As you might know it, Japan has a special place in my heart. Before spending a month there, I had barely wondered what this country would offer me and I truly had no expectations, my mind being busier thinking about how it was one of Simon’s dreams to visit it. I knew I would love Hawaii for example and I did of course, but I had no idea that I would love Japan which made my experience even more intense.
Last year, we spent a whole month travelling Japan. While it had been a dream for Simon to visit the country, I personally didn’t expect too much from it. The idea of swarming streets and giant buildings never sounded so attractive to me. I was eventually won over by people’s kindness and their culture.
Here are some things that we learned while in the country and that you might not know either.
We knew Japan would be expensive so we initially had a budget of $95 per day. We quickly decided that we didn’t want our trip to be entirely dictated by a budget so we kept it loose, without going crazy either. We were able to more or less stick to it, spending close to $110 per day (or $55 per person). We were surprised to notice that we spent almost the same as in Hawaii, where we flew from, but without restricting ourselves as much.
Since we’re travelling as a couple, the averages described below are for two people per day and are actually rounded up.
Kyoto was the first city that we visited in Japan and it became our favourite too. We were lucky enough to arrive just before the end of the cherry blossom season which gives the town some magical tone. We were also especially struck by how kind people were with us. It happened more than once that locals came to help us when we were lost (in public transportation among others!) although they didn’t speak a word of English.
Japan is famous for Buddhism and tofu but it’s definitely not the best destination for vegetarians. When we arrived in the country, I very quickly felt frustrated that I was missing out on Japanese specialties. It happened several times that my lunch ended up being a slice of cake because that was the only thing without meat on the menu and I might surprise you but even I, sometimes, need more than sweets!
Japan was probably the country that surprised me the most because I simply didn’t expect to like it that much. Big cities, busy streets and others, Tokyo above all has everything I would usually want to stay away from. Very quickly, I was won over by the Japanese culture and people’s kindness and these aspects became enjoyable and fun to experience.
These days, I’ve been nostalgic of our travels through Japan and I’ve been thinking about the pretty city of Kyoto a lot. It was the first Japanese city we visited and it didn’t take long for us both to fall in love with it. We were lucky enough to arrive just before the end of the cherry blossom season which gives the town some magical tone. We were also especially struck by how kind people were with us. It happened more than once that locals came to help us when we were lost (in public transportation among others!) although they didn’t speak a word of English.
Nara is located close to Kyoto and Osaka, two cities that we visited during our one-month trip to Japan. We had a feeling that there might be more that we would want to see in Kyoto so we took a day out of our week in Osaka to visit the lovely town of Nara. The trip from Osaka takes about one hour and costs 10 dollars one way.
When designing our itinerary in Japan, we picked Fukuoka for its location by the ocean, thinking it would be a nice change from the other big cities we would be visiting (Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka). What I thought would be my favourite stop in the country finally turned out to be the most gruelling.