Japan 2016 / Preliminary Itinerary

Japan 2016

Take out your list. What is your number one for must-see destinations? Most people wait until they retire to even start marking things off. Me? No husband. No kids. I’m ready to start now! I have crossed #2 and maybe #165 (it’s a long list, sue me!) off there. But…my mind can’t escape that elusive “Number Freakin’ One”. And, for me, that is “The Land of the Rising Sun”. That gorgeous country whose beautiful culture has enraptured me my imagination since childhood.  Ask any kid who grew up with Miyazaki films (for me it was Totoro)! They most likely feel the same way. (And, yes, I was part of the Sailor Moon/Pokemon generation.

I am ELATED to say that the dream is becoming a reality. I already have plans (and approved time off, thanks job!) for a 2 and 1/2 week vacation to my dream destination. Yes…*breathe a little*…it is within my grasp now.

So, I write this entry in the hopes that any Japan-natives, Japan-lovers, or Japan-constant-travelers will help a sista out! Please read the questions below! I would appreciate, in addition, any sort of advice you can give me.

OCTOBER 2016 – NOVEMBER 2016
Based off a suggested itinerary from japan-guide.com, I have created a “rough draft” version for my trip.

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***UPDATE*** I have changed my itinerary almost entirely. Instead of flying in and out of Tokyo (which allows for back-tracking), I will be flying into Osaka and out of Tokyo. See the updated itinerary below, with detailed options for my day. -tbh 08/18/16

QUESTIONS FOR THE EXPERTS:

  • Does this seems realistic?
  • *** I AM SO INTIMIDATED BY THE TRAIN SYSTEM – Is there anyone who could help me?! I plan to get a JR pass too. ****

  • Would a 14 day JR Pass work for me or should I splurge on 21 day pass?

Other questions:

  • Should I rent pocket wifi? I will definitely be utilizing Hyperdia, Google Maps, etc.
  • Since I will be going in end of October, I heard the fall colors will be in full effect? Out of the cities I have listed, do you have recommendations to see the autumn colors? Take pictures?
  • What are your experiences with AirBnb or hostels? I do not think I can afford to stay in nice hotels, so I am willing to go this route. Any recommendations?
  • I would like to visit a ryokan. But I heard that it is harder to book as a solo female traveler. How true is this? Any ryokan recommendations?
  • I want to experience rural Japan (which is why Takayama is on my list). I think I would like to rent a bicycle and travel through the fields, etc. Is this safe? Would you recommend a bike tour?

Experiences I would like to try:

  • Maid cafe / Themed cafe
  • Ghibli Museum
  • Mount Koya (ok for solo female traveler?)
  • Sumo Wrestling
  • Traditional Ryokan
  • Traditional Onsen

I am sure there are more questions that I need to ask… but this is what is on the top of my head. As I said, I am very open to ANY suggestions and recommendations. Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

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