Japan is a world of its own. Most of my readers are from the UK, the US and Oz, so I’m going to presume you’re from there too, and say it’s so weird compared to what you’re used to.
Everything is different. From the way you use the toilet, where you sleep, the food, the drink, bathing, the social rituals… everything.
– Photo by Yoshikazut
I feel like it’s one of those places you go to, come away, and then with the time to process what you’ve just experienced, you need to go again to fully take it all in.
I’ll definitely go back. And when I do, here’s how I’d explore Japan differently.
– In collaboration with the Luxury Holiday Company
1. Spend more
That sounds weird, right? Well I was on a super tight budget and everyone had given me the heeby jeebies about how much travelling Japan for five weeks was going to cost me. In reality I didn’t find it to be any more expensive than London. Hostels were around £20 a night, you could get a good sushi lunch for a fiver and attractions were around £20 too.
Next time I’d crack out the cash though. I’d spend more on food, drink, hotels and activities, and actually research more – rather than walking round in a fascinated daze. I did enjoy doing Japan on a budget, but next time I go, it’ll be with a few more Yen.
2. Book some sort of tour
I’ve gotten well into my tours lately. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to realise all the benefits.
Booking some sort of tour in Japan would be high on my agenda for next time. Either a few day tours or one with a company like the Luxury Holiday Company, who could show me a different side to what I’ve experienced.
I had so many questions when I was travelling there solo, but no one to ask them to. It would also be good to have someone to recommend food and drinks, and to give more of an insight into what I’m seeing.
3. I’d go south
I really want to go to Okinawa and see how Japan does beaches. The islands look awesome – I’d love to go diving there.
When I went I only made it down as far as Osaka, so I still have a lot of the country to see. Okinawa and the islands round there would totally be my first stop, and I’d like to visit Hiroshima too.
4. Eat a wider range of foods
I keep talking about food. I know.
Honestly, when I look back I only ever ate sushi, chicken katsu curry or Yonezawa steak. It was all just so good. I should’ve done a food tour for starters – to open my mind –but I was just too busy scoffing sushi. Love the stuff.
It also didn’t help that I was by myself, so eating in fancy restaurants wasn’t really on my list of things I wanted to do. Next time I’d go with someone and look up some interesting and fun restaurants to go to so I could learn even more about food in Japan.
I did make it to the Robot Restaurant, that was fun!
5. Shop more
When I went to Japan it was the start of a four-month trip round Asia so there definitely wasn’t any space in my backpack for any presents to myself.
Next time though, I’d take a spare suitcase just to bring home all the stuff I’d want to buy. Shopping in Japan is just a totally different experience to what you’re used to. I remember sending a package off to my brother full of kitchen items from the future, or that’s what it felt like. They’re an innovative lot in Japan, I could furnish my entire forthcoming house.
If you’re planning on going any time soon, take a look at my Japan 3 week itinerary for some inspiration.