Japan is located in the Pacific Ocean and consists of 6,852 islands. The largest one is Honshu. Japan’s population of 126 million is the world’s tenth largest and approximately 9.1 million people live in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. I always dreamed of going to Japan, it’s a fairytale destination with unbelievable beautiful nature; especially during cherry blossom in spring and the autumn foliage. Japan has something to offer for everyone; climbing volcano’s or the Japanese Alps, mingle in the traditional culture of geisha’s, relish Michelin star worthy sushi, marvel at the neatly assembled Japanese gardens, dive into Tokyo’s craziness for everything new and be astonished by ancient lit up temples.
Mount Fuji – The highest mountain and symbol of Japan 112 km South West from Tokyo.
Hiroshima – Hiroshima was the first city in the history of human beings that is attacked with a nuclear bomb. This happened during the Second World War in 1945. After the war, great efforts were taken to rebuild the city. Destroyed monument were reconstructed and in the center of the city a large park was built; the Peace Memorial Park.
Japanese Alps – For beautiful hikes in summer, and skiing in winter.
Nara – Deers, temples and -the most interesting- at least during our visit; abandoned Nara Dreamland!
Osaka – A screaming flashy, neon light, outgoing city with great (street)art and a hint of culture.
Best time to travel Japan
Japan has a diverse climate because of its huge surface. In North Japan winters are cold with a lot of snow. Temperature can go down until -40 degrees. Summers in North Japan are around 20 degrees. The Southern islands are much warmer with 15 degrees in winter and around 30 during summer. Cherry blossom and autumn are the most beautiful periods to travel to Japan, but also the most busiest and priciest.
While a lot of people buy a JR pass before entering Japan, we didn’t. If you are on a tight schedule and like to see a lot in a short period of time, go for it, the trains are fast, comfortable and the more you use them, the cheaper it is.
We took the Willer express instead which was a lot cheaper. You can book a day before you travel (if seats are available) and don’t feel rushed by an expensive pass but go at your own pace. Skip a hotel night on a night bus which saves a lot of money in Japan. Check here up to date prices for the JR pass and the Willer Express.
To get around in Tokyo and Osaka, you buy a subway card, which you can do easily at the subway stations. In Kyoto we hired bikes to cycle everywhere.
Japan has great hotels, from absolute high class to all kind of weird theme hotels. But also more affordable options are available like traditional ryokan or hostels. We slept in Tokyo for example in Sakura hostel and in Osaka in Air Osaka Hostel, both hostels are well located, clean and have a good price value rate. Every night we paid at least €30,- even for a dorm.
Japanese is the official language of Japan and not a lot of people speak English. A point it book can help out.
For the Dutch; to get in Japan you need a passport, which is still value for at least three months upon arrival. For a stay shorter then ninety days you won’t need a visa.
For a visit to Japan you don’t need any vaccinations
In Japan is paid with the Japanese Yen (JPY) Check the up to date rate of the yen here.
Compared to Holland it is during summertime 7 hours later in Japan and during winter it’s 8 hours later.
You will need an adaptor in Japan.
The fresh water is save to drink from the tab.
Always check Rijksoverheid for up to date travel advice (Dutch).