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Japan October

Travel Forums Asia Japan October

1. Posted by samantha1612 (Budding Member, 6 posts) 22 Jan '13 01:59

I am a single 24 year female looking to travel to Japan in October.
Has anyone ever done this before by themselves and not spoke the language?
Any advise will be greatly appreciated :)

Thanks
Samantha

2. Posted by bex76 (Moderator, 3600 posts) 22 Jan '13 02:16

Yes, I travelled in Japan alone and didn't speak the language. I had no issues really although less English is spoken outside Tokyo. Obviously it helps to know a few basic words and numbers at least, but you'll get by anyway. In restaurants you can often just point at the plastic meals on display. Japanese people are very friendly and helpful and I was often approached by someone trying to help if I was looking lost! Japan is amazing so don't worry - you'll have a great time!

3. Posted by polyglot25 (Budding Member, 42 posts) 22 Jan '13 04:22

Hi there,

I have travelled solo widely throughout Japan (but never in October - I'm jealous! I think it's a great season to be there) and I agree you'll be fine. I do speak Japanese but all the important signs (station names and signs) are bilingual - you're unlikely to get any more lost than anybody else! Within a few days you'll have picked up some phrases which will greatly endear you to the Japanese - and it's fun.

Indeed, few Japanese people speak any more than basic English and even in a giant metropolis like Tokyo, fluent English speakers are surprisingly few and far between! Large cities and town often have a tourist information office. Even if the staff can't speak English there will usually be brochures (the Japanese are very keen on brochures) in English, with plenty of useful information.

On another note, I presume you're up to date re. the Japan Rail Pass - which might well be one of the best travel deals in the world, in my view! If you're going for a week or more and are likely to travel by train, a JRP is the way to go. You can easily save hundreds, and on a three week pass, thousands of dollars with one.

Enjoy yourself and immerse yourself in the fabulous culture - Japan may be crowded and expensive (it is, sadly, very much so on both counts) but there's nowhere else even remotely like it.

Have fun!!!

Will

4. Posted by samantha1612 (Budding Member, 6 posts) 23 Jan '13 01:55

i was thinking of doing this as a tour maybe, but i like the idea of being able to do my own thing rather than always being in a group.

Any places in particular which really stand out that i should go too?

Or recommended places to place, hostels? hotels?

5. Posted by polyglot25 (Budding Member, 42 posts) 23 Jan '13 05:01

All depends on how long you're going for! Tours are generally absolutely not my cup of tea - arranging one from the UK is likely to cost a lot of money. If you'd like the occasional group visit, then I'm pretty certain that Tokyo has some English-speakers running "walking tours" or some such. Don't let a fear of language barriers convince you to join a tour - it's really not so bad and people will go out of their way to be helpful.

Standout places...there are lots! Here's a hodgepodge list of the places I've enjoyed (prefecture in brackets to help you find them on a map). What kind of stuff are you interested in - temples, countryside, big cities?

Tokyo (Tokyo) - goes without saying
Kyoto (Kyoto) - goes with even less saying
Nara (Nara)
Uji (Kyoto) - famous for its tea and Byodo-in temple
Hikone (Shiga) - NOT to be confused with Hakone - lovely castle
Kurashiki (Okayama) - gorgeous historic quarter, world-class Ohara museum of art
Tomo-no-ura (Hiroshima) - pretty port town
Hiroshima (Hiroshima) - vibrant modern town with a history that's worth finding out about
Matsue (Shimane)
Hagi (Yamaguchi) - beautifully preserved feudal town, great pottery
Tsuwano (Shimane)
Kanazawa (Ishikawa) - famous Kenroku-en garden
Takayama (Gifu) - really pretty, famous festival in October and April. Will be very busy in October. Lovely local food.
Shirakawa-go (Gifu) - beautiful valley near Takayama with famous thatched farmhouses (UNESCO WH site). Stunning.

I've always stayed with Japanese friends and in YHA youth hostels. Worth looking into is temple accommodation (shukubo) which can be fun. The next step up are business hotels which are not too expensive (by expensive Japanese standards!) but soulless. Staying in a ryokan inn somewhere nice will cost you mega-yen - but is unforgettable. You should do it at least once. Ryokan Kurashiki in Kurashiki (unsurprisingly!) is lovely. In rural areas you can stay in minshuku which are little inns where a night's accommodation usually includes dinner the night before and breakfast the morning after. They can be splendid. Minshuku Wadaya in Ogi (Shirakawa Valley) was a great experience for me, in a traditional thatched house.

Enjoy!

Will

6. Posted by Japancountdown (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 23 Sep '13 23:56

Hi,

Japan is an amazing place to visit in September and October. The whether isn't to hot but and you only have to deal with a little bit of rain.

If you visit the country in late September / early October you might be lucky enough to see the rice fields being harvest. This is an important time for Japanese people and they celebrate the finishing of the harvest with a Fire Festival.

The Fire Festival is an great opportunity to see Japan and Japanese people in their most 'raw' form. There's a lot of excitement, color & the festival food is something to experience by it's self.

I wouldn't be too worried about the language - if you are concerned check out this list of -snip- they might be handy to know if it's you're first trip to Japan.

Have a great trip - i'm sure you'll take some amazing pictures of Japan.

Daniel

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