) Kyoto, Osaka & Nara Itinerary for the history and adventure buff.
I’d love to hear your suggestions on must-see places in Japan. Comment below or hit up my Facebook page to get more personalized posts and travel updates!