Here you have our latest article on Japan! We propose our summary with all the important information: itinerary, expenses, what surprised us, what we liked …
Our itinerary in Japan
Tokyo, Chiba, Kansai
Different modes of transport
In Japan we travel by subway and on foot within the cities, and also by plane from Tokyo to Osaka (Peach Airlines, low cost company) and by train between Osaka and Kyoto. Many blogs and travel guides suggest buying a JR Pass (unlimited pass for the JR trains) but its high price (260USD per person for a 7-day pass) seemed exaggerated. So we looked for other options and finally found low cost flights with Peach Airlines between Tokyo and Osaka. Just perfect and much cheaper!
Our expenses in Japan
In blue, food and drink. In red, hotels or hostels. In orange, transport (within the city or between cities). In green, activities and visits. In violet, other expenses (commissions of cash change, etc.).
With the help of the travel planner of our A-Contresens colleagues (planificateur.a-contresens.net), we had planned a daily budget of €53 per day per person (including hotels, etc.). At the end of our trip through Japan, our actual budget was €49 per person per day!
Diseases in Japan
Nothing at all!
What surprised us in Japan
- There are drink machines on every street! It seems weird, but there are at least two on every piece of street!
- They circulate on the left! Yep, be careful when crossing because we always had the instinct to look the other way!
- They travel a lot by bicycle (in Osaka and Kyoto mostly). We did not expect it to be that much, and see so many tracks adapted for cyclists!
- There are almost no litter bins! When we had a picnic at noon, we generally had to put the trash bags in the backpack and carry them because there were no litter bins on the street! After a few days we learned that people take their trash home to recycle it … we still have not understood very well why!
- It’s an expensive country. We knew before we arrived, but we found it even more expensive to be going around the world (restaurants, transports, accommodations and even memories!).
- Not as much sushi as we thought! Yes there are sushi restaurants, but almost almost less than in Europe!
- Everything is small … to the point of making us feel fat! The size of the seats, the toilets, the bathrooms (the one from our Tokyo Airbnb was so small that it was possible to pee, brush our teeth and shower at the same time!), Restaurants, shops, size Of the dishes in the restaurants …
- Smoking is allowed in most restaurants, while smoking is prohibited on the street … The logic of that law escapes us!
- The contrast in their culture: temples vs manga, extreme education vs semi-naked dolls, etc.).
- Tokyo subway is amazing! At first it is not easy to understand, and some stations are so big that it is easy to spend an hour looking for the right way out (we know what we talked about, happened in Shinjuku!).
What we liked in Japan
- The Japanese are extremely friendly and polite: they say thank you, good morning, let us pass in front … We loved it! And even more so after having lived the opposite in China!).
- The streets are clean and quiet. Even when there are people do not hear the traffic as in other countries. It’s awesome to be in the middle of Tokyo and the noise does not bother you at all!
- Everything is simple: to travel (except the Tokyo subway), to make themselves understood (they speak English) …
- The monuments are beautiful and very well preserved.
- We were lucky enough to be there in the fall and see the parks with magnificent colors.
- We always feel safe
We loved our visit to Japan! We believe that it is a very developed country but that has managed to preserve its own identity. Japan showed us all its nuances and contrasts: on the one hand, innovation, lights, video games and manga; on the other hand, the traditions, the religion, the gardens and the temples … In short, we loved it!! Also, after our trip through China, Japan came as a “break” for us in a developed country where people speak English and everything is much easier for us Europeans! Even though the fairly high prices force many backpackers to leave Japan aside during their round the world, we found it a must-visit place!