Why You'll Love Japan
So many amazing places to visit – Out of all the places I’ve been to in Asia, Japan is by far the one country where I seem to never run out of places to visit. I’ve been there twice for a total of 5 weeks, and I still haven’t seen Osaka, Koyosan, Sapporo, and Nagasaki. There’s just so much to see and do in Japan. You’ve got two of the greatest cities in the world: Tokyo and Kyoto. You could spend several days in each one. Japan’s also got some stunning natural beauty: Mt. Fuji (of course), the Japan Alps, and Koyosan.
Its Unique Culture – It’s filled with unique cultural experiences that are so typically Japanese: the onsen culture, sumo wrestling, sushi and sashimi, the neon lights of Shinjuku and Shibuya, the geikos and maikos of Kyoto, kabuki theater, etc.
Its Fascinating History– The island nation has a fascinating history with the temples and shrines of Kyoto, Kamakura, and Nikko and the memorable Peace Museum and Atomic Bomb Dome of Hiroshima.
The kindness of its People – But best of all: the Japanese people. The politeness, kindness, and conscientiousness. I can count on two hands the number of times someone walked out of their way to guide me in the right direction.
Japan Budget Tips
Place to Stay
Hostel: US$35 - $50
Business Hotel: US$100 - $150
Budget Ryokan: US$65 - $100
Nice Ryokan: US$200 +
Raman: US$7 - $10
Sushi: US$20 - $40 at a decent restaurant
Conveyer-Belt Sushi: US$1-$5 / plate
Meal from Convenience Store: US$4 - $6
Train Ticket (Tokyo to Kyoto): US$135
Bus Ticket (Tokyo to Kyoto): US$42-$72
Tokyo Subway Ticket: US$1.61 - $3.00 / ride
JR Pass: US$315 - $619 for Ordinary Class
Teamlab Borderless: US$35
Temples: Free to US$5
Food Tours: US$125
Kabuki Performance: US$10 - $14
When to visit Japan
Spring: If you want to get the money-shot during your 3 weeks in Japan, visit during the Cherry Blossom Festival, mid-March - mid-April. On the downside, it'll be crowded and accommodations will probably be pricey. You also don't have to visit right during the blossoming of the cherry trees. You can visit at the end of April and May and get perfect weather albeit not the Cherry Blossoms.
Fall: Fall is also a beautiful time to visit. The leaves changes color and the countryside is covered in reds, yellows, and oranges. The weather is also milder and thus, more enjoyable.
Summer: I went for 3 weeks to Japan in August, and if there is one thing that I am certain of in life, it's that you shouldn't go to Japan in August. It's hot. I mean it's really, really hot. Unbearably hot. Tokyo's concrete and August heat do not mix well. You also have to worry about it being typhoon season (June to October). You can get more information here on what happens when there's a major typhoon in Japan.
Winter: Doing a 3-week itinerary in Japan can have its upsides and downsides. Japan gets snow in the winter in the Alps, making some destinations more difficult if not impossible to get to. But on the other hand, you can get some beautiful shots of the snow. If you like skiing, this is a good time to go. If you like hiking, it's not. And since it's the low season, accommodations will be cheaper and tourist sights will be less crowded.
Where I’ve Been in Japan