Hi my name is David and this is my first post on Travellers Point, which has been a very useful tool in organizing my trip so far!
I am a young traveller with only one overseas trip under my belt so I'm hoping to travel alot more in the coming years.
Enough about me, onto my trip:
I am organizing a trip to Japan in September, which unfortunately all my friends have pulled out of.
After finding out how great Japan will be I don't want miss out, so I decided to go by myself!
I am planning two weeks there with one week (or so) in Tokyo and the rest using the rail pass exploring the rest of Japan.
I am hoping to get out and do some day hikes, even try Mt Fuji if the weather is good!
So, I have a few questions:
I have never been on a trip by myself before so is there any tips for a lone traveller to Japan?
Is there anybody that will be over in Japan in September that would want to meet up to see some of the sights?
Also I would like to see a few festivals while in Japan are there any to look out for in September?
Any help would be greatly appreciated, so don't keep all that knowledge to youselves.
I am currently living in japan teaching english, but will be finishing in Sept. I am going to travel up the country at the end of my contract ( i am living in Kyushu, the southern most island) and fly home from Tokyo. If you let me know your plans i may be around the same time you are.
In terms of travel, http://www.hyperdia.com/ is perhaps the most useful website i can direct you to. It is a train timetable that covers all of japan and gives you times and prices of both the shinkansen (bullet train) and regular trains. A most useful website.
http://www.gaijinpot.com/bb/ - This is a general webiste for those living in Japan, and contains some useful info the the general tourist.
http://www.bus.or.jp/bus/index_e.html - the highway bus database. Lets you know how often buses run and how much they cost / how long they take.
If you fancy staying in a Ryokan - a traditional japanese guesthouse check out http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/index.htm
You probably already know that Japan is not a cheap place to travel. You can find cheap accom, though i would book in advance for the big cities and you will have to dig about for it. Eating out is very cheap, though drinking less so. Clothes over here are extortionately priced, but then if your just here for a short trip this shouldnt really be a problem.
As far as im aware there arent any major festivals in Sept, though i could of course be wrong.
The best advice i can give it to buy a good guide book - lonely planet or the rough guide are first choices - and look around the net. there will be plenty of advice out there on where to go and waht to see.
If you have any questions though just give me a pm.
Hope this is useful.
I'm living in Japan at the moment too, and I couldn't have given better advice than nickla. Another website you could try is http://www.japan-guide.com/ Useful for everyday living.
A few places I can recommend are:
In Tokyo: Asakusa (touristy shrine), Akihabera (electronics town), Harajuku (crazy funky outfits area), Sumidagawa river cruise from Asakusa to Odaiba (see Tokyo via the river), Ginza (to check out what we could never afford).
In Japan: Hiroshima (and eye-opening place... try the hiroshimayaki), Miyajima (Island off Hiroshima with deer and monkeys and some really sweet people), Kyoto (Choose the temples wisely as it can get expensive).
Japan is good place for a 1st solo trip but bring alotta $$$$. And learn a few phrases to make friends with the locals.
Here are some links to add to the list.
If you have any Tokyo specific questions or getting around q`S PM me.
Good advice so far. I second the bit about learning some Japanese. It's difficult to get what you want without at least knowing some useful phrases, plus people are so sweet to you if you can at least carry on a simple conversation. There are some other threads in this forum about Japan, so you might find it helpful to check those. Enjoy your trip.