I am planning a get away for 2 weeks over the Easter and was considering Japan. Has anyone got any tips on what there is to see there, also what to not bother with and if its as expensive as everyone makes out.
Does anyone know how cold it gets during the day and night around that time of year??
Nice 1... thanx for that... I'll have a look at it
Im also in Japan for 2 weeks in July. It seems the best way to see more of the country is with a Japan Rail Pass which you have to purchase before you get to Japan.
Also the Mt Fuji region looks cool...
Japan is a large country with quite marked regional differences. You can either do a bit of a whirlwind tour of a large area of focus on one region. It all depends on your preferred type of travel.
For a whirlwind tour the Japan Rail Pass is a godsend for visitors. Don't forget that it CANNOT be purchased in Japan. It looks expensive on paper but you can make vast savings, especially if you travel on the shinkansen bullet trains regularly. Yes, Japan is very expensive, a lot more than it used to be, as the yen is so strong. £1 now buys me Y142 - I once went to Japan when the rate was Y220 (fortunately inflation in Japan is largely zero). Train tickets, especially on fast trains, are very expensive. Tokyo to Kyoto, a 2h30 journey, is £101 by bullet train. There are no "special fares" available and the slower stopping trains take hours. The JPR is THE way to go. Japanese trains go everywhere, and I mean everywhere. It's one of the best countries in the world to visit by train, if you don't think about price!
For a whirlwind tour, unmissables (according to guidebooks!) would include Tokyo, Nikko, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji. The area around Hakone is also very beautiful. Other nice places, but harder to visit in such a short timeframe, are Takayama, Kurashiki, Tsuwano, Matsue. The Japanese domestic tourism industry is huge, and few "undiscovered gems" remain, though there are some if you look hard enough. Japan is an intensely developed place when it comes to tourism - on the plus side access is very easy, even if prices are high.
For a regional-based tour of Japan, you could focus on western Japan (my favourite region) - Kyoto, Nara, Horyuji, Uji, Himeji, Tsuwano, Matsue, Kurashiki. You could plan a fantastic two-week itinerary around this, but it cuts out Tokyo, Nikko...It's difficult: some people think a visit to Japan is incomplete without Tokyo - I'm not sure I agree, there is a lot more to Japan than the capital, although it is amazing in many respects. You do not need to fly into Japan via Tokyo - there are intercontinental flights to Osaka (for western Japan) and even Nagoya (for central Japan, like Takayama).
Whatever you decide, prepare for an expensive trip. There are ways of saving money (JPR, youth hostel dorms, you can eat nice and cheap noodle dishes etc.). But if you want your own room and to eat fancy food (one of Japan's great pleasures) it will cost you big bucks. That's just the way Japan is, although if you're from the UK/Australia/USA/northern Europe you will be very familiar with sky-high living costs.
I've travelled extensively throughout Japan so if you have any specific questions about a place, don't hesitate to ask. Enjoy your planning!!!