So how rainy is it, really? I'm reading a lot about this being THE month of downpours...some perspective will help.
Also, not quite confident about how much to set up in advance, e.g. hotels and train reservations, etc vs. going with the flow while there. Prefer flow, but it appears some advance planning is wise..any advice welcomed.
Will be there for 10 days, any "must see/do" recommendations? I hope to climb Fuji and also notice that may not be doable in June...
Thanks, in advance, for all counsel!
June is definitely the rainy season. And as soon as it is over, you will enter the hot/humid season. But, depending on your perspective, it can be just as beautiful, if not more. Hotel reservations might be wise, but train reservations are unnecessary. If you plan on going to any museums, you might check ahead of time and see if reservations are required. (some are, some aren't) I haven't been in June, so I can't tell you more... If you are going to be in Tokyo (I assume, if you are climbing Mount Fuji) there are an innumerable things to do. From pop-culture dance clubs to ancient historical buildings/temple/bridges/etc... you should pick up some tourist brochures in an airport and scan through them to see what peaks your interest.
Just a recommendation: Try www.sawanoya.com
Very hospitable to foreigners but a really authent
I agree hotel res are necessary but train res are not. Buy an umbrella and you `ll be fine with the rain. A really helpful website for checking train times is http://grace.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperd01.cgi.
Not sure about Fuji,I have been living here for nearly 4 years and haven`t done the climb myself. Personally I think there are countless better things to do especially if you are only here for 10 days.
If you like temples then Kyoto is a must see. A
stay in a ryokan would be a unique Japanese experience as would a nice soak in an onsen. Tokyo has Harajuku(Meijijingumae station) on Sunday, Shinjuku business district skyscrapers(if you like archictecture), Tsukiji fish market and the popular Sensoji shrine in Asakusa.
Go with the flow is my preferred travel style as well but advance planning is necessary as far as transport goes as a lot of time can be wasted sorting out the subway and train systems.
Get a good map!
Here are a few tips for travelling Japan:
[*]It can be really expensive to stay, eat, and drink in Japan, so before you go, decide what you want to splurge on and what you can do without. For myself I would rather stay in a cheap hotel, travel on the slow train, and save some money for experiences.
[*]I would check out some of the other mountains in Japan rather than Fuji unless you're really keen on saying that you hiked it. I've heard it's packed with people and slightly dirty. There are many active volcanos you can hike if you're looking for an adventure. But maybe others would disagree. I don't know, I've never actually done it.
[*]Check this site for great regional/cultural info: http://gojapan.about.com/
[*]Plan your trip around a few festivals in order to get a real taste of traditional Japanese culture. You will see people dressed in traditional clothing, tase interesting food, and maybe catch some of Japan's famous hanabi (fireworks), which are spectacular.
[*]In Japan you can end up spending a lot on food and alcohol, so I would reccommend checking guidebooks for restaurants or getting food and drinks at a convenience store or the bottom floor of the department store and having lunch or dinner at a local park.
[*]Check with the visitor centers to see if there are any free guides. Sometimes Japanese people who want to practice English volunteer to guide people around the city. And after your tour you can ask them where to go drinking. 9 times out of 10 they'll offer to take you somewhere and even buy you a drink.
[*]Visitors to Japan can get a welcome pass and take up to 5 domestic flights for less than $100 US, so if you're going anywhere remote check out this site: http://www.jal.co.jp/yokosojapan/
[*]CHeck out the different train passes available: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2359.html
[*]Plan your hotel stays so that you can walk to the places you want to see, especially in Kyoto.
[*]Don't try to see everything, 10 days is definitely not enough time for that, just take it easy and enjoy what you do see.
[*]LEARN SOME JAPANESE!! If you really want to have a good time in Japan, learn at least enough Japanese to buy train tickets and make small talk. It will open up doors to this country that most travellers never even glimpse. Japanese people are so friendly when you try to speak their language and they might enjoy practicing English with you, especially after a few beers.
Enjoy, and if you're headed to the north island, Hokkaido, let me know and I'll show you around.