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How to plan your trip to Japan

When I first saw the post about Japan on www.goldenmirrorsandpinkbows.be I was looking forward to reading more. Marlies really knows how to tell a story and we asked her to answer some questions about Japan. The country, the culture, the food. I wish we could go tomorrow. Thank you Marlies for giving us these tips! I guess you had the time of your life. I’ve made it into a series with 5 questions and answers. I hope you enjoy!

1 How did you plan your trip to Japan?

One day my boyfriend and I were discussing our summer plans as we didn’t choose a destination just yet. It was March I guess. And suddenly he said, let’s go to Japan. I know he had been dreaming about Japan for most of his life, so it didn’t come as a complete surprise, but still! We were already March and there was little time to plan everything, so I got a little nervous. Eventually everything went pretty fast and smoothly.

First we made a rough plan about the cities we wanted to visit and checked in with our employers for how long we could be missed at work. Since it was his dream, my boyfriend already had a big list with places to visit. Then we picked dates and booked our flights. We flew with Star Alliances, because we’re both members. After we set the time frame we tried to schedule all the cities in. We decided to stay in Tokyo for the first 5 days, then head to Kyoto, from there to Miyajima, Hiroshima and Osaka, when finally returning to Tokyo. After setting the big lines (and booking hotels), we scheduled our itineraries. The scheduling of those day trips was very important, since we were using a Japan Rail Pass and it would only be valid for 14 days. Which meant that we couldn’t use the pass the first couple of days and the last day. But in Tokyo there’s a fast and efficient underground, so you don’t really need a Rail Pass. Btw, the train network is amazing in Japan. It’s so fast and very efficient! I would definitely recommend it if you’re planning on visiting Japan. Keep in mind that you have to purchase your Japan Rail Pass before you leave. You cannot buy it in Japan!

We got a lot of information on Japan-Guide.com about places to go and what to visit in the different parts of the country. It’s one of the best travel websites I’ve ever seen. I also used Pinterest a lot. It may sound weird for planning a trip, but you find amazing things on it! Apart from the big switches between cities and Disneyland we didn’t have a strict plan. As Japan has moody weather we decided on going with the flow. Every evening we would decide where we would go the next day, regarding the weather and our rail pass of course. It makes it all a little more adventurous too. Before we left Belgium we both had a little ‘must- to’ list from which we picked our activities. We didn’t see it all, but that was nearly impossible too. Since this was my boyfriend’s dream, he sorted most things out.

In Japan itself, it’s very easy if you have a pocket wifi with you. You can order them in advance and pick it up at the airport. I used apps like Foursquare all the time and Google Translate is a real must!

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