Imagine planning a trip with two small children (parents will know what I´m talking about) then multiply that stress by ten and you got it! Don´t get me wrong, it´s definitely worth it but it´s more then I have imagined. And I traveled a lot.
Since Mr. G. has to be in Yokosuka for work 10 days, we decided to take some vacation time (killing time synonym) and see as much of Japan as we can. This is going to be three weeks of living a dream, exploring a country that is so different and so magnificent. I´m soooooooo excited, I´ll probably forget something!
We decided to see Yokosuka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Mt.Fuji and of course Tokyo.
First thing you should do, before even getting to Japan is order a Japan Rail Pass. These allow you to make unlimited use of fast and efficient Japan Rail system. It´s cheaper than buying every single ticket for travelling throughout Japan. You are probably wondering why buying something before time when you can buy them when you get there ? Well, you can´t, that´s the catch. You can only order it online, we used www.japan-experience.com. You can buy the Pass for 7, 14 or 21 days. Note that the Pass is only valid on JR services, you will still have to pay for private train services. Als0 it can not be used for super express Nozomi shinkansen service, but it´s ok for other shinkansen services (bullet trains). It will save you money if you are travelling between towns and taking long rides. If you are staying only in one town then consider buying local train tickets. Our Exchange orders came in only four days after ordering them with DHL and we selected the 7 days pass. We are going to use it between Kyoto, Hiroshima and Tokyo. After you arrive in Japan you have to bring the voucher at a JR Travel Service Center (in most major JR stations and at International airports). They will validate your Pass and you select the date on which you want it to become valid. It can be immediately or on a later date, it depends on your trip ( have your passport with you).
Japan is famous for their onsen (hot spring bath) so try to put that on your to do list if you don´t have tattoos (you are not allowed to go in if you have it). There are some that allow so research.
I´m a sneaker kind of girl, so now I have to find some slip-on shoes because you have to take them off before entering some restaurants, homes, temples….
If you are from Europe note that the wall outlet are the same as USA 110 V so you´ll need a power converter. Also check if you need a visa for Japan. They are issued on arrival for most nationalities for stay up to 90 days, but just (definition just in case) check to be sure. You might even think about getting a prepaid data sim card. You can order it on the same site (idiom site) as JR Pass. We took 30 days card, just so we can stay in touch with each other and our family.
They say Japan is a safe country. I will do a lot of sightseeing by myself so that is a great thing to know. From everything I´ve read and heard they speak English, but I will have a couple of phrases written and hopefully learned. Definitely like : „Please bring a fork „ or „ I´m lost „ ! Google translate (with Word Lens) in all it´s glory!
I´m sure Japanese chefs will not like me. Croatian don´t slurp, we think it´s rude, but I will adopt. Have to defend the honor. My kids are going to love (apple of eye meaning) that !
The one thing they are not safe from are earthquakes, so I will have a battery, light and a whistle with me (thanks Irena for that advice). Hey, what ? I´m just being cautious, remember mom of two !?
I always want to see more of a traditional things then modern. I´m looking forward to see all their diversity , from Zen gardens, Geishas, temples, gardens, castles, onsens, japanese food to Tokyo nightlife, eccentric fashion, neon lights….
I almost forgot about where to stay. See, I told you I´ll forget something, because I´m SOOOO EXCITED !!! We booked a place in apartment building in Yokosuka, Liberty Cove. Their hotels have really small rooms, like really small, like matchbox, so we decided on a one bedroom place. We still need to book a place to stay in Kyoto and Tokyo. We are kinda like taking a chance with that.
Now I´m going to spend some time with my children. This is the longest that we are going to be apart.