Oh Japan. How we love you. After three months in India and Sri Lanka, we were so excited to visit Japan – a cooler climate, a modern, efficient country that was easy to get around, destinations and experiences we’d always dreamed of – would it measure up to our expectations?
It exceeded them. It may possibly be one of our favourite destinations so far. Japan was not only a beautiful country, full of lovely, generous people, but it gave us some experiences that will stay with us for a lifetime. The first time seeing snow, in the Japanese Alps. Experiencing an onsen whilst watching people on ski slopes. A geisha makeover and photo shoot. Running through Fushimi Inari shrine. Walking amongst thousands at Shibuya crossing. Seeing cherry blossoms bloom. Our first Disney theme park.
There is so much more to Japan than anime and sushi (in fact we never ate any!) – a civilisation with such rich history, a country that has done its very best to retain and preserve it’s culture and traditions, whilst growing and modernising at an exponential rate. We can’t wait to visit again – there’s so much to see here, for anyone of any age.
Cities We’ve Visited to DateOsaka, Koya-san, Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Matsumoto, Nagano, Hakuba, Kyoto, Hakone, Tokyo
JAPAN FACT FILE
Japan’s steep prices unfortunately deter a lot of people from visiting. It’s not a cheap destination by any means, but you can keep your costs to a minimum by planning your trip in advance, visiting outside of peak-season, staying in hostels and pod hotels, eating at convenience stores and balancing out paid attractions with free ones.
Staying connected in Japan is easy, with most accommodation and restaurants and cafes offering lightning fast free wi-fi. You can also pick up a SIM card from electronic shops. We picked up a 2GB Freetel Sim Card in Osaka for around 2500 JPY.
Japanese is the official language in Japan and whilst it’s written form is made up entirely of kanji (characters), it’s not too difficult to pronounce so be sure to give it a go whilst there. Signage, transport and most menus are all in English, so getting around is a breeze.
READ more about our adventures in Japan!
We had a crazy, ‘Amazing Race’ style start to our Japanese adventures, but we quickly fell in love with this extraordinary country – the people, the orderliness, the food – and the toilets!
After a five year restoration, the crown jewel of Japan’s castles is once again open to the public and it’s an unmissable stop – you can easily visit as a day trip from Osaka or Kyoto!
Our visit to Hiroshima moved us so much – we’re so glad we visited to learn more about this devastating day in Japan’s history. It’s a must visit destination in Japan – you will come away a different person.
We had our fingers crossed we’d see snow in Japan as were visiting towards the end of winter – and we got lucky! Read all about our very first snow day and what we got up to in the beautiful Japanese Alps!
Amy spent a very special morning in Kyoto being transformed into a geisha – it was one of the most incredible experiences of her life! Check out the professional photos and find out how you can be transformed into a geisha too!
A ride on a shinkansen is a quintessential part of travel in Japan. With a Japan Rail Pass, you can ride unlimited bullet trains! But, does it fit in with your personal travel plans and budget? The key is to plan ahead, and this guide will help you determine whether a Japan Rail Pass is worth it for you!
The spiritual sanctuary of Koya-san makes for a lovely day trip out of Osaka or Kyoto. Read on to see the beautiful places we explored in this quaint little town!
Amy reflects on a childhood fantasy that went unfulfilled – that is, until her visit to Tokyo Disney Resort. Read on to learn why a visit to Disney as a grown up is still so very magical!
Japan is a country that remains on the top of the list for so many, but they don’t visit for fear of how expensive it is. But how much does it REALLY cost? Read our detailed budget break down of EVERY cent we spent on our 3 week trip to Japan, and use it to plan your own dream trip!
You can also WATCH our adventures in Japan!